Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce Announces Name Change

From The Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce

Flint, MI – The Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce announced today it has changed its name to Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce (FGCC). The name change is part of a larger rebranding effort to market Flint and Genesee as a desirable destination and better reflects the communities that the Chamber represents.

 Tim Herman, CEO of the Chamber made the new identity announcement during a press conference.

 “We have a new name and a new logo; but we’re the same great business partner,” said Herman. “As we set out to brand and market Flint and Genesee County, it’s the right time for us to align our own identity.”

 The Chamber’s name change is supported by a new mark that combines the words Flint and Genesee and includes a stylized ampersand, which effectively conveys the intrinsic link and partnership between Flint and Genesee County. The mark also reduces any ambiguity about what areas the Chamber represents.

 The Chamber unveiled a newly designed website flintandgenesee.org today in conjunction with the campaign. The new site features an interactive map to locate businesses across the county; a Visitors Guide for travelers looking for things to see and do; an e-commerce portal that will offer tourists the opportunity to book Flint and Genesee hotel stays online; purchase tickets to various attractions and create customized packages. The site also includes an event registration and payment tool, and is mobile and tablet friendly.

 The Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to facilitate strategic partnerships to maximize economic growth; and the mission will continue. The organization has four strategic action groups: Convention & Visitors Bureau; Economic Development; Education & Training and Member Services. Today, the FGCC has 164 full- and part-time employees.

 To visit the new site or read about the new community brand identity and marketing campaign, go to flintandgenesee.org.

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How Well Do YOU Know Flint & Genesee County?

Few areas in Michigan have the history that Genesee County, Michigan has but for all of our history and attractions it’s easy to forget how much there is here to offer.  Events like Back to the Bricks, the Crim, Fenton’s Applefest, and Davison’s Festival of Flags bring people together to celebrate the county and its many events but what other things do you love about the Flint & Genesee County region?  What things do you look forward to?  What do you enjoy with friends and family?

Do you train for the Crim?

Do you travel back in time with a visit to Crossroad’s Village?

Dress up for the Warrior Dash?

Do you golf at one of the county’s many golf courses?

Do you take your family to any of our twenty-one county parks each year?

Does the Vampire Ball get your blood pumping?

Do you cruise with the other classic cars during the Summer?

Do you take in a show at the US-23 Drive-In?

Maybe star gaze at Longway Planetarium?

When you are in Downtown Flint do you like to get a light lunch at The Lunch Studio or something from Blackstone’s?

There are so many amazing things to do in our area that it’s easy to forget how much there is so the best way to let people know is to tell them so – What do you do for fun in Flint & Genesee County? What places, events, restaurants, and things do you love about our area? Share what you like to do and let others know about the many lesser known events and places to visit throughout the year.

How well do you know Flint & Genesee County?

The Cool City Art Auction Returns To Downtown Flint

Friday, March 22 will mark the return of Flint’s Cool City Art Auction in Downtown Flint.  This auction is one of the city’s premiere events and raises money for the participating organizations and helps to pay for important programs and events that they all offer.  The auction has become a symbol of the city’s burgeoning arts community and has brought the work of both new and established artists together to celebrate the many talented people in the region.

The Cool City Art Auction features four organizations and four locations to visit and this year the organizations are the Greater Flint Arts Council, the Buckham Gallery, the Greater Flint Creative Alliance, and Art at the Market.  Attendees to the Art Auction will have entry into all four venues and art will be on display with prices to start the bidding.  If someone finds a piece of art they are interested in they can write down their bid and the highest bid on that piece will win it at the end of the night.  The price of admission for the Auction gets you into all four of the catered venues where music and fun will be featured along with the food and drinks.

The Auction begins at 5:00PM with things winding down at ten but the silent bidding will close down earlier in the night with the Creative Alliance’s ending first.  With the weather still clinging to Winter this is the only Cool thing people look forward to all season and it’s definitely an event not to miss.

Cool City Art Auction

Friday, March 22, 2013

5PM – 10PM

Downtown Flint

Locations –

Creative Alliance – Churchill’s Food and Spirits, 340 S. Saginaw St.

Buckham Gallery – at Buckham Gallery, 134 1/2 W. Second St.

Art at the Market – Peterson Building, 653 S. Saginaw St., Ste. #1

Greater Flint Arts Council – at GFAC, 816 S. Saginaw St.

Tickets are $25 in advance (purchased through each organization) and $30 the day of the auction.

2013CoolCity_FLYER

Flint Farmers’ Market Announces Plans to Move Back Downtown

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From FLINT FARMER’S MARKET

FLINT, MI. — The Flint Farmers’ Market, managed by Uptown Reinvestment Corporation (URC) announced today plans to relocate the market to the former Flint Journal printing facility at 300 E. First Street. The move allows the market to undergo significant updates and expansion, and marks its return to the downtown Flint area after more than 70 years.

Over the past 10 years, while the market has experienced a rebirth of enthusiasm and vitality at its Boulevard Drive site, downtown Flint has also experienced a renaissance.  When the Flint Journal changed its business model in 2011 and vacated both its sites on First Street, the opportunity to merge the two “rebirths” by returning the market to a downtown home proved too good to be missed. The combination of the market’s vitality and the downtown area’s vibrancy will create endless new possibilities in the drive to reinvent and revitalize not just downtown, but all of Flint and Genesee County.

“Many people have memories of the market at its current location.  There is history, ambiance, and a country-like quietness at the location alongside the river, all of which hold great attraction.  However, we are hopeful that the public will embrace the fact that moving into a newer and much larger facility offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for the market and its vendors to take a significant step into the future,” said Dick Ramsdell, Flint Farmers’ Market Manager.

The market is one of the most beloved and most successful places in the City of Flint. However, the current building, now 73 years old, suffers from a multitude of ailments ranging from a leaking roof to an insufficient plumbing and sewer system, to inadequate parking. In addition, the facility is not ADA handicap accessible and does not have an elevator. The effects of the building deterioration coupled with the growth of the market vendor and customer base have created challenges that the market is hard pressed to address at its current site.

According to Tim Herman, President of Uptown Reinvestment Corporation (URC) and CEO of the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce it’s the right time to relocate the market.

“The current market is bursting at the seams,” said Herman. “We have the perfect opportunity to move the Market and fix some of the problems that stifled the Market’s expansion and growth. Once the renovations are complete, the new Flint Farmers Market will occupy more than double its current footprint to 32,000 sq. ft., more people will be exposed to fresh, locally grown foods and educational opportunities that will encourage nutritious options as a central part of their diets.  The new market will rival our nation’s leading small city markets.”

In addition to diversifying and adding more unique vendors, the new 32,000 sq. ft. site will have a commercial kitchen designed to serve as an incubator and test kitchen for entrepreneurs and current market vendors alike.   It will offer a large meeting room which seats 200 people and can be used for community meetings and private events all year round. The room will also feature a demonstration kitchen where cooking demonstrations and culinary classes will be held.

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has funded a number of improvements to the current market over the years through grants to the URC, including for roof repairs in 2010. While that support helped maintain the property over time, the new location offers a unique opportunity to grow the market’s long-term vitality and success, said Neal Hegarty, vice-president of programs at the Foundation.

“The Farmers’ Market is one of the Flint area’s greatest assets. In addition to providing fresh produce and locally grown food, it offers a space for people from all walks of life to come together and cultivate a sense of community. The new location will expand not only the market’s physical capacity, but also its service to the people of Genesee County, and ensure that it remains a cherished asset for many years to come.”

“The Flint Farmers’ Market has been a vital part of the Flint community for decades and has a great tradition of bringing people together around fresh foods, community fun, and local businesses,” said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. “The City of Flint supports the continued innovation at the market through public-private partnerships. We are excited for our community to have access to the new services and amenities that will be offered in the downtown location.”

Scheduled to open in the spring of 2014, the new site is about a half mile south of the current Market, easily accessible off the I-475 access road, Chavez Drive, across First Street from the University of Michigan-Flint campus and the beautiful Wilson Park.

“I am excited the Flint Farmers’ Market will be right at the center of all the happenings that Downtown Flint offers.  This will give so many residents and those working downtown a better chance to discover one of Flint’s most treasured jewels,” commented Art Reyes, UAW Local 651 President.

“We are very excited about moving to a new location” said Tom Alex, owner of Knob Hill Meats. “Not only will it be at a new place but Knob Hill Meats will be expanding our size and our hours of operation to better serve our customers’ schedules.  Downtown Flint is a safe and growing area full of many unique and exciting experiences. We are looking forward to seeing all of our regular shoppers there and are looking forward to meeting new customers as well!”

Downtown Flint has grown steadily. The revitalization has been on the upswing for the past seven years with buildings being renovated, lofts and other residential living made available, and the opening of businesses, coffee shops and many great restaurants such as Blackstone’s, Churchill’s, Cork, El Protrero, Flint Crepe Company and 501 Bar & Grill. The new location will allow the market to become an active participant in the increasing number of downtown events that draw close to 1 million visitors a year. It will also make the Market more accessible to people who use public transportation, and provide fresh food options to over 5,000 people who work and live downtown as well as the over 30,000 students attending nearby colleges and universities.

The relocation of the Farmers’ Market will be part of a proposed $32 million downtown redevelopment project. To date, the URC has completed projects encompassing 600,000 sq. ft. of mixed-use space totaling $65 million. Recently announced URC projects include: Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine expanding its public health and medical education program;  Genesys’ Downtown Health Center; and the opening of Landaal Packaging Systems’ Innovation Center and Corporate Offices.

Community Open Houses

Market management has announced two community open houses to be held at Riverfront Banquet Center in downtown Flint next Wednesday, March 13. The first Open House will be held over the lunch hour, 10:00 a.m. – 12 Noon. The second will be held from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. the same evening. The Open Houses will offer an opportunity for market customers and supporters to visualize the new market and share ideas and suggestions for the new space. Visitors will be able to meet project developers, market consultants from Project for Public Spaces, and the market management team.  Additionally the market website, www.flintfarmersmarket.com will have an area dedicated to community input for those who may be out of the area or unable to attend the public input session.

The market management team offers to visit neighborhood, church and community meetings during the months of March and April.  These sessions will provide those unable to attend one of the open houses the opportunity to hear the market’s new story and offer their own suggestions. For more information contact the market office at 810.232.1399 or email [email protected].

Photo of the Day: Diving head first into Warrior Dash 2011

The hot weather didn’t seem to put a cramp in the style of day two of Warrior Dash in northern Genesee County. Thousands took to the 5-kilometer course full of obstacles ranging from junk cars to fire pits. This might be the most unique event I’ve ever attended. More to come later. (Photo by Jared Field)’

Economic forecast for Michigan not as cloudy as many think

Finally some good news to digest after veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of bad economic data on Michigan for the past few years. UM-Flint Economics professor Mark Perry wrote in his blog recently about the gradual recovery of Michigan’s economy after taking the brunt of the fallout after the U.S. auto industry sputtered. The disparity between our state’s unemployment rate and the national rate has narrowed substantially in the last year.

From Carpe Diem Blog:

The last recession hit the auto industry and the Michigan economy pretty hard. In the summer of 2009, the Michigan economy “hit bottom” as its unemployment rate peaked at 14.1% in August, which was 4.4 percent above the national average that month of 9.7% (see chart above).  It was actually a lot worse for Michigan in the early 1980s, when the jobless rate was at 14% or higher for almost two years from late 1981 until the fall of 1983, and reached a high of almost 17% (16.8%) in December 1982 (not much of a “merry” Christmas that year!).

But the Michigan has improved a lot recently, thanks to a gradual economic recovery in the U.S. and around the world that has boosted car sales and resulted in some needed job growth in Michigan, which has brought the state unemployment rate down a 2-1/2 year low of 10.2% in April.

Business-to-Business Expo attracts people from all over Mid-Michigan

FLINT, Michigan — Perani Arena in Flint was the backdrop for arguably Genesee County’s biggest networking opportunity, the annual Business-to-Business Expo presented by the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses and organizations from across the region showed off their wares at the event which opened its doors to the public this year.

This event is a freeloader’s paradise, with giveaways throughout the day. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for businesspeople to connect with one another to broaden opportunities to keep local money local.

Hats off to Steve Flynn and the staff at the GRCC for another great event.

For photos of the event, visit our Flint, Michigan Facebook.