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Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

Experience Grand Rapids launches personalized travel planning website

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, recently announced the launch of its new personalized travel planning website, www.GRCityTwist.com.

The new interactive website targets 18 different interests, from “art lovers” to “thrill seekers”, allowing the visitor to customize their trip.  For example, craft beer enthusiasts can find breweries to explore, activities and nightlife related to craft beer, and accommodations for the weekend.

EXGR launched the new, mobile-friendly website on Dec. 17 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with the hospitality community, business and political leaders, and its Certified Tourism Ambassadors.

New plans for old Centennial Country Club take shape

New plans for old Centennial Country Club take shape

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A new development on the grounds of the former Centennial Country Club is about to take shape.

CD Barnes Construction will break ground on the Ridges of Cascade on December 12 at noon.  The multi-million dollar project will feature 240 high-end apartments along Charlevoix Drive.  Developers say each unit will include an attached garage.  The development will be located in the Forest Hills school district.

“This project fills a large void in the market that will appeal to a wide range of people.  Plus, it will be developed, owned and managed by West Michigan people.  We are excited to see this project finally come to fruition,” said developer Chad Cassiday, president of LaCati Group.

CD Barnes Construction is based at 3437 Eastern Ave. SE in Wyoming.

Grand Rapids gourmet store moving to Douglas

Grand Rapids gourmet store moving to Douglas

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A  gourmet food business that’s been in the Russo family for six generations is moving from My Town Grand Rapids South to the Saugatuck-Douglas area.

The owners of Carrettino Italian Market & Wine anticipate opening their new headquarters in late spring of 2014. 

"My family and I have decided to relocate our business to the Saugatuck-Douglas area because it draws the type of clientele that will support the products and services that our family has passionately developed for generations;" said John Russo. "We have always loved the area and soon we will be able to call it our home."   

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A beverage distributor’s delivery fleet is getting a little greener.

Great Lakes Wines and Spirits began using its first compressed natural gas trucks in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor this week.  The two vehicles are 20-feet long and refrigerated.  Fuel for each vehicle is approximately $2.40 per gallon, about $1.40 per gallon less than diesel.  Great Lakes Wines and Spirits says the switch will also cut the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 14 tons a year.

“These two trucks are a critical step in our effort to increase our efficiency and rein in costs at a time when all businesses are working hard to conserve energy. These trucks can help our company and Michigan pave the way to a stronger future for our economy and for the next generation,” said Syd Ross, co-owner of GLWAS.

Vote for your favorite executive 'stache

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—November is coming to an end which means the ‘staches are coming off!

Five executives from West Michigan have been growing mustaches for Movember, a month-long campaign to “change the face of men’s health” by raising awareness of health risks.   The men have been posting their progress on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Facebook page.    The final mustache photos will be posted on the Facebook page on December 2 for a public vote.  Visitors can pick their top two favorite ‘staches by “liking” the appropriate photos.  The vote runs from 11 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.  Tuesday.

This year’s participants are:

Applebee's owners to auction off memorabilia for charity

Applebee's owners to auction off memorabilia for charity

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.--- Stained glass light covers, novelty mirrors, sports memorabilia and much more will be up for bid Tuesday November 19, as the owners of the Applebee’s in Comstock Park auction off the restaurant’s furnishings.

Team Schostak Family Restaurants is selling off the restaurant’s current décor to clear the way for remodeling.  The Applebee’s located at 3851 Alpine Ave. will remain open.

The auction begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday and is expected to last several days. Bidding will run through 8 p.m. on www.repocast.com.  Proceeds from the auction will go to Family Promise, a non-profit organization committed to helping low income families achieve lasting independence.

Nearly 100 items are up for bid.  You can find the complete list with photos here.

Online voting begins for Celebration! Cinemas Celebrated Service Award

Online voting begins for Celebration! Cinemas Celebrated Service Award

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Voting is underway for the top West Michigan business that inspires the community with its service.

This is the third year for Celebration! Cinemas Celebrated Service Award.  The winner is highlighted in a promotion airing before every movie shown at Celebration’s theatres. The prize packages for the six regional winners total more than $360,000 in value, with promotions, workshops, movie watch parties and cash prizes included.

“Genuine and creative acts of service make everyone’s day better,” said JD Loeks, President of Celebration! Cinema. “Hospitality and service are part of the DNA of this region, and we want to celebrate it!  We hope to get our communities talking.  We want people to vote and share their own stories of celebrated service.”

This year’s nominees for the Grand Rapids area include:

  • Cherie Inn (My Town Grand Rapids Central)
  • D.