Standale Lumber- 60 Years of Devoted Service

Standale Lucelebrates 60 yearsmber and Supply was founded on March 1, 1952 by Ken Holtvluwer and John Koppenol.  In just 2 short years, Ken had tripled the business and so he bought out his partner John’s share of the company, becoming the sole proprietor. It was Ken’s vision, determination, and faith that has kept Standale Lumber going ever since.

 Overcoming adversities

The lumber company has had to overcome adversity on several occasions. On April 3, 1956 a tornado destroyed the buildings, and surprisingly it happened again on Palm Sunday in 1965.  In the 1970’s, one building was lost to a fire and another building had a roof collapse due to heavy snowfall.  Also in the 1970’s, the first chain lumber yard –Wickes Lumber- came to the area, causing many local lumber yards to close.  In the 1980’s, Standale Lumber overcame the housing market challenges when the interest rates jumped and housing construction stalled.  In recent years, they have overcome the housing market collapse and the rise in big box home improvement stores popping up all around the area.

Exponential growth

Despite a tumultuous history, Standale Lumber has grown exponentially and now embodies 3 locations.  Standale Lumber Contractor’s Division is located on Franklin Ave. in Grandville, and both Standale Lumber Home Center and Standale Interiors are located on Lake Michigan Drive in Grand Rapids.  The Standale Lumber group has everything you need from “concept to completion”. Their primary focus is on being extremely customer-centric, going above and beyond for their customers, and making sure each customer is 100% satisfied with their experience. The average employee has 14 years experience, so you can be assured you’ll be speaking with a friendly and knowledgeable professional.   Locally, the Standale Lumber group services the Greater Grand Rapids area and all of West Michigan. What sets them apart from the big box stores is not only their professionalism and customer service, but the fact that they will gladly deliver anywhere within the state and even neighboring states.

Over the years, many obstacles were overcome, and many lessons were learned.  Join us in congratulating the Standale Lumber group team on their 60th anniversary and in celebrating 60 years of devoted service!

S.S. Badger, Lake Michigan Car Ferry

celebrates 60 yearsThis season marks the 60th Anniversary of the S.S. Badger! Celebrate this milestone and experience a piece of history by taking a ride on the S.S. Badger.  It is the largest car ferry to ever sail in Lake Michigan and is the only coal-fired steamship remaining in operation in the U.S. today.  Built in 1952, it began service on March 21, 1953 and was nicknamed the “Queen of the Lakes” because of its superior services. The “Badger” operated year round carrying primarily railroad freight cars until 1990, which is when the steamship docked in Ludington for what was thought to be the last time.

Remarkably, in 1991 the late Charles Conrad purchased the S.S. Badger.  He successfully reinvented the steamship to carry leisure passengers and their vehicles.  Amenities include: private guest staterooms, a museum, a gift shop, several lounge areas for relaxing; two dining options- the Upper Deck Café which is buffet style, and Badger Galley which offers deli-style snacks; two bars- the Upper Deck and the Port Side serving up cold drinks; and a couple of children areas which include a video arcade, and the KidsPort Play Area.

S.S. Badger accolades include:

  • 1996 National Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • 1997 Registered Historic Site by both the Michigan and Wisconsin Historical Commission
  • 1997 Michigan Centennial Business by the Historical Society of Michigan
  • 2002 Ship of the Year by the Steamship Historical Society of America
  • 2009 National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior

The S.S. Badger now sails daily from May to October, between the ports of Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan.  The trip is 60 miles each way and takes approximately 4 hours. It has a capacity of up to 600 passengers and 180 vehicles.

The S.S. Badger offers travelers unique packages, which include the annual Shoreline Cruises for dining and sightseeing, and the Badger B&B, which is a unique autumn opportunity for travelers to stay overnight on the ship.  For more information please visit their website:

Vail Veterans Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

VailVeteransProgramThe Vail Veterans Program, founded by Cheryl Jenson and Major David Rozelle, is a unique rehabilitation program that has been proudly serving injured Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families since 2004. The program pairs experienced ski or snowboard instructors with a veteran.  The instructors assist in modifying the equipment to fit each participants specific needs,  educate them how to use the equipment, and finally teach them how to ski or snowboard using the adaptive equipment.

The program initially started as a one-time event, but due to the overwhelming success, has grown to a semi-annual event.  Vail Veterans has assisted over 1,000 Wounded Warriors, many of whom come for the outdoor recreational therapy directly from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, and the Naval Medical Center.

Funded by sponsors, the Vail Veterans Program is free of charge for participants and their families.  The program serves as a source of healing for veterans and their families.  It is a chance to spend quality time with loved ones, as well as to socialize and connect with other veterans.  For the veterans and instructors alike, the program is more than just a ski vacation, it is often life changing. Ski instructor and 7 year program volunteer, Josh Perkins (pictured above left) states that everyone involved is positively affected and everyone gets something different out of it.   For some, participating in the outdoor recreational activities restores hope, builds self esteem and boosts confidence.  For others, the program helps participants feel better about their future, and opens their minds to the possibilities that await them.

VailVeteransProgram2The Vail Veterans Program hosts several events throughout the year. There are two annual winter programs, one in January and the other in March, which teach adaptive skiing and snowboarding techniques.  There is also an annual summer program in July which allows participants to choose from several activities including whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fly fishing, golfing, mountain biking, and zip lining.

Although this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Vail Veterans program, there are no big celebration plans.  The program is simply about sharing, and giving back to the veterans.  The ski instructors participating in the program did pitch in and purchase a pink firefighters helmet for the group’s founder Cheryl. The helmet is something she’s wanted, and the instructors had it personalized with her name and the #10 signifying the 10th anniversary of the program.

If you would like more information on the Vail Veterans Program, would like to become a program sponsor, or make a donation please visit their website at

Join us in congratulating the Vail Veterans Program on their 10th anniversary!

MomsBloom 5th Anniversary

MomsBloom promotes an extended family environment for today’s new moms. Sara Binkley-Tow, Angie Walters, and Alice Christensen founded MomsBloom 5 years ago. MomsBloom is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping parents of newborns in Grand Rapids and the surrounding communities. They assist approximately 250 families each year, free of charge. MomsBloom interviews, checks, recruits and trains volunteers. The volunteers are then matched with a family who needs assistance.  MomsBloom 5th Anniversary Flier with Balloons

The Flourishing Families program from MomsBloom provides support for new moms in three important ways. First, volunteers assist weekly with household tasks. Secondly, the program provides a way to connect with other parents. Lastly, access to education and resources is available to assist parents in raising their child. The Flourishing Families program is a support system from the very beginning and promotes a sense of community among new mothers.

The Cameron’s Garden program from MomsBloom gives support for families who are grieving the loss of their baby. This program provides a safe and understanding environment for parents during this very difficult time. Whether it’s by simply listening and providing a shoulder to cry on, or by reaching out and offering assistance, Cameron’s Garden is there to help parents begin the healing process.

MomsBloom wants to assist dads, too. The DadsGrow program is still being developed and the goal is to support new dads and provide a place they could turn to if needed.

MomsBloom is celebrating their 5th anniversary, BloomBash, at the Paul App
Gallery located at 910 Cherry St SE in Grand Rapids, Michigan. BloomBash is a celebration of accomplishments, and to give thanks and honor everyone who has helped to allow MomsBloom to continue to make a positive change in the community. Festivities will include entertainment, a silent auction, as well as food and drinks. BloomBash will take place on Thursday, March 7,
2013 from 6:30 -8:30 pm and tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple.

Happy 5th Anniversary to MomsBloom!

Steamboat Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Ready to Ski at Steamboat
Beverly Mapes with ski buddies Vicki Ven Huizen, and Kathy Weber from the Greater Grand Rapids Ski Club

One of the largest business anniversary celebrations we’ve seen occurred this year at Steamboat, also known as Ski Town USA and the home of Champagne Powder. Although yours truly didn’t make the January 12 to 21 celebration dates, my ski buddies from the Greater Grand Rapids Ski Club and I made it to the after party last week as shown in the photo.

Crew from Steamboat Today TV
The crew from Steamboat Today, Local TV18

We also got to chat with the nice folks at Steamboat Today, who put on a very informative morning show on TV 18, shown in the other photo.

Promotions Galore

This post would be miles long if it listed all of Steamboat’s promotions for their big celebration, so here is a shortened summary:

  • An ESB beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch and labeled with a custom Steamboat 50th Anniversary tap at participating bars. Note: we did not see this at their outdoor “ice bar,” but the bar was sure cool.
  • A new cocktail called “Golden Antler” made with Barenjager Honey Bourbon, peach schnapps, orange juice, and ginger ale. I don’t remember anything after trying this!
  • Their official celebration (which we missed)
    • Live music from the Yampa Valley Boys
    • 50th Anniversary merchandise tent
    • A time capsule opening from their from their 25th anniversary
    • Several Bud Light free concerts featuring area bands
    • A Texas sized birthday cake: 3 layers, 700 lbs, 30” deep by 80” long by 3’ tall – use your imagination!!
    • Lighting of the 50th Anniversary Cauldron
    • Torchlight Parade (Vogue, See Me, Lower Valley View runs)
    • Fireworks synched to music – the largest display in resorts history
    • Prizes hidden in gondola cars
    • 39th Annual cowboy downhill
  • Many, many prizes, including
    • Steamboat ski vacation for 4
    • Heli ski trip for 2
    • 4 monthly prizes: Rossignol skis and bindings, Burton Snowboard, Steamboat summer vacation for 2, Rossignol skis and bindings
    • 50 days and 50 daily prizes including lift tickets, ski and cowboy apparel, sleigh ride dinners, and massages
  • On site improvements
    • new Bison Groomer
    • expanded and upgraded snow making capabilities
    • new 4-stroke energy efficient snowmobiles
    • foot rests and restraining bars on Morrningside chairlift (thank you, thank you!)
    • new chairs with foot rests for the 4 Points chairlift
    • ski rental inventory revamp
    • facility enhancements at the Steamboat Grand, Thunderhead, and Rendezvouz

Steamboat’s History

Steamboat was founded by Jim Temple and John Fetcher, local ranchers with a love of skiing. The town reflects this today, with its shops touting both ski and ranch sundries, apparel and supplies.

Scouting began in 1955, when Temple enlisted some of his best skiers to determine the best routes down the mountain. After much planning and work, the ski area officially opened Jan 12, 1963 with Storm Mountain Express, a double lift with an A-frame warming hut. Revenue on their opening day was a whopping $13.75 which may not have been that bad since the temperature was 25 degrees below zero.

Today Steamboat encompasses 2,965 acres, with 165 runs and 23 lifts. Not sure on their daily revenue today, but a local saying is that if you want to make a million in Steamboat, come there with 2 million.

A Michigan Recommendation

Steamboat is definitely the place to go for powder, at least it was on our ski trip. Many of us from Michigan also like groomed corduroy runs to take a break from learning how to ski on the powder. Although grooming there is top notch, it is only done at night. When it snows all day, it means powder all day, on every slope. So for your next anniversary Steamboat – or even before then – why not groom some runs during the day for us “sissy” corduroy skiers?

Join us in congratulating Steamboat on their 50th anniversary!

West Michigan Whitecaps celebrate 20 seasons this year!

From post-game fireworks shows to meet20 Years and greet and autograph events with the Detroit Tigers, the West Michigan Whitecaps have lined up a year filled with promotions to celebrate their 20 seasons of success.

The West Michigan Whitecaps are co-owned by local businessmen Lew Chamberlin of Grand Rapids and Dennis Baxter of Muskegon.  After 10 years of planning, the opening season was in 1994. The Whitecaps are a minor league baseball team that plays in the Eastern Division of the Midwest League.  They are a Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The Whitecaps play 70 home games and 70 road games each season. This year they are playing under a new manager, Larry Parrish, who is a former manager of the Detroit Tigers and Toledo Mud Hens.

The Whitecaps have made it to the playoffs 13 times in 19 seasons. They’ve won Division Titles and League Championships in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, and 2007.

The 2013 schedule has just been released.  Opening day is April 4 with a double header game on April 5 which coincides with the Detroit Tigers opening day.  Whitecaps fans are invited to stay after the game to watch the Tigers play on the big screen.

The 2013 anniversary season includes weekly promotions.

  • Sundays are Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day. The first 1,000 kids eat free! There will be special activities for kids as well as opportunities for autographs.
  • Mondays are JQ99 All Faiths Night. All Whitecap fans will receive half off admission by showing a worship newsletter.
  • Tuesdays are Silver Slugger Night.  All Whitecap fans over 50 years young will receive half-off admission
  • Thursdays are Altogas Thrifty Thursdays. Come and enjoy various $2 food and drink specials. Also, every Thursday is College Night. All Whitecap fans that show a college or military ID will get a reserved seat for only $5.
  • Fridays are Tiger Fridays. Starting June 14, former Detroit Tigers come to Fifth Third Ballpark to meet fans and sign autographs. Every Tiger Friday includes a free giveaway to the first 1,000 fans in attendance.

The team’s 20th anniversary will be celebrated throughout the season with 20 post-game fireworks shows.  Fireworks will be on Wednesdays starting on June 5th and Saturdays starting May 18th.

Happy 20th Anniversary to the West Michigan Whitecaps!

Happy 5th Anniversary to HopCat Brewery!

HopCat was born in 2008 and created entirely around one vision- to bring you great beer. Owners Mark and Michele Sellers have done just that. HopCat specializes in Michigan brews, but they also offer a wide range of regional craft brew, global beer, and a large Belgian election. Don’t forget to try the seasonal selections while you can.

HopCat’s owners, staff, and patrons certainly have reason to celebrate. During these first 5 years, HopCat Brewery has earned some pretty amazing accolades. These include being named the 2nd best beer bar in America by and being rated the 3rd best beer bar in the world by BeerAdvocate magazine. Locally, readers of the Grand Rapids Magazine have consistently selected HopCat as the city’s best bar.

HopCat celebrated its anniversary last month with the release of a limited edition 22-ounce bottle of Oil Rigger Russian Imperial Stout. Other festivities included food and drink specials, and a crack fries eating contest which is HopCat’s house blend seasoned beer battered fries.

Check out HopCat Brewery in downtown Grand Rapids located at 25 Ionia, opening soon in East Lansing, or catch them participating in the Winter Beer Festival on February 23, 2013 at Fifth Third Ballpark.

Little Mary’s Hospitality House – 30 Years of Compassion and Sunshine

Lodge and Play Area at Little Mary's Hospitality House
Lodge and Play Area at Little Mary’s Hospitality House

A 30th Anniversary Dinner and Silent Auction marked the 30th birthday of Little Mary’s Hospitality House, held at the Norman Township Community Center in Wellston, Michigan on July 28, 2012. According to Maureen Fischer, co-founder and Secretary of the charity, “We had a great fundraiser.  Full house.  Off-the-charts prime rib dinner. Great silent auction.”

While for-profit businesses often celebrate anniversaries to bring in extra business, it is important to realize that not-for-profit businesses also can take advantage of an anniversary by promoting it at an event such as the dinner by Little Mary’s.  This year they used a variety of fund raising efforts for their celebration:

  • Announcement in their newsletter, with a Save the Date blurb
  • Mailing to donor list announcing the event; included tickets to purchase and to sell to others
  • Sold tickets for the event at the door
  • Held a Grand Raffle for numerous large prizes, with advance and on-site ticket sales
  • Held a Silent Auction with numerous items, both large and small, for attendees to bid on, hopefully taking home a few
  • Advertised the event through media blitzes in area newspapers and via radio. This provided  expanded visibility and name recognition as well as more attendees to the event

Star Lake in Wellston, MI
Little Mary’s Hospitality House is located on the shores of Star Lake in Wellston, MI

Christian-based Little Mary’s Hospitality House provides a free, year round vacation retreat for families who have children with catastrophic, debilitating, life threatening or terminal illnesses.  The 501c3 non-profit organization was established in memory of three year old Mary Catherine Fischer who died of a terminal brain tumor in 1982. Although it is shady along the near-private lake and 6-apartment vacation retreat, the sun never ceases to shine there; new families are welcomed weekly with love, compassion, and determination to give them a relaxing respite from their daily life.