Twenty Years Ago
The local Addy Awards competition gave local advertising houses a chance to shine. The Addy Award winners for 1983 included Sefton Associates, best of show, for Opera Grand Rapids.
In the print category, the winners were Berkel & Co. for the National Red Cherry Institute, Paul Deur Co. for Haworth Inc., Alexander Marketing Service Inc. for Bell and Howell Automated Systems Division, Advertising Design for Universal Group, Paul Deur Co. for Inwords Inc., J.W. Messner Inc. for Community Hospital in Watervliet, Young & Friends Advertising for Mays of Michigan, Aves Advertising for Steelcase Inc., O&O Communications for Gordon Food Service, The Advertising Bureau Inc. for The Viking Corp., Dawson + Company for Office Suites Inc., Nordstrom/Cox Marketing for Clarke Inc., Maxwell Advertising Inc. for Lapekas Home Shoppes, Aves Advertising for Peoples Bank of Holland, and Johnson & Dean for General Electric Cablevision.
In the broadcast category, the winners were Johnson & Dean for Holly’s Inc., Johnson & Dean for Meijer Inc., Inwords Inc. for Corporate Color, Rogers Department Store for Rogers Department Store, Sefton Associates for Old Kent Bank, Green House Advertising and Roos-Eefsting Productions for Zondervan Corp., Newman Communications for WGRD, and J.W. Messner for Bench & Field Dog Food.
Fifteen Years Ago
- The occupancy rate for office space in downtown Grand Rapids dipped slightly in the second half of the previous year, paralleling a national trend, according to a study released by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Grand Rapids.
John Edison, BOMA’s president, said the occupancy rate as of Jan. 1 was 84 percent, 1 percent lower than the rate on July 1.
- Three minority shareholders of The Bethel Group — the Rev. William Abney, Paul Collins and Terry Weekley, all of Grand Rapids — were displeased with the sale of the group’s 12 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.
The trio said they would continue their lawsuit against the investment group’s majority shareholder, Buried Battle Sr., of Minneapolis.
- Despite contrary claims from a group of Kent County commissioners, a state health official said the Alliance for Health had not lost its authority as the area’s health planning agency. The Kent County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $44,451 to the agency for 1988 despite protests from some commissioners that the organization no longer had any formal power.
Their argument was that the agency lost authority because the federal government last year terminated its contract with the county’s 250 federally subsidized health planning review agencies.
- Republicans did a bang-up job at their state convention in Grand Rapids — nobody left without bruises.
The regular party machine held its convention upstairs in the Welsh Auditorium while the ultra-conservative newcomers, most of whom support Pat Robertson, were jammed into the Michigan Room downstairs in the Grand Center.
President George Bush won 37 delegates in the big convention and only a handful of votes went to Robertson. Jack Kemp was No. 2 in both.
Local officials figured that the convention’s infighting and discord didn’t hurt the community, however, because it injected $500,000 into the local economy. Next: the Democrats.
- Sealed Power Corp., in Muskegon, announced it had sold its former H&P Division in Richmond, Ind. The firm — which builds special service tools, gauges, jigs and fixtures for equipment manufacturers — was purchased by its general manager, George A. Peters.
- One of Grand Rapids’ most visible eyesores, Stadium Arena, was being renovated into a showpiece in order to attract additional convention and entertainment events. Robert Harley Jr., vice president and director of Showcase Companies Inc., began renovating the former ice hockey arena last September into a mixed-use facility.
The structure, opened in 1948 with a hockey rink and entertainment center, later operated as an Atlantic Mills Department Store. The store closed after 20 years and the building began deteriorating, though the space was still used occasionally for wrestling and hockey. In March it was scheduled to be the site of the annual convention of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association.
- Women’s clothing retailer L. Douglas Gantos presented a $300,000 clothing gift to Kennedy Wheatley, an executive of Farm Aid, for distribution to needy farm families throughout the country. The donation included coats, suits, dresses, sportswear, lingerie, swimwear and accessories.
- Unemployment in Grand Rapids rose to 6.2 percent in December, thanks to seasonal hiring decreases, primarily in construction and government.
All of Michigan’s 12 labor markets posted unemployment increases during the period, with the state’s seasonally adjusted rate hitting 8.3 percent, up 0.9 percent from November.
Ten Years Ago
- Donald Maine, president of Davenport College and newly installed chairman of the board of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, said a set of health care recommendations developed in 1991 would continue to be the chamber’s top priority in 1993.
“We are interested in looking at and discussing any and all areas of reducing health care costs,” Maine said. The recommendations called for increased prenatal care, advanced directives, lifestyle modifications, medical malpractice liability reform, tax credits for businesses that provide employee benefits, and establishment of a local basic-risk pool to provide greater health care access to Grand Rapids-area employees.
- A $300,000 downtown planning program called Voices & Visions, initiated two years previously, announced it would wrap up work in the spring.
The presentation was to recommend that downtown colleges and hospitals with libraries get linked via computer; that arts events and conventions should be scheduled together so downtown would fill with people each weekend; and provision for a storefront “sales office” where prospective downtown tenants could watch multimedia presentations of rentable space.
- Gentex Corp., a developer and manufacturer of auto-dimming rearview mirrors, reported record sales and net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.
Net income for the Zeeland firm’s fourth quarter was $1.9 million, or 23 cents a share. The quarter’s results were an increase of 84 percent in net sales and 97 percent in net income.
- A yearlong brouhaha between Steelcase and Los Angeles County resulted in a $300,000 fine against the Grand Rapids company, and with each side claiming victory.
The antitrust civil case grew out of allegations of vertical price-fixing among Steelcase dealers in Southern California in a conspiracy emanating from the firm’s West Hollywood Pacific Design Center.
Steelcase vigorously disputed the charges but said it made good economic sense to enter a settlement rather than continue to litigate the issue.
- The architectural firm Group Eleven of Indianapolis joined Greiner Inc. to become a branch office operated under the auspices of the Grand Rapids firm.
- In the wake of a gift of $2 million, the Grand Rapids Foundation announced establishment of the Mary I. and Robert C. Pew Donor Advised Fund, the largest fund of this sort in the foundation’s holdings.
The gift came from the Pews’ private foundation.
- Local hospital officials and business representatives estimated that anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent of health care costs for self-insured companies go — in the form of higher hospital costs — to cover the costs of Medicaid patients, which the state of Michigan under-reimbursed.
State Sen. Vernon Ehlers estimated that Medicaid paid only 78 cents on the dollar, leaving hospitals no choice but to make up the difference by over-billing insurance companies and self-insured employers such as Meijer Inc. and Amway Corp.