Category Archives: Economy

“On the Map” visits Alma to explore Padnos, a manufacturer in the recycling industry

Padnos signThe family owned business has been recycling materials for four generations.

Padnos settled/ opening in Holland, Michigan in 1905. The family originally went to farms and sawmills trading goods for iron. Then they shipped the iron to large cities for manufacturers to use.

The company has grown. In the last century expanded to 20 locations throughout Michigan. It employs 500 people statewide.
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Bay County, Michigan recognized as logistics leader

6fd362441e6d6c96fc8a48c52604e26bBay County was ranked ninth nationally when it came to logistics — that’s the industry responsible for transporting goods, either by air, road, train or sea.

Trevor Keyes is the Vice President of Economic Development for Bay Future.

He said things like MBS International Airport and the Saginaw River helped Bay County land on the list.

“I think we’ve always known locally that we have shipping channels and logistics channels that work well with business but to be recognized nationally is one of those really special things. We’re so glad that these facilities made the designation for us.”

Keyes said the county hopes to dredge the Saginaw River in the near future, so large ocean-going ships can traverse the waterway, further increasing its logistics capacity.

The rankings come from Business Facilities magazine. It also named Memphis, Tennessee and Houston, Texas as leaders in logistics.

Michigan Manufacturing Koegel’s

Koegel’s has been around since Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States. A time where you could enjoy a hotdog at a baseball game, but not a cold beer, liquor was illegal. 100 years later Koegel’s is still making hotdogs, and thriving. Desiree Jordan visits the company for our On the Map tour this week, on Michigan manufacturing.

“machines going”

Koegel’s is a meat manufacturing company that produces 45,000 pounds of product everyday.

“We do ring bologna, we do polish sausage, brockwurst, we have a summer sausage,
John Koegel is company President and grandson to the founder Albert Koegel.
we do some braunschweiger, we do slice lunch and meat, sliced bologna, olive loaf, a pickled loaf, macaroni and cheese loaf, so we have about 64 different items that can be in a store. And it’s all processed right here in this facility. ”

If you believe the old adage, you don’t want to see how the sausage is made, but for John Koegel it was a way of life. He said he’s worked at the family business since he was 12-years old.

“I have been head of our company since probably 1993. Idk I would have to look it’s been so long. We are celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, I’m third generation. Our official day is September 14th, that’s the official day my grandfather incorporated here in Flint.”

Even though Koegel’s is a small company over the years it has expanded, in part, by partnering with Meijer.

“We have about approximately 100 workers that’s including management and sales, sanitation, and crew. If they make it a year, and once all the benefits kick in they usually stay with us for quite some time. We are mainly just in Michigan. We service Michigan off of our own trucks, so we have 12 trucks on the road on a daily basis. We are in Ohio but on with Meijer, Indiana, Kentucky and that’s about it. ”

Serving four states doesn’t leave room for slack. The production line is fully up and running when most of us are just wiping the sleep from our eyes.

“We are up and running 100 percent by 6:30. Back in our kitchen we kind of stagger start because we have to start grinding and chopping so those people start at 5:15.”

Koegel’s has a logical layout to it’s production line.

“So the plant is a true east to west flow. So Bishop airport is right there and it’s just a straight line. So all the raw materials come in here at the east end of our building. Just make their way through the kitchen, cooking, cooling, packaging, shipping, right out the other end. So right on the west end, straight through.”

It all starts with purchasing…

“Our meat we buy everything fresh. We buy of course beef and pork, we check it here for weight, temperature, smell, look, and then we bring it in.”

While on the subject of buying cows, bulls, and pork jaws, Koegel told me the secret to making one of America’s most famous recipes, next to apple pie.

“Now the trick to making a good hot dog is to take the lean meat, so here we’ve taken the bull and the cow and blended it together. We’ve added salt, cure, and water. And we’re extracting the protein from this. So we take the fat and capsulate the fat in a nice protein bond, the people bite the nice texture through the protein, but then we all know the flavor is in the fat, so you get the nice release of flavor in the fat. And that the secret to making a hot dog.”

After the various products are made they are sent to the smokehouses to be cooked and cooled.

“Once we get the product smoked, the coloration like we like it, and the temperature where we want it, we then come down and put it into steam boxes. We steam the product, what it does because we just went through the cooking process we took a lot of moisture of the outside, so we’re pumping the moisture back in. And the steam tenderizes the natural casing, so it tenderizes it. This is the critical control point. So have to check every temperature, and next we start the cooling process.”

The hotdogs are then sent to packaging and shipped out. After the tour of the facility, I talked to Koegel about how it felt to take over the reins at the company. He said not a lot of companies have lasted as long as this one.

“It’s an honor to be guiding a company that has been around that long. To have a product that is still the same as it was a hundred years ago, we’re still making the exact same way my grandfather you know developed it, when he built the business and started the business. So to me not a lot of companies can do that. So I feel really fortunate they allowed to come in and take over.”

Koegel said he hopes the company continues to thrive for the next hundred years and remains in the family.

“I think we are just proud of the whole bundle that we’ve made 100 years, and still going strong, and maybe the chance to go another 25 to 30 or 100 years. Ultimately if I can pass it on to the fourth generation that would be success for me.”

Koegel said it will be interesting to see where his company will go in the coming years. Koegel’s opened its doors in 1916 and doesn’t plan on shutting them any time soon. With 100 employees making hotdogs for four states, Koegel’s has put Flint Michigan on the map.

Traverse City farmer says cherry dumping gives market to imports

IMG_5515A small cherry farmer in Northern Michigan is at odds with market regulations because he says they force him to dump as much as 40-thousand pounds of tart cherries and allow for international cherry producers to slowly take over the market.

But regulators say the rules are an important part of keeping cherry prices stable – and allowing growers to earn a livable income.

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For the first time, bottled water is expected to outsell soft drinks this year

An increase in buyer awareness, and concerns of water contamination – most notably in Flint – are said to have contributed to an uptick in bottled water sales.

For the first time, bottled water is expected to outsell soft drinks this year. Continue reading

Cloverland Electric customers could soon see repayments amounting to millions of dollars


Cloverland Electric customers in the UP could receive refunds totalling millions of dollars from a power plant in Marquette.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been looking into allegations the Presque Isle Power Plant over- charged customers. Continue reading

Seniors with Blue Cross Blue Shield Medigap insurance can expect a rate increase next year


A five-year freeze on Blue Cross Blue Shield Legacy Medigap rates will expire at the end of the year.

Starting in January, Medigap insurance holders could see increases ranging from 48 dollars to 177 dollars per month – depending on individual circumstances. Continue reading

Disclosures reveal private wealth is being funneled into congressional races

THREE 100 DOLLAR ROLLSDisclosures released last week reveal congressional candidates in two primary races have spent a combined one million dollars of personal wealth on their campaigns just last quarter.

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Northern Michigan businesses search for seasonal employment

Photograph (may or may not be digitally edited)

Photograph (may or may not be digitally edited)

Some northern Michigan businesses are having trouble finding enough workers during the busy summer tourism season.

Even in July, many tourism related businesses are still searching for seasonal employees. And part of the problem may be that fewer young people are staying in northern Michigan over the summer.

Jane Butzier is the operations manager for Northwest Michigan Works. She said it’s a year-round problem, but is heightened during summer.

“There is all the tourism and seasonal employment. So that requires probably more of a younger workforce. The young families and the people who are trying to make this their home, and have families here, need more typically than seasonal employment. So again it’s tapping that younger workforce that we don’t have much of.”

Butzier said she’s been seeing problems like this, especially during the summer, for the last three years.

State plans trade mission; hopes to boost exports to China

Arnhem Market Sep 20 2013 (23)Michigan and China have a larger trading relationship than many consumers know. In the past decade, Michigan exports to China have grown by over 200 percent… and the state wants to see that number increase even more.

Officials with the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said, Chinese consumers like Michigan dairy products and cherries, and they hope to introduce more Michigan products to Chinese distributors.

Jamie Zmitko-Somers is the International Marketing Program Manager for the department. She said the trade mission aims to represent all Michigan companies.

“This would be for any Michigan companies looking to further their exports into the Chinese market or break into the China market for the first time. So it could be smaller companies or larger companies as well.”

Zmitko-Somers said, the trade mission is planned for this upcoming November. Companies interested in participating can find a link to the application at