WMJG members Eric Justian and Amanda Shunta met with Jessica Fogel, professor of dance at University of Michigan, on Monday, May 19th to discuss a project she is working on to be performed in Muskegon, MI. Jessica is working on a dance performance called “Into the Wind” using Wind Power, specifically Offshore Wind Power, as inspiration and it will be performed at MAREC in August. After discussing with Jessica our different experiences we’ve had with the public and public perception on offshore wind, we took Jessica and fellow dancers out to Lake Michigan and through the dunes. We are looking forward to working with the U of M dancers in the upcoming months to see this vision play out and to reach a new audience in the Muskegon area. Wind power as said through dance is something you won’t want to miss!
Well it’s high time we at West Michigan Jobs Group wrangle ourselves a tour of the Novi Energy digester power plant in Fremont, Michigan. We’ve seen the presentation enough times we might be able to give it. For those who haven’t seen it, you can see the Fremont digester video here.
Last night we went to a lecture in Grand Rapids titled Business Opportunities in Renewable Energy. Nothing sucks the life out of an interesting topic like calling it a “lecture” but even still, it was pretty interesting. We got to hear about area companies excelling in the renewable energy industry and putting real folks to work:
- Burke E. Porter Machine in Grand Rapids
- Novi Energy in Novi, Michigan
- Simms Energy in Grand Rapids
- Patriot Solar in Albion, Michigan
Patriot solar was an interesting one to hear about. They’re developing a solar panel in coordination with a battery company in Muskegon. Our home town!
Anything that brings work to the area is pretty exciting. Anything that brings clean, sustainable jobs to the area is even more so.
Each time I go to one of these presentations it just hammers home the absolute fact that renewable energy is putting real people to work in good jobs right here in our home town.
WMJG hosted a cash mob benefiting Nick & Tim’s Arcade project on April 25th at the Cherokee Restaurant. Nick Leisenring and Tim Updyke have a vision for an Arcade and Drink House in the building they have purchased at 136 W. Webster Ave, Muskegon, MI, but the building is in need of some major renovations before it can be fully operational. Nick & Tim started an indiegogo.com campaign to raise money to help offset the costs, and our group decided the campaign would be a great thing to mob. We contemplated how to raise money for them and Andrew Samtoy (creator of the Cash Mob concept) suggested we have it at a bar or restaurant and not rely on solely doing it online in order not to lose the social aspect of a cash mob. Fantastic idea! But where? After calling a few local places and not having much luck of owners allowing us to use their space, Lisa Tyler, the owner of Cherokee restaurant excitedly volunteered their banquet room space for us.
The Cherokee banquet room holds about forty people and we filled it and then some! We had somewhere between 40-50 people there and we were able to raise roughly $1000 for Nick and Tim’s project. Not only did we raise money for the arcade, but nearly everyone that attended ordered food from Cherokee restaurant as well. Many of the participants of the mob stated they did not know Cherokee was open for dinner or they hadn’t been there at all which will hopefully turn into future repeat business.
Right now we are trying to decide where our TENTH Muskegon County Cash Mob will be. It will probably be in June or July and you can cast your vote on our Cash Mob Facebook page.
An April Cash Mob will be held to benefit two local entrepreneurs’ arcade project.
Muskegon is no stranger to the “Cash Mob” concept. West Michigan Jobs Group (WMJG) has organized several Cash Mobs in the Muskegon area over the last year. A cash mob is a gathering similar to a flash mob, typically organized through the use of social media, where a group of people meet at a locally owned business and each spend at least $20 in cash. The idea is to keep as much money in the local economy as possible and increase exposure to the business.
“This time we wanted to support a business that isn’t even operational yet. West Michigan Jobs Group’s goal is to support local, independent and sustainable businesses to nourish Muskegon’s economy and create more jobs,” said Amanda Shunta, vice president of West Michigan Jobs Group. “One way of doing this is by helping new businesses get off the ground.”
WHAT: Cash Mob to support proposed arcade/live music venue, Nick & Tim’s
WHEN & WHERE: April 25, 6-8 p.m. at Cherokee Restaurant—1971 Sherman Blvd, Muskegon
WHY: Entrepreneurs Nick Leisenring and Tim Updyke have purchased the building at 136 W. Webster Ave in downtown Muskegon, with a vision for a distinguished arcade and drink house offering a unique combination of retro gaming and modern technology in a casual environment. In addition to the arcade, live entertainment ranging from local and regional bands to comedians will also be a focus of this endeavor. Leisenring and Updyke started an online crowd sourcing campaign on the site indiegogo.com and have been seeking donations through social media to help offset the cost of the massive renovations needed for the building. The cash mob will further help them to reach their goal of $250,000.
“We knew it was a high goal when we set it, but we have seen amazing things happen from crowd sourcing sites and thought it was worth doing,” said Updyke.
The cash mob will take place in the banquet room in the Cherokee restaurant where there will be board games available for all ages to enjoy. Donors to the Nick & Tim’s project will receive a “perk” based on the level of their contribution.
In addition to the fundraiser, participants are encouraged to purchase food and drinks to support locally owned Cherokee as well. If you are unable to attend the cash mob but would still like to donate, visit www.indiegogo.com and search for Nick and Tim’s. Questions relating to the project can call Tim Updyke at 231-215-3242 or email email@example.com. Any questions about the cash mob please contact Amanda Shunta at firstname.lastname@example.org.