Archived Story

Michael Bennett: A pleasant end to the day

Published 10:33pm Wednesday, April 11, 2012

By the end of day on Tuesday, I was one baked publisher.

Around 4:45 p.m., I slowly walked back to the office after finishing meeting No. 9 of the day — the monthly board meeting of the Four Flags Chamber of Commerce. When I say baked, I mean burnt toast. Some of those meetings Tuesday were very difficult.

And then, just before 5 p.m., a burst of giddy energy flew into my office in the form of Lisa Croteau from Niles DDA and Carri Harrington of 1st Source Bank; Carri is the Niles economic restructuring chairwoman. The health inspector had just provided the first certification needed to allow the cooking to begin at the business incubator on the second floor of the Leader building on the 200 block of North Fourth Street.

Long-time residents will remember that space as the exclusive Pickwick Club. We are discussing a special community event to showcase the recently renovated facility. We will let you know more about that as it develops.

The concept of the incubator is to help train people and let them get an idea of how to run a small business without having to personally invest in a commercial kitchen. Classes have been under way since March 19. Niles and our region are fortunate to have this facility, which is one of fewer than 20 of its type in the entire country.

Within two weeks handpicked, talented chefs will be the guinea pigs for this project. Lisa tells me they have 17 people lined up to rent kitchen time for the growing cottage industry of tasty food products.  I hope to be asked to do some taste-testing in the near future.

Exposing Greatness Business Expo

If you haven’t heard, the third annual Exposing Greatness Business Expo for the greater Niles and Buchanan area will begin at 4 p.m. May 9 at Lake Michigan College at Bertrand Crossing.

I’ll be providing a pre-expo seminar about marketing. This is a not-to-be-missed event featuring the wares of 60 local businesses with plenty of free samples of the finest area cuisines.

We are looking for photographs that exemplify greatness in our area. Think teachers, volunteers, students, athletes, artists, business leaders, government leaders and other people that help to make our area great. Enter your shots by going to the contest link on our websites or on our Facebook fan pages.

The Expo is giving away $100 to the photograph that receives the most votes from you.

And then we have the Dogwood Festival in Dowagiac beginning on May 11, my first time to be able to experience this event.  What a great time to live in our region.

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