Great Lakes Bay Construction helps bring Costco, Jersey Mike’s to fruition

By Matt DeVries

Yes, Costco is coming to Midland. Everybody is excited! Ever since word started to spread last year that something big was coming to the vacant site across from Valley Lanes, anticipation has grown to a point where now pop-up tents are springing up all over town as locals get a jump on their memberships.

But nobody is probably more excited than the folks at Great Lakes Bay Construction. GLBC is the trades lead on the construction of the structure, or handling the build-out on the inside of the warehouse. Jackson Dean Construction out of Tukwila, Wash., serves as the general contractor for the project as they’re one of a few different companies Costco builds their wholesale stores with.

“We work a lot with national franchises,” GLBC president Shawn Pnacek said. “With most of our work happening outside the area, we’ve made a conscious effort to take on more projects in the region to try and refocus our work where we live.”

Costco is the third-largest retailer in the United States behind only Amazon and Wal-Mart, according to the National Retail Federation. But is Midland getting a Costco really that big of a coup? Considering there are only 785 locations worldwide with just 15 in Michigan and the closest currently being Lansing or Auburn Hills, it’s actually a very big deal.

Courtesy photo: Great Lakes Bay Construction

GLBC, with offices located on Eastman near Midland City Forest, has been around since 2012. As a general contractor and design-build firm that is licensed in the State of Michigan, their focus has always been on investing in customer relationships.

“We’re always looking for more local work,” Pnacek said. “We’re open to any commercial project, quick-serve, whatever it may be. We like to go from planning, to occupancy and beyond.”

A perfect example of that is the new Jersey Mike’s location that began serving submarine sandwiches last week. GLBC led the entire remodel of the old Dawn Donuts & Dunkin Donuts Baskin Robbins building. It was the first build that GLBC has done with the New Jersey-based national chain with over 1,500 locations.

From the sounds of it, this is just the beginning of what could be a long and bountiful relationship between them.

“They were impressed with our commitment to the project,” Pnacek said. “Because of the work we did with the Midland location, they’ve allowed us to bid on 22 other remodels that they have planned in Michigan and Ohio.”

The flood this summer brought unimaginable devastation to the region. Homes were damaged, families were displaced and businesses were forced to close and in some cases rebuild. With the dam failures, many businesses in Sanford had to temporarily close their doors while they reevaluated the necessary paths forward.

Auto Value Auto Parts in Sanford (pictured below, left to right) is one of many area establishments that has been able to bounce back relatively quickly with the help of GLBC. The same goes for the Westwood Village Condos in Midland that are located on Main Street near the Sugnet intersection.

“Great Lakes Bay Construction is very community-focused,” Pnacek said. “We are excited to be working with Jenifer Acosta to bring these condos back online here in Midland.”

GLBC projects in the region include:

Current: Dollar General in Clio – Ground-up construction
Current: Vascular Health Clinic – Office build-out in downtown Midland
Current: Menards in Saginaw – Gate canopy addition
2020: Group-up design-build construction of 53,000 square foot office space/warehouse facility in Midland
2020: Tim Horton’s in Bay City & Midland – Remodel the front-of-house of
2020: Northwood Strosacker Library – Renovation
2020: SYM Financial Advisors – Interior renovations
2019: Vascular Health Clinic in Saginaw – Ground-up construction
2019: Camp Fish Tales – New bunkhouse
2019: Midland Animal Clinic – Interior renovations
2019: Midland County Emergency Food Pantry – New office build-out
2018: United Way of Midland County – Build-out of new building in downtown Midland
2017: Domino’s in Bay City & Midland – Interior build-out
2016: Mattress Firm and Noodles & Company in Midland – Ground-up construction
2016: Green Acres of Mt. Pleasant – Ground-up construction
2015: Real Seafood in Bay City – Trade work
2014: Story Point Senior Living Community – Trade work on the expansion project


Midland Business Alliance Announces Staff Updates

The Midland Business Alliance (MBA) is pleased to announce multiple staff updates, including promotions, job title changes and hiring.

DeVries Hired as Marketing Specialist
The MBA hired Matt DeVries as a Marketing Specialist where he will work on social media, website development, multimedia projects and more. DeVries comes to the MBA after more than seven years at the Great Lakes Loons, most recently working as Assistant General Manager of Marketing & Communications. He is also actively involved in the community, volunteering with Family and Children’s Services of Mid-Michigan, the United Way of Midland County and Energize Bay Area Young Professionals Network.

Quinlan Named Permanent Executive Director of MiTCON
Tracy Quinlan was named as permanent Executive Director for MiTCON after serving as Interim Executive Director since earlier in the year. Quinlan previously served as Director of Economic and Business Development for the MBA.

MiTCON is a consortium-based IT service provider primarily serving nonprofit organizations and a nonprofit wholly owned subsidiary of the MBA.

Bruzewski Promoted to Vice President
Jenny Bruzewski was promoted to Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the MBA, continuing to serve on the MBA’s leadership team. She has been working in marketing at the MBA since 2017 where she has led the branding efforts of the organization’s consolidation into one organization.





Updated Job Titles for Farley, Lynch and Lyons
Lastly, the following MBA staff members have updated job titles:

  • Melissa Farley, Director of Events
  • Tina Lynch, Director, Economic & Workforce Development
  • Emily Lyons is now the Director of Innovation & Small Business in addition to continuing her role as the Midland Area Farmers Market Manager

“All of these staff updates will allow the MBA to be better aligned to operate more effectively,” said Tony Stamas, MBA President and CEO. “Everyone on our team is working hard to serve Midland’s business community and these changes reflect that.”





A Quick Un-Pack of Executive Order 2020—160

The Midland Business Alliance continues to help our members stay on top of Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders related to COVID-19. We believe a little extra attention is in order for Executive Order 2020—160, issued last Wednesday, July 29th.

In a nutshell, the Executive Order sets the maximum number of people for indoor gatherings, for the entire state, at 10.

You may recall that Regions 6 (northern lower peninsula) and 8 (upper peninsula) of the state, as shown on page 3 of the Governor’s MI Safe Start Plan, were moved to Phase 5 on June 10th. Phase 5 allows for indoor gatherings of up to 50 people, and gives the green light for movie theaters, gyms, and salons to open. Under Phase 5, most outdoor gatherings are capped at 250.

While the Governor moved Regions 6 and 8 to Phase 5, the rest of the state was kept in Phase 4, which has much lower caps for gatherings. However, the widespread expectation—and this is where the current confusion has stemmed from—was that the rest of the state would all advance to Phase 5 by July 4th. That did not happen, and still has not happened.

Midland is located in Region 4. We have been, and still are, capped at 10 people for indoor gatherings, and 100 for outdoor gatherings (Regions 6 and 8 retained their 250 cap for outdoors). It is important to note that the cap applies to “organized gatherings,” and not “chance gatherings,” which is what happens when, for example, you go to the grocery store and clearly see many more than 10 people indoors. Additionally, restaurants have their own, separate limitations.

Another important excerpt from this Executive Order needs your attention, as well. On page 3 of the Executive Order, item number one states “ …Any work that is capable of being performed remotely (i.e., without the worker leaving his or her home or place of residence) must be performed remotely.” This is an important deviation from a previous Executive Order, which stated that work should be performed remotely. Based on our conversations with other business organizations, we have interpreted this change in wording as a very important distinction.

On a related note, earlier this week, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2020—08, which is designed to increase enforcement of the Executive Orders she has issued relative to COVID-19. The Directive was drafted in such a way that will even allow officials to consider potential violations as they determine eligibility for licensing.

We will continue keeping you informed of all public policy decisions stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. And, you can visit our website at anytime to access the many resources we have available to businesses as they re-open.


Midland Business Alliance Supports Midland County Millage Renewals in August 4 Election

The Midland Business Alliance (MBA) approved support of the county-wide millage requests presented to Midland County voters during the election on August 4, including mosquito control, Road Commission, Midland County Central Dispatch (9-1-1), and County Connection.

“The business community in Midland benefits both directly and indirectly from the public services provided by the four county-wide milllage renewals, including 911, mosquito control, roads, and County Connection,” said Tony Stamas, MBA President and CEO. “But, these services also enhance the quality of life for residents, and are a few of the many amenities that make Midland a great place to work and live. The proposals are simply renewals; not an increase. We encourage voters to vote yes on all four millages.”

The MBA works as the voice of Midland’s businesses, advocating on behalf of 3,000 businesses on issues related to business, and supports sound governing policies; therefore the MBA’s Business Advocacy Council and then MBA Board of Directors supports these millages because of these main reasons:

  • Midland County Central Dispatch (9-1-1) provides the only primary emergency services answering point for all of Midland County, with an annual call volume of approximately 83,000, or one call per resident of Midland County, proving its essential nature in our community.
  • Midland County Central Dispatch (9-1-1), as a separate authority from Midland County, is funded by millage, technical surcharge, and training.
  • The County’s two road millages, each 1.0 mills and renewed in alternating even years, are designed to aid the City of Midland, City of Coleman, Village of Sanford, and the Midland County Road Commission in helping to maintain and improve existing roads and bridges, culverts, drainage systems, and signs and signals.
  • The Midland County Road Commission has played a critical role in restoring the safety and transportation systems to the residents and businesses of Midland County following the dam failure of May 2020, requiring the Road Commission to quickly and completely pivot its staff and resources, and re-prioritize its 2020 work plan.

Finish Line for Revamped State Budget is Within Sight

As we reported last week, the state Legislature and Governor Whitmer’s administration have been negotiating to address the $2.2 billion deficit in the state’s current year budget. On Wednesday, a solution was all but finalized when the Legislature approved both HB 5265 and SB 0373 and signed off on Executive Order 2020—155. The next step is the Governor’s signature on the legislation.

Taken altogether, the Executive Order and the two bills referenced above, along with a handful of appropriate adjustments, fills the huge funding gap. All totaled, the measures utilize make use of $1.3 billion in federal funding, nearly a half a million in cuts, and a $350 million withdrawal from the state’s rainy day fund.

The $1.3 million in federal funding was used to backfill funding cuts and provide funding for the Michigan State Police, per pupil funding for K—12 schools, state universities, Medicaid, General Fund spending, revenue sharing to cities, and community colleges.

The rest of the strategy includes a complicated combination of budget adjustments (i.e., from one fund to another), a pause on some state work projects, savings from temporary layoffs, hiring freezes, discretionary spending freezes, cuts to specific programs (such as road fixes, economic development, transportation, and some much smaller programs), and allocation of the $350 million that was pulled out of the rainy day fund.

Comments by legislative leadership on both sides of the aisle are heralding the revamp effort as bipartisan… and a very hefty undertaking. Our gratitude to Senator Stamas and Representatives Glenn and Hauck, as they all voted in favor of both SB 373 and HB 5265. Senator Stamas is the Senate Appropriations Chair.

The next big step with budgeting is the August Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. And, states are still waiting to hear whether Congress will authorize another federal aid package in response to the financial crisis created by COVID-19. By all accounts, Congress will take some action, but it is undetermined if our how much aid to state and local governments that aid package may include.

As the state Legislature winds down the current fiscal year, the task for Fiscal Year 2021 looms even larger: That shortfall is expected to be $3.1 billion.


Midland County to Receive Portion of $3.5 Million Awarded for Regional Small Businesses

In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, the State of Michigan has allocated $100 million of CARES Act funding to implement the Michigan Small Business Restart Program to support the needs of Michigan businesses directly impacted by COVID-19. Midland County will receive a part of $3,545,455 distributed to the counties of Region 5, including Arenac, Bay, Midland and Saginaw.

The Michigan Strategic Fund authorized distribution of the funding across 15 local or nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) covering all 83 counties in the state to providing a base amount of $3.5 million per EDO for grants up to $20,000 each to support certain small businesses that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

“The economic impact of COVID-19 continues to hurt small businesses not only across the nation but right here in our community,” said Tony Stamas, President and CEO of the MBA. “The Michigan Small Business Restart Program will help get them the funding they need to get through these hard times and will help rebuild our local economy.”

Applications are now open and will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on August 5. The MBA and a local team of reviewers will review and recommend distribution of these grant funds for qualifying businesses in Midland County. Funds can be used as working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses.

This is not a first-come-first-served grant process. All applications will be reviewed following the closure of the acceptance period on August 5. Local award recipients will be notified no later than September 30.

Eligibility Criteria

  • 50 or fewer employees, worldwide, located in Michigan
  • Is a business or nonprofit that can demonstrate it is affected by the COVID-19 emergency
  • Needs working capital to support eligible expenses
  • Demonstrates an income loss as result of the COVID-19 emergency
  • Businesses who have received support through other COVID-19 relief programs, including the Michigan Small Business Relief Program loans, are eligible to apply for Restart grants.
  • At least 30 percent of the funds awarded will be awarded to women-owned, minority-owned, or veteran-owned eligible businesses.

Businesses interested in applying can do so by visiting the MEDC website:; Midland County businesses that have questions or need assistance in applying can contact Nicole Wilson, Vice President of Economic Development at