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ECRWSS Prepared by Chef Mark T. Smith Every E Ev v e r ve ry Sunday S u n da Su d a ay y fr f from r om o m 1 11:30-1:30 1 : :3 3 0-30-30 0 -1 :3 : 3 0 Local Postal Customer $15.95 -A Adults d u lt l t s • $8.95 $ 8 9 5 -Ch $8 C Children h i l d r e n 1 12 2 & Under 1300 Cinema Way • Benton Harbor • 269-926-5000 Paper. News Good our Y www.MailMaxOnline.com POSTMASTER: Please deliver on November 21, 2015 November 21, 2015 Volume 16, Ver. 47 Moody on The Market M oody Pat I nterstate travelers transit-ing the I-94 corridor at the Watervliet exit have been treat-ed to a progressively larger mass of steel framework in recent weeks thanks to Lane Automotive’s $30-million expansion project that will eventually create 138 new jobs in Michigan’s Great Southwest . An architectural rendering, provided by Wightman & Associates of Benton Harbor (and viewable online at www.MoodyontheMarket.com), shows what the soaring new glass showroom portion of the 214,500 square foot addition will look like when it’s complete, and the photos included in that story, also from the team at Wightman, capture examples of the sheer size of the expansion which is still months away from completion. Manufacturing consultant Cindy LaGrow of LaGrow Consulting has shepherded the massive expansion process for the Lane Automotive crew for more than a year now, clearing the way for site plan approvals, training dollars, a building-height vari-ance, and an Industrial Facilities Tax abatement for 12-years. Cooperation from local government officials helped keep the project in Michigan at a time when the company held options to invest elsewhere, but elected to remain on the home front where the company was created more than 50-years ago in the garage of founder George Lane . Lane Automotive, which is a world-class supplier of performance parts and accessories for race cars, hot rods, trucks and off-road vehicles, has grown exponentially and this substantive expansion to their already massive headquarters building at 8300 Lane Drive alongside I-94 puts another 214,500 square feet under roof there. A year ago, LaGrow also paved the way for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s green light on nearly $2-million in worker training dollars to get new hires up to speed quickly on the technologies to operate the new facility. In combination with the existing distribution center staff, the company will employ nearly 360 people at the Watervliet interchange. With the addition, the new foot-print for Lane will total just under 375,000 square feet. Both Tennessee and Indiana were competing for the $30-million project now under construction in Watervliet. It’s been an amazing ride for George Lane’s brainchild first born as a garage-based business in 1964. The ongoing success of the U.S. auto industry is certainly not going unnoticed in Benton Harbor. The Chassix plant off of Paw Paw Avenue has expanded to the point that they have been running out of parking space, and with new programs coming down the pipe-line, the plant’s population will grow again, forcing the company to create additional parking spaces to handle the growth. In July the company successfully emerged worldwide from Chapter 11 proceedings, and last month the Benton Harbor Planning Commission approved a larger parking lot for the manufacturing plant at 1320 Paw Paw . The first phase of the parking lot expansion this fall adds 113 new parking spaces, and a second phase within the next year-and-a-half will pave the way for another 52 slots. Planning commis-sioners okayed the addition of new spaces, provided additional lighting goes with it. The company already has 230 employees at the Paw Paw facility, which is the second Chassix facility in Berrien County . The Stevensville plant on Yasdick Drive south of the cen-tral business district has been in operation since 2009, opening originally as AluTech before a corporate merg-er which created Chassix two years ago. Oselka Constructors of Baroda is assisting with the Inserts & Promotions MailMax is a publication of Far Ahead Advertising, Inc. 2202 Plaza Drive Benton Harbor, MI 49022 Phone: 269.934.7522 FAX: 269.934.3297 email: publisher@farahead.com www.MailMaxOnline.com •www.facebook.com/eMailMax • Martins Super Markets •Hardings Friendly Market • Ace Hardware • Tractor Supply • Harbor Freight Tool Inserts may vary by Zip Code Continued on page 11

Moody On The Market

Pat Moody

Interstate travelers transiting the I-94 corridor at the Watervliet exit have been treated to a progressively larger mass of steel framework in recent weeks thanks to Lane Automotive’s $30-million expansion project that will eventually create 138 new jobs in Michigan’s Great Southwest. An architectural rendering, provided by Wightman & Associates of Benton Harbor (and viewable online at www.MoodyontheMarket.com), shows what the soaring new glass showroom portion of the 214,500 square foot addition will look like when it’s complete, and the photos included in that story, also from the team at Wightman, capture examples of the sheer size of the expansion which is still months away from completion. Manufacturing consultant Cindy LaGrow of LaGrow Consulting has shepherded the massive expansion process for the Lane Automotive crew for more than a year now, clearing the way for site plan approvals, training dollars, a building-height variance, and an Industrial Facilities Tax abatement for 12-years. Cooperation from local government officials helped keep the project in Michigan at a time when the company held options to invest elsewhere, but elected to remain on the home front where the company was created more than 50-years ago in the garage of founder George Lane. Lane Automotive, which is a world-class supplier of performance parts and accessories for race cars, hot rods, trucks and off-road vehicles, has grown exponentially and this substantive expansion to their already massive headquarters building at 8300 Lane Drive alongside I-94 puts another 214,500 square feet under roof there. A year ago, LaGrow also paved the way for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s green light on nearly $2-million in worker training dollars to get new hires up to speed quickly on the technologies to operate the new facility. In combination with the existing distribution center staff, the company will employ nearly 360 people at the Watervliet interchange. With the addition, the new footprint for Lane will total just under 375,000 square feet. Both Tennessee and Indiana were competing for the $30-million project now under construction in Watervliet. It’s been an amazing ride for George Lane’s brainchild first born as a garage-based business in 1964.

The ongoing success of the U.S. auto industry is certainly not going unnoticed in Benton Harbor. The Chassix plant off of Paw Paw Avenue has expanded to the point that they have been running out of parking space, and with new programs coming down the pipeline, the plant’s population will grow again, forcing the company to create additional parking spaces to handle the growth. In July the company successfully emerged worldwide from Chapter 11 proceedings, and last month the Benton Harbor Planning Commission approved a larger parking lot for the manufacturing plant at 1320 Paw Paw. The first phase of the parking lot expansion this fall adds 113 new parking spaces, and a second phase within the next year-and-a-half will pave the way for another 52 slots. Planning commissioners okayed the addition of new spaces, provided additional lighting goes with it. The company already has 230 employees at the Paw Paw facility, which is the second Chassix facility in Berrien County. The Stevensville plant on Yasdick Drive south of the central business district has been in operation since 2009, opening originally as AluTech before a corporate merger which created Chassix two years ago. Oselka Constructors of Baroda is assisting with the parking lot expansion, according to Engineer David Wolf, who appeared before the city planners. Meanwhile, Chassix continues to enhance its capabilities at the Benton Harbor plant which is a 150,000 square foot facility. Chassix has grown from three casting machines to fourteen, and from a single small furnace for melting metals to two large ones. Major new programs coming to the Benton Harbor plant for the 2018 and 2019 model year vehicles were driving forces behind the parking lot expansion planning at Chassix. The company makes safety critical parts for the automotive industry such as steering knuckles and other parts.

The month was only nine days old but it had already been a tough one for Dawndee Lentz at the Orchards Mall in Benton Harbor. Dawndee is the Store Manager for Claire’s...and she has been engaged in a full-tilt liquidation sale since the first of the month and the store will close for good later today, Saturday, November 21st. That’s assuming there is anything left to sell to get through the day. The liquidation pricing at the time of my deadline was 75-percent off of everything in the store, and Lentz was fearful her stock would be long gone before November 21st, although she’ll still draw a paycheck until the store is down to the bare walls. Then there will be the close-up process beginning tomorrow, November 22nd through the 24th before there’s no sign left that the store was ever there. Claire’s is a global chain specialty retailer of jewelry and accessories for young women, teens, tweens and kids. The company operates more than 2,600 company owned stores in 46 countries around the world as well as 442 franchised stores and another 130 concession-style store-within-a-store concepts. Sadly, Claire’s was among the first tenants to sign on with The Orchards Mall several decades ago, and it will prove to have been one of the last hold-outs in an increasingly desolate shopping center that has so far failed to receive any of the life support and renovations promised by the man who took ownership of the mall late last year. Dawndee Lentz has been actively engaged in retailing in the region for 50 years. Forty-three of those years she has played an active role in upper management, having key positions with several stores in the mall dating back to 1987. While she has only been with Claire’s for the past 5-and-a-half years, she also was a manager at the Deb Shop, and Shoe Sensations/Underground Attitude. She started at the mall as a Brand Master in electronics at Sears. Dawndee has watched teenagers who have shopped in her stores grow into adults and bring their own children in for styles and accessories and she will desperately miss the interaction she has enjoyed. Claire’s Orchards Mall store is located along the main corridor between Carson’s and J.C. Penney just off of the intersection of what had been the top of the Food Court. There are, however, no food vendors still operating out of the Food Court portion of the mall.

If the parking lot at Country Kitchen restaurant on M-139 in Benton Township has looked a bit empty late in the day these days, there’s a distinct reason. The long time franchise partners in the restaurant have re-tooled to an entirely new branding concept that debuted this week as Cafe by Country Kitchen. As a result, dinner is no longer being served at the popular restaurant just off of the I-94 interchange. Breakfast & Lunch are the primary focus now after 76 years as a full service restaurant. Chris McGrath is Vice President of Marketing for Country Kitchen. He says that after 76 years of being in the spotlight for breakfast, it just seemed like a natural fit to retool to daily service from 5:30am until 2:30pm and 8am until 2:30pm on Sundays. The resulting menu features a wide array of the chain’s signature breakfast & lunch items. McGrath says “Cafe was a natural transition from our three daypart Country Kitchen concept. It gives us an opportunity to emphasize our best within a limited timeframe.” He adds, “Our signature skillets, omelets, crepes and ‘Best Pancakes in Town,’ as well as many new and exciting items will be the staples surrounded by premium hand-crafted burgers, sandwiches and salads.” Andy and Mary Sloan have been franchise partners at the Benton Harbor Country Kitchen for the past 30 years, and they are among the first nationwide to convert their existing Country Kitchen Restaurant over to the Cafe having opened officially in that brand on November 10th. Andy & Mary tell us, “We as a system are proud to unveil this new, yet familiar brand extension ‘Cafe.’” They add, “It is the best of our best and a business model which is easily managed within our realm of familiarity. We are not pretending to be what we are not, but rather strengthening who and what we are.” Country Kitchen International is a leader in full-service family restaurants with locations in more than 20 states and Canada. The corporation is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Sloan tells me that they are very excited to be the first franchisees to being the new hours and menu, and they have added a Milano coffee machine to make cappuccinos, lattes, and other drinks while also expanding the menu to include waffles, crepes and eggs benedict among other things. The Sloan’s new Cafe by Country Kitchen is located at 2487 M-139 in Benton Charter Township, across from the MDOT Bus Station.

He has custom designed clothing for the likes of Little Richard, Martha Reeves of Martha & the Vandellas, Reginald Vell Johnson and even members of the administration of former President Ronald Reagan. Essentially...the “Tailor to the Stars.” Now... he’s ready to design your next business suit, ball gown, power suit or whatever from his new workbench in downtown Benton Harbor. Winston Smith recently joined dignitaries and customers in cutting the ribbon on his new site at 107 Water Street in the city, and he’s ready for business. Smith owns and operates Bespoke Tailoring, which came to Michigan’s Great Southwest last year when Smith’s wife was hired on as Chair of the Department of Communications at Andrews University in Berrien Springs. When he arrived in the region last year, he established a small shop at 216 Court Street in St. Joseph, but has outgrown that and is now on to the new chapter with his new business center in the central business district of Benton Harbor. Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce officials and Ambassadors assisted the formal ribbon cutting, as Mayor James Hightower and State Senator John Proos emissary Adam Mensinger joined the ceremonies. Winston launched his business back in 1972 working out of his home in New York. He later attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a designer on 7th Avenue in New York City. He left the Big Apple for North Carolina in 1987 and eventually opened three shops in Raleigh. In 1992 he advanced to Alabama A&M University as an instructor at Huntsville before opening up a new shop that he operated for 22 years before heading to St. Joe. While cutting the ribbon, Smith told dignitaries and friends on hand, “I have a desire to give back to this area and see it grow and flourish. I am invested in this community. I live in this community. I moved my business to Benton Harbor to help it grow. I keep hearing about the glory days of this city. If companies like Whirlpool can see the potential here, then why can’t we?” You can find Winston Smith and his new Bespoke Tailoring business at 107 Water Street, in the Commerce Building located at the crossroads of Pipestone & Main, where Pipestone turns into Water Street on the periphery of the Benton Harbor Arts District across from the Phoenix Rising Cafe.

The pomp and pageantry of Merry Old England springs to life on a Tuesday evening of the holiday season for those fortunate enough to score tickets to the Lake Michigan College 3rd Annual Madrigal Feast arriving on campus early next month. The Lake Michigan College Performing Arts Department will present its third annual Madrigal Feast on Tuesday, December 8 at 6:30 pm in the north lobby of The Mendel Center, just outside of the Main Stage. The event will recreate all the pomp, charm and pageantry of a Renaissance England holiday celebration, featuring royal banquet fare, ornate costuming, festive music, and lighthearted entertainment. John T. Owens is the Lake Michigan College Music Director. He tells us, “It’s a fun and festive event to kick off the holiday season.” Owens also directs the event for the performing arts team. He says, “The performance is vibrant and enchanting, and goes beyond the simple definition of a show. The madrigal feast is a holistic experience!” The banquet will be announced with a brass fanfare, and the menu will include, (as taken verbatim from the menu) “Spicy apple cider wassail, letuse sallade, tendre roaste fowle and vegtables, mashed botata and gravee, and breadd. Dessert will be a mouthwatering crème brûlée.” The evening’s entertainment will feature the LMC Concert Choir and Vocal Chamber, directed by Bradley Krueger; String Ensemble, directed by Amanda Tew; Brass Ensemble, directed by DeLain Bomer; and Theatre Troupe, directed by LMC students Ed Moore and Courtney Cox. Also, guitarists, percussionists, an Andean charango player, and other guest musicians will perform throughout the night. Tickets are $35 for a full meal, $15 for a beverage and dessert, and must be purchased by the deadline of December 1 online at TheMendelCenter.com or through The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-1221 from 2 p.m. – 6 pm Monday through Friday. For more information, contact- BoxOffice@LakeMichiganCollege.edu.

That’s it for this week. See you Saturday right here in MailMax!

Pat Moody
Morning Radio Personality
WSJM Radio
moody@wsjm.com
(269) 925-1111

Read more at www.MailMaxOnline.com

Read the full article at http://www.onlinedigitalmagazines.com/article/Moody+On+The+Market/2327693/281521/article.html.

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