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Chamber to host small business mentoring organization

May 28, 2009 // 0 Comments

In these tough economic times it is smart for business owners to arm themselves with as much information about business operations as they can and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce wants to help. The RCC has partnered with SCORE, a nonprofit organization and a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, to bring helpful business information to the Rockford area. The SCORE organization is dedicated to helping the small business community through no-fee face-to-face business mentoring. Whether you are starting a new business or have questions about your existing business, the SCORE business counselor will be able to help you find the answers. A SCORE counselor will be at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 598 Byrne Industrial Drive, Rockford, on Wednesday, June 3, starting at 9 a.m.  To take advantage of this free business mentoring, please call the Rockford Chamber of Commerce at (616) 866-2000, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to schedule an appointment. The Rockford Chamber of Commerce helps businesses of all sizes, opening doors through education, events, leadership, and networking.

Varsity softball team defeats Jenison 2-0 on senior night

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

It was the same old story for the Rockford Rams varsity softball team Monday afternoon, May 11, as they once again defeated the Jenison Wildcats by the score of 2-0. This time, the Rams got it done in the standard seven innings, unlike the 13-inning marathon the teams engaged in earlier this season. Although the length of the game was different this time around, there were a number of similarities besides the obvious final tally. The game once again featured stellar pitching by Tricia Graham, some outstanding plays by the Ram defense, and a couple of big hits at key times to propel the Rams to the victory, which improved their OK Red record to 10-3 (22-5 overall), good for second place in the conference behind Hudsonville. Graham, the Rams’ sophomore hurler, allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out seven Wildcat batters. The only serious threat she faced was in the fourth inning when Jenison got a two-out single for their first base runner of the game. After the next batter walked, Graham buckled down, got the next batter to strike out swinging to end the inning. The Rams got on the board early in the contest thanks to another big hit by the Wildcat killer, centerfielder Lauren Pasciak. “LoLo,” who smacked the game-winning hit in the first meeting between the two teams, ripped a hard line drive toward center field, which eluded the Wildcat outfielder and made it all the way to the fence. The hit was ruled a triple, and Pasciak scored on a throwing error from the outfield to the cutoff. The Rams clung on to the 1-0 lead for the majority of the afternoon. Junior catcher Karli Showers helped thwart a potential Jenison rally in the top of the sixth inning. With a fast runner already on second base with just one out, Showers made a spectacular diving catch of a fouled bunt attempt on the third-base side. Graham then calmly got the next batter to pop out to second baseman Taylor Sergent to end the inning. The Rams gave themselves a little breathing room in the bottom of the sixth inning as Peyton Wells smacked a triple over the head of the right-fielder for a one-out triple. […]

Wolverine World Wide to win award

May 7, 2009 // 0 Comments

Wolverine World Wide, Inc. will be honored with the Excellence in Lifestyle Branding Award at the American Apparel & Footwear Association’s (AAFA) 31st annual American Image Awards to be held on May 12, 2009 in New York City. Blake W. Krueger, the Company’s CEO and President, will accept the award, which recognizes Wolverine’s success in building one of the most diverse and preeminent portfolios of footwear and lifestyle brands in the industry. During 2008, Wolverine celebrated its 125th anniversary by marketing nearly forty eight million pairs of footwear globally and delivering its 8th consecutive year of record revenue and earnings.

Tannery workers see little future in their profesion, hope for fairness

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

Harvey White, a second-generation tannery worker who himself has put in 37 years at Wolverine, stood at the annual Wolverine World Wide shareholders meeting on Thursday, April 23. Outside his co-workers were picketing for a fair settlement after losing their jobs as the tannery closed after 125 years in operation. He said the company’s CEO himself explained that 95 percent of all of America’s tanneries have closed to move operations to Asia to be close to the manufacturing. “He apologized for having to do it and seemed very sincere.” White said. “I’m not saying I’m on his side.” On the picket line, former employees were less restrained. One said she was told the tannery workers would no longer have access to Camp Wolverine, apparently a camp on the Muskegon River, or receive shoe discounts, since they did not retire from the company. Jeff Heyboer was out with former co-workers, although he will not be affected by the settlement. He was a four-year employee who crossed picket lines to take his job and now joined that line to show support. Heyboer was a supervisor who was let go with no notice last fall. He said he was shocked and near tears. “I thought that job was what I would do the rest of my life,” he said. “You looked around and saw people with 25, 30  years in and you didn’t think that job was going to go. If I had my say, I’d tell people not to buy Wolverine shoes because they are buying a Chinese product.” White hopes the settlement reflects the prospects the tannery workers face. “There is nothing out there. We are skilled tannery workers, but they shut down all the tanneries.” Heyboer noted that many of the long-timers will struggle to find new employment. “They are too young to retire, but too old to hire. Where are they going to find to work in this economy at that age? We expected to be there the rest of our lives.” White said he was assured at the meeting that a settlement will be reached within a few weeks that will be acceptable to all. He said shareholders appeared concerned to see the picketers, but many waved as they left the meeting. “I’m […]

Tradition continues at family business

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

Thirty nine years ago, to celebrate their Irish Heritage, Norm and Rosemary Byrne of Byrne Electric decided to do something nice for their employees on St. Patrick’s Day. They invited all of their employees for breakfast at their home. “They set it up in their basement. Everyone was invited,” said Mike Lomonaco, Customer Relationship Manager. But as the company continued to grow throughout the following years, the Byrne’s basement couldn’t hold them all. So when they moved to their current location, they continued to have the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast/party, but now they have it in the company cafeteria. While the employees eat their breakfast, they listen to the live Irish music for about an hour. Lomonaco stated that if business allows them to do it, the employees also receive a half day off on St. Patrick’s Day. Lomonaco continued, “That’s one of the advantages of being a privately-held company, we can do this for our employees. They are the heart and soul of our company,”

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