Family-owned Apcom Electric & Power Systems expands business

Homes are a safe place for a lot of families and individuals, providing a sense of security. In the event of a power outage, people may lose their access to everyday utilities, such as heat and water, all of which can make the home feel less secure.

One local family's business works to help solve this problem and is nearly finished with an expansion project at its Mt. Pleasant location.

In the past, people oftentimes used generators for heat in the winter making sure their pipes stay don't freeze, or to power air conditioning or refrigeration units. CFO and co-owner of Apcom Electric & Power Systems, Vanessa Howell, says that since COVID-19 came into the U.S. demand for their products and services has increased. Medical care is being taken care of from home and people working remotely have called more attention to the need for reliable power.

“I get one to three calls a week and people are no longer confident in our government and in our grid so there's not a week that goes by that people don't call,” Vanessa says. “They're worried that the group's going to get shut down with all of the scare tactics there. People are protecting themselves and their families so that they will be safe in their homes going forward.”

Apcom Electric & Power Systems was created in 2003 and became a Power Pro Generac Dealer in 2005. After aligning with Generac Holdings Incorporated, Apcom maintains, sells, and installs several Generac products.

“People feel more comfortable coming to a place of business where they actually have a storefront where they come in and take a look at the generator,” says William Howell, Vanessa's husband and co-owner. “We have them on display that they want to see how little bit of prep work we do to them and go in the back to take a look at them. It makes a person feel more comfortable purchasing from Apcom because we show them everything.”

Vanessa and William’s son, Thomas Howell, manages the Apcom's second location in Spring Lake. Between the two locations, Vanessa says that Apcom’s work area covers about a third of the state of Michigan.

After stability comes with manufacturing with Generac, the Howells are hoping to make Apcom into a distribution center for the generators as well. Vanessa says this will eventually be one of the uses of their warehouse space.

However, due to shortages in different components needed, she says that buying generators is more difficult right now. Once the shortages are less of a problem, the Howell’s hope to have more products available in the warehouse, which is why they moved to a more spacious building.

After the business boost, Apcom was able to move forward with expanding its Mt. Pleasant location and began that process in March 2021. Expanding their business meant adding more space for the store, warehouse, training room, and several offices.

“It gives them another location to purchase Generac products and easier access to come in and talk to us about what is involved in getting a home standby generator,” Vanessa says. “We've had a lot more foot traffic, as far as people. One, they want to see the building, and two, it just created some awareness. We've had much increase in people asking questions about the Generac generators and the process that we go through to install one for them.” 

The Howells say expanding their business has also allowed them to create more jobs. Right now, they have 24/7 full-service staff members to service the generators and serve their customers, according to William Howell. Apcom has 16 full-time employees and hopes to continue to increase the number of people on Apcom’s staff.

Right now, the Howells are working on the small details and fine-tuning their new building, but anticipate having a grand opening in May 2022. 

“We are grateful for Apcom’s continued investment in Mt. Pleasant,” says Mt. Pleasant City Planner Jacob Kain. “The expansion and renovation of their new headquarters is part of a larger trend of investment and transformation on Pickard Avenue and the northside industrial area.”

Vanessa says the expansion would have been sooner if it wasn’t for a series of windstorms that struck in this area last year. All their priorities went toward supplying their customers with the products they needed during that time.

Learn more about Apcom's services and products at or
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Read more articles by Addy Wachter.

Addy Wachter is a Grand Haven resident who is currently a student at Central Michigan University. She plans to graduate during the summer of 2023 with a major in photojournalism and a minor in cultural and global studies. Along with working with Epicenter, she is a photographer and writer at Central Michigan Life newspaper who enjoys traveling and exploring new places in her spare time, always taking her camera with her wherever she goes.