Winter brings good business news to the U.P.

From new businesses opening to increases in local wages, December hasn't slowed down on the business news front in the U.P. as we welcome our familiar snows of winter.

Contractor holds grand opening in downtown Marquette


U.P. General Contracting recently remodeled its office in downtown Marquette, and held a grand opening to celebrate. Along with the Lake Superior Community Partnership, UPGC welcomed the public to meet its staff and see the new office.


UPGC was founded in 2016 by CEO Klint MIller, with offices at 329 W. Washington Street in Marquette. Their approach to contract building is an up-to-the-minute, responsive one, according to Miller. UPGC builds high-end homes and updates existing houses, and offers clients 24/7 remote monitoring so they can see what's happening with their house.


New shipping place opens in Sault for holidays


Just in time to send out Christmas gifts to loved ones who might be far away, a new store, Pak N' Ship, has opened in Sault Ste. Marie.


Located at 4234 I-75 Business Spur, Pak N' Ship is owned by Brian Jean. Jean and family and his employees recently held a ribbon cutting to celebrate their new endeavor, with help from the Sault Ste. Marie Area Chamber of Commerce.


Creative director joins Bennett Media Group


Bennett Media Group in Marquette announced they've hired a new creative director to handle filming, photography, editing, and creative leadership for their team.


David J. Ruck will fill that role, and comes to the marketing agency from a recent position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he served as documentary filmmaker. He's a graduate of Grand Valley State University and American University. His areas of expertise include aerial and underwater filming, as well as 4K and high-definition video production.


"We are thrilled to bring David back to Michigan and lucky to have him as a part of our growing team," says president John Bennett. "He has hit the ground running working on many campaigns for our clients who have been impressed by the final products. David will help us to maximize efficiency with our clients providing more creative services and a quicker turnaround time on projects. We are looking forward to taking our video production and creative work to the next level!"


Houghton airport gets grant for infrastructure


The Houghton County Memorial Airport got ready for winter in a big way this year with a $1.6 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.


The money went to rehabilitate the airport's runway and apron, or surrounding area, and purchase snow removal equipment that will make clearing the runways more efficient.


"The Houghton County Memorial Airport helps bolster the local economy by connecting Keweenaw Peninsula residents and businesses with the world," says U.S. Senator Gary Peters, who announced the grant with fellow Senator Debbie Stabenow. "This additional support will help the airport make important equipment and infrastructure updates that are critical to keeping air travel safe and efficient."


Marquette Food Co-op starts using "livable wage" model


The Marquette Food Co-op announced it has restructured its pay scale to follow a "livable wage" model for its employees. For instance, the entry level wage at MFC now is $11.56 hourly, in comparison to the $8.90 Michigan state minimum wage (although that is scheduled to go up to $9.25 in January.) Staff earning higher wages also received an increase.


The livable wage model is based on actual costs of living in an area, and takes into account expenses like housing, energy, transportation and utilities. These determine a "livable wage" number for an area, in this case Marquette County.


The co-op manager, Matt Gougeon, says in the announcement that co-op prices will not increase to pay for increased wages, and that the change was made as part of overall improvements to costs, sales and profitability that the store saw in 2017.

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