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New Lakeshore Advantage President Jennifer Owens: ‘This is absolutely my dream job’

By Brian VanOchten |

HOLLAND, MI -- Jennifer Owens takes the helm May 5 as president of Lakeshore Advantage, the nonprofit organization responsible for propelling Ottawa County economic development. She is just the second president in Lakeshore Advantage’s history.

She was introduced to Holland business leaders for the first time at the West Coast Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Early Bird Breakfast last week. Afterward, she spoke to The Sentinel about why she took the job.


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West Michigan entrepreneur capitalizes on growing market for portable storage units

By Jim Harger |

ZEELAND, MI – Entrepreneur James Smits is taking advantage of how Americans are changing the way they move, a shift from rental trucks and moving companies to portable storage containers they can fill and unload themselves.

Smits is the co-owner of GoMini’s, a mobile storage unit business that operates in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Holland and Muskegon. It’s one of three businesses the 40-year-old Smits operates from a small office and garage at 10696 Chicago Dr.

He also operates Frontier Solutions, which installs silt fencing for erosion and sediment control at construction sites, and InterfaceH2O LLC, which specializes in cleaning up storm water runoff ponds at construction sites.

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Planned 140-room Holland hotel resolves access, parking problems; will open in 2015

By Greg Chandler  | The Grand Rapids Press

HOLLAND, MI -- Construction will get underway this summer on a new 140-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel in downtown Holland.

The city’s Planning Commission Tuesday unanimously approved plans by Suburban Inns for the five-story hotel on a vacant 1.75-acre lot at 121 E. Eighth St. The hotel, which is slated to open in the summer of 2015, will more than double the number of available rooms in the downtown area.

“We wanted to do a project in downtown Holland, and we sought to find a site where we could do so,” said Brian Beukema, president of property development for Suburban Inns, which owns and operates the Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn in Holland Township.

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Owens appointed as Lakeshore Advantage’s next president

By By Brian VanOchten |

HOLLAND, MI --- Jennifer Owens has been appointed as Lakeshore Advantage’s next president.

She replaces Randy Thelen at the helm of the local nonprofit organization that’s responsible for helping propel economic development throughout Ottawa County, its board of directors announced this morning.

“I’m honored to become part of a collaborative community that supports and fosters business growth and look forward to working with area leaders to help maximize this positive momentum,” Owens said.

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Census 2010: Ottawa County No. 1 in population growth in Michigan

By Andrea.Goodell |

HOLLAND, MI --- Ottawa County is the fastest growing county in the state, according to U.S. Census data released this week.

It might not seem like much, but Ottawa County's 1.25 percent growth between 2012 and 2013 exemplifies a positive shift, experts said. It's the highest percentage growth of any Michigan county. Those 3,372 new people in 2012 account for almost half the growth since the 2010 Census (8,646 people).

Ottawa County's population is now estimated at 272,701, 3.4 percent more than in 2010.

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