The Lakeshore: Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa & Allegan | West Michigan Photo Project
When you think of Lake Michigan, what comes to mind?
Do you think, “relaxation” or “sandy beaches” or “unbeatable sunsets”?
Or do you think “cherry production” or “aluminum extrusion” or “drug maker”?
Up and down the lake shore there are beautiful spots on the water. But there are also 5 amazing counties making products that make their way around the world. There are also individuals in every community doing extraordinary work.
This area includes Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties. The cities you may be familiar with are Ludington, Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Muskegon, Holland, etc.
These 5 counties accounted for 14 different locations for our West Michigan Photos Project and it was with the help of 3 specific people that I was able to gain access to any of the locations included below.
Many thanks to Emily at Lakeshore Advantage, Crystal at West Shore Community College and Darryl at Muskegon Area First for making it possible to explore and photograph all of these wonderful businesses.
Ludington is the commercial hub for Mason County. The downtown area of the city attracts people from all across the region, especially during the long summer days.
The local name for this company is “Whitehall Industries” and they are an aluminum extrusion company.
What does that mean?
It means they take large tubes of aluminum and make things.
For example, their location creates the aluminum components to make sunroof systems in cars. In addition, they supply both the aerospace (aka airplane) industry, as well and boat manufacturers .
They have multiple facilities in the Ludington area and make aluminum components for customers not just in Michigan, but across the world.
Silver Lake is probably the area you’re most familiar with in Oceana County, but the area is full of agriculture and tourism businesses that make it ideal for those that love the outdoors.
Want to relax on Lake Michigan or go for a ride on a dune buggy? Why not do both at Silver Lake Sand Dunes!
What can a family do with 1300+ milk producing cows? They can make milk, ice cream, cheese and build a facility to educate the public throughout the year.
Want to know where maraschino cherries come from? Well, most likely they came from Oceana County’s Gray & Company.
Have a food idea that you’d like to try? Perhaps it’s a new drink or yogurt. The Starting Block provides commercial kitchen production options for a fraction of the cost of building your own kitchen.
You’re probably familiar with the hub of commerce in Muskegon County, the city of Muskegon. Did you know that Muskegon has the largest deep-water port on Lake Michigan? It’s a vital resource for moving products in and out of the area.
Over 1000+ employees making entry / exit systems for the auto industry means you probably have an ADAC part in your car. Located in the heart of Muskegon, their products end up touching the lives of millions around the world.
Ever purchase a plant for your garden and look at the little divot with the product information on it? If so, you’ve probably experienced Mastertag’s products.
Agriculture is the #2 industry in Michigan, which means farmers have products to sell. The city of Muskegon continues to invest into the Farmer’s Market making sure local residents have access the freshest produce in the area.
Holland, Grand Haven, Allendale and Coopersville are the growing areas of Ottawa County. From technology to agriculture, Ottawa county has a diverse (and growing) economic base.
You want to turn an old General Motors facility into a milk production plant? Who could imagine such a thing happening? The founders of Fairlife not only dreamed it, they made it happen and their customers couldn’t be happier!
Looking for the best dog friendly park on Lake Michigan? Kirk Park might just be the spot you’ve been looking for!
Ever wonder what it looks like to work at a technology firm that builds custom software and websites? Look no further than Allendale’s BizStream. They use a specific system, KENTICO, to serve their customers across the globe.
Is Allegan a city or a county? It happens to be both! It also happens to be a rural community with all kinds of businesses growing.
Who could have imagined one of the world’s largest generic drug manufacturers got its start in Allegan, Michigan! Publicly traded, it has multiple facilities throughout the area that are staffed by a growing talent base.
A family owned (and run) winery that exports products around the country is based in the sleepy town of Fennville, Michigan. The tasting room is constantly busy as they are a key player in the Michigan Wine Trail.
This former grain mill was going to be torn down until a local resident rescued it from certain destruction. Now it plays host to a brewery, taproom, restaurant and event venue.
This is part 3 of our 5 part series about the Pure Business Photo Project. To see learn more about the West Michigan Regional Photo Project, click the link below.