Materials Recovery Facility Launched in Newaygo

March 3, 2023

American Classic, a Muskegon County based family-owned business, and The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, powered by The Right Place announced the establishment of a material recovery facility (MRF) at 313 W State Road in Newaygo.  The company plans to add 10 new jobs and invest approximately $2M in capital to support the increasing demand for recycling infrastructure.

American Classic, established in 2001, began as a roofing company and now serves customers across the region through commercial and residential construction services, construction supply equipment, and commercial and residential garbage and dumpster service. To expand their recycling operations, they acquired Cart Right Recycling in 2022 which focused on residential post-consumer recycling hauling and collection.

American Classic recently purchased the vacant building at 313 W State Road. This facility will be a central location to receive, sort, bale and market recyclable materials from across the region. With only one other MRF location in the greater West Michigan region, this project brings a much-needed resource for recycling infrastructure, with the initial goal of diverting 5 million pounds of landfill bound commodities annually. American Classic is searching for new municipal and industrial partners along with expanding their residential recycling footprint.

“American Classic is poised to become a recycling leader in the West Michigan region” said Lola Harmon-Ramsey, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at American Classic. “With new solid waste management laws coming into effect at the state level, we are excited to help our local cities and county leadership teams expand their recycling services within their rural communities.  A circular economy isn’t just good for the environment but also creates new jobs and economic development opportunities.”

The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership worked closely with both Cart Right and American Classic leadership throughout the 15-month long process, bringing resources and technical assistance to aid in the project’s success. Their partner, Michigan Works! West Central supported this project with a $35,640 workforce development package, which will provide technical assistance and training grants to support the added workforce.  The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership also connected American Classic with Great Lakes Energy, and they have been approved for a United States Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 0% interest loan to support their growth.

“We are excited to celebrate American Classic’s new location” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director of the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership at The Right Place, “Their investment in Newaygo re-activates a vacant space and provides a critical resource to support long-term recycling sustainability throughout the region.” 


In addition to establishing the MRF, American Classic has worked with the County of Newaygo to obtain a Quality Improvement grant with The Recycling Partnership and the State of Michigan, Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), as well as an infrastructure grant to provide more recycling collection receptacles at local schools and campgrounds, further solidifying the region’s recycling infrastructure.

4th Annual Newaygo County Economic Outlook Returns to In-Person Format

Nearly 60 leaders from across the region gathered together at Camp Newaygo on Feb 16, 2023.  In case you missed it, view the presentation below.

Business Resource Events Coming to Newaygo County

October 7, 2022

This week, the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership (NCEDP) announced the launch of a new lunch and learn series, beginning in October.

The series, spanning October 2022 through May 2023, will highlight various support opportunities that local businesses can take advantage of.  Topics will vary each month, focusing on resources that support talent attraction & retention, training grants &
resources, small business support and increasing sales channels.  Locations for the events will rotate around Newaygo County and include a boxed lunch.   Seating will be limited, in order to ensure the attendees are able to fully capitalize on the resource.

Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director for NCEDP says “The amount of support available can be overwhelming, and our hope with this series, is to hone in on specific resources and tailor the information to Newaygo County employers.  Our hope is, this format will allow for additional businesses to take advantage of the resources available to them.”

A Schedule of events & links to register are below:


October 26, 2022                    Procurement and Technical Assistance Center

  • The PTAC can assist companies with obtaining their small business certifications such as, women-owned small business, veteran-owned/disabled veteran-owned small business, hubzone and 8(a) certification.
  • Not sure what the government buys? The PTAC will assist you in determining if and when the government is buying your product or service.
  • Get government procurement opportunities sent directly to your inbox, the PTAC offers free bidmatching services 

Register here 

November 30, 2022                  Childcare Trishare Model

  • The TriShare program helps with employee recruiment & rentention, removing a significant barrier to employment
  • Provides opportunities for tax credits
  • Develops and strengthens your company’s talent pipeline

Register here

White River Economic Impact Study Begins

August 31, 2022

The White River Watershed Collaborative (WRWC) recently launched an effort to study the economic impact of the White River in Newaygo, Oceana and Muskegon Counties. The study is intended to develop a baseline to gauge progress in the communities along the White River. 

The study will be conducted over a 12-month period to evaluate the economic impact of the White River on local communities through river-based recreation and property values. Information gathered will be leveraged to target opportunities to both capitalize on and improve the quality of the White River.

Since 2019, the WRWC has focused on environmental and economic opportunities of the White River and surrounding watershed. WRWC is led by Trout Unlimited’s Jake Lemon and involves stakeholders from over 40 local, state and federal organizations. The WRWC Economic Opportunity subcommittee, led by Newaygo County’s Economic Development Director, Julie Burrell, identified the opportunity to conduct an economic impact study of the White River.

Recognizing the potential value of this study, West Michigan Shoreline Development Commission (WMSRDC) stepped up to serve as the fiduciary on behalf of WRWC. WMSRDC was able to successfully apply for and receive funding from the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the Community Foundation for Oceana County and the Fremont Area Community Foundation. Additional funding partners include Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited and Free The White River Group. One hundred percent of funds raised will be dedicated to contracting with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to conduct the study.

After months of planning, organizing and fundraising, a contract was signed with GVSU in July. The project hit the ground running, with river use intercept surveys beginning immediately. The project will also include business surveys, a river communities survey and an analysis of the White River property values. Simply put, this information will be compiled into models to estimate the economic impact of the river in terms of commerce generated and property values.

Surveys are expected to continue through June 2023 to capture all seasons and varieties of river usage. The project is expected to be completed in July 2023. For additional information please go to the project page on the WMSRDC website

Pitch North Supports 3 Newaygo County Businesses

June 17, 2022

Five entrepreneurs local to Lake, Newaygo and Oceana County pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and an audience of over 40 people at the fourth annual Pitch North competition held Tuesday, June 14th at the Henry and Isabella Becker Event Barn in Fremont. The individuals competed for a chance to win over $11,000 in cash and other prizes to help bring their ideas to life.

Pitch North was designed to spark entrepreneurial change and encourage more individuals to start small businesses in Lake, Newaygo and Oceana counties. Pitch North received 25 business idea submissions in 2022, from which five finalists were selected by a local committee to pitch at the live event. Each entrepreneur had five minutes to present, and judges had an opportunity to ask questions directly following their presentation.

“Entrepreneurs eat, sleep and breathe life into their businesses, and that passion was clear during our event this year,” said Julie Burrell, Newaygo County’s Economic Development Director and Regional Partner Lead for The Right Place. “Each finalist did an amazing job showcasing their businesses and vying for the top prize. I am so proud to continue this event, which has now financially supported 20 entrepreneurs in Newaygo, Oceana and Lake County.”

The first-place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Andrea Simon, A New Era of Crafting, in New Era. Simon plans to use her prize money to purchase additional equipment in order to continue growing sales and renovate her building to begin offering classes.

Second place was awarded to Thomas and Deserai Reichard, Northern Rustic Designs Furniture in Fremont. The Reichard’s plan to purchase an enclosed trailer, allowing them to deliver custom orders and continue driving sales.

The third-place prize went to Tim Liberty from Camp Box in Newaygo. Liberty’s prize money will allow him to add additional recreational items to the offerings from Camp Box such as kayaks and bikes.

In addition to cash prizes, finalists received in-kind awards from Muskegon Community College’s Fab Lab, Dave Byrne Law Office and Northern Initiatives.

The top five finalists will receive the following:

  • 1st Place: $5,000 – Andrea Simon, A New Era of Crafting
  • 2nd Place: $2,500 – Thomas & Deserai Reichard, Northern Rustic Designs Furniture Co.
  • 3rd Place: $1,500 – Tim Liberty, Camp Box
  • 4th Place: $1,000 – Breann Conkle, Country Breeze Massage
  • 5th Place: $500 – Susan Matous, Zen Den Boutique


Volunteer judges for Pitch North 2022 included:

  • Nora Balgoyen, Government and Community Affairs Manager with ITC
  • Martha Gabrielse, Business Mentor with Muskegon SCORE
  • Lola Harmon-Ramsey, Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement with American Classic
  • Nichole Kleiner, Community and Economic Development Director with the City of Hart
  • Jason Ross, COO with the Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial


Pitch North was hosted by The Right Place, Inc, in conjunction with our partners: Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, Oceana County Economic Alliance, Lake County Economic Development Alliance.

Pitch North 2022 is made possible through support from Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial; City of Fremont DDA, City of Hart TIFA, City of Newaygo TIFA, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Area Community Foundation, Hart-Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area Chamber of Commerce, Horizon Bank, ITC, River Country Chamber of Commerce, SCORE of Muskegon, Shelby State Bank, West Shore Community College, Dave Byrne Law Office, Heritage Farms Market and Muskegon Community College.