Hall Of Famous

November 27, 2006
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It’s been a star-studded year for Hanon McKendry Chief Creative Officer Bill McKendry, who has over the past eight months rubbed elbows with Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Kenny Wallace, Cindy Crawford and most recently, Brett Favre

As reported recently in the Business Journal’s online edition, grbj.com, McKendry’s local ad shop is managing a national campaign with the Hall of Fame-bound sports icon and Green Bay Packer quarterback as spokesperson on behalf of No. 3 battery maker Rayovac Batteries.

McKendry spent a Tuesday afternoon with the football legend in early September, and was impressed by his very un-celebrity attitude.

Earlier in the year, Hanon McKendry did a print campaign with former supermodel Crawford for Rubbermaid. She was “super nice” McKendry recalled, and “not as pretentious as you might imagine. But you get a comparison to a big Hollywood celebrity, former supermodel vs. somebody like a Brett Favre, who most people would consider to be as famous: He would never consider himself that way.”

Most celebrities would require a limo ride to the shoot and a trailer once there, and would probably show up late anyway. Favre, on the other hand, drove his own pick-up truck, showed up a half hour early, and was surprisingly camera shy.

“He admitted that he hadn’t done a lot of (endorsements), he doesn’t really enjoy it,” McKendry said. “And he’d rather talk hunting and fishing than football. He’s about as regular a guy as you could meet.”

As both Favre and McKendry have signed multiyear contracts with the battery maker, McKendry assumes this will be the first of many Grand Rapids-Green Bay developments to come.

“You have to wait and see how the first commercial does for them,” he said. “Anytime you’re using a celebrity, you’ve got to be smart about it. If he were to get benched or something like that, they might want to reconsider.”

Already, the company has seen some success from the campaign, as early hype has put the battery on Target and Walgreens shelves for the first time in years.

“That’s part of what retailers are looking for — for retail brands to market themselves and drive traffic to their stores.”

  • For the first time, the Michael A. Dunlap & Associates Office Furniture Industry Survey showed virtually no change quarter-to-quarter, with no signs of the historical declines associated with the post-launch season.

Now in its 10th edition, the quarterly study measures the mood and activity of the domestic office furniture industry and its suppliers, focusing on 10 key factors and an Industry Index Number, all on a 100-point scale.

The October 2006 study, as reported in the Business Journal’s online edition, produced the second highest index in the survey’s three-year history, 57.99. Of particular interest, this is nearly identical to the slightly lower 57.97 of the previous quarter, marking the first time autumn optimism has exceeded that of the post-NeoCon summer season.

“The industry continues to build on a very solid foundation,” said Michael Dunlap, the firm’s principal. “Our interpretation is that the industry is still improving.”

He pointed to strong indexes for backlog (65.08), gross shipments (63.44) and new product development (62.90), and improving secondary indicators such as capital expenditures (58.17) and tooling (58.50).

The Personal Outlook Index produced an all-time high of 66.87, well above the 63.80 in July and the 63.53 of the year-ago quarter. Perhaps buoying this optimism, all of the publicly traded furniture companies, particularly the locally based Steelcase Inc. and Herman Miller Inc., are coming off quarters of double-digit growth in sales and profits.

  • The Tax Foundation released its annual State Business Tax Climate index last month. Surprisingly, Michigan clocked in at No. 27, just barely in the bottom half. That isn’t all that bad considering the top 10 included some states that aren’t competitive with Michigan for other reasons: Alaska, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, and, arguably, Wyoming (which had recruiters in town again earlier this month, seeking workers for its growing energy industry).

Ohio, which recently began a we’ve-got-low-taxes marketing campaign, was the second worst, behind Rhode Island

  • Speaking of other states, why is the Dutch American Heritage Hall of Fame located in Los Angeles? Wouldn’t Holland, Mich., make a much more sensible location?

J.C Huizenga, founder and chairman of National Heritage Academies, the rapidly-growing Grand Rapids-based charter school conglomerate, last week joined the ranks of CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite, California Supreme Court Justice Joyce Kennard, Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel and artificial organ inventor Willem Kloff

The 2005 recipient, National Institutes of Health Associate Director William J. Heetderks, also has West Michigan roots. The 14-year-old hall of fame is a program of the Dutch American Heritage Foundation, also located in Los Angeles

  • Want to know what Second Story Properties is up to? Check out sister publication Grand Rapids Magazine, in which Second Story founder Sam Cummings writes an occasional column, “Critics Choice.”

As it turns out, every major Second Story project of the past three years has been profiled in the column months before an announcement. Most recently, the former Anheuser-Busch icehouse at

72 Grandville Ave. SE
was profiled in August. Cummings announced this month that he will acquire the property with fellow developer Eric Wynsma

Before that, there was the D.A. Blodgett Home for Children (August 2004), which Second Story and Bazzani Associates is renovating on behalf of Inner City Christian Federation; and the former Grand Rapids YMCA (September 2004), which the firm is transforming into the Fitzgerald condominium development.

  • Here’s a mystery: How come the Dunkers didn’t mention the downtown project on the Grand River? It’s what they said they’d poke fun at.

Instead, the rendition of London’s Britches Are Staying Up, sung to the tune of “London Bridges” and in reference to strip club proprietor Mark London, brought down the house.     

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