Nonprofits, Small Business & Startups, and Sustainability

Local First names LocalMotion winners

January 29, 2016
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Love's Ice Cream
Love’s Ice Cream in Grand Rapids sells handcrafted ice cream from organic grass-grazed dairy and vegan gelato. Courtesy Local First/Matt Oberski Photography

A nonprofit focused on the growth of local businesses has handed out some hardware.

Six local winners were honored for their contributions to West Michigan’s growth and sustainability at Local First’s sixth-annual LocalMotion Awards this week at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids-based Local First presented awards in several categories: Change Agent Award; Local Hero Award; Mover & Shaker Award; Triple Bottom Line (Longstanding Business and Up & Coming Business); and Guy Bazzani Local Legacy Award.

The winners in each category are below.

The Change Agent Award: Brewery Vivant

The Change Agent Award is presented to a locally owned business or organization that’s successfully growing and has made significant contributions to revitalizing a neighborhood or business corridor.

Founded in 2010, the brewer in Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood was recognized for providing a number of new ways for the community to engage in philanthropic and educational experiences. Local First said Brewery Vivant promotes active lifestyles with its bicycle education and amenities on site and also provides numerous opportunities for volunteer work for its employees and customers. Owners Jason and Kris Spaulding have also made steps toward providing sustainable energy, making an investment to put solar panels on the roof of the brewery, housed in a former funeral chapel, in the coming year.

The Local Hero Award: Dan Broersma and Ken Freestone

The Local Hero Award is given to an individual or family that has demonstrated a shift toward local purchasing and sustainable living.

The founders of, Dan Broersma and Ken Freestone, have made notable contributions to educating and supporting West Michigan’s growth and sustainability. Local First said Broersma has brought together environmentally conscious groups to create a collaborative community that practices and promotes sustainable lifestyles. Freestone has initiated entrepreneurial endeavors that include incubating businesses, supporting arts education and organizing philanthropic opportunities. In creating together, the duo is working to further educate efficient and sustainable lifestyles, by curating information someone might need to know about becoming a conscious consumer.

The Mover & Shaker Award: Love’s Ice Cream

The Mover & Shaker Award honors the business that demonstrated a significant movement toward local supply chains.

Local First said the vegan gelato and grass-fed dairy ice cream parlor was honored for its commitment to sourcing local and organic ingredients as much as possible, purchasing from small Michigan farms. Love’s Ice Cream is also transparent in its production processes, showcasing the research and experimentation that goes into each decision.

The Triple Bottom Line, Longstanding Business: Catalyst Partners

The Triple Bottom LIne Award is given to a company that demonstrates a strong commitment to the Triple Bottom Lin: economy, environment and society.

Local First said Catalyst Partners works to make sustainability an attainable goal for all businesses it works with. As one of Michigan’s newer B Corps, Catalyst Partners provides mentor services in engineering, architecture, interior design and LEED certification. It also works to keep up with the changing standards and works to improve business practices from the ground up.

The Triple Bottom Line, Up & Coming Business: Gluten Free Bar

The Up & Coming sub-section of the Triple Bottom Line Award is given to businesses between two and five years old.

Opened in 2010, Gluten Free Bar has committed to locally producing a quality gluten-free product that is also GMO, soy and dairy free. In October, Gluten Free Bar attained B Corp certification. Its small batch, sustainable, certified gluten-free facility is closely monitored to ensure each batch meets its standards.

The Guy Bazzani Local Legacy Award: The City of Grand Rapids

The Guy Bazzani Local Legacy Award honors individuals or businesses who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the Local First mission and is selected by the Local First board of directors.

Local First said the city of Grand Rapids won this lifetime-achievement award for its work in promoting sustainable living. In 2011, the city launched mygrcitypoints, a recycling initiative program that increased recycling in the city by 80 percent and reduced waste by 13 percent in its first year. A partnership with Heart of West Michigan United Way launched the addition of volunteer campaigns, which recently collected more than $3,000 in donations to purchase school uniforms for the Grand Rapids Public Schools Homeless Assistant program.

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