The WAVE's In Season

April 7, 2008
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WAVE if you had a good time. The Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Kent County Lodging Association have teamed up to create the WAVE Awards, a new program to honor employees in the Kent County hospitality industry who provide outstanding service.

“At the CVB, we regularly come across examples of excellent service,” explained Vice President Janet Korn. “As the tourism industry is becoming increasingly significant to our area, we decided it was important to develop a program acknowledging the people who provide outstanding service.”

Service providers, working for a minimum of two years in a non-managerial position, are eligible for nomination in one of six categories: dining, lodging, nightlife, transportation, retail, and arts and entertainment. Both employers and guests can make a nomination now through Sept. 2. A panel of judges will determine the winners, who will then be recognized at the First Annual WAVE Awards Ceremony on Nov. 21 at the 2008 Wine & Food Festival at DeVos Place.

Two individuals already nominated are Missy Tucker of the Red Ball Jet Café, and Cara Mooney of the Springhill Suites Grand Rapids Airport.

Nomination forms and information about the program are available at

  • About 1,200 members of the Michigan Petroleum Association/Michigan Association of Convenience Stores convened for a couple days last week at DeVos Place. No doubt there was much shop talk about gas pains.

"We share the customers' frustration," said Mark Griffin, president of the MPA/MACS.

"We'd rather see the price of gasoline go down than up," said Griffin. "We don’t make a profit margin off gas and the higher it goes, the less money the customer has to come inside the store and buy the pop, candy, cigarettes, the bottled water. … Those are items we do make money on."

About 75 percent of the price of a gallon of gasoline "goes to Big Oil," said Griffin. Another 20 percent is taxes.

"The other 5 percent of that cost of the product is all of our overhead. Notice I didn’t talk about profit margin, because there isn't any," said Griffin.

According to Griffin, some gasoline retailers in Michigan were recently losing as much as 10 cents or more on each gallon of gas they sold — but they have to offer gasoline, and at a price people are willing to pay, or no one will stop at that convenience store.

People will supposedly drive an additional five miles to save two cents per gallon, Griffin said.

Now let's see. If a gallon of gas is $3.40 and your car gets 25 miles to the gallon, that five-mile detour to save two cents a gallon will cost an extra 68 cents, which means you'd better be buying at least 30 gallons or you’re wasting both time and money.

  • Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell is a frequent speaker at meetings of groups and organizations in the area, touting the benefits of communities that “go green.”

It appears he’s had a similar influence on the organization with which he holds his day job.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last week recognized Pilgrim Manor Retirement Community in Grand Rapids as the first retirement community in Michigan to earn the Clean Corporate Citizen (C3) designation.

C3 is a voluntary program that recognizes environmental stewardship at Michigan companies. The designation is awarded to facilities that adopt specific environmental management systems, have active and ongoing pollution prevention initiatives in place, and provide a consistent record of compliance with state and federal environmental requirements.

According to Heartwell, who is Pilgrim Manor’s president and CEO, the designation follows nearly two years of preparation, planning and implementation.

“Our residents and staff understand that environmental stewardship is the responsibility of every person and institution on the globe,” he said. “We are proud to receive this designation and look forward to continuing to identify innovative ways to lead our ‘green stewardship’ on behalf of our residents and their families.”

C3 is open to companies regulated under any of Michigan’s environmental statutes, and designations are reviewed and renewed on a regular basis.

  • With a scheduled opening now set for next month, it might not be too soon to contemplate the energy savings potential of a new hoped-for hotspot along the lakeshore.

Originally scheduled to debut last fall, the 8,000-square-foot nightclub, called “S,” has been under reconstruction for more than a year in a former auto dealership building on Lakewood Boulevard in Holland Township.  

The $2 million facility has been designed with the latest in technology to help minimize energy consumption through energy-conscious heating and cooling systems, light-dimming controls and low-energy LED lighting on the main dance floor.

One of the major energy-saving features of the club is use of energy recovery ventilators that bring fresh air into the club.

Energy recovery ventilators pull air from inside the building and run it through an exchanger that allows the system to recover 60 percent to 70 percent of the heated or cooled temperatures that would otherwise be lost, said James Potter of Mast Heating and Cooling Inc., the firm that designed and installed the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for the club.

“S” is being developed by Holland businessman Brett Flipse, who said he wanted to incorporate energy-saving devices into the facility wherever possible.  

“We’ve made energy conservation a key design factor since we started recycling an old industrial building into a high-end nightclub,” said Flipse who is also incorporating energy-saving ideas in a second adjoining South Beach-style casual lounge called Sol’ in the same building.

“The nightclub is one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its type in western Michigan,” said Scot DeYoung, of Town & Country Group, which did the electrical contracting on the building.

“Even the dance floor uses special LED lights which are energy efficient and very cool looking at the same time.”

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