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Harmony Brewing wins top honor at neighborhood business awards

November 2, 2012
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Eastown's Harmony Brewing wins top honor at neighborhood business awards
Mayor Heartwell, left, and Jerry Norcia, president and COO of MichCon, raise up Harmony Brewing T-shirts to the crowd at the Neighborhood Business Awards. Photo by Jim Gebben

It was a gala family affair last night as brothers Barry and Jackson Van Dyke and their sister, Heather Van Dyke-Titus, won the prestigious Gerald R. Helmholdt Grand Award for their Harmony Brewing Co. at the 23rd Annual Neighborhood Business Awards presented by the Neighborhood Business Alliance.

It also was the second consecutive year that a new brewer walked off with the honor. Last year, Brewery Vivant’s Jason Spaulding captured the award.

“We weren’t sure whether we wanted to go with yet another microbrewery again this year after last year’s Grand Award winner. But the truth is, the project at Harmony Brewing Co. is great in so many ways that it would be hard not to give them the nod,” said Mark Lewis, Neighborhood Ventures executive director.

Lewis said one reason why Harmony Brewing was tabbed is it filled a gaping hole at the entrance of the Eastown Business District by opening at 1551 Lake Drive SE. The address once was home to a liquor store that went out of business about a decade ago, and the location had been vacant until the neighborhood brew pub came along.

Another prominent honor went to Locus Development, which won the John H. Logie Business Champion Award. The prize honors the leadership the firm’s partners John Green and Andy Winkel have shown for furthering economic development in the city’s neighborhood business districts.

A third outstanding honor, the P. Michael Wanroy Volunteer in Business Award, went to Jenn Schaub. Schaub is a neighborhood revitalization specialist with Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids and has done most of her work in the Heartside Business District.

The SpeakEZ Lounge at 600 Monroe Ave. NW was named the Best New Business and Duthler’s Family Foods at 1226 Madison St. SE won the Best Longstanding Business Award. The Best New Construction Award went to Arnie’s Bakery Kafe at 815 Leonard St. NW and the Best Reuse of a Building honor was captured by the Sun Title Agency at 1410 Plainfield Ave. NE.

In all, 15 awards were handed out last night at the Wealthy Street Theater, where Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell hosted the event. A complete report on all the winners, and much more, can be found in Monday’s Grand Rapids Business Journal and online that morning at

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