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Kent Beverage donates to Vogue Theatre renovation

Thursday, July 05, 2012 3:56 PM | Anonymous

Manistee —Kent Beverage, a Grand Rapids-based beer, wine and soft drink distributor, expanded its reach north last year when the company purchased and merged Lakeshore Beverage out of Manistee Township and Caswell-Latosha out of Ludington. The Gary family, which founded Kent Beverage in 1962, didn’t waste any time in getting involved in their new community. They recently made the company’s first major philanthropic contribution to the area when they agreed to donate $30,000 to the revitalization efforts of the historic Vogue Theatre in downtown Manistee. “Having been from Grand Rapids and seeing what a vibrant downtown does for a community, we see the important role the Vogue can play in Manistee,” Kent Beverage chair Kim Gary said. “Grand Rapids has been focusing on its downtown for about 15 years or so and right now it’s the place to be at night.” Kent Beverage is a family-owned company currently in its second generation and preparing to welcome the third to the table, so being a part of the community where they do business is important. When the Gary family was made aware of the needs of the Vogue Theatre, they jumped at the opportunity to contribute. Gary said he sees the Vogue Theatre as an opportunity for a similar downtown revitalization in Manistee that he has witnessed in Grand Rapids. The family has developed a reputation for helping out in their community since Kim and his brothers founded the Gary Family Foundation 10 years ago in honor of their parents. Their mother has since passed away and their father, who founded Kent Beverage in 1962, is 90. Since the establishment of the foundation, they’ve donated about $100,000 each year - more than $1 million total- to various non-profit organizations in their distribution area. Having just celebrated their 50th anniversary, Kim Gary said the company is pleased to have expanded into the Manistee area in the past year and looks forward to other opportunities to make a positive impact in the community. “I’m actually a resident of Baldwin and have been for the last seven years, so I’m not unfamiliar with the Ludington-Manistee area,” Gary said, adding that two of his brothers own property in nearby Pentwater, so the area has been “on our radar for a while.” Kent Beverage, which started 50 years ago with eight employees and has expanded its ranks to 180, has full coverage of 21 counties with distribution ranging from South Haven to Arcadia and reaching as far east as 7/5/12 www.ludingtondailynews.com/print.php?story_id=66191 www.ludingtondailynews.com/print.php?story_id=66191 2/2 Lansing. The company is primarily a Miller/Coors distributor, but also specializes in craft beers, imports and Michigan-made beers, wines and soft drinks. The Manistee office, which employs 25 people, oversees Manistee, Mason, Oceana, Lake and Osceola counties. PHOTO: Steve Brower, Vogue Theatre CapitalCampaign Chair, accepts donation from Kent Beverage chair, Kim Gary Alliance for Economic Success 1361 US 31 South Manistee, MI 49660 www.allianceforeconomicsuccess.com (231) 723-432 Date published: 7-3-2012 

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