News

  • Wednesday, September 02, 2009 5:31 PM | Anonymous

    BY THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS CASCADE TOWNSHIP -- Don Klopcic Jr., owner of West Side Beer Distributing, 5400 Patterson Ave. SE, has been named chairman of the Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. He previously held the offices of vice president and treasurer in the state organization, and in 1999, chaired the National Beer Wholesalers Association. West Side employs 100 and serves 900 West Michigan retailers. Klopcic also owns Central Distributors in Romulus, with 160 employees. The state organization represents 70 beer and wine distributors in Michigan. E-mail the author of this story: localnews@grpress.com 

  • Monday, July 20, 2009 5:34 PM | Anonymous

    Citizens, leaders and local family-owned businesses join forces for community HIGHLAND PARK – The City of Highland Park, the community and local businesses today unveiled the new Mark E. Storen Park. The park was revived and rebuilt through a yearlong partnership between the city, community groups and local family businesses such as Eastown Distributors and H.P. Devco, the partnership between the City of Highland Park and local businesses. “The new Mark E. Storen Park shows what we can do when citizens, families, the city and local businesses come together, work together and help bring our neighborhoods back together,” Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp said. “The City of Highland Park is proud to have partners like our citizens, our families and local businesses like Eastown and public-private partnership H.P. Devco. Together, we can strengthen our city, one neighborhood at a time.” For a year, Highland Park worked closely with community groups and local leaders to bring the park back from years of neglect. Mayor Yopp and the City Council worked closely with local elected officials such as State Sen. Martha Scott, and State Reps. Bert John son and Fred Durhal, who provided critical support from Day One. Helping with funds and labor was project sponsor Eastown Distributors, a family business that has been in the community for three generations. The revitalization project was driven by dozens of volunteers and donations of resources and funds from across the community. The park is located on Gerald and Oakland, just down the road from the nation’s first Ford Motor Co. plant, which mass produced some of the first Fords and helped build the American middle-class. Local families also joined in the celebration. Food and refreshments were donated by Red Hots Coney, a local business that dates back to 1921 and, like Eastown, continues to be run by the same family. “As a family business, Eastown is committed to doing everything to give back to our community, which has given back to us so generously for three generations,” Eastown President Jim Quasarano said. “We are honored to be a part of this important project. We firmly believe that strong neighborhoods make strong communities, and a strong community here in Highland Park helps all of us. Highland Park gave us the American middle-class. Working together, local businesses and the community can rebuild the middle class here in Highland Park.” Mark E. Storen was mayor of Highland Park from 1960 to 1965. 

  • Friday, July 03, 2009 5:36 PM | Anonymous

    By Bob Griffin, Jr.

    The recent news that hundreds of Chrysler and General Motors dealerships will close is a painful blow to many communities across Michigan.

    As a family owned beer distributor that has served northern Michigan for decades, we are extremely saddened by this terrible news. We deeply feel the pain every time a local business suffers, struggles or closes – and local auto dealerships are about as homegrown of a business as they come.

    Auto dealerships are one of us. They and their employees often reflect the communities in which they live. In many ways, they represent every local business. When they close, the entire community will feel the pain and the consequences.
    Here’s why.

    Many dealerships have been in our communities for years, even generations, providing quality service and products, while giving back to local families. Owners of dealerships can often be found at community fundraisers, leading Habitat for Humanity projects, helping their neighbors from all walks of life, spearheading Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis projects, and spending every waking moment working to make their communities better.

    Their employees are some of the hardest working folks around. Together, they coach Little League and volunteer in schools and churches. They spend locally and contribute to the regional economy, helping everything from mom-and-pop stores to small businesses that provide lawn service. They raise their kids in their communities. They repair vehicles for their neighbors. They donate time, equipment and money to local events.

    Our family-owned business has partnered with many of these dealerships over the years, on a whole host of community events. We help sponsor golf fundraisers and charity auctions together. We create local good-paying jobs and support each other across the board.

    Auto dealerships, as much as any local business, exist to serve the community. Now, they are closing their doors and laying off hundreds of good, hardworking people – our neighbors – through no fault of their own. While our hearts go out to the families who will be hit hard by these closings, all of us – the community and local businesses – will also feel the pain.

    As a nation, we must face the economic downturn head on – and that’s why we must do even more now to support local family businesses. Every community must stand together in these tough times. Support the auto dealer. But also support local restaurants, local furniture stores, local butchers, local bakeries, local groceries and retailers, and yes, even, the local beer distributor. We urge everyone to think local and spend local. That includes everyday consumers, regular shoppers and elected leaders and policymakers at every level, who are responsible for making decisions that can directly impact local workers and the families they support.

    Local businesses mean local jobs. Local businesses help keep our neighbors employed and the community strong. By going local and supporting local businesses, we can minimize the pain in our communities and survive these challenging times.

    Bob Griffin Jr., is general manager of Griffin Beverage Co., a family owned business based in West Branch serving northern Michigan. 


  • Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:41 PM | Anonymous

    KALAMAZOO -- A local expert in beer says less can be more, if you pick the right bottle. Only 17 people in the U.S. and three in Michigan have achieved Certified Cicerone Status, as a top level expert in ales and lagers. It's like earning a black belt in beer. Andrew Van Til, who works for Imperial Beverage in Kalamazoo says if you just drink Bud, or some other mass brand, you are missing so much. "Worlds of flavor, variations of different beer styles...really, the history of beer," observes Van Til. He says a lot of them are Michigan beers, he says this state has some great craft brews, starting with Bells made in Kalamazoo. "[There are] brands like Founder's in Grand Rapids, Arcadia in Battle Creek, New Holland out of Holland...all making just top notch world-class beer," says Van Til. His expertise not only gives him the background to pick good beers, but to recommend which beer goes with which occasions and foods.

  • Monday, March 02, 2009 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    DEARBORN, MI --- Powers Distributing Co., a beverage distributor based in Orion Township, MI, has purchased 15 hybrid trucks for its fleet. The vehicles, International DuraStar Hybrid Medium Duty Trucks, were purchased from Tri-County International Trucks Inc., Navistar International Corp.'s southeast Michigan franchise for the International line of diesel trucks. The purchase is part of a broader commitment by Powers Distributing to make its fleet greener. In 2008, the company switched its fleet of more than 50 trucks from regular diesel to biodiesel. The International DuraStar Hybrid trucks are expected to increase diesel fuel economy from 25 percent to 40 percent in standard in-city pickup and delivery applications, Tri-County International Trucks Inc. said. Powers Distributing Co. distributes about 100 beverage products -- including Miller, Coors, Heineken and Guinness beers -- to bar, restaurant and retail clients. Navistar International trucks' new MaxxForce line of engines meet new 2010 EPA emissions standards. "Powers Distributing is proud of its efforts to be a responsible corporate citizen in our Michigan community," said company Co-President Gerald Powers of the hybrid truck purchase. "This is a major investment by our firm that we hope will lead the way and influence other businesses to take similar actions to help preserve our nation's energy resources and improve the quality of our environment and the air we breathe here in Michigan." Copyright © 2009 Automotive Fleet. All Rights Reserved. http://www.automotive-fleet.com/News/Story/2009/03/Powers-Distributing-Co-Invests-in-HybridTrucks.aspx?interstitial=1

  • Saturday, February 28, 2009 4:45 PM | Anonymous


  • Friday, February 27, 2009 4:49 PM | Anonymous

    BY JULIE EDGAR | FOR OAKLAND BUSINESS REVIEW Powers Distributing Company of Orion Township is rumbling into the 21st Century with a $1.5 million investment in fleet of new hybrid trucks that operate on a combination of biofuels and electricity. The beverage distributor took delivery in early February of 15 new International DuraStar hybrid medium duty trucks, all manufactured in Springfield, Ohio, by Navistar International of Warrenville, Ill. [NYSE: NAV]. The company also bought a Navistar International LoneStar tractor, touted for its aerodynamic design and advanced engine technology. The move is part of Powers' effort to reduce its carbon footprint and fuel costs; in 2007, the company switched its fleet of more than 50 trucks from regular diesel to biodiesel fuel, reducing their fuel consumption by 10,000 gallons. The company said the new hybrids, which hit the road this week, will save another 12,500 gallons per year. Powers officials said the DuraStar hybrids cost about $100,000 each and the tractor, which is not a hybrid, goes for about $150,000. In a written statement, company Co-President Gerald Powers said the DuraStar hybrids "represent the future and we encourage other businesses to join us in new American technology that can reduce dangerous greenhouse gases and protect our land, air and Great Lakes." The family-owned company, founded 70 years ago, bought the trucks from Tri-County International Trucks, Inc., Navistar International's southeast Michigan distributor. Tri-County has sold one other Navistar hybrid truck to DTE Energy and may sell others to a few Michigan municipalities interested in cleaning up their fleets - possibly with government-sponsored "green" initiative money, said Tri-County spokesman Mark Chapman. Navistar, in collaboration with Eaton Corporation, was the first company to design and manufacture hybrid trucks, which were brought to market in 2007. Company spokesman Steve Schrier said there are a few hundred DuraStar hybrids on the road. Navistar made news last August when it dropped plans to buy GM's medium-duty truck business. The DuraStar hybrid truck has a 60-hp electric motor and 460-volt batteries that supplement a 244-hp engine that runs on a biodiesel mix of up to 20 percent. It can increase fuel economy by up to 40 percent 1 and reduces hydrocarbon and nitrous oxide emissions by up to 35 percent compared with standard diesel trucks, according to Powers and Tri-County. Biodiesel fuel is constituted from corn, sugar cane and cellulose, among other natural products. Powers' trucks cover some 700,000 miles each year throughout southeast Michigan. It has 2,600 customers in Oakland and Macomb counties and employs 210 people. 

  • Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    We're all feeling the pinch of the penny these days and restaurants are no exception. Dining out is becoming a luxury and given the choice between a home-cooked meal or a chef-created entree, the latter is taking a hit. But Howard Wolpin, president and owner of Great Lakes Beverage, a family owned Anheuser-Busch beer distributor, wants to do something to help. Wolpin is pitching in with a unique program to help Detroit restaurants during the recession and encouraging his employees to eat out in Detroit - and GLB is picking up the tab. For the month of January, Wolpin will pay for an entree every time one of his employees eats in any restaurant in Detroit, under the company program dubbed "Dining in the D." Some of the restaurants on the GLB list include Union Street, Fishbones, Mosaic, Xochimilco's and Sinbad's. "Great Lakes Beverage has been in the Detroit community for 75 years, the businesses here are our friends and neighbors, and we want to do everything we can to help Detroit's restaurants get through these rough economic times," Wolpin said in a press release Tuesday. "Detroit is one of the best restaurant towns in the nation." Wolpin says he's concerned about the Metro Detroit family businesses and wants to help see them through the early part of 2009, which is how he came up with the "Dining in the D" idea. In addition to a commitment to energy efficiency, GLB is also an environmental leader and recycles nearly 1 million cans and 1.4 million glass bottles every year. This is a company that is concerned about it community and is doing something to help. Don't you think GLB deserves your support as well? And hey, what about other locally based businesses? We're all in this together, it's time to help one another. In the long run, we'll all be better for it.

  • Thursday, November 20, 2008 4:54 PM | Anonymous

    BY ERIC ENGLISH Bay County has a bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape for commercial construction in Michigan. Work is streaming along on a new $16 million beer and liquor distribution center along US-10 in Monitor Township, four miles west of Bay City. The giant new facility will be operated by Mount Pleasant-based wholesaler Fabiano Brothers Inc. "We have 60 to 80 trades people on the site each day," said Brad Laackman, construction manager for CSM Group, a Grand Rapids contractor overseeing the project. "We are on schedule and we are doing really good," Laackman said during a Nov. 12 site tour. Construction of the 191,000-square-foot facility is about 80 percent complete and the first of some 300 Fabiano employees now working in other offices will occupy the building in December. The building will house corporate offices, sales and training centers and warehousing and distribution of beverages. The building features a glass-and-brick facade facing US-10 that softens the appearance of the shipping facility behind it. "We really wanted to build something the community can be proud of. We didn't want to just put up a big box or a warehouse," said James C. Fabiano II, a partner-owner of Fabiano Brothers. The company hopes the building will anchor a corporate "marketplace" of other commercial development on the 71-acre property some day. Fabiano said lots are for sale, but he still is searching for buyers. "I'm in the process of trying to land some people," he said. "I'm chasing leads trying to sell out the park." For now, his task isn't likely to be an easy one. Commercial construction activity in Michigan is grinding to a virtual standstill as the state's and nation's economy worsens, according to Damian P. Hill, a spokesman for the trade group Associated General Contractors of Michigan. Construction is underway on a beer and wine distribution center, to be run by Fabiano Brothers Inc Construction of a beer and wine distribution center in Bay County is about 80 percent complete. 2 "There's not a lot of work going on, and it's not just up your way," Hill said. "Unfortunately, it's kind of a perfect storm." The group estimates that commercial construction activity nationwide declined about 3 percent from September to October, and 11 percent compared to a year ago. Laackman said trade workers finishing the Fabiano center also are working on the $1 billion expansion of Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. in Saginaw County. "A lot of the contractors are on both jobs, but it hasn't pulled workers away from either one," he said. Material costs for the Fabiano building were kept in check by bidding the work in 2007 at set prices, Laackman said. Most of the concrete and structural work is completed. Now, offices are being finished in wood paneling and stone, including a hospitality area that will include a "training bar" for product demonstration and education. A special system for shelving inventory will be installed in the warehouse areas, which measure 360 feet in length, or more than a football field. Fabiano said the new facility will improve efficiency and help Fabiano Brothers Inc. to continue growing. "We hope to wrap it up by year's end," he said. "Hopefully, we'll have our occupancy permit in December."

  • Thursday, September 18, 2008 5:56 PM | Anonymous

    by Janet Miller | for Ann Arbor Business Review Thursday September 18, 2008 Jim Wanty, Kit Morgeson and Douglas Wanty of O&W. O&W Inc. is celebrating its 75th anniversary as a family business in Washtenaw County by looking back to its Prohibition-era founding - and forward to further growth in new markets and sustainability. Today, the Ypsilanti-based company runs a four-county distribution network for more than 70 brands of beer, wine and specialty beverages, said Kit Morgeson, marketing manager and a fifth-generation family member. With the Liquor Control License number 007, O&W is one of the oldest beer and wine distributors in the state. The company has grown to using cutting edge and green technologies, from hand-held computers for its sales staff and drivers to using bio-diesel fuel for its trucks. It's also gone from the days when a keg of beer cost $5 to today, when the deposit alone for a keg is $30 and craft beers are building market share. Despite rising fuel costs and a sour economy, O&W expects to continue to expand, said President Jim Wanty. "There's going to be some consolidation at the wholesale level," Wanty said. That means there will be opportunities for O&W to purchase other distributors and expand its reach, he said, although that could be one to three years away. That doesn't mean O&W is untouched by the struggling economy. Off-premise sales - such as supermarkets, beer and wine stores - are down, while on-premise sales are up, Wanty said. And O&W is being bruised by rising fuels cost: It pays a $500 per load surcharge from the manufacturer that isn't passed along to the retailer, Wanty said, and pays higher costs to fuel its own delivery fleet. "It's coming at us from both ends and cutting into our profits," Wanty said. Overall, sales at O&W are flat, Wanty said: "People are buying more economical brands for home consumption, but when they go out, they're paying top dollar." O&W began in 1915 when William Seagert opened the Union Bar on West Liberty Street, when the Old Town stands today. On the side, he began distributing products he had hauled from the Stroh Brewing Company in Detroit to other area taverns. After Prohibition ended, he passed the distribution side to his son-in-law, James O'Kane. His son-in-law, Hugh Wanty, joined the growing firm in the 1940s. By 1954, they built a warehouse in what was then rural Ann Arbor on Jackson Road, adding wine and acquiring distributorships in the 1960s. A key decision came in 1967 when O&W became the distributor for Miller Brewing Company. "We wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that decision," Wanty said. Miller Brewing's market strategy transitioned from highbrow beer drinkers to the much more lucrative mass market. "Their marketing went from the champagne bucket to the lunch bucket," Wanty said, "to the guy on the street. The guy with the truck." That decision continues to serve O&W well today. Miller Lite is its biggest label and in the top three of the nation's top selling beers. O&W continued to grow, purchasing distributorships in western Wayne and Monroe counties, a move that tripled business overnight, Wanty said. Five years ago, O&W moved its operation to Ypsilanti when it built a 100,000-square-foot warehouse, with room to expand. The area now includes Washtenaw, Livingston, western Wayne and Monroe counties. Now O&W is looking for new markets - such as wine, which it dropped years ago. This fall they became the sole distributor of Bo Merlot, a California label (think Rose Bowl) to honor University of Michigan football coaching legend Bo Schembechler. As O&W moves forward, it is also looking at sustainability issues, including using bio-diesel fuel to re-lamping the keg cooler with compact fluorescent bulbs. Whatever directions O&W takes, it will remain a family business, Wanty said. "We want to be here forever." BY THE NUMBERS 3.1 million: Sales of cases of beer, wine and specialty beverages sold per year. 1,700: Total number of retails customers 950: Number of retail customers that are on premise (bars or restaurants) 750: Number of retail customers that sell off premise

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Lansing, Michigan 48933
Phone: 517.482.5555
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