The national magazine, founded in 1965 with a focus on corporate site selection and relocation, also named Michigan fourth in the nation in economic recovery in its annual “Top States for Doing Business” survey.
Columbia City, Ind., was No. 1.
The prestigious ranking for Grand Haven/Holland was based on 23 economic and workforce indicators, according to the magazine's website. The "Leading Locations for 2012" article honors communities that “find a way to thrive in the midst of adversity, to prosper while so many places have struggles.”
David Miller, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce-Grand Haven-Spring Lake-Ferrysburg, said local business has been good.
“We have had a headstart on the recovery over a lot of communities,” he said. “We didn't get hit as hard as a lot of communities did. Our companies tend to be a little more fiscally conservative and they bounced back quicker. Unemployment has been lower.
"We've got a good economy here," he added. "It's encouraging to see other people recognize it.”
Lakeshore Fittings General Manager Scott Reus agrees. He said his Grand Haven manufacturing company has grown between 20 and 30 percent in the past few years, and recently completed a $4 million expansion.
"It's a great place to do business," Reus said of the Grand Haven area. "The people I talk to all seem to be experiencing some levels of success."
Miller said West Michigan offers a unique support system to its businesses.
The Grand Haven and Holland chambers of commerce run a joint financing program called the Lakeshore 504. It is the only financing entity of its kind in the state that is run by chambers of commerce, according to Miller.
“We have been told that we are one of only two or three in the country that are chamber of commerce-based,” Miller said.
The Small Business Administration 504 loan finances building and equipment purchases for companies at below-market interest rates. Business leaders can participate with as little as a 10 percent down payment.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.