New campaign set to attract talent to area

Hello West Michigan, a regional talent attraction and retention initiative, has launched a campaign promoting West Michigan to the Chicago market. The new awareness campaign, called “Find Your Reason,” promotes West Michigan as a great place to live and work.
Tribune Staff
Sep 5, 2013

The first billboards were posted Labor Day weekend along I-94 to target motorists traveling between Chicago and Michigan. Digital and print ads will appear primarily inside CTA trains, busses and platforms.

Hello West Michigan will also host a website at, where people can share and browse reasons for living in West Michigan, as well as discover more about the region.

“Everyone has a reason for choosing to live in West Michigan,” said Cindy Brown, executive director of Hello West Michigan, “whether it is the quality of life, affordable cost of living, abundant career opportunities, or access to a great lifestyle—from a thriving arts scene to miles of beautiful beaches. We want to showcase those reasons and encourage people to consider West Michigan as a smart choice for them.”



Mystic Michael

I wish HWM all the best with their campaign. If I were a Chicagoan, I might just be looking for such a way out.

Quality of life, affordable cost of living & beautiful beaches? Yeah, absolutely.

But "abundant career opportunities" and "thriving arts scene"? I don't think so. In fact, it was the absence of these very things that ultimately drove me out of the area - and out of state - back in the day, some 30+ years ago.

Can anyone honestly state that there's been some kind of economic reinvention and/or cultural renaissance in western Michigan since then?


I would say that there has been, at least in Grand Rapids. See: Medical Mile (health care industry on Michigan Ave.), opening/expansion of multiple art galleries (GRAM, UICA), ArtPrize, craft brewing, to name a few economic and cultural developments since you left.

I wouldn't claim that GR/West Michigan can compete with the big metropolises in terms of cultural attractions or job opportunities, but I think that yes, people can honestly say there have been some big changes in the last 30 years.

Tri-cities realist

MM, pockets of it yes, but probably not on the level of "revolutionary" in terms of cultural and economic change. But that's probably how most here would want it, slow change vs. revolutionary.

What brought you back to the area? No hidden agenda in my question, just curiosity.

Mystic Michael

I was born & raised in Grand Haven, but once I moved away that was it. I've never moved back - and have returned only on rare occasions for visits.

I now live in NYC - right in Manhattan. It's got everything that Grand Haven doesn't...and nothing that Grand Haven does.

Tri-cities realist

Ah, I didn't realize you hadn't returned to GH. Have you been back to GR on your visits to W. Mi? It has experienced a bit of change in the last few years, I'm not sure whether you'd characterize it as good or bad, but one example is art prize putting it on the map for those interested.

As for GH, I'd say it has changed a little over the last 30 years, but certainly not to the point that I presume you would prefer. When were you last here?

Mystic Michael

My most recent visit to Grand Haven was Thanksgiving week, 2011. I've only passed through Grand Rapids via the Kent County Airport & the I-96 freeway. So no, I haven't been downtown, to Division Street, to Eastside, to the 28th Street strip - or to any of my other old stompin' grounds in GR since the mid '80s.

As for Grand Haven, I'd been away for nearly 20 years before I came back for my first visit in 2005. What a culture shock! Gone was nearly all of the organic, "real" feel of the town that I had known as a kid. In its place is something that I can characterize only as "GrandHavenLand" - a sort of synthetic, sanitized, idealized, Hollywood lot version of Grand Haven, created to fulfill the "quaint little town" expectations of the tourists. It's just a little too cutesy & "picture postcard perfect"; a little too "not a hair out of place" for my taste.

I suppose I always knew that, deep down, GH was a resort town. Now it feels like nothing but. (Thank goodness Ray's Drive-in and Fricano's Pizza are still around!)


You may look inward and realize you are the one that changed.

Mystic Michael

I have. But so has my hometown...


We do have the most beautiful beeches. German exchange students called our area "Heaven on Earth" Great restaurants like Ray's and Clover Bar and Fricano's etc. On down side. Temp services everywhere - some factories have as much as 3 temp agencies permanently stationed in their facilities. If you work in skilled trades - you work so much overtime that a person doesn't get time to really enjoy the many nice things here - pay is low, no bennies. Property taxes are atrocious and keep going up! A person has their choices of living in a police state like Grand Haven Township with redundant rules for everything up Nazi style Zoning or on the upside do anything you want in RobinsonTuckey like shoot guns, tear up roads with dirt bikes or the HorseCrap Nationals grass drags, mud pits, you can burn cars and boats for entertainment just get a burn permit and call it "yard waste" least restrictive zoning.


Beeches?? really?? please tell me you're talking about trees and not about the place where the sand meets the water.
The rest of your rant has nothing to do with topic so I'll leave that lay.


The Culture here in west Michigan is just the way people here like it... In a museum


Museums are one thing people think of when they think of culture. What cultural aspect are you thinking of that is missing?

Mystic Michael

DC is a lot like that too. Not an artsy kind of town, that's for sure. To them, art isn't something contemporary - and certainly not something you create. It's more of a conversation piece that you put on your fireplace mantle, to show off to the guests who come to your dinner parties, so they'll be impressed with your good taste and your social status. So it's got to be "safe", conventional, and above all, non-controversial.

How dull...


Get over yourself coastie. How dull dot dot dot. You enlightened soul.

Mystic Michael

How small & petty...

owell are.

retired DOC

With all the shooting going on in Chicago, do we really want all those crooks?

Tri-cities realist

Nah, hopefully they'll find their way to DC.

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