Senator Stabenow Tours Small Businesses in East Tawas and Alpena

Friday, June 02, 2017

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow met with businesses in East Tawas and Alpena as part of her small business tour across the state. Stabenow met with business owners at Branham’s Jewelry, Tawas Tools, Stoney Acres Winery, and Employment Services, Inc. (ESI).

Stabenow’s tour has included over 80 stops in communities across the state including Three Rivers, Fenton, Marshall, Big Rapids, Ithaca, Mt. Pleasant, Bangor, South Haven, St. Johns, Lapeer, Imlay City, Portland, Ionia, Battle Creek, Albion, Harrison Township, Mount Clemens, Utica, Plainwell, Paw Paw, Benton Harbor, Monroe, Jackson, Flint, Bay City, Ludington, Onaway, Grand Haven, Hastings, Holland, Muskegon, Marquette, St. Ignace and Escanaba.

“It was great to meet the resilient and innovative business owners in East Tawas and Alpena who help keep our economy in Michigan growing,” said Senator Stabenow. “It is truly inspiring to talk to those who have invested their own time, capital and ideas into making their businesses and their community successful.”

“It was a pleasure having Senator Stabenow here to see our facility,” said Amy Gagnon, Stoney Acres Winery Manager. “We work closely with the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary to create our ‘Shipwreck Soda’ and what I liked most about her visit here was that we got a chance to talk about how taking funding away from the sanctuary will hurt the local economy and hurt our efforts to bring awareness to the Great Lakes.”

"Senator Stabenow had a nice visit to our jewelry store," said Ken Branham, President, and Co-Owner of Branham's Jewelry. "I appreciate her promise to help us navigate the process and fight for small businesses."

“We appreciated Senator Stabenow’s visit.  We are working hard to partner with local schools to overcome the shortage of qualified candidates for good-paying manufacturing jobs in our area,” said Brian VanWormer, Corporate Representative at Employment Services, Inc.  “We had some good discussion regarding promotion of skilled trades education and manufacturing careers among high school students.  Solutions to these problems vary from region to region, so it’s important that more control of educational funding be handled at the local level.” 

“It was a pleasure meeting U.S. Senator Stabenow during her visit to Northeast Michigan,” said Jeffery L. Lawton, President, and COO of Star Cutter Company. “We appreciate her taking the time to stop by and visit our StarSU - Tawas Tool Facility in East Tawas, MI.  The timing couldn’t have been better as our parent company, Star Cutter, is celebrating our 90th anniversary as a family owned Michigan based manufacturer of precision cutting tools, carbide preforms, and CNC machine tools. We greatly appreciated her willingness to participate in a roundtable discussion based on challenges we are faced with that are related to developing skilled trades and workforce development.  We specifically addressed concerns about the proposed Section 232 protectionist measures effecting our steel supply as well as the ongoing challenges of escalating healthcare costs and the future of the Affordable Care Act. As we continue to compete domestically and globally,  all US manufacturing companies need to engage in finding solutions to remain competitive and work in unison with local and federal governments to be viable employers to the people and communities that we serve in the great state of Michigan.”