Economic Development Corporation

 Welcome to Arenac County!

If you’re looking to locate or expand your business, you’ll find a warm welcome, and a bright future in Arenac County. Nestled along the north shore of Saginaw Bay and the western shore of Lake Huron, Arenac County offers an excellent business climate combined with an exceptional quality of life.

Abundant natural resources and access to transportation routes attracted the area’s Native American settlers, early European traders and homesteaders, turn-of the-century entrepreneurs, and today’s manufacturers, shop owners and service providers. 

Service-related businesses provide the majority (about 30 percent) of the area’s jobs. The next largest industry sector is retail trade, which employs about 20 percent of area workers. Local, state and federal jobs comprise the third sector, followed by manufacturing, farm employment, construction, finance/insurance/real estate, and transportation/public utilities rounds out the major employers.

The tourism industry is responsible for creating and sustaining many jobs here. Visitors to the county annually inject more than $14 million into the local economy. That's because the area is blessed with a multitude of outdoor recreational opportunities. Rivers and streams flow through the entire county, and the Rifle, Au Gres, and Pine Rivers are favored playgrounds for canoeing, rafting, and stream fishing. Trout, steelhead, chinook and coho salmon, suckers, and smelt abound in these waters. Over fifty miles of Saginaw Bay shoreline offers great opportunity for some fantastic walleye fishing and our local guides can take you there. The Au Gres area marinas on Lake Huron provide immediate access to the Great Lakes for vessels of all sizes. Camping and swimming are enjoyed all summer by families at many inland sites and parks, and a designated water trail along the entire Arenac coastline is currently in development for kayakers, birders, and waterfowl hunters to provide additional water access throughout the seasons.

The mission of the Arenac County Economic Development Corporation is to work in partnership with local government and area businesses to promote Arenac County as a place to live, work, and vacation; assist business with location and expansion efforts; increase resources for economic development; support local economic development projects; managed growth and increase opportunities for employer/employee training.

 The Arenac County EDC is committed to the growth and diversification of the County’s economy. To that end, the EDC is actively involved in working with new and expanding businesses and industries to facilitate the creation of new jobs for the citizens of Arenac County.  

Please contact our office to learn more about the programs and services offered by the Arenac County EDC including: tax credit programs for creating new jobs and investing in business property, grant programs for infrastructure development, business relocation assistance, and hosting meetings of community leaders to discuss economic trends, issues and strategies. We are aggressively seeking new business opportunities, and can compete with any other community with incentives we are willing to provide your business. Call us today.

The Arenac County EDC is administered by a Board of Directors and appointed by the County Board of Commissioners. Please call Brenda Bachelder, Business Solutions Professional at 989-846-2111 or 989-312-5455 for more specific information or email:


EDC Board of Directors
Director – Brenda Bachelder
President – Curt Hillman
Vice President – Dan Ratajczak
Secretary – Laura Puzzuoli
Treasurer – Dennis Stawowy
Administrative Assistant – Connie Manszewski
Members at Large 
Frank Cloutier
Holly Schiliar
Jay Jacobs
Pat Killingbeck
Adam Kroczaleski
Deb Morgan
Mike Stodolak
Mark Winslow
Daryl Poprave
Arenac County Economic Development Profile Data
Area – 367 square miles   
Acres of forest – 113,600 acres
Miles of Great Lakes shoreline – 47 
Miles of rivers and streams – 155 
Population – 17,000 (2010 Estimate) US Census Bureau Income
           Median household income - $36,281 (2007-11) US Census Bureau 
            Per capita income - $19,386 (2007-11) US Census Bureau
Retail Sales
            Total retail sales – ($1,000) = $118,751 (2007) US Census Bureau
            Per capita retail sales $7,144 (2007) US Census Bureau
            Total labor force – 7,664
            Employed – 6,372
            Unemployed – 1,293
            Percent unemployed – 12% in 2012


Arenac County EDC Director's Report

Projects for this Month:

Projects for this Month:
• Iron Belle Trail-(G5) Talked with Bill Ernat about the state of the Iron Belle Trail in Arenac County. The main focus for him right now is getting their application in to get engineers to look at the trail location between Omer and Au Gres. This is the first piece of the trail that they would like to have accomplished.
o The timeline on this to get started (at the very quickest) is this spring.
• SIA (Broadband)-(G3) Spectrum Internet Assist through Charter internet is a new program that has just been started in the Kalamazoo region. This program allows affordable internet to families who participate in the National School Lunch Program and for seniors who are 65(+).
o This new program allows for fast and reliable internet speeds for $14.99 and is aimed at giving affordable and quality internet access to people in need.
o After being piloted in Kalamazoo Charter will be looking to expand to other regions. This roll-out will be happening by mid-2017
• Real Estate Meetings-(G3) At the last meeting I shared information about the MSHDA housing survey that was done for Arenac County. This month I have taken time to meet with Smart Realty, Arenac Realty, and Olsen Realty to go over the information with them and let them know how it could be used to their benefit.
o If there is anyone else in the community you think I should be meeting with to go over this information, please let me know.
• Apprentices USA-(G3, G5) This month I was trained in the Apprenticeship USA program through the BSP training I attended in Ann Arbor. This was a half-day training segment on bringing in and starting internships in your community.
o With it came a step-by step guide to bring to local businesses to let them know how the program works and how to start the pipeline.
o The only potential problem that I see with creating apprenticeships is that through the Department of Labor they require that all apprenticeships require the participant to be in schooling for 20% of their hours and their job with the manufacturer must have a wage of $15(+) an hour.
• Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Meeting-(G1, G3, G5) At the last GLBRA meeting we talked about a few critical upcoming things and about how we would like to move forward on the Silverload plan.
o GLBRA has cancelled their next meeting because of the silverload presentation and very busy holiday schedules. We will meet again in January.
o GLBRA and Silverload will be presenting their Attraction Plan on Monday, December 12 at 10am at the Midland Center for the Arts.
• Rifle River Prosperity Network-(G5) On November 23rd I submitted a grant for the EDC to get funding for a feasibility study for the fairgrounds. There has been no word whether the grant has been accepted or not.
• Au Gres Chamber Meeting-(G1, G2, G5) At the last meeting the discussion primarily focused around the upcoming winter festival that the chamber will be putting on and the success of their Halloween in Park event.
o Due to lack of time we were unable to get through the entire agenda.
o Chamber meeting dates have been moved as well. They will now be meeting on the second Tuesday of the month at 5pm
o Lastly, we got a letter in the mail to vote on the Au Gres Chamber board.
• Arenac County Business Expo-(G1, G2, G3, G4, G5) While at the Au Gres Chamber they expressed great interest in hosting a business expo, not only for their community but for Arenac County as a whole. They would like the EDC to head this event and work to connect both the Standish and Au Gres chambers for increased participation.
o Their hope is to feature Au Gres and Standish chamber members for a small fee and other non-chamber members who would like to participate would have to pay a larger fee. The goal with this larger fee is that it would pay their chamber dues and the rest of the funds could go to support the EDC.
o I was unable to go to the Standish Chamber meeting this month because of a Michigan Works training opportunity.
• EDC Fundraiser/Witchy Wolf Run-(G1, G2, G3, G4)-I was able to talk to Chuck Hillard about the idea of partnering with the EDC to put on a fundraiser run. He said that he was interested and would be willing to partner. He gave 3 options on the races he would feel comfortable helping us organize.
o 1. Ironman-He suggested that we do an Ironman race if we really wanted to have a big draw. The Ironman race is very difficult and the name itself has a lot of draw from people all over the state. He has not done one of these races before, but has a good idea of where it could go.
o 2. Triathlon-Chuck said that he usually hosts a triathlon in the spring. He has the course plotted out, but said that the hardest thing about a triathlon is getting people to work the check-in stops along the way. He said that this would take more man-power, but it is doable.
o 3. Witchy Wolf Run-This run in the past has been over Labor Day weekend, but he would really like to see it changed to later this fall because people are usually very busy over the holiday weekend. The perk of doing this race is that it could take as few as 4 people to help run and man the race. This race is usually his smallest that he puts on with only 80-100 people.
• Feasibility Study Grant (G3, G4)- When talking to Abby Ertel she recommended looking into other grants to work in support with the RRPN mini-grant because the amount that we were asking for was significantly more than the grant was giving.
o After talking with her I contacted the USDA to see if they had grants that worked in relation to fairgrounds or community projects like this and unfortunately they did not have any grants that fit, but they did direct me to the Department of Agriculture.
o The Department of Agriculture does have a grant specifically for fairgrounds, but it is only for fairgrounds that have gone through a master plan assessment and is to be used for the creation of new structures.
o I am currently looking for more grants that may be able to help us find funds for this feasibility study.
• Meeting with Brenda Flory from MEDC at ATD (G3, G5)-Brenda Flory and I have a meeting scheduled with ATD to talk to them about potentially doing a brownfield application for the second building that they bought in downtown Au Gres.
Michigan Works! Accomplishments this Month:
Attended BSP (part three) training in Ann Arbor where I was given many resources and taught skills that I hope to use in Arenac County very quickly. I am now BSP training certified. I’m hoping to complete the capstone project to become a full-fledged BSP within the next two months.
Currently working with All American Auto to create an OJT.
The STTF grant applications came back and Magline was able to get funding for all the trainings that they had asked for. Vantage and Globe did not. Michigan Works will be working with both companies to make sure that they get all the training that they need through our Incumbent Worker program.
Worked with ATD to create an OJT and an Incumbent Worker contract this month.
Magline Regional Hiring Event will be hosted tomorrow.


Upcoming Projects:
• Connect with Tom Stephenson and the Broadband team about how to proceed now that the survey timeline is over, but we do not have all the completed surveys that we need.
• Meet with Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance to talk about the adoption of the Silverload Consulting plan and how to create actionable steps forward.
• Attend EMCOG meeting
• Research EDC fundraising/Triathlon
• Start preliminary planning on the Arenac County Business Expo
• Planning Committee meeting
• Misc. Contacts-If there are people or businesses you think I should be in contact with, please let me know. I would love to take the time next month to get out and meet them.
Additional Notes:
With the holiday season approaching, I wanted to let you know my days off. Especially since I will not only be taking time off for Christmas, but I will also be taking time to go to Spain in January as well. Here is my upcoming schedule:
December-19th (half day), 20th (half day), 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 29th, 30th.
January- 2nd, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th.
This means that between this meeting and our next EDC meeting I will have worked 11 days. Please keep that in mind as the notes for January may be a little thinner than normal.
Township Meetings:
Nov. 3rd Arenac Township
Nov. 14th Moffatt Township
Dec 12th Standish Township
Dec. 20th Sims Township
Jan 9th Au Gres Township
Feb. 13th Standish Township
March 7th Deep River Township
March 13th Turner Township
April 4th-Mason Township
April 10th Clayton Township
April 13th Lincoln Township
May 9th Whitney Township
May 11th Adams Township
May 15th Moffatt Township



Agriculture is an important segment of the Arenac County economy and accounts for 48% of the County’s land use. According to the 2011 Arenac County Master Plan, 70,165 total acres are in prime farmland, 8,710 total acres are in additional farmland of local importance, and 1,468 total acres are in unique farmland, other than prime.

Financial Institutions

Chemical Bank
220 S. Main St.
Standish, MI 48658   989-846-9506

FirstMerit Bank
120 N. Forest St.
Standish, MI 48658   989-846-5207

Huron Community Bank
3150 E. Huron Rd.
Au Gres, MI 48703   989-876-8068

Independent Bank
209 S. Main St.
Standish, MI 48658   989-846-4595

North Central Area Credit Union
212 Court St. S.
Standish, MI 48658   989-846-9553

Sunrise Family Credit Union
3887 S. Huron Rd.
Standish, MI 48658   989-846-9750

Major Employers   
ATD Engineering & Machine    
533 N. Court St., Au Gres, MI 48703     989-876-7161            
Auburn Bean and Grain Company
4198 S. Huron Rd., Standish, MI 48658   989-846-9114                       
Bay City Shovels
PO Box 169, 2497 US 23, Au Gres, MI 48703     989-876-8121  
Bessinger Pickle Co. Inc.                         
537 N. Court St., Au Gres, MI 48703   989-876-8008
Bopp-Busch Manuf. Co.
545 E. Huron Rd., PO Box 589, Au Gres, MI 48703    989-876-71
Crew Products Co. 
205 N. Mackinaw Rd., Au Gres, MI 48703    989-876-7924
Globe Fire Sprinkler Corp.    
407 Airpark Dr., Standish, MI 48658     989-846-4583 
1205 W. Cedar St., Standish, MI 48658        989-512-1000
Maple Ridge Hardwoods                     
2270 North Dobler, Sterling, MI 48659       989-873-5305
Modern Craft Winery
2760 E. Booth Rd., Au Gres, MI 48703       989-876-0270
Vantage Plastics         
1415 W. Cedar St., Standish, MI 48658      989-846-1029  
Climate / Degrees F
January avg. low/hi – 11/28 
July avg. low/hi – 56/82
Avg. annual snowfall – 45 inches
Avg. annual rainfall – 28 inches
Growing season – 126 days
Housing U.S. Census Bureau
Housing units – 9,745 (2011)
Households – 6,526 (2011)
Median rent - $400/month (2009)
Median value owner-occupied housing units - $94,900 (2011)
Homeownership rate – 82.7% (2011)
Business Establishments – 337 establishments  
Natural Resource and Mining – 1.5%
Construction and Manufacturing – 20.8%
Trade, Transportation and Utilities – 27.0%
Information, Financial, Professional and Business Services – 16.6%  
Educational and Health Services – 9.2%
Leisure and Hospitality – 14.2%
Public Admin. and Other Services – 14.7%
County Seat – City of Standish
Miles from:
Chicago: 344
Cleveland: 310
Detroit: 149
Indianapolis: 383
Lansing: 130
Transportation Services
Air – MBS International Airport
8500 Garfield Rd, Freeland, MI  48626  989-695-5555
Rail – Lake State Railway
1002 Long Lake Rd., Alpena, MI 49707      989-354-6768  
Highways I-75, M-13, M-33, M-61, M-65, M-70, M-76, US-23
Local Bus – Arenac County Transit     Dial-a-Ride 989-846-7500
Public Schools Serving Arenac County
Arenac Eastern School District   
200 Smalley St., Twining, MI 48766   989-867-4234
Au Gres-Sims School District  
140 S. Court St., Au Gres, MI 48703   989-876-7157
Standish-Sterling Community Schools   
3789 Wyatt Rd., Standish, MI 48658     989-846-3670
Tawas Area Schools
245 W M 55, Tawas City, MI 48763      989-362-8408  
Whittemore Prescott Area Schools
8970 Prescott Rd., Whittemore, MI 48770   989-756-2500                       

Regional Higher Education Institutions

Delta College (two year community college)
1961 Delta Rd., University Center, MI 48710
Campus Centers in Bay City, Midland and Saginaw

Kirtland Community College  (63 available degrees and certificates)
Central campus in Roscommon
Extensions in West Branch and Gaylord

Saginaw Valley State University (undergraduate and graduate programs)
7400 Bay Rd., University Center, MI 48710

Iosco/Arenac County District Library
105 North St., Standish, MI 48658        989-846-6611
Mary Johnston Memorial Library
114 N. Court St. Standish, MI 48658        989-846-6611
Omer Little Eagle's Nest Library
201 E. Center  Omer, MI  48749      989 653-2230
Au Gres Library
230 N. Mackinaw  Au Gres, MI 48703
Hospitals/Health Centers/Nursing Facilities
St. Mary’s of Michigan - Standish Community Hospital
805 Cedar St., Standish, MI 48658
Sterling Area Health Center
725 E. State St., Sterling, MI 48659       989-654-2491
Adult Day Care/Living Facilities  
Horizon Senior Living
218 Airpark Dr., Standish, MI 48658      989-386-4900
Medilodge of Sterling, LLC
500 School Rd., Sterling, MI 48659       989-654-2496
Pleasant Days Adult Day Care Center
131 Clyde St., Omer, MI 48749             989-370-7184
HIstorical Society
Arenac County Historical Society
304 E. Michigan Ave., Au Gres, MI 48703        989-876-6399
Chambers of Commerce  
AuGres Chamber    
PO Box 455, Au Gres, MI 48703         989-876-6688                                                                      
Standish Chamber
PO Box 458, Standish, MI 48658        989-846-7867
Welcome Center
Downtown Development Authorities
City of AuGres
124 W. Huron Rd., Au Gres, MI 48703        989-876-8811
City of Standish
399 E. Beaver St., Standish, MI 48658      989-846-9588
Michigan Works             
4480 West M-61, Standish, MI 48658        989-846-2111