By Colleen Schonfield
Grand Valley Lanthorn
Carrying on a family business that has been around for nearly 90 years can certainly place pressure on someone, but when it involves having the aspiration to expand it into an entirely new and innovative direction, that pressure often turns into passion.
As the soon-to-be first student to graduate Grand Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in general management and entrepreneurship, senior Jacob Heiss plans to utilize his degree by combining his experience and expertise as a fifth-generation farmer to expand his family’s farm into a local meadery – a place that produces alcoholic drinks using fermented honey and water.
“The business electives I’ve taken have helped me in learning how to have financial structure and implement business plans,” Heiss said. “GVSU has also provided me with resources such as the Sprout Lab, CEI and CEO club and the Small Business Development Center.”
Heiss Farms, a 300-acre family-owned business located in Ravenna, grows and produces flower-hanging baskets, vegetables, blueberries, potatoes, onions and honey using black, organic soil. To contribute toward the farm’s new product development, Heiss had the idea of starting his own business that would use the farm’s crops to extend his family’s product line, an extension he named Muckflat Meadery.