TIMBER RIDGE TREE CARE & TIMBER RIDGE WOOD PRODUCTS
What does an arborist do when he’s not working on other people’s property? For Dustin Meyers it’s, “yard work” on his own property. Meyers turned his passion for trees, the environment, and sustaining wildlife habitat into his life’s work by becoming a certified arborist. He is the owner of Timber Ridge Tree Care and Timber Ridge Wood Products, both located at 4335 Abrigador Trail in Comstock Park.
Timber Ridge Tree Care does everything from tree removal to transplantation to pruning, to storm damage repair, and more, while Timber Ridge Wood primarily does wood recycling and mulching. Meyers is all about “keeping the community thriving and beautiful, keeping the trees in our community healthy.” He has donated ground cover for the White Pine Trail trailhead and Veterans Memorial Park in Plainfield Township, and the Comstock Park Community Plaza.
Meyers started a landscaping and lawn care business, using a startup loan his grandmother gave him, in 1994 after graduating from high school. He decided to specialize in tree work and moved his business to West River Drive in 1998 where he had about a half-acre of property and a small office. As the business grew, he needed more space, and in 2009 he moved to his present location where he has eight acres and a much bigger office building.
When he started his business Meyers says, “It was just me.” There are now 40 full time employees who have jobs doing everything from office work, tree trimming, maintenance work on the 55 trucks, and operating cranes. There are four certified arborists. The company serves an approximately 50-mile radius of residential and commercial customers offering 24/7 emergency removal, land clearing, tree care and maintenance, and more. He says Timber Ridge Tree Care is now “one of the leading providers of specialist arborist and tree maintenance service companies within the greater Grand Rapids area.”
Meyers, who lives in Sparta, grew up in Belmont, graduating from Northview High School. He has family in Comstock Park, so he was familiar with the area when he decided to open his business in Comstock Park. A big plus is being right by the expressway, he said.
Meyers believes rigorous training is the key to good work and makes sure his employees have continuous training to keep up to date on current techniques and technology. Thorough training also ensures safety in hazardous conditions, he said. His own training was on-the-job and studying for the Certified Arborist Exam, a test with some 200 multiple-choice questions on which are divided into areas of expertise such as pruning, safe work practices, diagnosis and treatment, soil management, soil and tree risk management, tree biology, urban forestry.
Someone considering being an arborist has to have a love for trees and the outdoors. It has been the perfect job for Meyers who says there are plenty of opportunities. “You’ve got to enjoy people and be a hard worker,” he said. “It’s great, but it’s not for the faint of heart.”
When you shop at Cooking Connection you are giving back to the community, says Holly del Rosario, owner of the recently opened unique cooking collaborative, and managing partner of Cookie Chicks in downtown Comstock Park. The “connection” in Cooking Connection is connection with the community. Steven Prevost has moved Joe’s Brother Coffee, his coffee roasting business, into the newly renovated space at 3979 West River Drive. Desmond Sunthang has opened a coffee bar he calls Eternal Coffee where he will be using Prevost’s roasted coffee in the coffee drinks he serves
del Rosario, who opened Cooking Chicks in 2015 in the back suite of the building, had already offered space to small food related start-ups for them to give their business a try. When the front of the building became available, she moved in and opened Cooking Connection which provides licensed food production and retail space to several small food businesses at once.
“This business model allows the businesses to work collaboratively in the common space, test the viability of their business and grow their brand without huge financial risk,” said del Rosario.
She said other small food-related businesses will be joining Prevost and Sunthang offering baked goods like artisan bread, fresh, prepared-to-order food and gifts, chef-prepared meals and catering. Customers will of course be able to purchase Cookie Chicks goodies. There is a small event space for meetings and events such as cooking classes. Prevost and Sunthang have already hosted a coffee tasting event. What all the businesses have in common is that they will be supporting causes important to them.
“One of the main pushes we will require of any of the small businesses joining us in the Cooking Connection is to have some identified and committed to philanthropic cause outside of their direct business” said Holly, who supports and employs the local special needs community.
Sunthang will serve up Joe’s Brother Coffees like Wonderland and Jaguar Honey in his drinks like Sumatra Bean Latte at the coffee bar. Customers will get to see the exact amount of beans of their choice being ground for their cup of coffee, which Sunthang says preserves the flavor and aroma. His cousin Paul Ce is a partner in the business.
Sunthang will be helping support the Burmese refugee community in West Michigan. Sunthang was an engineering student in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, when he came to the United States at the age of 18 as a refugee with his family. Because he knew English, he was able to work as an interpreter for Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. He started freelance interpreting at places like Spectrum. He opened a “grab and go sushi” business at Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University. At Central he also worked at a non-profit coffee shop as a barista and became interested in specialty coffee. Sunthang said that in Myanmar, “3-in-one” coffee packets that contain instant coffee, sugar, and creamer are popular. “Black” coffee was a revelation to him when he came to West Michigan, and he has become passionate about serving only the best tasting coffee. He sold his sushi business to contrate on Eternal Coffee.
Prevost lost both his father and his brother to ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causing loss of muscle control. He named his coffee roasting business after his brother Joe and works to raise awareness about ALS by supporting the Susan Mast ALS Foundation.
Prevost said he selects only premium coffees and roasts the beans using a unique hot air system known as Fluid Air Bed Roasting. Customers can purchase his coffee beans from various parts of the coffee growing world. Besides packages of coffee beans, he will have available single pot packages of ground coffee as well as single cup pods made from recyclable material. He is a graphic designer and website administrator for a business-to-business distribution and e-commerce company.