The Grand Hotel was one of 20 nominees selected by USA Today staff and a panel of industry experts. Final selection was determined by public vote by readers around the U.S. Travel + Leisure Magazine, and TripAdvisor have also honored recently honored the hotel.
Crystal Smith, a Bayview Yacht Club pastry chef, was encouraged to apply and audition by her sous chef and former boss, leading her to a $10,000 victory.
The Grand Rapids maker of The Gluten Free Bar is the first-ever recipient of the Michigan export "Rising Star Award" from the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development. The inaugural award was created to recognize a company new to exporting or just starting to increase exports into one or more countries.