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Founders & The Apartment Lounge join businesses leaving GR Chamber following Schuette endorsement

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Two well-known businesses in Grand Rapids have now joined the list of companies leaving the Grand Rapids Chamber, following its endorsement of Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette.

Both Founders and The Apartment Lounge posted the news on their Facebook pages Wednesday, expressing disappointment in the Chamber's decision.

"With us being the only organization in terms of the Chamber in the whole country actually that has a LGBT extension, I’ve always been very proud of that," said Bob Johnson, the owner of The Apartment Lounge. "In doing this, it sort of negates who we are and what we’re doing. I can’t condone that, so I’ve pulled all of my memberships as of today from the Chamber of Commerce.”

The Chamber announced its endorsement on its Facebook page on Monday, news that was upsetting to several companies and residents who responded to the post.

Many comments and posts against the endorsement, center around the republican candidate's formal opinion from July 2018 in regards to the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Schuette-the current State Attorney General- was asked to give his opinion, after the Michigan Civil Rights Commission voted earlier in the year to expand the interpretation of the act to include protections from discriminations based on sexual orientation and gender identification when it comes to things like housing and education.

In his opinion, Schuette said expanding the interpretation, which currently just uses the word sex, and also bans sexual harassment, would go beyond  the original intent of the Legislature

During an interview Tuesday, Chamber President, Rick Baker told FOX 17 while they don't agree with every candidate on every single issue, they try to align with those who can help Michigan's business sector.

"We have worked a lot the last few years with the current administration to make improvements in the business climate. We’re seeing the results of that. People are coming back to Michigan businesses are growing," said Baker.  "We want to continue that process and continue that forward movement, and policies that align with Schuette put us in that direction to keep us moving forward.”

Baker also told FOX 17 the Chamber also still supports the LGBTQ community and welcomes anyone with concerns about the endorsement to contact them.






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  • Kevin Rahe

    Agree to make it clear that Elliot-Larsen only protects individuals and not necessarily the acts or associations that individuals freely choose to engage in and I’m sure we can all agree to expand it to cover discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” In fact, we would do it by adding that language explicitly, rather than by re-interpreting existing language to mean something beyond its original intent.

  • Cookie

    Oh for goodness sake, when will people grow up? Just because you don’t like someone or what someone believes is no reason to get your panties in a bunch. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

    • Matt

      No, you can’t have your own opinion anymore. Think of other people not just yourself. Put yourself In there gay transgender minority shoes. How would feel. Dont even think anymore. And you are racist.

  • BOB

    Most customers are not aware or do not care if a business belongs to the GR Chamber. The chamber is about helping businesses, not employees or customers.

  • Rose

    I’m sure they wouldn’t have cared a bit if the other candidate had received the endorsement. I hope they in turn lose business because of their intolerant attitude toward those who have a different opinion than theirs.

    • Silly goose

      So they cant stand up for what they believe in? Give me a break the sword is double edged dont be ignorant if you are going to commen

      • Cookie

        Of course they can disagree, that’s my point. You don’t have to drop out, quit or anything else. Everyone has a right to their opinion.

  • D. Ski

    This is another example of “Liberal Bullying”. What did Bill Schuette do – his job – he interpreted the law as written. If you don’t like the law contact the state congress. Today you are allowed to have you own opinion as long as it aligns with the progressive agenda. It is no longer acceptable to be tolerant of these lifestyles but we must embrace them. Last I checked this is still the United States and your rights end where mine begin..

  • D. Ski

    Also it is confusing why business owners would not support Bill Schuette, a business friendly candidate versus a candidate that has openly stated policies which would harm the business environment in Michigan. Does one social issue out-weigh the obligation of these businesses to support a healthy growth of Grand Rapids? These businesses have other options to demonstrate their social preferences rather than harming their community by withdrawing from the Chamber of Commerce. If one social issue guides your decision making than are you really in business to serve all your customer base?

  • LoveTheUSA

    I have never heard of the Apartment Lounge, but Founders, will not be a beer that I purchase. This is just another liberal whine, from a bunch of people who feel like their views must be forced on everyone.
    Perrin makes good beer too, and keeps to producing beer, not politics!

  • D. Ski

    Not a big supporter of organized boycotts. These businesses have the freedom to decide if they want to be a member of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. However, people have the right to decide where they spend their discretionary income, I would not support a business that ignores their obligation to help the Grand Rapids Region grow over one social issue.
    Furthermore it would be justice if someone started a “Fund Me” page for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce to make good the loss of the membership fees and to demonstrate to these activist businesses that the majority of the Grand Rapids Community does not support bullying tactics to get their way.
    The Grand Rapids Region’s health is dependent on the success of Grand Rapids and the Chamber of Commerce has done a lot to attract businesses and capital to the region.

  • June Fellows

    Sorry…..being in business you should not get involved in politics. If a political endorsement pushes you to move then you will get what you deserve. I would say you sound like this a who need a puppy and some hot cocoa. How childish can you be. I will never darken your doorstep.

  • Matt

    I guess I’m not hip to this new gender crap, would someone tell me what the”Q” stands for in LGBTQ? And also when will we have a gender for all the letters of the alphabet? Its discrimination towards the other letters.

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