• Renovations Complete at Jackson’s Commonwealth Commerce Center

    FROM THE Spring 2019 ISSUE

    New Event Space: Jackson center looks to reinvent its service offerings.

Repurposed from a former engineering facility into a 400,000-square-foot, five-story commerce and event space in 1991, Jackson’s Commonwealth Commerce Center recently completed a major renovation.

Adding to its already expansive options, the facility now offers an 8,500-squarefoot banquet space known as the City View Ballroom, which can accommodate more than 450 guests for any size event, from a corporate meeting to an extravagant wedding.

The new ballroom features glass windows surrounding the event space, decorative lighting, sunset views and four big-screen TVs. The first event hosted in the ballroom was last March and although the renovation is complete, the facility continues to develop and evolve its event space.

The center also is working on reinventing its services for 2019. Some of those include a personal hairdresser, a wedding dress and tuxedo boutique, a nail salon, and personalized bartenders and caterers. Nearby hotels also work with the venue to find event space for their guests. The center offers its own licensed vendors to ensure quality customer service.

“There are so many companies that don’t do customer service anymore. We’re truly a one-stop-shop for all of your event needs,” says Jennifer Lindahl, banquet corporate manager.

“We want to be different than anybody else in Jackson and surrounding areas in Michigan,” says Donald Finelli, Commonwealth Commerce Center president. “There is no substitute for experience. Working with one over-arching source for all aspects of an event ensures high-quality customer service and makes the event experience memorable and effortless.”

Commonwealth Commerce Center offers 15 meeting spaces and three large ballrooms. The Grand Ballroom features 7,000 square feet of space and can accommodate more than 450 guests, while the Atrium Ballroom is ideal for smaller events of up to 175 guests and features a connected outdoor patio.

Each of the three ballrooms include LCD projectors, sound and A/V capabilities, a bar and designated dining area, and a dance floor. Planners can choose to rent one of the various spaces, or for larger events, a full buyout is an option.

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 


A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above.