Paula Gardner

Paula Gardner is Bridge’s first business editor, joining the team in April 2020. Paula will be leading our new dive into business reporting, emphasizing Michigan’s economy and policy issues that affect it, along with stories about the people, decisions and changes on the front lines of business in our state.  Her career includes several years at MLive.com, where she was editor of The Ann Arbor News, statewide business reporter and part of an award-winning environmental coverage team that helped uncover and dig into Michigan’s PFAS crisis. Among her honors is an award naming her Michigan’s Journalist of the Year in 2019 from the Michigan Press Association. Paula’s experience includes leading the news team at AnnArbor.com, a digital news startup launched in 2009 that generated company-leading audience growth.  Before that, she worked at Michigan Business Review, the Detroit Free Press and the Ypsilanti Press. Paula moved from Dearborn Heights to attend the University of Michigan, then never left the greater Ann Arbor area after graduation. Find her as Paula_Gardner on Twitter or pgardner@bridgemi.com

Articles

Michigan bars worry as East Lansing bar’s coronavirus tally tops 70 cases

Michigan bars worry as East Lansing bar’s coronavirus tally tops 70 cases

June 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Bars, particularly in college towns, have an avalanche of challenges as they try to reopen: limited seating, rude customers and young people who didn’t come to stay socially distant. And then there is Harper’s, which is facing the fallout from a packed house.

Jigsaw puzzles show off ‘love and pride’ in Michigan — and its history

Jigsaw puzzles show off ‘love and pride’ in Michigan — and its history

June 20, 2020 | Paula Gardner

State-themed puzzles started as a ‘history side hustle,’ but now staff and volunteers at the Michigan History Center are riding increased sales as interest in the hobby takes off.

Michigan may have lost millions to over 100,000 fake unemployment claims

Michigan may have lost millions to over 100,000 fake unemployment claims

June 19, 2020 | Paula Gardner

The state’s investigation into international fraud found 1 in 5 frozen accounts are still considered suspicious.

Michigan legislators want unemployment offices reopened

Michigan legislators want unemployment offices reopened

June 18, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Jobless workers continue to say they’re struggling to reach Unemployment Insurance Agency employees to resolve issues with unpaid claims that in some cases may go back months

Michigan manufacturers want incentives, eye automation in pandemic

Michigan manufacturers want incentives, eye automation in pandemic

June 18, 2020 | Paula Gardner

John Walsh, CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association, says the sector is ramping up amid softer global demand after coronavirus. Now it’s evaluating what it needs to gain ground, including ensuring worker safety and perhaps more automated jobs.

Michigan jobs go unfilled when workers make more from unemployment

Michigan jobs go unfilled when workers make more from unemployment

June 18, 2020 | Paula Gardner

‘How do we get people back to work when there’s really no incentive for them to?’ asked one employer about not being able to compete for workers earning generous jobless benefits.

400K unemployment claims now flagged in Michigan fraud investigation

400K unemployment claims now flagged in Michigan fraud investigation

June 12, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Benefits have been restored to 140,000 people, but an additional 200,000 new claims now require verification as the state confronts identity theft.

Order extending halt in Michigan evictions may create 75,000 case backlog

Order extending halt in Michigan evictions may create 75,000 case backlog

June 12, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Landlords in many areas are working to reduce evictions.  With coronavirus, ‘the last thing we need is to increase our homeless population,’ said one tenant attorney in Flint.

Ann Arbor restaurant pioneer takes time reopening: ‘Everyone is anxious’

Ann Arbor restaurant pioneer takes time reopening: ‘Everyone is anxious’

June 11, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Mani Osteria was groundbreaking when it opened 9 years ago. Now, founder Adam Baru joins restaurateurs across Michigan in plotting how to safely reopen after a coronavirus shutdown and restore lost sales.

Frustrations rise over 340K frozen jobless claims, Michigan’s lack of answers

Frustrations rise over 340K frozen jobless claims, Michigan’s lack of answers

June 10, 2020 | Paula Gardner

About 340,000 accounts in the state’s jobless benefit system received ‘stop payment’ alerts in May when officials launched an investigation into identity fraud.  Now, lawmakers and the jobless are becoming frustrated over the agency’s lack of answers about the probe.

Michigan restaurants can now reopen.That doesn’t mean most will.

Michigan restaurants can now reopen.That doesn’t mean most will.

June 8, 2020 | Paula Gardner

The state’s dining industry is allowed to reopen with some restrictions Monday, but about half won’t open right away. Some still see financial risks and others are sorting out their health precautions after COVID-19.

Six of seven Michigan small businesses don’t expect to regain lost sales

Six of seven Michigan small businesses don’t expect to regain lost sales

June 4, 2020 | Paula Gardner

As Michigan begins to reopen, 87 percent of Michigan small businesses forecast sales declines. A survey also shows more business owners favor President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic than they do that of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In downtown Kalamazoo, store owners erect plywood and brace for damage

In downtown Kalamazoo, store owners erect plywood and brace for damage

June 2, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Windows were smashed along a street filled with small, independent businesses in this West Michigan city. As Tuesday evening loomed, there was sympathy for sincere protests against police violence, and fear of what “outsiders” might have in store.

Michigan recovery plan calls for keeping businesses alive amid coronavirus

Michigan recovery plan calls for keeping businesses alive amid coronavirus

June 1, 2020 | Paula Gardner

‘During a time of crisis when you have limited dollars, you really need to make sure that whatever you are spending helps as many people as possible,’ says Doug Rothwell of Business Leaders for Michigan.

Michigan stores can reopen. It’s unclear how many shoppers will follow.

Michigan stores can reopen. It’s unclear how many shoppers will follow.

May 29, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Coronavirus closed nonessential stores across the state, but now retailers can start to reopen. The return to in-person sales could be the start of a rebound for the struggling sector —  and more jobs for unemployed residents.

‘Unusual situation’ pushes 50-year bookstore owner to make survival decisions

‘Unusual situation’ pushes 50-year bookstore owner to make survival decisions

May 28, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Some of Michigan’s retailers will still wait weeks to reopen, as they align staffing, their finances and how they’ll follow state guidelines. This is one story among them, as the owner of Curious and Archives in East Lansing grapples with coronavirus impacts.

Q&A with Rich Studley: Michigan hurt by ‘arbitrary’ coronavirus shutdown

Q&A with Rich Studley: Michigan hurt by ‘arbitrary’ coronavirus shutdown

May 28, 2020 | Paula Gardner

“Are we heading toward another lost decade?” CEO Rich Studley recently tweeted.

Michigan stores are reopening. Masks are required. Who’ll enforce it?

Michigan stores are reopening. Masks are required. Who’ll enforce it?

May 27, 2020 | Paula Gardner

The state’s retailers can reopen by following coronavirus safety guidelines, but that may cause new problems. Now they’re caught between customers who won’t wear masks - and those who expect it.

Coronavirus air travel: a postcard from a Michigan to Tampa-bound plane

Coronavirus air travel: a postcard from a Michigan to Tampa-bound plane

May 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner

As Michigan creeps toward re-opening, Bridge Business Editor Paula Gardner shares what it’s like at Detroit Metro Airport and on a crowded airplane.

Michigan travel industry feels ‘pressures in all directions’

Michigan travel industry feels ‘pressures in all directions’

May 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Tourism drives billions of dollars into the state’s economy. Now, after months of coronavirus shut-downs,  it’s starting summer without answers on when it can attempt to do that again.

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