Archive for the ‘Business Feature’ Category
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
What’s new around town this spring?
From staff reports
What services are imperative for a small town like Glen Arbor? How about a grocery store, a hardware store, a gas station and an active Chamber of Commerce.
Check three of four for Jeff and Georgia Gietzen, the Grand Rapids transplants who acquired Northwoods Hardware three years ago (and became sole owners in 2011), who have also become Chamber leaders, and this spring bought the gas station just north of town. Northwoods Filling Station now boasts vintage 1950s signage, sells gasoline and quick bites, and most importantly stays open 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. That’s a big improvement over having to drive to Empire or Maple City for petrol.
When the Gietzens’ acquisition of the gas station was officially announced at the Glen Lake Chamber meeting on May 14, the town’s business leaders clapped and cheered.
“Similar to the hardware store, we want the filling station to provide a viable asset to the community that won’t close,” says Jeff Gietzen. “A community needs a gas station year-round. We need to be profitable, of course, but what drives us is the good of the community.”
The hardware store has expanded its inventory to include a home and garden department, a greenhouse and a birding shed (all behind the main building), and it will also serve cold beverages to quench the thirsts of tennis and basketball players on the public courts next door. At Northwoods Hardware and Filling Station, ’50s retro images of “June” and “Donnie” will welcome customers as they stock up on building supplies, hanging plants, or gasoline.
“We want to build good energy so that good things happen,” says Gietzen. “If you go into a restaurant without good energy, you won’t go back, even if the food is fabulous. We want our businesses to have soul, a good vibe and energy.”
Leelanau is consistently rated the healthiest county in Michigan, and among the healthiest nationwide. Now there’s a new way to stay fit in Glen Arbor, because as TRX trainer Stacy Jago says, “fitness should be an everyday thing.”
Jago, a 40-year-old native of Newberry in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who had a fitness studio in Los Angeles until 2009, opened a TRX facility and yoga studio in Glen Arbor’s Village Sampler Plaza on April 1 (look for a grand opening party on June 15). TRX incorporates suspension training that leverages gravity and bodyweight and allows you to perform hundreds of exercises using a system of ropes. “Train the way you move,” is Jago’s mantra. At the studio, she offers hands-on personal training because, as she says, “people get lost in the gym when they work out alone, and that makes me cry.”
When I toured the studio in early May, Jago had just returned from running the dunes in training for the upcoming M-22 Challenge, which will be her third. She had gnarly blisters on her feet from running on the hot sand, but she was determined to improve her overall time. She finished fifth overall among women at last year’s race.
Jago’s TRX studio also offers yoga classes with local instructors and recent Leelanau transplants Leda Olmsted and Amanda Jackson. (This past winter, Olmsted discovered the naturally formed ice boulders on Good Harbor Bay, whose images made national news.) They will teach traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, hot yoga during the cold months, TRX yoga with ropes, and —get this — standup paddleboard yoga on the Glen Lakes.
Visit Jago’s website and buy a workout package at GlenArborFitness.com. Or drop in for a $20 individual workout.
Vacancies and moves
We’re less than two years removed from the Good Morning America show’s “Most Beautiful Place in America” honor, but for some reason Glen Arbor is pocked with vacant storefronts. There are two near Ruth Conklin Gallery, and the spots formerly occupied by the Black Swan in the Village Sampler plaza and Macbeth on M-22 are also empty. The Glen Arbor Athletic Club in the old schoolhouse will also shut its doors, and memberships there will be honored at the Homestead Resort.
Mark and Jennifer Cundiff’s business Enhanced Physical Therapy moves into the space formerly occupied by Mary Turak’s Yarn Shop in the Village Sampler; the Yarn Shop will re-open later this summer in her daughter Lissa Edwards’ home on Lake Street. Meanwhile, the Glen Lake Artists gallery on Lake Street has left the old Arbor Light building and moved to a space in front of the Glen Arbor Art Association and behind Lake Street Studios. Sobran Gallery will take its place next to Petoskey Pete’s, and Cherry Republic’s corporate offices have moved upstairs.
Expansion on the Narrows
On the Narrows Marina opted for a scaled-back expansion at its spot on Big Glen Lake, just north of the Narrows Bridge. After securing permission from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the McCahill family installed an extra dock (but no new moorings), which they say will create more space for boaters to park their crafts while filling up on gasoline, use their restrooms (whether or not they are customers of On the Narrows) or buy sandwiches from McCahill’s Crossing Dairy Bar, which can be delivered across the bridge to the marina.
“I hope the community will see what we’ve done and conclude that it enhances the overall experience,” said Tom McCahill.
New owners of Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate
Over in Empire, Jody Dotson and DC Hayden have acquired Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate from Mimi Wheeler, who is happy about her semi-retirement and time to garden, catch up with friends, and visit her 9-month-old grandson in Minnesota. She will remain a consultant to the new owners and soon launch her new blog, MimisChocolate.com. There you can find recipes for delicious delicacies such as lamb stew in chocolate sauce, and granola with cocoa nibs.
“I now have time to focus on creating recipes using chocolate,” says Wheeler. “I am inspired to add deep flavored dark chocolate to savory dishes as well as using olive oils in truffles. Chocolate adds so much complexity to so many dishes.”
Dotson and Hayden are entrepreneurs and Fair Trade food advocates who believe in the relationship between consumers and farmers and also in the integral role that Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate plays within cozy Empire. Customers to the chocolate shop just south of town on M-22 will enjoy the same high-quality customer service, friendly local staff, and delicious artisanal chocolates, despite the change in ownership.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Glen Lake Artists Gallery had moved to the Glen Arbor Art Association, instead of to its own space in front of it. We regret the error.
Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
By Kristin Hurlin
The cold winter weather of 2013 that lingered well into May has delayed the emergence of our beloved trillium, prolonging their bloom time into June. The large flowered trillium (trillium grandiflorum) has a single, stout stem arising from a deeply buried bulb, three leaves and three big white petals. A Michigan Protected Flower, trillium are fragile and should not be picked, as this kills the entire plant. Besides, they lack fragrance and wilt quickly. In an emergency situation people can eat the leaves and bulb. White-tailed deer also eat trillium, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources predicts that between habitat destruction by humans and grazing by deer, trillium could disappear in the next 30 years. So enjoy the trillium today, and do what you can to ensure their survival for your great grandchildren.
Artist Kristin Hurlin has lived and worked in downtown Glen Arbor for 30 years. Her gallery, “PARADISO”, located behind her home on M-22, features original art, prints, “rock art”, photos, furniture and more. Open summers from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
From staff reports
On May 24-25, Wool & Honey in Cedar will be full of amazing talent from Michigan artists. Hand-dyed yarn and fibers from Yarn Hollow and hand-crafted paper jewelry and art by Quilling Maven. Also, all weekend long there will be demonstrations on how to use JUL Designs Closures to enhance your knitwear. The store will kickoff the fun on Friday evening from 6-9 p.m. and continue the gathering on Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Yarn Hollow began in 2005, the result of a kitchen sink epiphany. Rita Petteys began dyeing yarn in her garage in Grandville, Mich., and selling it at the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market. These yarns come in an array of exquisite multi-colored and semi-solid color ways in a full range or weights. She uses a collection of fibers including merino, polworth, cashmere, bamboo, seacell, silk, blue faced leicester, tussah silk, mohair, baby alpaca and cotton. In both yarn and spinning fiber there are superwash options. Yarn Hollow is now throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southern United States and Canada. Amazing colors for any one that knits, crochets or spins!
Quilling Maven comes from Williamston, Mich. Barb Zaremski loves making earrings, pendants and art out of paper. The art of quilling is centuries old – rolling and shaping specialty paper together to create ornamental designs. And similar to us fiber fans – it’s creating something beautiful from nothing. Quilling was a hobby of hers and now she’s putting these stunning creations out in the world to us to enjoy. These gorgeous accessories are perfect for you or a truly unique gift for someone special.
Friday, January 25th, 2013
From staff reports
Glen Lake Community Schools has received a $5,000 community grant from Best Buy. Leaders of the corporate retailer’s Traverse City location selected Glen Lake from submitted proposal requests because of the school’s dedication to closing the digital divide for teens and providing them access to opportunities through technology to help them excel in school, and develop 21st century work force skills.
“Glen Lake Community Schools were selected based on their need to provide opportunities for continued learning in the summer months, in a safe environment,” said Brian Sawa, general manager of Best Buy Traverse City. “The schools will provide a venue to experience real world learning, by documenting through video, and performing creative art forms for the community. The program will give art and technology opportunities to youth that would otherwise not have it, due to access, travel restrictions, and financial restrictions. Best Buy strives to be at the intersection of technology and life.”
The Best Buy Community Grants Program is led by employee committees in each of the company’s 12 territories across the United States. Best Buy believes its employees are best able to build and maintain lasting community partnerships and should be empowered to help direct funding to nonprofit organizations in their communities through Community Grants and TagTeam Awards for volunteerism. This year, Best Buy Children’s Foundation will give $2.75 million through the Community Grants Program.
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Martin Company associate Pam DePuy sold this home on Glen Lake to Heather and NeilPeplinski last summer.
By Jacob Wheeler
It wasn’t quite a “road to Damascus” epiphany, but Rob Serbin did find the road to Little Traverse Inn last year. The Glen Arbor realtor finally sold the restaurant on M-22 for the second time in seven years, this time to Scotsman Graeme Leask, after it sat idle on the market for 18 months. The sale was emblematic of Serbin’s monster year, which saw his company’s net sales surge by 250 percent. Numerous realtors in the Glen Arbor area shared that good fortune.
The numbers for 2012 were astonishing. According to the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, a total of 383 residential listings sold last year around Leelanau County, compared to 262 listings in 2011 — an increase of nearly 50 percent. They ranged from a bank-owned condominium unit at Timberlee Hills for $26,000, to a home on Lake Leelanau, near Leland, that sold for $4 million after being listed on the market for several years at nearly $5 million. Last year saw 14 million-dollar sales, compared to nine in 2011. The surge included homes on the Glen Lakes, too, where realtors sold 16 properties, compared to 11 the previous year. Four of those 2012 sales reached seven-figure amounts.
Pam DePuy, a sales associate for the Martin Company since 2004, listed or sold eight of those 16 properties on the Glen Lakes, plus two more waterfront sales elsewhere, giving her a total of 10 — thus doubling her waterfront sales from 2011. Her boss, John Martin, dubbed her “Queen of the Lake” for her performance in 2012.
Serbin Real Estate posted $19 million in sales last year (covering properties in Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties), compared to $7.5 million in 2011. The company’s most lucrative transaction in 2012 was on Big Glen Lake for just over $1.4 million. Meanwhile, LVR Realty’s sales increased by 30 percent between 2011 and 2012, and the company opened 2013 with four pending sales. Even cumulative Leelanau County vacant land sales surged from 86 in 2011 to 104 in 2012 — a 20-percent uptick.
“To turn it around like that was unbelievable,” said Rob Serbin, who completed one sale even though he never met the seller, and sold two more properties through word of mouth although he never officially listed them. “It was absolutely, without question, a fabulous year.”
What accounted for the surge in sales? Realtors agree: the spotlight cast on the area by the ABC “Good Morning America” TV show’s August 2011 “Most beautiful place in America” honor, and the steadily improving economy.
“I think people are realizing that the sky’s not gonna fall,” said Coldwell Banker realtor Mark Fisher. “Things got bad for a lot of people, so many just pulled back. But when it’s all said and done, people are still going to take vacations and look for retirement homes.”
And just as the economy showed signs of lurching forward, Leelanau County found itself broadcast on televisions across the country.
“Many view the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Glen Arbor specifically, to be a good place to make a solid, financial investment,” said Ranae Ihme. “The majority of those purchasing in this area are long-time renters and visitors who have always wanted to own here, and are now stepping up to do so with an even greater sense of security.”
But Ihme also credits smaller steps that locals have taken to make this a more livable and attractive community: “While the economy and GMA award have certainly assisted in our progress, Glen Arbor and its residents also need to be cited as a large part of this overall success. With such additions as the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, which is groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and the ice rink now open across from Art’s Tavern for skating and hockey, this little town is becoming an idyllic destination, regardless of the season, that many people want to call home.”
Real estate’s “new normal”
Real estate sales may have surged, but the market hasn’t returned to its glory years from the middle of the last decade, when realtors could count on $17,000 for each foot of frontage on the Glen Lakes or Lake Michigan. It may never again reach that pinnacle, forcing some realtors to embrace a “new normal”.
“I was alarmed the other day to see a sale on the north shore of Little Glen Lake for $420,000 for 140 feet of frontage,” admitted John Martin. “That was alarming because Day Forest Road lakefront properties ought to be $5,000 a frontage foot or more. I’m happy about the number of sales that happened last year, but there’s room for improvement. Prices right now are pretty static.
“We as realtors have become the jacks of all trades, and the masters of none: we sell everything, from waterfront, to vacant land, to commercial.”
While LVR Realty’s number of sales surged by 30 percent, the company didn’t sell anything last year for one million. In fact, said Ranae Ihme, prices of properties on the Glen Lakes have declined from the high $900s to the $700 thousands. LVR’s average sale price in 2012 was around $400-$500,000, leading her to conclude that “the steady increase (in the last couple years) was much more cautious and conservative than the boom in the late ’90s and early 2000s.”
“This is not the market of 2005 or ’06,” concurred Pam DePuy, who saw one property on the south shore of Little Glen Lake, that would have topped seven figures in 2005, sell last year for under a million. “If people are listing, it’s key that their property be listed at an appropriate price. Don’t let your expectations foreshadow the reality.”
You can’t compare 2013 with 2005, warned Rob Serbin: “Someone once said that if a property doesn’t sell, there’s something wrong with it or it’s overpriced. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard other realtors say, ‘I don’t want to give it away!’ But it’s the market price that determines things, and this isn’t 2005 any more.
“Sellers who may have had properties listed for the last few years finally got down to a price point where they were competitive. The nature of the market right now is driven by pent-up demand and more aggressive pricing.”
Long term effect
Will real estate prices remain relatively low? And how will the improving economy affect the market in coming years?
Ihme believes that homes finding buyers for significantly smaller prices than eight years ago will ultimately force the market to correct itself. “When the economy was really strong, there were usually about 30 listings in the area at a time,” she said. “When the market tanked, that numbered skyrocketed into the 80s. We’re now seeing a downward trend that’s nearing the 30s again. When that number stabilizes is when we’ll see an overall increase in property prices.”
The number of buyers looking to own homes in Leelanau County also figures to remain high. Serbin believes that the attention garnered by the “Good Morning” honor might not yet have borne fruit.
“Those people (who learned of the area on television) are still a year to five years (from buying here),” said Serbin. “They came to visit last summer, or the fall before. They’re gonna come back this year, or maybe for the first time. They’ve gotta warm up to the area first before they pull the trigger. So there could be a real trickle-down effect.”
As Mark Fisher points out, many of the lucrative properties sold in Leelanau County are secondary homes financed by wealthy Americans with discretionary income. With the recovery from the 2008 recession still young, the market for secondary homes is only now beginning to gather steam.
So Glen Arbor’s real estate market could continue to surge in 2013 and beyond. But the verdict is still out on whether it will ever reach 2005 prices again.
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
From staff reports
The wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail invite you to share the love of wine and the beauty of Michigan’s wine coast in wintertime at their annual Taste the Passion wine tour the weekend of Feb. 2-3.
“Winter is an intimate time in northern Michigan and the Leelanau Peninsula is a perfect destination for a romantic weekend or simply a getaway to explore one of the nation’s fastest growing wine regions,” explains winemaker Paul Hamelin. “Our vineyards are blanketed in sheltering snow, and the tasting rooms are warm and welcoming. You’ll even find many of our vintners in attendance, pouring your wine and sharing their knowledge. It’s really the perfect winter vacation for wine lovers.”
Your ticket allows you to chart your own course, enjoying food and wine pairings at 20 wineries. Each winery offer savory or sweet food & wine pairing. Many feature the ever-popular pairing of wine and chocolate, and some wineries even open up their vineyards for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.
Packages at area lodging hotels, cabins and bed & breakfasts are available on their website — it’s the perfect Valentine’s Day surprise for your sweetie. Tickets are just $30, and quantities are limited: LPwines.com/taste-the-passion-lodging-packages/
If you want to add a little more fun to your weekend, join LPWines at The Homestead’s Mountain Flowers Lodge on Feb. 1 from 6-8 p.m. The Homestead and the Glen Arbor Art Association will host “Art from Michigan’s Wine Country”. Art will be on display and for sale from member artists and details are available online.
Taste the Passion Food Pairings
Bel Lago will be serving Decadent Triple Chocolate Cake drizzled with Chef Hamar’s Balaton Cherry Sauce paired with Bouquet, a delightful blend of Pinot Noir and Cherry wines.
Black Star Farms will have a white chocolate cranberry lollipop with salted pistachio paired with their Sirius Raspberry Dessert wine.
In the spirit of the holiday, Blustone will serve a heart-shaped chocolate-cherry brownie paired with their 2010 Pinot Noir.
Boathouse Vineyards presents their 2009 Pinot Noir paired with a Mayan spiced brownie covered in single origin Peruvian dark chocolate from “Just Good Chocolate” based in Lake Leelanau.
Chateau de Leelanau will unveil their new release 2011 Select Harvest Riesling, paired with a Savory Chocolate Mystery.
Cherry Republic offers chocolate brownies prepared with their dried Montmorency cherries and garnished with chocolate shavings paired with their Balaton cherry wine.
Ciccone Winery will pair Italian meatballs with their 2011 Cabernet Franc.
Forty-Five North presents White Chocolate Brie phyllo shells topped with orange marmalade paired with 45 gold, an apricot dessert wine aged in Bourbon barrels and fortified with spirits.
Gills Pier will feature Mexican Hot Chocolate Mini-Pound Cakes paired with their 2011 Riesling. Semi-dry and delicious. Chef Hannah Israel creates a delightful blend of spice and chocolate to pair with this very balanced and very agreeable estate Riesling.
Good Harbor will be serving Chicken Jalapeno soup paired with their Trillium wine.
Good Neighbor Organic will be serving a culinary rustic slow cooked ham and bean soup with cornbread squares. This dish pairs well with their newly released Pinot Noir. For the real taste of passion try our chocolate cherry hard cider- it’s like biting into a chocolate covered cherry.
L Mawby will pair J’adore with chocolates from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates.
Leelanau Cellars is pairing savory Biscotti with their just-released 2009 Baco Noir Vintage Port.
Longview will serve Chef Aaron’s Double Chocolate Cherry Brownie made with their Cherry Wine paired with their 2011 Pinot Noir.
Silver Leaf will pair their 2011 Pinot Gris with Clam Chowder and welcome cross-country skiing & snow-shoeing through their vineyard and on a two-mile trail that crosses Tyler Creek and winds through woods & cherry orchards.
Tandem Ciders will feature Chicken Mole in a Corneal Crepe paired with their Sweetheart Cider.
Verterra will be serving Leelanau Apple Tart w/Maple Mousse and Caramel paired with their Chaos White Cuvee.
For more information, visit LPWines.com.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Romanian students received books from Glen Arbor’s Cottage Book Shop. Photo by Kathleen Stocking
By F. Josephine Arrowood
I work part-time at the Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor, located in a historic, 85-year-old log cabin that used to nestle over on Big Glen Lake. From its patinated floorboards, every nook and cranny is jammed to the bark-covered beams with books, posters, original art, books, maps, local authors, books, Native American traditional crafts, greeting cards … and books.
But independent bookstores are not gigantic money makers, and those of us who own or work in said shops (however picturesque) are essentially in the retail trade, with its slender wages, long hours, miles of paperwork, and modest return on investment. That said, why do we do it? Why immerse ourselves in the world of printed pages, wherein dazzling, dangerous language and diverse ideas can wield the power to change lives?
We care about being at the hub of a small, close-knit community — open all year, providing a place and the intersecting space to share stories, trade observations, and practice the neighborly arts of village life. Yes, I live in a different village, but the entire county is essentially a small town, whose residents and visitors are typically separated by only two degrees of separation, instead of the usual six.
And all find a welcome at the Cottage Book Shop: a respite that invites the weary sojourner to sit a spell, browse the shelves, flip a few pages, and get lost in translation: from our own busy, mundane lives to someone else’s infinitely fascinating world. A business that, despite its truck with far-off publishing houses, rapidly changing technology, and exotic reads in all genres, still manages to stay true to the local roots of commerce. A place to savor favorite authors’ works, discover new ones (both on the shelf and at book signings), browse for clues to local history and lore, and pass on the love of reading to the next generation.
Barbara Siepker, owner of the Cottage Book Shop, works tirelessly and often behind the scenes to collaborate with community members to promote reading. For a second year, she has signed on as Leelanau County’s only participating distributor for World Book Night (WBN) U.S., scheduled for April 23.
Here’s how it works: Book lovers sign up to receive 20 free copies of a book title to distribute to underserved readers (be they reluctant, marginal or unable to easily access books) of all ages in the Leelanau and Grand Traverse areas. The boxes of books are shipped to the Cottage Book Shop about the second week of April; book ambassadors pick up their selection, and distribute to their chosen organization, school or other recipients on April 23, UNESCO’s International Day of the Book.
Printing and shipping costs are donated by the publishers, and authors waive royalties to these special WBN editions. Some of this year’s 30 titles include Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, baseball story Moneyball, humor by Tina Fey and David Sedaris, Playing for Pizza by John Grisham, children’s books by Rick Riordan and James Patterson, Favorite American Poems and two titles in Spanish.
Siepker, a former children’s social worker and psychotherapist from Chicago, speaks passionately about her beliefs: “My participation in it is getting books in the hands of people who have not read since the days of required school reading. I’ve been concerned about it for years; statistics show they don’t read!”
She continues, “I was very excited when I found out about [World Book Night]. It’s very important to put books into the hands of non-readers.” She urges community members who may want to participate — but aren’t sure how or where — to sign up at no cost by the Jan. 25 deadline, either though the Cottage Book Shop (if they are here in late April) or in their own community. The World Book Night U.S. website has a map showing where the nearest distributor is located by zip code. Find the link at www.CottageBooks.com. Last year, some 25,000 volunteers distributed over half a million books in participating countries.
“If they’re willing to distribute, we can help them find a way, or make a connection,” she emphasizes. “Not everyone reads a newspaper — people can pass on this information. If they know of anyone who could use these books — as long as it’s getting into the hands of the people who need to be reading — that’s what’s so important.” Last year, Leelanau volunteers took books to a local doctor’s office waiting room, youth groups, senior centers, the Traverse City ReHabitat store, a migrant health clinic, community soccer games and more.
About World Book Night, weekend staff person Kim Mann laughs, “I can give away a case of books! It’s important to give books, especially with kids. I always tell them, ‘If you’ve got a book, you’ll never be bored.’ It opens doors to a lot of opportunities.”
She explains her own love of books: “It’s in the blood — my mom is a retired teacher; it comes with the territory.” She donated her books to SEEDS, an after-school program for at-risk youth based in Traverse City. This year, she’s gone even further, inviting SEEDS staffers to sign up as WBN book distributors for the young people in their programs in several counties, including Leelanau.
Staffer Jill Webb took Sherman Alexie’s True Story of a Part-time Indian to several places, including an assisted living facility. At a local Ben Franklin store, she announced, “I have books for people who have gotten out of the habit of reading!” This prompted a conversation with the clerk, who revealed that she worked with a Native American women’s support group, and took some copies for them.
Webb, who taught in Kansas City before moving to Leelanau County, retired as the children’s librarian at Glen Lake School several years ago. She calls her work at the book shop, “the perfect retirement job!”
Betsy Wagner of Glen Arbor and Chicago was at the store recently, helping with inventory. She said, “I took mine [also Sherman Alexie] to the Glen Lake Reformed Church’s Tuesday night food pantry distribution.”
The retired middle-school librarian, French tutor, and book translator for Delacorte Press said, “I always loved to read. Occasionally I even write to authors — I have gotten responses. To me, meeting an author is like a kid meeting a basketball star!”
She reflects on Siepker’s many efforts to share this excitement about the worlds contained in books: “There’s the two book clubs, the Book of the Month Club, the children’s summer outdoor reading each week, inviting authors to book signings. That’s all huge outreach — it seems to me, it’s all about promoting reading.”
Last winter, Siepker and friends of the book shop got together to provide books to a group of school children in Romania. Writer and educator Kathleen Stocking was serving in the Peace Corps, teaching 500 fifth-grade and eighth-grade students in the town of Craiova (see the Glen Arbor Sun article “Letter from Romania,” July 2012). With slender resources as a Peace Corps volunteer in a country she described as Third World in many ways, Stocking was determined to help her students explore vital ideas and issues — such as freedom, democracy and the effects of bigotry on society — through children’s literature, and her students’ writing. As one example, she paired the book To Kill a Mockingbird with the movie Ruby Bridges and The Blind Side.
In an e-mail, she said, “Reading creates democracy. Reading is our best weapon globally against totalitarianism and fascism. Books change lives. Books change minds. People change the world. The kids are the same kids that we have in Michigan.”
Siepker sent out an appeal via email and through the Cottage Book Shop website, and book shop patrons responded warmly and generously to the needs of these young readers. With shipping costs donated by the book shop, they sent several care packages of donated books, DVDs and past issues of Exposures (the Leelanau County-wide publication of high school students’ writing and artwork) to serve as a template for Stocking’s pupils.
The book shop also recently collaborated for another year with the Friends of the Glen Lake Community Library on their successful Holiday Book Drive. This initiative brings new books to local children whose families may be experiencing some form of hardship. Kathy Bartell of Maple City coordinates Glen Lake School’s “Parenting Communities,” and identified children of all ages needing books. The bookstore kept a list of each child by gender and age, and offered a 20 percent discount for each donated book, as well as gift wrapping (provided at the store by Friend Laurel Jeris). Book drive chairwoman Lynn Becker collected the boxes of wrapped books, which the Friends then distributed in time for the holidays.
David Diller, the Glen Lake Community Library Director, recalls, “The book drive started at least 14 years ago, when the Friends hosted their last holiday open house. It really is a tradition now. For younger children especially, a book still has appeal — we hope so, anyhow!”
Last year, over 220 books were donated by community members who care deeply about reading. Reportedly, this year’s goal was also successfully met by the area’s enthusiastic book givers. Bookstore customer Connie Olsen echoed the sentiments of many donors, saying, “I love books; I just want people to read.” And that, simply put, is the Cottage Book Shop’s mission as well.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
Photo by Kerry Kelly
From staff reports
Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails, Inc. is pleased to announce the success of the Traverse City Track Club challenge match for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Thanks to more than 120 donors the $25,000 match was met by the Dec. 31, which secured an additional $5,000 bonus from the Club. The challenge match spurred the support needed to begin constructing the next four-mile segment from the Dune Climb to Empire this year.
“The TC Track Club challenge helped remind trail supporters that it takes many generous hearts to make great things happen,” said an ecstatic campaign tri-chair Brad Anderson, who also owns Anderson’s Market in Glen Arbor. “We really appreciate donors’ continued commitment to the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail!”
“The TC Track Club is dedicated to supporting local recreation, youth and adult running programs, and making our community a better place to live, work, and play,” added TC Track Club board president Karen Wells. “The club is pleased to share with our community the proceeds from our many successful events such as the Bayshore Marathon & Half Marathon, the Remembrance Run, the Lighthouse Half Marathon, and the Jingle Bell Run. In 2012, the TC Track Club donated over $215,000 to local non-profits.”
Fundraising for the Heritage Trail continues for the connection from Glen Arbor to Port Oneida. A permanent donor plaza will be constructed at the base of the Dune Climb to recognize donors of $1,000 to the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Well-known local artist Glenn Wolff created an illustrated map of the trail and donors of $5,000 or more will receive a limited edition signed print. Donations may be made online at SleepingBearTrail.org, or by contacting Pam Darling, Development Director of TART Trails, at (231) 941-4300.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
From staff reports
The Little Traverse Inn on M-22 between Glen Arbor and Leland has announced its entertainment lineup for the winter. Despite the cold and gray, Graeme and Judy Leask hope to warm their guests with food and beer specials and good cheer.
Check out these special events
• Celtic Music Session, every Thursday night from 7-9 p.m.
Join us every Thursday for some great live Celtic Music, featuring some of Leelanau County’s finest musicians. Take advantage of our Pie and a Pint special and enjoy the live entertainment.
• Friday, Jan. 18 — Live Music with Goodboy
Join us for an evening of great live music courtesy of Pat Niemisto, Norm Wheeler and Chris Skellenger. Goodboy will perform from 7-10 p.m. on the first and third Friday of the month.
• Saturday Jan. 19 — Comedy Night at the Inn
Featuring nationally recognized Stand up Comedian, Dave Dyer. Dave will be doing two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Dave has been on the comedy circuit for 16 years and has performed with some of the best in the Industry, including Drew Carey, Lewis Black and Kathleen Madigan. He is a contributing writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and has also written for ABC’s Politically Incorrect, The Zany Report, and the Bob and Tom show. Don’t miss this opportunity to laugh your way through Dinner. Get a taste at www.daviddyercomedy.com
• Friday Jan. 25 – Burns Supper
The Burns Supper is an institution of Scottish Life: A night to celebrate the life and writings of the National Baird. Join us for an evening of great music, fine food, a libation or two and some of Rabbie’s own works. The Banshees will once again be with us performing all their great Jigs and Reels, and as is tradition we will have the pleasure of a very fine Piper. No Burns Night would be complete without the Pipes. This will be a date you will wish to add to your Calendar every year. Call for reservations.
Monday, January 14th, 2013
From staff reports
Tim Barr and Bonnie Nescot, who own Glen Arbor’s world famous Art’s Tavern, were honored with last year’s Leelanau Peninsula Chamber business of the year award. The award was presented at the Chamber’s annual dinner on Oct. 25. This was the third year in a row the award has been issued. Previous winners include the Bahles in Suttons Bay and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians’ Economic Development Corporation.
According to Leelanau Peninsula Chamber Executive Director Sally Guzowski, a board comprised of several local business owners reviewed several nominations this year and chose Barr and Nescot for their philanthropic endeavors and the role they play in the community, and to recognize different-sized businesses and “spread the wealth around the county.”