Anderson’s, Cherry Republic, Art’s top list of major birthdays in 2014
By Jacob Wheeler
Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore area enjoyed an economic and tourism boom in the mid-1990s, and now the businesses borne of that boom are coming of age.
Brad Anderson was a youthful 27 years old when he bought Steffens IGA in 1994 from Bill and Jan Heston and renamed it Anderson’s Market. Bit by bit he updated the interior and modernized the inventory, but not until this year did the grocery store in the heart of Glen Arbor get a complete facelift. Highly visible features include an attractive, four-season entrance with a tower (which will prevent Old Man Winter from entering the store), a skylight above the new deli that introduces natural light and enhances the shopping experience, and a 3,000-square foot increase in the market’s size. This month, Anderson’s celebrates its 20th birthday with a grand reopening and community party in the days leading up to Memorial weekend.
“Glen Arbor has gotten so much recognition recently,” said Anderson. “We have a nearly 50-year-old building that needed to be upgraded, and our great co-workers needed more space to grow. That culminated in the idea that we’d make improvements that would be viable for the next 20 years.”
A cocktail party with local wine tastings on May 20 offered Anderson and his staff a chance to promote Michigan-made product samplings and “a chance for us to give thanks to our community and customers for their support by treating them to a fun evening.” To honor the community, the market gave away gift baskets filled with local products, and the May 20-23 celebration also featured high-end local vendors including Higher Grounds Trading Co., Old Mission Multigrain, Pleasanton Bakery, Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate, Natural Northern, Osorio Salsas and Boar’s Head Meats.
Anderson’s not only upgraded the store’s physical features but expanded its inventory to include more local and seasonal produce, organic and specialty foods, a full service deli, butcher shop, craft beers and ciders, and Leelanau County’s largest wine selection (20 years ago, Leelanau County boasted only a handful of wineries; now there are 25). “We have always embraced locally made and grown products, and we are excited to bring even more of these special items to our customers,” says Anderson. The market will also continue to offer all the food and dry good necessities for stocking the home or cottage pantry.
In addition to creating an exterior that visually complemented the Glen Arbor landscape, Anderson ensured that the updates and additions to the market were environmentally friendly and low-impact. A combination of LED and natural lighting, along with energy efficient fixtures and kitchen/cooling equipment, all exceed energy efficiency standards. The market also participates in a local composting program, and regularly recycles materials.
“We also encourage our customers to bring their own bags or purchase reusable bags which we carry at the market. We’d love to see our customers embrace a more plastic-free shopping experience,” says Anderson.
Those are welcome words for the group Leelanau Independent Women for democratic Action (LIWdA), which at several points during the store renovation encouraged Anderson to incorporate reusable grocery bags and found that he wholeheartedly embraced the idea. Anderson told LIWdA that a goal of the renovation was to make the store as “green” as possible.
“With the Sleeping Bear Dunes designation as the ‘Most Beautiful Place in America’ and the subsequent increasing numbers of people drawn to our county, it has become even more important in the Glen Arbor area to commit to recycling,” said LIWdA’s Marcia Harris. “Recycling preserves our natural resources and reduces the amount of trash that goes to landfills. LIWdA believes that we all must take responsibility to preserve the beauty and health of this magnificent region.”
The store’s physical renovation was completed, top to bottom, by local businesses, touted Anderson. Ray Kendra of Environment Architects did the design; Bryan Lawton of Grand Traverse Construction completed the build-out, and Len Allgaier of Peninsula Pavers did the finishing landscaping and outdoor patio construction.
“We’re fortunate to be part of a special group of locals and visitors who have embraced the market for years; who have become part of the Anderson’s family,” said Anderson. “We look forward to continuing to provide Leelanau County with a corner market where everyone feels at home.”
Brad Anderson’s favorite part of running a small-town grocery store that stays open 364 days a year has been his interaction with his customers. “It’s been especially cool to see politicians and dignitaries (such as U.S. Senator Carl Levin and former Sen. Don Riegle) visit the store while staying at The Homestead.”
Anderson, who has also championed the popular Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail by co-chairing its fundraising committee, believes that, in the years to come, Glen Arbor will experience more and more young families visiting the National Lakeshore, and not just during the summer. “That means giving people what they need to be outside and picnic and enjoy the land. We want to be a part of that four-season experience.”
No more trunk sales: Cherry Republic turns 25
Remember that local kid selling t-shirts and Cherry Boomchunka cookies out of the trunk of his car? That was a quarter century ago. Now Bob Sutherland presides over Cherry Republic, a mini empire of cherry products, one of Glen Arbor’s biggest employers, and a poster child for how to start and grow a small business in Northern Michigan.
“Wow, where did the time go,” mused Sutherland. “I was a young college kid when I started Cherry Republic out of the trunk of my car. What’s this 25-year anniversary mean? That Cherry Republic has earned a bit more credibility. Our customers will see the words ‘Since 1989’ on our labels and packaging. It is proof that we’ve put in a lot of hard work.”
“We will be thanking our customers for all their help and support all summer. It is amazing the tremendous people we’ve met along the way. Personally, I want to shake double the amount of hands and hug twice as many customers.”
Sutherland and the Cherry Republic crew are planning a special anniversary celebration for July 25 at their headquarters on Lake Street. Stay tuned for news about that in future editions of the Glen Arbor Sun.
80 years of hookups at Art’s Tavern
“Art’s is the local watering hole, and we are proud to be the owners,” say owners Tim Barr and Bonnie Nescot. Humility aside, though, in the annals of Glen Arbor history, Art’s is far more than a mere “watering hole”—it’s an institution, and often the place where the town’s most important business gets done. (In these pages, we often joke that Barr is the “mayor” of Glen Arbor.)
The late Suzanne Wilson and Ben and Ananda Bricker frequented Art’s when they were conceiving of what’s now the Lake Street Studios and Glen Arbor Art Association; the favorite tavern on Lake Street & M-22 has been the backdrop to so many Glen Arbor experiences over the decades; have you eaten at Tom Reay’s Italian restaurant Funistrada, or purchased real estate from Ron Raymond? They both tended bar at Art’s before graduating to their current jobs; how many men have taken a knee and proposed to their girlfriends at Art’s? How many first dates? How many bachelor parties, or post-wedding parties stormed Art’s and summoned the grotesque “shot ski?” On the morning of August 17, 2011, Barr, Sutherland and half the town were at Art’s to watch as ABC’s Good Morning America named Sleeping Bear as America’s “most beautiful place”.
Ruth Conklin Gallery celebrates 30 years in Glen Arbor
Ruth Conklin first brought her art in 1981 to nearby Honor. Three years later she relocated to Glen Arbor and shared a small space behind the Soda Shoppe (now the Western Avenue Grill) with Suzanne Wilson. Wilson painted and made acrylics; Conklin worked with wood block prints. Conklin then moved her gallery to that space that’s now the front porch and dining room of the Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast. In May 1990 she moved into her newly built Ruth Conklin Gallery space on M-109, as you head toward Glen Haven. The gallery now anchors “Glen Arbor west” and features works by more than 100 talented artists who use various mediums to capture the Northern Michigan experience.
“I totally adore what I do,” says Conklin. “It’s hard for me when I have to be away for even a day. Being at the gallery is like an all-day cocktail party but without the booze. It’s so much fun to greet old friends, new friends, and now people’s babies who’ve grown up!”
Crystal River Outfitters turns 20
The year after Denise and Joel Drake opened Crystal River Outfitters at the eastern edge of Glen Arbor, a 14-year-old local kid named Matt Wiesen started working for them. Ten years later, during his final semester of college, Wiesen bought the business from Pat and Bob Graham. Nearly a decade after that, Matt and wife Katy have turned the business into the Crystal River Outfitters Recreational District—Glen Arbor’s go-to source for not only canoes and kayaks, but bicycles, skis (for the four-season Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail) clothes, and wine experiences at the M-22 store.
“Over the past 20 years, the business has expanded from pretty much a Memorial Day through Labor Day operation to running essentially year-round, due to the increasing popularity of the area,” said Katy. “We look forward to many more summers of getting people paddling on the Crystal River and biking the Heritage Trail!”
As if they didn’t already have enough on their plate, Katy gave birth on May 15 to a beautiful girl named Yardley! The Recreational District is now also a baby district!
Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak celebrates 10 years in Empire
Ten years ago, Northern Michigan’s surfing community was tiny, almost non-existent. After years of playing in the waves in front of her mother’s home in Empire, Beryl Skrocki realized that the community wasn’t equipped to take advantage of the surf. So many were missing out on the fun and were unable to view the incredible Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from the water, Skrocki told herself. So she and husband Frank took a huge leap of faith and opened Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak, Northern Michigan’s first full-service surf shop in downtown Empire, across the street from the Friendly Tavern.
A decade later, there are numerous surf shops throughout the state and a handful of passionate surfers that suit up and take to the water year round. “We are really proud to say we were on the front end of that movement,” says Skrocki. In 2006, Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak purchased some of Steve Walden’s first hand-shaped fiberglass stand-up paddleboards (SUPs). “We stocked and rented SUPs way before the vast majority caught on. We were into SUPs way before they were cool.”
Queen of Couture turns 10 at Boone Docks
“These past 10 years have flown by,” says Ashley Fehrmann, who together with her mother Barbara runs Queen of Couture, a women’s clothing store and yoga studio on the deck at Boone Docks. “We are so lucky to have such supportive and loyal customers. We have been able to develop amazing relationships with every one of them. It has been so neat to watch clients graduate college, land their dream jobs, get married, start families all those big life moments.” Ashley, herself, will tie the knot this fall.
“We have a great business relationship and mother-daughter relationship,” added Ashley. “We are best friends. Over the past 10 years we have learned so much about our business, our customers and each other. It’s a really special time for us to celebrate this huge milestone together. We are an amazing team … the Queen Team.”
Enhanced Physical Therapy turns 10
Mark and Jennifer Cundiff began running their Enhanced Physical Therapy clinic in 2004 at the Glen Arbor Athletic Club inside the Old School building—the same year they were married in Traverse City. The couple, who met each other while working at a physical therapy clinic across the street from the Sears Tower in Chicago, moved last spring to the Village Sampler Plaza. The Cundiffs are one of the reasons that Leelanau County ranks among the healthiest in the state.
Cavanaugh’s, country store in a resort
Cavanaugh’s, billed as “one of those little-bit-of-everything kinds of places” celebrates 10 years in The Homestead resort village. Here you might find locally-made arts and crafts or homemade jams and jellies. You might also find clothing unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere. You’re sure to find an appealing selection of healthy, high-quality products. There’s a wide range of local and organic fruit and produce; locally-raised, grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and poultry and, sustainably harvested freshwater fish and saltwater seafood. In the not-so-healthy but really good section, you’ll find locally-made candies and lots of sweets.