A vacant waterfront parcel in East Bay Township will see new life this spring, two longtime Traverse City businesses are moving to Chums Corner, and several openings and expansions are coming to downtown Traverse City in The ticker latest look at retail and restaurant news.
Irish Boat Shop
After searching “for decades” for the right opportunity to expand into Traverse City, a marine products retailer Irish Boat Shop opens a new retail and service center at the former Waterfront Conference Center (pictured) at 2035 US-31 in East Bay Township.
Company chairman Michael Esposito said Irish Boat Shop is aiming for a spring opening for the new location, the company’s third store in northern Michigan. Owner Dave Irish opened his first store in Harbor Springs in 1961, followed by a store in Lake Charlevoix in 1971. The company briefly attempted to open in Traverse City in the 1980s, but lack of technology such as Cell phones and the Internet made operating three stores so far from too difficult at the time, according to Esposito.
“We’ve watched the market for decades, and now is the time,” he says. “We are thrilled to have a waterfront location and be in East Bay Township. Traverse City has it all: demographics, water. When I looked at all the (possible locations) I thought the right place was on the east side…it’s a vibrant and growing part of town.
Irish Boat Shop will specialize in the sale of boats and accessories and water-based toys, and will also offer a “small” service element which “will grow as the market develops”, according to Esposito. The company’s waterfront location apparently offers the potential for a boat launch service, although Esposito says the company is still in the early stages of exploring the feasibility of this. option. Irish Boat Shop plans to make “significant renovations” to the long-vacant conference centre, according to Esposito, who adds that the store will offer “spectacular views over East Bay”.
Irish Boat Shop plans to employ 5-6 staff at the Traverse City store to begin with, with local interviews already underway this week.
Changes in Friends Corner
Two long-time Traverse City businesses are moving to the Chums Corner corridor.
Kelley Custom Trailers recently moved its “one-stop trailer destination” from 683 West Blue Star Drive to 4288 US-31 across from Menard’s. The store – which specializes in vehicle trailers, parts, custom work and service – started “over 30 years ago (with) the conversion of a trailer bought at auction” and became ” a company that now sells hundreds every year,” according to the company. Kelley’s move and expansion will allow downtown Traverse City Jack’s Auto Sales & Service to embark on its next stage of growth, says Mike Tokie, who helps run the company with his father and owner Jack Tokie and his brothers Dave and Pat Tokie.
“I told (Kelley’s owner) Pat Kelley ten years ago that if he ever wanted to sell his property, call me,” Mike Tokie says. “In November he called me and told me they were moving. We weren’t looking (for a new location), it just happened.
But the timing of the move is fortuitous, according to Tokie, who says the auto sales and service store is “stuck” beyond capacity at 114 Griffin Street, across from St. Francis of Assisi. The Tokies have owned and operated Jack’s Auto Sales & Service on-site since 1976. The new ownership of Chums Corner will allow the business to split into two separate businesses – Jack’s Auto Sales and Jack’s Auto Service – with service operations remaining centrally- city and moving sales. at Chums Corner.
“There’s not a lot of retail traffic on Griffin Street, and we can only fit about half the cars we own on that lot,” Tokie explains. “We’ll have a lot more inventory and a lot more exposure there.” The new Chums Corner site is scheduled to open in March.
A new take-out restaurant and mini convenience store are set to open in downtown Traverse City this summer.
Marcia Conlon opens Goodboy provisions in one of three “live work” units facing State Street in the new TC Lofts building under construction next to the Park Place Hotel. The store will specialize in take-out foods like sandwiches, salads and protein bowls, in addition to offering brewed coffee, pre-packaged snacks and other items in a “premium mini convenience store” format.
“The idea came about because I love New York, and one thing I love is that every time you walk down the street, you’re ten feet away from somewhere you can walk into. and grab something to eat and hang out,” Conlon says. “I know a lot of people would like more places like this here, where you don’t have to go to a restaurant or sit down or to place an order and wait.”
TC Lofts property manager Maggie Laureto notes that the new store will not only serve the public, but also the tenants of the new apartment complex, with an interior door available to access the store from the lobby of the building. The new Park Place conference center and the recently opened State Street Marketplace across the street should also boost traffic to the store, Conlon hopes. A second live work unit on the ground floor of TC Lofts will be occupied by architectural firm Paradigm Design, while Laureto is looking for the third and final tenant. “We’d love to have a tech company or an artist or something cool in there,” she says. The building is aiming to open in June.
Also downtown, new tackle shop Freedom Tackle is set to open February 15 on the lower level of 346 East Front Street under the Coin Slot. Owner Jim Liberty hopes to fill a void left by the departure of other sports stores like MC Sports by offering fishing tackle and tackle including spawn bags, lures, rods and reels for fishing needs. fishing all year round in the region.
Finally, construction has officially begun on an extension planned for Pizzeria Pangea which will double the capacity of the Front Street Restaurant from 100 to 200. The project will include a new upper level roof terrace spanning the full length of the building, 800 to 900 square feet of new space on the main level and expansions of kitchen and bathroom. Renovations should be completed in time for the start of the 2018 summer season, according to owner Chris Mohrhardt.