Wednesday, January 10, 2018

3 businesses that opened in 2017 are thriving in Boyne City

The owners of three Boyne City businesses that opened in 2017 all say they are thriving. 
> Stiggs Brewery and Kitchen will be celebrating its first anniversary Saturday, January 20th as they cosponsor the inaugural Fat & Flurrious fat bike race along with North Country Cycle Sport. Owner Mike Castiglione said his first year revenues exceeded projections and he is very happy, although he chuckled, saying “I wouldn’t recommend having a baby at the same time you open a new business.” His wife Jessica gave birth to their first child Henry on March 5th, just over a month after the business opened.

Celebrating the approval of federal historic tax credits
 at Stiggs Brewery last year were from left, City Manager
Mike Cain,  Stiggs owner Mike Castiglione, Main Street
Exec Director Kelsie King-Duff, and Chamber Executive 
Director Ashley Cousens. Castiglione says the support of
the city and community has been "awesome."
Opening in late January worked out well, since that is not a busy time of year. “Being that we were the new kids on the block it was better that we started in the slow season. That gave us time to regroup and establish good routines before the busy summer season,” Castiglione said. 
Stiggs is the only brewery in Boyne City, and Castiglione thinks that his business plus the opening of Boyne City Taproom and 7 Monks Taproom in mid-2016 has established Boyne City as a beer lovers destination. “I think we will all do well, playing off each other to bring the beer geeks into town.”
A number of promotions have helped bring customers into Stiggs. They have a Mug Club loyalty program, monthly beer dinners, monthly fly-tying events with Brian Kozminski, as well as an upcoming cigar/beer pairing event on Feb. 3rd. They have teamed up with local businesses to brew branded beers for Coldwell Banker and Boyne Country Provisions, and a North Harbor Real Estate brew is coming soon. Special events in addition to Fat & Flurrious include a Summer Kickoff Party planned for June 16th, and a repeat of Stiggtoberfest on October 13th.
Castiglione said the City of Boyne City has been “awesome and easy to work with” in getting his business started, approving sidewalk dining and helping him get approved for federal historic tax credits for the building at 112 S. Park St.

Dana Betchek of Bliss Salon
> Bliss Salon & Spa opened April 11th at 210 S. Lake St., Suite B. Owner Dana Betchek said, “Since opening this past April, we were able to kick off our year during a quieter season, which was nice while we were still getting used to our space and developing our team. When we opened, we started with one part-time team member and one full time. We currently have four full-time team members and one part-time, so we've more than doubled our team since opening. Boyne City is definitely more hopping in the summer time so we are anxious to go into 2018 fully staffed and ready to rock. The seasonality of the town some people may see as a downfall, but we are working hard to build our local clientele and are servicing clients from not only Boyne City but East Jordan, Charlevoix, Walloon and Petoskey. We feel that with time, we will be able to keep our store very busy year round.”
“We have not had a hard time finding staff. We've worked really hard and continue to work hard to build a reputable salon and spa where professionals would want to continue their career. Plus, being a team-based salon enables us to work a lot more efficiently as our guests are encouraged to have a "team" of stylists or "glam squad" instead of just one stylist. We use social media as a tool to attract new talent, which has worked well for us.”
“We pride ourselves on educating our guests for exactly what they need for take home care. We guarantee all of our products and also offer products that are not easily found online and stay more exclusive to the salon. Our guests also love that we offer loyalty points that they can use towards services or take-home care.”
“We love Boyne City and are happy to be here and look forward to many years to come!”
Forgotten Treasures on S. Lake Street.

> Forgotten Treasures opened May 3rd at 209 S. Lake Street. This new Consignment/Resale Store features a full line of women's and children's clothing as well as furniture, antiques and collectibles. Before starting her own store, owner Anna Burkhart worked weekends for similar stores owned by her mother for the past 14 years.
“My first year in Boyne has been wonderful,” Burkhart said. “The summer months were a good start for the business and sales since then have stayed steady. As expected, there is a slowdown in the winter months but with the nature of my business I have found some great return customers - local and weekend regulars - and even new customers with the change of seasons.”
“There's been a lot of support from everyone. The chamber has done a great job keeping me informed of events and checking in to see how things have been as well as Kelsie from Main Street. It truly has been a great town to open a business in. Boyne really does understand the importance of being involved with its businesses and keeping them supported.”
“I have been asked if I need any help multiple times and honestly I believe Boyne does what it is supposed to do. They have created a diverse area that people from all over enjoy coming to. They hold multiple events all year long to keep the community involved and bring customers out. This is not a town that just sits back and hopes that things happen. They have done an awesome job of growing the area into a year-round destination.”

Monday, January 8, 2018

"Boyne Thunder is the world's best poker run"

By Matt Trulio, columnist for Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm.
That the New Year is less than a week away has me in a reflective state of mind. It’s either that or the 15-year-old single-malt scotch I’ve been enjoying of late—I can’t quite tell and I reckon it doesn’t much matter. Reflection, nostalgia and, OK, sometimes purely meandering thoughts come with the territory of being a twice-weekly columnist. Your job, as said columnist, is subtraction. Find one clean thought, hone it down and go with it.
   So here’s what I woke up with this morning: Boyne Thunder is the world’s best poker run. And as hard as I tried to shake that dangerous notion from my head—for I know that expanding on it in this column will only bring trouble—I couldn’t. In fact, the more I turn it over in my head, the more I believe it to be true. So here goes.
In the past 20-plus years, I’ve covered every major poker run in North America, including a few that no longer exist, firsthand. (The exception to this is the Texas Outlaw Challenge, though I have reported on it, and I hope to remedy that in 2018.) I found something to love about all of them. Each event has its own character.
   But for years, I’d been rallied (more like brow-beaten and harassed) by friends in Michigan and elsewhere to come cover the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in the northern part of the state. So this summer, I embedded myself in Boyne City for the July 4 week that finished with the annual event.
   What did I love about Boyne Thunder? A better question would be: What didn’t I love about it?
   Boyne City is quaint and charming, but cool and vibrant (hence the proliferation of good brew pubs in town). Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake and Lake Michigan are breathtaking and the Northern Michigan countryside—from coastal dunes to inland pastures and farmland—is gorgeous. The 125 catamarans and V-bottom and center consoles in the Boyne Thunder fleet are as high-end as you’ll find any event around the country, and the people involved are as cordial as they come.
   Despite the big hardware show in town for the weekend, Boyne Thunder never feels like a big show. On the water and off, the event retains a decidedly relaxed small-town vibe.
In short, during Boyne Thunder Poker Run the performance-boating community actually feels like a real community. Of course, friends hang with friends and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there is atmosphere of inclusion at the Boyne Thunder that I’ve not experienced at any event of its kind. Combine that atmosphere with all of the above and you have my pick for the world’s best poker run.
   I know this column will get me in trouble. The upside? I likely won’t have to deal with the repercussions of it until next year. Plus, I still have some of that 15-year-old single-malt scotch left.
> Online version of this column.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Community leaders to be honored at Annual Awards Gala

Find out who wins our awards for leadership, entrepreneurship, volunteerism and more - at the Boyne Chamber's "Toast to the Town" Annual Awards Gala on January 18th (Details and registration). Our members and newsletter are picking the winners. More than 300 people have responded to our survey and voted for the best of Boyne. As one survey respondent commented: "It was difficult to vote with so many dedicated nominees." Here  are the nominees in six categories:
> Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award
 Lynda Christensen of Lynda's Real Estate
 Michelle Cortright of Harbor House Publishers
 Jane MacKenzie of Northern Homes
 Jeff Wellman of North Harbor Real Estate
> Entrepreneur of the Year
 Gildas Berrou of Boyne City Bakery
 Mike Castiglione of Stiggs Brewery & Kitchen
 Jeff and John Thompson of Shaggy's Copper Country Skis
> Young Entrepreneur of the Year
 Erika Blackwell of Center of Attention Photography
 Anna Burkhart of Forgotten Treasures
 Michael Cortright of North Country Cycle Sport
 Emerson Meyer of the Waffle Cabin
> Heritage Award
 Michelle Cortright of Harbor House Publishers
 Ralph Gillett of Ralph Gillett CPA
 Bob Mathers of Bob Mathers Ford
> Community Pride Award
 Boyne City Rocks
 Boyne City Varsity Football
 Eta Nu
 Kiwanis Club of Boyne City
> Volunteer of the Year
 Bob Alger of Boyne Thunder Committee
 Kecia Freed of the Boyne Heritage Center
 Becky Harris of the Boyne City Farmers Market
 Patricia May of Challenge Mountain & Boyne City Food Pantry

Friday, December 15, 2017

'Fat and Flurrious' fat tire bike race planned for Jan. 20 at Avalanche

Plans are in the works for an Avalanche Fat Bike Race to be held in Boyne City on Saturday, January 20th. An online Facebook contest came up with "Fat and Flurrious" as the race name. The event is being organized by North Country Cycle Sport owner Mike Cortright and also involves Stiggs Brewery and Kitchen, which will be  celebrating its first anniversary that day. The start and finish is behind North Country Cycle Sport and in front of Stiggs Brewery on Park Street in downtown Boyne City. After the race, Stiggs will host a race awards party that will also celebrate the brewery's anniversary. 
The fat bike race course is 6 or 10 miles (Sport and Open Class) on the professionally-designed and built singletrack trails at Avalanche Mountain, which is a 300-acre city park at the south end of town. "This will be the most challenging Fat Tire Bike Race in the Lower Peninsula," Cortright says. 
Proceeds from the race will benefit the Top Of Michigan Mountain Bike Association, the group that spearheaded a major expansion of trails at Avalanche over the past couple of years. Watch a video of the race course through the snow -
> REGISTRATION and more details are online at
It's a spectacular view from the top of Avalanche Mountain.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Everyone agrees: Earlier Than The Bird was "best ever"

Pajama-clad shoppers jammed the Chamber office to get souvenir coffee mugs at 7 a.m.
The consensus from downtown business owners is that this year’s Earlier Than The Bird shopping event on November 18th was the best ever with record crowds and record sales at most of the 29 participating businesses. The event is sponsored by the Boyne Area Chamber and Boyne City Main Street. Anyone wearing pajamas for the event was eligible to stop at the Chamber office to pick up one of 216 souvenir coffee mugs, which were designed and purchased by Main Street. The mugs were gone in record time by 7:37 a.m. Chamber exec director Ashley Cousens said “It was insane. People just flooded in at 7 a.m. and didn’t stop until the mugs were gone.”
Karen Guzniczak of Country Now & Then/Up The Lazy River brought the idea for the event to Boyne City 10 years ago after attending a Main Street national conference in Chicago. She still helps organize the event as chairman of the Main Street Promotions Committee and she said this year’s event was the best ever. “Our sales were almost double from last year,” she said. “The customers were coming in as soon as we opened our doors, the weather was really nice and people were very excited and having fun. We heard from several of our customers that this was their first time participating in the event and they would definitely be back next year and would be bringing friends and or family members.”
Shoppers lined up before 7 at inspired living.
> Lori Harrington, 52 Weekends: "Thanks to the weather and advertising, the sale was awesome. Everyone seemed to have a really good time and were wearing pajamas. They LOVE the mugs. Keep up the good work. I even had some of my old Petoskey customers that came to the sale. Your team does an excellent job!”
> Jessica White, Boyne City Hardware: “From 7-11am our sales were up over $1,000 compared to last year. And this is AFTER giving our storewide discounts. Up over $2,500 for the entire day compared to last year. GREAT DAY!
> Leslie Neilson, inspired living: “I think this was the best year so far! We had our usual line-up out in front of the store starting at 6:30 and by 7:15 we had a loooonnnnggg line of customers in the store until at least 8:00 with two people ringing people up. Pretty steady until at least 9:00. People seemed to be in good spirits even while they were waiting. I could tell people were really having fun with it. Two thumbs up!”
> Cindi Malin, Cindifranco’s Cool Stuff: "This is my favorite event. We served over 80 servings of oatmeal! Sales were insane but then we were selling at 30% below cost. We will have 60% off on in-stock items during this Friday's Open house."
> Mary Faculak, Mary’s of Boyne: “Earlier Than The Bird was the BEST ever! We were busy right at 7 am and did not slow down until 11ish! So many new people, people who have participated every year, three generations of families shopping together, many people from out of town. Ladies who have made this event an annual outing for their group of friends. People were having so much fun and were so appreciative of the sales, treats and door prizes. Truly a Currier and Ives event and scene in our town."

Friday, November 10, 2017

Solomon, Grunch, Page elected to Boyne City Commission

Boyne City voters elected Dean Solomon, Ron Grunch and Sally Page to the City Commission, and the regional school enhancement millage passed in the November 7th election. Grunch, an 18-year commission veteran, was reelected, and Solomon and Page will begin serving their first terms next Tuesday, Nov. 14th, at 7 p.m. Incumbents Laura Sansom and Gene Towne decided not to run for reelection, opening the opportunity for Solomon and Page. Solomon is the recently retired head of the Boyne City MSU Extension office and has lived in the city since 2006. Page served as office administrator for the Emmet County Prosecutor's Office for 25 years before moving to Boyne City in 2004 to be closer to her children, including Liz Glass, co-owner of Lake Street Market.
The unofficial vote totals were: Dean Solomon - 368, Ron Grunch - 367, Sally Page - 315, Andy Smith - 206, Chad Culver - 178.  News-Review story.
> Voters also cast their approval for the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District's regional enhancement millage. Unofficial results show the proposal passing in Emmet, Charlevoix and northern Antrim counties, with a combined total of 5,648 yes votes (56.7%) and 4,324 no votes for all three areas.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Leaders give updates at State of the Community event

A record crowd of 190 attended the event.
From the Petoskey News-Review: Representatives from five different governmental and business groups offered a wealth of information on activities around the Boyne City area and Charlevoix County at the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the Community event. Speakers included Boyne City Manager Mike Cain, County Commissioner Chris Christensen, School Superintendent Patrick Little, Main Street Executive Director Kelsie King-Duff, and Hotel Walloon Marketing Manager Allison Bond. Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ashley Cousens, who recently completed her first year in the chamber role, said the event drew its largest attendance ever with 190 people on hand, provided an update on chamber activities. Full news story. Photo album.
> Full text of City Manager Michael Cain's remarks.
> Full text of Allison Bond's remarks about Walloon Lake.
> Thanks to our sponsor, 4Front Credit Union.
Chamber Executive Director Ashley Cousens
Main Street Executive Director Kelsie King-Duff

City Manager Michael Cain