Thursday, July 18, 2013

Grain Train confirms new store coming to Boyne City in fall 2013

Update: The Boyne City Grain Train store is now open; hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Grain Train press release, July 19, 2013: The Grain Train Natural Foods Market, in downtown Petoskey for over 41 years and the only certified organic grocer in our region, has announced their plans to open a satellite market in Boyne City in the fall of 2013. The new market will open in the 1550 square foot storefront in the Waters Building at 104 S. Park Street. One-quarter the size of the Petoskey store, it will have a well-chosen selection of products and the added advantage of sharing products from the Petoskey location to meet the shopping needs of Boyne City customers.

“We are very excited to make this announcement,” said Robert Struthers, general manager of the Grain Train stores. “We are well positioned at this time to open a second store and there is a clear need in Boyne for more organic foods and products. Opening a second store is also in line with our mission to provide greater access to healthy food choices in northern Michigan and to bring our successful cooperative business into other parts of the region. Opening it in Boyne City, where we have an amazing amount of support from the community, is icing on the cake.”

Struthers added, “The Grain Train has a strong following of committed customers and co-op member/owners who share our values and care about supporting businesses that return value to customers and community—which is what the co-op model is all about. We are community-owned and operated.”

Although a lot of work needs to be done in the coming weeks to get the market ready to open its doors, everyone involved is excited by the opportunities that a second store will provide. A grand opening is being planned for October.

Editor's note from the Boyne Chamber: The store will be managed by Boyne City resident Jack Laurent, who has held a management position with the Grain Train for several years. The natural foods market posted the new store announcement on their website. Explaining why Boyne City was chosen, the website states: “It’s an exciting and growing community that we believe is very aligned with our values. We feel it is an easy and viable test market that poses minimal risk for our new small store concept.” The Chamber assisted the Grain Train in gauging local support in the spring by posting an online petition that was signed by 550 people. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Historic Dilworth Hotel sold to Boyne City investor

The historic Dilworth Hotel in the heart of downtown Boyne City has a new owner. Tall Pines Investment, a Boyne City company, purchased the 101-year-old property on July 13. Terms of the sale were not made public.
The 27-room Dilworth Hotel has been closed for nearly five years and struggled for years prior to that. Signs of its physical deterioration were evident with parts of the cornice falling off, the front porch in need of repair and the grounds unkempt. Looking at the deterioration of the building led Bob Grove, a Boyne City resident and president of Tall Pines Investment, to inquire about the historic hotel.
“I would drive by and I would see it getting worse and worse,” Grove said. “Everyone could see that if something wasn’t done to preserve it, this beautiful historic building that has meant so much to Boyne City would be lost to the community forever. I didn’t want that to happen. I love historic buildings. I know how important they are to a community. The Dilworth was, and will be again, a historic asset for the community to enjoy.”
Tall Pines Investment’s immediate goal is to secure the property so no further deterioration occurs. That will include roof, window and porch repairs. There will also be improvements to the landscaping. While that work is in progress the company will be working over the next several months to explore how best to return life to the property in a long-term sustainable manner.
Tall Pines Investment worked closely with the Boyne City Main Street Program to learn more about the Dilworth opportunity and facilitate due diligence. Kirk Jabara of Fulcrum Partners, a Boyne City business advisory firm, provided significant technical guidance over many months to help make this transaction the reality it now is.
“The goal of this project is to return the Dilworth to its historic use as a hotel and restaurant,” said Hugh Conklin, manager of the Boyne City Main Street Program, “but much work has to be done before a final decision is made.
            “The immediate goal at this time is to secure the building so there is no further deterioration and begin to make visible, if small, initial improvements to this historic structure. While that is underway, Mr. Grove will work to build the best team with the right skills to help make this property successful. He is committed to completing the renovation in the best possible way.”
            Boyne City City Manager Michael Cain expressed his pleasure with this new beginning.  “This is a huge step forward for not only the Dilworth but for all of Boyne City.  The potential the Dilworth has in again becoming an important economic engine for our community can not be understated.  I have been very impressed in what I have seen in Mr. Grove so far.  It appears that he has the resources, skills and heart to do what is needed for the long term success of the Dilworth.  I look forward to working with him in the months ahead as plans are developed to bring the Dilworth back to life.”
The Dilworth opened in 1912 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since the mid 1980s. In recent years renovating the property has been identified as one of the top community goals. A feasibility study funded through a Michigan Economic Development Corporation planning grant and the Main Street Program, was completed on the property in 2011 and provided valuable information for this transaction. No grant money or public investment is being used for the purchase of the Dilworth although the Main Street Program will help to secure all local and state incentives available to the renovating the Dilworth, Conklin said.   
 “This is great news for our community,” said Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch. “Mr. Grove’s commitment to Boyne City and his investment in our community are very much appreciated.  We are excited to work with Mr. Grove and we will do everything we can as a city to help make the project successful.”
The Dilworth Hotel is one of the few buildings still standing that is constructed from bricks manufactured by the Boyne City Brick Company, according to documentation from the city’s National Historic Register application, which was approved last December. The building received renovations and updating over the decades, most often associated with changes in ownership, during the 1940s, the 1960s and the 1980s.
“The restoration of the Dilworth will be a tremendous economic boost for Boyne City. It will serve as a catalyst for our downtown, increase pedestrian traffic, vastly improve the entry into downtown, and will provide needed hotel accommodations,” Conklin said. 
The Wolverine Dilworth Hotel resulted from the vision of city fathers who desired first-class accommodations for visitors to the city, according to information published in “Settlers to Sidewalks in Boyne City,” a history of Boyne City by Robert Morgridge. The Boyne City Hotel Co. was composed of 46 shareholders, and its directors read like a who’s who of Boyne City’s commercial elite: W.H. White was president and majority shareholder, and other directors included his business associates, William Martin and Ervan A. Ruegsegger.  The grand hotel was constructed with locally-produced bricks from Boyne City Clay Products Co., and $40,000 had been expended by the time of the grand opening, attended by 240 patrons, on February 1, 1912. It is the only surviving large hotel from Boyne City’s lumber era. 
In 1935 it was renamed the Dilworth Hotel after it was purchased by Wesley Dilworth.  During the 1930s and 1940s it was the site of the Smeltania Ball and fish dinner that culminated the three-month long fishing event held annually during the heyday of lake and river smelt runs.  Dilworth sold the hotel by the mid-1940s, but it retained its reputation for serving the area's best food and remained a favorite dining spot.  The Wolverine-Dilworth was the place to stay when visiting the area through the mid-twentieth century, and among other guests, Ernest Hemingway is reputed to have stayed here.

Mr. Grove is asking that all inquires for comment or additional information at this time regarding the Dilworth be directed to Hugh Conklin, Program Manager of the Boyne City Main Street office, at 231.582.9009 or email   Additional information of this matter will be forthcoming through this office.

Van Dam Custom Boats adds marina service at Boyne Boat Yard

From the Petoskey News-Review: Steve Van Dam, the founder of Van Dam Custom Boats, pays close attention to detail. It is this attention to detail that has made Van Dam custom wooden boats sought after by people from all over the world. 

Van Dam started his company in 1977. He and his son, Ben, have built an international reputation for designing and building some of the finest wooden boats in the world. In mid-June, they opened a new venture, Boyne Boat Yard, a full-service marina.

“In our boat-building business, we have a reputation for quality and first-class service,” Steve Van Dam said. “With the addition of Boyne Boat Yard, we are hoping to develop a marine center with that same kind of reputation.”

With the expertise Van Dam has on the boat building site, he, Ben, his son and company co-owner, and Robert Linn, a new chief operating officer hired to run Boyne Boat Yard, have a vision for a full-service marine center. In addition to boat storage, the center will do woodworking, metal working, electrical systems and big retro-fittings.

“For example, maybe a yacht owner wants to change out a galley or the electronic navigation,” Steve Van Dam said. “We could do that.”

“We want owners to bring their yachts in here and no matter what needs to be done, we are able to do a quality job, right here, the first time. With our experience, we understand what owners are talking about when they describe what they want,” Linn said. Full story.

Parkside Grill & Treats reopens with new owners

After being closed for nearly two years, the Parkside Grill and Treats reopened July 2 with new owners. The downtown ice cream and sandwich shop was formerly a Dairy Queen owned for many years by Betty and Dave Korthase. The new owners plan to keep the same menu for the time being, although they now offer 24 flavors of soft-serve ice cream. The Parkside will be open year-round, and summer hours are from 11
a.m. to 10 p.m. The owners are: Gary Baiocco, a contractor; Jason Baiocco, Gary's son and also a contractor; Bill Goforth, a residential lending agent; and Mike Ilitch, who worked in corporate sales for the Detroit Tigers. Mike's grandfather Michael Ilitch owns the Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings. The owners all expressed their love for Boyne City and the surrounding area; they have owned vacation homes here for many years. They expressed their thanks to Lynda's Real Estate and Betty and Dave Korthase, who they said were very flexible and easy to work with in consummating the sale of the business. They have hired 17 local residents to work at the Parkside, which opened July 2. The business will soon have the same phone number as it had in the past - 231-582-9153. They invite you to like their Facebook page.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Emerging leaders urged to join Leadership Charlevoix County

Business professionals looking to enhance their leadership skills are encouraged to apply for the Leadership Charlevoix County program, now entering its third year. Led by community leaders, the nine-month program will introduce participants to the various sectors of the county, the inner workings and needs of the region.
Applications are available online at and are due by 5 p.m. Monday, July 22. Applications can also be picked up at the Boyne City, Charlevoix, East Jordan and Beaver Island Chambers of Commerce or by calling 231.536.2440. A video about the leadership program is available at the website, too.
“Leadership Charlevoix County is designed to cultivate new, emerging and potential leaders from our area,” said program coordinator Mishelle Shooks. “We also hope participants will identify and address pertinent community needs while strengthening their own individual leadership abilities.”
The program comes highly recommended by class participants. “I would recommend Leadership Charlevoix County to anyone - whether they are someone aspiring to become a leader or even someone who is already a leader - as it teaches you all aspects of what leadership really is,” said recent graduate Jamie Caroffino from Michigan Community Dental Clinics.
Last year’s class member Richard Christner with Charlevoix State Bank added, “Not only does Leadership Charlevoix County help participants fine-tune existing skills and develop additional leadership skills but also provides an opportunity to utilize those skills to enrich the community - a rewarding experience.”
City of East Jordan employee Cheltzi Wilson characterized the program as “inspiring and eye opening.”
“Every session I attended I couldn't help but wonder how I could get involved or think of things that I wanted to change or improve in my life. This program gave me the confidence to pursue things I may not have normally done on my own,” Wilson said, adding, “I happily recommend this program to anyone I can in hopes of them receiving the same experience that I had.”
The nine-month course, running from September 2013 through May 2014, will take participants throughout the county and includes sessions in:
  • Connecting with government
  • Health and human services
  • Economic development
  • Education today
  • Building your toolbox skills of communication, creativity, business ethics and media relations
  • Arts, culture and philanthropy
  • Environmental and natural resources
  • Where do we go from here? Putting newly learned skills to use

In addition to the monthly sessions, the course will kick off with an orientation and then an overnight retreat to Beaver Island. Participants will be matched with a mentor who will help open doors to personal and professional growth. The program culminates with a graduation ceremony in May 2014.
Seats are limited and interested individuals are encouraged to complete an application soon. Tuition is $750 for the full course and includes materials, meals and other program costs. If the applicant’s employer/organization is not a member of the Boyne City, Charlevoix, East Jordan or Beaver Island Chambers of Commerce, the cost is $850. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Leadership Charlevoix County is sponsored by the Boyne City, Charlevoix and East Jordan Chambers of Commerce with support from the Beaver Island Chamber. The program is made possible by a generous grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.
Leadership Charlevoix County is coordinated by Steering Committee members Jim Baumann, Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce; Erin Bemis, Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce; Mary Faculak, East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce; Tom Cannon, City of East Jordan; Susan Conklin, Boyne District Library; Lyn Jenks, Charlevoix Area Hospital; Dianne Litzenburger, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District; Lori Meeder, Northern Initiatives; Val Meyerson, Charlevoix Public Library; Ann Partridge, Beaver Island Community Center; and Maureen Radke, Charlevoix County Community Foundation; Kim Swidorski, Harbor Industries.
> For more information contact Shooks at or 231.536.2440.  Questions can also be directed to the Boyne City, East Jordan, Charlevoix and Beaver Island Chambers of Commerce.

Boyne Area Medical Center: New philosophy improves patient care

Boyne Area Medical Center in Boyne City has improved its physician-patient partnership since it converted to a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) philosophy. “We want our patients to understand they are part of a team with their doctor,” said Andrea Wendling, M.D. When patients enter the clinic, they are greeted by an inviting atmosphere of warm colors and friendly welcomes. In the lobby, a large, brightly colored flip book introduces the patient to every person on their care team. “Patients are more engaged when they are an integral part of the team,” said Allyssa Mercer, RN, clinical manager. “The patients read the signs and know exactly what each team member is supposed to do, which holds us to a higher standard,” added Mercer.
Boyne Area Medical Center was designated as a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan PCMH in 2012. The process began in 2011 and was guided by Dave Nicholson, a consultant from the Medical Advantage Group (MAG), a healthcare consulting and management company that provides practice transformation services. “Medical Advantage Group believed we could do it,” said Wendling. “We’ve been very encouraged that their consultants continued to remain involved, even after we were designated. We never expected this level of service and support.”
“I’ve gotten better at using each team member’s skills,” said Wendling. “Before PCMH, as a physician, I felt like I needed to do everything for the patient. Now, I am more proactive in involving who I know can help. For example, for my diabetic patients, I’m much more apt to tell the patient, ‘a nurse will be calling you once a week to talk to you about your blood sugar numbers, and you’ll see the physician assistant in a month, and then see me in three months.’ Before, I would have had the patient back in to see me in a week or two.”
According to Wendling, patients seem to have a better acceptance of taking a more active role in their care since implementing the Patient-Centered Medical Home philosophy. They are also showing increased confidence in the Medical Center’s team, since they know they may speak with anyone on their care team and receive the correct answers, even when their doctor isn’t available.
“The PCMH philosophy of teamwork and fulfilling your role makes it harder for people and their care to fall through the cracks,” said Cassie Bellinger, quality specialist. “From a billing perspective, I’ve seen a vast improvement in what’s being documented in the chart,” said Bellinger. “All conditions and discussions are documented, showing important issues that should be focused on at the next visit. There is a lot more attention to detail, so that no matter who follows behind you (treating the patient), everybody knows what’s going on.”
As one of the requirements of Patient-Centered Medical Home, the Medical Center reserves a block of time for patients without appointments. “We really try harder to keep time available for walk-ins,” said Mercer. “Previously, our practice was booked by 10 a.m., forcing us to send patients to the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care. Now, by keeping open access and building our team, we have turned that around and we can see any patient who needs to be seen.” “This dramatic improvement has made our practice so much more patient-friendly and has off-loaded our nursing,” said Wendling. “It’s a better use of everybody’s time and patients are happier.”

If you would like to learn more about how the PCMH philosophy can improve your physician office experience, contact the Boyne Area Medical Center at (231) 582-5314.