Wednesday, December 23, 2015

MEDC approves million-dollar grant for the Dilworth Hotel

All smiles after the MEDC grant was approved are, from left: City Manager Michael Cain, MEDC staffer Dan Leonard, Dilworth owner Bob Grove, Mayor Tom Neidhamer and City Commissioner Hugh Conklin.
Officials at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Strategic Fund Board have unanimously approved a $1-million community development block grant for job creation and blight elimination for the Dilworth Hotel in Boyne City. Officials from Boyne City including Michael Cain, City Manager; Hugh Conklin, City Commissioner; Tom Neidhamer, Mayor; and Lori Meeder, Main Street Director, joined Bob Grove to offer support of the project to the MSF board.
The community development block grants (CDBG) were created to help encourage private development in underutilized and vacant buildings. Redevelopment projects like the Dilworth Hotel have extraordinary costs above and beyond normal development costs such as environmental remediation of lead and asbestos, selective demolition and façade stabilization, as well as major upgrades for barrier free access and fire suppression systems compliance.
Without support from funding options like CDBG, Brownfield and Local Reimbursement programs, investments in historic renovation projects would not be possible.
“The need for public and private partnership is key to community development. Financial support from the state and local level is critical to make this investment financially feasible,” said Michael Cain, City Manager of Boyne City.
The Dilworth Hotel sat vacant for more than seven years and there has long been vigorous public support for bringing this community asset back to its original glory. It is a landmark with strong ties to Boyne City’s history. Its location at the entrance and main corridor into downtown has kept this a top priority for the community for many years.
“This is really a catalyst for future projects and redevelopment and will help spur economic development in and around the community. We are so fortunate to have someone like Bob Grove who has a keen interest and passion for bringing the Dilworth back to the way it was 100+ years ago,” added Lori Meeder, Main Street Director.
Work has begun to stabilize the brick façade and the roof system before winter with window repairs to begin soon. “The plan is to fix all of the existing windows instead of replacing them. My goal is to renovate the hotel with historical integrity. I have studied all of the original features and attributes and will work to keep the Dilworth true to its original character,” said Bob Grove, owner and developer.
The 103 year old Dilworth Hotel opened in 1912 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since the mid-1980s. Once completed, the three story, 28,000 square foot hotel will provide much needed accommodations with 26 rooms, a restaurant, a banquet room and a pub. Discussions have begun with a management group to operate the hotel.
> For more information, contact 231.582.9009 or email

Main Street kicks off crowdfunding campaign for Boyne River sculpture

The Boyne City Main Street Program is organizing an exciting new project called "The Last River Draw." A life-size bronze sculpture of a logger will be placed on the edge of the Boyne River pulling a log with a pike pole used in the early lumbering era. The idea for the sculpture came from Tony Williams, who asked Martha Sulfridge, a local sculptor, if she would be willing to create and build it. "This will be a wonderful representation and reminder of our lumbering heritage and an engaging way to bring art to our public spaces," said Lori Meeder, Main Street Executive Director. "This project ties in with our Walkabout Sculpture Show installed in June, 8 temporary pieces on loan from Michigan artists. This will make our first permanent piece."
"The Last River Draw" project is being spearheaded by the Main Street Design Committee. The committee is currently building awareness and financial support for the sculpture project. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has approved a matching grant through its "Public Spaces, Community Places" crowdfunding initiative. Once a short video is produced outlining the project, it will go live through an online fundraising platform known as Patronicity ( This social media mechanism of fundraising allows community members to make individual contributions of any size through an online campaign. The total project cost is $50,000 and if the community can raise $25,000, the MEDC will match the $25,000.
Tony Williams, a sub-committee member whose grandfathers were both lumberjacks in the Boyne Valley, pointed out that "We have already received support from a number of local residents and from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation. We are very grateful to all who have supported this and see the value of such a timeless piece of art that will be enjoyed for years to come. We welcome and appreciate all donations toward this effort. For every dollar someone donates, the MEDC will match that with a dollar. It's a great opportunity to leverage our local support." Lori Meeder added, "What makes our community really special is caring and compassionate people that help every day with their financial support, time and talents. We are extremely fortunate in that regard."
> Anyone wishing to donate or learn more can email or call 231.582.9009.

Boyne Appétit! initiative starts with Wine Wednesdays

The Boyne City Main Street program and Chamber of Commerce are collaborating on a new initiative to promote the exceptional restaurants and other food establishments in this area. Called "Boyne Appétit!," the program is run by a steering committee consisting chefs, managers and community volunteers interested in promoting the Boyne City area as the "foodie" destination in Northwest Michigan. They have developed a logo and aFacebook page. Soon you will be seeing window clings featuring the logo and website on the windows and doors of local restaurants and food businesses. The Boyne Appétit! Committee has been meeting since October and its coordinators are food writer and volunteer Cynthia Janssens and Alana Haley, the marketing manager of Porter Creek Fish House. 
Boyne Appétit! will kick off  in 2016 with Wine Wednesdays, set to begin January 6. On the first Wednesday of each month, from 5-7 p.m., local restaurants and wine purveyors will have wine tastings and serve complimentary appetizers. Those currently participating are the Boyne Pub, Café Sante, Northern Table, Porter Creek Fish House, Red Mesa Grill, Boyne River Inn, Lake Street Market and The Wine Emporium. Nate Jason from Café Sante and Mark Warner from Northern Table are coordinating Wine Wednesdays and inviting other area restaurants to participate. "We plan to issue a punch card and once participants have visited all of the restaurants, they will be eligible to win a prize," adds Warner. 
A Boyne Appétit! website is being developed ( and will contain extensive information about each restaurant or retail business (everything from detailed hours to whether or not they cater) -- information that is not now available in any one place for visitors to our community. It is anticipated that in the spring a brochure will be printed containing all of this information to distribute to visitors to the Boyne City area. Funding is being sought to print this brochure. The initiative involves restaurants and retail food purveyors in Boyne City, Boyne Falls, Advance and Walloon Lake.
> For more information on Boyne Appétit!, contact Cynthia Janssens at 989-942-7265,, or Alana Haley at 231-350-2962,

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Forty Acres Tavern opens at Boyne Mountain

It has a taste for every appetite and a beer for every acre. Introducing Forty Acres Tavern at Boyne Mountain Resort. Sit slopeside on Saturday, Dec. 12,  from 5-9 p.m. for the Grand Opening Celebration of this newly renovated tavern - equal parts watering hole and refueling station. Learn the story behind the name and sample the menu - elevated pub fare with a roster of 40 beers. Register to win a Ski & Stay package that includes dinner at Forty Acres Tavern with the winner chosen at 9 pm. It's forty-acres-worth of fun! Menu, details and the story behind the name.

Fustini's store opens in downtown Boyne City

Manager Charlene Hunt, right, and
assistant manager Michelle Sulak.
Although they are currently open, Fustini's new Boyne City store will be celebrating their grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 12th at noon. They will be sampling tasty appetizers Fustini's style, and are giving double bottle points on existing Frequent Buyer Club accounts. The new Boyne City location will be managed by Charlene Hunt with the assistance of Michelle Sulak. Charlene is currently the manager of the Petoskey location and has been with the company for over six years. Michelle has been with the company for five years. Both have many years experience in the food industry and are passionate about food and flavors. Stop in and see them anytime for recipe, flavoring, and gift ideas.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Local sourcing: Northern Table favors 'farm-to-table' approach

From the Petoskey News-Review: Northern Table, Boyne City’s newest restaurant, opened in May with a key objective: to be known for its farm-to-table menu. More precisely, owner Mark Warner wants Northern Table to be known as an “up north” farm-to-table eatery. It’s his first restaurant, and although not originally from the Boyne area, Warner wanted to open a restaurant in Charlevoix County, a favorite vacation spot of his family. The restaurant’s site at South Lake and West Main streets, which formerly housed The Thirsty Goat, had been empty for several years.
After a much-needed cleaning, Warner redecorated, installed a wine cellar, added a wood-fired oven and opened up the second floor. The restaurant has an urban feel with wood and stone floors and brick walls. The lower floor seats 60, the outdoor patio seats 35.
Executive chef Meghan Wruk has been with the eatery from the beginning, bringing a wealth of experience with her, including work at a number of Northern Michigan restaurants, as well as a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in New York where she was named valedictorian of her graduating class.
Chef Wruk enjoys the opportunity to add daily features to the menu, often not knowing what they might be until local farmers arrive with produce not typically on the menu. “The farm to table daily features are often same-day decisions,” Wruk said. “You never know what might come in.” Full story.

Staked on a state: Growing shop emphasizes Michigan-themed products

Ribbon cutting at Smitten Designs from earlier in 2015.
Ivette Dixon of Smitten Design Studio in downtown Boyne City is preparing for a big move at the end of October. Her store, which now resides at 120 Water St., will be moving two doors down to the old Northern Eagle Clothier building and has an expected opening date of Nov. 11. Dixon cites the move as a way to expand her ever-growing business and offer even more items. While her current space has room to hold all her designs and her upstairs workshop, the new building will allow for additional screen printing equipment, something she’s had to source out in the past. Full story from Petoskey News-Review.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Fustini’s announces new location in Boyne City

With its fifth Michigan location, Fustini's introduces specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars to the growing Boyne City market. Fustini’s has signed a lease for a property at 120 Water Street in downtown Boyne City and will assume occupancy as of November 1, 2015. (This location is being vacated by Smitten Designs, which is moving next door to the former Logo Pros location.)

“A trip to Fustini’s is not a standard shopping routine — it’s an experience,” says owner Jim Milligan. “Our core business has always centered around providing the highest quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars.We invite our guests to taste the oils and vinegars themselves and come up with their own favorite combinations.”

The model has worked very well over the last seven years as the company expanded across Michigan from its original Traverse City location, opening stores in Petoskey, Holland and Ann Arbor (another location was opened July of 2014 in Maui).

“After we take possession, we will build out the store in the distinct Fustini’s fashion. An Opening Event will be scheduled at a later date,” says Connie Nunemaker, Fustini’s General Manager.

What is Fustini’s? The real question begins with, "What are fustini?" In Italy, fustini (literal translation: drums) are the stainless steel containers used to properly store olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

How did it come to be? Jim Milligan, founder of Fustini's, was so intrigued by and enamored with the oil and vinegar stores he saw while traveling in Europe, he wanted to bring the concept Stateside. After a long career in international business at 3M and Imation Corporation, he created Fustini's Oils & Vinegars—the name a playful homage to his Italian inspiration. Recognizing the exploding "foodie" market at its early stages, he opened his first tasting room in 2007 in the idyllic Northern Michigan resort town of Traverse City, where he had regularly vacationed with his family for decades. Jim found his perfect second life in his ideal location.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Stiggs Brewing opening next summer in former railroad building

Future home of Stiggs Brewing Co.
Stiggs Brewing Company plans to open next spring or summer in the former Railroad Office Building at 112 S. Park St., Boyne City. Business founder Mike Castiglione with help from an investor has purchased the building from Hugh and Susan Conklin. Castiglione said Stiggs Brewing Company "will focus on producing quality and unique beverages for its patrons paired with local cuisine, exciting atmosphere, and a welcoming staff. The primary focus will be a beer bar, serving both in-house brews and other Michigan beverages. The full bar will also serve wines and spirits with an emphasis on Michigan-made products." He hopes to attract craft beer enthusiasts by providing a large selection of products for both consumption at the beer bar and to take home with them. He also plans brewery tours, beer classes, beer-tasting sessions, a home brew club and supply shop, local home brew competitions, competing in local and statewide events, and hosting local beer events. Their website is  The brewery was included in a recent Petoskey News-Review story on the growth of brew pubs. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Good Neighbors Food Pantry opening every Tuesday starting Sept. 22

Good Neighbors Food Pantry of Boyne City will open its doors on Tuesday, Sept. 22. A dedication for the new pantry is Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend. The pantry’s annual meeting, including installation of board members and election of officers, will precede the dedication at 6 p.m.

The pantry is located on the west side of the Boyne Area Free Clinic’s building at 624 State St.. Volunteers have been refurbishing an area in the building for the two months, and equipping it for food distribution.

“The support we’ve received from the community has been amazing,” said Good Neighbors board president Susan Conklin. “We are grateful to the many businesses, organizations and volunteers who have made it possible for us to get the building ready and get up and running so quickly.”

Donations of labor and materials, as well as financial contributions, have been received from the following businesses and organizations: Firehouse Flooring, Preston Feather, Carpentree Inc., Wright Building and Design, CindiFranco’s Cool Stuff, The Wood Shop, Boyne City Hardware, Boyne Area Free Clinic, The Grain Train Natural Foods Market, Char-Em United Way, and the City of Boyne City.

The pantry will be open once a week, every Tuesday beginning Sept. 22 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Depending on the need, another day may be added to the schedule.

Volunteers are still needed for various aspects of pantry operations, from stocking shelves to picking up food, to helping on pantry days. Donations for operating the pantry and purchasing food are also welcome.

The Good Neighbors Food Pantry recently formed to help improve access to healthy foods for families in need. Discussions began months ago between The Manna Food Project and area pantries about how to meet hunger needs in the area, and eventually resulted in the formation of a committee to explore options. That committee became Good Neighbors Food Pantry, and has grown to include many community members, who have taken on the project with enthusiasm.

> For more information about Good Neighbors Food Pantry or to volunteer, email, visit the Volunteer Connections page at CharEm United Way (, or visit Good Neighbors Food Pantry on Facebook. Donations may be sent to Good Neighbors Food Pantry, PO Box 35, Boyne City, MI  49712. Visit their Facebook page.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Outrageously offbeat" Horton Bay Parade to return on July 4th, 2016

Chip Lorenger is already promoting the parade
at the Horton Bay General Store.
A group of Horton Bay area residents are planning to revive their wacky 4th of July Parade parade in 2016. They have scheduled a fund-raiser from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6 at the Horton Bay General Store. Popular local band Horton Creek will play for the fund-raiser, and some of the band members are active on a committee planning the parade. Organizers have started a Facebook page with with photos from past parades, and posts such as "Fun Horton Bay Parade fact: Average attendance 2,500, but peak was 10,000 in 1980's (in a village of 38 people!)." The parade was held every year or two starting in the late 1970s through 2008. In 2009 the parade was cancelled. However, according to the Petoskey News-Review, "In the spirit of Horton Bay craziness, it's been reported that parade spectators are still planning on gathering for the non-parade. Horton Bay General Store owners are hosting the non-parade event at noon on Saturday, July 4, in front of their store," where they planned to sit on the porch and wave at passing cars. In 1998, Horton Bay resident Sara Gay Damman wrote a feature story on the parade for the Chicago Tribune, which began like this: "An opportunity for public humiliation." That is the pitch John Rohe, czar of Horton Bay's Annual 4th of July Parade, uses to lure otherwise normal people into entering what many believe is one of the most outrageously offbeat Independence Day parades in the U.S."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Catt's Lake Street project approved with change to single story

From the Petoskey News-Review: City officials have given their stamp of approval to a revised version of an area company's plan to redevelop two buildings - one of them long vacant - in downtown Boyne City. On Monday, the Boyne City Planning Commission gave its final site plan approval for Catt Development's SOBO Lake Street Building project in the 200 block of South Lake Street. However, the project approved Monday will look much different than what Glen Catt had originally proposed for the site. The revised plan now calls for neither building to be demolished. Instead, both will be renovated for the new uses. The Lakefront Mall building will remain a one-story structure and will be remodeled inside and out to house the 7 Monks Taproom bar/restaurant on the north side and a retail space to the south. The former bus garage building will be renovated and restored inside and out and split into two retail/lease spaces. Full story.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friggy's SOBO Pub: "When Life Meets Beer"

Owner Jeff Leppala with new sign.
Friggy's SOBO Pub has opened in the space previously occupied by Pippin's restaurant at 5 West Main Street. Friggy's is owned by Jeff and Deb Leppala of Crystal Falls, but they have had a big assist from friend and Boyne City resident Chris Thiel, former co-owner of the 220 Lake Street restaurant. Jeff and Chris are friends from Dewitt High School in the 1980s. 
Thiel says they are designing Friggy's as "an old-fashioned bar" with a menu and prices that will appeal to local residents - "bar food, $7 burgers, sandwiches, hot wings. We will not have anything that is gluten free." His goal is to make it feel like the Eagles Club. He wants to have free peanuts or popcorn, live music and a fun atmosphere. Fun is clearly on tap when you see their beer glasses imprinted with "Friggy's - When Life Meets Beer," a tongue-in-cheek nod to Boyne City's "Where Life Meets Lake" slogan of recent years. To turn on the water in the restroom sinks, you pull on a beer tap, and the men's room features television screens and urinals made from beer kegs. Facebook page.

Friday, July 10, 2015

New Boyne City food pantry finds home at Boyne Area Free Clinic

The Boyne Area Free Clinic is the home for the new Good Neighbors Food Pantry. The pantry is refurbishing an area on the west side of the clinic’s building at 624 State Street in Boyne City, and will open its doors in the near future. Both organizations share the goal of helping people in need.

   “We have available space in our building,” said Free Clinic board president Deonna Crouterfield. “And the pantry needs a home, so it makes perfect sense. We support anything that helps the community.”

   Boyne Area Free Clinic is an independent nonprofit community organization committed to providing basic medical care to those who do not otherwise have access to such services. Its mission is to provide health care, with respect and dignity, to under-served Charlevoix County residents, with the help of qualified medical volunteers and staff.

   The Good Neighbors Food Pantry of Boyne City recently formed to help improve access to healthy foods for families in need. Before opening its doors, the pantry will be busy preparing its new space at the Free Clinic.

   According to Susan Conklin, the work involves things like painting and installing or building shelving. Community involvement is sought for these improvements, as well as volunteers to help with the pantry operations.

   For more information about Good Neighbors Food Pantry or to volunteer, email, or visit the Volunteer Connections page at CharEm United Way ( Donations may be sent to Good Neighbors Food Pantry, PO Box 35, Boyne City, MI 49712.

   The Free Clinic, which formed in 2007, is open every Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Local physician Richard Mansfield, DO, serves as medical director. The Clinic is staffed by volunteers and provides services for acute non-emergent conditions and primary care services to those individuals that fall into the no-income or low income, no insurance or under insured category.

   The Free Clinic has recently refurbished other areas of their building in order to offer dental and vision screenings. Jennifer Larson, DDS, will be performing basic dental screenings, as well as recommending further treatment as necessary through referrals. Other dental professionals are welcome to join the effort in providing screenings.

   The Clinic is still seeking a professional to provide vision screenings.

   In addition to vision and dental professionals, the clinic is seeking other medical professionals to provide services. They also have openings on the board of directors, and can always use volunteers in a variety of capacities. Donations are also welcome.

   For more information, contact the Free Clinic at (231) 582-4605.

   A benefit for the Free Clinic will be held the Eagles Lodge in the fall. Watch for details later this summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kim Altobello completes first year of Chamber Institute

Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, is pleased to announce that Kim Altobello, Associate Director of the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce, has completed her first year of a four-year nonprofit leadership training program at Madison, Wisconsin. Institute graduates are recognized across the country as leaders in their industries and organizations," said Raymond P. Towle, IOM, CAE, the U.S. Chamber Foundation's vice president
of Institute for Organization Management. Through a combination of required courses and electives in areas such as leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance, and membership, Institute participants are able to enhance their own organizational management skills and add new fuel to their organizations, making them run more efficiently and effectively. Institute website.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Boyne City Farmers Market plans an event-filled summer

The Boyne City Farmers Market outdoor market season is in full swing, open every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m.- to noon at Veterans Park. The outdoor market will feature more than 65 regular produce vendors, all local, serving seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs; gourmet baked goods and preserves; eggs and cheese; honey and maple syrup; proteins, fish, potted annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, and cut flowers; plus a juried craft market with unique hand-made items for your home or a special gift. A full line-up of the vendors and their offerings is available on the website. “The farmers never missed a beat! Greens were available all winter and with the many hoophouses and greenhouses the produce has been amazing since mid May,” says Becky Harris, market manager.

This is the fourth year accepting Bridge Cards. Customers swipe their card at the market booth and receive tokens to shop with. Eligible foods include vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat, eggs, bread, jam, pickles and pastries, as well as seeds or plants that produce food. The market also partners with Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program. “Doubling the value of federal nutrition assistance spent at our market helps people bring home more locally grown fruits and vegetables. It’s really a ‘win/win/win’ as it helps low-income consumers eat healthier, local farmers gain new customers, and more food dollars stay in the local economy,” says Harris. “When customers spend $10 with the Bridge Card, we provide another $10 to buy fresh fruits and veggies grown in Michigan, with a match up to $20 each market day.” More information visit

A full season of activities have been arranged including cooking demos, children’s food education series, “Food: Make it Easy” sessions, health screenings and live music every Saturday starting June 20. “We are really excited about a special appearance by Michelle Bommarito. She will present “Energize your Pantry” at Blackbird Gardens, graciously sponsored by Grain Train,” says Harris.

2nd Annual Food Truck Rally will take place Thursday, July 16, 6-9 pm at Veterans Park. Over 25 local food and beverage stations will be available. The evening will also feature live music with Disastroid. The cost is $10 per person, which includes two beverage tickets. Children under 12 are free. “This fun event with live music attracted a lively crowd of food enthusiasts last year,” Harris said. “It is meant to connect friends and strangers, while sharing local food and drink while supporting the smallest of small business.”

Friends Farm Meals are a highlight of the season, breaking bread and toasting the farmers and others who make Michigan’s agricultural community so vibrant. Two dates are available this year: Elvyn Lea Lodge, Walloon Village on Saturday, July 25th and A Matter of Taste, Tapawingo in Ellsworth on Saturday, August 22nd. . The price is $75 per person. Reserve online or at the Market Booth or call 231-330-2704 with any questions. Musical guests will appear at both venues. Proceeds raised from these events will be used to help fund the Community Pavilion, which will become the market’s winter home.

The Boyne City Farmers Market is a program of the Boyne City Main Street Program / Downtown Development Authority. It is governed by an 11-member committee consisting of vendors and community members. For a complete line-up of our market events visit For more information contact market manager Harris at 231-330-2704 or Main Street at 231-582-9009.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Boyne City celebrates SOBO and the arts with June 26-27 Festival

The Arts will be celebrated in Boyne City with the 6th annual SOBO Arts Festival on June 26 and 27. Located in historic and vibrant Boyne City, the juried festival provides high quality cultural experiences for festival patrons and attracts artists from all over the region representing all fine arts. 
The festival kicks off on Friday, June 26, with “Stroll the Streets” from 6-9 pm, showcasing musical performances, family and children’s activities, culminating with an outdoor concert featuring the Bay Area Big Band playing in the heart of SOBO. This performance is supported by a grant from The Charlevoix County Community Foundation. The 17-member band builds on a proud tradition of such historical names as Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Count Basie and Glenn Miller and creates an unforgettable musical experience. It promises to be a great evening for dancing in the streets. There will be beverage tastings at Lake Street Market and a poster signing by local artist Julie Stratton, creator of the 2015 festival poster. The original framed 8 x 10 painting will be raffled off with the winner announced at 9 pm. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at Cindi Franco’s Cool Stuff, Freshwater Gallery, Smitten Designs Studio, Boyne Arts Collective and Country Now and Then until 8:45 pm Friday, June 26. Kids of all ages will be able to create a pottery bowl for “Empty Bowls,” benefiting the Manna Food Project.
On Saturday, June 27, activities move to nearby Veterans Park on the shore of Lake Charlevoix. The festival, adjacent to the Boyne City Farmers Market, will run from 10 – 4 pm, when patrons can enjoy local bounty, and local and regional talent. The Gypsy Artists’ Caravan will have its “maiden voyage” this year - bringing a mobile studio and entertainment stage featuring student visual and performing artists working, displaying, performing and selling their work.
A new addition to this year’s event is the En Plein Air Paint-Out. This competition runs from 8 am – 3 pm and is designed to connect art and people to their surroundings. Local and regional artists, as well as students, will be inspired by the beauty of historic Boyne City and pristine Lake Charlevoix. These paintings will be for sale at a reception and exhibition at 4 pm at Northern Table in the SOBO Arts District of Boyne City.
The Festival will also feature the local culinary arts with food trucks from The Landing, Boyne Valley Lions, and Luckey's Coney Island, along with other outstanding food vendors. 
Festival organizer Becky Harris noted that “All festival activities are free of charge to our patrons, thanks to the support of our local sponsors, Pat O’Brien & Associates Real Estate, Café Sante, Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, State Farm, EYES on Main Street, and Progressive Dental, as well as a generous grant from The Charlevoix County Community Foundation for the Bay Area Big Band. We are so fortunate to have the support of our community.” 
The Charlevoix County Community Foundation is a local charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all citizens of Charlevoix County by building permanent endowment, addressing needs through grant-making, and providing leadership resources to serve the community. More information about The Charlevoix County Community Foundation may be found at or by calling 231.536.2440.
For more information on the SOBO Arts Festival, visit, or call the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce at 231.582.6222 or Boyne City Main Street at 231.582.9009. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Boyne City downtown historical walking tour kicks off June 12

Boyne City is kicking off a new downtown historical walking tour in tandem with the first night of Stroll The Streets from 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 12. The Stroll Through History self-guided walking tour will include over 50 stops featuring the rich history of Boyne City’s downtown.  A printed brochure will be available as well as online content with additional photos, narrative and audio options.  Those wishing to take the tour will be able to download an app on their smartphones or tablets to see each featured building and access the information.  In addition to the self-guided tour, everyone is invited to visit the historic Wolverine-Dilworth Hotel at 7 p.m. Friday, June 12, for guided tours (in conjunction with and special thanks to the Charlevoix County History Preservation Society and Patrick McCleary), following a re-enactment of one of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speeches.
Additional highlights will include a wide variety of music around town for Stroll the Streets, people dressed in period clothing, vintage cars and tractors, horse and wagon tours and other highlights from the past.
  On Saturday, June 13, a vintage base ball game between the Petoskey Mossbacks and the Ludington Mariners will take place at Rotary Park at 1:30 p.m., complete with period uniforms.  Fans can watch the game “as it was meant to be played.”  To round out the Stroll Through History weekend, an ice cream social will take place on the veranda of the Dilworth Hotel at 3:30 p.m.
  City Manager Michael Cain said, “We are pleased that the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network chose to partner with us on this worthwhile project, and we are excited to showcase our historic past with others.”
  The Dilworth is slated for a full restoration that will begin this summer.  “This will be a great opportunity for everyone to see the ‘before look’ and watch as it is transformed back to its original glory,” said Lori Meeder, Main Street Director.   “We are so fortunate to have a community advocate like Dilworth owner Bob Grove who sees the importance of the history and has the commitment to bring this historic landmark back to its full potential.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New community-based food pantry in Boyne City discussed

Concern over food insecurity in the Boyne City area has led local food pantries and The Manna Food Project to explore ways to improve access to food for families in need.

The Boyne area has three pantries serving families in need of food assistance: The Seventh Day Adventist Food Pantry and the Boyne City Community Pantry at Trinity Fellowship, both in Boyne City; and the Boyne Valley Pantry in Boyne Falls. 

Until recently, there was also a pantry at the Walloon Lake Community Church. Ninety Boyne City families were visiting the church's food pantry on a regular basis. When the pantry closed in January, it created a gap in services for many area families.

The Boyne City pantries are run by small churches who fear there is now more need than they can accommodate. Although they receive support from the community at large, it is a burden for a small congregation, both financially and in terms of volunteers. They also have concerns about the sustainability of their programs, since each pantry relies heavily on one person to manage all aspects of pantry operations.

“If I were to retire and take a step back from the pantry, I’m not sure if there would be someone to take over,” said Jack Dunlop, director of the Seventh Day Adventist pantry. “It’s a big job for a small church.” 

Deb Noblett, executive director of The Manna Food Project, and Boyne City resident,
has been discussing these issues with the three pantries and is looking for ways to help them meet the need. Manna works with all of the pantries in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties, and notes that Boyne area families are traveling as far as Ellsworth and Harbor Springs for help.

"Manna’s mission is to feed the hungry in northern Michigan," Noblett said. "We want to support the Boyne Community in any way we can to be sure those in need have enough to eat without traveling long distances to receive that support." 

The Manna Food Project is a non-profit organization established in 1987 to help feed the hungry in northern Michigan. Manna operates a food bank, a food rescue program, a “Food 4 Kids” Backpack program, and a food pantry. The food bank and food rescue program serve 34 partner agencies (food pantries and soup kitchens) in Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties. For more information about Manna’s programs, see

One question Noblett says Manna gets asked is how to determine need in a community. The United Way recently released the ALICE report for Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet counties that sheds light on this question. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are households that earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. Combining the poverty and ALICE numbers shows how many households are struggling to meet basic needs.

In Charlevoix County, 13 percent of households are below the poverty level and 25 percent of households are at or below the ALICE level, for a total of 38 percent, or 3,855 households struggling to afford basic needs such as food. For more information on the ALICE report, see

Feeding America reports food insecurity rates on their website (, including data for the local area. Food insecurity is the most broadly-used measure of food deprivation in the United States. The USDA defines food insecurity as “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” According to Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap study, the food insecurity rate in Charlevoix County is 21 percent for children and 13 percent for adults. 

"Our pantry works hard and helps feed a lot of people, but I think there is more need than what we can supply,” said Lei (Kipapa) Nahinu of the Boyne Community Pantry.  “I see so many families going through difficult times."

"I think our situation in Boyne City could be helped by spreading the burden more broadly and involving more people and organizations in the community," said Dunlop. "Another pantry could help increase access to food assistance in Boyne City. I appreciate Manna's assistance in starting a dialogue toward that end."

"Boyne City is a wonderful, supportive community," Noblett said. "Community members pull together to support those in need, and there is definitely need."

> IF YOU'D LIKE TO HELP - A committee is being formed to explore creating an additional food pantry in Boyne City, with involvement of community members, Manna, and the three existing area pantries. Issues to explore include finding a location for the pantry, as well as volunteers and additional funding. Those interested in joining the exploratory committee or assisting in other ways should call Manna at 231-347-8852. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

10 new businesses opening for summer in Boyne and Walloon Lake

Northern Table staff at Business Expo/Taste of Boyne
As often happens at this time of year, there is a flurry of new business activity in and around Boyne City. Here are some of the highlights:
Northern Table restaurant will be opening soon in the former Thirsty Goat location at 220 S. Lake St. Owner Mark Warner and chef Meghan Wruk are heading up the crew that is bringing the restaurant back to life after the facility was vacant for more than a year. They gave us a sneak preview of their menu that emphasizes locally sourced foods during the Business Expo Taste of Boyne and Farm To Frame Stroll last week. Northern Table's upstairs area will be known as Boyne Pub, featuring wood-fired pizzas, craft beer, cocktails and entertainment in a fun atmosphere. They hope to open in time for the Mushroom Festival in mid-May. Info: 231-459-4487,
BC Pizza will open a second Boyne City location in the former Spicy Bob's building at 427 N. Lake St. Officials say the new location will open "before the summer rush." Info: (231) 582-2288,
Friggy's SOBO Pub plans to open in June in the former Sunset Grill location at 5 West Main Street.
Smitten Designs Studio has just opened at 120 Water St. in the store previously occupied by Boyne's Beyond Borders. Owner Ivette Dixon previously rented a smaller space in that building, which is now occupied by On Water Art & Design, a gallery featuring the work of local artist Shannon Pearce. Both businesses are hosting a grand opening ribbon cutting and open house at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 8. Info: 231-459-6808,
I Love Boyne City, a beach-themed clothing and gift shop, will be taking over a portion of the former Sunburst Marine store at 101 Water St. The owners are currently remodeling the inside of the store, and they hope to open by mid-May. They currently have a similar shop called I Love St. Joe in St. Joseph, MI.
52 Weekends is also taking over a portion of the former Sunburst building with their third location in addition to stores in Petoskey and at Boyne Mountain. The store sells women's clothing, accessories and gifts. Info: (231) 347-5250,
Boyne Country Propane has opened in a new building at 1701 M-75 South, between Boyne City and Boyne Falls. Alan Wells is the managing partner and owner; he can be reached at 231-582-2700. They offer retail propane sales and service. Info: 231-582-2700,
CapTrust Financial Advisors has opened an office in Suite 1B at 109 Water St., Boyne City. The managing director is Paul R. Moody. Info: 231-459-4461, Website.
Hotel Walloon will open May 18 in Walloon Lake Village. Owner Matt Borisch describes the 32-room hotel as a place "where guests can enjoy the charm and hospitality of the early 19th Century along with the comforts of every modern amenity." Info: (231) 535-5000.
Boyne Area Medical Center is not a new business, but their staff will be celebrating the completion of their recent expansion from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, at 223 N. Park St., Boyne City.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Boyne City lakeshore property has new owner

One of the most important lakefront properties in Boyne City has a new local owner. 475 Lake Street LLC, purchased the fenced-in lakeshore property on North Lake Street, located across the street from Family Fare and next to the Boyne City Boat Launch. The sale closed April 24. Partners in 475 Lake Street LLC, are local residents Bob Grove and Mike Dow. 
“We have both looked at that fence for years and felt something needed to be done,” Grove said. “We saw an opportunity and pursued it.  We both feel a great sense of satisfaction securing this property under local ownership.”
“We are not developers and we have no specific plans for the property at this time,” Dow said. “We both appreciate the beauty of Lake Charlevoix and know how important this property is to the community.”
Terms of the sale were not released. The seller was represented by Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate of Charlevoix and agent Richard Lobenherz. Representing 475 Lake Street LLC, was Kirk Jabara of Boyne City and attorney Dan Barron of Barron & Engstrom of Charlevoix.
The property is 4.5 acres and includes 590 feet of lake frontage. It has been owned by Headwaters Properties, Inc. (formerly Devlon Properties) for several years. Headwaters Properties had proposed building a 24-unit hotel on the property and 90-slip marina. While little progress was made on the development the previous owner did receive all the permits necessary to build the marina. 
The new owners have not yet determined final plans for the property. Their first objective was to secure the property and clean up the site. “We want to explore several different alternatives to maintain the undeveloped state of the property,” Grove explained.
While the new owners realize the fence enclosing the property has been a sore spot for the community for several years they cautioned that it will take time before the fence comes down. The owners will need to do a comprehensive review of all the issues related to the property, complete some cleanup, and make landscape improvements before removing the fence.
In addition to the lakefront property, Grove is also owner of the historic Dilworth Hotel in downtown Boyne City. He said work on the hotel’s renovation is moving forward and exterior renovations will begin no later than July 1. 
Dow is long-time resident of the area and is active in many local organizations. “My interest in Boyne City dates back to the 1970s when we were original owners at the Landings Condominiums,” Dow said. “I admire the progress the community has made and look forward to working with Bob on this great opportunity.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

7 Monks Taproom expanding to Boyne City

Matt Cozzand, left, and Jim Smolak
Story and photo from the Traverse City Record-Eagle: Matt Cozz and and Jim Smolak saddled up for a ride into the unknown in 2011. With little experience in the hospitality field, they opened 7 Monks Taproom at 128 S. Union St. in Traverse City. The first leg of their journey has been a resounding success. The Traverse City location attracts crowds with its lengthy row of craft tap beer and food service including appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, pizza and salads.
They're now ready to embark on the second leg of their business journey and plan to open a second taproom in Boyne City.  They began thinking about expansion some time ago.
"We started poking our nose around the state," said Smolak, adding they particularly looked around northwest Lower Michigan. "Boyne City came around and we met the right people."
They were impressed with the attitudes of officials and business owners in the town. They hooked up with Catt Development, of Gaylord. 
Catt is planning a $7.5 million mixed-use development in the 200 block of Lake Street in Boyne City. Full story.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lori Meeder named exec director of Boyne City Main Street

The Boyne City Main Street Board has named Lori J. Meeder as the organization's new executive director starting March 1. Meeder replaces Hugh Conklin, who retired in August after seven years in the position. Meeder is a resident of Boyne City and a member of the city Planning Commission. "I am just so excited to be able to devote my time and energy to this community," Meeder said. She has extensive experience in business development and banking, most recently as a senior lender for Northern Initiatives and entrepreneurial division director for the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance. She has also worked for the Lansing Chamber of Commerce and several banks in downstate Michigan. She holds BA and MBA degrees in finance from Grand Valley State University. Meeder has served as a Main Street volunteer on the Team Boyne Economic Restructuring Committee, and she is a board member of Leadership Charlevoix County, a program affiliated with the Boyne City, Charlevoix and East Jordan Chambers of Commerce. City press release.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Chamber honors community leaders, installs board at Annual Meeting

A crowd of 325 people attended the Boyne Area Chamber's 2015 Annual Meeting at Boyne Mountain, enjoying great food and drink, entertainment and the presentation of awards to community leaders and organizations. The award winners are pictured here. Thanks to Erika Blackwell of Center of Attention Photography for providing our pictures, and more photos are here. The award winners are:
> Volunteer of the Year - Nancy Cunningham, whose patient determination over several years on behalf of the Friends of the Boyne River has given us the new Boyne River Nature Area.
Community Pride Award - The Boyne Thunder Committee, which organizes and manages this July event, has raised more than $300,000 for Camp Quality and more recently Challenge Mountain.
Young Entrepreneurs of the Year - Four young women who have in the past year or so started working for their parents' businesses and thus are the heirs apparent to keeping the business going, and keeping it in the family. They are: Asuka Barden of F.O. Barden and Sons, Jessica White of Boyne City Hardware, Jennifer McAndrew of Boyne Co-op True Value and Shantel Erber of BC Lanes.
Entrepreneurs of the Year - Chris and Sandra Nelson, who took our long-neglected and closed bowling alley and brought it back to life as BC Lanes, located adjacent to their highly successful BC Pizza.
Heritage Award - Bruce Janssen of The Wood Shop, who has been in business since 1974, and has contributed greatly to the appearance of our area with his artistic sign creations.
The Sally Roselli Business Leadership Award (presented by Sally's sister, Julie Wellman) - Tony Williams and Robin Lee Berry of Freshwater Gallery, whose are active in many organizations and whose winter concert series has brought nationally-known talent to Boyne City.
> The Chamber Board of Directors was installed at the Annual Meeting with Kristine Brehm honored for completing her  year as president and Karen Guzniczak starting her year as the incoming president. Full board.