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U.P. Supply Co. opens Marquette store

The Upper Peninsula Supply Co. has been promoting and supporting the U.P. for 10 years now, and it's just opened a brick-and-mortar location in downtown Marquette as its next move.


Owned by Bugsy Sailor, the UP Supply Co. is now open regularly 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 221 West Washington Street in Marquette. The store offers up a range of local products and a creative space that hopefully will be the birthplace of even more ideas that bring attention to the U.P.


Sailor started his business in 2008 as Yooper Steez, which along with U.P.-inspired apparel, launched events and campaigns that paid tribute to the character of the U.P., like 906 Day and Plaidurday.


In 2017 Sailor partnered with Paul Hess, and the two now work together on the U.P. Supply Co, with the goal "to foster community by creating unique goods and campaigns that celebrate the Upper Peninsula of Michigan."


The new store was celebrated with the help of the Lake Superior Community Partnership, with refreshments, giveaways and networking. Marquette city commissioners and LSCP staffers came out to enjoy the opening event.

Amanda Shellnut opens photography studio

A new photography studio is opening in Munising, as a young entrepreneur starts up her business in the area.


Northern Michigan University grad Amanda Shellnut is opening a studio at 330 1/2 E. Superior Street in downtown Munising (that's at the corner of Superior Street and M28.) She'll hold a grand opening February 17 along with Nails by Kristin, a neighbor that is celebrating its third year in business in Munising.


Amanda Shellnut Photography will offer full photographic services to the Munising and Alger County area, from births and weddings, to commercial and corporate photography. Shellnut also provides digital and print photo restoration services, and film and print to digital transfer and archiving.


Shellnut is originally from Munising, a Munising High School grad, and earned her BFA in photography from NMU in 2008.


The grand opening event will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at the studio.

Marquette aims to be hub for sports medicine with new facility

A partnership of several local businesses along with Northern Michigan University have announced what will be a large new sports medicine building in Marquette.


The Great Lakes Sports Medicine and Life Performance Institute is being built at 841 West Washington Street in Marquette and will, when completed, be a 25,000-square-foot, $3.6 million facility. It's a combined effort from UP Health System Rehab Services, NMU, Advanced Center for Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery, UP Rehab Services, and Perform4Life Medical Fitness and Wellness Center.


"Our goal for this facility is to be a regional destination center for active people seeking innovative and inclusive sports medicine services. The Sports Medicine and Life Performance Institute brings resources and expertise -- academic, clinical and material -- all together in an exceptional facility. This pioneering approach and our profound commitment to patients will create value that attracts people from all over the Midwest," is how Dr. J. Bryan Dixon from UPHS's Advanced Center for Orthopedics describes the new facility.


It will provide regional orthopedic and sports medicine services, with a 24-hour gym offering medical fitness and wellness services to fit anyone's schedule. Other specialties include physical therapy, spine and orthopedic rehab services, aquatic therapy, hand therapy, athletic training services, and a division of sports science research focusing on non-traditional treatments for cancer survivors, such as exercise programs.


The research part is where NMU comes in; Elizabeth Wuorinen, Associate Dean for Northern Michigan University, says, "We are looking forward to the potential collaborations with all those involved as there are many ways that we can all work together. The Health and Human Performance Research Center is excited to start working on our exercise oncology research investigating how exercise can be beneficial to cancer survivors, from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, and post-treatment. Exercise, specifically non-traditional and in the outdoors, can be extremely beneficial to survivors not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and impact one's overall well-being."


Construction is scheduled to be completed this February, with a spring open house for the public.

mBank makes moves with new merger, executives

The Manistique-based mBank is continuing its expansion, this time into northern lower Michigan, and is making some management hiring decisions as well.


Having acquired small banks across the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin in the last few years, mBank is now expanding its locations downstate, with a merger with First Federal of Northern Michigan.


First Federal is based in Alpena and is joining the mBank family with seven full-service bank locations across northern Michigan, bringing the mBank total to 30 locations. (Previously, First Federal sold its Oscoda location to a third party.) The new locations are in Alanson, Cheboygan, Gaylord, Lewiston, Mio, and two in Alpena.


What mBank is acquiring: about $320 million in assets and $283 million in deposits. The transaction should be finalized in the first half of 2018. First Federal of Northern Michigan will become a subsidiary of Mackinac Financial Corporation, the company that owns mBank. This is mBank's fourth such merger since 2014.


The merger has yet to be approved by shareholders of both banks. FFNM CEO Michael W. Mahler will stay on in Alpena as executive VP of community banking and administration to make the transition smooth and ensure ongoing customer satisfaction with the changes.


"We are extremely pleased and excited to be able to partner with another long-standing community-focused institution in First Federal and have Mike join our executive leadership team as Alpena becomes another key commerce and operational hub of the organization." says Kelly W. George, mBank president and CEO.


FFNM board chairman Martin Thomson adds, "Given mBank's presence and commitment to many Northern Michigan communities, businesses and residents, they are an excellent fit for our organization and customer base. We believe our similar business philosophies will result in the preeminent bank in Northern Michigan."


Just prior to the merger announcement, mBank made some more executive-level moves, with the promotion of two new executive VPS and two more VPs.


Clay Peterson is now executive VP, western U.P. and Wisconsin market executive and managing director of retail banking. Joanna Slaght is now executive VP and managing director of administration and regulatory compliance risk. Both join the mBank executive team.


Sherry Arnold was also promoted to senior VP of bank administration and training and development manager, while Julie Bosanic's new title is VP and director of mortgage administration.


Arnold will be located in Manistique and has over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the healthcare field. She oversees professional development initiatives as well as directing the bank's marketing and public relations strategy.


Bosanic will also work from the bank's Manistique headquarters. She has been with mBank for 16 years and has moved up through the mortgage and management ranks. She provides leadership for all areas of mortgage lending, such as procedures, loan quality and customer service.


Gander Outdoors to re-open in Marquette

If you were one of the many confused by why on earth the last big chain outdoors store in Marquette would close down in an area so enthusiastic about hunting, fishing and the outdoors, some explanations accompany the news of the re-opening of Gander Outdoors this spring.


Formerly Gander Mountain, the Marquette store was bought along with the rest of the Gander Mountain company's assets after they went to bankruptcy court last May.


The new owner, Marcus Lemonis, owns Camping World, Good Sam and other outdoors companies, and may be familiar to some from the CNBC show "The Profit." He's re-opening certain stores under the new name Gander Outdoors, in markets where the company can expect good support from hunting, fishing, boating, camping and other outdoors consumers, obviously including Marquette.


The store will re-open sometime this February or March, according to a press release from Gander Outdoors, which is now based in St. Paul, Minn. The location hasn't changed -- 3465 U.S. 41 West in Marquette -- and will bring back about 55 jobs to the community.


"It was important to me to bring Gander Outdoors back to the wonderful community of Marquette because the employees were top notch and the store was a great performer serving the outdoor enthusiast community," says Lemonis. "In addition to the Marquette location, we are currently pursuing other locations for reopening and expansion and expect to announce additional locations and markets in the coming weeks."


A grand opening and ribbon cutting are in the planning process right now for the Marquette store. Other Gander Outdoors stores are being re-opened across the U.S., as Lemonis states in the press release that his goal is eventually to operate about 70 locations, depending on profitability and terms of leasing.

Honor Yoga to open in Negaunee

Looking for a place to find your center and take some steps towards a healthier you? If so, you might want to head to Negaunee and check out the new Honor Yoga.

The new business, located at 327 Iron Street, will be hosting a grand opening on Aug. 1 to showcase the fully renovated location they call home. The event begins at 10 a.m. with an open house to follow at 10:30 a.m. And then it's right to work as Honor Yoga has a class -- Power Flow with Lori -- scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and a "yoga of the day" workout scheduled for 7 p.m.

The yoga studio is open to practitioners of all ages and skill levels and offers price points varying from one-time drop-in fees to year-long unlimited memberships and everything in between.

Classes range from the previously mentioned "power flow" to "rise and shine yoga" to yoga that features energizing and uplifting music selections. All of the classes can be viewed here.

For more information about Honor Yoga, you can visit their website or the company Facebook page.


Writer: Sam Eggleston

Dia de los Tacos ready to find a permanent home?

The rumor mill heated up recently with the talk of Dia de los Tacos making the transition from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location. The truth is that is the exact intent of owner Mike Walker and his crew of taco slinging comrades, but there is no set date on the table at this point.

Walker says he is eyeing a location in the downtown area, but that it would require "a lot of work" in order for it to become usable as a restaurant.

Of course, a location for the wildly popular tacos would likely see an expansion of the menu, which wouldn't draw a complaint from any of the Dia de los Taco faithful.

But if the restaurant does become a reality, what will happen to the baby blue truck we've all come to know and love? Walker says not to worry because the truck will continue being in service until it refuses to run anymore.

For more information on Dia de los Tacos, including their various locations throughout the week, please visit their Facebook page.

Writer: Sam Eggleston

2 new businesses headed to old Forsberg Flowers building in Marquette

The old Forsberg Flowers building on Third Street will be home to a new business and a very established business in the very near future.

The location, which is at 600 N. 3rd Street in Marquette, will house a new coffee shop as well as the law offices of George Hyde and Derek Swajanen.

Contrast Coffee will be opening its doors later this summer, following the blueprint the owners have used for successful locations in both Iron River and Ironwood. The joint will feature seating for up to 40 customers and will focus on artisanal coffee.

Hyde & Swajanen will be operating their law offices out of the building as well. The long-time lawyers will no doubt offer up all of the same services they have in years past. Swajanen and Hyde are also the new owners of the Third Street building.

Writer: Sam Eggleston

Sikora Sheet Metal has new owner

The Dickinson Area Chamber Alliance announced the new ownership of a long-established western U.P. company recently with a ribbon cutting.


Sikora Sheet Metal in Iron Mountain, a community mainstay for many years, was bought by Craig Harris, the former co-owner of Don's HVAC in Escanaba.


Harris and his family live in Vulcan, and Harris is originally from Hermansville. He went to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and worked in the Green Bay area for several years before returning home to the U.P.


The new ownership doesn't mean a lot is changing at Sikora, according to the announcement -- Harris says he still employs the same experienced employees and the location is still 216 East Hughitt Street in Iron Mountain. Sikora Sheet Metal offers sales and service of forced air heating and air conditioning, hot water boilers, in-floor heating, outdoor wood boilers, and water heaters, among others.


Writer: Kim Eggleston

Source: Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce


Express Coffee Co. has new owners

A coffee shop in Escanaba has new owners and a new face at the window.


Express Coffee Co. at 2428 Ludington Street is a drive-through coffee shop and is now owned by Jenah and Jeremy Murray of Escanaba. Former owner Nancy Murray announced the sale of the business as she took a job in Iron Mountain.


It is located across from the Delta Plaza Mall and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., although the new owners say they will be experimenting with new hours as well as new offerings.


The Murrays have two young daughters and say they are excited about the new opportunity, and thank new and existing customers for their patience as the family gets used to running Express Coffee Co. You can contact them via email here.


Writer: Kim Eggleston

Source: Express Coffee Co.


New food truck hits shores of Au Train

A new food truck is welcoming those who are hanging out in the Au Train area this summer.


Northwoods Eats and Treats will be serving up a delicious variety of U.P.-made and Michigan products revolving around summery burgers and hot dogs, from a new truck that will be located at the Doucette bridge in Au Train (you'll see it if you drive through, don't worry, it's right by the kayaks... and it's bright orange!)


It's run by Au Train summer veteran the Northwoods Resort, which hosts cabins and kayak rentals on the north shore of Au Train Lake. The menu features Vollwerth hot dogs, brats, Polish sausage, burgers and more, from the Hancock-based meat company. Some of the recipes, like the Yooper Dog, Michigan Dog, and LumberJack, are both U.P.- and gourmet-inspired. According to the resort, even the accompaniments are Michigan-made, like Great Lakes potato chips, Faygo pop, and Randall Bakery buns.


The menu is expected to rotate and change as summer goes on, so it's worth making a couple stops out to the lovely sandy shores of Au Train for some tasty food truck goodness this summer.


Writer: Kim Eggleston

Source: Northwoods Resort


Edge of Reality VR arcade pops up in Marquette

If you've been wondering what the new VR games and apps are like, a new pop-up business in Marquette is offering people the chance to try it out without buying their own.


Edge of Reality VR Arcade is a temporary arcade located at 333 West Washington Street in Marquette, and is open evenings and weekends. The arcade offers state-of-the-art virtual reality gaming and experiences for individuals and groups (yes, it's ok to just come hang out and watch your friends overreact to the VR, too!)


The price is a lot lower than your own Playstation VR, for example -- $15 for half an hour, $20 for an hour, or $30 for 2 hours, with party and group packages also available.


Edge of Reality is open 3-6 pm Monday through Wednesday; 3-9 pm Thursday and Friday; noon-9 pm Saturday and noon-7 pm Sunday.


Writer: Kim Eggleston

Source: Edge of Reality

New children's store opens in Escanaba

Downtown Escanaba has a new specialty retail store, Olivia Bean & Company.


The Delta County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at the new store, owned by Ashlie Neumeier, last week to celebrate the new addition to Ludington Street shopping.


Olivia Bean & Company is a children's clothing store specializing in cute clothes, gifts and accessories for ages from birth up through children's sizes. The store's focus is on "helping even the littlest one make a huge fashion statement," and it looks like that's just what they're doing, from special-occasion outfits like christening gowns to everyday kids' clothes with a touch of the original.


It's located at 1406 Ludington Street in Escanaba and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Writer: Kim Eggleston

Source: Olivia Bean & Company

Contrast Coffee expanding to Marquette

Coffee shops continue to pop up across America as our citizens find new ways to introduce copious amounts of caffeine into their bloodstream. In Marquette, it's no different. Coffee shops are pretty easy to find, ranging from quick drive-thru style to national chains to places that serve some of the best muffins and bagels you're going to find in the city.

And now there's going to be a new shop in town thanks to the expansion of Iron River-based Contrast Coffee.

Contrast will be opening a location on Third Street in the old Forsberg Flowers location. There, customers will be able to enjoy craft roasted coffee, a full menu featuring all the typical fare you'd expect from a modern coffee shop, as well as a variety of drinks to meet any tastes.

There is no set open date for the future home of Contrast Coffee, but a post on their Facebook page on June 7 indicates "We've got some work to do before we'll be open for business, but we're excited to bring you along every step of the way."
Writer: Sam Eggleston

Sault Ste. Marie's only music store under new ownership

There is nothing quite as sweet as the sound of music in the air, and the best place to find that music -- and the instruments that make it -- is at Crooked Music in Sault Ste. Marie.

Formerly known as Grooves Music, the downtown Sault Ste. Marie music store recently was purchased and reopened by Zac and Christie Crook.

The store, which is located at 540 Ashmun Street, has a fine selection of musical equipment, musical accessories, instruments, music-themes apparel, and more.

For those audiophiles who are making the transition back to vinyl? You're in luck in that department, too, because Crooked Music has a wide variety of records to meet any taste in tunes.

Additionally, for those looking to make music instead of just listen to it, the shop has a variety of music lessons available for those wanting to lean the craft.

For more information about Crooked Music, follow the company on Facebook.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
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