Owners plan to rebuild vintage General Store near Holland beach

A visit to Holland State Park wouldn’t be the same for many beachgoers without a stop at the Ottawa Beach General Store for ice cream or another treat.

The popular Holland beach staple, which opened nearly a century ago, is in need of a major overhaul. Fortunately, there are plans to rebuild the store from the foundation up following the 2023 season so it can reopen in time for the 2024 summer season.

“After several decades serving the Lakeshore community, the Ottawa Beach General Store has reached an age where the building’s foundation is at the end of its lifespan,” say Cheri DeVos Ehmann and Steve Ehmann, owners of the store. “At the end of this season, the store will be rebuilt in a way that mimics the current structure in almost every way, opening its doors again for the 2024 season.”

Proposed rendering for rebuilding the Ottawa Beach General Store.

Staying true to origins

The owners plan to keep the store as true to the original as possible, providing the same vintage charm for which the store is known. Working with Dixon Architecture, the store will be re-created to have the same general historical theme and layout, while updating the facility with modern materials.

“We are very sensitive to making sure we re-create the beloved store as similar to the original as possible,” says Ken Dixon, owner of Dixon Architecture. “The new store will resemble the current one, down to the same paint color, roofline, and the number of ice cream ordering windows.”

The Ottawa Beach General Store was built in the late 1930s on 0.2 acres near Lake Macatawa and Holland State Park. The current owners purchased the store out of foreclosure in 2010 to maintain its role as a summertime destination for the Lakeshore community. 

Located at 2256 Ottawa Beach Road, the store has a rich history in the Holland beach community. Whether it’s an ice cream cone or one of the many famous sundae options, a cold drink or a delicious snack on the way to the beach, a chic sweatshirt or T-shirt, or last-minute camping supplies, the Ottawa Beach General Store has patrons covered.

Rendering of what Ottawa Beach General Store will look like after the rebuild.

Keeping tradition alive

Longtime store manager Linda Dykert looks forward to seeing the benefits that come from this investment in the facility.

“The Ottawa Beach General Store has been a mainstay for decades, and I’m so grateful to have played a role in that history,” says Dykert. “I know this place holds special memories for many, and I’m happy this work will keep that tradition alive.”

Initial project plans were presented to the Park Township Planning Commission on Dec. 15. Pending township approvals, construction is scheduled to start after the 2023 summer season.

For more information on the Ottawa Beach General Store, visit www.ottawabeachgeneralstore.com.

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.