Bowerman bringing blueberries to downtown Holland

Bowerman Blueberries is bringing the family farm to downtown Holland with its first restaurant.

The family-owned Bowerman Blueberries will offer baked goods including their blueberry donuts, and sweets year-round and fresh in-season produce at its new cafe in downtown Holland.
 
The counter-service restaurant — to be located at the corner of Eight Street and Central Avenue in the former Alpenrose cafe and Sandcastle for Kids toy store— will also offer a breakfast and lunch menu. Seating will be available inside and seasonally on a patio on Eighth Street.

The donuts, pies, and other baked goods will be made fresh on site, Bowerman Blueberries President Tom Parker says. Fruit smoothies, espresso drinks, and the popular frozen blueberry custard made with Bowerman blueberries will also be available.

“We like to make our stuff fresh in front of people,” Parker says.
A new restaurant by Bowerman blueberry farm is set to open in downtown Holland later this year.
The restaurant could open as early as June, but that depends on construction, he says. Alpenrose, which closed its doors at the end of last year after nearly 30 years in downtown Holland — has been nearly gutted to make way for the new restaurant, Parker says. Sandcastle toy store and the former Alpenrose cafe will be renovated. What will happen to the rest of the former AlpenRose space has yet to be announced.

“We are thankful that the Bowerman family is opening an excellent restaurant in downtown Holland,” the property’s owner Elsa Prince Broekhuizen said in a news release. “Their reputation has spread throughout West Michigan and many locals, as well as those passing through our city, have come to enjoy their farm-fresh healthy foods and tasty treats.”

Prince Broekhuizen’s property company, Lumir Corp., approached the Bowermans about the space when they were already planning an expansion at their farm market, Parker says.

“We’ve been bursting at the seams on James Street over the past two to three years,” he says.

Grandpa Bowerman started the blueberry farm in 1954. Parker attributes the farm’s success and expansion to Randy and Carol Bowerman, who still own the farm.

“We’re only able to do this because Mom and Dad — who currently own the farm — put us in a position to succeed,” Parker says. “They gave us a foundation to build upon. They’ve done nothing but support what we’ve done and the decisions that we’ve made.”

Taking a chance

The wholesale price of blueberries has been driven down by imports, and the family sees the future of Bowerman Blueberries as selling directly to customers. The urban setting of downtown Holland offered them a unique opportunity to diversify its offerings.

“We’re just trying to keep our family business alive and expand what we sell to the community,” Parker says. “It’s nerve wracking because of the world and the way it is but we’re ready to take a chance.”

They are hiring for the new store.

Bowerman’s will continue to be a mainstay at the Holland Farmers Market every Wednesday and Saturday.Bowerman Blueberries is expanding its original farmers market and bringing a restaurant to downtown Holland later this year.
 
The Bowerman family is also doubling the size of their flagship storefront — from 3,600 square feet to 7,200 — on their 100-acre farm at 15793 James St. where they will increase their bakery and retail space as well as install a new drive-thru window service, walk-up ice cream windows and more parking.

“Of course, you can get a cup of coffee and a donut quickly,” Parker says. “But you can also get five or 10 pounds of blueberries and a jar of jam.”

 

Read more articles by Andrea Goodell.

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