Briefly: Big News In A Small Format


Stone House Bread is slated to move into the former Antique Mall building at 4200 U.S. 31 South near Chum’s Corner next month.

The move from Switch Drive in TC will give the bakery twice as much room and allow it to operate more efficiently, said owner Tonie Spearing. “Especially with the loading dock there, the trucks can be loaded out of the elements,” she said.

The building is being gutted and “kneaded” into a modern bakery with a climate-controlled production area to better monitor the development of sourdough products, “while retaining the old-fashioned artisan processes that have made Stone House Bread successful,” Spearing said. (The company makes 17 different types of yeasted sourdough breads.)

“It’s going to be very exciting – it’ll be a very professional bakery,” she said. “It’s allowing us to do … things you would find in a production facility, not a bakery.”

Stone House Bread’s continued growth downstate and northern Indiana dictated the move to larger facilities.

“The plan is to continue to diversify and grow so we can cover more areas,” said Spearing, who purchased the company from founder Bob Pisor in 2007.

The company’s made-from-scratch, preservative-free bread and other products (preserves, dipping oils, scones…) can already be found in several grocery stores and restaurants throughout Michigan.

The nationally-recognized company employs approximately 45 employees – including bakery employees and those who work in distribution hubs throughout Michigan and Indiana. Spearing will likely hire more after the move.
Once the bakery vacates space on Switch Drive, adjacent business Alfie will begin reconfiguring the 10,000 square-foot building to expand operations, said owner Bonnie Alfonso.


Global Marine Insurance in Traverse City has expanded and now offers Global Private Risk for specialty insurance coverage of homes and vehicles. The firm offers competitive rates with A-rated carriers including Safeco, AAA, and Grange Insurance. It also provides customized coverage options through elite carriers including Chubb, Ace, AIG and Pure Insurance for higher value homes.


Food writers and editors in the Chicago area like their chips – Great Lakes Potato Chips, to be specific. The group recently rated 24 different brands of regular potato chips for a recent story in the Chicago Tribune.

The Traverse City-based chipmakers came out on top for Favorite Chips. The tasting notes described them as “fresh, clean, buttery.Each chip has skin-on edge, giving it a subtle rustic taste.” The company’s Michigan Cherry Barbecue was also mentioned as having a “campfire woodsy taste and a hint of candy sweetness.”

Great Lakes Potato Chips, founded by Ed and Chris Girrbach, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and last year was named one of the “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.”


The Home Builder’s Association of the Grand Traverse Area recently announced the winners of the 2015 Parade of Homes People’s Choice awards. The 26th annual Parade of Homes featured 19 new homes. Parade homes are judged by the community, touring the homes who select the People’s Choice in each of the 3 home value categories.

This year, more than 18,889 home visits were tallied during the six-day event. The People’s Choice Award: Best Overall went to: Durango Homes, $150,000 – $2999,000 category; K A Construction, $300,000 – $499,000 category; Bay Area Contracting, $500,00+ category.


After doing business on South Airport Road for more than 25 years, The Sound Room in Traverse City has relocated to the Garfield Trade Center (south of McLain Cycle). Due to the volume of projects, the business has reduced its retail hours to Wednesdays, 10:00am to 6:00pm, all other days by appointment only. Owners Alex Walton and Chad Neddo said this will allow them more time to design and install customized projects.


J. Peterson Homes of Grand Rapids, a custom homebuilder and renovations services provider, is opening a construction design studio in Traverse City. It will be located at 516 East Front Street and an official opening is planned for next spring.

“We’ve actually done several construction projects recently in the Leland and Frankfort areas and feel the time is right to establish a street front presence in Traverse City,” said Peterson.

The construction design studio will serve as the firm’s education center, and will feature displays by Pella Windows, Kohler and other key vendors.


Golden Circle Advisors (GCA) has opened its doors to help Michigan businesses find both buyers and sellers of on-going Michigan enterprises, working with clients throughout Michigan with offices in Traverse City and Plymouth.
GCA was founded by Curtis Kuttnauer of Traverse City and Fred Manuel of southeast Michigan.

“Our locations are ideal for supporting clients anywhere in Michigan,” said Kuttnauer. “We have seen a lot of interest and the growing trend of business owners looking for a path to move from southeastern Michigan and relocating to northern Michigan.


National Cherry Festival officials have announced the 2015/2016 Board of Governors. Officers are: Jamie Callahan, president; Kevin Jaeger, president elect; David Barr, past president; and Ian Hollands, finance officer. Board members include: Dawn Centilli, Joe Francis, Meredith Hawes, Rebekah Lynch, Justine Wolf, and Michael Sinnard. Newly elected member Brett Fedorinchik and Christal Frost have joinedthe board for a three-year term. Also serving on the Board of Governors is Barbara Wunsch, cherry industry liaison. Ex-officio members of the board include legal counsel, Charles Judson of Smith, Haughey, Rice & Roegge; Jeanine Easterday, City Commission liaison; and Trevor Tkach, festival executive director.


Fit4Mom, the nation’s largest fitness program for moms, has arrived in Traverse City. Fit4Mom Traverse City West offers Stroller Strides classes five days a week at several Traverse City area parks.

“Stroller Strides is a great way to get back in shape, as well as stay in shape,” said Jessica Cavender, owner of Fit4Mom Traverse City West. “We present a fun opportunity for the moms of the Traverse City and its surrounding areas to turn their strollers into a workout.”

In 60 minutes, participants get a total body workout improving cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility. The classes are equally beneficial for babies as instructors will weave songs through the workout and incorporate activities to make it fun.

In addition to Stroller Strides, Fit4Mom offers Our Village, which consists of playgroups, mom’s night out, and family outings giving women an opportunity to socialize and further relationships.

More information by calling 872.588.0991 or emailing,


Century 21 Northland, headquartered in Traverse City, recently announced its inclusion in the Top 1,000 of RISMedia’s 27th Annual Power Broker Report, a national ranking of real estate brokerage firms. Owned and operated locally by partners Brad Platt, Jason Kudary and Julia Lilley, Century 21 Northland reported 949 closed residential transactions in 2014, and a total sales volume of $206,864,662.


Construction of Iron Fish Distillery, a new production facility and tasting room, is underway in Thompsonville in Benzie County. The first of its kind in Michigan, Iron Fish Distillery will focus on field-to-glass craft distilling, producing a full line of premium quality, small batch spirits from grains farmed on its fields. It is slated to open in spring 2016.


The Traverse City Chamber’s economic development organization, Venture North, has launched a professional talent portal called Venture Up Noth, designed to highlight career opportunities available locally in technology, manufacturing, information systems, energy production and more. It also includes a list of local companies that operate in those fields, highlights some of the local business leaders and includes maps and links to nearly 150 companies across the region.


J.Scott Smith Visual Designs of Traverse City now offers three-dimensional scanning, creating high-quality digital representation of homes or businesses.

“Photographs lack context and videos are cumbersome,” said Smith. “A 3D virtual tour means that prospective homebuyers are no longer constrained to a bus tour of a home. They can step away from the canned presentation and explore the home at their leisure.”

In addition tours, the firm is also able to create scaled drawings of each space, directly from the scan data.


Munson Medical Center once again has received verification as a Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The hospital is the only Level II facility in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. The verification process confirms that Munson Medical Center is functioning as a Trauma Center and meets the criteria set forth by the ACS.

The hospital’s trauma team responded to 928 trauma incidents in 2014. The team is led by a general surgeon and includes other general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, other physician specialties, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other medical support staff.
The hospital was first verified as a Level II Trauma Center in 2006.


Alaskan Premium Seafoods, a wholesaler distributor that supplies sustainable Alaskan seafoods straight from the fisherman’s hands, is now open in Traverse City. The company is a member of the Seafood Watch Program, one of four in Michigan recognized as a sustainable and traceable seafood supplier. More information by contacting Maura Boland at


Five attorneys from the Traverse City office of Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge were recently selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2016: F. Bearup, family law, litigation – trusts and estates, trusts and estates; Peter J. Boyles, insurance law; Charles B. Judson, government relations practice; Ronald A. Schuknecht, bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights/insolvency and reorganization law, litigation – bankruptcy; Karrie A. Zeits, municipal law.


Gary Vann, PhD, has relocated his practice to the Viridian Building at 13561 S. West Bayshore Dr. in Traverse City. He is a licensed psychologist providing individual, marital/family therapy and family-owned business consulting. He has practiced in Traverse City since 1977.


The following management appointments have been made at Munson Healthcare and Munson Medical Center: Victoria Anderson, manager of Food and Nutrition Services; Tracy Croff, manager of Ambulatory Physician Practices; Kate Flewelling, Assistant General Counsel; Linda Hansen, manager of Case Management; Jacquie Harding, manager of Health Resource Services; Debra Henderson, manager of Stewardship and Annual Giving for the Munson Health Care Foundation; Ian Jones, director of Planning and Marketing; Jennifer Knapp, manager of Corporate Communications; Tracey Kukla-Aleshire, manager of Physician Recruitment; Russell Love, director of Laboratory Services; Nicole Miller, manager of Nursing Services for the D4 orthopedic unit; Kerri Ohanesian, director of Financial Operations and Planning for Munson Health Care.; Angela Richardson-Gross, manager of Nursing Services for the C4 oncology unit; Deb Sielski, manager of Creative Services; Nicole Sulak, director of Accounting for Munson Health Care; Janet Weaver, manager of Nursing Services for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Meredith Whiteford, manager of Nursing Services for the B3 South medical unit.


Anne Stanton, one of the founders of the National Writers Series (NWS) along with husband and best-selling author Doug Stanton and local attorney Grant Parsons, has taken over as its executive director. She replaced Jill Tewsley, who had served as executive director for the last three years. Tewsley has started her own business supporting authors and organizations with marketing and event planning and has contracted with the NWS to provide services from her home in southeast Michigan.


The Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation has announced $736,000 in grants to Leelanau County and Traverse City area nonprofits.

“The nonprofits receiving grants are vital to the cultural fabric of the area,” said Jud Fisher, executive director. “The grants that stick out this round are the Fishtown Preservation Society funding and the assistance to the Leelanau Conservancy with Palmer Woods. Those entities have done so much to secure the future of the region.”

The complete list of recipients follows:

Fishtown Preservation Society: $300,000 to complete the acquisition of the Fishtown property

Inland Seas Education Association: $21,000 for its fall scholarship program

Interlochen Center for the Arts: $100,000 for the Virginia B. Ball Creative Writing scholarship program

Leelanau Early Childhood Development Commission: $15,000 for program capacity building

Leelanau Conservancy: $100,000 for its Palmer Woods purchase

Leelanau Outdoor Center: $20,000 for its outdoor education program

TART Trails: $60,000 for signage, planning, trail rehab and capacity building

Munson Healthcare Foundation: $60,000 for the Kids Creek project

Traverse Symphony Orchestra: $5,000 for its Family Concert Series

Fishtown Preservation Society also received a grant payout of $50,000 towards the Foundation’s total commitment of $500,000 to assist in the purchase of the property in Leland. All told, the Foundation has committed $800,000 directly to the acquisition of the property.

The Foundation also announced the planned transition of Charles F. Ball assuming the executive director’s position. He replaces Fisher, who has served more than eight years.

“Chuck will be a great staff leader for this organization,” said Fisher. “He recently relocated to Leelanau County and has the experience and talent to take the Foundation to the next level.” Fisher will remain on the board in a governance role as a director.


A pump which provides water to the SEEDS Farm and the Traverse City Community Gardens at the Historic Barns Park has been solarized. The project was supported with funding from the Consumers Energy Foundation. Northwestern Michigan College donated the 12 solar panels and Mike Schmerl of Panoramic Electric donated time and expertise to make the project possible with a $4,000 budget.

When producing more than enough electricity to power the water pump, the panels will offset the electrical consumption of the nearby Cathedral Barn.

“This is a very small part of a larger vision to add energy efficiency and renewable technology installations across Historic Barns Park,” said Sarna Salzman, executive director of SEEDS. “This ‘Energy Farm’ will result in smaller utility bills for the Park’s partners and also provide tangible ways for the public to get further engaged.”