Briefly: Big News In A Small Format


Blue Lakes Charters & Tours has acquired By The Bay Transportation in Traverse City. Headquarted in Clio, Mich., Blue Lakes is a motorcoach operator with the largest independently-owned charter fleet in Michigan. This acquisition allows the company to expand its areas of service and better meet the increasing demand from smaller groups with executive SUVs, eight-passenger vans and mini-buses. The staff of By the Bay has also joined Blue Lakes.


Mark Humitz is the new president and owner of Cornwell Architects in Traverse City. Humitz has more than 25 years of experience in the architectural profession and joined Cornwell Architects in 2006. Former owner Bob Cornwell remains with the firm. He is providing project management and business development services, as well as mentoring staff and offering business guidance. Cornwell Architects was founded in 1947 by Gordon Cornwell.


Northpointe Motors in Traverse City was recently named DealerRater’s Dealer of the Year – Used Car Dealership in Michigan. DealerRater, a car dealer review website for consumers, recognized recipients for outstanding customer service based on consumer reviews of dealership experiences.

“We became affiliated with DealerRater to give our customers an easy way to rate our services and employees,” said Ryan Craig, general manager of Northpointe Motors. “We also wanted a third-party outlet where shoppers would be able to give their honest feedback online. By having this level of public transparency, our sales team competes against each other to give the best service possible in hopes of gaining customers for life and rave reviews online.


Short’s Brewing Co. and Breakthru Beverage have announced a new partnership which will bring the Michigan-based brewery’s beers, as well is its cider brand, Starcut Ciders, to Illinois. The news comes only three weeks after Short’s Brewing Co. CEO, Joe Short, announced the brewery’s decision to start distributing its beers outside of Michigan for the first time.

“Leah (Joe’s wife and co-owner) and I have been visiting Chicago for years, and never imagined we’d ever see Short’s in this city,” said Short. “It’s surreal to think next time we make the trip we’ll be able to order a Huma. Chicago is an amazing place, and we’re proud that residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy a little taste of Northern Michigan through our beer and cider.”

In addition to Huma Lupa Licious, Breakthru will also be distributing Soft Parade, Space Rock, a selection of seasonals as well as a couple of ciders.


Traverse City’s State Theatre and the Bijou by the Bay have a new website: The site offers an improved calendar and is fully mobile-enabled. It also has a new streamlined online ticketing system that is fast and easy to use on a mobile device or computer.The site was developed by Lars Kelto Technology Services.

Michigan’s only fully organic, fair trade coffee company has joined nine other Michigan organizations as a certified B Corporation, becoming the state’s only B Corp Certified coffee roaster. The certification is recognized by consumers around the world as a way to ensure the products they purchase are made by ethically-minded companies. Higher Grounds joins major international brands Patagonia, Ben and Jerry’s, Etsy, Seventh Generation, and many others as part of the B Corp community.

Higher Grounds was rigorously evaluated by B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies and supports B Corporations. B Lab determined that Higher Grounds met the standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency to qualify for certification. As a result, Higher Grounds is now legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment.

“Higher Grounds was founded in order to support sustainable communities worldwide,” said owner Chris Treter. “We’ve always focused on doing business differently.”


The Zonta Club of Traverse City recently awarded $37,500 to 12 area organizations. Receiving grants were: The Rock Youth Center, Girl Scouts of Michigan, Bethany Christian Services, Women’s Resource Center, Grand Traverse Health & Wellness Center, Grand Traverse Area Health Department, Justice for Our Neighbors, Munson Healthcare Women’s Cancer Fund, and several programs at Kingsley schools.

Zonta Club of Traverse City is a local and international organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. It supports this mission by investing in grants and scholarships in the community. The funding for grants comes from fundraising efforts, including the Zonta Fashion Show in October and the Festival of Trees in November.


Streetcar Partners Management, LLC has purchased a controlling interest in New Mission Organics and Michigan Hop Alliance, innovators in Michigan hop farming based in Omena. The two entities will be merged and retain the name Michigan Hop Alliance under the Streetcar umbrella of companies.
Brian and Amy Tennis founded New Mission Organics in 2005 and were among the first hop farmers in Michigan, planting their first acre on the Leelanau Peninsula in 2008. They have since grown to become a leader in innovative hop production in the Midwest, with more than 20 hop varieties in production, including several being grown for the first time on a commercial scale in North America.

The Tennis’s formed the Michigan Hop Alliance in 2010 to process their own hops as well as hops from farms across northern Michigan. They have assisted dozens of hop farm startups as the Michigan hop industry has grown, sharing knowledge, equipment, and facilities. Both ventures will continue and expand operations under the new Michigan Hop Alliance tag at the Omena farm location. Brian Tennis will assume the role of president and director of marketing for Michigan Hop Alliance (MHA) going forward.

The new partnership will allow for an increase in hop production featuring even more varieties, expanded hop processing capabilities, and an expanded greenhouse operation that will supply clean hop plants for MHA and fellow hop farmers. In addition to the new partnership with Streetcar, MHA has agreed to become the exclusive distributor for the hop farming and processing group Old Mission Hop Exchange of nearby Grand Traverse County.

Streetcar’s other holdings include the Commerce Twp., Mich.-based American Expedition Vehicles, real estate development projects in Northport and the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, and Baia Estate, a Northport-based vineyard and winery. Streetcar plans to establish synergy between the hop operation and its Northport agricultural development.


VP Demand Creation Services (VPDCS, formerly Village Press) in Traverse City announces the addition of four new clients.

The American Society of Media Photographers has selected VPDCS to manage its membership marketing, call center services, website development and maintenance, and other mission-critical marketing activities, transaction services and data management for the Bethesda, Md.-based association.The National Association of College and University Food Services in Okemos, Mich., has selected VPDCS to produce and distribute its magazine, College Dining Today, for college and university food service professionals, and to assist in developing and executing membership marketing programs.
Illinois-based John Morrell Food Group (a division of Smithfield Foods) and Illinois-based Grecian Delight, an industry leader in Mediterranean cuisine, have both selected VPDCS to manage their marketing execution, rebate processing management and sales support services.

VP Demand Creation Services is a special-interest magazine publisher, fulfillment services company, a turnkey provider of outbound and inbound marketing services, and a commercial and digital printing services company.


The Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area Inc. recently elected its board of directors for 2016. They are: Kris Arnold, KA Construction; Brian Maurer, Paul Maurer General Contracting; Caleb Norris, Norris Design Productions; and Timothy Johnston, Green Shield Builders.


Local registered dietitian Kathryn Ayres is now accepting clients seeking expert nutritional interventions for weight loss, heart disease, athletic performance, cancer, autoimmune disease and gastrointestinal disorders. She is the founder of Meals for Medicine, an evidence-based private nutrition practice focused on educating individuals about disease prevention through a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Corporate wellness services are also available for companies looking to provide their employees with sound nutrition information and strategies for achieving optimal health and preventing disease.


Amy Kate Designs in Elk Rapids has won a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award for event floral artistry in northern Michigan.
WeddingWire, the leading global online wedding marketplace, named Amy Kate Designs as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards 2016 for event floral artistry in Northern Michigan.

The awards recognize the top five percent of wedding professionals in the online wedding marketplace network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. Amy Kate Designs website at


Four neurologists have moved their office to a new location on West Front Street. Neurologists Craig T. Kuesel, D.O.; Heather K. Lee, D.O.; Cornelius Robens, M.D.; and Matthew C. Salon, M.D., now practice at 3865 W. Front St., Ste. 4 in Traverse City. All four physicians are accepting new patients.


Pathways Chiropractic has opened at 1001 Bay Street, Suite C, in Traverse City. The practice is owned by Dr. Brandon Larabee and focuses on family chiropractic care.

“We work with intent and efficiency, so that coming to see us fits easily into your everyday life,” said Larabee. “You can be out of your car and back in it in 10 minutes on most visits.”

One aspect of the office that will allow Dr. Larabee to serve patients efficiently is an open adjusting area. He chose this design so he can provide adjustments quickly without compromising the quality of his care.; (231) 714-4112.


Springfield, Inc., a roofing business headquartered in Kingsley, has received a patent for CEO Terry Umlor’s innovative Springfield Ladder Anchor product. The product safely secures an extension ladder to the roof of a building in order to keep the ladder from slipping sideways along the roofline or slipping out from the wall at the ground level.

The product is the result of decades of experience in the field, with Springfield employees safely and effectively climbing ladders to reach rooftops of every imaginable dimension and grade. The Springfield Ladder Anchor can either be installed on the top edge of the roof or reversed and attached to the face edge of the roof.


The Downtown Traverse City Association (DTCA) and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) have a new website.

Local advertising firm Novum Productions created the new site, which is focused around the theme “Let’s Take A Walk.” Navigating through the site evokes “the sights, sounds and even the tastes of downtown Traverse City,” according to the DDA.

The new website features merchant profiles with videos and store hours, interactive maps of shopping, dining and entertainment options, social media feeds, intuitive navigation tools and interactive parking maps highlighting metered parking, lots, time zones and bike parking.

“The new site is truly a reflection of downtown Traverse City: contemporary, but with the charm that we have all grown to love,” said DDA Marketing and Deputy Director Colleen Paveglio. “The DDA staff is proud of this product and hope the visitor will have an enjoyable experience.”


SCRAP TC’s advisory council recently announced a new director and a new direction. Rose Zivkovich is the new director, taking over from Dayna Valpey, who recently stepped down to focus on her career as development director of the Disability Network of Northern Michigan.

SCRAP TC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational programs and affordable materials to the community. SCRAP TC takes donations of clean, reusable materials that would normally wind up in the waste stream and makes them available to teachers, crafters, kids, families and artists. It diverted 8,700 pounds of usable material from the waste stream in 2015.

“This is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community and at the same time teach my young children the importance of reducing waste by creatively reusing materials,” said Zivkovich. “I plan to expand our retail store hours, involve new and much needed volunteers, increase awareness of our programs and offer craft classes for all ages to encourage creative reuse.”
Located at 821 Garfield Ave. in Traverse City, SCRAP TC is currently open Tuesdays and Thursdays (5-8pm) and Saturdays (10am-2pm).


TBA Credit Union in Traverse City is launching a new program to raise more awareness and funding for area schools. Based on the Box Tops for Education Program (that helps raise money for schools $0.10 at a time), the credit union has started a Box Tops Challenge – a competition within its branches to collect the most box tops. Between now and the end of September, box tops will be collected at both the East Front Street and the Veterans Drive locations. A photo contest will then be held on TBA Credit Union’s Facebook page to determine which area school receives the box tops.