Briefly: Big News In A Small Format
SCORE TURNS 25
SCORE Traverse City recently marked its 25th year serving small businesses in the five-county Grand Traverse region. The all-volunteer, nonprofit association provides free and confidential business mentoring to more than 600 entrepreneurs each year. In addition, last year it offered free workshops to nearly 500 attendees. The local group’s 40 business professionals donate more than 5,000 hours of service annually.
HAGERTY SELECTS NONPROFIT PARTNER
TART Trails has been selected as Hagerty’s 2015 Nonprofit Partner. TART will receive a financial gift of $25,000 as well as employee service and pro bono consulting to boost the organization’s capacity. TART participated in a competitive review process for the partnership. It is the second year of Hagerty’s Annual Nonprofit Partner program.
NAT’L RECOGNITION FOR LARKIN
Larkin Group in Traverse City was recently named Agency of the Month by Rough Notes, a national insurance publication. Appearing on the cover of the magazine, the company was recognized for its mandatory account review process, annual revenue growth – $5 million, up from $2 million in 2009 – and its involvement in the community. Larkin is led by principals Bryan Taggart, Justin Looyenga and Steve Merten.
BILL MARSH DONATES $3K
Kalkaska Music Boosters recently received $3,000 to support its program from Bill Marsh, Kalkaska on behalf of the Dodge Corporation. The money was raised through the Dodge Booster Club fundraiser that was held at the start of the school year during the annual Blazer Bash. Dodge Corporation paid the music boosters $20 for everyone who took a new Dodge vehicle on a short test drive.
TECH CO. EARNS CISCO SPECIALIZATION
Wyant in Traverse City has met the criteria to achieve Cisco Advanced Unified Computing Technology Specialization. It can now sell, design and deploy Cisco Unified Computing solutions.
GTOC DONATES $3K
Proceeds from Grand Traverse Ophthalmology Clinic’s annual Fall Trunk Show have benefited three local nonprofits. Each organization – Traverse Health Clinic, Special Olympics and the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA – received $1,000.
GARDEN RECEIVES GRANTS
The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park at the Grand Traverse Commons is the recipient of two grants that will assist the park’s growth and development in 2015. The first grant comes from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Foundation which awarded the Botanic Garden $16,800 for a horticultural specialist in 2015. The second comes from the Land Use and Conservation Planning Endowment at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation to construct three rain garden swales. The structures will serve to establish a natural infiltration-based storm water management system to control storm water run-off and allow for the next phase of garden construction.
BUSINESS CHANGES: RELOCATIONS, EXPANSIONS AND MORE
GREAT NORTHERN OPENS COFFEE TASTING ROOM
Traverse City’s Great Northern Roasting Company now has a dedicated coffee tasting room at its facility on E. Silver Lake Road. Owner Jack Davis said it is the only such tasting room in Michigan – at least that he is aware of.
“It’s inspired by the winery tasting room model to showcase the individual characteristics of coffee origins,” said Davis.
More and more people have been coming to the roasting facility to purchase coffee, he said, referred by Great Northern’s café and restaurant clients around the region.
“With that in mind, we decided now is the time to open the door to the public,” Davis said. “People want to know more about the sourcing of their foods, and making them taste better goes right along with increasing the knowledge of where and how they are produced.”
The tasting room features complimentary tastes of its regular offerings and a $5 “flight” gets visitors a custom brewed cup of their choice that is good toward any purchase of beans or brewing devices.
“On average, we will be able to showcase a single coffee through five different brew methods,” added Davis.
The tasting room is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.
NEW BUSINESS: NAVEEGO
Safety Net in Traverse City has announced that its Naveego business intelligence (BI) platform has been established as a standalone company, Naveego Inc. Previously, Naveego was part of Safety Net’s Application Development Group.
The decision to incorporate was driven by the continued expansion of the Naveego BI software, which helps organizations bring data together from various sources quickly for business people to use in performance dashboards and alerts. Naveego has developed a client base and reseller partnerships in the retail, nonprofit, marketing services, and oil and gas industries. The new company also plans to add a team of sales professionals and expand its work with software developers.
It will remain headquartered in Traverse City and lease space in Safety Net’s offices for now. Naveego Co-Founder Derek Smith, the platform’s architect, has been appointed interim CEO, while Co-Founders Kevin Bozung and Beth Holmes-Bozung will serve as board members. Clients using the software are unaffected by this change.
DR. GRONEK RELOCATES
Julie A. Gronek, M.D., a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, has moved her practice to Jones Center for Pain Management in Traverse City. Jones Center for Pain Management is located at 701 Third St. in Traverse City. Dr. Gronek is accepting new patients and may be reached at 935-0733.
NEW OWNERSHIP FOR CHEESECAKE CO.
The Underground Cheesecake Co. at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons has a new owner. Founders Lori Dawson and Mary Vickerman have retired after selling the 27-year-old company to Scotty Bruce, a longtime customer and owner of Mi Farm Market, headquartered in Ellsworth with a second location at the Grand Traverse Commons.
Mi Farm Market is a three-year-old, family business that ships Michigan-made products all over the world. It purchased Underground Cheesecake after working with it for the last three years. The two generations of owners have spent the last few months collaborating on new marketing ideas, product development and shipping methods, including a new shipping container that will allow the cheesecake to be mailed to people all over the country at a fraction of the previous cost, according to Bruce.
RTV NOW GOOGLE AGENCY
RTV, a Traverse City-based virtual tour software and photo service firm, is now a Google Trusted Photography Agency. These agencies must go through rigorous testing and training to ultimately manage a group of professional photographers that are used to photograph, create, and publish Google Business View virtual tour productions.
RTV will be leveraging their well-established network of over 1000 professional photographers around the world to offer both the RTV virtual tour product as well as the Google Business View product to thousands of businesses throughout the U.S., Canada and other countries.
Jason LaVanture is founder and vice president of RTV.
CRYSTAL NOW TESLA PARTNER
Crystal Mountain is the now the first location in northern Michigan designated as part of the Tesla Driving Destination Partner program.
Three years ago Crystal Mountain became the first resort in Michigan to install complimentary charging stations for electric vehicles (EV). The new high-power connectors provided by Tesla offer more than twice the power of a typical charging station. Three of the stations can charge any make or model EV, two exclusively service Tesla, with all five complimentary to any Crystal Mountain guest.
The Tesla S85D with all-wheel drive has a range of 295 miles which means one could drive to Crystal Mountain from anywhere in the Lower Peninsula on a single charge – which takes 4.5 hours using a Tesla charger. The total energy cost of that one-way trip is approximately $10.
TRAVERSE TAX & ACCOUNTING RELOCATES
Traverse Tax & Accounting, specialists in online accounting, payroll and tax systems for a paperless office environment, has moved to 1501 Cass Street, located at the corner of Cass and 17th Street in Traverse City. It has served the Grand Traverse region since 1973.
GREENLIGHT REVEALS NEW BRAND
Greenlight Marketing in Traverse City has launched its new website, greenlightmkt.com. The site is one of the final elements of the agency’s fresh branding efforts, which includes a new logo, graphics and social media presence.
“Our new brand is a reflection of how Greenlight has evolved from when we started 11 years ago,” explained agency owner Kevin Gillespie.
The new website features Greenlight’s creative work samples as well as its experience and capabilities in a variety of media, including traditional print and broadcast, branding, packaging and digital.
TC PSYCHIATRIC OFFICE RELOCATES
The Traverse City office of Grand Traverse Behavioral Medicine, office of Scott Monteith, M.D., has moved to 202 S. Union St., Ste. 1042. For more information, Grand Traverse Behavioral Medicine can be reached at its new phone number: (231) 486-5380.
PHYSICIAN MOVES TO VA CLINIC
Jerry E. Suminski, M.D., internal medicine, has moved his practice to the Traverse City VA Clinic. The Traverse City VA Clinic is located at 3271 Racquet Club Drive in Traverse City. Dr. Suminski may be reached at 935-0555.
CREDIT UNION CEO RETIRES
Len Classens has retired from East Traverse Catholic Federal Credit Union after 42 years. Classens started working as a teller in 1972. He then became a loan officer and assistant manager in 1973. Following the retirement of the credit union’s founder Larry Weber in 1981, Classens took over as manager and CEO.
East Traverse Catholic Federal Credit Union grew from $1 million to $50 million in assets during Classens’ time at the financial institution
“I loved every part of my time here,” said Classens. “It was great watching and assisting in the growth and success of the credit union over the past 42 years.”
TC FAMILY PRACTICE MOVES
The Traverse City offices of Brookside Family Medicine – Laura Hill, M.D. and Molly Craven, D.O. – and Debra Graetz, M.D., PLC, have moved to 647 E. Eighth St. Brookside Family Medicine is accepting new patients. Both practices can be reached at 922-0400, or go to brooksidefamilymed.com and drgraetz.com.
DIEHL & ASSOCIATES CLOSES
Thomas and Janet Diehl, owners of Diehl & Associates Investigations, a professional private investigative firm, have announced their retirement. Their business closed effective January 1, 2015.
NEW BUSINESS: FRANKLINS DONUT CO.
The donuts have returned to South Garfield in Traverse City, in the same location vacated by Serious Donut Co. in September. Misty Franklin and son Trevor Franklin opened Franklins Donut Co. at 1179 S. Garfield on Dec. 13.
RENOVATION AT BEST WESTERN
The Best Western Four Seasons Hotel in Traverse City is closed for a major renovation project and expects to reopen in Spring 2015.
Local hotelier Alex Mowczan of Summerside Properties – which also owns Cambria Suites and Comfort Inn & Suites – purchased the property in 2001and has made several upgrades over the years but this winter is undertaking a major renovation.
The hotel will be adding an elevator, a state-of-the-art fitness room, guest laundry and a new heating and cooling system throughout the entire property.
Additionally, all 50 guest rooms will be totally remodeled. The exterior will also receive a makeover, transforming it from an “north woods lodge” look to a more contemporary design, according to Mowczan.
The $1.5 million renovation project is being managed by Spence Brothers in Traverse City.
STATE STREET BAR BACK
Downtown Traverse City bar The Yard, renamed and operated by Tonya Cook early this year, has changed hands and names. Lifetime friends Michael Sutherland and Todd Stachnik have reopened the establishment at 221 E. State Street and renamed it State Street Bar & Grille – its name prior to Cook’s tenure.
The duo is operating under a management agreement that will eventually lead to ownership once the liquor license transfers from current owner Sherry Johnson. Plans include an all-new menu led by veteran chef George Weir (formerly of Harrington’s and FireFly), installation of a portable stage for periodic live entertainment, and a “super booth” that will seat twelve and deliver a custom group experience complete with its own large screen TV. Authentic barbeque will also be added in the spring and summer seasons.