‘Til You Drop: New stores and restaurants dot Petoskey, Bellaire, Elk Rapids and Boyne City
by Craig Manning
While the past 16 months haven’t been the easiest time for most business owners, that doesn’t mean business development has stalled. Here is a rundown of just a few of the new businesses that have opened in the Emmet/Antrim/Charlevoix area since early 2020.
Tillie’s Taffel serves gourmet cinnamon rolls – a family recipe “passed down from generation to generation over the past 100 years,” according to the website.
The business debuted about a year ago, with husband-and-wife team Jeff and Patti Dewes baking their treats in a Cross Village commercial kitchen and then selling them at local farmers markets. In December, Tillie’s Tafel officially set up its first storefront at 437 E. Mitchell St.
Last summer, County Wide PowerSports – the Harbor Springs-based dealer for Polaris brand ATVs, snowmobiles and more – launched a new side business called 231 Adventures. 231 Adventures focuses on guided tours in Polaris side-by-sides (a type of off-road vehicle) in the warmer months, as well as snowmobile rentals in the winter.
The business is currently building a new facility at 2088 N. U.S. 31 in Petoskey – previously the home of Great American Adventures fun park. County Wide PowerSports is aiming to finish construction on the new headquarters by the end of the year, but plans to retain its current location in Harbor Springs as the office for 231 Adventures.
Flora Bae Home, a boutique carrying botanical goods, plants, home goods and apothecary items opened its doors in downtown Petoskey earlier this year. The shop claims a focus on women artists and women-owned small businesses, as well as a style “where boho chic meets eclectic and mid-century modern touches.”
Fox & Hound, a new children’s clothing boutique, held its grand opening at 204 Petoskey St. on May 22. The downtown Petoskey store, owned by Alexis Murphy, targets the 0-8 age range with its clothing selection, but also carries other kid-centric products like toys, home décor, games and kitchenware.
Freedom Hill Coffee Roasters is a new Bellaire-based coffee company founded by Iraq War veteran Scott Thomas. The business, which opened last February, is Thomas’s way of honoring the experience of military veterans from all eras. Some proceeds from every Freedom Hill sale go toward a variety of veteran-focused nonprofit causes, including Mission22, which funds treatment programs, memorials and national awareness for veterans; and Comfort Farms, a Georgia-based organization that trains veterans for careers in sustainable food production. The business is also in the process of launching Freedom Hill Folk School, a Central Lake charity that will offer classes in fly-fishing, gardening, blacksmithing and more, with scholarships available to veterans.
The owners of Dave’s Collision and Car Repair LLC and Dave’s Restoration have retired, selling the business to married couple Bradley and Lauryn Keiser. As of early June, the Keisers have changed the business name to Keiser Collision & Auto Repair, LLC, but are still serving “all your automotive repair needs.”
This summer, Bellaire will also get its first-ever escape room in the form of Escape Bellaire. The business will consist of two themed escape room experiences – one with a safari theme, the other based in the lavish 1920s world of The Great Gatsby – each geared toward groups of four to eight people. Teams work together to solve puzzles and escape the room before a 60-minute time limit expires.
Other new businesses in Bellaire include Midnight Acres, a “premium equestrian facility that offers horse boarding in a quiet country setting”; Revive Salon and Spa, a full-service hair and nail salon that opened in January; and Spirits on M88, a beer, wine and liquor store that celebrated its grand opening in December.
Word Love Goods is a new book, gift and home goods store in Elk Rapids with a mission of inspiring customers “to surround themselves with sincere and joyful reminders of how sweet life really is.”
Elk Rapids Beautique is a beauty salon and a boutique retail store hybrid, offering not only services for hair, nails, lashes, facials and bridal parties, but also selling a curated selection of makeup, skin and spa products, clothing, hats, scarves, jewelry, bags and candles.
Sage Wealth Planning is a wealth advisory firm that offers a variety of services – including asset management, retirement planning, education planning, income tax planning and estate planning – from a pair of offices in Elk Rapids and Traverse City.
My Michigan Roots is a new clothing and apparel brand in the tradition of other northern Michigan companies like M22 and High Five Threads with a logo design that renders the shape of Michigan as tree roots.
Several new food or drink establishments have opened in Elk Rapids in the past year, including Jac’s Parlor, which serves a menu of pizzas, toasted subs, salads, calzones, breadsticks and ice cream; American House Wood Fired Pizza, an Italian restaurant that took up residence in the space previously occupied by Siren Hall; and Short’s Pull Barn, which has turned Short’s Brewing Company’s Elk Rapids production facility from an outdoor three-season attraction into an indoor, year-round location complete with a custom bar and bathrooms.
North Coast Catering is the culinary venture of Chef Cole Thornton, also a culinary arts teacher at Boyne City High School. Thornton is a Port Huron native and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Chicago. With North Coast Catering, he is targeting small event catering, private chef dinners, cooking classes and meal prep services.
Finally, HomeAgain is a retail store recently launched by the Charlevoix Area Humane Society with the idea of helping customers rehome beloved belongings, similar to how they might need to find good homes for pets they can no longer keep. As a resale store, HomeAgain aims for a more upscale market than most thrift stores, particularly targeting items such as vintage clothing, artwork, high-quality furniture and vinyl records. All proceeds from the store support the Charlevoix Area Humane Society.