Waltzing Through The Recession

TRAVERSE CITY – A historic structure on Division Street is set to become the new home of Kitchen Choreography, with a grand opening slated for September.

Owners Michael and Angela Goodall purchased the home at auction last fall, with plans to invest more than $300,000 to bring the house up to code and in line with zoning changes initiated by the couple. With support from the Grand Traverse Commons Joint Planning Committee, the couple succeeded in rezoning the one-acre lot from residential to business use.

Working with architect Robert A. Yvon, the Goodalls plan to preserve the original character of the structure, including replicating old details on a new addition.

The site is part of the Grand Traverse Commons (formerly known as the Traverse City State Hospital). The home was built to house the steward of the hospital grounds at the turn of the last century. Construction began on the house, known as Building 79, in 1896, and was completed by 1900 for $2,500.

Angela, who opened the business in 2003, got her start following the renovation of her own home. "I designed our kitchen without any design experience," said the math major. When it came time to purchase cabinetry for her house, she shared her design with a designer and he offered her a job. "That was 15 years ago. That got me into the industry."

The business grew rapidly and by 2005, Angela needed help. Mike began managing the shop and worked on site engineering and computer rendering of Angela's designs. Despite an economic recession, the duo has seen tremendous success since the start of their business.

"We had a record year last year," said Angela.

The secret to their success? Angela says they're fully vested. "We have a wonderful business consultant. We read a lot about the business. We did all the things you're supposed to do. When everyone started pulling back their marketing and hunkering down, we ramped up our marketing, we expanded our offerings of what we do," she said.

Kitchen Choreography's expanded repertoire includes interior design and home remodels. "We took on jobs that builders weren't that interested in," noted Angela.

The move to Division Street represents an investment not only in the family-owned business, but also in their community. Michael, a home-brewing enthusiast, has plans for a pub room in the lower level of the house and hopes to host brewing-related events. A second functional kitchen also in the lower level will be the setting of upcoming culinary events and classes.

For now, the couple is closely following all aspects of the renovation to ensure the integrity of the structure is carefully preserved. Some windows have been rebuilt, but include the original wavy glass. The couple pored over old images of the house to select details on the exterior, including the design of the new shingles. BN