What’s News


Knot (justabar) will be opening inside the Harbormaster Building at Bay Harbor in mid-summer. The bar and grill will be operated by the Epoch Restaurant Group in Bingham Farms, which also operates the restaurant “Latitude” in the Bay Harbor Marina District.

Pete Loren, corporate chef for Epoch, says the year-round restaurant will serve casual American fare, such as sandwiches, burgers and salads, and will feature a raw bar with oysters, clams, shrimp, etc. Including the bar area, there will be seating for about 100 inside and a patio will be open seasonally.

• Lori and Ben Buchan, owners of The Banana Tree in downtown Traverse City, have opened a Charlevoix store on Bridge Street by the Beaver Island Ferry.

They are also moving their TC store across the street to 120 E. Front St. where the Pottery Lodge used to stand. Their “bigger and better location” will carry the same eclectic, fun merchandise as the old location, Lori said. They are leasing the first and second floors of the building and are looking for a business to sublet the second floor. They can be reached at 941-0466.

• Lisa and Harry Ashton of Mancelona are opening Stork & Cradle, a store specializing in maternity clothing, in the Acme Plaza. They’re targeting a June 14 opening, followed by a grand opening on June 17.

They’ll carry a few baby bags and books, but the focus will be maternity clothing, since no other area store specializes in this alone, said Lisa Ashton, based on her experience. “When I was pregnant, I couldn’t find anything, and I had to drive to Grand Rapids.”

Masterpiece Creations-Home Accents was expected to open May 1 next to Pella Windows and Doors in the Grand Traverse Crossing development in Traverse City.

Owner Leslie Irish-Bannister carries wrought iron furniture, unique pottery, home accessories, gift items, large wine cabinets, “Taj Mahal-type” bird cages and other “unique items that you won’t see anywhere else.”

A Traverse City native, Irish-Bannister bought the business from a friend in Las Vegas, where she and her husband, Pete, lived for 13 years. During their annual trip home for the National Cherry Festival last summer, they decided to move back home.

She tentatively set her hours at 10-7 and Sundays from 12-6; 946-6474.

Gander Mountain expects to open its new Traverse City store near the entrance of the Horizon Outlet Center on May 25.

Specializing in hunting, fishing and camping gear and apparel from top manufacturers like Columbia, Browning, Berkley and Eureka, the 31,000 square-foot store will employ about 60, mostly from the area.

The store will offer gunsmithing, an archery lane to test bows, bow tuning and line winding for anglers.

• There’s a new publication in town dedicated to the “upper end” wedding and event industries in the area. Penny Pyle’s “Traverse City Black Tie” will cover charity galas, balls and formal events, and will feature local artists, restaurant reviews and more. The first issue should be available by August.

As part of the “kick off” promotion, Pyle is looking for a couple to be married atop their float in the Cherry Royale Parade. The float will be designed and created by area several businesses in the wedding industry; 946-9405.


St. Julian Wine Co. closed its downtown Traverse City retail location on April 30. Manager Shelly Taberski said the lease on the building was up and the company, based in Paw Paw, Mich., decided to close and not reopen elsewhere in the area.

The company sells their fine wines, champagnes and sparkling juices from several downstate locations. In January of 1999, St. Julian received the National Cherry Festival Very Cherry Promotion award for its sparkling cherry juice.


• The Traverse City Quality Inn has completed its upgrade from a Comfort Inn. Each of the 96 rooms is now equipped with a hair dryer, iron/board, coffee maker, data-port phone, remote TV and Serta beds. It offers a free continental breakfast, daily newspaper and local phone calls. The hotel was purchased last July by Property Management Co. in Dublin, Ohio.


Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors has merged Regency Real Estate of Bellaire into its group of offices in northern lower Michigan. All seven Realtors and the administrative staff with Regency will remain. The move gives Coldwell its second office in Antrim County.

Ken and Fred Schmidt of Schmidt Real Estate Inc. have also purchased the Century 21 Lakeside office in Elk Rapids.

The Century 21 office will continue to operate under that name and franchise, a move made possible by the fact that Century 21 and Coldwell are owned by Cendant Corp. All of the office’s sales agents and staff members will remain with Century 21.


• Ray Pleva announces two new products: Plevaroni and Pleva-Roma Italian Cherry Sausage. Both products will be available at the Omelette Shoppe locations and all four Mancino’s locations in Traverse City, as well as at Pleva’s Meats in Cedar; www.plevas.com.


Floor Covering Brokers, Traverse City, announces a licensing agreement with Waverly, one of the nation’s top suppliers of home decoration. It offers an array of fabrics, wallpaper, paints, linens, accessories and carpet. Tim and Kathy Hyland have locations in Petoskey, Gaylord, Elk Rapids and, most recently, Bay City.

Signs Now in Traverse City has been chosen to create all the signs, banners and graphics for this year’s National Cherry Festival, which is donning a new logo.

Signs Now will create and install street banners, informational maps, magnetic signs for parade vehicles, graphics for the golf tournament scoreboard and banners highlighting various events. Signs Now has worked with the festival for the past several years.

Northern Michigan Fox has changed its call letters to WFQX-TV (Cadillac) and WFVX (Gaylord). Rockfleet Broadcasting II is the owner.

NPI Wireless customers can now use their digital phones anywhere in California or Nevada, thanks to a new roaming agreement the company has signed with Pacific Bell Wireless. The agreement brings NPI’s roaming coverage to 40 states.

• Due to health reasons, Marty Phillips, owner of Marty’s Pet & House Care Service, is selling her business and moving to Arizona. She is looking for a buyer who is responsible, available and who genuinely cares about pets. Phillips, who’s owned the business since 1995, will keep the business open until she finds a buyer; 929-3174.

Empire Banc Corp. earned record first quarter net profits. Net income for the quarter ending March 31 was $1,666,000 or $.52 per share, a 3.5 percent increase over the first quarter of 1999. Over the last year, total assets grew to $503 million at March 31. Total deposits reached $424 million and total loans increased $55 million to $379 million at the end of the quarter.

The proposed affiliation of Empire and Huntington Bancshares Inc. of Ohio is progressing as expected through the regulatory process. They are targeting a late June shareholders meeting to approve the merger.


• For the second year running, I & W Industries, a manufacturer of small diameter fabricated tubing, has been nominated for the prestigious Michigan Minority Supplier of the Year Award. The Traverse City company is one of only 19 state suppliers nominated. The winner will be announced in September at Cobo Hall.

Brauer Productions Inc. has won a National Telly Award for the production of “Michigan Society of American Foresters, Forests: Providing Habitat for All.” The 14-minute presentation looks at visions of managing, nurturing and depending on our forests for future generations.

• For the seventh consecutive year, Cherryland Electric Cooperative employees did not experience any lost time due to injuries or accidents. The milestone reflects its commitment to regular training to ensure safe working conditions.

Please send submissions by May 15 for the June issue. E-mail to biznews@traverse.com. See page 4 for address/fax information.