An ‘exciting’ summer for many regional businesses

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Michelle Fox, owner of Bachmann's in Central Lake, shown on the Fourth of July wearing a red, white and blue hat and holding a bucket for children to fill with candy during the annual Central Lake Fourth of July parade, was one of the businesses in the region that experienced a profitable summer. 


REGION – Despite a late start and a cooler, rainier summer, area businesses from Kalkaska to Kewadin all heard an exciting sound in the last few months – the sound of jingling cash registers.

"It was a wonderful summer," said Jodi Williamson, manager of the Trout Town Tavern and Eatery in Kalkaska. "I've worked here for the last 18 years, and every summer just gets better and better."

Unlike many other businesses across the region, the season started early for the popular area eatery with the annual National Trout Festival at the end of April.

"That was our kick-off to the summer season, and when we saw our first surge in business over our regular business that we see every day," Williamson said. "A lot of people came up north to Kalkaska for the Trout Festival this year."

Williamson attributed some of the surge in the restaurant's business to the closing of another area dining establishment during the week.

"We picked up all of their weekly business. And on the weekends, we saw a lot of people from downstate, both people that come up every summer and a lot of new faces as well," she added.

A cooler, wet spring meant a late start to the summer for Michelle Fox of Bachmann's in Central Lake, but by the end of June, the historic "five and dime" was hopping, she said. 

"We were definitely busier this year than last summer," Fox said, noting that in addition to her annual summer visitors, she enjoyed seeing many new customers. "We had a really nice, good summer – and now, business this fall is making up for our late start last spring."

Rollie Fink, owner of Bellaire's Uniquely North clothing and home accessories boutique, agreed with Fox about the late start to the summer.

"We didn't get busy here until after the Fourth of July, but then we stayed really busy right through the Rubber Ducky Festival in mid-August,” said Fink.

"There certainly was a lot of traffic in town this year, particularly in the evenings. We were pleased. I had a lot of customers ask us why other businesses in Bellaire don't stay open later in the evenings, like we do. I couldn't answer that question, but we certainly benefited from being one of the only shops open until 9 p.m."

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