Customer Stories | Northern Initiatives
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Customer Stories

Prospering Communities. Thriving Small Businesses.

Busy Boys Home Solutions

Aaron Beutenmiller and Barrett Kaib transitioned from Northern Michigan University hockey teammates to business partners. They co-own Busy Boys Home Solutions in Marquette….

51st State Brewing Company

Jeff Brickey’s retirement hobby of home brewing escalated over several years to the point he was crafting more quantities than he could reasonably consume or share….

North of Chicago Pizza

It could be said that sauce runs through Justin Fisher’s veins. Pizza sauce, more precisely. He has always loved the way this “all-around awesome food” smells and tastes, and the fact it is a popular….

Right-Away-Restoration-2

Right Away Restoration & Cleaning, LLC

The hugs Juli Sauve receives from clients while out and about in Alpena demonstrate that her team’s personalized, empathetic response to….

Pictured Rocks Fudge & Coffee

Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee

Chocolate and coffee are popular on their own, but they are often paired together to enhance their unique flavor profiles. This winning combination….

Ruff Life Pet Outfitters

In 2012, three pieces of a life puzzle came together for Michigan native, Gary Albert. One, he’d always wanted to own and run a business. Two, his professional background included….

Flowers by Evelyn

Flowers by Evelyn

The names of Nicole Bradstreet’s four children, in sequential order, begin with the letters A, B, C and D. So it is only appropriate that her new “baby,” a floral business she purchased and operates….

Tap 21

Tap 21

Tiffany Gault worked at a Manistique bar a decade ago to put herself through college. When the building came up for sale at a reasonable price after sitting dormant for several years….

Polished Nail Boutique

Polished Nail Boutique

In 2001, single mom Brooke Beckman moved with her toddler to Traverse City, Mich., from Saginaw to be closer to family. She’d been a nail technician for a decade through rented space…

Advanced Blending Solutions

Advanced Blending Solutions

Located in Wallace, Michigan, Advanced Blending Solutions (ABS) designs, manufactures, and supplies blending and convey equipment for the plastics industry. The company has…

Four Leaf Brewing Company

Four Leaf Brewing Company

Amy Shindorf is the sole proprietor of Four Leaf Brewing, a microbrewery in historic downtown Clare. Among many responsibilities at the brewery, Shindorf is the “chief taster.” This…

LifeFit BrainFit

LifeFit BrainFit

Debbie Flannery has devoted her 30 year professional life to improving her clients’ mind and body health. After a master’s degree in health education and a career in corporate wellness…

Superior Stoves and Fireplaces

Superior Stoves & Fireplaces

In 2006, Matt Dale, a certified mechanical contractor, saw an opening in the regional market for a business that would provide sales, installation, and service of gas and wood…

1668 Winery

1668 Winery

“There was no way that project would fail.” Ray Bauer, owner of 1668 Winery in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, can look back now and realize his unrelenting persistence, plus support from friends…

Paddle Hard Brewing

Paddle Hard Brewing

Dave Vargo is quick to credit his wife, Cindy, with the name for their business – Paddle Hard Brewing. She felt they should embrace the popularity of the AuSable River…

Lake Effect Associates

Lake Effect Associates

Lake Effect Associates in Traverse City, Michigan was founded by Jonathan Campbell in 2013. It is a digital strategy company focusing on two industry sectors: recreation tourism and…

Huron Mountain Bakery

Huron Mountain Bakery

In his early twenties, John Scheidt was surprised to learn he loved baking – particularly fresh bread, doughnuts, and cakes. His career moved quickly from prep staff, to baker…

Gaijin Restaurant

Gaijin Restaurant

Simon Joseph has a knack for creativity and comfort foods. His newest venture, Gaijin Restaurant, is bringing Traverse City the Asian comfort food that has been sweeping the East and West…

Roz's Diner

Roz’s Diner

Roz’s Diner, owned by Chris Bair in Rosebush, Michigan is small in stature, but large in popularity. At just 850 square feet, this diner has only been open since mid-December 2015, but…

Newaygo Brewing Company

Newaygo Brewing Company

Newaygo Brewing Company is a 100 seat full service restaurant and brewery opened by Eric, Nick, and Krista Looman in May 2015. Nick and Krista’s passion for brewing craft beer…

Rialto Theatre

Rialto Theater

Owned and operated by Jordan Stancil, the Rialto Theater is a first-run cinema in downtown Grayling. Stancil’s great-grandfather opened the Rialto in 1915 to provide a state-of-the art…

Upper Peninsula Audiology Staff

Upper Peninsula Audiology

Dr. Melissa Collard opened the Upper Peninsula Audiology clinic in Houghton. She created the business to provide a broad range of hearing services for children and…

Rare Bird Brewpub

Rare Bird Brewpub

Rare Bird Brewpub is a gastropub and brewery founded by Tina Schuett and Nate Crane in June 2014. Brewmaster Schuett credits her time spent in Germany as pivotal in her decision…

East Jordan Motel

East Jordan Motel

The East Jordan Motel is a seven room motel owned by Jill Hegedus. It is located in the heart of many regional tourist destinations such as Charlevoix, Boyne City, Boyne Falls,…

Northern Test Balance

Northern Test & Balance

Northern Test & Balance provides inspections of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and mechanical systems as well as design of these systems……

Olive Barn

Olive Barn

Olive Barn is an online store specializing in made-in-the-USA, eco-friendly products that “make the most of your garden spaces.” The product mix is selected to compliment…

Marquette Food Co-op

Marquette Food Co-op

The Marquette Food Cooperative (Co-op) is a community-owned, organic and natural food grocery store specializing in regional products. Since the Co-op opened it’s doors in 1971…

DerMiner's Parkside Market

DerMiner’s Parkside Market

For many years, Brian and Robin DerMiner worked domestically and abroad in the real estate, automotive sales, and technology communications industries. In 2012…

WaterFire Vineyard

WaterFire Vineyards

In 2007, Chantal, a coastal scientist, and Michael, a lawyer, were married, living in downtown Boston and disenchanted. They yearned for a simpler, more inspired way of life….

Michigan Pure Ice

Michigan Pure Ice

In 2012, Crystal Schley worked as an executive assistant at the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. Through conversations with her business contacts, she learned…

Redheads Cafe and Tasting Room

Redheads Cafe and Tasting Room

In 1997, Sarah Landry-Ryder and her sister, Christen Landry, created Kejara’s Bridge, a community-centered coffee house/restaurant featuring…

AdvantEdge

AdvantEdge

Dustin Brancheau, Director of AdvantEdge Sports Training, has independently grown the clientele in this 6,200 square foot warehouse-style gym to 200+ members…

Cherry Republic

Cherry Republic

Bob Sutherland, from Glen Arbor in Leelanau County, MI, started this cherry-centric business in 1988 by selling t-shirts sporting a cherry design from the trunk of his car…

Idea Mia

Idea Mia

In 2008, Angela and Marco Cucco, with solid backgrounds in marketing, sales, and finance formed Idea Mia to produce and sell their first product, JetBag. This product is a re-closable…

Blackrocks Brewery

Blackrocks Brewery

In 2010, the downturn in the economy resulted in the elimination of Andy Langlois’ position as a pharmaceutical sales rep. He and good friend, David Manson…

Pictured Rocks Cruises

Pictured Rocks Cruises

Locally owned and operated Pictured Rocks Cruises, LLC has been offering a unique and stunning view of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for over 50 years. Every…

Jacquart Fabric Products

Jacquart Fabric Products

The concept of legacy is nothing new to the Jacquart family or to the family’s 55 year old company. Bob Jacquart’s father launched the company in 1958. Today with his…

Karls Cuisine

Karl’s Cuisine

Using items freshly harvested from his 40 acre family farm or goods from other local growers, Karl prepares delicacies that show his appreciation for fresh, healthy food…

Beth Millner Jewelry

Beth Millner Jewelry

Beth Millner has been working with jewelry crafts for nearly her entire life. Living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the past several years, she finds herself constantly inspired…

Risak Pottery

Risak Pottery

Ed and Julie Risak are the owners of Risak Pottery Studio, located at Presque Isle Station in Marquette, Michigan. This husband and wife team work together to produce unique…

Sky Iris

Sky Iris

Inspired by motherhood and intent on owning her own small business and determined to do so in “her own way”, Leslie Burke has found the perfect creative outlet…

Sunshine Motel and Cabins

Sunshine Motel and Cabins

Nestled on 60 acres of pristine forest land, with nearby access to spectacular Lake Superior and the beautiful Porcupine Mountains State Park, sits Sunshine Motel…

Delta Manufacturing

Delta Manufacturing

When Jean Ross was a nurse, she didn’t need to be proficient in industrial-sized lathes, spring-loaded gear cases, or railcar wheels. But now that she is the President of Delta Manufacturing…

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