THAT EMPTY STORERONT at the corner of Washington and Front Streets will soon be filled by a downtown neighbor.
Boomerang, which features retro clothes, housewares and furnishings from the Fifties and Sixties, will be moving from its current location on Washington, a half block away.
The new space, formerly occupied by Darling, will be bigger and a little more prominent for Boomerang. Owner Jess Shull hopes to make the move by February after some renovations–a new floor and carpeting, and a new paint job.
Her story is an interesting one. She was a hospice nurse up until a couple of years ago when she had an epiphany: life doesn’t go on forever, and you should jump into something you really want to do before it’s too late. So she and her husband invested some hard-earned money and opened her store.
She loves vintage stuff–Don’t call it used!–and she’s discovered that plenty of others do, too. She has customers who come up here from Chicago, she gets orders from Australia.
And she’s doing all right with the Marquette crowd, too. After two years, she’s making it, and expecting to make it bigger. And she loves what she’s doing.
What more can you ask for?
A MILE WEST on Washington Street, expect another change.
Lutey’s Heritage Motors has just sold its property to UP Health System, which reportedly will be using its new acquisition for a northern entrance to the hospital campus. Makes sense for the hospital.
And Lutey’s? They’re moving to Harvey, to a large property on US 41 formerly occupied by Walt’s Auto Sales and Service.
They expect to move in the first quarter of 2016, and will not be closing down, even during the transition.
You’ve got to wonder what other changes we’ll be seeing along West Washington and the surrounding neighborhood in the next few years as the hospital breaks ground and moves in. Likely a surge in real estate transactions and business changes.
A massive new neighbor could transform everything.
HOW NOT TO make money, in two easy steps, as performed by Cliffs Natural Resources:
- Buy the Bloom Lake iron ore mine in 2011 as part of a $4.3 billion takeover of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines.
- Sell the Bloom Lake mine in December 2015 for less than $10 million.
That’s “million,” with an “m.”
Renowned dealmaker Donald Trump would probably agree that deal was a huuuuuge mistake. Then again, who could have predicted that the worldwide price of iron ore would contract by 80% or so in the next four years?
This just in! Cliffs’ stock is now selling for $1.60 a share! That, and another 40 cents, will buy you a cup of coffee at Babycakes.
CHERYL REED, THE former investigative journalist who helped create excitement and turmoil on the NMU campus last year, has left the university. Midyear departures are unusual.
You probably remember Reed as the professor and advisor to the North Wind newspaper who encouraged her student journalists to undertake aggressive investigations of the university. Some would say overly aggressive, even belligerent.
The newspaper and the administration clashed repeatedly and publicly. It wasn’t great PR for NMU.
In any case, Reed was eventually ousted from her position as advisor to the newspaper but remained a professor.
No more. She gave notice that she was leaving last month, primarily because her husband, who lives in Chicago, is having health problems, and she felt a need to be with him continuously.
She’s also got plans to teach investigative journalism in Eastern Europe, but for this next semester she’s teaching at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
It’s fair to say now that Reed and NMU were an unfortunate mismatch that created serious legal, financial and public relations problems. One immediate result–there’s no one to replace her, which is a loss for English and journalism students.
She was a talented journalist who managed to teach and inspire some student journalists while she was here but now after year and a half, she’s gone. The NMU administration is likely not mourning.
THE FATE OF the Grace United Methodist Church at the edge of the NMU campus is up in the air.
Methodist officials from outside the church had recommended that the church, suffering from economic problems, close down but they left the final decision up to the congregation itself.
Well, the congregation, upset by the recommendation, first held a vigil outside the church and then got together to vote on the closure.
And they voted no. They want to keep the church open, along with its other community services–providing a free store for the needy, free weekly meals for the hungry, and free lodging for the homeless (Room at the Inn).
What’s next? Their pastor, Rev. Christopher Hintz, says the matter is now in the hands of the church’s bishop and her leadership team.
A downstate official says there’s no established protocol for this kind of situation–a congregation rejecting the church’s recommendation.
It may sound crass but it’s probably true: money is the problem here, and money would likely be the solution.
SPEAKING OF PROBLEMS, here’s a nice one to have.
Marquette County’s got too many jobs, and not enough employees to fill them.
Amy Clickner of the Lake Superior Community Partnership says she is hearing repeatedly from employers that they’ve got open jobs–in health services, construction, IT, transportation, retail–and no one’s applying. Or at least no one’s accepting.
Maybe an exaggeration, but consider this: Marquette County’s unemployment rate in October was a miniscule 4.6%.
That’s crazy. Economists generally consider 3% the absolute basement because some people are simply unemployable.
Remember 2009? The unemployment rate here had soared to 10.4%. Since then, a long, fairly steady decline.
And yeah, we’re aware that wages are not rising nearly quickly enough, and many of us are under-employed, and many smart young people are still leaving the U.P. but still…
…4.6%. The last time it was this low was 10 years ago.
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