A CONTRAST COFFEE coming to Ishpeming?
It’s a possibility. The owners of the growing UP coffee company have been looking around Ishpeming recently for possible locations, according to Alex Fields, the manager of the newly opened Contrast Coffee in Marquette.
No specific location identified yet, but they like the area for expansion and think it would make sense to have a second location in Marquette County. Contrast has two other shops in Iron River and Ironwood.
Fields says the reception Contrast has received in Marquette has surprised even him. First month revenue was up 20% over what he expected.
TALK ABOUT FAITH in the future of downtown Marquette.
How about proposing to build a $10 million mixed use development at Third Street and Main? That site is currently a city-owned parking lot.
Veridea has made the proposal to the city. No design or renderings yet, at least none for public viewing.
But what we know is that it would likely be four or five stories tall on a half acre lot, with parking underground. Retail space, offices, residences, and dining above.
You gotta worry: Would such a structure change the look and feel of downtown?
“It would reflect the character of downtown,” Michelle Thomas assures us. She’s the director of commercial real estate for Veridea. “It’s an historic downtown, we understand that. What we envision is something that is lively and inviting, and it would fit in.”
What makes the proposal even more interesting is that another developer, Tom Vear, (Donckers and the Delft) also has interest in that property. He’s preparing a proposal for the city.
“Both of these developers have track records of doing good things,” says Dennis Stachewicz. He’s director of community development for the city. “They’re both local and they do nothing but high quality work.”
That’s reassuring. Kind of. But please, no massive, bulky structure that casts a shadow on Marquette’s otherwise quaint downtown.
THE CAMPAIGN TO find a permanent housing facility for the homeless in Marquette is moving forward.
A committee consisting of Room at the Inn members along with law enforcement, city officials, and city residents is planning to send a delegation to Green Bay and Traverse City in the next couple of months to look at housing facilities in those communities.
Some merchants and residents in Marquette have complained that the city’s growing homeless population has become a nuisance. And worse.
One solution is to house them in a building in or near downtown, open 24 hours a day, with a paid staff on duty to monitor them.
The big problem, of course, is locating the building, paying for it, and then paying for a staff. The current budget for Room at the Inn (with the Warming Center for meals and showers and other services) is $160,000 a year. They’ll need a lot more than that for a permanent housing facility.
IT APPEARS THAT the Westwood Mall in Marquette Township is in the process of transition.
The announcement this week that Younkers, an anchor store, would be closing early next year makes that clear.
What kind of transition? Ellen Sargent, the mall manager, says her company is looking increasingly at non-retail uses for the spaces at the mall. The Triple A and the Girl Scouts are already doing business there. Other offices and agencies might follow.
Take a look around the mall now. Its got 31 retail spaces and 17 are vacant. Seventeen.With a huge tenant, Younkers, to depart in a couple of months.
“Younkers was profitable!” Sargent tells us. “So was MC Sports (another recent closure).”
The problem with both, she says, was that the parent companies had problems. Bricks-and-mortar stories everywhere (except maybe downtown Marquette) are having problems.
Strange. Twenty years ago we were told that downtowns were dying and malls were the future. How quickly things change.
IT’S BEEN A banner year for Blackrocks Brewery.
Try 25% growth in revenue. A huge outside expansion of their deck on Third Street. And their 51K and Coconut Brown brews now being served at Ford Field in Detroit.
Co-owner Dave Manson says they’re having trouble keeping up with demand. A nice problem to have.
Solution? They’re asking the city to allow them to build a bump-out in their brewing facility on Washington Street to increase production of their increasingly popular brews.
WE’VE GOT PLENTY of coffee shops, restaurants and breweries in town. How about hair salons? We’ve got a few of those t0o.
Well, another one has joined the fray.
Opalus Salon opened its doors on Third Street several weeks ago, with owner Laurie Evonich at the helm. She had been working at another local salon.
So is there really room for another salon?
“We think so,” Evonich says. “We talk to a lot of people and they tell us they’re having trouble getting appointments at other salons.” And Evonich has her own substantial list of clients who followed her to Opalus.
MARQUETTE MOUNTAIN HAD been hoping to open the ski hill on December 1st.
Then, unfortunately, Mother Nature wrapped a sweater around her shoulders and warmed things up. No snow. No snowmaking.
So now what? WLUC meteorologist Karl Bohnak says we can definitely count on the thermometer dropping by Tuesday-Wednesday of next week.
Down to the 20s for highs, maybe even lower. And it’ll last for at least week, maybe longer. There are even indications, Bohnak says, that the cold spell could hang around for most of the month of December.
Regardless, it will almost certainly be the coldest December we’ve had here since 2013.
No major systems on the horizon, Bohnak says, but the cold temperatures will almost certainly bring in lake effect snow. And skiing on Marquette Mountain.
A LOCAL GAL makes good.
That’s a bit of an understatement when it comes to Ashley Fure.
This from a lengthy New York Times review recently:
“Composer Ashley Fure’s The Force of Things: An Opera for Objects manages the tricky task of doing justice to opera history while also striving for truly fresh effects…”
The non-traditional opera, with three percussionists, two vocalists, and two woodwind specialists, made its world premiere back East recently.
Just the latest work from Fure who was raised here, went to Interlochen Arts Academy near Traverse City for her junior and senior years, got a full ride from the Oberlin Conservatory, then received a five year fellowship at Harvard where she got her PhD.
Oh, and she was a finalist for a 2016 Pulitzer.
And meantime, some quasi-journalist is back at home in Marquette, pounding away on a piano, trying to work through the complexities of Jingle Bells.
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