SOLD AND SAVED.
Hotplate, downtown’s paint-your-pottery shop, a longtime favorite for both adults and kids, has been sold. Financing was approved on Friday. The shop will be changing hands next month.
Sue Kensington, the founder and owner of the shop, had said she’d have to close it down next month if a buyer didn’t come forward. Well, someone did.
Kensington has a second home in Traverse City where she’s spending more and more time, and she simply couldn’t continue to devote her energy to Hotplate.
And the new owner? Unidentified publicly so far, for personal reasons, but it’ll come out soon enough.
“Sue’s got a good thing going,” the new owner says. “We don’t anticipate making many changes.” Except for one. “We’re planning on offering wheel-throwing and hand-building classes with raw clay.”
We like it. How about a potter’s wheel right by the window on Washington Street?
FARTHER DOWN THE street, NeuroTrainer, which has been described as a “brain gym,” has been sold, along with its next-door neighbor, Edge of Reality, a virtual reality arcade.
Both businesses were started by Jeff Nyquist who’s moving to San Francisco where a venture capital firm has decided to invest with NeuroTrainer. Nyquist sold a substantial interest in his company to the VC firm but in return, he now has money, an office in San Francisco, and some newly hired employees.
And maybe a helluva future for NeuroTrainer. We’ll see.
Meantime, here in Marquette, NeuroTrainer remains in business under its new owner, Dr. Tim Milano, a chiropractor from downstate who’s moving his practice up here. Nyquist says Milano is neurologically-focused and is a good fit to move NeuroTrainer forward.
Milano will continue to offer NeuroTrainer’s services.
Open house for the transition is December 13th.
THAT GOES FOR the virtual reality arcade, Edge of Reality, as well.
The new owner is a local, Rob Shirlin. He’s been working with Nyquist at both businesses since they opened two years ago.
The arcade has attracted its fans, mostly young and maybe 60-40 male. The VR technology can be absolutely mind-blowing.
What Edge of Reality needs, however–and this requires money–is a makeover. Right now, it looks like a tired, old living room with partitions and a concrete floor.
Shirlin says they’ll address the look of the place as money allows.
What’s especially promising is a planned collaboration with NMU. It’s still to be worked out but Shirlin says it would involve Northern students working on VR projects with the arcade.
That’s something to get excited about.
ON THE OTHER hand…
The exodus from Westwood Mall is continuing.
The latest to announce its departure? Regis HairStylists. Employees say they were told last week that the last day of operation for Regis would be December 10th. They were told the lease was expiring and wouldn’t be renewed.
That will make 18 vacancies out of 31 spaces at the mall, with another one–Younkers–to occur next month.
Discouraging. Ellen Sargent, the mall manager, says the mall is now looking more toward renting the spaces for offices. Non-retail business.
A crazy idea. How about one of the big spaces–Penney’s or Younkers–being transformed into an indoor soccer facility? Not ideal, of course. The ceiling’s probably too low.
Still, something to consider.
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