COULD SOMETHING BE happening on the south side of Marquette?
Lagniappe owner Don Durley will only smile and tell you this: He has bought a tiny neglected strip mall on Genesee Street near Beef-a-Roo, just off of US 41, and he is fixing it up.
For what? Either he’s not sure or he’s not saying. For now, he’ll simply describe it as an “investment property,” which means he could keep it and develop it, or sell it to someone else.
What makes the property purchase intriguing is the persistent rumor that Durley is planning to open a bar there, or possibly a gourmet burger restaurant, or…
He says he’s just happy to fix up the property and improve the neighborhood, especially since he lives a couple of blocks away. But when a renowned chef, who’s made his mark over the last decade with a successful Cajun-Creole restaurant, buys an under-utilized commercial property, tongues start wagging.
And some start salivating.
The strip mall, with 24 parking spaces, used to house a laundromat, a used children’s clothing store, and a Curves gym. It’s fair to say that south Marquette–in fact, the entire city–would love to see the space put to better use.
He ruled out the possibility of moving Lagniappe to south Marquette. It’ll stay downtown.
The structures at the mall ain’t pretty, that’s for sure. You could describe the architectural style as “long, bland, unadorned box.”
It’ll take some some serious money to improve it–a point that Durley emphasizes. And installing a kitchen of any sort? A lot more money.
For now, he’s just going to sit on his investment property, and the rest of us will have to wait and hope that he can find the cash and inspiration to create something exciting on that property.
If not, well, maybe it’ll become a dental office, or a travel agency, or a fancy, new laundromat.
A FEW BLOCKS away, at the Huron Mountain Bakery, Joe Heck, of Joe’s Cakes fame, is busier than ever.
Joe left the Landmark Inn in October, a few months after a messy dispute with hotel management that blew up for a few days on Facebook. Fortunately, his ultimate departure from the Landmark turned out to be amicable–a credit to both sides who realized the controversy was helping no one….except for Facebook.
And Joe has more than landed on his feet. First, he’s now working at a bakery, which understandably treasures his talents. Second, he has a staff of three other decorators who work with him, along with onsite baking staff who also help.
Third, sales of whole cakes are up 300% since he left the Landmark.
Fourth, he’s about ready to start selling cakes to stores and restaurants in Houghton.
And fifth, he’s opened up a satellite store, Cakes for a Cause, at the hospital.
He looks happy–he’s a talented baker working at a bakery. Makes sense, and makes money.
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