MARQUETTE’S BURGEONING FOOD truck industry is about to grow yet again.
The latest addition? Copper Crust Co., which will feature wood-fired pizzas, along with empanadas, chicken wings, meatballs and quesadillas.
Actually, Copper Crust won’t be a truck; it’ll be a fully equipped trailer transported to its parking spots around town by a truck.
Matt Lucas, out of Ohio and the Carolinas, is the man behind the new company. He’s gone to culinary school and also worked in food sales and distribution. He knows the business.
Why the U.P.?
Well, his wife, a nurse, is from here and she wanted to come home. Seems we’ve heard that before. Matt’s thrilled to be here, even more thrilled that his wife is supporting him in his new venture.
The City Commission’s recent decision to open up most of the city to food trucks certainly influenced his decision, as well.
Expect to see Copper Crust out and about no later than May 1st.
MIKE WALKER, THE godfather of the food truck business in town, welcomes the new competition. In fact, he says it’ll help them all.
Walker got it all started a few years ago with Dia de los Tacos, which incidentally just won an online competition–the Best Food Truck Taco in the nation.
Dia de los Tacos was subsequently joined by Señor’s Food Truck and more recently by Wild Blue BBQ, and now Copper Crust. The feeling is, with more trucks on the streets, more of us will adopt the habit of buying food off of trucks.
Even better, if you get a cluster of food trucks–say, across the street from the Ore Dock Brewery–workers and tourists downtown will congregate there regularly and make their food choices from a variety of trucks.
Go to big cities, and that’s what you’ll see: Lotsa trucks parked next to each other. It’s an outdoor food court.
How do you advertise your food truck? Simple. Social media. It’s also cheap.
So we’ve got tacos, barbecue, and pizza now. What else do we need? Asian? Indian? Cajun? Pasties? Bring ’em on.
MARQUETTE’S CHAMBER OF Commerce is now approaching its one year anniversary and while its growth hasn’t quite matched the hopes of founder Jason Schneider, it is growing steadily.
Two to three new members join every week. Total membership is now up to 90.
Members include some heavyweights–NMU, River Valley Bank, mBank, Easy Ice, Curran & Company, and the city of Marquette.
Duke LifePoint? Cliffs? Lundin? Nope, not yet.
But the whole point of the Chamber when it launched last April was to provide services for some Marquette businesses that felt they weren’t getting sufficient representation from the Lake Superior Community Partnership, which until that time had served as the de facto Chamber.
Turns out there’s a need for both. The new Chamber handles the smaller, day-to-day, month-to-month needs and aspirations of the city’s businesses. The Partnership deals with the bigger, long-term issues of growth and development.
Seems to work.
THE LANDMARK INN just passed its one year anniversary since the takeover by Graves Hospitality.
Yeah, there were fears and some volatility initially when the out-of-state group came in and took the reins from a hometown ownership group.
But it’s worked out just fine. Total hotel and restaurant revenue at the Landmark was up 10% this year. That’s good growth. There was some staff turnover in the last year but nothing out of the ordinary.
The biggest change was the transformation of the formerly slightly stuffy and pricey Capers restaurant to the more casual, open and less expensive Piedmont. It’s been an unqualified success. Much bigger crowds, even through the winter, and a much more fun atmosphere.
Capers’ diners probably averaged 60 years old. The Piedmont’s average is closer to 35.
The Landmark is further targeting the young crowd this summer as it becomes “bike-friendly”: 1) bikes for rent at the hotel 2) bike storage 3) bike repair kits 4) bike washing facilities. Cyclists have told the hotel they’d like those amenities. The Landmark is accommodating them.
One more thing. Graves, when it took over, was giving serious consideration to expanding the Northstar Lounge into the Sky Room up on the sixth floor. Make it just one big restaurant and bar. That’s no longer in the plans. The Sky Room, they’ve discovered, is hugely valuable as a banquet room. Best view in the city, and banquets make big money.
A LITTLE MYSTERY surrounding the latest marijuana dispensary to open in Marquette.
The Upper Peninsula Caregiver Association on Front Street posted a “Closed until further notice” sign on the door a couple of weeks ago, and as best we can tell, it has not reopened since.
A call to the number for the store yields this recorded answer: “The number you are trying to call is not reachable.”
Closed by the merchant or closed by law enforcement? We don’t know. The Marquette County Prosecutor’s office has not responded to an inquiry about the store either.
Michigan law regarding marijuana dispensaries is ambiguous and inconsistently enforced. Not sure what’s happening here except that customers are now facing a locked door.
KATELINE CONNIN, A reporter/anchor for ABC 10, is moving on to South Bend, Indiana–a bigger, more lucrative job in a bigger market. Good for her. She’s an NMU grad.
Good for ABC 10, as well, in that it shows that if you put in your time at the ratings-challenged and resources-challenged station, you can advance professionally. Connin has obviously done that.
Neither ABC 10 nor Local 3 (which has been airing news for only a year or two) have been able to claim great success in moving their on-air talent to bigger markets. TV 6, of course, has repeatedly.
It’s sometimes difficult to recruit young broadcast journalists out of college to the U.P. because of the poor pay, cold weather and remoteness. It’s much easier if you can show them that a job in the U.P. will open a pathway to professional success.
ABC 10 News Director Jerry Taylor can now legitimately make that case to the next bright-eyed journalist who might balk at a salary of $20,000 or less in a place where winter lasts five months.
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