Happy Hour

A weekly snapshot of Happy Hours around the region…

Everyday, open-7 p.m., $1.75 highballs, $2.50 house chardonnay, $2.00 drafts, $1.00 off everything else.
310 Cass St., Traverse City

Sunday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m., $1 off all drinks.
422 North 5th St., Roscommon

Lulu's Bistro
Thursdays, 5-9 p.m., $3 wells, $2 off drafts, select $5 wines.
213 N. Bridge St., Bellaire

Boyne River Inn
Everyday, 3-6 p.m., 1/4 off drinks.
229 Water St., Boyne City
Rendezvous Lounge, Odawa Casino
Thursday & Friday, $2.25 domestic drafts, $3.25 well drinks, $3.25 house wine.
1760 Lears Rd., Petoskey

Choice Bits!

Round-the-region snapshots of the dining scene. 

RUTHIE'S CHICKEN & DAIRY TWIST: Roasted chicken and ice cream, malts and shakes.
201 N. Bridge Ln., Bellaire. 213­-533­-8538.

Practically an Up North institution, the place to find out the latest fishing or snowmobile news from the locals and visitors who gather for their hearty breakfasts, steaks, burgers, soup & salad bar, & homemade desserts.
10921 Main St., Honor. 231­ 352­6585.

When you've worked up an appetite from all the bowling and karaoke that Boyne City Lanes has to offer, you'll find a selection of hearty fare to choose from, including homemade soups & desserts. Cocktails are served at the Lanes,with live entertainment and glow ­bowling nights.
1199 West Boyne Road, 231-­582­-6353.

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner. Full Chinese menu, as well as Hunan & Szechuan entrees.  Daily specials, special combination plates,  a lunch & dinner All You Can Eat Buffet. 
616 S. Mitchell St., Cadillac, 231­-876­-8888.

Take a trip back to the '50s where chili dogs & frosted mugs of root beer are still served up by carhops at this All ­American institution. Elvis has been known to make an appearance during their annual summer “A&W Cruise Night” in August, as do cars from the 50’s and 60’s that we remember well.
At the bottom of the hill, 21 Lake St., Frankfort,  231-­352-­9021.

From Antler Ale to Wolverine Wheat, Big Buck specializes in microbrewed beers. Offering the usual beef and buffalo burgers, steaks, and ribs, plus more unusual fare, like their portabella sandwich with red onion marmalade and provolone cheese.
550 S. Wisconsin Avenue, Gaylord, 989­-732-­5781.

A refined atmosphere, subdued lighting, and an appetizing selection of epicurean treats awaits the diner at this Harbor Springs corner landmark. Menu selections range from their smoked whitefish ravioli appetizer to their Atlantic salmon, baked polenta and eggplant, tomato basil fettuccine, or filet mignon ­ and their brunches include one of the best versions of Eggs Benedict around.
101 State Street, downtown across from Bar Harbor, 231­-526-­1904.

Pool tables, a full bar, friendly service and a varied menu make the Village Inn popular with families and locals.  Dinners include Lamb Skewers, Blue Corn Enchiladas, Charbroiled Whitefish, Lasagna and Ribeye.  Also burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and pizza.  Lunch and Dinner.
Just north of the blinking light 116601 Lacorre Ave. on M­22,  Empire. 231-326­-5101.

One of Petoskey's first restaurants, Jesperson's is famous for homemade pies and fresh turkey. Breakfast and lunch.
312 Howard, Petoskey, 231­-347­-3601.
Located in Building 50, grilled panini's, soups, wraps, baked goods, specialty coffees and teas.
1200 W. 11th St., Traverse City, 231-­947­-7740.

Home · Articles · News · Dining · Goodbye to Bob
. . . .

Goodbye to Bob

Anne Stanton - June 1st, 2009
Good-Bye to Bob
Anne Stanton 6/1/09

Ten years ago, a wonderful thing happened to Oryana Natural Food Co-op, a spacious natural foods store tucked in the heart of Traverse City. Bob Struthers took over, and the struggling co-op began to flourish and eventually achieve double digit sales growth year after year.
But now Bob and his wife, Kim, have decided to move to northeastern New Mexico. Bob will start a new career in this remote corner of New Mexico as an independent consultant for food co-ops. Kim, who worked as a biologist at the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore will start a new job as Natural Resource Manager at the Capulin Volcano National Monument.
We couldn’t let Bob go without an exit interview, although it was by phone from his new home, where he’s moving in the furniture.

NE: Tell us the truth. Are you leaving because of the long winters?
Bob: Is it fair to say weather was part of it? Certainly the feeling to move came a lot stronger in the midst of January’s cloudy overcast and cold and snowy days. So weather plays a factor. We wanted to go someplace where there is a lot more sunshine. This is a really high elevation so it’s not horribly hot, and that’s important for us too.

NE: How did you first come to Oryana 10 years ago?
Bob: I answered an ad in the Record-Eagle. I was at a time in my life when I was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community and do something that felt good and had meaning. I wasn’t looking for a job like Oryana, but it seemed like I had the skills. I was working in the lumber industry, so the types of products were a complete change for me, and the cooperative economics and operating were different for me. Other than that, it wasn’t all that dissimilar from what I was doing before, relative to customer service and retail.

NE: What was it like when you first arrived on the job?
Bob: Oryana was not doing all that well. It was a year after they’d moved to 10th street, and they were not in the best of shape. They were losing money. They were struggling. They were doing $1.5 million in business, but losing money. They had maybe 15 employees, something like that. Now we’re close to $9 million with over 80 employees. There’s been substantial growth—the square footage has doubled from 4,500 square feet of retail space to a little more than 9,000.

NE: Has the recession hurt sales?
Bob: Yeah, I would say that Oryana has experienced a slowdown just as every place has as well. For the first time since I’ve been there, growth has been really flat. I don’t expect it to last all that long. But there has been a fairly significant slowdown compared to the double digit growth we’ve always seen. It was growing so fast for so long. I think what’s happened is people have shifted their orientation and are looking for additional ways to stretch the dollar.

NE: What advice would you give to frugal shoppers?
Bob: As far as the co-op is concerned, there’s a lot of opportunity to get some great buys. We’ve seen some significant growth in the bulk department as people are willing to trade off convenience for better value. So I’d advise them to shop the basics and use the bulk department.
NE: That’s what my mom did when I grew up.
Bob: Certainly as a country, we’ve had slowdowns before. In some ways if we shift our orientation to spend more time cooking instead of trading it off for convenience, it might be a good thing.

NE: So I’ve heard of a new development just as you’re leaving—a new portion of the TART trail starts at Oryana.
Bob: That’s right. We’re seeing a lot more bike traffic, so we put in additional bike racks. We’re seeing people get off the trail and bop in for something to eat and drink.

NE: Has your semi-hidden location on Tenth Street hurt business?
Bob: I would say it probably has. But at the time, when they picked it, it was all the co-op could afford, and they wanted and were committed to staying inside the city. Being out of the way didn’t help, but certainly we had significant growth in spite of that. I can’t complain too much about it.

NE: Did you have a vision for Oryana when you first began there?
Bob: That’s a good question. I certainly saw or felt there was potential there that was not being realized. It was an organization that had really high values and intentions, but not necessarily a means for manifesting those. So in some ways, I interpreted what the board was wanting, and what I felt the membership and the community were wanting. We worked over the years to supply that to the best of our ability.

NE: Tell me about your “green” approach as you doubled the physical size of Oryana.
Bob: Certainly, one of the things that sets Oryana apart is we’re always trying to do the right thing, and the right thing can be defined in a number of ways—kind of taking the high road, being a little bit different and holding strongly to our values and translating those values into action.
In all of that, we’re ethical and we’re honest and truthful. We try really hard to be an example of a different way of doing business. So we used a lot of recycled and reclaimed materials. We looked at creating energy systems that were very efficient because one of our biggest impacts is our energy consumption; we put a lot of money into getting a highly efficient refrigeration system. We wanted to make the building itself efficient with a lot of extra controls in monitoring.
We definitely recycled and reused and made every attempt to minimize the building’s footprint—we reused and rebuilt as much of the building as possible without tearing it down.

NE: Speaking of values, how have you taken take the “high road” with Oryana’s employees?
Bob: We have always tried to be a model workplace, so we work really hard on listening to what the staff has to say, empowering them to make decisions every day while they’re trying to do their jobs. Especially when it comes down to elements that involve customer service. Certainly the staff is empowered to do what they think is appropriate to rectify the situation that the customer is experiencing. We’ve tried really hard to improve our communication systems and created a system we believe is very appropriate to question their supervisor without it being a power differential. People can say, “Bob you know I think you’re wrong about this.” It doesn’t mean they can always convince their supervisor, but they have the ability to speak up.
We also try to pay appropriately, try to create a reasonable benefit package for the staff. I would say in the management team positions, we’ve had very little turnover And a lot of the people who have left, left for reasons of life changes just like me. I’m not leaving because I’m dissatisfied with Oryana at all. In fact, it’s something I’ve loved for a long time and I’m committed to. And I still feel exactly that same way.
NE: Who’s going to replace you?
Bob: That’s the biggest question. They’re searching right now to find a replacement. That search is pretty much nationwide. There are local candidates as well.

NE: What’s it like where you’ll live?
Bob: It’s vast. Seven thousand feet elevation, high plains, you see a lot of short prairie grass. The vastness of it is breathtaking. One of the things we really like about it is you can step out the backdoor and you’re in the middle of the outdoors. Nothing close at all. It’s a very remote location in Northeastern New Mexico. The closet town of any substance is Raton, but it’s not too big. If I was going to guess, between four and six thousand. I’m not sure.

NE: So you’re transitioning from hordes of customers to what sounds like a solitary existence.
Bob: It’s going to be a real change. I’m looking forward to it. You never know where life leads. I’m really excited about it, even though it’s difficult for me to leave Oryana. It’s been good to me. I love it. It’s a great organization. It’s just a little bit bittersweet. People have expressed a lot of gratitude to me over the last few weeks and it’s felt really good. It’s just been very nice.

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