Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


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. . . .

Final reflections on the health care debate

George Foster - March 29th, 2010
The Sweets Never Stop at Gaylord’s Chocolat Haus
Willie Wonka would feel right at home at the Alpine Chocalat Haus; in
fact, a video of the popular kids’ film is playing on a TV in the
sales room at the business in downtown Gaylord.
And upstairs, there’s a full-scale chocolate factory, pumping out
hundreds of Easter bunnies, chocolate-covered potato chips, and oodles
of other candies. It’s this veritable candyland of treats that earned
the business the honor of “Best Place for Chocolate” from Express
readers this year.
“We have 22 varieties of Easter bunnies and make thousands of them
each year,” says owner Bruce Brown, indicating a tray of 450 chocolate
rabbits, poised for their marching orders. Although these 12 oz.
rabbits are the businesses’ best seller, the Chocolat Haus offers
varieties ranging from 2 oz. bite-sizes to a whopping 20 lb. hollow
bunny that runs $120.
But the biggest seller for the store is its chocolate-covered potato
chips which come off a conveyor belt in a steady stream, ready to be
whisked downstairs for an easy sale. And don’t cry over broken chips
because they’re used to make “elk droppings” of potato chip patties
drizzled with chocolate, finding a home on the shelves amid turtles,
bear claws and cream-filled candies.
Brown, 53, has a big-hearted, friendly ambiance and you can’t help but
smile and feel uplifted by his enthusiasm. At a time when most of the
state is on the ropes economically, his chocolate factory and shop are
employing up to 30 people -- sometimes with the need to add a second
shift. We find him engaged in an earnest, knowledgeable discussion on
the merits of various forms of chocolate with several customers who
leave with a bagful of purchases, and of course, big smiles.
A former manager of a Woolworth’s store, Brown moved to Gaylord from
Sault Ste. Marie in 1985 to try his hand at the candy business when a
shop on Main Street was offered for sale.
“At that time we weren’t making our own chocolate, but I met a lady
who taught me everything about the business,” he recalls. His first
kitchen measured only 8-by-8 feet, but today his chocolate production
facility takes up 1,700 square feet above the store below.
The operation also makes “an awesome caramel corn” that Brown says
rivals that of even such notables as the world-famous Garrett’s
popcorn shop in Chicago. “Our caramel is nice and soft -- it doesn’t
pull your fillings out,” he says. “I’ll put our caramel corn up
against anyone’s in the world.”
Believe it. The Chocolat Haus also has its own signature candy bar,
complete with its own logo. And judging by its modest storefront,
you’d never guess that the business had such an astounding assortment
of treats in the sales room just beyond its front door.
“We probably go through 70,000 to 80,000 pounds of chocolate each
year, with our biggest seasons being Christmas and Easter.”
The Alpine Chocolat Haus is located at 208 W. Main Street, Gaylord.
See www.alpinechocolathaus.com for info. -- by Robert Downes





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