Letters

Letters 08-03-2015

Real Brownfields Deserve Dollars I read with interest the story on Brownfield development dollars in the July 20 issue. I applaud Dan Lathrop and other county commissioners who voted “No” on the Randolph Street project...

Hopping Mad Carlin Smith is hopping mad (“Will You Get Mad With Me?” 7-20-15). Somebody filed a fraudulent return using his identity, and he’s not alone. The AP estimates the government “pays more than $5 billion annually in fraudulent tax refunds.” Well, many of us have been hopping mad for years. This is because the number one tool Congress has used to fix this problem has been to cut the IRS budget –by $1.2 billion in the last 5 years...

Just Grumbling, No Solutions Mark Pontoni’s grumblings [recent Northern Express column] tell us much about him and virtually nothing about those he chooses to denigrate. We do learn that Pontoni may be the perfect political candidate. He’s arrogant, opinionated and obviously dimwitted...

A Racist Symbol I have to respond to Gordon Lee Dean’s letter claiming that the confederate battle flag is just a symbol of southern heritage and should not be banned from state displays. The heritage it represents was the treasonous effort to continue slavery by seceding from a democratic nation unwilling to maintain such a consummate evil...

Not So Thanks I would like to thank the individual who ran into and knocked over my Triumph motorcycle while it was parked at Lowe’s in TC on Friday the 24th. The $3,000 worth of damage was greatly appreciated. The big dent in the gas tank under the completely destroyed chrome badge was an especially nice touch...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Grandpa Shorter‘s
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Grandpa Shorter‘s

- June 13th, 2011
Petoskey’s most notable general store, Grandpa Shorter’s celebrates 65 years this summer with a walk down memory lane.
After WWII ended in 1945, entrepreneurs Carl (‘C.G.) and Ruth Shorter returned home to Petoskey from Detroit with the idea of opening a souvenir store downtown. In 1946, Carl began buying crafts from local Ottawa Indians (now also referred to as Odawa), making several trips over the winter to Cross Village to purchase goods for sale at the couple’s new shop.
The Shorters’ business began in a tiny 8’ wide by 24’ deep rented building and opened for their first customers on Memorial Day weekend in 1946. Little did they know that their first Memorial Day weekend would lead to 65 more Memorial Day weekends and  four generations of Shorters working in that same business, albeit a bit larger.
The store was a hit, selling locally crafted Native American items, such as quill boxes, ash baskets, bow and arrow sets, birch bark birdhouses and more. The store also sold deerskin gloves and jackets, Minnetonka Moccasins, pennants from the area and surrounding towns, birch candles, balsam fir pillows, incense and sterling silver jewelry.
By 1956, the Shorters moved out of their tiny space to bigger digs next door -- their present 301 E. Lake Street location -- a building that still oozes the atmosphere of an old time general store.  In 1998 the front of the building was taken back to the way it looked when originally constructed in 1881. It is a Mesker tin-faced building and is the oldest of its kind in Petoskey. 

MOVING ON
In a news release from the family, Jennifer Shorter, third-generation proprietor, credits the success of the business to “hard-work and great customers who keep coming back.” The store has repeatedly won awards for the Best Gift Store in Northern Michigan from publications including Northern Express and Traverse Magazine.
Jennifer grew up in the family business. She would come to the store after school and, at $2 an hour, earn spending money by emptying garbage cans, marking product, and vacuuming. She left after high school to attend the University of Michigan.  After college and a brief stint in corporate America, Jennifer returned to the family business and has never looked back. 
To commemorate their 65th anniversary, Grandpa Shorter’s recently installed a penny press machine for the enjoyment of their guests. 
“This is the first and only penny press machine in Petoskey, and there are four designs that reflect the history of Petoskey, from a drawing of our building, our million dollar sunset and break-wall, Gaslights, and the Petoskey Stone, all rendered on your penny,” Shorter said.
Grandpa Shorter’s has also installed a wall of history inside the store, showcasing photos of generations of the family and the store’s progress through the years.
When the store turned 60, in 2006, Grandpa Shorter’s installed a mural, painted by Terry Dickinson, on the cement wall that overlooks Shopper’s Lane behind the store. Due to leakage behind the mural, Grandpa Shorter’s is going to have to have it repainted. The repaint of the mural will be changed to more accurately reflect the four generations and their contributions to the store’s history. The mural will be installed this summer.

Grandpa Shorter’s is located at 301 E. Lake Street, in Petoskey’s historic gaslight district. Additional information about the store and upcoming events are available at www.grandpashorters.com.
 
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