Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Runway Roundtable
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Runway Roundtable

Five local fashion experts gathered to talk fashion, selling style in the winter, baggy pants, and what drives them. We listened in.

- April 14th, 2014  

Maurie Allen, Captains Quarters, TC
Wendy Buhr, Ella’s,TC
Dawn Campbell, Boutique a la vie, TC
Annie Hill, Cherry Hill Boutique, TC
Brandy Malpass, Threads, Bay Harbor & Petoskey


EXPRESS: How’d you get your start?

CAMPBELL: I was a nurse for 25 years actually and, though I enjoyed it, I spent 25 years figuring out how I could get creative and get out. It started weighing on me 10 years ago, and I walked through Mercato [Inside Building 50] and that was kind of the end or the beginning. I’ve been open six years now, and I’m a creative person trying to learn to become a business person. It’s a struggle for me but it’s what I want to do every day.

EXPRESS: Wasn’t there a period when you were a nurse, sang, and ran the store?

CAMPBELL: Yes,, worked seven days a week for three years.

ALLEN: I’m entering our 48th year in business and in fact I’ll have a real milestone in October when I’ll have 50 years on Front Street. I was transferred here by Montgomery Ward from Fort Wayne. Then after two years we had discovered Traverse City and, though they invited me to come back to open their new Fort Wayne store, we just fell in love with Traverse City and had three young kids, so we figured out a way to make it happen. Retailing is in my blood.

EXPRESS: Over all that time, when were the darkest days for retail in TC?

ALLEN: I’d say when that first [Cherryland] Mall opened in the late 1970s. Shopping indoors was new to the community and there were men’s stores in the mall. But then when the big mall came a decade later, there wasn’t a blip in our business. People just love downtown. It’s been totally reinvented and I hear from visitors every single day, “I can’t believe there’s a downtown like Traverse City.”

MALPASS: Threads is celebrating its 15th year this summer. Chris Jaconette opened it first for developer David Johnson in Bay Harbor and then purchased it herself. In 2008 she opened the Petoskey location. A couple years ago I was a stay-at-home mom, living in Chicago, with a background in fashion. Chris said she was looking for a buyer, and I thought this was something I could learn. We took a leap, and I started doing the buying with her. Last summer I became a partner. I’m on the front end of a big learning curve, but I just love the magic of buying.

BUHR: I started at ten, when I was selling cherries out of a wagon in front of Bilmar’s, which was a store in the very spot where my current store is now. When I was 22 I opened Trinkets, which sold vintage clothing and beads. I did that for eight years and then had my daughter Ella. I wanted to do something bigger, and I thought that this town was ready for something hipper. So I did away with the beads and opened Ella’s in a small space and did that for eight years. What I learned was after the first summer people were looking for sexy and fitted, but I had vintage clothing in just one size with not one dress that could fit everybody. So then I made a move to our bigger space – right when the economy died – and we decided to go the higher end route, sales are up, and now we’re opening a vintage store in the basement. It will be a mix of what we used to do and what we do now.

HILL: I started in 1997 in the space next to Wendy. I had two little preschoolers and was trying to figure out how I could go to their things at school and still work. I spent 13 years there and then moved to our current location. Like you said Maurie, it was aligning stars. We opened our bigger store and it just worked out fantastic. We serve the over 40 market, women who are more affluent who want to look great. I had gone to college for fashion merchandising and worked at the Grand Hotel and also as a golf buyer in Jupiter, Florida. I wanted to raise our kids here, so you do it. You take risks.

BUHR: You gotta love it.

HILL: I do! Of course sometimes I’ll see something I love but realize people won’t spend that much for that, so I’ll pass. I’ve learned it’s about the right price and the right timing. Now, [retailers] are discounting on November 1. It used to be Christmas was when markdowns came, then Black Friday, and now November 1. It makes Fall a really important time.

CAMPBELL: Value and price are so interesting. People in my store will say, “that’s beautiful but too expensive.” I’m sorry, but I just believe you can’t spend $20 on a beautiful dress and think it’s made by someone who cares about clothes, feels good about what they do, and is paid fairly for their time.

I just love that you, Wendy, said, “forget it.”

BUHR: Yes. If you sell the higher end stuff it takes a while, and you’ll sell three instead of 12, and you have to train your sales people…I always take the hard way!

CAMPBELL: It weighs on me, but I heard the quote ‘quality isn’t for everyone’ and it’s true! Wendy, you just have your own look. You all do. I love that…there’s no competition if everyone is authentic and does what they believe.

EXPRESS: What about the brands you carry? Do your customers demand that you not carry things other local stores have?

BUHR: When you get to a certain price point there are only so many lines, but no…there’s just two blocks of Front Street! We can’t all sell the same items.

CAMPBELL: It’s a very big deal. There are what, six, seven eight boutiques in one town? It’s tough.

MALPASS: Not only will the reps [from the designers] not allow it, it’s also about business etiquette. You just don’t do it.

EXPRESS: Is it the same with men’s clothing?

ALLEN: Well, fortunately or unfortunately, there’s not a lot of competition in town for men’s clothing. We’ve sort of been the only game in town for many years. We’ve not had issues.

EXPRESS: Is northern Michigan fashionable?

ALLEN: Our region is a bit more casual than many. That hasn’t changed much, even though surprisingly, our suit business is better than it ever has been. Now even metropolitan areas are becoming more casual.

MALPASS: Petoskey is a similarly casual town but limited a bit by function too. We’re all bundled up, and even when a rep says, “oh this flare jean is our best seller,” I’ll remind her we just can’t sell those because weather and boots play a big role. However, I’ll say that the weather leaves women with a desire to dress up when they do have the opportunity.

HILL: Yes. You come in my store in June and no matter what the age, the women you’ll see want to look nice.

CAMPBELL: I’m not comparing it, but look at Portland. Their style isn’t consistent with LA or New York, but they’re fashionable in their own way…individual minded. I think that’s like here.

BUHR: The thing now is we have a lot of people who travel a lot. They work online or travel for work and in the past five years I’m seeing a different customer: more worldly, taking more risks, coming in asking about something instead of having to be introduced to trends. But I do have to say all those t-shirt shops near me… they do three times the business I do! That’s still our main tourist.

MALPASS: Bay Harbor is a little different too. Customers come in and they’ve seen the line elsewhere and have some familiarity with trends… but local people want to be fashionable as well.

EXPRESS: Maurie, have you ever thought about adding vintage at Captain’s Quarters?

ALLEN: Certainly our vendors are putting in vintage looks into their lines, but I learned you can’t be everything to everybody. A store is a function of your personality, and if you’re not comfortable…like you said, Wendy, you know your customer. I go to market and see something among hundreds of items and I know which customer will wear it and in what color. Happens very time.

HILL: Me too. All the time.

ALLEN: But we are going after a younger demographic… young professionals who are dressing for work.

HILL: Wendy, how is your mens’s going?

BUHR: It’s growing. Right now we’re seeing a lot of men’s ties selling.

EXPRESS: Really? Who’s buying ties?

ALLEN: Teens and twenty somethings. Lots of ties and bowties. They’re into it.

BUHR: Great! Maybe we won’t see their underwear hanging out of their jeans soon then!

EXPRESS: What trends are you seeing for this year?

BUHR: Shopping and spending money!

MALPASS: That’s a great answer!



Bright color! “After the winter we had, people are ready to get over it and go bright,” says Captains Quarters Maurie Allen


Both boyfriend and skinny jeans


Bowties, Colorful, striped socks


Coral Indigo Pink

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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