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Boyne Citys Wine Emporium 3/28/11

Kristi Kates - March 28th, 2011
Building Up a Business: Boyne City’s Wine Emporium and Market
By Kristi Kates
Revamping a building into a new business can offer up challenges that are completely unexpected. Just ask Ed Brehm, who opened Boyne City’s Wine Emporium and Market late last year. While he and his wife, Kristine Brehm, were accustomed to the usual week-to-week tests of running a business, the expansion of their Boyne Country Provisions store into a new division presented a few surprises that almost threw them off track - but not quite.
“Around November of 2009, I became certified as a sommelier, and our wine sales really took off and grew,” Ed Brehm explains. “So frankly, we ran out of floor space, and we wanted to do something more. We decided to remodel the building attached to ours. But there were a few things we didn’t expect.”
The space next door, which had been a fashion store called Kaden’s Emporium for many years, had large, elevated platforms in the window for the various fashion displays of the day.
“We wanted to put seating in the windows, so we had to remove the elevated platforms,” Brehm says, “and when we did, we were shocked to find a 10-foot drop right into the basement. There was no floor.”

‘PRETTY FRAGILE’
The Brehms had to rebuild the floor from scratch in that section of the building. But that was only the first of two “extra” projects they’d have to take on.
“The walls in the building were pretty fragile,” Brehm says, “so when we tore down the old cedar display units, the plaster came down with them.”
Instead of trying to replaster, though, Brehm decided to take a different approach, and, as he explains, “make lemonade out of lemons” - they decided to just clean up the brick and leave it as-is, adding redone wooden floors and refurbished tin ceilings to the picture.
“Which gave the room a nice, European old-world feel,” he smiles.
With a lot of community support, Brehm says, they finally opened just two days past their target date of December 15, 2010. The Wine Emporium and Market - named in part as an homage to the old Kaden’s Emporium - unlocked its doors to the public on December 17, after 90 days of renovations and a lot of dedicated work.
Now the perfect compliment to the Brehm’s popular Boyne Country Provisions - with both stores connected by an opening achieved by breaking through 17-inch-thick brick walls that were built in 1902 - the new store adds about 2,000 square feet to the business, leaving plenty of room for the Brehm’s culinary ideas. With a plethora of wines available, it’s up to the customer, Brehm says, to have fun deciding what to choose to go along with them.
“We have selected wine accessories, plus meats, cheese, and dairy items,” Brehm explains, “we’re attempting to be an outlet for the local farmers when the farmers’ markets aren’t in season.”
Some of the food highlights include local proteins from Cook Family Farm in Gaylord; bison from Jordan Valley bison; and dairy products from Shetler Dairy in Kalkaska.
“Our focus is on organic foods, and local natural foods sourced from local farmers,” Brehm continues, “we hope to also bring in some produce this summer.”

MEATS, CHEESE, AND DAIRY
Other plans for the summer include even more expansion - but don’t worry, the Brehms won’t have to knock down any more walls or build up more floors. Instead, they’ll just be taking advantage of their building’s already-existing and inviting outdoor spaces.
“We have a large outdoor patio behind the building, so we hope to have outdoor seating by summer,” Brehm says, “and by June first, we hope to have our new deli ready.”
The deli, which Brehm says will include a menu of “European sandwiches” as well as fresh-baked bread (“we plan to bake our own,” he says), more meats and cheeses, both fresh and smoked fish, and an olive bar, will be focused on what Brehm calls “fun, unique, interesting foods” that are sure to draw in tourists, locals, and those already familiar with Boyne Country Provisions’ time-tested offerings.
“We want to continue to grow both our local and international offerings,” Brehm says, “for all of the residents of the Boyne City area, and for the visitors, too.”

Boyne City Wine Emporium and Market and Boyne Country Provisions are located at 123 and 127 Water Street in Boyne City; the new Wine Emporium and Market may be reached at 231-582-2151, or visit them online at http://www.facebook.com/bcprovisions.

 
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