June 26, 2019

The Faces of Little Traverse

Connecting with the people and places we’ve known for years
Sept. 28, 2014

GRANDPA SHORTER’S GIFTS
Jennifer Shorter, CEO

I’ve been doing this since: "The store was founded in 1946 and I started working here in 1983 when I was nine years old. My Grandpa Shorter had passed away and my parents had started working in the business to help my grandmother out. I came here every day after school so I could help too. I worked elsewhere after college in "˜corporate America,’ but I came home in 1997, and I am now the CEO of the company."

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: "Technology. I remember the old price tag machine in the back room. You had to set up the type and then crank the price tags through it. Then we went to hand-held marking guns. Now, our point of sale system prints out price tags with barcodes, not to mention the web and online sales."

I still love: "Coming to work every day, not knowing what to expect from the day, but knowing that I love what I do. I am truly passionate about retail, small business, and downtown Petoskey, and I love that I work in the same office that my grandparents, and then parents, used."

Our business’ reputation is built on: "Honesty, integrity, and an open dialogue with our customers. I love what we sell and only sell what I love." The most popular thing at our business when we started was: "Minnetonka Moccasins and Petoskey Stones."

Today, our most popular offerings are: "Still Minnetonka Moccasins and Petoskey Stones!"

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: "I love the fact that we have such a diverse customer base; we have our locals, our resorters, and our tourists. It makes each day exciting and different."


CELESTE MURDICK’S FUDGE AND CANDY KITCHEN, CHARLEVOIX
Celeste Perron (née Murdick), Owner

I’ve been doing this since: "I took over the helm at this store in 2000, but the Murdick company actually runs for four generations. My great- grandfather, Newton Jerome Murdick, started making fudge back in 1887 on Mackinaw Island."

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: "The price of fudge! It started back in the day at $1.65 per pound. Today, it’s $14.00 per pound."

I still love: "We refer to them as "˜fudgies,’ of course, but–the people! I still love waiting on people, smiling with them, talking to them, finding out where they’re from. I have loved waiting on people my whole life."

Our business’ reputation is built on: "Quality and tradition. And by tradition, I mean that we do not veer from our original recipe for fudge. We haven’t changed it since 1887."

The most popular thing at our business when we started was: "Plain Chocolate Fudge. And it remained the most popular flavor for 30 years."

Today, our most popular offerings are: "Two years ago, we introduced Salty Caramel Fudge and it completely took over. It outsells Plain Chocolate Fudge four to one now!"

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: "The scenery and the view. Our candy shop location is right across from Round Lake and my favorite thing is looking out and seeing the beautiful blue sky and water and all of the people. We really do live in God’s country."


PETOSKEY PLASTICS
Paul Keiswetter, President/CEO

I’ve been doing this since: 1969.

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: "That we started with 2 people and have now grown to over 400 associates, and are now a global manufacturing company with our headquarters in Petoskey."

I still love: "Continually improving, and finding new customers and markets to serve."

Our business’ reputation is built on: "Our mission statement: "˜Earning the Appreciation and Respect of our Customers, Associates, and Communities."

The most popular thing at our business when we started was: "A patented two-ply seat cover for the automotive industry."

Today, our most popular offerings are: "The same seat cover, with an expanded full line; and our closedloop recycling programs."

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: "The seasonal changing beauty of our area - it’s very peaceful and rewarding - as well as the wonderful people residing here."

STAFFORD’S
David Marvin, Vice President/C.O.O.

I’ve been doing this since: "I started as a busboy at Stafford’s Noggin Room in 1995 when I was 17 years old. Today, I’m a partner. But Stafford’s as a whole has been around for many, many years. The Bay View Inn was built in 1886, the Perry Hotel was built in 1899, and Stafford’s Hospitality was founded in 1961."

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: "Technology! When we started with computers, everything was very simple, just DOS. Now, we’re on social media, we’re taking real-time online reservations, we have things we never dreamed we’d have. It’s really helped us take better care of our guests."

I still love: "Meeting and talking to our guests whenever I get the chance and taking care of such historical properties. The properties themselves are quite amazing."

Our business’ reputation is built on: "Quality and service, great locations, and wonderful food."

The most popular thing at our business when we started was: "In the early "˜60s, one of the biggest things in town was the Bay View Inn’s smorgasbord!" Today, our most popular offering is: "Ambiance. Today, the focus is as much on where you are and how beautiful your surroundings are, in addition to what’s on your plate."

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: "In my position in the company, you never really clock out. But still, living here, I can leave work and be home in five minutes. I love that. Plus, our customers and our guests are our neighbors. Everyone here is "˜on vacation,’ and they’re here to have fun."


CROOKED TREE BREADWORKS
Greg Carpenter, Founder/Owner

I’ve been doing this since: "I’ve been a professional baker since 1993 and we opened Breadworks in 1996."

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: "People’s tastes. When I first started, people’s tastes in bread in our region were not sophisticated at all. They would usually choose soft white breads like Wonder Bread. Now, people are more apt to choose whole grain breads and you can even find copies of artisanal loaves at places like Wal-Mart."

I still love: "Baking bread! I don’t do it myself as much anymore; now, my job is to give my staff the tools to do so. But I still really like, say, just baking a good baguette. I simply enjoy it."

Our business’ reputation is built on: "Authenticity. We sell home baking."

The most popular thing at our business when we started was: "The Italian-style sourdough bread and it’s still our second-best selling product to this day."

Today, our most popular offerings are: "The 3 o’clock Baguette, which is baked fresh daily, and our Addictive Granola, which flies off the shelves."

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: "So many things, but especially the seasonality. I actually like the contrast between being busier than you think anyone should be in the summertime–when you have no idea how you’re going to keep up with the demand for fresh-baked bread–and then the off-season time, when you don’t have much to do and you’re sometimes wondering how you’re going to pay the bills. I think if you can balance those two scenarios, you’re doing well, and I really like that challenge."


INSPIRED LIVING
Leslie Neilson, Owner

I’ve been doing this since: "We opened in July of 2000 as Bali and Beyond–importing gifts and goods from Bali–and we changed our name to Inspired Living in 2008."

I can’t believe this has changed so much since we started: "Boyne City! When I started 14 years ago, Boyne City wasn’t much to write home about, but I could at least afford to have a store here. Now, with all of the wonderful improvements and developments, Boyne City is truly a great place to do business."

I still love: "That our store has such a good energy. It truly inspires me and it makes me feel better just to be in the store. I love our customers and I love coming to work every day."

Our business’ reputation is built on: "Providing a positive and inspiring experience through sights and music and aromas and energy. We offer a calm environment that allows you to just take a break."

The most popular thing at our business when we started was: "When we first opened, our best-sellers were definitely the Balinese kites."

Today, our most popular offerings are: "This will sound crazy–especially since people don’t write as much anymore–but greeting cards! We have three different lines of cards now and one of our most popular are the Positively Green cards by Compendium. We sell a ton of them. I’ve had people buy 30, 40 at a time."

What I love most about doing business in the Little Traverse region: "I love the fact that we get a little break after summer and I love the change of seasons here. The different seasons bring in new customers who are looking for different things and that helps keep us on our toes and keep things fresh in the store."

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