TRAVERSE CITY — Nate Crane and Tina Schuett spent nearly two years chasing their dream of opening a brew pub in the midst of Traverse City’s craft beer boom.
It hasn’t been an easy ride, and the business partners already weathered several storms. Plans for their initial location fell through, as did support from their first group of investors.
But now the two are closing in on a spring opening for their Rare Bird Brewpub at 229 Lake Ave. in Traverse City.
They couldn’t be more excited.
“We are still standing,” Crane said. “We will be cheering our beers over it. We are not sweating it, but there have been some very trying times where we definitely needed a shoulder to lean on and someone to talk to us, saying, ‘All right gang, this is what you need to go do … go get conventional financing.’ We’ve been chipping away at a boulder.”
Crane and Schuett are part of a growing cadre of young entrepreneurs in Traverse City who seek to capitalize on northern Michigan’s healthy economy. Tourism, a bustling restaurant culture and a growing population base are feeding a boom in craft breweries, in particular.
At least 10 breweries opened in the Grand Traverse region in recent years.
Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce President Doug Luciani said one reason for the boom is the region’s ability to cultivate young entrepreneurs. A culture of assistance for young entrepreneurs exists in the Traverse City area business community, he said. Many business owners look out for each other and freely give advice to those who are just getting started.
“One of the most important things (young entrepreneurs) can do is reach out and ask for help from existing businesses and other entrepreneurs,” Luciani said. “People will bend over backwards to help them, to give them the benefit of their experience.”