WILLIAMSBURG — Northern Michigan’s growing reputation as a destination for horse enthusiasts is evidenced by the early success of a new business on M-72.
Charlene Kolodziej and Marley Martin opened Grand Traverse Saddlery a little more than a week ago. The horse and tack store’s grand opening featured customer lines at the counter for more than two hours. The pair said they’ve had customers travel from Boyne City, Cadillac, and West Branch just to check out their new shop at 4144 M-72 E. during the first week.
“Traverse City is a growing horse market,” Kolodziej said. “Since we’ve opened, we’ve met so many people that we didn’t even know. We felt we knew a large number of people in the horse community but we’ve met so many more. Out in Kalkaska there are a ton of horseback riders. Harbor Springs, Leelanau County, too.”
The store offers a comprehensive line of horse and tack clothing and supplies at its woodsy, log cabin outlet.
“We offer everything,” Kolodziej said. “The stuff you wear. The stuff your horse wears. The stuff you need to take care of your horses -- shampoos and different sprays, stable supplies, water buckets.
“Our target market is pretty vast, from you are just starting out and really young 4-H kids to the level of riders you will see at Horses by the Bay,” she said.
Martin said there are also products for people who don’t have horses but who like the western lifestyle.
“You can come in and buy boots and a belt even if you don’t have horses,” Martin said.
The business represents lifelong dreams for Martin and Kolodziej.
Both started riding as children and each rode on the Michigan State University equestrian team in college.
“We were both working jobs we liked (after college,) but they weren’t our passion,” Kolodziej said. “Now we are coming to work every day doing what we love.”