NORTHPORT — A business renaissance is sweeping through this coastal town like a refreshing breeze coming off Lake Michigan.
At least eight new businesses have cropped up in the last two years, with many opening their doors for the first time this spring and summer. Tourists who make their way to the small village near the tip of Leelanau County will notice a new golf course, a new hotel and remodeled café, and eatery and even a new brewery.
“Its been a long, hard fight that has involved a lot of people who have the vision, patience and the right mindsets,” said Lisa Drummond, president of the Northport-Omena Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been working hard for our businesses. It’s really wonderful to watch.”
The string of new businesses include:
n Lelu Café and the Northport hotel at 109 W. Naganoba St. The café that serves as a hotspot for local music is getting a complete remake this spring by owners Erik and Deirdre Owen. The couple is also opening the nine-room hotel on the second floor of the corner building.
“The community is great, the schools are great, the quality of life is great,” said Erik Owen. “Northport has all of that going for it. I look at the future being pretty rosy. More and more people from the coasts are looking for these real places. You see it in Traverse City. People coming back and staying when they could live and work anywhere.”
n Northport Brewing at 112 W. Naganoba St. The brainchild of Collin Gaudard and Scott Cain will serve locally crafted beers by May 23. The young entrepreneurs are already licensed for production and are nearing a final permit for a bar. They are also launching a Kickstarter campaign.
“We are planning on using local ingredients,” Gaudard said. “There’s a lot this area has to offer as far as beer making. We’ve seen the wine industry boom heavily and now we are growing hops (in the area). There’s talk of barley getting grown and malted here in the area. We have everything right here.”