BY MARY BEVANS GILLETT
Special to the Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Morsels will take a bigger bite out of the market when the Traverse City brand expands to Florida later this year.
Morsels Espresso + Edibles, 321 E. Front St., has built a following for its bite size baked goods, coffee and setting overlooking the Boardman River and downtown.
Co-owner Misha Neidorfler said Morsels will open in Boca Grande, Fla., in late November. Proprietors of the new store are Steven and Laura Busch of St. Louis.
Steven Busch said he and his wife his spend a lot of time in Traverse City and came to love Morsels, prompting the Florida store opening.
“It seemed like something you’d find in Europe -- a nice coffee shop and bakery, and you don’t see too many non-chain, high-quality places like that,” Busch said.
Busch, of the Busch beer family, said he sees Morsels as a perfect fit for Boca Grande.
“It’s neat to have a piece of Michigan in Florida,” he said.
Boca Grande is located on Gasparilla Island on Florida’s gulf side.
Neidorfler said the new business is an expansion of the Morsels brand but is not a franchise. The Busches have entered into an agreement with Niedorfler and her husband and co-founder Jeff Niedorfler to use the Morsels model for their planned Boca Grande shop.
“Steve and Laura have been customers for several years” Misha Neidorfler said. “They approached us (earlier this summer) about the possibility of licensing the brand and product of Morsels.”
This is the first expansion for the bakery but was not the first offer the Niedorflers entertained.
“We’ve had conversations with others over the years,” Neidorfler said. “But things really clicked with them.
“They (the Busches) really understand the brand …they really get it from the same level we do,” she said.
Morsels Boca Grande is slated for a soft opening around Thanksgiving. The Neidorflers plan to go to Florida in November to train staff, help set up processes and the store. The Boca Grande manager will also spend time in Traverse City this fall training at the original Morsels.
The couple created the Morsels concept six years ago while living in Milwaukee. The two sought the opportunity to work together and to relocate their young family to northern Michigan. They opened Morsels in its original location at the corner of Cass and East Front streets in April 2008, moving to its current, larger location in April 2012.
Neidorfler stressed the new venture won’t impact the Traverse City experience for her customers.
“We want people to know that nothing is changing,” she said. “We aren’t going national, we’re not going corporate…we are the same Morsels. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to grow as a business.”