Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 9, 2010

Gwen Frostic shop may get new owner soon

BENZONIA -- Gwen Frostic's historic and much-visited print shop could soon be under new ownership.

The once-popular business and tourist attraction features works of Benzie County artist Gwen Frostic, who died in 2001. It closed in October after Honor State Bank foreclosed on the property, leaving customers and visitors uncertain over its future.

Bank President Mike Worden said shop owners Pam and Kirk Lorenz didn't meet a Friday deadline to redeem the shop from foreclosure. The bank hopes to sell the business, and Worden believes it will reopen.

"We do not have a buyer, but we have three interested parties. All the parties, we believe, have a goal of continuing the Gwen Frostic legacy," he said. "And that's what our goal was all along ... the bottom line is, we want that place back open, too."

The shop employed between 15 and 20 people when open, Worden said.

The Lorenzes couldn't be reached for comment. Kirk Lorenz told the Record-Eagle in September that a financing agreement tied his Brookside Inn business in nearby Beulah to the printing business, creating financial problems for both companies.

Worden wouldn't comment on that agreement, but said it's common for businesses to use their properties as collateral for a loan.

The bank foreclosed on the Brookside Inn in October.

Mary Carroll, president of the Benzie County Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce, said people ask more about Gwen Frostic's than any other attraction in Benzie County.

Calls have poured in since the business closed, she said. The bureau has kept a list of numbers and promised to call people back when they find out the shop's fate.

"It's very important to our community that the business open back up and continue to be a big draw for us," Carroll said.

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