TRAVERSE CITY — It was time to turn a dabble into a DBA.

Matthew Holcomb’s Wood and Thread was one of the first new business names of 2021 recorded with the Grand Traverse County Clerk’s office.

An assumed name (also known as a DBA, or “doing business as” registration) is the easiest way to officially create a new business identity and is required to open a bank account. Filing for a new business name costs $10 at the county clerk’s office and is valid for five years.

The Williamsburg man actually began the process of filing his assumed name at the end of November 2020. But his DBA was recorded with the County Clerk’s office on Jan. 4, the first day of business in 2021.

While the Governmental Center in Traverse City was closed to “unscheduled public access,” the County Clerk’s office never stopped doing business during normal hours. All county and city offices were closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

According to his Etsy page, Holcomb began woodworking as a hobby seven years ago after “working with my hands for as long as I can remember.” His Etsy bio states he “found it to be my calling. I love to see a finished product come from raw materials. My passion is to create.”

“It’s always been a hobby of mine,” Holcomb said in a phone interview. “I’ve dabbled in it and always wanted to do more.”

Holcomb said he has some hand-crafted wood items for sale in downtown Traverse City, at West Bay Handmade, as well as on his Etsy page, ShopWoodandthread. So it was time to take the next step and form his business, which Holcomb does in addition to his regular job.

{span}”I’ve just started doing this,” said Holcomb, who plans to start adding some leather and stitching items to account for the second half of the business name. “It’s just the beginning of what it may become.”{/span}

Wood and Thread was actually the second new business of 2021. Richard Marr of Traverse City’s Bay Econometrics has file No. ‘2021-1’ in the Grand Traverse County Clerk’s online database. Marr said his Bay Econometrics is in the preliminary stages of launching.

There were four DBA filings on Jan. 4. The other two were renewals.

Wildfishing Guide Service by David Rose of Grawn was the first renewal of 2021. Rose first filed that DBA on Jan. 4, 2016 to exactly hit the renewal date.

The other renewal on Jan. 4 was the Land Company of Michigan by Dicran Doumanian of Traverse City. Land Company of Michigan was first filed on June 19, 1991.

The year 2020 for DBAs in Grand Traverse County saw a total of 402 registrations. New businesses in the county began with Property Group North and ended with Staffing4U.

Robert and Jennifer Mathews of Grawn filed the first assumed name of 2020 a few dozen minutes before noon on Jan. 2, the first day the office was open in 2020. The last new business of 2020 was Staffed4U. Lindsay Harisock of Traverse City filed that name on Dec. 30.

The 402 new business name registrations were a sharp decline from the 604 filed in 2019 and the 600 in 2018.

The 2019 assumed names in GT County reversed a decline from the 802 in 2014. There were 714 DBAs filed in 2015, 701 in 2016, and 680 in 2017.

Property Group North had the advantage of being able to file for a new business in person. The pandemic put restrictions on access to the Governmental Center for certain in-person business, like DBAs.

When asked about the first new business filing of 2020, Jennifer Mathews said it was a way to use Robert Mathews’ construction background in a new way.

“We’re starting this new company to build spec homes and rental property in the area,” Jennifer Mathews said in a Jan. 2, 2020 interview. “It’s all under the umbrella of Property Group North.”

While DBAs declined in 2020, Grand Traverse County Clerk Bonnie Scheele said her office saw another big increase: Concealed Pistol Licenses.

“CPLs skyrocketed and DBAs went down,” Scheele said. “We’ve been very, very busy with CPL licenses. We’re booked with CPL applications all day, every day.”

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