Mexican menu, logging equipment, fishing lures, and a growing franchise
MEDC and Initiate
In an effort to support small businesses in Northern Michigan, specialized business training programs are now available to the public.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is teaming up with Northern Initiatives, a community development financial institution, to bring training and education to small businesses all over the Upper Peninsula.
Business training covers many different aspects, including teaching how to budget cash flow analysis to keep a business profitable.
Torti Taco Bar and Grill
At long last, Torti Taco Bar and Grill is open for business.
The popular Mexican restaurant opened the doors to its second location at 80 W. Michigan Ave. on Feb. 21, following a soft opening over the weekend. The larger downtown space complements their Beckley Road restaurant, featuring a dinner menu and two bars, one for alcohol and another for oysters.
The owner, Javier Fortoso, doesn’t see the expansion as a personal accomplishment, but one he shares with his family and community.
Yoder Forest Products
Time is of the essence for Corey Yoder, owner of Yoder Forest Products, Mio, Michigan. “My father told me everything in life is compromise,” says Yoder. “When I was 22, he told me that given the choice between more money and more time off, he’d take more time off. At the time I thought he was crazy because at that age I wanted to make money. But at 53 with a wife, kids, and grandkids, I now know time is way more valuable than money.”
Not that Yoder works a light schedule. He and his crew are at the logging site every day by 5 a.m., and he’s well aware loggers can’t work bankers’ hours from nine to ﬁve. But he has discovered efﬁciencies that allow him and his crew to have more life balance. He has more time for family, and his harvester operator ﬁnds time to run a taxidermy business.
Yoder keeps things simple: “Just three guys and three machines.” A Northern Initiatives loan in 2019 helped buy one of those machines.
Yoder Forest Products is featured in John Deere’s Landing magazine, as well as in this video.
An Escanaba businesswoman is building her brand to hopefully sell products in chain stores. Nineteen-year-old Katelyn Beaver learned to fish with her grandpa.
“I’ve loved fishing all my life and right when quarantine started, I was super bored. I didn’t have school; I didn’t have work so I kind of just started making fishing lures,” said Katelyn Beaver, owner of Beaver’s Lures.
Soon, that fishing lure business picked up.
Last July, Beaver’s Lures became a storefront in downtown Escanaba. All lures are still handmade by Katelyn. “I love fishing and I’ve always had an interest in painting, so I guess that goes hand-in-hand,” said Beaver.
Bière de Mac Brew Works
Mackinaw City’s Bière de Mac Brew Works has started a new series aimed at bringing in different industry professionals for an educational talk or presentation.
The weekly event — the brewery has dubbed “Tap Talks” — will take place at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday and is somewhat modeled after Ted Talks. Each Thursday a new guest will give a talk on their industry or something they are passionate about.
“You’ll have an idea of what this will be like if you know what Ted Talks are,” said brewery owner Danny Ranville.
“We are asking individuals in different industries to come in and talk about something they are passionate about or something they find interesting,” he said.
Blackrocks Brewery in Marquette opened its new space to the public.
The expansion opened during the New Year’s weekend. It renovated the building next to the original location to add a lounge for more entertainment.
A fireplace and a small stage were also installed to host small events. Co-founder Andy Langlois said the feedback from customers is encouraging for the brewery.
“It’s been pretty exciting, I think our friends and customers have been coming in, really enjoying seeing something new and finding a spot to sit down with their beer and enjoy it,” he said.
Busy Beckley Beans
Military training helps veteran change careers and grow franchise of coffee shops in Battle Creek.
With locations on Beckley Road and in Pennfield, Urbandale, and Wattles Park and another in the works, Charles Solano’s Biggby coffee shops are brewing success.
There are more than 55 employees at Solano’s four locations, two of which are built with BCubes. He plans to open another location in the spring.
He hopes to open his fifth location on the site of a former Chase Bank on Hill Brady Road in late Spring 2022. In an ironic twist, he earlier sought a loan from Chase Bank and was denied.