ELK RAPIDS — Word Love Goods needed a bigger dictionary.
Harbor Wear needed a new port.
Both problems will be solved by one move.
Con artist Harold Hill sang about trouble in River City in “The Music Man.” The summer of 2022 has brought many new businesses to the 100 block of River Street, the heart of downtown Elk Rapids.
Word Love Goods moved into a new location and opened September 22nd at 103 River St. The business opened at 141 River St. on the day after Thanksgiving in 2020. A start. The new location at 103 River St. gives owner Alissa Winters about 500 more square feet for the retail store that sells “books, gifts, home decor and a little whimsy,” all focused on the written word.
“It’s definitely more square footage for the sales floor, I’d say about another 300,” said Winters, who also picked up additional storage space in the back of the new store. “We needed more space and more annual traffic from the post office, the bakery and the marina. More exposure.”
Located across the street at 138 River Street, Harbor Wear will move into the space vacated by Word Love when it opens this spring for the 2023 season. The store will close by the end of October for the 2022 season and the move will give Harbor Wear an additional 250 square feet of space.
“I’m very excited,” Elk Rapids store owner Brittney Dipert-Hopkins said Tuesday morning. “I was measuring there today. I can’t wait to get in there.
“I’m excited to have all winter to decorate and have it all perfect for spring to open.”
In addition to picking up more space, the new Word Love location allowed Winters to better organize her store.
This allowed Winters to expand her children’s and young adult items in a room across from the counter.
There is a room in the back for artwork, another dedicated to journals and quote cards with seasonal items near the entrance.
“It’s beautiful,” said customer Tammy Oberski, who splits time between Elk Rapids and New Hudson and left the new store with a print. “It is really very beautiful. I like the touch, all the different rooms.
“I like that the areas are specific to the categories; my shopping needs. Everything has a place.”
Of course there are many books to read. Winters estimates that she carries more than 300 different titles in the store and can order “just about any book anyone wants” and offers a 10% discount when customers do so through her store.
Winters said she plans to expand her offerings to include a business-to-business card line. A reopening is scheduled for late October.
“It was good,” Winters said of the move. “It was better than expected and we are very grateful for that.”
A few businesses focusing on flowers have opened this year on both sides of the 100 block of River Street.
Amy Kate Designs and Golden Hill Farms share a storefront at 131 River St. Amy Hendrickson runs the former with daughter Abbey Cooper at the helm of Golden Hill Farms, both of which opened on June 2.
All of the produce in the store comes from Cooper’s 10-ace Golden Hill Farms or Hendrickson’s one-acre plot.
“Everything grown on the farm is sold as fresh or dried flowers for weddings, events and everyday flowers year-round,” Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson said “it’s a total family operation at the store and the farm. They include daughter Amanda Hendrickson, Abbey’s husband Chris Cooper, ex-husband Scott Hendrickson and longtime family friend Michael Camp. Even Hendrickson’s mother, Jackie Bowen, chimed in.
“We’re all over the place,” Abbey Cooper joked. “We feel like if you have a store up here, you have to wear a lot of hats and do a lot of different things.”
This isn’t Amy Hendrickson’s first retail experience either.
She opened Thru the Grapevine in 1989 at 10443 S. Bay Shore Drive and sold it in 2000.
Hendrickson also had stores in Midland, Bay Harbor and Suttons Bay in the past.
Hendrickson has always done flowers for weddings, events and gardens, but is happy to have a shop again.
“It was retail that took a break,” Cooper said. “We really wanted a retail location downtown and here we are.”
The Amy Kate Designs portion of the business focuses on “boutique flowers and events,” while Golden Hill Farms emphasizes “gift, home and garden,” according to the double-sided business card. Classes are planned for the winter months.
“We just love it,” Hendrickson said. “We have so many ideas coming up for the next few years.”
Northwood Blooms also offers florist services in Elk Rapids at 114 River St., Suite B. Morgan Lake opened the store in June.
“I just felt like it was a good time to do it,” Lake said of opening a storefront after operating out of her home and selling out of roadside stands.
Northwood Blooms shares an entrance and an address with The Hair Parlour. Cassie Hairston moved her existing hair salon into the building.
Lake said Northwood Blooms emphasizes fresh flowers and local produce during the growing season. Lake said Northwood also has boutique items such as jewelry, candles, house plants, dried flowers and is adding clothing.
“It’s going really well,” says Lake, who works primarily with women-owned businesses and suppliers. “Having Woordlief right across from us, I think will give us more business throughout the season and hopefully the year.”
A longtime restaurant reopened at 147 River St in mid-June this summer.
The death of long-time restaurateur Charles Egeler – affectionately known as ‘Chef Charles’ – on 28 November 2021 has thrown the future of Chef Charles’ into doubt.
So owners John Conrad and Dan Rowe decided to uphold “the legacy of Chef Charles (Charles Egler) who founded the business 27 years ago” and reopen the restaurant as Chef Chuck’s, according to its website.
“We are proud to offer its classic ‘pizza’ style pizzas, sandwiches and salads, offering premium ingredients and quality craftsmanship in all of our menu items,” the website said.