BAY CITY, MI — From a new restaurant opening soon on Bay City’s Midland Street to a waterpark expansion and new jobs coming to Frankenmuth, here’s some recent mid-Michigan business news you might have missed:
Saginaw’s nostalgic Bill’s Party Store has sold, but it’s business as usual for now
Saginaw’s nostalgic Bill’s Party Store has sold, but it’s still open and operating under the Bill’s name with the same familiar faces behind the counter, at least for now.
“We’re still here,” said Angela Pinter, whose father, Bill Vlassis, was the store’s longtime owner. “My dad’s still here every night.”
The 526-square-foot no-frills party store, located at 2422 Mackinaw St., half a mile from Arthur Hill High School, has been in business for six decades and has been called a Saginaw landmark. Vlassis, who planned to retire, sold it late last year.
Michigan’s Best Local Eats: Refreshing, sparkling ‘shimmers’ from Sips
Sips, a new coffee shop located inside downtown Saginaw’s SVRC Marketplace, offers coffee and espresso drinks, tea and refreshing, sparkling “shimmers.”
The iced, caffeine-free drink is made with lemonade, club soda, custom flavors and “popping pearls.”
“They’re pretty fun,” said Heather Shephard, who is the co-manager of Café 476, 6235 Gratiot Road, and now runs Sips, which is under the same ownership. “The popping pearls…when you bite into them, they pop.”
Sombreros Mexican Restaurant coming to Bay City’s Midland Street
When Joseph Stricker opened Sombreros Mexican Restaurant in Saginaw County four years ago, he knew he wanted to focus on traditional Mexican-style cooking, the food he remembers fondly from childhood.
“Growing up, I would always wake up in the morning at my grandfather’s house and watch him cook Mexican food, and that was like the happiest time of my life,” he said of his late grandfather, Benjamin Martinez. “I still smile when I think about him cooking for the family.”
Stricker said he strives to make his customers smile like that every time they eat at Sombreros.
“A lot of these recipes are from my grandfather,” he said.
More than $1 million in property taxes owed on Midland Mall up for auction this month
More than $1 million in delinquent property taxes are owed on the Midland Mall, which is to be offered for sale in an online auction later this month.
Great Neck, New York-based Kohan Retail Investment Group owns the mall, and Midland Mall Realty Holdings LLC is listed as the owner on the tax roll for the property at 6800 Eastman Ave.
Midland County Treasurer Cathy Lunsford confirmed more than $1 million in delinquent property taxes are owed on the mall: $616,259.34 in 2021 property taxes if paid in April, and a base tax of $426,253.89 in 2022 property taxes; however, that number has not been finalized.
Lunsford confirmed that 1% in interest will be added each month if it remains unpaid, and a 4% administration fee will be added once it is officially turned over to the county treasurer’s office.
Bavarian Inn’s $80M waterpark expansion expected to create 71 jobs
An $80 million expansion underway at Frankenmuth’s iconic Bavarian Inn is expected to make the indoor waterpark and family entertainment center Michigan’s largest and create 71 jobs.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce funding approval for the expansion project at the Bavarian Inn Lodge with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $80 million and create 71 jobs, supported by a $750,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, according to a news release issued by Whitmer’s office this week.
“The expansion of the Bavarian Inn Lodge will bring a new waterpark, create good-paying jobs, and build on the vibrancy and amenities that already exist in downtown Frankenmuth,” Whitmer said in a statement.
20 Black-owned businesses have applied to CMURC’s ‘Lift ME,’ and there’s still time for more
About 20 Black-owned businesses in Saginaw County have already applied for Central Michigan University Research Corporation’s Lift ME, a new entrepreneurial program focused on accelerating Black-owned small businesses, and there’s still time to apply.
“We have about 20 applicants so far, and so we are excited to continue to gain those applicants and review them and see what we have,” CMURC President and CEO Erin Strang told MLive/The Saginaw News about a week after the application opened.
“We’ll go through kind of an extensive review process, and then we will select a number of entrepreneurs to move forward, and we will make that announcement on May 4 at the Saginaw Soup event.”
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