2018-01-18 / Front Page

People drive county business

By Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff

THE LEELANAU Honor Roll of Business is published in this edition, offering the year that county businesses began. THE LEELANAU Honor Roll of Business is published in this edition, offering the year that county businesses began. People make all the difference. For business owners in Leelanau County, people are the reason they continue to open their doors day after day. Market 22 owner Neal Kokowicz started serving pizza, sandwiches and more just over four years ago and definitely feels a love from Leelanau.

“The support of the community has grown exponentially. When we are open this time of year and see the community walk through the door, it’s a definite highlight of doing business in the county,” said Kokowicz.

Kokowicz and his wife, Melanie, are Leelanau County residents as well as business owners. “I was born and bred in the K-12 local school system. Being a local resident, I understand what the local needs are: consistent hours, consistent pricing and quality food,” he said.

John Arens has met some magnificent people in the years he and his brother have served as owners of Leelanau Coffee Roasting in Glen Arbor, and he believes that consistency has been a key factor in weathering ups and downs of owning a business. “We learned we had to not shut down or curtail hours. That affects things, and you have to keep regular hours for customers,” Arens said.

One of the newer business owners serves customers in a different way, but even she notes the friendly, caring atmosphere. Amber Noble is the owner of Leelanau Physical Therapy in Suttons Bay.

“I love having a clinic in Leelanau Couty. Many people who live here want an active and healthy lifestyle. It is a great community where people care and look out for each other. The biggest challenge is with the fluctuation in population between summer and winter months and trying to staff appropriately to meet everyone’s needs,” Noble said.

Vicky Oltersdorf of Oltersdorf Realty also appreciates the friendly people she meets. She also values the day-to-day natural beauty of the landscape. “It’s a wonderful place to live, and it’s a beautiful place to live. It’s a pleasure to wake up in the morning and see the bay,” Oltersdorf said.

She’s not along.

“Real estate is not as seasonal now because the demand is stronger. We are getting more people moving to the area and because the supply has been down, there are people who will buy this time of year that would have waited until summer,” she said.

While Oltersdorf’s business is not affected by the seasons, she is affected by a lack of available homes. “The lack of supply is a challenge, and there are not enough sub contractors and builders in the area to build new homes. That affects the supply. People want to build, and there are not enough folks to do the work,” Oltersdorf said.

Perhaps one of the longest running businesses in the county, Devette and Owner Tom Ingold of Devette and Ford Insurance in Glen Arbor appreciates the pace of many county residents. “The nice thing is that it’s a very laid back situation, not a high pressure situation that some places can be. It’s more down to earth than a lot of places,” he said.

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