Saving the sweetest thing in one small town
Leelanau County, MICH. (WPBN/WGTU) - Sitting behind the counter at Chimoski’s Bakery in Suttons Bay, co-owner Tina Baker looks around, laughs, and explains "this is kind of the doughnut version of Cheers." As it turns out, every small town probably has at least one place where everyone knows your name. If you are lucky, at that same place, you can get a really great doughnut. Chimoski’s Bakery is one of those places.
A few weeks ago, the small town of Suttons Bay looked as if they were going to lose Chimoski’s. The owner of the building where Tina and her partner Vic Chimoski started their business 7 years ago decided to sell. Despite a desperate search for a new location, Tina admitted "there was no place to rent in town, and so I thought we were going to have to close for good."
She hung a sign on the door explaining to customers that it appeared the end of the line for the bakery that meant so much to her. Tina says "it's like losing someone this was my baby for a long, long time. I built this from scratch." Like the treats that filled the bakery case, Tina had built this business from scratch. It was more than just a business, or even a bakery for Tina. She explained "this has been my dream for many years, to have a grandma-type bakery, homemade goodies, a lot of my cookie recipes are my grandmothers or great grandmothers and that's what I wanted to do."
When the regular customers saw the sign on the door, their disappointment was replaced with offers to help to do anything they could to keep the doors open. Tina says "Nobody wanted to see me go which surprised me because I just thought it was a bakery."
But it turns out, bakeries are important places in small towns like this. They are about more than coffeecakes. They are about community. In the 11th hour, just when all seemed lost, this small town found a little space for the next chapter of Tina's dream. An empty retail space just up the road became available. The location, in the Bayview complex will not only allow the bakery to stay open, but also allow it expand what it offers thanks to a larger kitchen and even some seating for guests.
Tina says "we are excited to be moving, bigger and better."
Folks in Suttons Bay will have to go without doughnuts for a few weeks while Tina moves up the street. As for where their morning meet and greet will take place, well, that’s anyone guess. A loss of a place like Chimoski’s in a small town would have been a hard one to overcome. It will be a few weeks before the new location is up and running, so those craving doughnuts are probably looking forward to the grand reopening immensely. Of course, with that first bite, they will remember what they’ve been missing, but it’s the conversations and bonds formed over icing and sprinkles that maybe the sweetest reward.
If all goes as planned, Chimoski’s new location will open in the Bayview complex June 13th.