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      Bikes mean big business in Suttons Bay

      The Traverse Area Recreational Trails have been a staple for outdoor recreation in the Grand Traverse Region for years.

      Business has been booming in the Village of Suttons Bay since last July's paved addition of the Leelanau Trails as part of the TART Trails.

      Suttons Bay Chamber President and business owner, Karen Pontius, says that it's still too early to tell exact numbers for increased business, but that visually, they can't deny what they see.

      "We've seen a lot of bicycles using the trail and using the restaurants as well as the wineries," said Pontius.

      "We have seen a huge increase in the biking community here," said V.I. Grill server, Laura Ciccone.

      Suttons Bay Bikes opened it's doors in June of 2012 when owner, Nick Wierzba realized how badly Suttons Bay needed a bicycle shop. They are doing their part to welcome the cyclists in.

      "I listened to the local business owners and there was a little bit of grumbling," said Wierzba. "No place to park bikes and so to help encourage that, we're giving away bicycle racks to all of the area businesses here that would like one so that people stay and shop in our town."

      Wierzba says that half of his business comes from those who venture in off of the trails.

      "We're a destination along their way," said Wierzba. "They may stop in here and shop and then make their way to other area businesses and have lunch."

      Lunch at places like the V.I. Grill. One of the many dining hot spots that has seen an increase in business from the trail riders.

      But Suttons Bay officials say that the best is hopefully yet to come.

      "I think overall what we're going to see is even though it's benefiting the restaurants and some of the other community businesses in town, I think it's the visual," said Pontius. "Getting the people the visibility of who we are, where we're at, and what we have to offer an that we are an all year round community. And then they'll bring their families back up."