Monday, 26 August 2019 11:48

West Michigan Biz Beat: A Roundup of Openings, Closings and other Local Business News, September 2019

Written by  Josh Veal
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The lakeshore is hardly dry, but it could always some more liquids. First off, Long Road Distillers has expanded to Grand Haven with a third location that was once Pavilion Wharf Deli & Grill. Located at 18 Washington Ave., the building is meant to feel light and bright, featuring beloved cocktails, spirits and food that Long Road has become known for.

Further south, New Holland Spirits brought its own drinks to Saugatuck with a spirits tasting room focusing on cocktails and light snacks. Don’t expect to fill up on beer and a full meal here — the smaller new spot at 201 Culver St. is meant for happy hour cocktails and an after-dinner nightcap. This just might be the future of drinking.

While we’re at it, we might as well go even further south down the lakeshore. Chill Hill Winery opened in Baroda, featuring grapes from Southwest Michigan’s very own from Arrowhead Vineyards. Head to 8992 First St. to try more than 10 award-winning wines and ciders, from Cranberry Blanc to Countryside White and even ice wine. 

While there’s no storefront, keep an eye out for Motu Viget Spirits, the latest venture from Grand Rapids-based entrepreneurs Jonathan Jelks, Jamiel Robinson and Willie Jackson. The company is working with St. Julian Wine Co. to produce specially branded champagne, wine and spirits that are affordable, accessible and high-quality. The name comes from Grand Rapids’ motto, a Latin phrase meaning “strength in activity.”

On the drier side, Michigan medical marijuana dispensary Skymint has arrived in Newaygo. Times are clearly changing because it’s right on the main drag at 8474 S. Mason Dr. Skymint boasts of a friendly, knowledgeable staff, an advanced facility and quality, organically grown products. If you’ve got your medical card, it’s time to head north, if you know what I mean.


After 115 years, Russo’s International Market has come to an end. The specialty grocery store will surely be missed, being a staple of the community in Grand Rapids at 2770 29th St. SE. Brothers Phil and Dave Russo wrote in a Facebook post that they decided to close the business, retire and relax. Fair enough! Interestingly, Russo’s liquor licenses were transferred to a company called Mega-Bev, an operator of specialty adult beverage stores. We’ll be keeping an eye out. 

Boatyard Brewing Co. also decided to close up shop out in Kalamazoo. The owners cited economic reasons and said that the decision to end Boatyard’s run came with “heavy hearts,” and they thanked the community for welcoming and supporting them. 

Finally, barbecue joint Kelvin & Co. closed after just five months of business. Owner Mark Nieuwenhuis said the decision was extremely frustrating but necessary due to a “persistent roof leak” and other structural issues that weren’t being addressed by the building’s owner. The restaurant in Grand Rapids’ Eastown served smoked meats, sandwiches and salads.

—Compiled by Josh Veal

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