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19 Nov 2013

Shop Small Saturday!

Posted by kguenther. Comments Off

You may have heard about Small Business Saturday, which is the day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  On this day, customers are encouraged to shop their local small businesses.  According to the Small Business Saturday facebook page, for every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

Downtown businesses are the fabric that holds a community together.  Downtown retailers and restaurants are what strengthens the local communities, so please support your friends and neighbors in their businesses on this day and throughout the year.

By supporting local, independently-owned small businesses, you’re helping create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.  Last year, over 5.5 billion people shopped small on Small Business Saturday.  In 2011, over 100 million people shopped small.  It has grown by leaps and bounds and I’m sure there will be even more this year.  Downtown businesses can benefit greatly from a promotion like this.  It’s a great feeling to support your friends and neighbors who do so much for the community and by spending your dollars locally, you are keeping dollars in our community to the people who support our city, county, and school system.  Please remember to shop those businesses who continually support your local charities, benefits, and causes.

One of the biggest advantages of shopping locally is that you have the opportunity to build a relationship with the merchant.  The merchant knows you and more importantly knows your family and friends so they are aware of everyone’s likes and dislikes.  Local merchants are not out to make the big sale, they want to help you in your search to find the perfect gift.  Downtown Cheboygan is full of merchants who offer this kind of hometown customer service, which cannot be duplicated on the internet or in a big box store, and many offer gift wrapping service!

This promotion began in 2010 when American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help small businesses get more exposure during one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.  Now, in its fourth year, Small Business Saturday will be even bigger. American Express is offering free and easy-to-use tools to help small businesses get the most out of the day and tools for consumers to show their support. If you register your American Express card and spend at least $10 when you shop Small Business Saturday at participating businesses, you can receive $10 off your billing statement.

Even if you do not have an American Express card, please shop small on Saturday, November 30.

30 Apr 2013

Check out the Business Expo & Taste of the Straits!

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A great event is taking shape that will give you the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with local businesses. The Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce (CACC) is hosting a Business Expo and Taste of the Straits at the Cheboygan Ice Rink/Pavilion on Thursday, May 2 from 3:00-8:00 p.m. The cost to attend is $5 per person. Vendors will range from retail businesses to banks to restaurants to service businesses. It will be a who’s who of Cheboygan. If you are a business that would like to participate, contact the Chamber office at (231) 627-7183 to reserve your spot.

This is a great way to see what the local businesses have to offer. The atmosphere of the event will be fun and festive. Ten restaurants will be on display to provide samples of their special cuisine while businesses will bring displays of their products so you can really check out the goods.   Vendors are selling merchandise at the event, so if you see something you like, you will have the opportunity to buy it that day.

In years past, the Chamber has held a Home Show in the spring. Last year the Chamber altered the traditional show by creating the Business Expo and Taste of the Straits. Many of the same businesses that participated in the former Home Show were vendors at the revamped show. There was something for everyone and was a great way to see what Cheboygan area businesses have to offer.

A few new enhancements to this year’s event have been planned including a beer and wine bar, local chefs will provide cooking demonstrations, and participants will be able to sample a brew from local breweries in the “Northern Michigan Brewhaha” micro brew competition and the People’s Choice winner will be crowned victorious. As with any successful expo, 50/50 drawings, door prizes and giveaways will also be on hand.

For more information on this event, please contact the Chamber office – (231) 627-7183 or check out their website: www.cheboygan.com.

5 Feb 2013

2012 Year in Review…

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2012 was certainly a busy year for downtown Cheboygan!

• The entrance structure in Washington Park received two interchangeable message boards so passersby can be informed of local events. Two panels of historical pictures featuring Cheboygan were installed on the inside of the entrance structure and illustrates a glimpse of Cheboygan from long ago.

• The official Downtown Cheboygan facebook page grew to 1,719 “fans.”

• Ottawa Art Park was invaded by aliens in the spring. Local students designed 80 aliens which were installed in the spring and remained on display through the summer.

• Downtown Music Festival and Summer Street Fair were held on the final weekend in July to create an event-packed weekend in downtown. Over 2,000 people attended the two-day Music Festival and 1,000 people attended the Street Fair. Main Street was closed for two blocks to accommodate six bounce houses, and an arts and craft show. Music Festival performers included: Cheboygan Brewhouse Band, Jelly Roll Blues Band, Even Exchange, Billy Jewell and His Bad Habits, Centerville, and Brian Lorente and the Usual Suspects.

• Downtown merchants offered end-of-the-summer deals on merchandise during the three-day August Sidewalk Sales.

• Festival Square, an outdoor events pavilion, was constructed on the former F.W. Woolworth building site. This event venue includes a 10,000 square foot covered pavilion, one-way drives on each side of the pavilion, and concrete planters which serve as seating. Over 2,000 people attended the Grand Opening Celebration in September which featured: a color presentation by the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw Color Guard, a moving rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and patriotic montage by Danette Meny (daughter of City Manager, Dale Stuart), entertainment by the Cheboygan Brewhouse Band, walking taco bar by VitalCare hospice of the Straits, and cupcakes prepared by former Cheboygan resident and Food Network Cupcake Wars Champion Mamie Doyle. Kids had the chance to get their faces painted by the Creation Station and receive temporary tattoos from the Cheboygan County Parent Coalition – not to mention jump in the bounce house. It was a fabulous day of celebration for Downtown Cheboygan.

• The DDA funded the flower baskets on display in the downtown district. Seedums Garden Club coordinated flower baskets with cooperation from the City Parks & Recreation department in watering the flowers on a daily basis.

• Downtown businesses welcomed 1,000 trick-or-treaters during the Downtown Trick-or-Treating event held on Halloween. A group of flash mob dancers performed a choreographed number in front of Festival Square.

• Six 10-foot trees were placed in Festival Square and one 30-foot tree was placed in front of Festival Square on Main Street. All trees were lit with multi-colored lights. The six trees inside the pavilion were donated by community groups or organizations, with one tree designated at a community tree where anyone could hang ornaments. The Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Festival Square this year, lighting the large 30-foot tree prior to the Annual Parade of Lights.

• Downtown retailers held Hospitality Night in December. Stores provided refreshments, music and one-night only specials. A mystery elf wandered the streets and gave away over 200 gift certificates to downtown restaurants and retail stores.

• The first-ever New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop was held in Festival Square on December 31st. Over 500 people attended this inaugural event, watching the 1,500 pound, blue-lit anchor drop 80 feet, symbolizing that 2013 was here. This was a fantastic showing for a first event that is sure to bring more surprises next year!

11 Jan 2013

Opera House shows

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The Cheboygan Opera House will set the stage for two unique performances. Mike Fornes is performing this weekend with his Gordon Lightfoot Tribute on Friday, January 11 and Saturday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. The Russian National Ballet Theatre’s production of “Swan Lake” will take the stage on Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The Gordon Lightfoot Tribute is a performance which includes a 19-piece orchestra. The magic of Gordon Lightfoot’s classic hits of the past 50 years will be reprised by Mike Fornes and “Whispers of the North” five-piece Gordon Lightfoot tribute band, accompanied by a string ensemble with the bell choir from St. Mary’s/St Charles Catholic Church. Featuring the hit songs “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Carefree Highway”, “Rainy Day People”, and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The Canadian icon’s best will be showcased with a lush background of orchestral sounds. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12.50 for students through 12th grade and all seats are reserved.
On Thursday, ballet comes to Cheboygan. Tickets for “Swan Lake”are $38 for adults and $12.50 for students. Direct from Moscow, Russia, this company of 60 dancers will entertain the crowd with one of the best loved ballets of all time. The performance is under the direction of Elena Radchenko.

Last year, Cheboygan was treated to “Cinderella” by the Moscow Ballet and this year, we have the opportunity to see the Russian Nation Ballet Theatre perform “Swan Lake.” When I think of ballet, my mind immediately goes to “Swan Lake.” This is incredible that something of this magnificence is taking the stage in our Opera House!

I don’t know too much about ballet so I went straight to my source at the Opera House: Pam Westover, Executive Director for the Cheboygan Area Arts Council. According to Pam, Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” was composed in 1875 as a commission by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev, the intendant of the Russian Imperial Theatres in Moscow. Like “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake” was unsuccessful after its first year of performance. Conductors, dancers and audiences alike thought Tchaikovsky’s music was too complicated and hard to dance too. The production’s original choreography by German ballet master, Julius Reisinger, was uninspiring and unoriginal. Much is unknown about the original production of “Swan Lake” – no notes, techniques or instruction concerning the ballet was written down. Only little can be found in letters and memos. It wasn’t until after Tchaikovsky’s death that “Swan Lake” was revived. Much of the “Swan Lake” we know of today was a revision by the famous choreographers Petipa and Ivanov.
“Swan Lake” is known for its demanding technical skills all because of one extremely gifted ballerina, Pierina Legnani. She performed with such grace and discipline, the audience and everyone else who saw her claimed she set the bar. Every girl wanted to dance the part of Odette/Odile after she was compared to Legnani’s performance. Legnani performed 32 fouettes (a fast whipping turn on one foot) in a row – a move many ballerinas resent because of its extreme difficulty. However, “Swan Lake” remains a favorite for many girls because of its extreme difficulty; technically and emotionally. The prestige that comes with performing “Swan Lake” flawlessly is invaluable.
The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the transitional period of “Perestroika” in the late 1980s, when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union’s ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies dedicated not only to the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet but to invigorate this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in the dance from around the world.

The company, then titled the Soviet National Ballet, was founded by and incorporated graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.

To purchase tickets to either show, please contact the Cheboygan Opera House Box Office at (231) 627-5841 or www.theoperahouse.org.

24 Oct 2012

What does “Shop Local” mean?

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“Shop Local” is not a catch phrase conjured up to get more customers into stores. It’s a real way of thinking. It’s a thought process that means conducting ALL of your business locally. We must support all local organizations and businesses to ensure that we can keep Cheboygan a viable place to live and work. Pledge to Think, Shop, Buy Local. Businesses employ your neighbors, pay taxes that support your schools and improve your roads and contribute to local non-profit groups. Together we can strengthen relationships that improve our quality of life, so next time before you make a purchase or have a service performed… Think, Shop, Buy Local.