Downtown Real Estate Removals: Cousin Jenny’s, Cali’s, West Bay Handmade

By Beth Milligan | March 15, 2022

In addition to the significant changes to Front Street with the takeover of the Arcade building by Cherry Republic, several other real estate moves are underway in downtown Traverse City.

After 30 years on the corner of Union and State Streets – and another 13 years previously on West Front Street – Cousin Jenny’s Cornish Pasties restaurant is moving to a new location one block east of State Street. Owner Jerilyn De Boer plans to move the restaurant later this year to space in the new Socks Construction development being built at 222 State Street next to Covell Funeral Home. De Boer says it’s been difficult to manage the size of his existing dining hall given the staffing shortages affecting the area, but thinks “the only place to be is downtown Traverse City” and realized during the pandemic that she could continue to succeed in a smaller space.

“Enduring the effects of COVID with all of its changing rules and regulations has let me know that business can be very good with mostly takeout,” says De Boer. Cousin Jenny had her best business year in 2021, she says, with continued growth in takeout orders and internet sales. Moving to a smaller space will allow Cousin Jenny to manage this growth and continue to operate with a streamlined staff. “Bigger isn’t better right now, but smaller will be,” says De Boer.

When completed – exact timing of the move will depend on completion of construction – the new Cousin Jenny space will offer its current full menu with an emphasis on take-out and limited seating. In the meantime, Cousin Jenny’s will remain open in its current space while the building owner searches for a new tenant. The prime location – across from what will eventually be the city’s new civic square – is listed for $5,860 per month and includes 1,680 square feet of ground floor retail and production space, an additional 1,440 square feet of basement production/warehousing space, and two parking spaces.

Also downtown is the building that houses Cali’s wardrobe and home at 242 East Front Street went on sale for $1.5 million. The listing notes that Cali currently has retail on both floors, “but the second floor has its own entrance and could be converted to a different use such as Airbnb, condo or office.” Each floor has a full bath with shower and is separately metered or electric. A full basement is available for storage, and the lot — which includes three parking spaces — can accommodate “a multi-story addition,” according to the listing. Realtor Dan Stiebel says “Cali would like to stay and continue in the space” as part of a deal.

Finally, the owners of the West Bay Handmade retail store put their business up for sale at 326 East Front Street for $439,900. “Here is your opportunity to purchase a lovingly established, profitable business in the heart of downtown Traverse City,” the listing reads. “West Bay Handmade and its exceptionally curated collection of artisans and designers is ready for new ownership.” The listing adds that potential buyers can take “the thriving business and move it elsewhere or renew the lease with the awesome landlord and continue to grow where you are planted.” West Bay Handmade has been operating in the space since 2019, when it moved into the building after it first opened next to The Coin Slot.


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