By Megan A. Wilson, Contributing Writer
Some Boyne City folks are hoping to add another member to the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Grain Train of Petoskey is looking into the possibility of putting a satellite campus into the old North Country Cycle Sport building, located at 104 South Park St.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we have a commitment to remain in the downtown areas,” said Bob Struthers, manager of the Petoskey Grain Train health food store. “We have done so in Petoskey, and the space is there in Boyne City as well.”
The proposal has been on the table for some time but has recently been of more importance due to the increased interest of Boyne’s citizens and the sudden availability of the vacant building which seems to be in good location.
Right now Grain Train officials are working with some in Boyne to gauge interest in opening a new location.
“We are considering the possibility of a Grain Train. No definitive decision has been made,” said Struthers. “We certainly see Boyne City as a great town but we’re not sure about it at this point.”
Matters of health have been on some minds even more as of late. Charlevoix County was recently ranked the eighth healthiest county in Michigan according to a study done as part of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program.
The Grain Train, 220 Mitchell St., Petoskey, is a co-op in which people have the opportunity to become owners for a one time fee of $210, which may be broken down into an initial payment of $35, and then $25 payments every six months until the total fee is paid off.
Owners may take advantage of member benefits immediately, regardless of whether or not they have paid off their memberships in full.
“The Grain Train is such a wonderful store, the products it sells would really be an asset to this community,” said Leslie Nielson, of Inspired Living of Boyne City.
Boyne City citizens who are interested in seeing a Grain Train come to Boyne City are encouraged to go to Inspired Living and sign a petition. This does not commit them to becoming owners; it merely suggests that they would express interest at shopping at the Grain Train.
“I think that this would be just one more good thing to come to our downtown, to have a popular retail store,” said Jim Baumann, Executive Director of the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I think that the demographics in Boyne City will really make things fit.”
Baumann added, “I believe that the people who support our farmer’s market will support the grain train, too.”
Rebecca Harris, Director of the Boyne City Farmer’s Market, said she is hopeful the business will become a reality in Boyne.
“A number of our vendors already participate in the Grain Train in Petoskey,” she said. “So, it would be nice if this could happen here in Boyne City.”
To sign the on-line petition, go to http://www.change.org/petitions/grain-train-natural-foods-market-open-a-new-store-in-boyne-city