Elf Cafe, a new family-friendly cafe and play place slated to open in May 2014, has found a tentative location in downtown Traverse City on Randolph Street. A backer made an offer on the former lot of Hampel's Locksmith and Gun Shop (as well as two adjoining lots next door), and - pending inspections - plans to close on the property next month, facilitate construction and lease the premises to owners Ellen Fred and Melissa Whitman.
"We believe Slabtown will be the perfect location given its close proximity to downtown and public beaches and the many young families in the neighborhood," says Whitman, who notes the parcel's size will allow not only for planned outdoor play structures and seating areas but gardens to support the cafe's kitchen and space to hold children's classes.
Elf Cafe is partnering with local architect Michael Fitzhugh and builder Paul Maurer on the project, which is expected to utilize green technology to incorporate energy-efficient systems and eco-friendly materials throughout the facility. Because of the lot's size, Fred said the owners may build other structures for compatible businesses or potential residential use on-site.
"There is a lot of space to go around," she says. "We think it's going to be a great addition to the neighborhood."