Traverse City News and Events

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

By Beth Milligan | March 15, 2022

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

After 30 years at the corner of Union and State streets – and another 13 years before that on West Front Street – restaurant Cousin Jenny’s Cornish Pasties is moving to a new location one block east on State Street. Owner Jerilyn De Boer is planning to relocate the restaurant later this year to a space in the new Socks Construction development being built at 222 State Street next to Covell Funeral Home. De Boer says it’s been challenging to manage her existing dining room size given staff shortages affecting the region, but believes “the only place to be is downtown Traverse City” and realized during the pandemic she could remain successful in a smaller space.

"Enduring the effects of COVID with all of its changing rules and regulations left me with the knowledge that business can be very good with primarily takeout," De Boer says. Cousin Jenny’s experienced its best year in business in 2021, she says, with continued growth in to-go orders and Internet sales. Moving to a smaller space will allow Cousin Jenny’s to manage that growth and continue operating with a streamlined staff. “At this time, bigger is not better, but smaller will be,” De Boer says.

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

Also downtown, the building that houses Cali’s Wardrobe & Home at 242 East Front Street has been listed for sale for $1.5 million. The listing notes that Cali’s 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 metered separately or electric. A full basement is available for storage, and the lot – which includes three parking spaces – has room for “a multi-story addition,” according to the listing. Realtor Dan Stiebel says that “Cali's would love to stay and continue in the space” as part of a deal.

Finally, the owners of retail store West Bay Handmade have listed their business for sale at 326 East Front Street for $439,900. “Here is your opportunity to purchase a lovingly established and profitable business in the heart of downtown Traverse City,” the listing states. “West Bay Handmade and its exceptionally well curated collection of artisans and creators is ready for a new owner.” 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 operated in the space since 2019, when it relocated to the building after first opening next to The Coin Slot.

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