Muskegon to add more mini-shops in 2018

Western Ave. market in Muskegon.
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The city of Muskegon will spend around $30,000 dollars to add five more mini-retail shops to the Western Avenue in 2018.

City Commissioners approved the market expansion plan this week.

Friday, even as the wind blew and snow fell several of the mini-shops were open for business.

Including Dan Castle's Morat's Bakery chalet. Castle's famous English muffin bread ships all over the country.

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"The postage is more than the bread," Castle said.

Morat's bakery operation is based in New Era. He got into the last of the city's mini-retail locations back in May. 

"We were able to slip in off the waiting list," Castle said.

And now as the season comes to a close Castle says it was a good move.

"It's a great way to test your product and do market testing without having to make a huge investment and it went extremely well for us," he said.

Muskegon City Clerk Ann Meisch says city commissioners are thrilled with the mini-retail program.

"I have a long waiting list right now and that's without even advertising," said Meisch."It has been very popular."

The shops rent for around $2,000 per-season.

City leaders hoped the shops would be a springboard to a permanent location for small business owners. 

"We are looking for businesses that have an interest in staying long-term and that we can find them other locations," said Meisch.

That's what Castle is doing. Soon he'll move his bakery operation from New Era into a space on Terrace Street in downtown Muskegon. The full-service location should be open early in 2018.

"We are even opening up a drive thru window so you can get coffee and doughnuts," he said.

The five new shops should be in place when the retail market opens the 2018 season on Memorial Day weekend.

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