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Businesses Prepare for Memorial Day Kickoff of Tourism Season

Nick Westendorp

It’s quiet, or at least quieter than it will be for most of the summer. Memorial day marks the beginning of tourism season, a boom for Traverse City and many lakeside towns in Michigan. For many Traverse City businesses, summer is their biggest time, and they’re preparing.

Jillian Manning is the public relations manager at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, she said that to accommodate they are nearly doubling their staff, “we kind of swell in ranks from being about a 400 person property to up to 800 people.”

Other businesses also said that they were growing their staff for the summer months. Kyle Belton, general manager at Pangea Pizza said “we are hiring a lot of people, typically we only have about 20 people on staff in the offseason, we are probably gonna be going up to 70 to 80.”

Businesses were also getting ready with different products and updated stock to offer customers.

At Tea and Spice Merchants, assistant manager Kat Williams said some of their products would be more geared to the season, “we have more products, we might carry more summer staples like hot sauces and barbecues.”

Allie Kessel, from Good Harbor Coffee and Bakery said they’re also changing up their products a bit, “we’re getting all of our cold drinks ready, like our cold brew coffees, our cold brew teas.”

M22, a clothing store and lifestyle brand is taking a slightly different approach, turning part of their store into a spot to kick off a day trip. Nick “Mox” Madrick is the COO of M22, he said “What we’ve really focused on for the kind of push of tourism season is our microadventure section within our store, what we’ve done is we’ve put this section on display and basically it highlights 30 different day trips or activities in and around this area.”

The Grand Traverse Resort is also preparing for activities. Jillian Manning said, “Everybody’s out of school, and they’re here to have a lot of fun, whereas most of the year we’re more of a conference destination, so it’s definitely putting together those family friendly activities and especially at the beach club making sure the kids  have tons of fun stuff to do.”

For others this time of year can be a time to expand. Kyle Belton said that Pangea was introducing a new rooftop seating area, “We have expanded our restaurant to double our seating, we’ll have a rooftop deck and bar.”

While for the most part businesses don’t know what challenges they will face over the coming tourism season they’re all expecting another busy year.