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A community-built for entrepreneurs and Michigan business…
With Marquette’s growing popularity and economic growth throughout the state, it’s no surprise that there’ve been quite a few Michiganders scrambling to relocate to the upper half. Recently, however, we’ve been picking up on some exciting chatter about some particularly passionate entrepreneurs wanting to bring not just themselves, but also their business to a new home here in Marquette. Below, you’ll find a short but growing list of these very such organizations, all deep into the exciting process of opening secondary locations for their Michigan business right here in town.
We had an opportunity to chat with a number of the inspiring minds behind these different now local businesses and we’re just as pleased as you’ll be to discover that their plans for the Marquette area are, across the board, already ingrained with the immovable standards, qualities and excitement for our region that will forever strengthen us.
But don’t just take our word for it – keep reading to learn more about these business owners and the organizations they’ve brought along with them.
Meet Steven Donley & Eco Smart Home Pros
“I would love to be able to come back to Marquette…[I] love the beauty and nature of it all”, Steven Donley had to say about his personal connection to Eco Smart Home Pros’ coming investment in the Marquette area. Chief Operations Officer of the Muskegon-based family business, Mr. Donley’s an NMU alumni himself, having completed his MBA in Business Management in 2018. The business structure itself specializes in outfitting buildings, offices & homes with sustainable, automated eco-smart technology. “We’re reducing the carbon footprint,” Steven said about the business, “[we’re] focused on smart technology that makes life simpler, safer, and more sustainable”.
A ripe candidate for a successful Northern Michigan business by those metrics alone, we made sure to ask about why the company is choosing Marquette above all others, to which Mr. Donley earnestly responded with “we’re right at the tipping point for an expansion…we just signed a multi-year, big project. We’re gonna need more people, [we started] looking at an expansion. I was looking at Florida – there’s a lot of money and clients there, [we] looked at that, but it was a long ways away, too expensive for travel.” Wanting to keep things closer to home, they started asking themselves what expanding business structure within Michigan would look like. So, remembering his love for the Marquette area while he was a student here, Steven started looking towards Marquette as a viable option for their business “for the heck of it”. “[I] happened across the Make it Marquette article, looked into Innovate Marquette Smartzone & Invent@NMU…[they] offer a lot of services, tech and sustainability…and that’s exactly what we do…lots of potential…I also started looking at the Lake Superior Community Partnership and realized they’re looking for IT remote workers in the UP and businesses looking to expand”.
Potential for general partnership, experience navigating Michigan taxes, local business structure and available support all played a role in weighing options. Having finally made their decision to stay in Michigan and pursue Marquette, and with opportunity seemingly around every street corner for the business, Steven made sure to discuss how the community will surely benefit from their expansion: “Marquette has a huge potential for us as a company, but also for us to be able to help Marquette…product costs have gone down drastically…Marquette has a lot of old homes & technology, so we’d be able to offer solutions to that”. When we asked about when we would start seeing Eco Smart Home Pros around town, Steven joked about their two employees already working remotely in the area by saying “we’re kind of already here”. Eager to help celebrate their official move into Marquette over the coming weeks, we’ll keep you posted on their coming physical location, and encourage you to preemptively check out their official list of exciting tech services on their website.
Meet Brianna Wynsma & Trenary Home Bakery
Originally established in 1928 by the Syrjanen Family in central U.P., Trenary Home Bakery isn’t just a business entity but a prized Michigan bakery & cafe that’s come under new ownership in 2019. We chatted with Brianna Wynsma, one of the new co-owners of the small business and bakery, to see what inspired their decision to purchase the bakery, as well as open a new location in Marquette. Speaking first on what’s closest to heart for them and their team, Brianna had this to say: “our top priority from the start has been to preserve the history and tradition of Trenary Toast…it’s a treat that many people grew up eating around the table with family, and it has a special place in the heart of many Yoopers because of the fond memories that were created while dunking and crunching with relatives…throughout the 93-year history of the bakery, little has changed in terms of the recipes and techniques we use to produce our products. There is certainly a less is more philosophy that is inherent in the original recipes the Syrjanen Family created, and we still honor that today”.
“My husband and I are NMU Alumni and have lived in Marquette off and on since 2013”, Brianna said about their shared connection with Marquette. After graduating, “[we] badly wanted to stay and start our careers in Marquette. Sadly, this did not quite pan out as we’d like and we moved to Chicago and worked for start-up companies…after 3 years of living in the city we more than ever had our hearts set on a return to Marquette and we felt we were up to the challenge of owning a business. We met the previous owner of the bakery who was quietly exploring the option of selling, and we jumped on it!”
Unendingly respectful of its history, not unlike many of the local businesses we already know and love in the area, Trenary Home Bakery promises to be yet another exciting addition to the local community, as well as a wholesome venue for visitors & travelers to taste a piece of Yooper culture & history. “The Marquette Cafe will give customers an opportunity to learn about the history of the bakery…we’re really focusing on the Finnish heritage of the bakery, and many of our menu items will be inspired by Scandinavian culture. We are bringing old bakery equipment, photos, and tools to display on the walls and even commissioned a local artist to paint a mural paying homage to the bakery’s hometown”. On your next stop through downtown Marquette, be sure to stop by the corner of Washington & 3rd Street to snag one of their delicious Cinnamon Rolls, as well as a number of their classic toasts & treats, to share with your family & friends.
Meet Adela Piper & Siren Strategy Co.
Starting as a public relations firm roughly 10 years ago, Siren Strategy Co. has since evolved into a powerhouse strategic communications firm. Serving nonprofit organizations, ecosystems, private firms, as well as students, parents & leaders in education, this entirely woman-owned & operated business is led by co-owners Lindsey Walenga & Adela Piper. Piper, who’s also CMO for the company, happily agreed to chat with us for a few minutes on exactly why Marquette is the best place for the next phase of their business. Originally founding the company near Detroit in Royal Oak, Michigan, in 2012 after separately walking away from steady work within nonprofit organizations, best friends Lindsey & Adela would discover an even greater sense of camaraderie through their shared, unobstructed vision for a business. “Nearly everyone advised us against it”, their founders page on their website suggests, “they called us crazy…but we did it anyway because comfort does not foster growth”.
Incapable of ignoring any challenges that came their way, the friends embody a fierce, yet nourishing approach to their continued work within the industry. Effortlessly breaking into the market, Siren saw an incredible 51% average business growth per year over the first 5 years since founding the company, during which time Lindsey & Adela also became mothers. With 4 children between the two friends, and a dedicated team backing them, Siren is taking everything they’ve learned over the last decade of life & business and bringing that directly to the Marquette area. “We both have an affinity for Marquette”, Adela had to say, “We started working in Marquette through clients 3 years ago, [but we’ve] enjoyed it for many years prior to that”.
Maximizing the company’s expansion into the area, Adela herself has just relocated to Marquette along with her family just a few weeks ago. Taking a break from unpacking boxes to find time for our chat, Adela made sure to express her excitement for Siren’s move, saying that they’re looking forward to coming opportunities in the economic development sector in particular. “It makes good business sense for Siren…we’re going to have lots of team meetings [here]…but don’t be a stranger, [we’re] looking forward to meeting people and getting to know the community. Say hi!”. With “transparency” and “authentic connection” being absolutely central to their business’ approach “from day one”, we here at Make it Marquette encourage you to get to know Siren Strategy Co., and more importantly, see what kind of lasting impacts they’ve had on their communities over the years. You can find out more about what Siren has in store for the Marquette region by reading up on their website.
Thinking of moving your company to Marquette, Michigan?
Well, there you have it. A quick list of the impactful Michigan businesses and organizations coming soon to the Marquette area. We’re personally looking forward to seeing their shared impact in our region, partnership opportunities, and how they will shape & strengthen our already close-knit community over the coming years.
Starting a business in Michigan can be hard, expanding comes with its own set of hurdles. If you have a business idea, are an existing Michigan small business, or nonprofit organization in need of resources, consider reaching out to our partners at Innovate Marquette. Be that navigating Michigan taxes, business insurance, filing for a business license, finding small business grants or business loans, the support system for Marquette, Michigan businesses is unparalleled and growing. Whether you’re a limited liability corporation, sole proprietor, small business, nonprofit, or still going through the licensing and funding process their team with the help of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation ( MEDC ) and other Marquette area partners can help guide you in the right direction.
Keep a careful eye out for our upcoming People of Marquette features over the next few weeks, as we delve deeper into some of the minds behind the businesses looking to make a proper difference here in town. Also, check back in with this article periodically as we’ll be updating it with similarly exciting businesses Making it Marquette over the next year.