I like days that fill up with so many things to do I can’t stay home and clean house. A recent Saturday was like that and I only had to drive about 10 miles over to Manitou Beach at Devils Lake.
To those of us whose teen years in summer were spent at Manitou, the improvements and the people who are making them happen are appreciated.
Dave Gajua and Jose Malagon of Hollywood, Calif., are the developers in the new Manitou which they have named Manitou Village. The future plans include a bed and breakfast and an ice cream store, bakery, and coffee shop.
Mr. Gajua and Mr. Malagon began making regular visits to the area after a fire destroyed the Manitou Inn, owned by Marie Parker, Mr. Gajua’s sister. They were instrumental in building the new Manitou Bar and Grill that is in the same location as the old place, but it is larger and with a more extensive menu. Two handsome buildings that are a part of Mr. Gajua and Mr. Malagon’s proposed village layout are thriving boutiques.
Darlene Heller, who opened the Devils Lake View Living store in May, is proud to be involved in the new Manitou. “I am as excited about the development as I am about my business,” she said. “I just wanted to be a part of it.”
Brent Mercer, who with Monica Clark owns the Buoy, is equally excited about Manitou Village.
Both stores feature nautical gifts for the southeast Michigan lake residents, but as the seasons change so will the merchandise. Each store is also an impressive showcase of the owners’ buying expertise and ability to display merchandise artistically.
Devils Lake View Living is easily identified by the towering lighthouse that centers the building. It becomes even more authentic at night when it is lighted even though it is land locked.
Ms. Heller credits her several years of travel with Atlas Travel in Ottawa Hills for her interest in opening the store. Recently she was responsible for the Ships Store at Devils Lake Yacht Club. “I was always drawn to beautiful boutiques when I traveled for business, “ she said.
A line of Spartini handbags and accessories that are designed in leather and linen has been well accepted. Ms. Heller enjoys selecting gifts for undecided men to give to their wives and prides herself on knowing many lake residents and their tastes.
The Buoy sits in two former storefronts that were remodeled by Mr. Gajua and Mr. Malagon into a handsome building. Shoppers seem to enjoy milling around the 1,700 square-foot-store that is stocked with a wide variety of merchandise, from foxy sleeveless summer dresses and cover-ups to kitchenware. Original Solo cups, which means they are ceramic and not plastic, are selling big time.
T-shirts carry Devils and Round Lake logos and when the temperatures drop sweatshirts also will be available. Ms. Clark and Mr. Mercer, who are both accountants in Adrian, plan to recognize the coming seasons with appropriate fall and Christmas merchandise. A December closing and May reopening are planned.
Two more stops in the day spent at Manitou Beach included a visit with Dr. Pat Muldary from Adrian at the Devils Lake Yacht Club. Dr. Muldary is chairman again of the club’s Aug. 17 auction. Under her three-year chairmanship, the auction raised almost $100,000. She credits committee teamwork and the antics of the auctioneers for the success. The auctioneers are Lenawee County District Judge Laura Schaedler and Lenawee County Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe, who wear judge-like long pink robes for the occasion.
Manitou residents are welcoming Scott Snyder into the neighborhood. Mr. Snyder is the new owner of Jerry’s Pavilion Market, formerly Tibbs Brothers Pavilion Market.
His other markets are Jerry’s Express and Jerry’s Market in Tecumseh. Why “pavilion” in the name? Once upon a time it was the Devils Lake Dance Pavilion. A portion of the slick dance floor has been preserved. Thanks for the memory, Mr. Snyder but what about the crystal ball that hung from the ceiling?