A Groundbreaking Vision

On a hot and hazy Thursday afternoon in August, a small crowd spilled from a white event tent on a construction site in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A dozen shovels jutted from the brown dirt nearby, symbols of the groundbreaking on 180 East Water Street, a $70 million, 290,000-square-foot mixed-use development. Patti Owens, vice president and managing director for Catalyst Development Co., the project’s lead developer, stepped to the podium.

AROUND THE REGION: We’ve got spirit, yes we do

For Andrew and Kathleen Widner, opening a small business in Kalamazoo seemed like the next step in their lives.

“We were seeing Downtown Kalamazoo growing and were really inspired by that,” says Kathleen Widner. “We started thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to be a part of positive things happening there?’”

With backgrounds in finance and marketing and public relations, respectively, the long-time residents of Kalamazoo possessed the groundwork to be successful business owners. For additional guidance, they connected with the Small Business Development Center at Western Michigan University and Downtown Kalamazoo Inc.’s retail incubator program.

AROUND THE REGION: How does the Giving Garden grow?

Summer evenings are a time when many of us enjoy sitting down to fresh, locally-grown vegetables for dinner, whether it’s a ripe red tomato on a juicy cheeseburger or slices of zucchini served with barbeque chicken. But, for many Southwest Michigan residents, a regular supply of fresh vegetables isn’t so easy to come by.

Brenda Kolkman and Linda Clarey, two of eight coordinators of the Giving Garden in Kalamazoo, see these needs as inspiration for the hard work they put in from March through October on property generously provided by Humphrey Products and Kendall Electric in Kalamazoo, located at the corner of East N Avenue and Sprinkle Road.

AROUND THE REGION: That moment when you find the perfect dress!

Perhaps nothing is more personal—or more of a rite of passage—than choosing a prom or a wedding dress. To many prom-goers, as with prospective brides, the process is one fraught with anticipation, expectations, and emotions.

Memories Bridal & Evening Wear aims to make the experience a joyful—and painless—one.

“Styles have changed quite a bit over the years, but what we do has stayed fairly consistent,” says Adrienne Wissner, owner of the bridal and evening wear shop on Michigan Avenue in downtown Kalamazoo. “We want our clients to have an amazing experience.”

More Than an Apple a Day

Not much says “Michigan” better than a crisp apple in the fall or, increasingly, a craft brew. Fortunately for the region, the Schultz family has found a way to provide both and a whole lot more.

Schultz Fruitridge Farms is owned by a third-generation farm family out of Mattawan. The grandparents of the current co-owner, Bill Schultz, started the farm back in 1951. Today, the family grows a variety of crops—from asparagus and cherries to sweet corn, peaches, grapes, and apples. The farm even has a small herd of bison, a few of which they slaughter for meat each year. “We are farmers by trade, and it’s our heritage,” said Bill. “We work the farm every single day of the week.”

Ride on! It all started with a Schwinn Typhoon…

Mike Wood
Founder of Team Active
22 Michigan Ave W
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Mike Wood, of Team Active located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan, first fell in love with bikes growing up in Jackson, Michigan. Even with the many increasingly sophisticated bicycles available to him today, the Schwinn Typhoon Mike got in 1969 still holds a special place in his heart. “It gave me the freedom to go places…to venture outside of my yard, outside of my block. I didn’t need a driver’s license to do it, and I could go places that my parents didn’t even know I went.” That feeling of freedom led him to pursue the dream of doing something he loves for a living.

What’s Cookin’ with John Korycki?

What does your role as Director for Culinary Education entail at Kalamazoo Valley Community College?

I’m responsible for developing the curriculum for a big idea, like a culinary school in Kalamazoo, become reality. There has been a lot of amazing groundwork and foundation building not only for the building, but for the coursework over the past six years. Besides designing the curriculum, I get to teach a few classes, like Food Industry Career Planning.

For me, it’s kind of like turning back the clock 11 years ago when I was given the opportunity by Greenleaf Hospitality to be a part of something new, Zazios Restaurant. In both cases, they gave me the “hardware” and assigned me to build the “software.” Right now at Kalamazoo Valley Community college, the “hardware” is working, the “software” is developed and now I have to make sure it does what it is supposed to together.

Spring Asparagus Frittata with Morel Mushrooms

Appetizer, serves 6–8

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ pound fresh morel mushrooms, washed well, trimmed

½ pound asparagus, sliced diagonally into 1-½ inch slivers

6 large eggs, local/organic

6 tablespoons water

¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated to taste

Sea salt or coarse Kosher salt

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat large oven-safe (non-stick) sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and morels and sauté until fully cooked. Add the asparagus and sauté until it becomes tender, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt.

Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs in a bowl with the water, seasoning with salt. Add grated parmigiano, stirring to combine. Add the egg mixture into the sauté pan. Cook the eggs, gently stirring until eggs begin to set around the edges and bottom.

Place pan in oven and bake the frittata until eggs are cooked through and frittata is browned on top, about 4 to 6 minutes.

To serve, slide frittata onto serving plate, and cut into small wedges. Frittata may be served hot, warm, or cool at room temperature. Serve with an additional drizzle of olive oil or a grating of parmigiano cheese.


Liquid Art: Angie Jackson

The professional term is Master Culinary Mixologist. I like to say I’m preaching and teaching the gospel of fine-crafted cocktails, using seasonally fresh, locally sourced items. The less pretentious term I also like to use is “Traveling Elixir Fixer.”

The Catalyst Elixir

Just like any typical catalyst increases the rate of a chemical reaction, the Catalyst Elixir offers an interesting twist on a cocktail as it allows a base mixture to adapt to component mixes to change with seasons or occasions. After creating the base, it may be mixed with ginger ale, club soda or other clear sodas with a few seasonal berries (blueberry is sensational in this drink!) for a spring or summer highball, sparkling white wine for a twist on a brunch mimosa or celebratory occasions.