Manistique Welcome Center celebrated

MANISTIQUE — Schoolcraft Tourism and Commerce (STC) has a permanent home in the old Chamber building on U.S. 2. The transfer of the property to the non-profit organization is complete and was be celebrated in a donation ceremony today on the steps of the newly named Welcome Center.

STC is the combined entity under which chamber of commerce and economic development functions for all of Schoolcraft County are executed. Memberships will include one set of dues for these two former separate organizations, as well as the Manistique Merchants’ Association.

“Streamlining these former three groups into one gives us a single stronger organization and eliminates a lot of overlap in activities,” said Board Chair Jennifer Watson of Limestone Federal Credit Union. “Acquiring the building gives us a base of operations from which the community and our area visitors can interact with us, and allows us to better serve as a central point for all tourism and commerce based activities.”  

 mBank President and CEO Kelly W. George commented regarding its donation of the building, “As has been planned for months, mBank is very happy to now be able to make this building donation to the Schoolcraft Tourism and Commerce organization to assist with its organization and path forward as it embarks on a new mission and vision to help expand our economic base and tourism activities throughout the County, providing benefits to all constituents.  Its strong leadership is diverse and highly committed to shaping a new positive direction for overall County commerce growth and they are moving forward with many initiatives.  We look forward to continue to support STC in various ways into the future as part of mBank’s culture and ongoing community commitment and involvement in the Manistique area.”

“This building and location have been serving our community for over 30 years, and we are so pleased to have the opportunity to use and enhance this property as part of our overall economic development strategy,” said Alan Barr. “Schoolcraft Tourism and Commerce is extremely grateful for mBank’s donation and support in advancing our mission.”  

The Welcome Center is the new name for the building. Plans are underway to update signage, create a pocket park, and a dog run for travelers’ pets.

Volunteers have been operating the center since mid-May seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“There has been an enormous outpouring of support for the work we are doing here,” said Barr. “None of this would be happening without our outstanding group of over 50 volunteers. This is a new venture for most of us, and our volunteers have already made a mark for themselves and Schoolcraft County as being both helpful and friendly. In fact, I am getting feedback that area visitors are touting their experiences with volunteers when they stop into other visitor centers in our region. We could not be doing what we’re doing without our volunteers, period. And, there are a variety of volunteer activities for which we can always use more folks to help out. Just stop by the Center anytime for more information on volunteering.” 

An open house is being planned for the near future.