July 29, 2015
This Week on The Street (A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations.)
By Harold V. Shumacher
America Through the Windshield
If you haven’t done so, or it’s been a while, take a long car trip soon. We’re not talking driving to the Florida Panhandle or the Georgia or Carolina coast but somewhere far, 400 miles away, or more, to a different region, or time zone.
When you do, you’ll be reminded of the immense size of the country, how densely populated city centers are, where 80 % of the population now resides, and how far we’ve come from our agrarian roots in a little more than a century. You’ll also be reminded of the blandness of the interstate landscape, where, with few exceptions , the view seems the same and the amenities interchangeable.
Some observations from a recent sojourn to my roots-the industrial Midwest.
Smitten With the Mitten
Maybe its a Michigan thing; but if you grew up there, like I did, or visit frequently, like many do, you’re never geographically challenged. How’s that you might ask. Hold up your left hand, that’s roughly the shape of the lower peninsula. If you want a true geographic depiction, take your right hand, rest the heel on the top of your fingers and that’s the upper peninsula, but that may be more geography than you care to know.
Using your left hand, the Michigan Mitten, most Michiganders can show you precisely where they grew up or lived, ( I’m from the wrinkle on your pinky finger,) where they go “up north” to vacation, where the major cities are etc.
In addition to becoming a marketing tool, the mitten is emblazoned on all sorts of souvenirs and tchatkes, it comes in particularly handy when describing favorite vacation haunts.
Northern Michigan, the Riviera of the Midwest as I now think of it, begins at the top of your pinky and goes to the top of your index finger. Along that 100 mile stretch of Lake Michigan coast are numerous resort towns, like Charlevoix, Petoskey, Traverse City and Harbor Springs, their harbors and marinas filled with large boats, the beaches crowded with blonde, tow- headed children and the golf courses crowded with duffers committed to enjoying the 90 day summer season to its fullest.
Along these town’s streets you’ll find clapboard houses, with large front porches and handsomely landscaped yards and gardens, evoking scenes from parts of New England and taken from a Norman Rockwell painting. Along the two lane roads snaking between stops, and following the lake’s contours, are numerous smaller lakes, campgrounds, and roadside markets.
If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes
I never imagined that Id be sitting in front of a roaring campfire, covered with a blanket in early July but that’s Michigan weather for you. Growing up, we were always told if you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes and it will change. Maybe I don’t remember but the cool seems cooler, summer highs rarely reach 80, and when they do the hot weather doesn’t last long. Watching the hearty souls splashing in what seems like frigid arctic waters makes me wonder how we survived as kids but maybe we didn’t know the difference and summer was summer so get out of the house and into the water
Eggheads and Egg Creams
Ann Arbor Michigan is one of America’s great college towns, a category in which I’d also likely include Madison Wisconsin, Chapel Hill N.C., Austin Texas and Charlottesville, Va.
The streets and university here are intertwined, a true meeting of town and gown so students and student oriented businesses tend to be all over the city, helping to maintain a youthful vigor. Now, A 2, as many hyphenate it, has the mandatory farmer’s market, local breweries, artisan food shops and gourmet markets and interesting boutiques. It also has Zingerman’s, perhaps one of the best Deli, food markets, restaurant empires in the country.
Started by two college kids in the early 1970’s, who decided they could make a better corned beef sandwich than what was currently available, the old house turned deli has morphed into a culinary empire, including the original location, now a sprawling labyrinth including the deli,a retail store, a courtyard for seating, an adjacent coffee and dessert bar plus remote locations for a bakery, the roadhouse restaurant , a warehouse for the bourgeoning mail order business and various sized catering facilities around the city. If you need a reason to visit this could be it.
Deciding to visit nearby Detroit is another matter. It’s no secret that Detroit, that once proud symbol of American manufacturing might, has fallen on hard times. The poster child for urban decay, the city has seen it’s core population fall by more than half, blocks and blocks of homes and businesses have fallen into decay and on-going news stories about failed city government, inept school boards and general malaise seemed to abound. Things will likely never get back to the good old days, when the city was among the top 10 in the country for population, had one of the highest percentage of home ownership and a basically booming economy. Detroit is on the comeback trail, with a bourgeoning creative class, perhaps best symbolized by trendy watchmaker Shinola which now, ironically, calls the original GM building it’s headquarters but there’s still a long ways to go.
Mackinac; ends with a C sounds like a W
Straddling the straits of Lower and Upper Michigan, and at the meeting point of Lakes Michigan and Huron, sits Mackinac Island, one of the best known resorts in the Midwest and perhaps in the country. Originally founded by the French in the 1700’s, becoming a British stronghold at the time of the revolutionary war and then a part of the state of Michigan at its founding in 1837, Mackinac has always been a popular tourist destination. The four square mile island has no automobiles (other than an ambulance and police car ) and travel is limited to walking, bicycles or horse drawn carriage. The best way to see the island-especially if you have a short amount of time- is a 2 hour carriage ride/tour which hits many of the highlights. More ideal would be to spend at least one night in any of the numerous bed and breakfasts that abound or splurge at the Grand Hotel, boasting the longest porch of any hotel in the world and a fabulous view of the five mile long suspension bridge connecting the lower and upper portions of the state.
Twenty Four Hours in Chicago
There are a lot of great neighborhoods in Chicago-the Gold Coast, Wicker Park, Logan Square, River North – but I may have a new favorite, Lincoln Park. More or less located between the Loop and Wrigley Field, the tree lined neighborhood is minutes from Lake Michigan, the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory and numerous small shops and restaurants. The housing style is unique, ranging from brownstone row houses you’d find in brooklyn to free-standing Victorians.
The population skews young, trendy and good looking. If you ‘re not wearing work out clothes and look like you’d just returned from a long run or bike ride along the lake front you don’t fit in.
Chicagoans like to eat and they can take credit for inventing such dishes as deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs-dragged through the garden with bright green relish atop- and Italian beef. To get a sampling of any, or all of these delicacies we’d recommend two stops, both of which have numerous locations; Lou Malnatis, for pizza, and Portillo’s for dogs and sandwiches.
Recent Transactions for The Shumacher Group, Inc. include
Renewal/lease extension Agatha’s A Taste of Mystery Theater, Peachtree Center.
Municipal Gas Authority of Ga. purchase of two acres, Chastain Rd. Kennesaw, Ga.
Lease of 2nd location for Sublime Doughnuts, Village at Druid Hills (Briarcliff and N. Druid Hills
Sale of Gino’s NY Pizza, Norcross
Sale of Wise Owl Growlers, Kennesaw
Sale of Yobo Fresca Cantina, Athens
Freestanding Restaurant lease at 1110 East Cherry Street, Jesup, GA
Sale of Building/Real Estate at 3101 Canton Highway, Maritta to Bojangle’s
Sale of The Feed Store, College Park
Lease to My Parents’ Basement, Avondale Estates
Lease to Crispini Italian Ristorante -Riverview Village-Vinings
Lease to Pizza Crosta – Prado Sandy Springs
Lease to Durango Steakhouse – Medlock Crossing, Johns Creek
Lease to Friends Neighborhood Grill -Winder
Lease to Corporate F2O – Johnson Ferry Rd, East Cobb
Sale of Great Wraps, North Point Mall
Sale of Johnny’s Pizza, Fayetteville
Sale of Firenze, Norcross
Harold V. Shumacher
The Shumacher Group, Inc.
(O) 404 240-0040
(M) 404 275-0510