This week we featured two stories on our front pages about businesses in northeast Montcalm County.
One was an inspiring example of a local businessman who took an already successful manufacturing idea and expanded upon it.
The other was a heartwarming farewell to a local businesswoman who transformed a historic building almost three decades ago, and reinvented her hometown in the process.
Brian Kulling purchased A&O Forklift from Dean Voss almost two years ago. We’ve written about Voss and his idea of building forklifts for beekeepers in the past, so we were happy to hear Kulling has taken the Edmore business to the next level.
Kulling and his colleagues introduced two prototypes for forklifts this year — and sales are up 30 percent. They have opened distribution centers in Australia and Canada, plus the state of Georgia, as well as a sales/service center in California.
A&O has never laid anyone off — on the contrary, they continue to hire and expand.
The cherry on the top of this story is the location — A&O is housed in the former Hitachi Magnetics Corp. on land which has been christened Sunrise Industrial Park. The development is also home to another growing business, Ryan’s Equipment, which specializes in timber and forest products.
Sunrise Industrial Park show promise for an exciting future. Plans are in the works by the Edmore Village Council to have the Road Commission for Montcalm County construct a new road there to provide access to front parcels facing M-46.
We love writing about innovative, successful businesses in our own backyard.
On a bittersweet note, a well-loved business not far from Edmore is preparing to close its doors for good.
JoAnne Camp opened Loafers Glory in the spring of 1986. She had seen possibilities in the three-story former hardware store, originally constructed in the late 1800s.
The store quickly made Blanchard a popular destination for people looking to take a little road trip, go shopping for country home items and enjoy a homemade lunch and some of that famous buttermilk pie.
After more than 27 years, Camp has decided to join her husband in retirement and spend some precious time with her grandchildren. She says if she was 10 years younger, she wouldn’t be retiring because she loves her customers so much.
Loafers Glory is slated to close for good by Nov. 23 — unless a new owner is found? The store is currently for sale. Loyal customers are hoping perhaps just the right person will come along and keep Loafers Glory alive.
In the meantime, sales are being offered at Loafers Glory, which is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, please do yourself and favor and take a little road trip to Blanchard. Loafers Glory truly is a rare gem and we are saddened to see it go.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.