2007-05-19 / News

Starbucks Coffee Shop Opens on Mackinac Island Main Street

By Sean Ely

Victor Callewaert, in front of his new Starbucks shop, prepares for the opening Saturday, May 19. The store will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Victor Callewaert, in front of his new Starbucks shop, prepares for the opening Saturday, May 19. The store will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mackinac Island's new Starbucks coffee shop will open its doors Saturday, May 19, on Main Street. Victor Callewaert, the building owner responsible for bringing the famous coffee shop to the Island, believes the new store will be a flourishing hotspot on the main street.

"I think it will be good for the Island, and for the people that come here," Mr. Callewaert said. "There are none of these around, and it's very, very popular. There are over 14,000 Starbucks, so people definitely want it. They like it," he said, "so we're going to give them what they like."

This Mackinac Island Starbucks will feature everything that the other locations across the nation do, including pastries, mugs and water bottles, frappuccinos, blended drinks, lattes, brewed coffee varieties, and wireless Internet access.

Since many of the bars on the Island do not allow minors in past 9 p.m., Mr. Callewaert's son, Todd Callewaert, the store manager, says the new shop could serve as a hangout for the younger crowd.

From left, Emily Flynn, Katie Bultema, and Krista Homakie take a break from their Starbucks training classes May 14. Miss Flynn is a Michigan State University student while Miss Bultema and Miss Homakie attend Hope College. From left, Emily Flynn, Katie Bultema, and Krista Homakie take a break from their Starbucks training classes May 14. Miss Flynn is a Michigan State University student while Miss Bultema and Miss Homakie attend Hope College. "We definitely go for those who are under 21," he said. "We want to provide a place for them to come and relax with some friends."

The coffee shop employs 16, with only two of them older than 21. Many of them are college students on summer recess, working on the Island until classes resume in the fall, such as Krista Homakie and Katie Bultema from Hope College and Emily Flynn from Michigan State University.

A sense of unity and friendship exists among the staff, mainly because some of the employees live together.

The Starbucks crew here on the island plans to work hard right off the bat.

"We are hoping to do it right the very first day," Todd Callewaert said. "Every employee has gone through two weeks of training, totaling 60 hours all together. The only way to get good at it is to practice. It might be slow at first, but we'll get the hang of it."

He hopes the new Starbucks will appeal to the public however it possibly can.

"We are looking forward to seeing everyone simply enjoy the Starbucks experience," he said. "Our main focus is on the tourists. For locals, we know many people have their own special places to enjoy coffee. There will be some who do that. Will some of that change? Sure.

"I think that we can develop so a lot of people will want to come here. We just want people to enjoy our business. It will take some time, but I know they will be happy when they come down to see it."

Asked by visitors for years if there is a Starbucks on the Island, Todd Callewaert said he can finally say, "Yes."

Victor Callewaert, who also owns Island House hotel, Ryba's Fudge, Pancake House, and Mary's Bistro, has already set the main goal for this new Starbucks: Satisfy the public.

"I'm looking to make everyone happy, just the same with the fudge shops and the hotel," he said. "We just have to do it a little bit better than everyone else and hope they'll keep coming back."

Starbucks will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week.

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