MACOBM (WGEM) – Last week, Macomb saw some new businesses pop up. Perhaps most notably Wildfire Bar and Grill.
Owned and operated by Blake Kelly and Claire Weinrich, the restaurant occupies the building at 928 W. Jackson Street. In just one week, Kelly said the restaurant generated more than $35,000 in sales.
“It’s amazing to see the support in the first week,” Kelly said. We saw so many familiar faces and met so many new faces it was like crazy.
The process started six months ago. Kelly said he wants to increase the food options the city has in Macomb.
“We tried to fill a gap that we saw that Macomb needed,” Kelly said. “It’s ribs, steak, in the morning with a choice of mosas.”
New business is something Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lauren Merritt said is not new. Since the outbreak, Merritt said, small business growth has increased dramatically.
“It’s something you don’t see everywhere,” Merritt said. “It’s always been that way, but especially the last couple of years with Covid and everything, I feel like our community has always been really supportive and welcoming of our small businesses.
Merritt said the city will average two to five startups per month by 2022.
While Wildfire Bar & Grill is a new business, Sullivan Taylor’s Bar Owner Brandon Thompson believes new businesses present opportunities for all businesses.
Because Sullivan Taylor has been an established establishment on the square for 25 years, Thompson said the more Macomb has to offer, the more likely residents are to spend their money at home.
“There’s nothing for an hour, an hour and a half, so the more we have, the less people are going to leave town,” Thompson said. “Make it local, help us thrive and survive.”
For such a rural town, Mayor Michael Inman calls Macomb’s small businesses the “backbone” of its economy.
“We have great franchises in the community, whether it’s retail or restaurants, and we’re grateful for that, but small business owners, especially in the last six or eight months, we’ve had a lot,” Mayor Inman said.
Inman noted that most new business owners are on the small end. He said this could lead to more startups in the area.
“A rising tide lifts all ships, and when you have small businesses thriving, it makes entrepreneurs think, ‘If you can do it, I can do it,'” Inman said.
Wildfire Bar & Grill is still awaiting a liquor license.
Other businesses that have recently opened are 1 PHO and 2DYE4 Hair & Co. Mayor Inman asked several entrepreneurs for help to start the process of opening a business.
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