Update: State Street Marketplace is opening Friday, June 16.

A human resource executive turned foodpreneur, Kevin O’Donnell is the new owner of Master Dry Cleaners on State Street in downtown Traverse City. But he has a different plan in mind for the building—a plan that involves craft beer, good food and local artisans.

Over the next few months, Kevin and a team of contractors will be renovating the building, which will be home to the new Monkey Fist Brewing Company and State Street Marketplace opening in June 2017.

A love for family and Up North, where Kevin spent many weekends as a child, drew the Michigan native now living in Florida to the property.

“Having founded multiple human resource firms and traveling the world, I really wanted to be able to spend more time at home with my family,” he says. “Being on the road can get lonely so I invested in a few local food-related businesses and they did very well. I was hooked. Multiple restaurants and butcher shops later I am still hooked. I love the people, the creativity it allows and the ability to meet people from all walks of life.”

The O'Donnell family on a trip to Crooked Lake.

The O’Donnell family on a trip to Crooked Lake.

When the opportunity arose to start a business in Traverse City, Kevin knew he had to take it.

“Growing up you remember family trips to Sleeping Bear Dunes, skiing at Crystal or Boyne Mountain, swimming in the lakes, campfires. I get to do those things with my daughters, Kaley and Ryley, now. As my girls say, ‘The lakes are the best … so clean and no alligators!’ Traverse City has something for everyone,” Kevin notes. “The awesome festivals, fishing, shopping, dining, art—those are just a few things that make TC special.”

State Street Marketplace

The community marketplace will be home to 10 local businesses, including quality food vendors, retail shops and artisans of all kinds. Kevin is a tenant at Plant Street Market in Winter Garden, Florida, which has a similar concept and inspired the State Street Marketplace.

“What I love about it is the fact that it’s truly a community gathering place,” he says. “It’s the sum of the whole is greater than the parts theory. Having multiple businesses driving traffic to one community marketplace allows a family like mine options. If Ryley wants a gourmet burger but Kaley wants pizza—which happens a lot, haha—they can each get what they want. Mom and Dad … we just want a beer and a glass of wine.”

O’Donnell has been working with Kevin Endres of Three West to select vendors. The cost for a space will be $1,500 per month. Rent includes utilities, trash removal, common area maintenance, taxes, insurance and advertising for the market as a whole. Reservations are still being accepted for vendor spots. (Contact Endres at kendres@threewest.net for information.)

Monkey Fist Brewing Company

Named after a type of sailors knot, Monkey Fist fits the lake-living mentality of Traverse City. Visitors will be able to stop by the craft brewery and taproom and enjoy a beer or glass of local wine along with food from the market vendors. All of the beer will be brewed on-site.

“It’s going to be both a vintage historic feel and a family atmosphere,” Kevin says. “Part of the building is where the old horse stable was located in downtown Traverse City. We want to showcase the rich history of TC along with a great gathering place for families and friends.”

Shipyard Brewing Company, based in Portland, Maine, will serve as an advisor to the new brewhouse. Shipyard’s products are served in nearly all 50 states including Michigan.

“From an advisor standpoint, they are an unbelievable sounding board,” Kevin says. “Having been in business almost 25 years, Shipyard has a great reputation of creativity, quality and consistency—something I hope to achieve here in Traverse City.”

Monkey Fist Brewing Company and State Street Marketplace will be located at 329 E. State St., Traverse City.

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Photo(s) by Environment Architects