A husband-and-wife team is breathing new life into downtown Cheboygan. Meet the Costins, and join us as we visit their one-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurant and theater.
When I called Marcella Costin to set up an interview, I was planning for it to be over the phone. I thought it’d be pretty straightforward—Marcella and her husband, John, own five businesses in Cheboygan, including Stormy Kromer Cap & Ale House, one of the Michigan Small Business Development Center’s 2021 Best Small Business award winners. I wanted to know more about them and their vision.
So, when Marcella said I really had to come and see the businesses in person because they’re difficult to describe, I thought she must be exaggerating.
I was wrong.
Photo by Dave Weidner
There’s an undeniable cool factor, a certain je ne sais quoi. For starters, all five businesses connect. You can walk through each one without ever going outside. Customers regularly ask for a tour and the team is happy to oblige (keep an eye out for a secret door). There are glam chandeliers, cozy fireplaces, velvet chairs, custom décor—and that’s just the setting. The products for sale are equally as eye-catching. Truly, it’s a treat just to visit.
Below is a small peek at what the Costins have created in downtown Cheboygan. Flip through the photo gallery, and then, of course, I recommend you experience these places for yourself.
Tip: The Costins recently renovated an apartment above The Queens Head Wine Pub, turning it into a weekend vacation rental. Book a stay, catch a show at The Lark and explore downtown.
Congrats! John and Marcella Costin received a President’s Award for their restoration and beautification efforts from Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. at the annual awards banquet on Oct. 9. The award recognizes their renovation of three buildings downtown, now home to their boutiques, pub and theater, and five second-level apartments. Recently retired Cheboygan City Manager Tom Eustice says that the Costins also worked with the Cheboygan Downtown Development Authority to improve downtown. Now, there are other investors buying empty buildings to be completed in 2022. “And it is all because John and Marcella, through careful planning, took a risk to wake up a sleepy little town.”
SIMPLY MARCELLA // 223 N. Main St.
The business that started it all. Shop Marcella’s line of pearl jewelry (She designs it!), along with apparel, accessories and gifts.
THE PIG ‘N’ WHISTLE // 219 N. Main St.
The newest on the block, this cocktails and confectionary gift shop has retro candies and a bar that only serves rum runners. Plus, plenty of pig-themed treasures, too.
STORMY KROMER CAP & ALE HOUSE // 221 N. Main St.
Michigan’s favorite Stormy Kromer gear and craft beer; obviously a winning combo.
THE QUEENS HEAD WINE PUB // 250 N. Huron St.
Leather chairs, wood tables, a large fireplace—it’s an inviting and relaxed spot for elevated pub fare and beverages. Order the smoked trout chowder.
THE LARK THEATER & LOUNGE // 252 N. Huron St.
An intimate live music venue with church pew seating. The swanky lounge area has specialty bourbons, martinis and bubbly.