New businesses pop up in Macomb

MACOMB (WGEM) – Over the past week, Macomb has seen several new businesses pop up. Perhaps most notably, Wildfire Bar & Grill.

Owned and operated by Blake Kelly and Claire Weinrich, the restaurant occupies part of a building at 928 W Jackson Street. In the first week alone, Kelly said the restaurant generated over $35,000 in sales.

“It’s been amazing to see the support so far in our first week,” Kelly said. “We’ve seen so many people we know and so many new faces we get to meet, it’s just been crazy.”

The process started about six months ago. Kelly said he wanted to add food options to Macomb that the city didn’t already have.

“We tried to fill the gaps in what we saw Macomb needed,” Kelly said. “It’s ribs, steak, with mimosa options in the morning.”

The new business is something Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lauren Merritt said is not new. Since the pandemic, Merritt said small business development has skyrocketed.

“It’s something you just don’t see everywhere,” Merritt said. “It’s always been that way, but especially the last couple of years with COVID and everything, I just feel like our community has always really supported and embraced our small businesses.”

Merritt mentioned that in 2022, the city averaged two to five startups per month.

While Wildfire Bar & Grill is a new business, Sullivan Taylor Coffee House owner Brandon Thompson believes that new businesses offer opportunities for all businesses.

Sullivan Taylor being an institution on the square for 25 years now, Thompson said the more Macomb has to offer, the more likely local residents will spend their money at home.

“There’s nothing an hour, an hour and a half away, so the more we have the less people have to travel to leave the city,” Thompson said. “Keep it local, help us thrive and survive.”

For such a rural town, Mayor Michael Inman calls Macomb’s small businesses “the backbone” of their economy.

“We have great franchises in the community, whether it’s retail or restaurants and we’re grateful for that, but small business owners we’ve had such an abundance especially in the last six or eight months,” Mayor Inman said.

Inman mentioned that a good majority of new business owners are on the younger side. He said this could lead to even more startups in the area.

“A rising tide lifts all boats, and when you have small businesses that are thriving, it tends to make entrepreneurs think ‘if they can do it, I can do it,'” Inman said.

Wildfire Bar & Grill is still awaiting a liquor license.

Other businesses that have recently opened their doors include 1 PHO and 2DYE4 Hair & Co. Mayor Inman indicated that many entrepreneurs have since sought help to begin the process of opening a business.

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.

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