Shalla’s expands business, more planned for the future

ALPENA –There are few neighborhood businesses in Alpena that are still in operation, let alone expanding.

On Alpena’s north side, however, there is one that has been remodeled recently and new services added. Plans also are in the works for additional development.

Shalla’s gas station is located at the intersection of Walnut Street and Long Lake Avenue. It was built in the late 1920s and has served generations of residents.

Six years ago the gas station/convenience store was purchased by Steve and Kristen Misiak. In that time, with the help of their employees, the couple has been able to maintain the businesses success and expand it. Recently the store underwent major interior and exterior renovations, as well as add more services for its customers.

“While we were doing the update we decided to add a kitchen to the plan and offer sandwiches, pizza, cookies and more,” Kristen said. “This side of town needs a good place for people to get food and so far it has been received very well.”

Steve said there is an unfair stigma attached to the north side and a misconception about the people who live there. She said the residents are friendly, supportive and generous. As a result of that, it made the growth of the store possible.

“It is the neighborhood that makes this store and it has been great to us and it is a great little community and we are happy to be a part of it,” he said. “We always felt it deserved more, more that the people could use. That’s why we wanted to do this. It’s for them.”

Kristen agreed.

“I want to say this side of town does not deserve a bad rap and I wish that it didn’t have that,” Misiak said. “This little place in town is amazing and there are many amazing people here. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences here.”

Steve said in the spring more projects will begin. He said the gravel parking lot will be paved, as well as grass and trees planted.

The Misiaks also have purchased the former Tuskie’s Tavern across the street and intend to tear it down and build Growlers & Bottles, which will be a craft beer bar that also will serve food.

“It will focus on small plates and appetizers with a gourmet flare and a focus on cooking with beer,” Kristen said. “We will focus on Michigan breweries and the beer from our home state, as well as our neighbors Austin Brothers.”

Misiak said the bar will be able to fill people’s growlers with a large selection of craft beers to chose from.

“We hope to serve as many different types of beer as we can and we hope people will come in and get their growlers filled with beer,” she said. “We hope to have 25 to 30. Whatever we can fit into the building, we’re going to put in it.

Steve said the Growlers & Bottles project will begin next year.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.