The Gathering Place to open Saturday

Former Smokey Bones restaurant receives makeover

SEARS — New life has been breathed into the former restaurant on the corner of U.S. 10 and M-66 in Sears.

The Gathering Place, owned by Dawn Kruithoff and Angie and Mike Moore, is set to open on Saturday, Jan. 16. The new business will offer a selection of breakfast, lunch, dinner and bakery items, as well as a gift shop filled with locally-made country chic products.

The trio acquired the building, which has sat empty for months, in November. They decided to make the place cozy, focus on family values and offer a place where people of all ages can sit and enjoy time together.

"We've owned other businesses and currently own businesses," said Kruithoff. "We've just always seen the potential here, we also wanted to have an opportunity to employ local people and offer unique things like what we have here in the gift shop.

"We have hundreds of people interested in when we're opening. When we're here working, a ton of people stopped by, anxious for it to open back up."

Angie agreed.

"It was always my dream to have a country primitive gift store when I was older. I didn't know it was going to happen this soon," she said with a laugh. "We're at the point of life where we also want to do something a little bit different. It's just a little change."

For hungry patrons, a local chef will prepare fresh meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while a pastry chef creates baked goods for individuals looking for a sweet, light item for dessert or to take with them on the go.

"For breakfast we'll have a bunch of different items, from Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries to your normal bacon, egg and toast option," Angie said. "For lunch and dinner, we'll have specialty burgers, fresh fries and your normal salad, soups and sandwiches. On Friday night, we'll have a steak special and all-you-can-eat fish fry with a salad bar, and on Saturday nights will be a pasta bar with a salad bar and bread sticks."

Food served will be as locally grown and produced as possible, the women said.

In the gift shop, items crafted by local residents will take center stage, as well as antiques found across the state, artwork and toys. The business also will provide a large table in the gift shop for crafters to come in and scrapbook, quilt, sew and gather for projects.

"We have anything from country-primitive decor to antiques, quilts, rustic furniture, bags and mittens," Angie said. "This is the decor that I like, and a lot of people are drawn to things from yesteryear."

Kruithoff said she believes customers will appreciate the one-of-a-kind pieces available for sale.

"You always have someone who is hard to buy for, but you can come in here and there are unique things; things you're not going to find some place else," she said.

In addition to The Gathering Place, Moore's daughter, Megan Maney, will offer massage therapy as a student and hopes to build clientele.

"I will be qualified to do massage therapy, reflexology, cranium sacral therapy and I've even had advanced essential oil classes and nutrition," said Maney. "Whatever you want, I can do. If you want a relaxing massage or the true therapeutic massage, I can do that."

Once The Gathering Place opens, those who want to schedule an appointment with Maney can call (231) 872-9161.

Angie and Kruithoff are looking forward to starting a new chapter in their lives with the business.

"I think it'll be nice," Kruithoff said. "I think having enough variety will attract people."

To learn more about The Gathering Place, find it on Facebook by searching for The Gathering Place Restaurant and Gift Shop.