Don Kurylowicz

‘King of Cannonsburg’ seeks successor

August 27, 2009 // 0 Comments

‘I’m keeping the moose’ “If I sold it off in bits and pieces, the synergy goes away. They have to buy it all or nothing,” Don Kurylowicz, long-time business owner in Cannonsburg, has posted his domain for sale. With an asking price of just under $4.5 million, the properties aren’t for just anyone, and Kurylowicz hopes the right sort of person, or a group of individuals, will keep the tenor of his old-time town. Despite the high-tech built in—his group of buildings in the village are networked and have security cameras installed nearly everywhere—the village is Kurylowicz’s homage to Americana. “Meijer and DeVos saved downtown Grand Rapids, but no one is saving these little towns,” Kurylowicz said. In his late 50s, Kurylowicz said it is time to find someone else with the passion, vision—and stamina—it takes to juggle the many hats he wears in the village. He admits, however, if someone ponies up the asking price, he can’t say no. “I’d owe the realtors their commission, that would be $450,000,” he said. He listed the property with The Wisinski Group last Thursday, August 20. This summer Kurylowicz celebrated 25 years in the town, from his first investment in the Honey Creek Inn. He recalled his stubborn efforts to save the historic buildings of the village. The first store was built in 1844 and by 1978 employed seven individuals between its cattle dealer, lumber dealer, shoe and boot store and a hardware. When Kurylowicz bought the Inn, it was in bad shape. He said the township at that time did not make his efforts to rehab the building easy. He dug in his heels and over the years acquired the other properties—mostly by happenstance—he now lists for sale as one unit. Over the years he has enjoyed the feeling of rural community that he promotes through festivals and being very active in the community. He believes people crave the social environment fostered by small towns, which sadly are gone or disappearing. He believes the success of the village is because of the caring people there. Listed are nine parcels, including Honey Creek Inn, Cannonsburg Market and Grist Mill. Kurylowicz said he’s keeping the newest celebrity addition to the town, Ralph the Moose. Kurylowicz said the listing […]

How a village was built

July 2, 2009 // 0 Comments

The 25-year story of Honeycreek Inn and Cannonsburg “There were two wars going on. There was an oil embargo. We were in a recession. Our president had just resigned and a new one was coming on board,” said Don Kurylowicz of his first days in the Village of Cannonsburg. “So, things have changed a lot in 25 years, but things also haven’t changed a lot.” Kurylowicz is reflecting back on a 25-year journey he has taken with his community. Kurylowicz could be called the “King of Cannonsburg,” as he owns lots of it-every commercial property that faces the road. His properties include the Honeycreek Inn, the Cannonsburg Grist Mill, the gas station, and the Cannonsburg Market. He doesn’t see it that way. “I’m so blessed. I’m so grateful,” he insists. “You know the show Cheers, where everyone knows your name? Here, everyone knows your name, but they also look out for each other and take care of each other.” As an example, Kurylowicz pointed out a tragic death last year of a young waitress at the Honeycreek. Just 30 years old, she left behind her family, including young children. The community had a fundraiser for her and collected $38,000. When Kurylowicz began his long relationship with the people of Cannonsburg, things were different. Twenty five years ago there wasn’t a lot going on there. There was Townsend Park, a real gem of a recreation area. Besides that, there was a restaurant in a 125-year-old building in poor condition. The original town had burned in the big fire of April 10, 1889, “completely destroying the business district,” according to the Cannon Township Historical Society history book. Kurylowicz was a 30-year-old man with a desire to work for himself. With degrees in sociology, urban planning and architecture, Kurylowicz saw the state of the country and didn’t think architecture would be a profitable career for quite some time. He worked a few years in the mental health field and didn’t want to go back. Back then, no one used the term “flipping” houses, but he had done just that and had about $15,000 to his name-enough for the down payment on the Honeycreek building that was operating as a bar. “The only people who went there were bikers, […]

Sick of Gloom and Doom? Rockford Reports Positive News

February 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA We need to get over our pride and ego and get on with our lives, Frenz Coffehouse owner Rich Zeck believes. He is one of many local businesess people who haven’t bought into the news that we are going through the worst of times. “I can speak for myself because I have lost my job,” he said of a former high-paying career. Zeck opened his own shop after the job loss and also works another part-time job. Zeck said he believes Americans have allowed their financial fear to dominate their lives and this has made things worse. “What if there were no newspapers and no televisions? The economy ”d go about our business and have a life.” He believes the stockmarket slumps follow each dire news report as people hunker down, afraid to spend money and get on with things. Zeck, who is also a college professor, said he understands the economy is a hot topic and his students want to discuss it at length. “It’s such an emotional issue,” he said. Zeck believes there is plenty of good to be learned and practiced in tough times. He said friends, neighbors and families helped each other out to make it through the Depression. We should take a page from that chapter of history. “I knew we were in big trouble when people came in worried about the cost of a barrel of oil and gold,” he said. “That makes no difference to most people.” Putting hope in corporations and companies rather than in people is part of the error behind economic troubles. “Two hundred years ago you were a seamstress and I was a farmer,” he said. “We helped each other out and did business together.” Doing this today is what we should be doing, Zech believes. As a coffee shop owner, he has sent customers to the other coffee shops in town. “Too often it’s ‘Me, me, me.’ It’s not me, it’s just us.” He is a firm believer in paying it forward. “If we all took the time to help someone else out, what would that do?” he asked. Zeck gave the example of people who have lost their jobs. “Get out and volunteer,” he said. “People lose their jobs, […]

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