Kurlyowicz to be ‘mohawked’ if 40 units are raised Don Kurlyowicz has been through plenty in his long story of the Village of Cannonsburg. The owner of most of the business ventures in the village, Kurlyowicz happily gives back to the community all the time, but in a big way every two years with a village-wide celebration open to the public. The event has everything fun; this year a duathlon in addition to the other Labor Day weekend events. Kurlyowicz has hosted the celebration for years and has seen thousands of happy people enjoy the little burg where life is simple like it is supposed to be. Things weren’t always so sunny, however, and Kurlyowicz remembers the darker early days—specifically October 19, 1985 when disgruntled former customers of the Honeycreek Inn shot out the windows of the restaurant while Kurlyowicz was inside preparing food. “I can say I am the last man shot at in Cannonsburg,” he can now joke of the incident that forced his business partner to quit, telling Kurlyowicz it was too dangerous to stay. Today Kurlyowicz faces a different possibility in his near future. His village is hosting a blood drive on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. The Michigan Blood bus will be there, and their reserves are three weeks low. According to Kurlyowicz this is often the case in summertime when regular donors are out of town on vacation and need for blood is at a yearly peak. “My goal is to hit 30 units,” Kurlyowicz stated. “I hope to go over and if we reach 40 I will get a mohawk,” he said. If the drive reaches the wildly successful goal of 45 units of blood, Kurlyowicz will auction off the rights to pick the color of his mohawk, with proceeds going to the North Kent Community Services and Kid’s Food Basket. “It just can’t be purple or pink,” Kurlyowicz specified, then relented, “It can be purple if someone donates five thousand dollars. Pink will cost ten grand.” To sign up for the blood drive, make an appointment by calling Don at (616) 874-7849 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-in donors will be accommodated as quickly as possible.
Honey Creek Inn
On Saturday, July 28, Don Kurylowicz, owner of Cannonsburg’s Honey Creek Inn, Cannonsburg Bottle and the Grist Mill, invited candidates for Cannon Township office to meet residents and customers outside the Grist Mill. It was also a chance to show off his new smoker, which will offer year-round smoked ribs and chicken, and an entire fresh smoked menu at the Grist Mill. The event was attended by incumbent Supervisor Steve Grimm, Clerk Bonnie Blackledge, Trustee and Treasurer candidate Dick Davies, trustees Deb Diepenhorst and Diane Jones, and trustee candidate Mike Warmbier, as well as many residents and customers. “I think things like this are important, because we get to hear from residents outside the township offices, and that’s always good,” Grimm said. “This is a great board, and I am glad to help give the public access to them in an informal setting. This board has been very supportive of the community,” Kurylowicz added. The event was well attended, noted long-time resident Nick Van Belkum, who said, “Our township board has worked so hard to listen to residents. I just think events like this should happen more often. I’m glad so many people came out to talk to them.”
Networking, education topics of member events by BETH ALTENA Visitors to a recent Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) luncheon enjoyed a meal catered by Honey Creek Inn and heard about the top ten rules of networking in an entertaining but useful presentation by Michael McGovern. In addition to great speakers, getting to know other business people in the community is another perk of belonging to the Chamber and participating in Chamber events. In short presentations before the main speaker, several RCC members took a few minutes to talk about what their business offers. The charming Dr. Sandy Stanton, of ChiroHealth, was one of the mini-speakers and called the events “lunch and learns.” She explained that chiropractic care is just one facet of her company, where clients can also learn about healthy choices, such as nutrition and the importance of ergonomics to continued well being. Newer to the Rockford area is Tom Duisterhof, owner of Gordon Water Systems, who recently purchased Hart Water. Duisterhof said it is interesting that he ended up the new owner of the long-term Rockford business owned and operated by Don Hart. Dysterhoff said Hart and Duisterhof’s father, Gordon, were both in the water business in the early and mid 1970s. Gordon Duisterhof started his business in 1973 in Kalamazoo and Van Buren County. Hart served the area here during the same time. Both became Kinetico water system suppliers at about the same time. The new system of treating water—only available since 1970—was at that time and still is the only non-electric water softener. It seems fitting to have Duisterhof as a second-generation provider stepping into Hart’s role offering Kinetico water systems and other water related services. You can welcome him to Rockford by visiting the Gordon Water office in the same building as the Rockford Chamber of Commerce offices behind Rockford Hardware.
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, […]
Don Kurylowicz, owner of the Cannonsburg Grist Mill and Honey Creek Inn, has sponsored the “grocery gardens” again for the second year, planted by Cannonsburg Elementary School’s second-graders. The grocery gardens are located behind the Grist Mill, and watched over by “Ralph,” Kurylowicz’s new moose. Kurylowicz loves to do community things, and had four garden beds behind his store and gas station that he wanted to let the Cannonsburg school kids plant. He enlisted Georgia O’Donovan to design and buy the plants and seeds. They went with colorful choices, mostly edibles, including some edible flowers and herbs, and some flowers just for color. The second-graders in Laura Beach’s class and Rachel Devereaux’s class started a few things indoors, then met O’Donovan with the rest of the plants at the gardens for the big “plant-o-rama.” Kurylowicz likes the kids to see the connection of where food comes from, and encourages them to watch the progress as the plants grow, and maybe help themselves to a tomato or strawberry as they ripen. The kids also sampled some iced peppermint tea, made from last year’s garden. Some of the produce may also be used by the cooks at the Gristmill or Honey Creek Inn.