St. Patrick’s Day

Tradition continues at family business

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

Thirty nine years ago, to celebrate their Irish Heritage, Norm and Rosemary Byrne of Byrne Electric decided to do something nice for their employees on St. Patrick’s Day. They invited all of their employees for breakfast at their home. “They set it up in their basement. Everyone was invited,” said Mike Lomonaco, Customer Relationship Manager. But as the company continued to grow throughout the following years, the Byrne’s basement couldn’t hold them all. So when they moved to their current location, they continued to have the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast/party, but now they have it in the company cafeteria. While the employees eat their breakfast, they listen to the live Irish music for about an hour. Lomonaco stated that if business allows them to do it, the employees also receive a half day off on St. Patrick’s Day. Lomonaco continued, “That’s one of the advantages of being a privately-held company, we can do this for our employees. They are the heart and soul of our company,”

Wearin’ of the Green

March 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF and NANCY HILL GeneAnn Schaefer of Courtland & Main’s Frame and Mat Shop has told us for years that we really should attend the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Conklin, Michigan. So this St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday morning) the Squire took a 17-mile road trip west of Rockford to discover just where the heck Conklin, MI was.  Turns out Conklin is a little farming community in the middle of apple country.  Main Street holds a feed mill, a seed store, a general store, and the post office along with its one claim to fame, Fenian’s Irish Pub. Fenian’s is not just any Irish pub; it has been voted the number one Irish pub in Michigan.  It is an authentic family-owned and operated Irish Public House.  It also has the reputation of being the “Home of Irish music in West Michigan.” Fenian’s is the official or unofficial, if you will, sponsor of the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The 22nd Annual “Wearin’ of the Green” Parade turned out to be, as touted by Schaefer, “One hoot of a parade.”  Mind you, Main Street is only three blocks long.  The parade kicked off promptly at 11 a.m. from the north end of Main Street, with the intention of walking the entire three-block distance. Leading the parade was 2009 Grand Marshal Rob Schaefer (husband of Grand Marshalette, GeneAnn) proudly waving the Irish Tri-Color flag. Following right behind was Fenian’s Fiddle & Bodhran Band, along with the Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School Marching Band playing Irish tunes.  The Drum Major was directing the band with an authentic Irish Shillelagh.  The cast of characters was as short as the parade route itself.  There were a few dogs pulled in wagons, one antique car, a couple of bikes, and a flat-bed truck whose riders were tossing green beaded necklaces and green carnations to the spectators. What made this parade special was a throng of Irish and would-be-Irish, all clad in various shades of green, which joined in the parade as it proceeded down Main Street.  Ethnic origin aside, on this day, everyone present was Irish. As Irish luck would have it, Fenian’s Pub is smack-dab in the middle of the route and the parade ended right […]