Village of Cannonsburg

Stakes are high in blood drive challenge

August 30, 2012 // 0 Comments

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 Walk-in donors will be accommodated as quickly as possible.

Public invited to duathlon, village celebration

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

A “labor lf love’’ takes place in the Village of Cannonsburg September 3 with the second annual Honey Creek Duathlon charity event. If you can ride a bike, walk or run, you can participate in the Labor Day event, which benefits North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket. A duathlon is an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and concluding with another running portion similar in format to triathlons. Nearly 100 people participated in last year’s event. Participants cover slightly more than 18 miles on foot and on bike through one of Kent County’s most beautiful areas, including Townsend Park. The Labor Day event offers more than a good workout. Post race festivities include live music, entertainment for kids and adults, along with award-winning food and drink. “Even if you can’t ride a bike or run, come down to cheer participants and enjoy myriad family-friendly events,” urged event organizer Don Kurylowicz. Feedback from 2011 participants helped organizers enhance and improve this year’s event. Some of the add-ons include more live music, an expanded food and beer tent, duck races, an ice cream eating contest and competition at an old-fashioned horseshoe pit. “It’s not so much about winning the race, but completing the race,’’ laughed Michael Jonkman of Rockford, who participated in the 2011 event. “The duathlon was great, but I really liked the food and family-friendly events, especially pitching horseshoes. Who needs to walk the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day; Cannonsburg has it all.” For those not tuckered out by the race, there will be a classic two-person crosscut saw competition. Cannonsburg Museum will also be open for visitors. “We’ve added more activities for the kids and expanded the entertainment to include folk and blues music along with country and rock,” Kurylowicz said. The American Red Cross will be on hand for blood donations. “This is a community event and the focus is to give back to our community,” Kurylowicz said. “Whether you’re donating blood or just showing up for a good time, all money raised will be put back into the community.” Primary beneficiaries are North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, an organization seeking to eradicate childhood hunger in greater Grand Rapids. […]

‘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, […]