ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – Back in March, Bob Bess, co-owner of White Bear Maple Products, showed Local 3’s Brianna MacLean the process of sapping and how he makes maple syrup right in his own backyard. Seven months later, Bess and his team have opened their first shop.
The Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce (GINCC) assisted White Bear Maple Products in a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning.
“Anytime you can open a new business is awesome, but when you can do it when there are so many challenging times going on at this point, it makes it even more special,” said Bob Hendrickson, the executive director of GINCC.
What started out as a hobby, has become Bess’s full-time job of making maple products.
“For over a year we actually looked at this little building and for the last year we’ve called it our little store,” said Debbie Elliott, co-owner. “And it just didn’t feel like the right time then to jump into it, and over the course of the year we’ve grown so much and added so many products that we just thought it seemed like the right thing to do.”
From hand-poured candles to gift sets, there are plenty of sweet things to choose from.
“We have maple puffs, which are really popular. We also started making maple cotton candy, which has also been very popular. And we have some fudge and we’re going to have samples of our flavored coffees today for people when they come in out of the cold they can have a nice hot cup of coffee. And of course, our maple syrup and maple sugar,” said Elliott.
They also sell items from local artists.
“We have a lot of craft woodworkers. One specializes in woodturning and another one in cutting boards and another one does the epoxies. We have a wood burner from the Keweenaw who does a super job,” said Bess.
White Bear Maple Products & Gifts are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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