In true Mitten fashion, Cherry Republic is a staple in the Northern Michigan region. There are four stores in this local enterprise, each unique in its own right. Currently, the cherry connoisseurs are located in Glen Arbor, Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Holland, Frankenmuth, and Charlevoix.
Molly Connolly, the New Product Coordinator, explains, “All of our stores have huge amounts of samples out every day, and welcome people to come in and try everything!”
About 23 years ago, Bob Sutherland started selling t-shirts out of the back of his car. Shortly thereafter, he started selling dried cherries and Boomchunka Cookies. Molly laughs, “I’ve heard stories about these times, and a lot of people thought he was nuts. A business based solely on cherries? But, as they say: The rest is history.” Those dried cherries evolved into chocolate covered dried cherries, which continue to be one of Cherry Republic’s most popular products.
Cherry Republic has seen lots of growth over the years, but Molly smiles, “Our offices are located in Glen Arbor, in the heart of one of the most beautiful places in the country. It’s a small town where everyone knows each other, and where we feel lucky to work and play. Despite the growth the company has seen, it still feels like we’re all a big family.”
It’s easy to forget the immense amount of Mitten love involved with the everyday aspects of Cherry Republic. Northern Michigan is known for cherries, and that’s what the company specializes in. Molly says, “We truly put the cherry on the pedestal, and steer away from knick-knacks and things of that sort.” The stores really give the customer a sense of what Northern Michigan is about from the products to the local artists featured on the walls.
For tourists and locals alike, Cherry Republic is a symbol of Northern Michigan. Not only do the stores boast visitors from around the world in the winter, but also they are blessed with many year round customers as well. The stores continue to have business throughout the long Northern Michigan winters. Cherry Republic supplies about 450 stores in Michigan and elsewhere with great cherry products. Also, Cherry Republic is proud of the constantly improving online ordering system that helps everyone enjoy a taste of the Mitten! Regardless of the method, Molly explains, “It’s great to see so many people ‘discovering’ cherries!”
Each store location takes part in different local events, as well as has in store events like wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. Cherry Republic is very proud of its position in the Mitten framework, and like to stay involved in the community. Molly explains, “It is awesome how much we give back to our communities and the state of Michigan. Over the years, we’ve given close to one million dollars to good causes in Michigan. Simply put, giving is at the core of what we do and who we are.” ~ Joanna Dueweke, Regional Director
Also, each location has its own Facebook page with store specific updates and events: Glen Arbor, Ann Arbor, Charlevoix, and Traverse City. There is also a main Facebook for Cherry Republic, you can Follow Cherry Republic on Twitter, or visit them online.