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  • The Times Herald

    Indoor golf simulator, soap and candle store among new additions to Wrigley Center

    By Jackie Smith and McKenna Golat, Port Huron Times Herald,

    20 days ago
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3JPJVF_0tPH36pd00

    When Tee It Up first opened in January at the Wrigley Center, owner Dane Wirtz said it wasn’t too long before business seemed to take off.

    “After the first week, we were pretty full,” he said Monday. “January, February, and end of March before it slowed down.”

    With the nearest indoor golf simulator in Macomb County, the avid golfer and Port Huron area native said he and his friends usually wanted a place to play in the winter — ultimately leading to what he called a passion project in the commercial side of the Wrigley.

    Now, Wirtz said he’s adapting to the season as golfers head outside and looking to host more groups, company and birthday parties, and other events where visitors can golf in groups or rent out the whole space.

    “We actually just had a bachelor party here last weekend, which was pretty fun,” he said.

    But Tee It Up isn’t the only new addition to the Wrigley Center a few months after the bars and eateries under Wrigley Hall Entertainment closed on the properties north side.

    It was something that the property owner and developer Larry Jones, as well as some business owners, said led to some confusion among area residents who mistakenly believed the misnomer that the entire Wrigley Center had closed.

    And as operators work to reopen the bar and eatery side more directly under the Wrigley itself, another business — Huron Soap and Candle Co. — and other features are in the works to open up, as well.

    Earlier this month, Jones said they were shooting to reopen a bar and eateries within a couple weeks. Business owners this week said they were bracing for sometime in June. Another example of something on the way was a long-awaited rock-climbing wall.

    “Right now, we’re kind of waiting,” Jones said Monday. “We’re going to wind up opening the arcade up, and there’s features available right now and then orders that we’re waiting for ordered (where) we’re waiting on deliveries, which is going to be another couple of months. We have many more things — the motorcycle, the racecar, those type of things.”

    Long-established Wrigley businesses reflect on time at downtown spot

    Be Je Salon was the first business in the Wrigley Center when it opened nearly a year and a half ago.

    Owner Jenny Pederson said her business has not been affected by the Wrigley Hall portion of the property closing in February.

    Although customers had been concerned when Wrigley Hall closed, she said business has been fantastic and has grown a lot since she opened.

    "The Wrigley Center is made up of three zones: The hall, the lofts, and the storefronts," Pederson said early Tuesday. "All three of them make up Wrigley Center, but the hall is a separate space. I think people got confused because Wrigley is in the name for each space."

    Dot's Candy Bar, however, was affected by the Wrigley Hall's closing, according to owner Beth Welser, who said she has lost a lot of foot traffic. They’re located across off the Michigan Street side of the Wrigley Center.

    "It has affected us a lot," Wesler said. "People would get dinner in the hall and then come in here for dessert."

    Since the winter, it has been hard to get people into the center, and she said Dot's Candy Bar has been doing other things, such as catering and becoming a vendor at the farmers market, to sustain business.

    Welser said she’s hoping foot traffic will come back once the rock wall and arcade are open inside the Wrigley.

    Pederson said she has nothing to complain about with the location of her salon — it’s located off the East Quay Street parking lot. She said it was the best move she could have made.

    Pederson said she wishes the community could embrace the Wrigley Center and the potential it has for downtown Port Huron. She said downtown cannot grow without people supporting businesses.

    New Wrigley businesses plan for the future

    Huron Soap and Candle last operated at a Main Street address downtown it shared with Everything Classic Antiques — in a property Jones also owns.

    The store located inside the Wrigley was open with an eatery and a bar venue during Art Hop May 10.

    Moving forward, Hannah Hodges, who helps man the store’s operations, said she was working to re-establish the business’ online presence and new contact information.

    As of Monday, there was no firm official reopening date, though Hodges said she’d like to plan a grand opening — “something cool that’ll bring people in.”

    “Very soon. Probably within the next month,” she said Monday amid a break in cleaning the space.

    Currently, Huron Soap and Candle’s Wrigley space had a few display set up with still-half-empty shelves. The space meant the biggest item on Hodges’ to-do list was production.

    “We have to make more product. That’s very important. One thing we were going to end up doing is little workshops,” she said. “So, (Jones’ wife and partner) Tracy (Turner Jones) was talking about like a ‘sip and soap’ sort of deal. … Stuff like that. And then, after, I thought we could also do kid workshops, too. Kids could come in and learn how to make soap and candles, and arts and crafts. It’d be super cool. Different age groups could come in. I also want to do stuff like festivals.”

    At Tee It Up, Jones had also referenced hosting companies for teambuilding and other events.

    Wirtz is the simulator’s sole owner, and he still worked during the day full time, as his family owns Wirtz Manufacturing on 24th Street.

    Currently, Tee It Up was open daily. But Wirtz said he’d expect to continue to be busier on nights and weekends and may consider adjusting hours to Thursday through Sunday this summer.

    And while he thought Tee It Up would cater well as a place to pregame for a night out or gatherings in the warmer months, too, he also said he wanted area enthusiasts to know they could accommodate any experience level.

    Tee It Up uses Trackman Golf Simulators, which Wirtz said have 290 courses, including tour and local venues, as well as games for kids. Those interested could walk in or book online or over the phone. Although online bookings only allows up to four, individuals or groups of any size can come in as the program allows up to eight to play.

    More information could be found at www.teeitupmi.com.

    “I’ve a lot of friends that are public course golfers, and they don’t have access to lessons like we do at private courses. So, I really wanted to provide something for people that play public golf — the ability to improve and get lessons from PGA professionals,” Wirtz said. “I think a lot of people don’t know we have lessons,” he added. “We do lessons, we do regripping. People host parties — any sort of party. If you want to have a business meeting here, we can shut down, and you can rent it out — whatever you want.”

    Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or jssmith@gannett.com. Contact McKenna Golat at mgolat@gannett.com.

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