State Rep. John Damoose of Harbor Springs, fourth from right, presents a legislative tribute to leadership of Stafford’s Hospitality, including founders Janice and Stafford Smith, second and third from right, at the Perry Hotel in Petoskey on Friday, Nov. 12, in recognition of the hotel and restaurant company’s 60th anniversary.
State Rep. John Damoose on Friday honored four local organizations in Petoskey, all celebrating anniversaries of 50 years or more.
Damoose, of Harbor Springs, presented legislative tributes marking each occasion to Willson’s Garden Center, Crooked Tree Arts Center, Little Traverse Civic Theatre and Stafford’s Hospitality.
“At these time-honored organizations, people have contributed so much to the local culture and economy,” Damoose said. “Family businesses like Willson’s Garden Center and Stafford’s Hospitality, as well as cultural institutions like Crooked Tree Arts Center and Little Traverse Civic Theatre, help make Northern Michigan communities such spectacular places to live or visit.”
Damoose recognized the 100th anniversary of Willson’s Garden Center. In 1921, O.D. Willson and his wife first entered the plant sales industry, and the Willson family still runs the garden center today.
The 50th anniversary of Crooked Tree Arts Center, which offers performances, exhibits and classes related to various art forms, such as visual arts and dance, was also honored by Damoose. The organization was formed in 1971 by several local residents to support artistic creation and appreciation in the community. Crooked Tree also has a location in Traverse City, which it acquired through a merger in 2015.
Little Traverse Civic Theatre performed its first play in 1946, and Damoose recognized its 75th anniversary. The theater works closely with Crooked Tree Arts Center and currently leases space at its building.
In 1961, Stafford and Janice Smith acquired the Bay View Inn, and the family-owned business they founded, Stafford’s Hospitality, now operates several hotels and restaurants in Petoskey, Bay View and the surrounding area. Damoose joined the Smith family and other members of the company’s leadership to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Damoose said Nikki Devitt, president of the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, helped coordinate the tribute presentations.
“I would like to thank Nikki for raising awareness and helping recognize these milestones,” Damoose said. “The chamber is an asset for so many businesses in the community.”
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