FLINT, MI — It’s been a tough year for just about every industry. In Genesee County, some new businesses were able to emerge, while others closed in 2020.
Take a look at how the year played out for some of the businesses:
Closed: Krystal Joe’s Diner
The owner of a longtime restaurant in Flint, apex legends wont start known for its delicious breakfast and strong ties to the community, is selling the business after 13 years.
Owner Tony Tucker is in the process of selling Krystal Jo’s Diner to Aaron Sajdak after operating it for 13 years. A combination of a new job and COVID-19 related issues, prompted Tucker to sell the business.
Sajdak plans to reopen the business under a new name that pays homage to Flint in the New Year.
Open: Hilton Hotel
The Hilton Garden Inn, a $37.9 million, 11-story hotel in the downtown area, opened in November. Sauce Italian American Kitchen and Bar, a restaurant attached to the Hilton, also opened.
The former 1920s-era Genesee County Savings Bank building, 110 W. Kearsley St., sat vacant for two decades before it was transformed into a hotel.
City and project leaders have said the new development will bring a resurgence to the area.
A Flint Township burger joint owned by chef Paul Wahlberg and his brothers, actors Mark and Donnie, closed its doors for good on Dec. 24.
Wahlburgers, located at Outdoor Village at Genesee Valley Center, 4372 Miller Road, closed in part, because of struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
General Manager Rob Gill said the business is actively searching for a new location within Genesee County that will better fit its customers.
A Flint Township-based warehousing, packaging and distribution company expanded its business at a former Lowe’s building, 2100 T A Mansour Boulevard.
NorthGate, the more than 35-year-old company headquartered at G3367 Corunna Road, planned to generate 20-120 jobs with the new expansion.
Opening: Ashley Home Furniture store
A property owner has plans to redevelop a Target store that’s been closed since 2016 into a warehouse and retail outlet for Ashley Home Furniture.
Ribhi Judah, chief executive officer of J&S, has already opened Ashley stores in Lansing and Flint Township and proposes to use the Flint property as a retail outlet store, warehouse and distribution center.
The company expects to hire locally for customer service, sales, management, warehouse and housekeeping positions. In all, more than 50 employees are expected to work from the site.
The store is expected to open before the year ends.
Alex Witkowski, former professional dirt biker, opened a Culver’s restaurant, 4034 Miller Road, in Flint Township. Witkowski and his business partner, Ross Fernandez, opened the business in October.
The restaurant employees 40 people, including six managers.
The menu features the signature ButterBugrers, frozen custard, seafood sandwiches and dinners, soups salads, value baskets and more.
Open: Lume Cannabis Company
Owosso’s first recreational marijuana retailer, Lume Cannabis Company at 116 N. Washington St., opened at the beginning of the year.
The store sells flower, pre-rolls, edibles and concentrates, according to the company’s website.
Skymint, located at 4405 W Pierson Road, in Mount Morris Township opened in August.
The business started off as a medical marijuana provisioning center, and recently began selling recreational marijuana. Products in the store range from medical marijuana to CBD, t-shirts, cookbooks, lotion and even dog treats.
Open: Comma Bookstore and Social Hub
The Comma Bookstore and Social Hub at the corner of Buckham Alley and 2nd Street opened this fall.
Owner Egypt Otis opened the business with the intention of creating a space that reflects Flint’s community. Egypt also designed the bookstore to highlight Black and brown authors, creators and culture. The social hub aspect of the space is used to have discussions and events.
Magnificlips was open for just one week before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The downtown Flint business was shuttered for months before it reopened its doors this fall. The new business is a space for people to get their cut, and the community to check out the locally-made art.
We’reDough at 5349 Fenton Road, in Grand Blanc Township, opened in June.
The business specializes in edible cookie dough made with heat-treated flour and pasteurized eggs. The bakery also offers multiple unique and classic cookie flavors, pastries and natural breads, as well as hand-dipped ice cream.
See what businesses opened or closed in 2020 in Saginaw, Bay and Midland counties
New Flint bookstore will strive to be hub for Black authors