The Spirit of Kalamazoo
The Spirit of Kalamazoo opened in September of 2011 by Andrew and Kathleen Widner. This marked the completion of a one year planning process that was aided by the Small Business Development & Technology Center (SBDTC) at WMU and also the Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. Incubator program.
“We were impressed with the improvements we witnessed in Downtown Kalamazoo over the past 20 years. Downtown has gotten more venues, stores and restaurants and has really become a destination,” relayed Andy Widner. The Widners saved money for investment and decided to be a part of the positive things happening downtown. Andy has a finance background, having spent 20 years in the banking industry, and Kathleen has spent over 20 years in marketing and public relations. The last member of the team for opening the store was Martha Serafini, who added her artistic talents and retail experience to the group.
The Spirit of Kalamazoo’s goal is to provide an inviting venue where everyone is welcome to enjoy Plainwell Ice Cream year-round or to browse the wide selection of Kalamazoo and Michigan-themed products. “We have tried to make the store and patio visually interesting, while offering friendly service and unique products at fair prices,” said the Widners.
“Our greatest satisfaction in this store has been all the friends and customers that we have met while learning the ropes of a new business. We truly appreciate our community support and welcome comments and feedback. We know Downtown Kalamazoo has a lot to offer and gets better every day. We are excited to be a part of it.”
As business owners and community members, we feel strongly about the importance of a strong vibrant community that takes care of its own. Since opening the store in September 2011, The Spirit of Kalamazoo, in partnership with its generous customers, has donated more than $10,000 in cash, merchandise and services to local charities. We believe in giving back to groups or individuals that are in need. These organizations are chosen based on customer and staff input.
“Our greatest satisfaction in this store has been all the friends and customers that we have met through our business."
Andy and Kathleen Widner, Owners