GRAWN – It’s still a couple hours until opening, but a buzz is already reverberating through Incredible Mo’s.
It’s not the sounds of thundering bowling pins or ringing arcade games normally associated with the family-fun recreation center. It’s the sound of children – playing, running, expending their boundless energy. And of adults – talking, reminding and cautioning as parents and grandparents do.
That’s how it is for at least a couple days a week at Incredible Mo’s, where owners Chris and Sandra Mohrhardt opens their business for two community play groups that are part of the 5toONE network of Neighborhood Centers. It’s a place where local families can bring their children for childcare activities and learning – just one of the ways that Mohrhardt uses his business to give back to his neighbors.
“We knew it was an opportunity to bring families together,” said Mohrhardt, who worked with Great Start Collaborative Traverse Bay officials last year to open a play group for the Grawn area at the business during the morning when it’s normally closed. It’s been so popular with local families, they opened it up as temporary home for the Interlochen play group as well.
“As soon as we started to talk about it, it was a no brainer for us,” he said. “It seemed like it lined up really well with our beliefs – it’s lined up with our mission.”
The Mohrhardts have also worked with local social service agencies including Child & Family Services of Northwest Michigan, Goodwill Industries and Michael’s Place to host hundreds of free birthday parties for underprivileged families through a program called the Incredible Birthday Party Project.
The Mohrhardts’ 35,000-square foot facility, located between US-31 and West Silver Lake Rd. on Silver Lake Crossings Blvd., has also become a home of sorts for Chamber events. It hosted a Business After Hours event shortly after its opening, and the monthly Chamber after-work networking event will return there again next Wednesday, March 15. It’s a perfect opportunity for him to showcase his operation to other business people.
“It’s a great sampling event to get in front of the business community…to be able to showcase who we are,” he said. Other business people have an opportunity to enjoy the venue and gauge it as a potential location for their own business gathering, retreat, holiday party or just some family fun. And there’s plenty of fun for children of all ages, including a state-of-the-art bowling center, a large gaming arcade, a laser tag area, a separate play area for youngsters (where the early childhood gatherings take place), and a full-service restaurant called Sauce.
Mohrhardt said he also finds value in the Chamber by taking part in other events, including the annual Business Expo each November where he can promote his business to even more potential customers.
“The Business Expo is one of our favorite events of the year,” he said. “It’s another opportunity to showcase our business to a whole different group of people.”
He’s adding even more to his full plate following his purchase last fall of another Chamber business – Pangea’s pizzeria and restaurant on Front St. in downtown Traverse City. He’s planning a significant upgrade to the business later this year including construction of a rooftop deck at the business, overlooking both Front Street and the Boardman River. He’ll also add an indoor bar and some additional seating at the popular eatery.
Thanks Chris for your continued support of the community and the Chamber.