SPRING LAKE TWP. — Wine and craft beer have replaced Whoppers and Croissan'wiches at the former Burger King restaurant, east of Spring Lake.
Dave Blagg recently opened Bell's 104, an upscale craft beer, wine and liquor store at 15549 Cleveland St.
Previously, Blagg operated Bell's in Ferrysburg, across the street from Fifth Third Bank. He closed that location last month.
Blagg and employee Adam Zeigler built all of the displays and countertops in the Spring Lake Township location, using walnut, dark maple, light maple, tigerwood and builder's-grade hardwoods.
The décor is receiving rave reviews from customers, Blagg said. So are the offerings, according to Blagg. He said 75 percent of the wine he carries are small production lines that nobody else in the area offers. He's also willing to order anything that customers may desire.
“We have the typical mainstays you see anywhere else around here, but we have more niche type of wines,” Blagg said. “We're not your typical what everybody up here calls a party store. We're more of a wine and craft store. Yes, we do have liquor and domestic, but we're heavy in the wine and craft department.”
Bell's will also offer tasting in the near future.
“The overall goal, it doesn't matter what day you walk in, we may have a bottle of wine open for you to try, or a bottle of beer open for you to try," he said.
Blagg said he learned of a woman in New Jersey who operated a bourbon liquor store. If someone was interested in an expensive product, and she had more than one bottle in stock, she would open the bottle for the customer to sample.
“I can't do that with liquor, but with wine for sure,” Blagg said. “One thing I've learned is taste-testing sells whatever it is you're taste-testing. We didn't have the ability to do that in Ferrysburg.”
Blagg worked in landscaping for 16 years in the Kansas City area until his wife, Holly, got recruited for a job in West Michigan. They moved here a decade ago.
Blagg's grandfather had nicknamed Holly “Hollybell.” That's where the Bell's name originated when the couple opened their Ferrysburg store.
When the former Burger King location became available, Blagg seized the opportunity.
“We wanted to be in Spring Lake,” he said. “We looked at the old butcher's building (at the southeast corner of Lake and Savidge streets), but decided it was probably on the wrong side of the road for us.”
Bell's 104 also sells Michigan-made snacks and craft sodas. Firewood is also for sale.
“I had firewood at the Ferrysburg store and it sold well because we keep it inside where it's dry,” Blagg said.
Bell's 104 is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.