Coming Home: Josh Kozicki had a Grand plan

April 21, 2014

Coming Home. An MCP Special Series.

Many people have traveled the world and have had life experiences that their hometowns could never offer them, but many of those people are choosing to leave those grand ventures behind to move back to their roots in search of a slower paced lifestyle. Mason County Press’ Kate Krieger meets up with some of these individuals who have decided to return home and is telling their personal stories in the series “Coming Home.”

If you want to learn more about the opportunities there are here at home, check out Talent Connect Ludington on Friday, May 9 at The Mitten Bar in downtown Ludington. See more details here.

Josh Kozicki, left, and his dad, Dave, at the Grand.

Josh Kozicki, left, and his dad, Dave, at the Grand.

By Kate Krieger. MCP Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – It was Riverton Township native Josh Kozicki’s plan to leave Mason County to attend Grand Valley State University, gain employment and not return. He didn’t expect that returning home would lead him to his biggest and best venture to date.

Josh was born and raised in Mason County and attended Ludington Area Catholic School and Ludington Area Schools. When he wasn’t enjoying all the outdoor luxuries that Riverton Township had to offer as a child, he was gaining life experiences working at his parents’ restaurant, The Grand, located in downtown Ludington. Josh’s parents, Dave and Michelle purchased the restaurant in 1983 and have owned it ever since. It has become quite the busy establishment in locals’ and tourists’ eyes alike.

Josh says that taking over his parents’ business was always something he wanted to do, but as a kid he didn’t think it was going to be possible.

“My parents always told us they were going to sell it when they retired,” he says. “I didn’t think I was going to get the chance.”

Spending thousands of hours in the restaurant as a kid, Josh finally graduated from high school and left the area to attend Grand Valley as a business management major. He said most weekends he would still return home to work at The Grand.

“I would come home on the weekends because I could bartend and wait tables here and make more money than at school,” he says. “It was another way I could stay connected to the restaurant.”

He worked during the week as a lab technician at Grand Valley and he was positive he was going to gain a job as part of Grand Valley’s staff until he discovered his current boss was retiring, leaving another to receive the job that he had been planning on receiving.

“I really didn’t like it down there (Allendale/Grand Rapids),” he says. “No one was very friendly and I needed to get out of there and come back home.”

Returning in 2007, Josh started to realize everything he had been taking for granted for so long.

“There really wasn’t anything to do in Grand Rapids,” he says. “I’m an outdoors person. There was no lake or anything. Growing up in Riverton we had endless miles of space to do things.”

Working for his brother Adam’s landscaping business once he returned, he also continued to pick up shifts at The Grand.

“I was trying to get my foot in the door,” he says. “I really wanted to take over my parents’ place.”

In 2010, he finally got the news that he had been hoping for his entire life. His parents were going to let him start to take over The Grand, so he could call it his own someday. He said that if he would have stayed in Grand Rapids and received the position at Grand Valley, things probably would have ended up a lot differently, but he’s glad that he made the choice to come back home.

“Everywhere you go around here, you know someone,” Josh says. “I really took for granted a lot of things, the beach, the outdoors and the state park.”

As he continues to assist his parents in managing The Grand, Josh gets to enjoy all the aspects of his hometown that he once thought he would probably never come back to, but he’s sure glad the got the opportunity to return.

“There’s just so much more for me to do here,” he says. “Even out in Riverton, you can walk outside and pick an apple right off a tree and eat it. You couldn’t do that in Grand Rapids and I really missed all of that.”

 

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