New store offers legendary Ludington

July 10, 2014

ludington_legendsBy Kate Krieger. Senior Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – When Barry Neal and Chris VanWyck came up with the idea to start Ludington Legends, they knew that they wanted a business that wasn’t just aimed at towards tourists. They wanted something that encompassed the Ludington lifestyle that could be embraced and supported by the locals as well.

Neal is owner of House of Flavors Restaurant while VanWyck is a graphic artist and marketing expert.

Ludington Legends is located at 322 W. Ludington Avenue in downtown Ludington, in the old Cole’s Antiques Villa building. Jerry and Sally Cole recently moved their business to downtown Scottville.

Ludington Legends highlights some of the legendary local businesses including House of Flavors, Todd and Brad Reed Photography, Lake Michigan Carferry among others and features work from a lot of different Ludington natives as well. From apparel, photographs, accessories and more, the store serves as a sort of hub of the community and what area businesses have to offer. Open from 11:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, Neal and VanWyck wanted to have store hours that weren’t only unique, but that catered to the times when people were actually out on the town, shopping, eating and exploring.

“A lot of sweat equity went into getting this started,” manager Sherry Craig said. “We’re not just a souvenir shop that is just catering to the tourists, we want to serve locals as well.”

VanWyck agreed that Ludington Legends is really set up to service and support all the different goods and services of the tri-county area of Mason, Manistee and Oceana counties.

“The focus of the shop is ‘Legendary Ludington’”, he said. “Part of it is Ludington, but we also want to support the up and comers in the area.”

The store’s tagline is “Ludington Legends: Cottage, Culture and Couture” and VanWyck, Neal and Craig all stand behind the idea of that tagline and what to offer the community a place where someone can experience all things local and where the locals contributing to the store feel a true presence in their own work or business representation.

The store will also be offering a full online e-commerce presence this fall, where anyone can go online and shop for different products and services offered from Ludington Legends.

Neal is also incorporating his Love Ludington Rentals in to the store, by offering downtown Ludington condo rentals to anyone looking for a place to stay and a great experience. He said the rental side of the business is really growing and many different owners are showing a lot of interest in offering rentals and bringing more people into the community. He is also hoping that the business will continue to grow into something that is more than just rentals, but as a way to promote and brand the different Ludington businesses and services, so that tourists and locals a like have a way of discovering and connecting with a wide variety of goods and services offered around the area all year long.

Neal and VanWyck are very excited about all the possibilities that Ludington Legends could grow into and offer the tri-county area.

“We are just two guys who see an opportunity in the area,” VanWyck said. “We have seen a lot of good community support and we’re both very excited about it and to see it grow. It has a lot of potential.”

The plan is to have a lot of rotating retail options in the store throughout the year, with different items getting added to it as the business continues to flourish. Neal and VanWyck really hope that the idea of the store becomes more and more popular among other local business and that more and more people start to promote their product to the locals as well as the tourists.

“Our hope is that there is that rising tide theory will happen,” VanWyck said. “We would really love to see people follow suite.”

For basically an idea that was born and produced in just over a few months time, Neal and VanWyck are very happy with what they have seen so far come from Ludington Legends and they hope that it will continue to support all those who work and play in the Ludington and tri-county area.

“We jumped on it very quickly and the next you knew this was born,” VanWyck said. “Our main goal is to make Ludington a beautiful place filled with people.”