Stevensville Big Boy can serve up an award
Restaurant Named Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce Business
of the year.
By JULIE SWIOWA - HP Staff Writer
Published: Wednesday January 27 2010
STEVENSVILLE - Since buying the Big Boy Restaurant in
Stevensville 20 years ago, the owners have nearly doubled the
workforce, spent a half-million dollars on improvemens and made
their mark in a community they've grown to love.
The accompoishments earned Big Boy the Lakeshore Chamer of
Commerce's business of the Year Award. Owners David Hunt and accepted the award at the
Chamber's annual meeting and 40th aniversity celelration Thursday night at Tabor Hill Winery in Buchanan.
Hunt lives in Lansing and owns Big Boy Restaurants in St. Johns, Mason and Stevensville. He retired from
Elias Brothers Restaurants Inc. (now called Big Boy International) 21 years ago and bought his first restaurant
in St. Johns after that.
He and Mr. Smith bought the Stevensville restaurant in Decembear 1999.
"I'm a Lakeshore fan now," said Smith, a 1975 graduate of St. Joseph High School. He lives in Portage and also
owns Big Boy restaurants in South Haven and Wayland.
Hunt said when the two bought the restaurant in Stevensville it emloyed about 30 people. Over the past decade
the workforce has grown to 50, and the owners have invested a half-million dollars in a new roof, new heating and
cooling system and interior remodeling.
But one thing has not changed - the family atomosphere featuring modestly priced meals ranging from$3.99
breakfasts to $9.99 dinners.
Theres nothing over $10.00, "Hunt said." The last year has been tough, but sales have remained strong, I think
because we cater to the right segment of people. We're not high priced. We're a family restaurant.
Located just off 94, the restaurant is the first Big Boy coming into Michigan from Illinois. This chain,
headquartered in Warren, has 115 restaurants in Michigan.
The Big Boy in Stevensville went smoke-free 2003 long before state and local smoke-free laws entered the picture.
"It was a scary thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. I looked around one day and saw so many kids and
families," Hunt said. "We lost a few customers but we gained more. And it was a great incentive for employees not to smoke."
Lakeshore Chamber of CommerceBoard President Griffin Cox said the local Big Boy also excels in investments in the
community through various projects, including the popular Celebrity Server Night.
The owners and workers participate in and suport evens such as Blossomtime, Relay for Life, Operation Can Do,
area music and athletic programs and events put on by Least We Forget.