Owners of downtown spirit shop next up in Entrepreneurship Series

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Kathleen and Andrew Widner

KALAMAZOO—Owners of a retail store that boasts local college apparel and gear will be the next presenters at October's Entrepreneurship Forum at Western Michigan University.

Andrew and Kathleen Widner, owners of The Spirit of Kalamazoo, will speak at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in 2150 Schneider Hall. The event is free and open to the public and begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (269) 387-5050 or at wmich.edu/business/e-rsvp. Free parking is available.

Established in September 2011 in downtown Kalamazoo, The Spirit of Kalamazoo is a nostalgic, fun retail store that offers apparel and merchandise for local colleges while serving 24 flavors of Plainwell Ice Cream. The 1,000-square-foot space stocks local T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, signs, mugs and other specialty items.

Andrew and Kathleen Widner

With the help of Downtown Kalamazoo Inc., an organization that provides comprehensive and coordinated services related to downtown development, along with The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center's consulting assistance, the Widners began exploring their idea of launching a combined walk-in ice cream parlor and spirit shop. Andrew's bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from WMU, along with Kathleen's background in public relations and marketing, served as a perfect combination to start the store.

The Entrepreneurship Forum is sponsored by Educational Community Credit Union and hosted by the Haworth College of Business.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/business/entrepreneurship-forum or call (269) 387-5050.

2013-14 Entrepreneurship Forum dates and speakers

  • Nov. 8: Joel Mueller, founder of MacUpdate
  • Dec. 6: Matthew Moersch, winemaker/distiller at Entente Spirits
  • Jan. 10: Dale Anderson, owner of Confections with Convictions
  • Feb. 14: Steve Hartmeier, president and CEO of Vestaron
  • March 14: Amy Proos, owner and CEO of Proos Manufacturing