From Eagle Herald - 2020 Article by Mike Desotell
The Gustman family created the plaza from swampy, tall grass and weeds 50 years ago. Since then, a wide variety of businesses have come and gone, each reflecting our changing times. Tempo, McCrory's, Team Electronics, Boy Blue, BJ's Men's Shop, Merle Norman, Quentmeyer's, Fabs and Mode 'O Day. Those are just some of the store names of the past from the M&M Plaza in Menominee.
Those stores are long gone from the scene and over the years others have also come and gone. Wells Fargo Bank is the only original tenant from day one, but back then it was the 1st National Bank.
Walking through the mall today is not like it was in its heyday. There was a lot of hustle and bustle going on and not just at Christmastime. Today it may seem like a ghost town. But don't write off the old mall just yet.
For nearly its entire 40-year history the plaza has been owned by outside interests but that's no longer the case. About five years ago Keith and Barb Killen of Marinette decided to take a chance and purchased it from Comfort & Sons of New York.
"We understand it was the place to be in the '70s," said Barb Killen. "We'd like to try to get it back to that and take care of it and make it a community marketplace."
Right now the last section of the roof is being repaired and two businesses are getting ready to make an in-house move.
"We'll be next to Family Dollar and Jay Ihde Floor Covering," said Gregg Vincent, the manager of Rentall. "We'll also have higher visibility from the road."
Vincent said the new location will be one-and-half times the size of the current store.
Great Lakes Home Medical is moving where the former Laundromat used to be on the back side of the plaza.
The Killens are both excited by the changes taking place and there's much more to come. "We have renderings for what we want to do with the front of the plaza," said Barb as she pointed to a watercolor drawing in her office.
The facade development is expected to be done in phases over the next year or two.
"This mall in its day was great for people who wanted to shop indoors, one stop shopping and that type of thing," said Keith Killen. "Today the customer wants to be able to go to one store, get in, get out and have specific trips for things they're looking for."
Because of that, the large central walkway of the mall is being phased out. "There won't be the hallway as it exists today," he said. "So it won't really be a mall, it will be a shopping center where everyone will have their own access from the front."
Even with a dozen or so active businesses still in the mall, there's room for plenty more. "We have some leads that will be coming but right now we can't talk about it," said Barb.
Keith however shared just a little more about the changes inside. "We'll be starting work next to the supermarket (Angeli's). Now that we've relocated those two tenants (Rentall and Great Lakes Medical) and preparing for a larger tenant next to the supermarket. But that will be late next year."
CVS Pharmacy also plays a role in the plaza's future. "We're still moving forward with plans for the new store," said CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis. "We expect the store will be opened late in the first quarter of 2009."
The M&M Plaza is one of the first things you see as you enter Michigan from Wisconsin. "It's a great location," exclaimed Barb. "It's a very busy location central for both Marinette and Menominee."
When it comes to location, Keith said the M&M Plaza actually beats out the Pine Tree Mall in Marinette for traffic flow.
"The highest traffic count is right here at the plaza 23,900 versus any place else in the twin city area," said Keith. "It's the second highest traffic count in the U.P. actually."