11 Amazing Things Happening in Downtown Alpena

Many of our downtown businesses are closed for the next few weeks, following the state’s orders and keeping their employees and customers safe.

Even though downtown is quiet right now, there are still a lot of amazing things that have happened recently or are in the works! We thought we’d share some of those with you to get excited to visit Downtown Alpena again once we’re all back open again for business.

1.Hair by Ellie has moved into its new location on Second Ave. Last week, Ellie, whose salon was previously located in Suite Salon Spa, had moved into its new location at 121 N. Second Ave. 


2. Alpena Therapeutic Massage has expanded to the Center Building. Previously located in Suite Salon Spa as well, Alpena Therapeutic Massage moved to its new location this month on the second floor of the Center Building. In addition to the move, its owner Paige announced they would be partnering with Higgins Family Chiropractic (also located in the Center Building), and had added a new team member, Jason Bacchus.

3. Artbox hosted their soft opening. Artbox is a new community arts center located at 104 N. Second Ave. (previous location of As You Wish). Artbox will offer three main categories of service: collective supplies, collaborative space, and community support. In addition to these services, Artbox is planning on offering food through its simple and minimalist cafe called Lunchbox. Read our blog post about Artbox here. 

4. Downtown is getting ready for a new mural. Applications recently closed for the second year of Fresh Waves, a public art project launched in 2019 by the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The DDA is in the process of reviewing artist and location applications and should have announcement this spring about where this year’s mural will be located and who will be painting it. Learn more about Fresh Waves here.

5. Work on Red Brick Tap & Barrel continues. If you’ve been downtown recently, you will have noticed the ongoing work on the previous Dry Dock property, located around the corner from Cabin Creek on River Street. Keep updated on the progress here.


6. Huron Pines now has an office in downtown. Huron Pines, an environmental nonprofit organization based in Gaylord, has made a second home in Alpena where it will continue directing its conservation focus toward communities along the Lake Huron coastline. Three new employees are located at the new office at 122 W. Chisholm St.

7. Downtown has some new retail, too. Over the last few months, some new storefronts have opened downtown:

  • Parallel 45 Books & Gift (106 N. Second Ave, previous location of Blue Phoenix Books). Locally and independently owned bookstore.
  • Chippewa Valley Mercantile (210 N. Second Ave). Custom hand-crafted leather goods and unique vintage clothing finds. Leather goods include belts, bags, jewelry, and more.
  • Alpena Vintage Company (200 N. Second Ave). Retro, vintage, and antique clothes, accessories, homewares, and more.

8. Downtown merchants are collaborating even more. From the new Hot Cocoa Crawl (hosted this February and organized by Rusty Petunias Marketplace) to the upcoming season of Art Walks, we are seeing downtown business owners collaborate in even more ways to host events and support each other. Stay up-to-date with downtown events here. 

9. Chippewa Valley Mercantile is making cloth masks for those in need. With the store closed, they have been making two- layer cloth facemasks with a pocket to add a filter for friends and family in need and are now giving them to customers who have autoimmune, asthma or are in another at risk category. While they are not medical grade, they do limit exposure.

10. Kindness is prevailing in downtown. Yesterday on social media, Cabin Creek Coffee shared a story about an anonymous customer who purchased gift cards to be used at the coffeeshop’s discretion to customers who needed them. Cabin Creek forwarded the kindness along by providing meals to firefighters, first responders, and staff at the area’s medical center. Read the post here. 

11. Downtown businesses are offering their products and services online. While many downtown businesses have temporarily closed their doors, many are offering their services, classes, or products online, such as:

View our full list of how to support downtown businesses in this time here.

Is there anything we missed? What are you looking forward to most to explore and visit in downtown over the next few months? Let us know by dropping a line in the comments.

We hope to see you downtown soon– in the meantime, stay safe and healthy!


Anne Gentry is Executive Director of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Make sure to follow the blog on facebook and instagram for more articles and updates about Downtown Alpena.

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