- Associated Press - Sunday, October 26, 2014

MANCELONA, Mich. (AP) - A combination of snowmobile trails, woods, waters and a state highway provide an ideal location for a small motel, said Lorna Malbouef, partner at Rapid River Motel.

The business is tucked midway between Kalkaska and Mancelona and has provided Dave Bodziak, 54, a steady living ever since he bought it 23 years ago. Malbouef, 52, joined the team 19 years ago. The motel wasn’t enough to keep the pair busy. For the last 16 years, Bodziak and Malbouef also have operated BoJack’s Bake Shop & Cafe in downtown Mancelona, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (https://bit.ly/1nxavtn ) reported.

“We’re one of the last mom-and-pop places left,” Bodziak said. “We are truly blessed. We have customers from 20 years ago who keep coming back.”

The two start their days early with a six-mile drive from their residence at the motel to the eatery in Mancelona. They bake doughnuts and pastries, then serve breakfast and lunch until 3:30 p.m. Another short commute brings them back home to all the chores associated with running a 12-room motel: doing laundry, making beds, cleaning rooms.

They staff the front desk through the evening, get some sleep, and then begin the daily cycle again. The chores and long hours come with the territory, said Malbouef.

“It’s a lifestyle we’ve chosen,” she said. “You can’t treat it like a job. It’s not all peaches and cream.”

But the two divergent businesses provide a good combination, said Malbouef, and allow them to work at their own pace in both atmospheres. The restaurant/bakery is open six days a week.

“It works out great. You adapt,” she said.

The varying seasons conspire to provide the two businesses with a strong clientele all year round. This year is no exception.

“This summer has been awesome at both places,” said Malbouef. “Now we’re getting the leaf peepers.”

Access to a network of snowmobile trails keeps the motel hopping and the cafe full of hungry people all winter. The only real lulls in business for the motel come after Labor Day and a few weeks in April, she said.

“Like everybody else, we usually take a hit in April,” Bodziak said.


Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, https://www.record-eagle.com

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