By Eric Finkler
Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer
LANSING, MI – Wacousta residents poured their blood, sweat, and beer into a new business venture by creating a neighborhood microbrewery recently opening on August 26.
Celebrating the grand opening on Aug, 26, Dan and Sonia Buonodono helped renovate a long time empty building while supporting their entrepreneurial dream.
Prior to the opening of his microbrewery Dan was an avid home-brewer and worked in the state’s IT department with hopes of building a business.
“My dream,” Dan said, “was just like any other home-brewer’s dream, was to have somebody come into your place buy a pint of beer and say, ‘That’s a good beer.’”
For ten years, Dan and his wife Sonia had talked and planned their microbrewery so when it was finally time to begin, almost everything was in order. They went to Ed Reed, the Economic Development Coordinator of Delta Township with their plans.
Reed said he was surprised at the support EagleMonk got from the neighbors because typically pubs aren’t well received in residential neighborhoods. However, the Buonodonos made a great effort, Reed noted, to reach out to the community and qualm any fears or worries often associated with bars.
The effort Dan and Sonia put forth reaching out to the community impressed not only Ed Reed, but also Delta Township Trustee Barbara Poma who praised the couple’s thoroughness and helpfulness towards the community’s concern.
The empty building that the EagleMonk pub now occupies had been originally built in 1937 and has gone through many transformations. Originally a party store, it was turned into a grocery store, butcher’s shop, then had a three room apartment added on to the side and now it is a microbrewery and restaurant.
Dan worked on the building for 51 weeks with help from his friends and family to transform the building into a fully operating brewery and restaurant.
This included painting the walls and creating bigger bathrooms because the original, apartment sized restrooms weren’t large enough. While the bar was being renovated neighbors would stop in to see what was happening to the building that had been empty for some time.
Once it was finished, but before the grand opening, the Buonodonos threw a party for those who helped in its construction as a thank-you for their hard work as well as opening the doors to their neighbors to show all that had been done to the building.
As typical with many microbreweries EagleMonk, has a Mug Club with every mug being created by one of three local potters located around the towns of Mason and Wacousta.
Mug Clubs are a novelty business practice done by many microbreweries in order to maintain regular customers. A customer would purchase a mug of their choosing that will stay in the pub so whenever they come back they may drink out of it.
To help keep business flowing, the Buonodonos plan is to keep their beer flowing and that’s just what they’ll do.
Eric Finkler may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org