ALPENA – A new business opened in the small marina of Alpena is poised to offer unique food and drinks not found in most stores in the area.
The Cochon Gourmet Market offers convenient on-the-go products that are ideal for boaters, people visiting nearby parks, and anyone who wants to enjoy something a little out of the ordinary.
Owner Philippe Cabana said Cochon is a grocery mix that also has a small inventory of boating equipment and a visitor information center.
“Our main attraction are products that you wouldn’t normally find in a Walmart or a Meijer,” he said. “Much of it is made in Michigan, and we offer a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan, allergen-free products, so anyone with dietary restrictions can easily come and find something.”
Cabana and his family ran the business in Harbor Springs, before moving to Alpena in January. He said that since its soft opening last weekend, he believes the market and its products have been well received.
Although food and drink are the main products, Cabana said simple navigational products are at hand, as is fishing bait. He said the store will also have space for visitors to learn more about Alpena, its businesses and local attractions.
“There is a section of the store reserved for the town, the Alpena Town Center Development Authority and the library to disseminate information. I also slowly talk to local restaurants to get copies of their menus to have in store,” he said. “There will also be banners outside with pictures of what the marina looked like 100 years ago. We are trying to adapt this space to what the city is trying to do at the port.
Cabana said he hoped to acquire a liquor license so he could sell liquor. He said it would work well in the DDA’s social neighborhood, which allows people to drink alcohol outdoors in the neighborhood.
“People can come in for a few drinks and then go to the park or go back to their boats,” he said. “However, there will be no seating or alcohol served in the store.”
Since moving to Alpena, Cabana said he loves the area and so far people have been very supportive of his family. He said he was thrilled to be part of the community.
“Everything went well and everyone was welcoming,” Cabana said. “It’s been great so far.”