Category: Business

‘Everybody is family’ at longtime Traverse City retailer

Long before Lauren Golden began working with customers at Golden Shoes three summers ago, her grandfather and great-grandfather were the community’s go-to experts for footwear. And long before that, going all the way back to the 19th century, the building where she helps customers find the right fit for their feet has been a shoe store.

For generations, 122 E. Front St. in Traverse City has been the place people come for quality shoes and excellent customer service.

It’s in the DNA of the place – and the people.

“Locals love to come back because they know the employees,” said Lauren, 17. “We treat them like the family community that we have here. It’s one big community.”

Welcome to Golden Shoes, as pure an example of local, Michigan retailing as there is. Golden Shoes operates in the same building as the business did in 1883 and it plans to be there far into the future, too.

Although you can find shoes in less personal ways in this day and age, Golden Shoes continues to thrive with a family atmosphere that provides the ultimate customer service and expertise.

For example, the store recently welcomed back a customer who moved to New Orleans. Since the family had outfitted each of their first five daughters with a first pair of shoes from Golden Shoes, they wanted to do the same for their new baby girl. So, they came all the way back to Golden Shoes this summer!

“That’s a tradition,” said Bill Golden, Lauren’s dad, who runs the business with his older brother, Craig. “Golden Shoes is a tradition.

“You can go anywhere and buy anything nowadays, but it’s still the experience of walking into the store and somebody recognizing you that brings people back here.”

Like a lot of family-owned local retailers, Golden Shoes has a long history. The store’s heritage goes back to the 1883 founding of Friedrich Shoes at 122 E. Front St. in one of the original buildings in downtown Traverse City.

Lauren’s grandfather, also named Bill, and her great-grandfather, Nathaniel, bought the store in 1954, long before her father was even born. It has been in the Golden family ever since, with Lauren’s dad, Bill, and her uncle, Craig, now running the business.

Through the years, many employees have become part of the family business. Members of the Golden family, for sure, but also many other people who now are part of the Golden Shoes family.

For some, working at Golden Shoes has literally become a family affair. When Tiffany Edge sought a job after 15 years as a stay-at-home mom, she looked to Golden Shoes where her mother, Shelly Edge, has worked since 2004. Even Tiffany’s daughter worked at Golden Shoes until recently moving out of state.

“I’ve stayed at Golden Shoes because of the family and the owners,” Tiffany Edge said. “They’re a good family to work for. They treat us with respect.”

Beyond the employees, the customers, too, are part of the Golden Shoes family. Employees greet customers by name and try to make sure everybody gets welcomed as they come in the door. It’s a more personal experience than shopping at a mall, or online.

“We can measure, and they don’t get that online where they play the shipping game back and forth,” Shelly Edge said. “We’re here to help people find what they need and fit them, and we take the time to do so. It’s not just ‘Here’s your shoes. Help yourself.’ We would never do that.

“We’re here to the do the No. 1 job for you, take care of you step by step. It’s nice to make people happy.”

As a result, Golden Shoes has customers in northern Michigan, New Orleans and all over the country, even from around the world. And they come back, again and again. “We see the same faces over and over,” Shelly Edge said.

“We’re very honest and tell them what they need,” Tiffany Edge said. “They appreciate that. Not only do they love that the business is very family oriented, they’re very appreciative of the service we give.”

Likewise, after nearly 140 years, Golden Shoes is appreciative of the Traverse City community. That’s why the business gives back to the community. Bill Golden, for example, has been a part of the Downtown Development Authority for the past eight years, helping to ensure that downtown Traverse City remains vibrant.

Golden Shoes also sponsors the annual Traverse City Cherry Festival and participates in Boots for Kids, a charitable program that provides winter boots to children. The children get measured to make sure they get a good-fitting pair of boots so they can go outside and play during the winter.

Whether it’s fitting kids from families in need with winter boots or store customers with the latest in footwear fashions, what makes Golden Shoes special is that employees take time to fit their customers and make sure they get the right shoe – whatever the customer’s unique needs may be.

“I love meeting people from all over, and it’s great when they fall in love with a shoe,” Lauren Golden said. “As they put on a really good shoe that is good for their foot, they instantly fall in love.”

Lauren Golden has one more year of high school, then plans to go to college. But whether she ends up in the shoe business long term or not, Golden Shoes is guaranteed to stay in the family.

As Bill Golden likes to say, “everybody that’s here is my family.”

Michigan Post-Acute Rehab Centers Transform Perception with Resort-Like Amenities

Wellbridge Rehab Center_dessert

After undergoing a back surgery, Kris Tangeman needed post-acute care for several weeks, leading to the Howell woman’s discovery that once she experienced rehabilitation at a WellBridge center, there’s no going back.

“Let me tell you, they were just superb,” said Tangeman, who praised the staff and the therapy department. “I’m in this industry, I’m an LPN (licensed practical nurse) and, I mean, they’re just excellent. I would absolutely recommend WellBridge.”

WellBridge has been setting the standard of care between hospital and home in Michigan since 2013. The centers are transforming the perception of what short-term rehabilitation and nursing care can be with resort-like amenities and a focus on a hospitality model of service.

“We are geared towards people,” said Julie Ryan, who is WellBridge’s Vice President of Business Development and Director of Managed Care. “Unlike institutional-style nursing homes, WellBridge guests receive more than just exceptional nursing care and rehabilitation.  With chef-prepared meals, Tempur-Pedic mattresses, and massage therapy, some guests don’t want to leave.  WellBridge is the future of post-hospital  care.”

“As soon as you enter, you know it’s different. There is WB’s Bistro serving Starbucks, there’s a salon, and mostly private suites – so it’s more like a hotel experience and much more than what you’d expect to experience at a rehabilitation center.”

With eight centers in Southeast Michigan and 840 beds for those in need, WellBridge is outpacing the competition. The care centers offer short-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. WellBridge care centers are located in:

While WellBridge touts its one-of-a-kind guest experience, Ryan and others say the focus remains on care and recovery. WellBridge’s facilities are preferred providers of many hospital systems, earning referrals based on positive patient outcomes. The centers have around the clock care from registered nurses and nursing assistants.

The government’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recognize the care WellBridge offers by issuing high ratings for each of the centers on a 5-star scale. WellBridge has an average score of 4.5 stars, which Ryan says is well above the rating for other post-acute care providers in Michigan.

A former guest who stayed at WellBridge after a knee replacement said she could not have chosen a better center for her recovery.

“They are fabulous, fantastic,” she said. “Wellbridge is a rehabilitation center, we know that, but it feels like a million-star hotel. I cannot praise it enough!”

WellBridge centers, all of which have been built since 2013, have state-of-the-art equipment including a NASA-inspired anti-gravity treadmill and other cutting-edge therapies that speed a return home, Ryan said. Each WellBridge location also offers several suites for people in need of long-term nursing care.

David Sires said he moved his mother, who is battling Parkinson’s disease, into WellBridge of Brighton after the condition progressed to the point that she needed more than assisted living. The full-time care at WellBridge was exceptional, he said.

“The people that work there, I call them God’s little angels because they have patience and understanding I’ve never even seen,” he said. “If your mother or father have a chronic illness and need care, I highly recommend WellBridge.”

Visit WellBridge’s website today to learn more about Michigan’s best rehabilitation centers.

Don’t be a wedding procrastinator: What men should wear for every dress code

Libins MI Best Wedding

As the summer and fall wedding seasons come in to full swing, it is time for guys to begin planning their clothing choices to match the nuptial’s dress attire.

A wedding, as a reminder to all procrastinators, is not the time to wing it and toss together an outfit with what’s hanging in the closet at the last second. Social norms are to follow the event’s dress code and sport a look to impress. You don’t want to be the person in the wedding photos that sticks out like a sore thumb and incites immediate frustration from the wedding party.

There’s a standard formula and correlation of what guests should be wearing once you know the couple’s expectation, the wedding venue and the time of the ceremony.

Here’s how it breaks down and what wedding guests should look for when shopping:

Black-tie weddings

While it’s not every guy’s garment game, black-tie weddings are the easiest to dress for and offer no leeway with your fashion choices. These are the most elegant affairs and generally take place in late afternoon or evenings. The formal look demands a black tuxedo, a sharp white shirt and a black bow tie paired with a black vest and black leather shoes. Dress your best, and keep it simple yet sophisticated

Formal or black-tie optional weddings

These wedding dress codes can be a bit concerning as it is somewhat ambiguous on what to wear, but the best rule to follow is you don’t want to be underdressed. It’s better to go high-style and carry a crisp, modern look. Tuxedos or suits should be dark-hued and matched with a white, neutral or soft-colored dress shirt. Feel free to express some flair with a vest, tie or bow tie. There is a general guideline to go darker with your colors as the later the celebration starts. Shoes are wide open to individual preference as long they match the outfit.

Semi-formal weddings

Many summer weddings fall into this category as the seasonal vibe leans toward a more relaxed and comfortable clothing expectation. There tends to be a middle ground here where it’s safe to dress down a touch, while it remains a bad idea to go completely casual. Plan to look as good or better than those around you. A conservative or dark suit and a solid tie is a classic, safe style that will work if the wedding you’re attending is in a church or you’re enjoying an outdoor venue. Black or tan shoes are the best option to accessorize the suit of your choice.

Casual wedding

Casual weddings are the most laid-back and open to interpretation, leaving the challenge of what’s casual and what’s smart to wear. Here are a couple of things not to do: Jeans or shorts. Those go too far toward casual. However, guests should feel free to dress down with khakis and a button-up dress shirt. You can opt for a polo-style short-sleeve and add a blazer if you’d like. Your shoe selection can vary from standard dress shoes to loafers. Skip the urge to go in sandals or flip-flops.

The final word

Three bottom line moves when it comes to wedding wear:

  • Don’t wait to find the right clothes.
  • Dress better than you think is necessary.
  • Seek help if you need it.


For more advice and ideas, visit Libins website or take a moment to talk to one of the store’s fitting professional to create your best look.

Great Lake-To-Lake Trail Inaugural Ride

Eric Hultgren talks to Bob Wilson and Andrea LaFontaine from Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance, about the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail’s inaugural ride, September 13-18. From fresh coast to fresh coast, South Haven to Port Huron, over 17 trails and 275 miles – watch the video below to learn more about the Great Lake-to-Lake Trail.

Military veterans get $100 off the registration for this inaugural ride.

The Great Lake-to-Lake inaugural ride takes place September 13-18, sign up at