Magical Mackinac: The gifts of the island continue to surprise

This guest blog was written and provided by Micah Paldino, Owner and Creative Director at Threads of Mackinac

At the end of each season, I’m reminded of what a special year it’s been for our team at Threads of Mackinac. We’ve been fortunate to have a strong roster of employees who believe in our mission of supplying inspired design to the locals and visitors who flock to Mackinac Island each year.

I’ve also been reflecting on recent conversations with our fellow business owners during what was a very busy season. There are always unique challenges to operating a business on an island, but the conversation equally goes to the beauty of Mackinac Island. It seems every corner of this little island offers something a little different and extra special.

As a kid, my family spent time visiting our Aunt Evelyn in Bellaire, Mich. for 1-2 weeks and took short day trips to area towns. I was a shy, 11-year-old boy who just loved the water. Skiing, swimming, skipping rocks and catching crawdads were my quintessential summer activities.

One day, my mother, Joyce, suggested to the family that we visit Mackinac Island and check it out. To be honest: my sister and I weren’t too pleased, we wanted to stay on the lake and swim, but my mother is a good saleswoman and we went with the flow. What unfurled from that trip was purely magical and we could see that Mom was sold. Soon after, my mother trekked up to Mackinac Island each summer and ended up working for 9 seasons for Mackinac Island Carriage Tours at the front desk in the operations office. She savored every second of working with her new and old friends on the island each year.

My path to working on Mackinac Island started with simple observations and thoughts about what I may be able to contribute. As the owner of PB&J, a public relations and creative storytelling firm, I’m always keeping my eyes open and looking for opportunities to express my creativity. The origins of the tourist t-shirt shop interested me. It’s a tried-and-true tradition to grab a souvenir, and I wanted to infuse a new vision for what it could be — a store that represents the spirit of Mackinac Island and celebrates all the experiences that can’t be sold in a store, through inspired design.

A man jumps in front of Mackinac Island’s Threads of Mackinac storefront window with a bicycle in the foreground
Photo by Katharine Rose Witt

Soon came our vision for Threads Of Mackinac, a venture filled with unbridled creativity, originality and a lot of passion.

Some of you might remember our little shop on Astor Street where the ‘floors had a lot of Mackinac character,’ or some of you may have just discovered us at our new Threads of Mackinac location on Mackinac Island’s Main Street.

Meeting all of you has been one of the gifts I never projected to impact me so much. We now have families who come each year and grab some new Threads: for the kiddos who have grown out of their ‘Icon’ t-shirt and for their parents who want a hoodie to remember the time they shared together.

That’s Mackinac Island: we all get a slice of it to savor and remember those magical moments of life, and at the end of the day it’s the stories and memories that we make together that matter more than the clothes on our backs.

A couple with two children stand by a white picket fence in front of a cottage on Mackinac Island

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