A former Quad-City hotel manager has traded his Mississippi River view for the Northwoods as he and his family embark on owning a quaint lodge and resort on the Cisco Chain of Lakes.

Dan Hance, the longtime manager of the Stoney Creek Hotel in Moline, and his wife, Laura, have purchased and are reopening the Wilderness Bay Lodge and Resort in Watersmeet, Michigan. The couple purchased the five rental cabin lodge on Thousands Island Lake in December.

"We always wanted to do something together, but we never knew what it would be," Hance said. "Laura was a nurse and I was in hospitality."

After being shut down for 18 months, the lodge is back after the family's elbow grease as well as all-new appliances, decor and other amenities. It officially opens Monday.

While Laura is still in the nursing profession for now, Dan said the lodge is a family affair. Their special needs daughter Juls, 19 and a recent Davenport Central High School graduate, is managing Juls' Sweet Shop.

Her shop adjoins a convenience store that the Hances have revived, too. The store is back to offering groceries, necessities and bait and tackle.

"We hope to bring the family element back to Wilderness Bay with campfires and games we used to play in our backyards as kids," said Laura Hance.

Dan Hance said he hopes to see many Quad-Citians make the trek up north for fishing, hiking and relaxing but has already been surprised by the former Quad-Citians they have met there.

For more information, visit wildernessbaylodgeandresort.com or call 906-670-2088.

Dunkin' Donuts returns to RI

A Dunkin' Donuts franchise will become the latest retailer to build on the former Audubon Elementary School site in Rock Island, a city official said.

Bret Gardella, Rock Island's economic development manager, said a 3,000-square-foot store is planned along 18th Avenue, east of the CVS pharmacy.

"This is a very positive step," he said. "The city is ready and needing this. We look forward to getting this done for the folks of Rock Island."

According to Gardella, site plans go to the city's planning commission this week and should go to City Council within a couple of weeks.

"They've told us it will be open by the end of the year," he said.

The store with a drive-thru and parking lot represents a $1 million investment.

"When I was hired 2½ years ago, I was told we need a good coffee shop," he said, adding the franchisee is creating "a lot of parking and outdoor seating and has gone above and beyond with some of the landscaping."

It will be built just doors down from a previous Dunkin' Donuts that closed in 1999. It now is Dr. Gyro's restaurant.    

Lead(h)er founder to join panel

Melissa Pepper, who founded the Quad-City nonprofit Lead(h)er, will be part of a panel discussion at EntreFEST focused on mentoring.

Pepper and Ryan Bell, of Locals Love Us, are panelists representing the Quad-Cities in the discussion "Mentors & Mentees: What it Really Means." EntreFEST is slated for Thursday-Friday in Iowa City and is the largest gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators in Iowa.

"Lead(h)er has played a part in matching mentors to start-up founders here in the Quad-Cities," she said, adding that she is anxious to share the story with a statewide audience.

In Lead(h)er's first six months, 95 women have been matched with mentors through its Strike a Match program. For more information, visit leadherqc.org. For more information on EntreFEST, visit entrefest.com.

Citizens donates to Gateway After Prom

The Gateway After Prom event in Clinton scored big this year as Citizens First Bank donated $865 to help the group.

Through its "Citizens First First Down" program, the Clinton bank makes a $5 donation each time the Clinton High School River Kings make a first down during the regular football season. The program is under the direction of KROS Radio. Gary Determan of KROS broadcasts the team's games. 

The Gateway After Prom will provide a fun-filled, safe evening of entertainment on May 13 for prom attendees from Clinton, Camanche and Prince of Peace high schools in Iowa and Fulton High School in Illinois.

Downtown RI opens the doors

They're at it again — 41 Rock Island businesses and organizations are uniting for a downtown-wide open house.

The businesses, many of which were part of Small Business Saturday, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Organized by Skeleton Key Art and Antiques, the event will feature open houses at the locations.

Check out Downtown Open House on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rockislandopenhouse or contact Brandy VandeWalle at 309-314-1567

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com

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