Not long after Brittany Meloche and Bethany Bauer opened The Only Cannoli’s storefront at 1925 Lakeshore Dr. in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood last spring, the two entrepreneurs had a realization: their business was growing at such a rate that their small shop would not be able to accommodate them as they expanded.
It was bittersweet, knowing that they’d need to leave their first storefront—but it was also a welcome change: the necessary move was rooted in the fact that they were growing, and quickly.
“It was about four to five months after we opened here, and we said, ‘Wow, we don’t have enough space to continue expanding,’” Bauer said. “The current store is under 200 square feet, so there’s not a lot of room to work with.”
So, Meloche and Bauer set out to find a new home for the business they launched in July of 2018, when they began selling cannoli at the Muskegon Farmers Market. They searched throughout the area until they discovered the space at 1143 Third St. in Muskegon’s Midtown commercial corridor was available.
“We weren’t looking for a specific area; we were looking for a space that fit our needs,” Meloche said. “It happened to work out that the space on Third Street opened up.”
Immediately, they fell head-over-heels for the 1,100-square-foot storefront nestled next to Valy Vietnamese Oriental Food, Gifts and Market in a building that includes a massive mural by Muskegon artist Jube Rodriguez. At the new spot, The Only Cannoli will also be close to the area’s growing roster of businesses: Curry Kitchen, Hamburger Mikey, The Griffin’s Rest, and Third Coast Vinyl. The Muskegon YMCA too is located nearby on Third Street.
Now, The Only Cannoli’s owners are gearing up for their last day in Lakeside on Saturday, Feb. 15, and they plan to celebrate their grand opening on Third Street on Saturday, March 21.
“Before we even got the green light for Third Street, we were catering the wedding for the owners of Third Coast Vinyl, and they were saying how much they love Third Street and how nice everyone is there,” Bauer said. “We’re so excited; we love it there. Third Street is really eclectic and fun.”
While the two owners, both of whom live in Muskegon, said they’ll be sad to say goodbye to Lakeside, they’re thrilled that they’ll be in a space that will allow them to grow.
The new Third Street store will include seating and an expanded menu, including nine flavors of cannoli, biscotti, pizzelle, Italian donuts, sfogliatelle—another kind of Italian pastry, and some specialty Italian cakes. The additional space will also allow them to hire employees and “up our wedding game,” Bauer said.
“We’re looking forward to being part of a workforce and having employees,” Bauer said. “We want to be a household name around here; there are still people who don’t know about us in Muskegon.”
The Only Cannoli’s first employee will be Meloche’s mother, Linda Grise—a longtime supporter of her daughter’s entrepreneurship and the one who originally came up with The Only Cannoli’s name. Both Meloche and Bauer will continue to work there full-time, and the two owners hope to hire another employee, in addition to Grise, towards the end of the year.
The nine flavors of cannoli that will be available at the Third Street location will include: traditional, cookie dough, chocolate, strawberry, pistachio, a traditional with chocolate chips, two seasonal offerings, and “construction”—a cannoli inspired by Lakeside’s $6 million construction project that includes a cookies and cream filling and is capped with chocolate rocks and powdered sugar.
Biscotti flavors will include almond, chocolate and a seasonal offering. The pizzelle flavors will be amaretto, vanilla and anise. There too will be handcrafted Italian sodas and espresso beverages.
Plus, The Only Cannoli owners said they’re excited to be able to expand their hours once they move into the Third Street locale. In the new space, they’ll be open 10am to 6pm on Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10am to 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11am to 2pm on Sundays. The shop will be closed Mondays.
For the last day in Lakeside, The Only Cannoli will be open from 11am to 4pm. The shop will offer its traditional cannoli, as well as a limited batch of cannoli with strawberries and cream filling. Those who attend the final day in Lakeside will receive coupons for the grand opening on Third Street, the owners said.