Culver’s Breaks Ground and More Businesses to Come on Brown Road in Orion Twp.
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 19, 2022)
Orion Township, MI – When Joe Zimmer and his family broke ground for the second Culver’s restaurant location, they celebrated not only the success of their business, but a future being built all around them along Brown Road in Orion Township.
With strategic planning in mind, the Township had created a Corridor Improvement Authority which enabled them to bundle plots of land together and attract developers in a big-picture kind of way. Brown Road and Baldwin were part of the plan, and both have seen improvements to the roadways and seen an area that had empty lots dotted with empty homes and even a cement crushing facility turn into a budding community of businesses and residences. Among the successes are new apartment buildings, and the addition of a Menard’s store.
Culver’s, a franchise-chain best known for their “butter burgers” and in-house-made custard, is expected to open in the springtime at 525 Brown Road (just west of Menards, opposite the entrance to the Costco gas station). Coming soon after in what is called “Grand Square of Orion” will be a Texas Roadhouse restaurant plus three four-story hotels, adding guest rooms and meeting space to the community.
The development is not far from the GM Orion Plant, where expansions are taking place to make way for new Electric Vehicle production. The community is experiencing growth in other industries as well, including technology and marijuana. In June Oakland County Times got a tour of other developments in the area.
Zimmer and his wife Sue have owned the Culver’s location at the corner of Lapeer and Dutton Road since 2008. Brown Road will be their second location. Though it’s only 2.9 miles away, in essentially a straight line, Zimmer is optimistic that the new restaurant will be convenient for people shopping and working in the Brown/Joslyn/Baldwin area.
The Orion Area Chamber of Commerce, township officials, and developers joined with friends and family for the Sept. 19 groundbreaking. Chamber Director and Township Trustee Kim Urbanowski spoke at the event saying to Joe, “You embody what it means to be a giving and helpful person in the community, in terms of business and of being a friend.”
Culver’s is known in the community, from being the place many of the youth get their first jobs, to a place that is often hosting events and supporting community efforts. Zimmer has also been a Chamber Ambassador, helping others be successful in their endeavors. Culver’s also holds a car cruise each Tuesday evening in the summer at the Lapeer Road location. Zimmer was named business person of the year in 2015.
“I think it’s gonna be a home run,” Zimmer said. “I figured if I’m gonna compete, I might as well compete against me.”
The new restaurant won’t open until spring, but Culver’s is hiring and training now at their first location. Learn more at https://www.culvers.com/restaurants/lake-orion, or just stop in.
To learn more about the Corridor Improvement Authority, visit the Orion Township Website CIA page.