Don Nordlund, right, accepts the El Award from Mike Guinon, a former El Award recipient. Nordlund is the owner of Pitkin Drug and Gift Shoppe in Whitehall. The award is given to a business person who supports the advancement of business in the White Lake
A businessman who has owned this area’s oldest retail business since 1960 and a woman who organized the first floral display on downtown streets, were presented with prestigious awards at the annual White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce banquet Nov. 5 at the Double JJ Resort’s Sundance Steakhouse in Rothbury.
Don Nordlund, the owner and pharmacist at Pitkin Drug and Gift Shoppe, in downtown Whitehall was presented the El Award, given annually to a local business person who has supported the development of business in the area.
Helen Allshouse received the Lady Laker award for her community involvement as a former chamber of commerce staff member and volunteer.
Also honored at the banquet, were Mary Kay Specht as the chamber of commerce Volunteer of the Year as chair of the chamber’s Ambassadorial group, and Brian Uecker and Marc Murr, owners of The Book Nook & Java Shop were honored as Entrepreneur of the Year for the expansion of their business, including a wine bar.
Nordlund flew in from Florida on the day of the banquet to attend with members of his family who also play vital roles in the business.
In addition to owning the 130-year-old business on the corner of Mears Ave. and Colby St., Nordlund owns the adjacent Pitkin Sale Shoppe (opened in 1992) and the Posh by Pitkin (opened in 2009).
Recently, he had three of his stores, and four apartments, restored.
Nordlund was one of the proponents for returning on-street parking in a portion of downtown Whitehall in 2011.
The award winner was the last chairman of the Whitehall chamber of commerce when it reorganized with the Montague chamber of commerce into the current White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. He has been a member of the chamber since 1962.
Along with running a business, Nordlund was a past board member and president of the West Michigan Pharmacist Assoc., has been a member of the Michigan Pharmacists Assoc. for 50 years, has been a Shelby State Bank board member for 15 years, is past-chair of the Retail Committee and past-chair of the White Lake festival. For three years he chaired the White Lake Hospital Board which sold its property to SHAWL. With the hospital fund monies, the White Lake Community Fund was started. It is now an advised fund with the Community Foundation of Muskegon County.
Nordlund has served the City of Whitehall as past chairman of the Planning Commission and is a current member of the Tax Increment Finance Authority.. He serves on the Lakeshore Medical Assoc. board, and has been a Rotarian since 1965.
His busy schedule also included being a Senior Center board member for many years, past board member of the Arts Council of White Lake, and C.A.M. board member. His businesses have employed many high school and college students, and he has trained Ferris State University pharmacy students.
“Helen and Dave have been in the White Lake area for 42 years, and has been a volunteer for all that time,” said Carol Wood, a former chamber of commerce director and presenter. “From the Welcome Wagon to the Marketplace, Helen has given her all and wouldn’t it be nice to thank here for all these years of service.
Allhouse began the floral beautification in the downtowns by working with White Lake Nursery, and the Business and Professional Women Association. She also developed the current Holiday Walk, a weekend of special events to highlight local businesses in a shopping season kickoff.
Allhouse planned two high successful chamber of commerce fundraisers, “Dining At The Cinema,” and “Dining Through the Doors.”
Her community involved also included serving as a Girl Scout leader, and production for the Miss White Lake Scholarship Pageant, a feeder pageant for Miss Michigan.
She served on the Arts Council of White Lake board, and started the successful “Art in the Barn” fundraiser for that organization.
For the chamber of commerce, Allshouse also initiated the White Lake Area Arts and Crafts Festival poster contest, and was in charge of volunteers.
Her latest endeavor is the Artisan Marketplace, an outdoor space for artists and crafters to sell their goods, which is open in Montague during the summer.