Living history

Gossard in Ishpeming changing ownership

An archway inside the Gossard provides a framework for businesses and common areas. (Journal photo by Dreyma Beronja)

ISHPEMING — The Gossard Building is under new ownership. After 37 years, Paul and Sandra Arsenault are moving on from owning and maintaining the historic Ishpeming building.

The four-story building in downtown Ishpeming has been standing since 1888. The building was a factory, department store and now is home to small businesses such as Doozers and Pam’s Pickins.

In 1985 when Paul Arsenault purchased the building, the only two stores that were in the building were the old Gossard store and the video store that Sandra Arsenault ran. Now, over 20 businesses can be found in the Gossard.

“I think the reward (of owning the Gossard) was to be able to help other business owners establish their business, grow their business and be successful,” Paul Arsenault said.

During her time at the Gossard, Sandra Arsenault preserved the history of the building. When walking inside the building, several historic memorials can be found along the walls throughout all three floors from when the Gossard was a factory.

Former owners and current owners stand together. After 37 years, front row, from left, Paul and Sandra Arsenault, have passed ownership to new co-owners, front row, right, David Lawler, and back row, left to right, Iver Johnson, Brice Sturmer and Matthew Beardsley. (Journal photo by Dreyma Beronja)

“There’s still a lot more history I could put back into building,” Sandra Arsenault said. “That’s been a labor of love.”

Both Paul and Sandra Arsenault said that passing the torch of ownership to the new owners has been bittersweet but the Arsenaults know the building is in good hands.

“We’ve had other interested buyers but we wanted to pick buyers that would continue preserving the history of the building, have this as a community area for people to come in and enjoy the building and history and to bring it to the next level,” Paul Arsenault said. “Most importantly, for me, I wanted someone that would continue to support the small businesses.”

New owners Matthew Beardsley, Iver Johnson, David Lawler and Brice Sturmer saw a lot of growth in Ishpeming and the west end of Marquette County, which brought interest in purchasing the Gossard from the Arsenaults.

“We’re looking for projects to develop the community and hopefully bring some more growth to this area,” Beardsley said. “We happened to meet the Arsenaults and hit it off and realized it was an exciting project to be involved in.”

Lawler said he is looking forward to continuing the legacy of the Gossard and having people continue to come through the building.

“It’s such a great space,” Lawler said. “Most people don’t realize it from the outside but when you come in you realize there is history everywhere.”

Lawler said that the new owners will continue to keep the Gossard as it is but open to make improvements where they are needed.

“The building is in really great shape and we just want to take care of it,” Lawler said. “Maybe down the road we will do some other bigger projects but for now it’s just keeping the building open, running and looking good.”

Beardsley said the new owners are looking into feasibility studies for adding residential long-term units but for now that is up in the air until there is more data.

While the new owners are looking forward to starting their new journey with owning the Gossard, the Arsenaults are looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, and getting back into hobbies.

For more information on the Gossard, visit online at oldgossard.com.

Dreyma Beronja can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 248. Their email address is dberonj@miningjournal.net.


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