2017-12-09 / News

Waggoners Say Farewell After 35 Years


Carolyn and Buzz Waggoner sold La Galerie gift shop on Market Street this fall, after more than three decades of selling quality gifts. The couple looks forward to spending time with their children and grandchildren, but say they will miss spending the summer with their friends on Mackinac Island. Carolyn and Buzz Waggoner sold La Galerie gift shop on Market Street this fall, after more than three decades of selling quality gifts. The couple looks forward to spending time with their children and grandchildren, but say they will miss spending the summer with their friends on Mackinac Island. In their three-and-a-half decades as summer residents, Carolyn and Elwin “Buzz” Waggoner became part of the Mackinac Island community. Now, with their Market Street business, La Galerie, sold to James Lazarowicz, their time on the Island has come to an end. The impact that Mackinac Island has had on their lives is clear when they speak of the many wonderful people with whom they spent their summers.

“The people are great on this Island,” said Mr. Waggoner. “I have been very impressed with how they come together when someone is in need.”

They have lived here since 1982. The lower Michigan educators rented an apartment their first year, then leased a shop in the then-newly built Carrousel Shops on Market Street for a business specializing in dollhouse miniatures, porcelain dolls, doll accessories, and a variety of ornate dollhouses. The “gift gallery” would morph several times through the years as they responded to the wants and needs of their customers.

“In the beginning, we thought there would be a new crowd every day, but in reality, many customers have come back year after year” becoming friends in the process, Mrs. Waggoner said.

In the summer of 1992, the couple would move La Galerie from Carrousel Shops to a recently vacated storefront below their apartment on Market Street.

Throughout their time on the Island, the Waggoners were active members of the community. Mr. Waggoner, a choral director, and his wife spent almost every Sunday morning at Little Stone Church. They say the members of the church are a community they cherish deeply and will miss in summers to come.

During a weekly Men’s Breakfast, sponsored by Little Stone Church, Mr. Waggoner would lead the participants in an opening hymn. He said he will miss that group a lot.

The Waggoners also have been competitors in the Bike and Buggy Bridge League.

Integral to what they say have been wonderful years on the Island were their employees. Mrs. Waggoner said that they have been “blessed” with great staff and in particular mentioned two longtime employees. Karen Huisman and Laura Bellamy of St. Ignace spent 19 and 11 years, respectively, commuting to work at La Galerie, where their friendly service was part of the experience for shoppers.

The Waggoners now look forward to spending time with family and enjoying some summertime excursions. Tops on the list are Alaska and Australia, two places best to visit during the summer. More importantly, the couple will have more time with their two children and five grandchildren, who live in Texas and California. The beautiful flowers and glimmering waters that define Mackinac Island will be missed, they say, and will draw them back from time to time.

Residents and annual visitors are sure to miss the poetic verses Mr. Waggoner displayed in his window all summer long.

He wanted to share one more that he wrote.

“Take time to smell the flowers, while you’re still in bloom.”

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During Bonnie and my twenty

During Bonnie and my twenty summers on Mackinac we enjoyed being friends with Buzz and Carolyn, very open and down to earth, and the shop was always a treat to visit. They were certainly a great asset to the Island. The Island will miss them as we do.
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