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Seven Steps Up at 116 S. Jackson St. in Spring Lake. Seven Steps Up at 116 S. Jackson St. in Spring Lake. COURTESY PHOTO

Seven Steps Up owners list building for $925K: ‘We’re trying to get past this’

BY Monday, August 22, 2022 02:20pm

SPRING LAKE — A former Masonic Temple in Spring Lake that for more than a decade served as the home of concert venue Seven Steps Up is listed for $925,000 as the owners prepare to close and leave the state.

Seven Steps Up owners Michelle and Gary Hanks announced last month that they were shutting down their business with plans to sell the building, located at 116 S. Jackson St. in Spring Lake. The decision came after the couple lost more than $100,000 from an unsuccessful concert series they hosted for the city of Grand Haven.

The couple also live above the venue, a renovated Masonic Temple that is more than 100 years old. 

RE/MAX Lakeshore listed the 7,200-square-foot building on Aug. 17. The brick building has a finished basement, upper level loft and main level for the venue until the last concert this year, which is scheduled for Dec. 10.

The music venue has been open for 11 years, hosting shows for up to 130 concert goers at a time for a mix of intimate performances as well as club-style shows.

The building sale will allow the couple to repay loans they took out to cover more than $100,000 in financial losses after hosting Summer Sessions concerts this year at Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium in Grand Haven, Michelle Hanks told MiBiz.

Some people have inquired about the building, but nobody has seriously expressed interest yet in buying it, Hanks said.

“We were asked by the city of Grand Haven to put on a concert series and couldn’t get help, so our only option was to sell the building to pay everyone,” Hanks said. “We’re trying to get past this.”

The couple also recently set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $140,000 for Courtyard Concerts, a nonprofit organization the Hankses founded in 2013 to bring music and live performances to the area. 

Hanks said the vocal community support in recent months is at odds with the lack of financial support.

“The general response is, ‘This is so sad what’s happening to you and Gary, you are a beloved institution and have done so much for the community.’ But I would have to argue that’s not the case, or we wouldn’t be in this situation,” Hanks said.

The couple cites losses from Summer Sessions “in excess of $100,000” as the reason for needing to sell their building. Financial losses from the concert series were based on several issues, according to the GoFundMe description. That includes a lack of community support, changes at Grand Haven’s Depot building that limited access to outdoor space for the concert series, and changes in city management that led to delays in resolving logistical issues during the concert events, according to the Hankses.

The couple plans to move out of the state after Seven Steps Up closes.

“We’re losing our home and our business because we thought we were doing something good for the community,” Hanks said. 

Seven Steps Up, like many other live entertainment venues, also took a huge hit during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. The venue received some relief from a GoFundMe campaign that raised $38,000 and a $35,000 grant from the national Live Music Society to help cover operating expenses during the shutdowns.

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