As you head north up M-33, between Fairview and the intersection with M-32, you’ll come to Comins. Entering town from the south, you’ll learn that Comins is billed as the “Ghost Town with a Lot of Spirit.” There are an unusual number of empty spaces in downtown Comins. And pretty much what isn’t empty space looks really new for this part of northern Michigan. The ghost town reference, I’ve assumed, is because the town was devastated by an F2 tornado on July 3, 1999.
The tornado hit Comins at 7:32pm. It cut a big swath through town, completely destroying a Mennonite church and the pastor’s home, the township hall, the fire department, the post office, four other businesses and about ten homes. Other businesses and homes were heavily damaged. Most of the town’s tall beautiful trees were uprooted. But the Comins Party Store survived. And, as its sign says, it’s “the best little store in town.”
OK. It’s also the only store in town. And its currrent owner is determined to keep his store thriving, cute and super-clean.
Here’s a view of the store’s new entrance.
The Comins Party Store doesn’t have a lot of anything. But it has a little bit of just about everything. Australian licorice, vintage candies, sweets of all sorts. Coffee. Lots of beers and wines that are not easy to find in this neck of the woods. At my last visit I noticed that they have marshmallows that are the size of tennis balls. If you didn’t dress warmly enough you can buy a sweatshirt. Or if you dressed too warmly you can buy a t-shirt. You can pick up a sandwich–sometimes there are hot dogs on the outdoor grill–and eat it at the picnic table. A few weeks ago there was no room at the picnic table, though. (But it didn’t seem like this gang was eating much.)
There’s more room at the picnic table now. The owner’s handiwork is scaling the roof.
You can get gas and propane at the store. And be sure to wander around and check out the vintage signs. Some, like this one, we probably better not think too hard about how it got there.
This sign sort of sums up the Comins Party Store “attitude:”
Best of all? Every time you come into the Comins Party Store you’ll get a friendly greeting. And if you come back again, the greetings just get friendlier and friendlier. Nice folks. Good little town.
You can visit the caboose too. It was donated to Comins in 1985.