Short’s Brewing Acts on Northern Michigan Housing Crisis

As Northern Michigan businesses gear up for the summer season and influx of tourism, they’re all faced with the same challenge: not enough workers to fill open positions.

The worker shortage has been a challenge for Short’s Brewing every summer since they can remember, but this year seems worse than ever—housing prices are at all time highs and there is a severe lack of rental inventory. This summer the Bellaire Pub is looking to hire up to 20 additional staff for their kitchen and front-of-house operations, and have several open positions at their Elk Rapids campus.

“We’ve missed out on (non-local) candidates because they can’t find a place to live, and we’ve had employees move out of state because of the lack of affordable, workforce housing.” Stated Scott Newman-Bale, CEO for the brewery. “We’re working to get some housing projects shovel ready, but that doesn’t help us out this season.”

So when the 26 unit Bellaire Inn came on the market, Short’s moved quickly to seal the deal and are working fast to convert and update units for short term, transitional housing.

“When the opportunity came for us to create our own version of the Rosebud Motel (from Schitt’s Creek) we couldn’t pass it up. If Johnny Rose can do it, we can too.” Newman-Bale joked.

Short’s will hold space for their upcoming hires, and plans to offer local businesses first dibs on remaining units to house their incoming staff. The 26 rooms will come fully furnished, with bathrooms, a fridge, and a microwave. All utilities are included as well. In order to keep costs as low as possible for area workers, Short’s plans to operate part of the Inn as a traditional motel and is currently seeking a full time, on-site inn keeper.

“These aren’t intended to be long term solutions, rather a spot for summer help and full-time new hires to land while they find housing in the area.” Newman-Bale shared. “There is still a major need for workforce housing throughout Northern Michigan.”

The Inn is just the first step in Short’s plan to get more housing on the market. They are currently planning The Bellaire Marketplace, a three story development across from the Bellaire Pub with a commerce center on the main floor, and two stories of housing above. They’re also in talks with area residents attempting to secure land contracts for additional market-rate and workforce housing.

To see open positions at Short’s, visit