Why Traverse City?
Fast-growing Traverse City is a darling of Northwest Michigan. With an area population of over 76,000, the bustling Traverse City Area in Grand Traverse County is a magnet for creative young professionals, retirees, and families alike. The area is highly educated, with nearly half of all adults possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, eager to work within the county’s diversified economy. Northwestern Michigan Community College and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy provide unique opportunities for continuing education. Families with children are well served by over a dozen schools in the Traverse City Area Public Schools system, including several specialty primary schools, a Montessori grade school, and a career tech center for high school juniors and seniors interested in learning the trades. Traverse Area District Library improves education access for all residents. Munson Medical Center in downtown Traverse City provides world class care, as the flagship hospital facility of Munson Healthcare, northern Michigan’s largest healthcare system. The area’s robust housing stock is mostly owner occupied, indicating that many Traverse City dwellers have made a long term investment in living close to the city center.
Historically, manufacturing and agriculture, and more recently innovation, have powered Traverse City’s growth. Today, a quarter of Grand Traverse County’s jobs are in the Healthcare industry, and another quarter are in tourism and hospitality-related sectors like Accommodation & Food Services and Retail Trade. Education, finance and insurance, and technology jobs are also employment drivers, and represent growing opportunities for highly educated professionals in the Traverse City Area. Executives enjoy direct flights to destinations like Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas, and New York from the Cherry Capital Airport, less than 10 minutes from downtown Traverse City.
As the largest population center in the region, Traverse City is a hub for dining, shopping, arts, and entertainment. Tour the more than forty local wineries on the Traverse Wine Coast, savor the region’s agricultural bounty at the annual National Cherry Festival in July, or celebrate diversity with UpNorth Pride and June’s Visibility March, the largest pride festival in the State of Michigan.
Downtown Traverse City boasts several cultural landmarks, like the historic City Opera House, and the award-winning State Theatre, home of the world-famous annual Traverse City Film Festival. The Crooked Tree Arts Center features rotating art exhibits and gallery space in the heart of downtown, while the Interlochen Center for the Arts features music, theatre, visual arts, film, creative writing, and dance classes and performances.
With direct access to the Grand Traverse Bay, Boardman River, and Boardman Lake, it is easy to enjoy the great outdoors and experience Northern Michigan’s incredible natural beauty within Traverse City. Bike the TART trail, a paved, 10.5 mile long urban transportation and recreation corridor that runs along the Bay from the heart of downtown Traverse City to Acme Township. Hike, ski, and snowmobile the area’s miles of trails, sail or kayak on the area’s many waterways, or bask in a summer sunset while relaxing on the beach.
Traverse Connect is the lead economic development organization for the Grand Traverse region, which supports area businesses through a combination of business attraction and retention strategies, talent development efforts, and strategic coordination among partner agencies. Traverse Connect now serves the region as one organization supporting business growth and development, alongside partner organization Venture North Funding and Development.
- Warren Call, President | CEO—(231) 995-7108
Major Employer Profiles
Recent Private Investments
Recent Public Works Projects
Business service: 1-800-805-0490
Traverse City Light & Power
Commercial Service: 231-922-4431
New Commercial Underground: 231-922-4940
Cherryland Electric Cooperative
Natural Gas Provider:
Business service: 1-855-383-4249
20 Fathoms: The home of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Northern Michigan, this startup incubator, coworking space, and coding community serves and connects Traverse City's entrepreneurs and tech professionals.
Economic Development Ecosystem Map
This map shows some of the many organizations in this county providing economic development related services, such as workforce training, development finance, or technical advising for businesses. Use the dropdown in the upper left hand corner to filter by People, Investment, and Place.
“People” covers organizations that focus on early childhood care, workforce training, equity and diversity, and talent recruitment and retention.
“Investment” includes organizations that focus on industry cluster support, small business investment and technical assistance, innovation and technology development, and real estate and commercial development.
“Place”-focused organizations include tourism, arts and culture, and recreation organizations, planning and development entities, infrastructure and utility providers, and housing organizations.
City of Traverse City
Marty Colburn, City Manager
Traverse City Downtown Development Authority
Jean Derenzy, Chief Executive Officer