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Holly’s successful downtown is a community effort

Active DDA with special events and activities make it a place people want to visit

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Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 12:01 pm

One only needs to visit downtown Holly during one of its Ladies Night events, held each year in May and November, to see what success looks like.

 More than 1,000 people visit the bi-annual events, strategically planned around Mother’s Day in May and opening day of hunting season in November.

 Over the years, downtown Holly has become known for more than just antiques. There are a variety of shops, offering gifts, clothing, pastries, coffee and much more. Today, there are six restaurants in the downtown, four of which serve alcoholic beverages, to satisfy just about any palate.

 The success of downtown Holly was acknowledged earlier this year during the May Ladies Night Out, which is hosted by the Holly Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

 Those awards, given by Main Street Oakland County, recognized the best retail event (Ladies Night Out).

 Holly earned more awards than any other Oakland County community participating in the Main Street program, including Rochester, Birmingham, Ferndale, Franklin, Oxford, Lake Orion, to name a few of the 22 participants.

 “It’s wonderful to see Holly highlighted and brought into the Oakland County spotlight,” said Andy Potter, executive director of the Holly DDA in May. He was also an award recipient, earning “Outstanding Leader.”

 “Andy Potter is always ‘working’ the downtown,” said Bob Donahue, former executive director of Main Street Oakland County. “He wears out his shoes on the street, meeting with businesses. He has a persistent drive to get things done, and Holly is lucky to have him.”

 Today, volunteers are making sure downtown events continue for years to come, including the weekly Battle Alley Car Cruise on Wednesdays during the summer months, and the Dickens Festivals during the Christmas holiday season.

 The village of Holly Parks Commission’s annual Community Play Day and the Holly Community Coalition’s first Fun Run are all part of a new overall event called Holly Day on Sept. 10.

 The day is meant for time of enjoyment for the entire family. Events planned for that day include a free hotdog lunch for the first 500 people, which is arranged by the Villagers Restaurant and supported by many other businesses.

Holly Village leaders 1996-2016


● Ryan Bladzik (2013-2016)

● Jason Hughes (2012-2013)

● Jeff Miller (2010-2012)

● Peter Clemens (2004-2010)

● Jeff Miller (1995-2004)


● Jerry Walker (2010-2015)

● Marsha Powers (interim) (2008-2009)

● Marsha Powers (2009-2010)

● Aaron Oppenheimer (2005-2008)

● Tom Daily (interim) (2004)

● E. Thomas Ault (2001-2004)

● Mark Abeles-Allison (1997-2001)


● Brian Klaassen (2010-Present)

● Marv Swanson (2003-2010)

● Ken Poff (1976-2003)


● Michael Story (2012-present)

● Elaina Danishevskaya (2011-2012)

● Rollie W. Gackstetter (2005 to 2010)

● Greg Hansmeier (1996 to 2005)

● Daniel Jones (1994 to 1996)


 Prior to 2004, the village of Holly Fire Department was part of the North Oakland County Fire Authority (Association) (NOCFA).

 In 2004, the village began providing its own Fire and EMS services. Jack Hollands was hired as fire chief at that time. He retired in 2006.

 Assistant Chief Paul Schimmeyer took command when Hollands left but also decided he was ready to retire in 2008.

 In September 2008, the village and Groveland Township formed a partnership after an Oakland County study showed how both communities would benefit from the collaboration.

 Steve McGee assumed command as chief in September of 2008 and remains the chief today.

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