Its first acquisition and renovation was the Hillside Party Store and Gas Station in 2015. It now boasts the best collection of craft beer and expert Scotch whiskey in UP. His most important acquisition, coming soon after, was that of the Fineman Building downtown, a large building that had housed the largest department store in the area and had sat empty for nearly three decades.
Rick Nebel is CEO of the Peoples State Bank in Munising, which is on the kitty corner of the Fineman Building.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and for 28 years, the number one issue for the Downtown Development Authority was what to do with the Fineman Building,” he said. “Years ago, there were no cars parked around here. Now, the lots are full.”
The building was built in 1906 by Solomon Marks and known for years as the Marks Building. It was then sold to Bob Denman, who operated the department store, and later sold to Bob Fineman.
The ground floor of the building now houses Gallery Coffee Co., an 8,000-square-foot cafe and entertainment venue, regularly featuring comedians and musicians on a large stage, and the second floor is home to the Deployed Tech staff, with a revamped in progress that will double the technology company’s space from 8,000 to 16,000 square feet.
Nebel’s bank financed that first acquisition and refurbishment. The following year, Nebel sold them a former nursing home that the bank had repossessed. It had originally been the home of a lumber tycoon, but had long been a nursing home and had been in a state of disrepair for many years.
“I was getting ready to take him down and Tom said, ‘No, he’s got a great structure.'”
The building now houses the Roam Inn, Munising’s version of upscale hospitality, as well as Tracey’s, a fine-dining restaurant that was named by BuzzFeed, based on Yelp reviews, as the best new restaurant in Michigan in 2017.
The inn has nine large suites and nine single rooms, with summer rates from $249 to $499 a night.
They opened Gallery Coffee Co. and Eh! Burger in 2018; a downtown breakfast spot called Earl E. Byrds and a food truck called Tacopotamus in 2021; and Alley Cat’s, a fast casual restaurant, on June 28 this year.
They also founded the non-profit Roam Community Foundation in 2018.
Tom’s wife, Ana-Marija Dolaskie, oversees the restaurant and hotel teams. His sister-in-law, Erin Dolaskie, is the general manager of the Roam Inn.
With an expanding workforce, both at Deployed Technologies and at the various companies (during peak summer months, they employ around 170 and about half outside of peak hours), housing has become an issue in a city where 15 years ago there seemed to be an infinite number. . Tom Dolaskie said Deployed Assets recently purchased six homes and rents previously purchased apartments from an executive chef at Tracey’s, the manager of the Hillside Party Store and two employees here on work visas.
“Tom has been great for Munising,” said Nebel. “From a community bank standpoint, he’s been a great entrepreneur, what community banks want and need to have in our community. Non-seasonal employees are very important. They need mortgages. They all have kids that are going to school. Everyone has to eat.”
Cori-Ann Cearley, who attended high school with Tom, is president and director of the Munising Visitors Bureau and owner of the Pictured Rocks Inn and Suites in Munising.
“This used to be a ghost town. Tom saw an opportunity and jumped at it. The Roam Inn is absolutely beautiful. It’s exclusive and there’s a clientele for that,” Cearley said.
She said that Tom and his partner, Darrin, have been instrumental in greatly expanding what had been a very limited choice of dining options. “Earl E. Birds was a much-needed breakfast spot, and the Coffee Gallery is a real draw. It gave visitors something to do at night. It filled a niche in the area. Tom has been transformative. He’s taken all these old and beautiful empty buildings and reinvented them. It maintained their historic integrity.”
Gustaf Burman is chief information officer and executive vice president of hotel engineering for Montage International, a Ft. company that owns ultra-luxury hotels based in Lauderdale, Fla., including hotels in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Maui, Hawaii. Accommodations in Cabo in July range from $1,328 per night for a room with a king bed to $21,250 per night for a five-bedroom stand-alone home.
He said he has known Hubbard and Peter Chambers, president of Deployed Tech, since the late 1990s.
“Your organization is an extension of our IT department,” said Burman. “They have a wide range of technology capabilities and thought leadership. They are highly skilled. The beauty of their company is that we can completely outsource our IT to them or pick individual tasks for them.”
He said that Deployed Tech is working on a wide range of electronic and technological capabilities for a Montage that will open in Washington, DC later this year and in the Bahamas in two years.
David Lorenz is vice president of travel for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. He said he met Tom Dolaskie about 15 years ago when he gave Lorenz and a guest a snowmobile tour of the area.
“He was trying to decide whether to stay in the area despite all the economic difficulties there. I said, ‘Tom, you are the kind of people we desperately need at Munising.’ He couldn’t be happier that he stayed and put together his diverse chain of businesses and provided other reasons to stop at Munising.”