Our Story

1956 - A Gourmet Vision

Symons General Store first opened its doors in Petoskey during June of 1956, occupying the bottom floor of one of the city’s oldest brick structures. Although the building had no plumbing or electricity, Tom Symons had a vision to create a store unlike any other. After renovating the building, Tom added a new facade, as well as what would become the wine cellar.

The store was originally supplied with coffee, spices, and other rarities by historically famous distributors S.S. Pierce and Haddon House. Tom was also a leader in importing gourmet products directly to the store’s front steps. Additionally, Norm Viviano, Joe Ganci, and Pat Mankowski of Viviano Wine Distributors in Detroit helped Tom establish the store’s now famous wine collection. For the first time, locals had access to the elegance of gourmet foods.

1970s-2000s - Fresh baked & Full service

In the late 1970s, Lynne Symons took service to the next level and introduced Symons General Store and its patrons to the world of freshly baked croissants, breads, and cookies. In addition, she began making delicious sandwiches using Usinger’s Meats of Milwaukee.  This was the first time the company offered freshly baked and ready to eat foods. Although a risky move, her vision of fresh baked goods not only worked- it was the catalyst for the changes to come.

Tom and Lynne’s son, Chandler, followed in his parents’ food-loving footsteps, adding two restaurants to the Symons General Store family. He opened the popular fine dining establishment Chandler’s - A Restaurant just around the corner from Symons in December of 1999. In the winter of 2003, he introduced Pierson’s, serving comfort food in a fun atmosphere at Boyne Mountain Resort.

Today - continuing tradition

Today, Tom Symons' legacy of providing the very best food, drink and customer services lives on at all of our locations.  Stop into Symons General Store and Chandler's - A Restaurant and let us share with you three generations of wisdom on the finer things in life!