JOE-LEE CROSSWINDS CAFÉ, located at the Owosso Community Airport, is under new ownership. Shown on the south side of the restaurant are Lee Ann French and Joe Voelker, who have been friends for 20 years and are now business partners, too. The idea came about early in June when French realized the building was vacant this season. She reached out to a previous owner who suggested she confirm it with the airport board. French offered a business proposal to the board after communicating with Voelker, who confirmed he was interested, and once the proposal was approved, a soft opening was held at Joe-Lee Crosswinds Café.
French and Voelker, both currently employed in other positions, are excited about reconnecting the business to the community, both as a café and as a base for supporting various nonprofit groups. Already, Joe-Lee’s is a backpack drop-off location for Angel’s Hands Outreach of Westown. Along with that, French and Voelker are also delivering meals to nearby homeless families on the days the restaurant is open. Plans for a Community Cats of Owosso fundraiser are underway, as well.
“Well, I got a commercial kitchen and the first thing I thought of is that I can finally give back,” shared French.
Voelker agreed. “The community is what makes you,” he said. “We are about the community.”
Other events in the works involve Aviation Day, to take place on Saturday, Sept. 21. Joe-Lee’s is pairing with Oliver Woods Retirement Village to hold an Alzheimer’s fundraiser to include the airport, an ambulance, a fire truck and more. The event will be free and family-friendly, though donations will be accepted to support Alzheimer’s care. The time of the event will be announced soon.
Business hours of the café are Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. for Mexican Night and Saturday/Sunday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mexican Night is proving to be quite popular, since the restaurant has not previously been open on Fridays.
The new owners are quite excited about the business venture, the unique location and their ability to help the community. Plans to increase seating both in and outside are underway.
Joe-Lee is an obvious hotspot for pilots and a terrific way to encourage kids interested in aviation. People can stop in for a meal and also be entertained by the planes.
The café is located at 208 Airport Drive, Owosso.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)