Susan Schuytema

Entrepreneur, marketer, communicator, cheerleader, doer

I've been a successful business owner, writer, teacher, event planner and volunteer. I'm looking for my next challenge here in the Upper Peninsula - how can I help you thrive?

[email protected]

Iron River, Michigan



Knowledgable in all forms of Social Media Management, financial planning, marketing plans, budget development, blogging, event planning, project coordination, email blasts. Conceptualize and orchestrate marketing campaigns that effectively reinforce and build brand images.


Coaching, motivating, mentoring and managing staff. Public presentation and speaking. High-energy and effective teacher.  Easily establishes successful relationships with vendors and suppliers. Super-power skill of remembering peoples' names and their purchase histories.


Highly organized and detailed-oriented. Positive, think outside the box, motivator, small-town and UP enthusiast. Great eye for interior and retail design and style. Clean freak, music lover, flora and fauna fan, foodie. Unafraid of digital tools and exclamation points.

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A Video is Worth 10,000 Words

In 2012, I decided to enter the first “This is Retail” video competition hosted by the National Retail Federation. The idea was to encourage small retailers to show how their businesses were essential to their communities. My husband and I shot the video on an iPhone, edited it on our laptop, wrote our own music and relied on our Market Alley Wines customers to tell their stories. They truly made it their own and when time came for online voting, the entire community came out in force. Round after round, our little 90-second video fought on, taking down giants like Macy’s in New York City. Finally, we hit the final three and I got to fly to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony and to lobby Congress on the importance of small town retail. I walked away with a $10,000 cash prize (which I invested back in the business) and the knowledge that I had the best, most loyal customers in the world.

Creating a Third Place

In 1989, sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “Third Place” in his book “The Great Good Place.” A Third Place is a place to socialize, to relax, to converse and to be an active part of a community - but it’s not home or work. I worked hard to grow Market Alley Wines into a Third Place for the Monmouth region, and the social benefits were amazing. MAW was a place to make friends, with regular customers welcoming new folks into the fold. It was a place of conversation and an equal playing field for all, with no class distinction - a place where a blue collar factory worker could talk rock ’n roll with a college president. It was a place where the community came alive.

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Reviving the Live Music Scene 

Live music can make the everyday special - it can turn a regular Friday night into an event you mark on your calendar. When I started Market Alley Wines, there was no regular local music scene in Monmouth. Realizing the potential to build a community of musicians and music lovers, as well as bring in new customers, I started hosting live music every Friday and Saturday nights. We invested in a sound system the musicians loved and we placed the bands right by the front door, so folks coming in got to interact and feel part of the show. We busked for tips for the musicians. It didn’t take long for seats to fill up by 4:30 p.m. on a Friday night or for musicians, local, regional and national, to call Market Alley Wines their favorite place to play.

Wine Tasting Events and Classes

As the owner of Market Alley Wines, I never missed an opportunity to teach and engage the community. I taught Wine Appreciation at Monmouth College (for credit!) and offered the same class to the community every year. I mentored entrepreneurial students and well as other businesses. Sponsored and judged of Shops of Monmouth Small Business Competition. Organized, hosted and catered multiple events including multi-course wine dinners, retirement parties, showers, weddings and reunions. Hosted numerous charity events that raised thousands of dollars for local organizations.

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Founder and Proprietor, Market Alley Wines, Monmouth, IL

June 2011 - June 2017

Developed a detailed data-based business plan for a multi-service wine shop. Opened shop featuring bottled wine, craft beer, high-end distilled bourbons, ryes and scotches, wine by the glass, small-plate snacks, retail sales, live music and special events. Grew business to over $300,000 per year in gross sales. Doubled size of store in early 2014. Trained and managed staff (as well as numerous interns) focused on excellence in customer service. Won numerous local, regional and national awards. Developed exit plan and successfully sold business (due to relocation to Upper Peninsula Michigan) in June 2017.

Community Relations Coordinator, Petersen Health Care, Aledo, IL

April 2010 - May 2011

Responsible for census building and promoting a positive image of the facility. Organized community events. Built and maintained relationships with community leaders, health care professionals and seniors. Gave presentations about long-term health care.

Journalist, Galesburg Register-Mail, Galesburg, IL

August 2006 - April, 2010

Award winning journalist responsible for police and courthouse beat including writing, editing, reporting and blogging for print and on-line editions. Initiated and developed enterprise and feature stories. Covered late-breaking stories on deadline. Developed and maintained relationships with key governmental, law enforcement and legal professionals.

Instructor, Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, IL August 2008 - May 2010

August 2008 - May 2010

Designed and implemented lesson plans for Introduction to Journalism: English 130 and English 098: English Fundamentals.

Affiliate Marketing Manager,

2002 - 2007

Responsible for affiliate recruitment, retention and problem solving. Provided customer service support to all affiliates in the program. Prepared, analyzed and distributed recruiting reports.

Sales Director/Assist Manager, Ducky's Formal Wear, Galesburg, IL

1993 - 2005

Created a responsive, market-driven sales force that resulted in increased profits for seven consecutive years. Wrote company newsletters, press releases and 50-year commemorative brochure.

Program Director, Radio Information Service, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL

1989 - 1993

Managed not-for-profit agency serving over 1,000 blind/print handicapped persons. Developed and implemented volunteers recruitment, training and retention programs. Planned fund raising and recruitment events. Developed funding proposals and managed the budget. Supervised eight staff members and over 100 volunteers.

Reporter, WAIK/Q93, Galesburg, IL

1988 - 1989

Covered police, courthouse and civic news.


Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication and Journalism, 1988 - Western Illinois University. 16 hours post-graduate study, Western Illinois University.


The Entrepreneurial Support Network of West Central Illinois 2013 Small Business Start-up of the Year

National Retail Federation "This is Retail" Third Place Winner

Associated Press writing awards

Illinois Press Association writing awards

Featured Exhibit @

Service and Certifications

Iron County History Museum Board Member

George Young Recreational Center Bar/Restaurant Advisory Board Chairperson

Charter member Aledo Lion's Club

PEO, Chapter E

Grace Buchanan Memorial Board of Directors

Buchanan Center for the Arts Board Member

Monmouth Business Council

Monmouth Chamber of Commerce

National Federation of Independent Business 

National Retail Federation

University of Illinois Master Gardener

Illinois Food Safety Manager Certified

Illinois BASSET (Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training) Certified (on and off premise)

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