By Shanika P. Carter


You may have heard of or came across the Coffee with Craig series on social media or even heard of Blue House Manor in Downtown Muskegon. The host, Craig Person, who proudly promotes and advocates living in Muskegon County, happens to hail from the West Coast. He has now made Muskegon his home.

Person, age 59, lived in the San Francisco Bay area until he came across a house listing on eBay in Muskegon for $3,000. He assisted a friend in purchasing the listed property, but then decided to invest in his own nearby sight unseen duplex property with the plan to visit Muskegon for the first time and stick around for about a year to fix it up and get things in order; he was age 49 then.

“Here was this property priced between $3 to $5K, which is worth a million dollars where I come from,” says Person, who learned in his research of Muskegon the differences he was seeing. After hearing how Muskegon was described and receiving the negative reactions he received about the city, including repeated complaints about the potholes, the trash along the streets and neighborhoods, Person came to see Muskegon for himself with the goal of changing this negativity that he describes as “toxic pessimism.”

Coming from a metropolis where highway work traffic in the early mornings was like a filled parking lot, Person was surprised by the opposite image of early-morning work traffic in Muskegon when he arrived in 2014. He observed how half of the McClaughlin Neighborhood, where he designed what is now known as Blue House Manor, were renters. Person, wanting to change the visual appeal for the landscapes and terraces of what residents referred to as home, was on a mission to balance the equation and turn toxic pessimism to toxic optimism.

Person, a high school graduate who describes himself as self-taught in many of his professional endeavors, used his risk management background to weigh out what worked (and what didn’t work) in taking on the role of property owner and landlord by moving into his own investment. He taught himself how to turn his investment into a Smart, technologically-advanced, rental property, taking on the responsibility of much of the construction, building, and design of various parts of the property with the help of a hired contractor.

Spending well over what he spent to purchase the property in order to start fresh with a new foundation and overall image, including a remodeled parking lot that is now a cozy, relaxing terrace for his residents, Person had Blue House Manor up and running in 2020.

Amidst the onset of the pandemic, which slightly delayed his plans, Person started to get the word out about Muskegon’s real estate development and the perks of living in Downtown Muskegon through his Coffee with Craig series, which began in his own backyard in 2020. Once considered “the epicenter of crime about 10 years ago” in his new neighborhood, according to what Person gathered from his research, he is proud of how the area has been cleaned up with security measures added to keep these neighborhoods safe and appealing for future residents.

Person, who has since moved Coffee with Craig and his Blue House brand from his backyard to the forefront of the city, has connected with and been recognized by the county and city officials for how he has highlighted the real estate development occurring in the city. With his knowledge and education efforts, he hopes to keep people informed on how they can also invest in what Muskegon has to offer.

“I used all of the things that you’re afraid people will accept you for to make those my superpowers,” says Person, who proudly identifies as a strong black, gay male. He adds that he’s the first to make those things known upfront so he can control his own narrative. Person then goes on to tell his stories of his journey and experience in Muskegon, meeting others along the way who can benefit from his lessons learned.

Person, who is currently working on expanding his AI company along with his brand, is looking forward to continuing to promote Muskegon in a positive light while partnering and collaborating with others in the community, such as other entrepreneurs and media professionals, on bringing more events to the city.

“Being toxically optimistic,” Person strives to continue making Muskegon County, as a whole, a place that is viewed as a place where people are proud to call home.

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