30 in Their Thirties: Courtney Tarara // 37


Co-owner, Heart of Howell/Frontal Lobe, Howell

Employees: 2 Revenue: NA Education: Northwood University

A combination of civic pride and an entrepreneurial family inspired Courtney Tarara to turn three neglected buildings in downtown Howell into a community focal point branded “Heart of Howell.” Tarara and her father, Joe Parker, purchased the three-story, circa-1880 structures for $600,000 in 2012. They have since invested $2.2 million in new windows and foundation walls, mechanical equipment, an elevator, and an outdoor courtyard. “We purchased the buildings with the idea of creating a destination location in Howell — to have really cool, one-stop shopping,” Tarara says. So far the entire third floor is leased, Fog’s Pub has claimed two-thirds of the basement, and a custom home furnishings store will occupy part of the ground floor. “My dad is a serial entrepreneur, so I’ve got that in my blood,” Tarara says. To maintain historical authenticity, the pair consulted the Howell Area Historical Society and worked with the Detroit based architectural firm Kraemer Design Group, which specializes in vintage restorations. With her husband and other family members, Tarara also owns Frontal Lobe, a membership-based co-working space in downtown Howell. “There’s not enough emphasis put on how important downtown communities are,” Tarara says. “It gives not only a sense of community, but also a sense of ownership. People need to recognize that and become much more involved.”