President and Owner of Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor. Sutherland started the company in 1989 during his last year in college. Cherry Republic currently sells more than 174 cherry products, including dried cherries, chocolate-covered dried cherries, cherry salsa, and jams and jellies. Sutherland started as an entrepreneur, selling a T-shirt printed with a cherry tree and the slogan "Cherry Republic... Life, Liberty, Beaches & Pie: the Michigan Northwest" out of the trunk of his car. He then put the logo on a cherry cookie and bags of dried cherries. The company has grown to include four retail locations in Michigan with more than 80 full-time-equivalent employees, and more than 200 during the holidays. In addition, Cherry Republic sends about 80,000 packages a year from catalog orders. In January, the company received approval from the Michigan Economic Growth Authority for a brownfield redevelopment project for the construction of a new headquarters, retail outlet, food production facility, and residential space in Traverse City. The project is expected to create up to 30 permanent full-time jobs with a capital investment of approximately $13 million. Sutherland sends his Orchard Report
email newsletter to more than 50,000 subscribers each week. This summer, Cherry Republic is raising money for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, a new family-friendly bike trail, by auctioning items and experiences in the Orchard Report
. Under Sutherland's leadership, Cherry Republic has given more than $750,000 to preserve the environment and quality of life in northern Michigan and has enacted a 1 percent tariff on every purchase that goes to agricultural programs in northern Michigan. Another 1 percent of its sales is donated each year to regional causes. Cherry Republic's green practices include dual-flush toilets and a solar-thermal system at its Glen Arbor location. Sutherland received his bachelor's degree in English from Northern Michigan University.