Local Recognition – 40 Under 40

Congratulations to Moody on the Market’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021!

by Rebecka Hoyt, Editor & Photographer

Congratulations are in order for a few members of the Buchanan and Niles, MI communities. Elaine and Michael Rowland of Buchanan, and Sarah Brittin of Niles (Buchanan alumni). These three individuals are on the 40 under 40 list from the Moody on the Market website. I got the chance this week to sit down with all of them and learn a little bit more about each of them and this award.


Elaine Rowland, Photo from Moody on the Market

First we have Elaine Rowland from Fernwood Botanical Garden in Niles (on the outskirts of Buchanan). Elaine was surprised when she heard the news of being in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2021. She said “It was humbling and an honor to be nominated, especially when the news came from Pat Moody.” Between her and her husband, Michael Rowland winning this, she was the first to get the notification and then a couple hours later, Michael received the news. “It felt a little awkward at first,” said Elaine and then Michael said that he was “happy for her that she got it.”

Elaine also stated when the list was announced on News/Talk/Sports 94.9 WSJM, on 98.3 The Coast’s Social Network (94.9 WSJM, 98.3) “Pat Moody said that we were the first couple to receive this award, it hadn’t happened before, it just worked out that way out of a list of 70 people. We are a team, and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.” When asked if she knew of anyone else that made the list, she said that she graduated with Dan Stuglik who is a police officer in Coloma.

She wants to help increase the amount of visitors and support to Fernwood. I told her this was the first year that my family took my parents to Fernwood on a beautiful Sunday and they enjoyed it! I asked if she knew who nominated her and she does not. One thing I was curious about if there is anything else that she wants to achieve before she turns 40 or even after 40. She stated happily, “That I want to continue to make this a better place to live with our two kids and our forever home.” Her favorite thing to do in Buchanan “Is watching the band The Chippewa Project that Michael plays in and being at Fernwood.” To know more about Fernwood Botanical Garden take a look at their website here.

(Read her 40 Under 40 Interview HERE)

Michael Rowland, Photo from Moody on the Market

Second is Michael Rowland from Michigan Gateway Community Foundation in Buchanan. Michael, who said that “It felt good to be recognized/acknowledged by our peers,” and that “it was important for Elaine to get it.” He knew of some former coworkers and community workers and considered it an honor to be on this list with them. Michael also stated, “I was glad to see healthcare workers, not just public professionals on this list, but glad to see that a police officer was nominated and getting the recognition they deserve.” The nomination process for this award is done online by anyone in the Southwest Michigan community and the nominees do not know who nominated them.

One of Michael’s accomplishments that he would like to achieve before turning 40 or even after 40 is: “Our real estate business Rowland Property Group journey, and to what we can share to make one person’s life better for them.” He hopes that the best is yet to come with the Buchanan Promise Scholarship and the development of the future of Buchanan. His favorite thing to do in Buchanan, “Is attending and enjoying the summer concert series at the Common that runs with the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation.” You may visit the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation website here.

(Read his 40 Under 40 Interview HERE)

Elaine & Michael Rowland, Photo by Jami Fujawa Photography

Sarah Brittin, Photo from Moody on the Market

Last but not least, on the east side of the St. Joseph River from Buchanan, is Sarah Brittin from Pizza Transit in Niles. When I asked her how she felt that she was picked for the 40 Under 40, she said that “It was extra special to be recognized during the pandemic. We are a small pizzeria, and not just business owners.” She does know a few people that are on this list from the Niles Daily Star, a realtor and one of her husband’s coworkers. Of course, she was not sure who nominated her. Sarah said, “I thought that I would never be on the list of the 40 Under 40.” Before she turns 40 or even after 40 she “Wants to try to keep working and get the wheels turning by 2024 for Pizza Transit to be rid of the plastic footprint.”

While I was talking with Sarah, she showed a lot of excitement for her business and downtown Niles. Her favorite things to do in Niles are “Attending the downtown events, the Third Thursdays (special pizza all day, music at night), the Farmers’ Market at the NODE (Niles Outdoor Dining Experience), summer concert series and the Ice Festival.” Her restaurant is a 2nd generation family-owned that her Dad started on the old highway and worked with for 17 years and now she has owned it for 17 years downtown. And they still use her Dad’s recipes. Pizza Transit was showcased on the Tamron Hall TV talk show for their pizza kits that they came up with during the pandemic for families to order and bake at home. You can place an order on their website: www.pizzatransit.com and they have a special pizza of the month too!

(Read her 40 Under 40 Interview HERE)


The Buchanan Chronicle congratulates these three great persons for doing what they do and also to the rest of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 (full list HERE). If we did not have these amazing people, who knows what kind of experiences we would be having in our communities. We wish you well and good luck in your continued success.


  • Elaine Rowland, Director of Development & External Relations
  • Fernwood Botanical Garden
    • 13988 Range Line Rd
    • Niles, MI 49120
  • 269-695-6491
  • info@fernwoodbotanical.org
  • fernwoodbotanical.org
  • Hours:
    • Tues-Sat 10a-5p
    • Sunday noon-5p

  • Michael Rowland, President & CEO
  • Michigan Gateway Community Foundation
    • 111 Days Ave
    • Buchanan, MI 49107
  • 269-695-3521
  • info@mgcf.org
  • mgcf.org

  • Sarah Brittin, Owner & CEO
  • Pizza Transit
    • 215 E Main St
    • Niles, MI 49120
  • 269-684-6600
  • pizzatransit.com
  • Hours:
    • Mon, Wed-Sat 11:30a-9p
    • Sun 4p-9p

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