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Caffeine lover brews up coffee cocktails in DeWitt

Justin Hartig didn't know a lot about the coffee he was drinking until he realized how much he loved it. So three years ago, he began his studies, visiting as many coffee venues as he could to learn about the power of caffeinated brews.
 

In February, Hartig's thirst for knowledge culminated in his newest adventure: a 1950s-themed coffee shop with creative coffee drinks in downtown DeWitt. Located at 116 N. Bridge St., The Crafted Bean serves up a half-a-dozen non-alcoholic coffee cocktails that mirror the momentum of the craft brew pub scene.
 

Customers entering Hartig's shop won't find staff serving up lattes and cappuccinos, but instead a selection of seven coffee drinks that fall on the sweet to savory spectrum. The popular drinks bear monikers like "Bliss," "Chubby Checker" and "Smoking Gun" with blends of ingredients like coconut cream, peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract, or infusions of smoke chips and cherry oil.
 

"We're the third wave of coffee," says Hartig. "We put our own stamp on things. We're creating a culture. There's a process to what goes on here."
 

The Crafted Bean carries and uses bean from Caveman Coffee, Lucky Duck Premium Coffee, Fresso Coffee Company, and Craft and Mason, and features Blue Owl nitro on tap. Groovy Donuts supplies carbs for dunking.
 

While coffee cocktails and cold brew are the main attraction, customers are also drawn to the "outlaw" décor. A mural of Johnny Cash provides a focal point within an interior that combines wood beams and rough-cut paneling, runs of aluminum piping, and a black-and-white vinyl floor. A life-sized stand-up of Elvis behind bars doing the "jailhouse rock" evokes memories of when the space was once a bank.
 

Customers can enjoy an occasional live performance on a small stage. A record exchange invites music lovers to spin vinyl provided by the Record Lounge, as well as to take home a vinyl album from the donated bin.
 

"We've had a packed house since we've opened," says Hartig. "Once you step in here, you say, 'oh, I get it,' and come back."
 

Hartig is currently developing his concept for an outside coffee garden that will feature a performance stage. He also purchased a food trailer, and sets his sites on going mobile with a coffee bar and craft waffles to select destinations.
 

"I love the way this town is going," says Hartig, who also owns the training studio the Human Performance Institute down the block. "Places like Bridge Street Social and the upcoming Looking Glass Brewing Company are making this place a cultural hub. We fit in well. We're friendly outlaws. I think everyone likes us."
 

The Crafted Bean can seat about 42 people, and created six jobs—three full-time.
 

Source: Justin Hartig, Owner, The Crafted Bean
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Flipping Redheads brings upcycled chic to Charlotte main street

Two friends who shared a love for finding and refinishing discarded furniture are transforming their hobby into a small business in downtown Charlotte.

Jill Felice and Colleen Mandeville are putting all the pieces in place to open Flipping Redheads at 141A S. Cochran at the end of April. The shop, they say, is unlike other furniture or vintage stores since each chair, table, dresser or other functional finds on display has been upcycled with a "red headed twist."

"We're the garage sale queens," says Mandeville.

"We're into upcycling," says Felice.

"We enjoyed it as a hobby and making things for our family," says Mandeville. "We just thought it would be a great opportunity to share what we make with Charlotte."

Felice and Mandeville said their shop will be populated with furniture, knick-knacks and Dixie Bell paint—a specialty chalk-paint line. Customers can browse and purchase pieces from the shop floor or pick a piece to take home and paint it themselves. The two redheads say they are on hand to offer guidance on technique, as well as to paint pieces for creative reuse on demand when asked.

"We tell people to go with their creativity," says Felice. "We learned it all on our own from dabbling. You never know where it will lead you, and you play around until you get something really special."

The redheaded business partners say they take pieces on consignment, and hope to begin offering classes once they get settled into the 9-by-53-foot shop.

"We're hoping to grow and hoping the community likes our creativity," says Felice. "In the meantime, we're enjoying this journey. We're very good friends and have been for about 10 years. It's just relaxing."

Source: Jill Felice and Colleen Mandeville, Co-owners, Flipping Redheads
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.


Photographer rebrands, opens first official studio in Charlotte

While she's sometimes known around town as "the chicken lady," Amanda Lipsey is probably best known as the self-described "funky little chick who loves her community and her camera."
 
In January, Lipsey opened the doors to Henwood Studio at 344 N. Cochran in the evolving downtown district of Charlotte, Mich. The 500-square foot studio—her first-ever brick-and-mortar—developed from a photography business she started from her home nine years ago.
 
And the name?
 
"That came from my love of chickens," she laughs. "And for helping to get the chicken ordinance passed a few years ago that allows people to own chickens within the Charlotte city limits."
 
Lipsey found her passion for pictures when her first child was born in 2007. She says she wanted to have his picture taken but had trouble finding someone who could photograph him the way she saw him.
 
"I'd take him to big box stores where they would have him sit on a stool," she says. "I'd get the pictures back, and I'd think, 'that's not my child. It looks like him, but he's not a sit-and-smile kind of kid."
 
So Lipsey started snapping pictures on her own using a point-and-shoot Fuji she bought for $100. Friends said they loved what they saw, and encouraged her to take her skills to the next level. She did, fine-tuning her technique through Lansing Community College courses and applying them through her first professional-grade Nikon camera.
 
"It just grew and my business took off before I was even ready," she says. "I had tried to work other places and do other things, but I kept going back to this. It's what I love and what I love doing full-time."
 
Lipsey initially launched her business as Amanda Marie Photography in 2007, then rebranded in 2016. She says Henwood Studio will remain true to her specialty of photographing children—from newborns to high school seniors—as well as doing a select number of weddings and other events throughout the year. She also hopes to build her services in social media marketing and design with the help of one or two part-time staff.
 
"I love photographing kids," says Lipsey, as she circles back to that first "sit-and-smile" experience with her son. "As parents, we know those pictures don't show their real smile. I try to get that real smile you see when you close your eyes and thinking about your child. I set up my sessions so it's fun time where kids can go wild and have fun."
 
And the parents?
 
"They can just sit back and relax," she says.
 
Source: Amanda Lipsey, Owner, Henwood Studio
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Yarn Garden celebrates 10th anniversary, preps for move to bigger space

Lindsay Potter has never been afraid of needles.
 
In fact, she's made a career based on knitting and other yarn crafts involving sticks and string.
 
"My husband likes to play video games," says Potter. "While you might get a virtual graphic or reward at the end, with my hobby, I have something I can wrap my family in and keep warm. You spend time creating something that's functional, beautiful and fun to touch."
 
In 2007, Potter purchased The Yarn Garden, a small, craft-based business in downtown Charlotte across from the Eaton County Courthouse. Potter had worked for the founder Kim Torkko who opened the specialty yarn shop in 2003, and fell in love with the business.
 
In 10 years, Potter has continued to grow the shop into a small business based on service and helping people learn and refine their talent for knitting and crocheting. With a focus on natural fibers, she carries a variety of yarns and products not typically found in bigger craft stores. She also networks with related independent small businesses, carrying locally dyed yarns, notions and hand-made items like project bags.
 
As a one-woman shop, Potter coordinates retail as well as the events, classes and social groups, some in cooperation with customers. "Knit alongs," for instance, invite people to drop in and bring their projects, or to work on a shared project together.
 
"There's a huge social aspect to what we do," says Potter. "People of all ages and professions get together because we have this common thing we enjoy. It's a sense of community, and we've all gone through hard times or experiences. I know I can always count on my knitters."
 
The popularity of The Yarn Garden inspired Potter to take the next step during her 10th anniversary year and move to a larger space. Coming this spring or early summer, she'll turn the key on the new store just around the corner at 131 S. Cochran Street. At 1,400-square feet, the location is about 400-square feet larger with more usable space for retail and classes.
 
"And since we'll be right on the main street, the new location will bring me more visibility," says Potter. "That means I'll be able to invite more people in to enjoy the craft."
 
Source: Lindsay Potter, Owner, The Yarn Garden
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Dimes Brewhouse on tap to open in downtown Dimondale

Two chemical engineers inspired by the art and science of a beer-making hobby are putting the finishing touches on a brewhouse in Dimondale.
 
Husband-wife entrepreneurs Michelle and Chad Rogers plan to open Dimes Brewhouse come April or May in a 1,000-square foot building that once housed a florist. Located at 145 N. Bridge St., the microbrewery will feature four to five craft beers and non-alcohol, locally sourced cider in a 600-square foot tap room decked out with a scientific theme. Customers can enjoy drinks served in beakers, and frequent guests can become members of the Mad Chemist Club.
 
"It gives us a fun focus," says Dimes Brewhouse Co-Owner Michelle Roger. "Dimes is also going to be cozy, filled with warm lighting and that small town vibe."
 
The Rogers had been tossing around the idea of starting a brewery after moving back to Greater Lansing from jobs and collegiate odysseys in Baton Rouge, La., and Detroit. The two bought Chad's grandparent's old farmhouse and continued to pursue a beer-making hobby inspired by a college class on beverage technology.
 
Rogers says the name for the microbrewery pays homage to Chad's hometown of Dimondale. A bar made from wood harvested from a old maple tree on the couple's property further reflects the commitment to make Dimes a comfortable place for locals and visitors.
 
"We want Dimes to be a gathering place for the community," says Rogers. "The fact that we're very close to the Grand River is exciting, too. We would like to sponsor some canoeing and kayaking events, as well as host occasional seminars."
 
Dimes Brewhouse will be open Thursday through Sunday for starters, with a total of four to six staff. The Rogers hope to brew up to 300 barrels a year through a 3.5 barrel steam-powered system.
 
Source: Michelle Rogers, Co-owner, Dimes Brewhouse
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Good Eats Diva brings legendary baked goods to Allen Market Place

She's a food snob and proud of it. But although she's particular about her palate, Kathleen Cannata Hanna isn't averse to sharing her legendary baked goods with the Lansing community.
 
In September 2016, Hanna set up a production kitchen in a 250-square foot incubator space in the Allen Market Place at 1629 E. Kalamazoo St. and began offering Italian brewed coffee with fresh muffins, scones, coffee cakes, breakfast bars, granola to-go, and her signature biscotti—all made with high quality, fresh ingredients. Good Eats Diva, Hanna says, offers a "Soho-style" experience within a 1940s renovated building with a open kitchen and stand-up bar. Early morning hours are seasonal and posted on the Good Easts Diva website, while on-line orders for pick-up are available by appointment or during the Wednesday 3-6:30 p.m. open hours of the Allen Market Place.
 
"There's a lot of uniqueness in Lansing, and the public is starving and tired of that in-the-box kind-of thing," says Hanna. "I like to think that I do fabulous things that local people want and appreciate."
 
Originally from the East Side of Cleveland, Hanna was schooled in cooking and baking by her grandparents who immigrated from Italy. In 1990, Hanna moved to Greater Lansing where she catered and baked for coffee houses in Lansing, Ann Arbor and Western Michigan. After 14 years, she took a break to concentrate on her family, then wrote and published two cookbooks. She's now back at it, and says she is looking to answer the demand for her signature baked goods.
 
In addition to her presence at Allen Market Place, Hanna also sells her goods through the Meridian Township Farmer's Market, East Lansing Farmer's Market and wholesale through Vine and Brew, Foods for Living, Dusty's, Mert's Specialty Meats, and various locations in Northern Michigan and Metro Detroit. Hanna says she is currently in the test phase of offering brown bag or boxed lunches for corporate functions. Small group cooking classes are also in the works.
 
"I'm extremely Type A and extremely organized," says Hanna. "I get up very early and go right to the kitchen. I basically eat, sleep and drink my work."
 
Source: Kathleen Hanna, Owner, Good Eats Divia
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Stone-fired, create-your-own pizza parlor joins East Lansing culinary choices

Pizza never goes out of style. Particularly in college towns.
 
Within a week of ringing in the New Year, a Maryland-based pizza company opened the doors on a fast-casual pizza restaurant at 115 E. Grand River Ave. in downtown East Lansing. Nested two-doors down from the corner of Albert and Grand River Avenues, LOTSA Stone Fired Pizza offers fast pizzas and salads that diners can customize from more than 40 fresh ingredients. Each pizza is ready to eat in just five minutes after being baked in a custom, stone-fired oven.
 
"What's also appealing is the taste," says Anthony DiGangi, chief operating officer, Colmont Restaurant Group. "We use higher quality ingredients like cheese from independent dairy farms and California tomatoes. We're not cutting corners."
 
Ingredients cover the pizza spectrum, ranging from pineapple to pepperoni to banana peppers to brown sugar bacon. Multiple sauces include traditional red, spicy buffalo red sauce, and Alfredo. Crusts are hand-tamped, with gluten-free options available. Signature salads are made from hand-cut ingredients, come in two sizes, and can be topped with one of five dressings.
 
East Lansing is the sixth location for the LOTSA Pizza and the first in Michigan. The restaurant chain launched in October 2015 in Morgantown, W.V., and quickly branched out to markets in Indiana, Maryland and Wisconsin. The company is headquartered in Glenwood, Md. Customers can enjoy sit-down, take-out or delivery, with online ordering available.
 
"East Lansing fit a lot of our checklist items," says Michael Hannon, chief financial officer of Colmont. "There's a large university here, there's great sports programs, and there was an awesome piece of real estate available. The stars just aligned."
 
LOTSA pizza created 30 jobs, can seat up to 70 diners and features a small party room. During warm weather, a large garage door can be opened for al fresco dining. The 5,000-square foot space is energized by a premium stereo system as well as sports programming on large flat screen TVs. A custom mural depicting campus landmarks adds local flair.
 
Source: Anthony DiGangi, Chief Operating Officer, Colmont Restaurant Group
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Conquest Fitness raises the bar with affordable, state-of-the-art facility

The health, fitness and performance-minded in Greater Lansing have a new option for the New Year as two fitness centers joined forces to create a new facility unlike any other in Michigan.
 
Conquest Fitness, say owners and operators, will take the gym experience to a whole new level with a fitness center, performance training center, and onsite medical partners. Developers broke ground on the 26,000-square foot mega fitness center in March 2016, and opened the doors the day after Christmas to accommodate those looking to up their fitness resolutions.
 
"Our goal was to build a new fitness center in the community, one very different than the standard," says Conquest Fitness Co-owner Andre Hutson who will run day-to-day operations. "We're providing an excellent weight training area, a robust cardio area, up to 35 fitness classes a week—all for individuals who like to get after it."
 
The new DeWitt facility will also feature a performance center geared toward athletes. The center will be operated through a franchise agreement with the California-based Velocity Sports Performance—a company that has trained hundreds of professional athletes in nearly every sport. Velocity also boasts a massive youth program—something Hutson says he is proud to bring to mid-Michigan and to student athletes in the K-12 community.
 
"My passion is for health and wellness and seeing kids grow and become better athletes," says Hutson, a former professional basketball player and member of the Michigan State University 2000 NCAA Championship team. "Mid-Michigan has been good to me, and this is where my life has led me—into health and wellness and giving more opportunity to people in our community."
 
To round out the comprehensive fitness programs, the new Conquest Fitness in DeWitt will house medical partners to support physical performance services. Physical therapy, athletic trainers and sports medicine services are on site. Other features include meeting and event space, a smoothie bar, and decked-out locker and steam rooms.
 
Conquest Fitness resulted from the merge of BStrong Fitness of DeWitt and Conquest Health & Fitness, and will serve members through two locations: the new facility at 13575 S. Airport Road and at Eagle Eye in Bath. Hutson and partners Dr. Pat Quain, David Mollitor and Scott Gillespie will oversee the growth and management of the two facilities by drawing on their varied backgrounds in athletics, medicine, business and development. 
 
Conquest Fitness will employ 20 to 30 people, serve up to 2,500 members, and accommodate training services for about 100 K-12 students a month.
 
Source: Andre Hutson, Co-owner/operator, Conquest Fitness
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Red's Smokehouse gets down to business on Lansing's east side

Carol Smith has been serving up her signature barbecue in mobile or market spaces for two years. In November, the owner and founder of Red's Smokehouse Burgers and BBQ decided to settle down in a space not too far from where she started.
 
For the past two months, Smith and her partner Jacke Randall have been transforming a 1,400-square foot space into a community-oriented smokehouse and restaurant. When finished, Smith's first brick-and-mortar eatery at 1619 Kalamazoo St. will seat up to 25 guests, employ six to eight staff, and serve up the signature barbecue items that have attracted a loyal and growing following in Greater Lansing.
 
"It was always the dream to have my own little space where I can enjoy making food, and sit and talk with people," says Smith. "It's so exciting. And it feels really good to come back."
 
Smith originally launched Red's Smokehouse in early 2014 through the incubator kitchen of the Allen Market Place—a food-based community organization behind the soon-to-be restaurant. Since then, Smith has been smoking at various locations, including the Lansing City Market and a food trailer, as well as participating in weekly farmer's markets through Allen Market Place.
 
In addition to her signature items that include pulled pork, deep-friend macaroni balls, nachos and tacos, Smith says the future restaurant will feature her signature items like pulled pork, deep-fried macaroni balls, tacos and burgers, as well as a deli with take-out meats, artisan cheeses and other items from Allen Market Place vendors. Deli customers can also opt for Smith's homemade salads and some of her smoked meats.
 
Smith says her goal is to build on the community that helped her get started in the business. She envisions a space decked out with reclaimed wood and bright colors.
 
"We have eclectic taste when it comes to decorating," she says. "It will be a little rustic with a modern twist."
 
During the build-out, Red's will be prepping and offering foods through the Avenue Café on the East Side, as well as through the Allen Market Place. She hopes to have the restaurant open by February or March.
 
Red's Smokehouse is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to help offset the $80,000 renovation costs. To find out more or to contribute, visit the website here.
 
 

Gracie's Contemporary Bistro offers upscale dining in low-key, casual setting

Quality dining in a small-town atmosphere is no further than 15 to 20 minutes from downtown Lansing.
 
Open since July, Gracie's Contemporary Bistro offers upscale food in an informal atmosphere, building on the quaint, historic feel of downtown Williamston.
 
"We offer something a little different," says Manager Emily Gray. "We're not necessarily fine dining, and we don't want to be a bar. We simply want to be the spot where you can get out of the city and have a modern, dining experience."
 
Located at 151 N. Putnam, the bistro transitioned in mid-summer from the former Gracie's Place after being purchased by Nick Gavrilides, owner of the Soup Spoon Café on Lansing's east side. The restaurant retained the tin ceilings, wood floors and granite countertops, and added a flair of black and white to accentuate the contemporary offerings on the menu.
 
Gracie's serves fine food with an artistic presentation. In keeping with a farm to table concept, the menu leans toward comfort foods prepared with local ingredients. Selections rotate, with signature dishes featuring lamb shank, pan seared rainbow trout, filet mignon and pastas made with shrimp or scallops. A selection of salads, soups, vegetables and bread round out the menu, as well as specialty cakes and puddings for dessert.
 
A full apothecary style bar features six beers on tap, bottled beer and pre-prohibition style cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juices and house ingredients. A broad selection of specialty wines from Michigan and around the world is available.
 
The restaurant seats up to 75 people, and can accommodate groups for parties or special occasions. When the weather permits, an outdoor patio seats about 30 diners. About 25 staff from servers to chefs work onsite, including three from the previous Gracie's and a few transfers from the Soup Spoon.
 
"We’re called a contemporary bistro for a reason," says Gray. "We want you to come here and have a fabulous dining experience, but we also want to stay loose enough so someone can come here in their shorts or jeans. We play contemporary music, dim the lights at night for a little more formal feel. But we don't want you to feel scared to come in if you're not formally dressed."
 
Gracie's Contemporary Bistro is open Tuesdays through Saturdays for lunch and dinner, with Monday hours on the horizon.
 
Source: Emily Gray, Manager, Gracie's Contemporary Bistro
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Manafold Games brings fantasy to downtown Williamston

Justin McVay and his wife Nina Gucciardo are up for adventure. In mid-November, they invited others to join by opening the doors on a new store focused on role-playing games.
 
The husband-wife team opened Manafold Games in mid-November after investing their savings and a month of sweat equity into refurbishing an older storefront. Customers entering the shop at 115 W. Grand River in downtown Williamston are greeted by freshly painted blue walls, a silver floor, and a series of shelves alternating with white pillars. Reclaimed glass cabinets, an exposed brick wall exhibiting local artists, and tables and chairs round out the atmosphere of the 1,300-square foot shop designed both for retail and as a social hub for the board and card gaming community.
 
"Our goal is to be a community center as much as a friendly game store," says McVay. "We're modeling ourselves on successful game stores like the Vault of Midnight in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. They have a very bright atmosphere that's friendly to the average consumer."
 
Manafold will stock an inventory of popular contemporary board and role-playing games including the Dead of Winter, the Legend of Zelda Monopoly, Game of Thrones Clue and some classic vintage games. The shop will also host drop-in events for role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, collectable card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, and unofficial Magic the Gathering nights. In time, McVay says he hopes to have tournaments, with registration taken in advance. He also hopes to branch into starting a euchre league in the coming year.
 
"I've been wanting to open a game store for about 10 years," says McVay. "I like games mostly because of the art, and also because of the empathy and competitive aspects. A really good game outlines all of human  nature. You can learn very quickly about people by playing games."
 
Source: Justin McVay, Owner, Manafold Games
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Blue Owl Coffee Company takes flight for landing by early 2017

Nick Berry loves coffee. He has since he was 15. And it's a love brewed from the life-changing events that happened over a cup of java in a coffee shop.
 
Now, joined by two friends, Berry will open a community space in Lansing's REO Town where people of all ages can enjoy coffee, community and art. He and his partners will also roll out the coffee experience through a wood and steel cart on wheels at events or on city sidewalks during permitted seasons.
 
In September, Berry launched Blue Owl Coffee with friends Rich Whitman and Adam Klein. Providing a special blend of coffee through a customized bike cart was initially a marketing strategy for the upcoming coffee shop. After word and popularity took hold, the Blue Owl Team directed their focus on opening a brick-and-mortar venue at 1149 S. Washington in REO Town.
 
"This whole thing—starting with a blue owl—came from a dream," says Berry. "It's all about taking your dream for something and sticking with it."
 
The space—vacant for about 30 years—is undergoing a build-out and re-do. Expectations are to open Blue Owl Coffee sometime in January 2017. To date, Berry has introduced community members to the upcoming shop through informal art and music events at the site.
 
"People came for a bit to hang out," says Berry. "We did a jazz night, and did some donation-based events. We want to show people the space before it opens, and to show them that this isn’t your typical coffee shop—it's your shop."
 
The Blue Owl Coffee Company will deck out the long neglected interior with hand-selected and handmade furniture, fixtures and décor—all keeping with the industrial heritage of REO Town.
 
"We’re building it ourselves," says Berry. "It's going to be pretty fun, and we're going to create an aesthetic that captures the industrial nature of this beautiful building."
 
Blue Owl Coffee serves up a variety of special coffees using beans supplied through the local Craft & Mason and Bloom Coffee Roasters. Signature javas include a nitro cold brew kegged coffee, as well as coffees that draw on different flavor notes akin to wine and beer. The upcoming shop will seat about 65 people and is expected to create a few part-time jobs.
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Modern Groomers helps every pooch make a positive impression

Jessica Moore recalls her grandfather every day she steps into her shop on the busy corner of Vine and Homer Streets just west of the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing.
 
And when she picks up the tools of her trade, she knows she's building on a passion and family tradition for making customers feel good about the way they look.
 
Although Moore's customers have four legs and a tail, the services she provides through Modern Groomers are similar to the shave and a haircut her grandfather provided a generation ago. That's why, she says, she chose to base the name of her one-year-old upscale dog and cat grooming salon after Modern Barbers—a shop her late grandfather had founded before she was born.
 
"The pet grooming industry is quite saturated, but there is always a need for somebody who is caring and loving," says Moore. "My clients are my own, and we focus on one family at a time when they're here."
 
The 2008 graduate of East Lansing High School always knew she wanted to do something with animals, but didn't feel vet school was her track. Instead, she combined her passions for animals, creative expression and entrepreneurship into a career in grooming dogs and occasional cats.
 
"It's just kind-of the way that we've grown up," says Moore about her family's entrepreneurial streak. "My mom used to help my grandpa in his shop, and also has her own wedding and events planning business. It's been passed down. We are believers in doing what you love, not working in a job that you don't have a passion about."
 
Moore earned her degree from the Michigan School of Canine Cosmetology in Lansing in 2011, and then applied her skills in various settings before striking out on her own. She grooms about five to six dogs a day in her cage-free, 1,500-square foot space. She also grooms cats on request.
 
Services are provided by appointment only and include bath, nail trim, ear cleaning, hand stripping, hand drying, and expressing anal glands. Her grooming style, she says, can range from traditional to creative, with some dogs leaving with coats of different colors.
 
"My goal now and into the future is to just continue helping to serve Lansing, and to make every dog the best they possibly can," she says. "I do that in a loving and friendly environment. Lots of love goes into every dog."
 
Source: Jessica Moore, Owner, Modern Groomers
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Newby Teas bases North American operations in East Lansing

Raji Singh never thought she would discover her calling through tealeaves. Today, the 2014 graduate of Michigan State University is a brand ambassador for an international tea company that recently selected East Lansing as its base for breaking in to the North American market.
 
With 15 offices in Europe and Asia, Newby Teas of London was looking to expand across the Atlantic. And Singh—a Newby team member with roots in Mid-Michigan—stepped up to make it happen.
 
After earning a degree in political science from MSU's James Madison College, Singh worked in international trade and moved to London. Once there, she heard about Newby Teas and landed a job with the company's sales, marketing and tea tasting team in late 2015.
 
"I fell in love with the brand and the mission," says Singh. "When they told me they didn't have a presence in North America, we decided it might be an opportunity for me to bring the tea back here."
 
Having grown up in Okemos, Singh felt at home in mid-Michigan, and sought out the support and resources through the MSU Product Center, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the City of East Lansing, and the Small Business Development Center. By March 2016, she was able to open an office in the East Lansing Marriott Center, and slate a grand opening for August.
 
Newby Teas sells tea and gifts inside luxury hotels, and is available to individuals through an online boutique. As a brand ambassador, Singh plans to expand the product's availability in hotels across the U.S., starting in big city markets like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
 
As well as supplying teas sourced from Nepal, India, Kenya, China, Japan and Taiwan, Newby Teas advances educational and charity-based causes. Singh points out that the Marriott office features an educational room that can accommodate up to 20 people for demonstrations and seminars. The company recently participated as a sponsor and vendor at Kaleidoscope--a health and education event for women through the Sparrow Foundation.
 
"This is an organization based on passion, education and cause," says Singh. "I'm really enjoying it, and believe in what we're doing."
 
The North American Office of Newby Teas of London employs four staff and is located inside the East Lansing Marriott at 333 Albert Ave., Suite 633.
 
 
Source: Raji Singh, Brand Ambassador, Newby Teas of London
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

M3 Group puts plans in motion to reinvent 19th century church for new headquarters

A full-service branding and publication agency that started out 14 years ago from an in-home office is making a move that will provide more space to a growing staff.
 
In July, the M3 Group purchased a landmark church building on the corner of Seymour Avenue and Saginaw Street with plans to renovate and make the 19th century structure their 21st century home. The group's CEO and Founder Tiffany Dowling budgeted $625,000 to reinvent the church's interior, and envisions an open, airy atmosphere that fosters collaboration and creative thinking.
 
"Lots of people might say we could have people work at home and we don't need this adjustment," says Dowling. "But we're a creative group and the type of organization that likes to collaborate and brainstorm. You want people together to make that happen easier."
 
The M3 Group is currently lodged in two offices, located side-by-side in the 600 block of Seymour Avenue. Dowling says she has always had a crush on the 1892 church, and imagined making the structure their next home when the time came.
 
Dowling will expand the 6,800-square foot property by about 1,200-square feet by adding a mezzanine and upgrading the garden level. She is working with REO Town's Studio Intrigue to pull together ideas, including glass walls, modern furnishing, work stations or "pods," a sound booth, photography studio, and event space for clients.
 
Dowling estimates staff will be in their new spaces by March 1. The reinvented interior, Dowling says, provides the company the flexibility to grow from 25 up to 50 employees.
 
"That's aggressive," she acknowledges. "But I want this to be our forever office."
 
Originally founded in 2002 as Motion Marketing and Media, the M3Group offers clients a full array of services that include public relations, communications, brand creation and assessments, graphic design, website development, social media management, video production, audio production, event planning and management, and media planning and buying. The company is also the publisher of three area magazines: Capital Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, Greater Lansing Business Monthly and ing Magazine.
 
Source: Tiffany Dowling, Founder and CEO, M3 Group
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
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