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Recruitment Management Consultants meeting growth targets with four new hires

An IT recruitment and consulting company considered among the top 50 companies to watch by the creators of the 2016 Michigan Celebrates Small Business List recently gave Greater Lansing more reason to take notice.
 
In mid-summer, Recruitment Management Consultants added four new internal staff to its operations. Two staff will work at the East Lansing headquarters, while two will work in Detroit. The addition of the new team members increases RMC's ability to meet the growing demand for IT consulting and placement.
 
"IT talent is in high demand. We strive to help bridge the gap between local employers looking for IT resources for their teams, and IT professionals who are actively or passively looking for new employment," says Adrienne Waltz, RMC marketing and communications specialist. "We place emphasis on finding the right fit for the candidates as well as the hiring managers we work with."
 
In the last five years, RMC has grown from three full-time employees to 11. The company also added a second office location in Novi in 2014. RMC was founded in 2010 by Jim Beirmeister and Jamie Lytle and is headquartered at 321 W. Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing.
 
Waltz says the RMC's growth strategy is based on being involved in the local communities where they do business. The company supports several organizations in Lansing including the Capital Area IT Council, the Michigan Technology Network, and the Michigan Council for Women in Technology.
 
"We believe our commitment to home-grown efforts has contributed to our recent recognition as one of the top 50 Michigan companies to watch," says Waltz.
 
RMC is co-hosting and sponsoring its first Tech Talk Happy Hour in conjunction with Tech Tuesdays in Lansing. The event is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Crafty Palate, 333 S. Washington Square. More information can be found here.
 

BAD Brewing triples footprint, adds taps and staff

Brian Rasdale was tired of measuring the success of his brewery and tasting room by how many people peeked in then walked away because the place was too crowded. BAD Brewing Co. had only been open three years. But it was ready to expand. 
 
"It was getting crazy," says Rasdale who opened BAD Brewing in downtown Mason in July 2012. "There was no where to sit. Especially on certain nights of the week. This was the answer."
 
The answer Rasdale refers to is the expansion of his 1,600-square foot brewery at 448 Jefferson St. into an adjacent storefront and an outdoor patio space. While Rasdale had bought the building next door in 2015, he didn't get started knocking out the wall between the old and new spaces until March 2016. The additional 800-square feet of renovated and restored space includes a second bar, more seating, and an interior design that accentuates the exposed brick, wood and other characteristic of the nearly 150-year-old building.
 
"The atmosphere here is relaxing and inviting," says Rasdale. "People feel really comfortable here. Now there's room for more."
 
Rasdale also quickly got to work adding an L-shaped patio on the back. The 1,200-square foot space integrates natural shade from mature maple trees, canopy lighting, and a spot for Good Bites food truck to park from Tuesday through Saturday. And while seemingly seasonal, the patio will be open year-round, with a fire pit and heat warmers providing comfort on chillier days.
 
Between the addition and the patio, BAD Brewing upped capacity by 90 people. The expanded brewery is about triple the original size and can seat 140 people within 3,600-square feet of space.
 
The brewery also added 10 taps, bringing tap beer selection to 20 to 25 brews. Six people plus Rasdale currently work at BAD Brewing, with two to three part-time staff slated for hire as the expansion drives demand.
 
The acronym BAD, Rasdale explains, stands for "Brian After Dark" and came from a joke among friends. Before opening BAD Brewing, Rasdale had been home brewing for about 12 years and worked in law enforcement.
 
"I never really thought my life would be this way," says Rasdale, reflecting on his career change. "It's artistic. You have the ability to create what you think is good."
 
Source: Brian Rasdale, Owner, BAD Brewing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Up-and-coming Doberman Technologies recognized for growth and top-notch service

A local IT management firm is making national lists as a top service provider, economic driver, and developer of talent.
 
In late spring 2016, Doberman Technologies received accolades for its commitment to excellence in client service from MSPmentor.net and CRN.com—two organizations that showcase top service providers focused on small business support. The Warren-based Corp! Magazine also named Doberman as one of the state's "Economic Bright Spots" for the company's continued growth, expansion and hiring of Michigan talent. And in June, Doberman made ChannelE2E.com's first annual Top 100 Vertical Market IT Solution providers list for its work in healthcare.
 
"These lists and independent reviews by other folks in our industry say we're doing the right things," says Ian Richardson, founder of Doberman Technologies. "It's a great honor and a validation of what we're doing."
 
Richardson founded Doberman in late 2005 after having grown a steady base of clients through freelancing. He says he chose the name Doberman as a way to project the  core principles of reliability, continuity and security provided to clients by his third-party IT management firm.
 
Doberman boasts a combined 50 years experience in IT with a staff of 10—three of which were added since December 2015. The company plans to add two more employees by the end of 2016, as well as to continue building a robust intern program coordinated through Lansing Community College.
 
The company serves a growing list of 122 clients in Greater Lansing and Jackson through services such as purchasing, help desk support, vendor management, long-term IT planning, business consulting, equipment disposal, physical infrastructure, cloud services and compliance management. 
 
"We focus on the local region," says Richardson. "We really strive to make sure that we can respond rapidly, and are focused on the sincere best interest of the client in everything we do."
 
Doberman is based in a 5,000-square foot office at 205 N. Mason St. in Mason's antique district—just a few miles and a few neighborhoods away from where Richardson grew up in Okemos.
 
"Michigan is full of honest, genuine people who are invested in growing their communities and delivering value," says Richardson. "That's something I want to be part of. This area, too, is coming back. There's non-stop development. It's an honor to be a part of it."
 
Source: Ian Richardson, Founder, Doberman Technologies
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Bridge Street Social invites patrons to enjoy wine, fine dining in a homey setting

One worked as a wine salesman, the other as a chef. The two met and over time, began talking, coming up with an idea that furthers their passions in the hospitality industry and help builds community, too.
 
In April, Justin King—a certified sommelier—and Mike Luther—a long-time chef and owner of Williamston's Red Cedar Grill—opened Bridge Street Social in DeWitt. It's a place, says King, that combines the best of a wine bar with the best of fine dining. It's also a place that fosters the best of conversation by bringing friends, family and community together under one roof.
 
"This is a real homey place," says King. "We tried to make it feel natural and warm for conversations. We don't have a TV. Part of me is a touch sad about that, but I love the vibe of being able to enjoy a great meal and not be distracted."
 
Located at 107 S. Bridge Street, the 1,900-square foot restaurant seats 48 people in the dining room, 10 at the bar, and about 15 on an outdoor patio. Guests can enjoy up to 150 wines decanted by the glass, as well as a menu that features small plates and full dinners that combine elements of contemporary cuisine from all coasts and continents. Creative cocktails and craft beer—some sourced locally—are also happy hour and evening favorites.
 
King tapped his knowledge of the industry and imported a progressive idea that enables Bridge Street Social to offer more wine by the glass than any other local restaurant, and to rival top restaurants in Michigan. He explains that the restaurant will leverage the Coravin wine pouring system—a device that uses small needles to pierce the cork in a wine bottle and replaces it with argon cartridge. The system can increase the lifespan of a bottle of wine from three days to a year, and helps keep by-the-glass costs down by reducing spoilage or waste.  
 
Bridge Street Social created 13 jobs and is dedicated to keeping costs reasonable and within reach. Dinners start at about $15, or guests can enjoy a drink and a smaller selection for about $16. Wines range from value-driven to elegant, with some topping $175 a bottle.
 
"We take all kinds of guests into consideration," King says. "Sometimes you want to come in for an anniversary or sometimes you're just out for the night with a best friend."
 
Source: Justin King, Co-Owner, Bridge Street Social
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Tabooli opens new restaurant in Delta Township, creates up to 20 jobs

Residents and day-travelers west of downtown Lansing will find a fresh, healthy option to traditional fast food as Tabooli Mediterranean opened its second restaurant over the Memorial Day weekend.
 
Located at the corner of Waverly and St. Joseph Streets, the West Side Tabooli features the same on-the-go Mediterranean style food popularized by brothers and co-owners Fathy and Mohammed Shetiah at the first Tabooli location near Sparrow Hospital.
 
"Our menu is very simple," says Fathy. "We want to keep it that way and go after things that people enjoy."
 
Tabooli brings the make-your-own model of national restaurant chains to their local enterprise, allowing customers to build their own meal from Mediterranean staples. Customers decide whether they want a "bowl" or a "wrap" made with beef or chicken shawarma, falafel, eggplant or kofta, then choose toppings like hummus, pickled turnips or tabooli. All selections are made in-house, and draw on the influences of Lebanese, Greeks, Italian and Egyptian cuisines. Salads, paninis, desserts and beverages round out the menu.
 
"We want the community to see Mediterranean food in a different way," says Fathy. "We want our restaurants to look and feel different than anything else out there."
 
Like the original location that made its home in a renovated Kentucky Fried Chicken, the new Tabooli occupies the footprint of a repurposed gas station. An inviting layout allows customers to see staff making food, with sit-down seating accommodating 30 to 40 diners. An outdoor patio is in the works, upping capacity by a dozen or more customers.
 
The newest Tabooli created 15 to 20 jobs. A third location is slated to open in August in East Lansing in the previous location of Grand River Coffee on the city's western edge.
 
"We’re trying to go for good locations and want to go where people want us to be," says Fathy. "Our goal is be part of the community, and we're always looking for community engagement opportunities."
 
Source: Fathy Shetiah, Co-owner, Tabooli Mediterranean
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Family Tree Café celebrates one year of home-style cooking

When it comes to putting food on the table, there's no sibling rivalry among members of one of DeWitt's newest restaurant families.
 
Last summer, a team of two brothers and two sisters opened Family Tree Café in a renovated space in DeWitt's downtown district. Owners include brothers Tim and Steve Russell and their sisters Ann Williams and Sue Vlahakis. Parents Gene and Kay Russell also helped get the restaurant up and running, but are now sitting back and enjoying the food and serviced provided by their kids.
 
"It's been really good working with my siblings," says Co-owner Tim Russell. "Some of the spouses pitch in, too, and do what needs to be done."
 
In early 2015, the Russell siblings seized the opportunity to acquire the frontage that once housed the Heart and Soul Restaurant and Sam's Kitchen. After a few weeks of ripping out carpet, redoing electrical, painting, and laying new flooring, the hardworking family transformed the space into a cozy, family-style eatery.
 
Close to 140 people can sit in booths and tables in the 2,800-square foot space, enjoying the homey atmosphere evoked through picture windows, discreet lighting, ceiling fans, and non-obtrusive TVs. The restaurant's "nostalgic hallway" features historic pictures of DeWitt ad well as vintage signage and artifacts from bygone restaurants and businesses.
 
"One of our goals is to put the rest back in restaurant," says Russell. "We don't understand the need to hurry up all the time, and want Family Tree to be a relaxed, casual environment for folks to come in, sit down, and enjoy a meal."
 
The Family Tree Café features home-style comfort food and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The café also has a liquor license. Specialties include hearty breakfasts, 12 kinds of burgers, and weekly specials like prime rib, rosemary chicken, Greek style lamb and goulash. Grilled sandwiches, wraps, pastas and salads occupy a prominent part of the menu, as well as a wide selection of homemade appetizers like mac-and-cheese bits, spinach pie and jalapeño poppers.
 
"We're looking forward to being connected with the past while looking forward to the future," says Russell. "It's good to see more folks become regulars. It's all part of expanding our family tree out here in DeWitt."
 
The Family Tree Café celebrates on year of operation this June. About 20 people work at the café, including the owners.
 
Source: Tim Russell, Co-owner, Family Tree Cafe
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Good Fruit Video and Advanced Multimedia become business roommates through new shared space

Two video production companies that have shared talents, equipment and vision will now share a physical space on Lansing's southside.
 
Good Fruit Video and Advanced Multimedia recently agreed to jointly lease a 1,980 square foot space at 5300 S. Pennsylvania Ave. Good Fruit—a media production firm—
will relocate this June from its current location in REO Town, while Advanced Multimedia—a video, audio and film production rental company—will move from its long-time location in the Frandor Shopping Center.
 
Kraig Westfall, co-owner of Good Fruit, says he and co-owner Justin Caine have continually rented higher end production equipment from Advanced Media, and periodically serve shared clients. Becoming business roommates, he says, will strengthen the synergy between the two companies, foster growth, and contribute to the everyday ease and nimbleness of doing video work—sometimes on quick turns.
 
"This move will help us to realize our vision to be a news room for hire by businesses," says Westfall. "As we like to say 'call us at 9 a.m. for your grand opening at noon and we'll have it on your YouTube by 4 p.m."
 
Dave St. George, owner of Advanced Multimedia, expresses a similar sentiment.
 
"We're excited to be with Kraig and Justin," says St. George. "It will be a wonderful, symbiotic relationship, and we're happy that we're able to continue to service the residents and business community of Lansing."
 
Westfall says Good Fruit will occupy one half of the end-cap storefront, while Advanced Multimedia will operate in the other. The space will feature a shared open area, a conference room, and three edit bays or suites. And the big headline, Westfall says, is that staff and clients no longer have to go upstairs and downstairs to haul equipment or do business since everything will be all on one floor.
 
"This move will really allow us to take things to the next level," says Westfall. "We're just a small, tucked away place right now. If everything takes off, the plan is to add staff. It's the next step. It's time to grow."
 
Source: Kraig Westfall, Co-owner, Good Fruit Video; David St. George, Owner, Advanced Media
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Innovation News? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Styling business owners open Artisan Salon and Spa in REO Town

They're a team that finds perpetual inspiration in creating works of art. Their medium? Hair. And with a palette that includes massage, waxing and makeup, the new Artisan Company Salon and Spa is poised to bring a contemporary cosmetology business to Lansing's REO Town.
 
Last fall, owners Jason Franks and Lance Davis acquired a vacant two-story on South Street. After a few months of planning, the two began rehabbing and refurbishing the 1920s building.
 
"It has the character of the tin ceiling and brick walls and hardwood floors that has come to be known as Lansing's signature look," says Franks. "We're aiming for that industrial Bohemian sheik."
 
Franks started a cosmetology career after a stint as an actor, singer and dancer right out of high school. Franks worked in New York, California, and other metro areas, then returned to his Michigan roots. He settled in Lansing and enrolled in the Douglas J Aveda Institute to become a licensed cosmetologist.
 
Franks graduated in 2012 and found his home at the Fahrenheit Tanning and Salon in Eaton Rapids where he submersed himself in the life of a cut and color specialist. He researched trends, carefully honed his techniques, and re-energized his drive to be out on his own.
 
Combining his talents with those of Davis and Lead Stylist Erin Wichman, Franks opened the Artisan Company in early May—just as local artist Steven Allen began finishing up the building's exterior mural. The company's 2,800-square foot space features 12 upstairs and downstairs styling stations—some hand made from reclaimed barn wood and concrete. A coffee bar, seating areas, and rooms for massage and shampooing are part of the footprint, with two grass walls being among the unique interior design features. Customers can also select from a line of natural products in an area set aside for personal care items.
 
The Artisan Company will employ about 14 full- and part-time people as well as apprentices. Franks says his focus will be on bringing out the beauty in every person—whether a member of a bridal party or someone seeking to stand out from the crowd.
 
"This is the place to come if you want to look like nobody else," says Franks. "While we do hair and makeup and make you beautiful, we're all about bringing out that natural beauty inside and allowing that confidence to shine."
 
The Artisan Company Spa and Salon will host a grand opening on June 11 from 5 to 9 p.m. Franks says he is working to involve as many members of the REO Town business and art community as possible, with food trucks, BBQ, jazz bands, fire eaters and fire dancers on site.
 
Source: Jason Franks, Co-founder, Artisan Salon and Spa
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Entrepreneur feeling groovy about new donut shop in Williamston

For Andrew Gauthier, opening a donut shop in Williamston wasn't such a far out idea.
 
In fact, he couldn't see any reason why he shouldn't, especially after his restaurateur dad with entrepreneurial vibes told him to go for it.
 
Last September, Gauthier plastered the walls of a 900-square foot space at 313 W. Grand River with rock posters and psychedelic memorabilia and opened Groovy Donuts. And while the atmosphere screams laid-back nostalgia over a soundtrack of concert videos from the 60s and 70s, the shop is a beehive of activity for employees and customers alike.
 
Well before the morning commute, Gauthier is onsite, making fried or cake donut classics including including glazed, vanilla, buttermilk and sour cream. Fritters are not to be ignored, with the classic apple, cherry and blueberry complimented by 21st century maple bacon or pina colada. Other standards include Bismarcks, jelly-filled and long johns with custard or cream. On any given day, Gauthier and his team make about 1,000 donuts.
 
"We even have something called 'the Funky Hubcap,'" says Gauthier. "It's the equivalent of a dozen glazed donuts. If you can eat the whole thing in a certain amount of time, you get a free T-shirt."
 
The donut crazed can pair their chosen baked good with coffee. Groovy Donuts offers lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos and straight up "old-fashion" drip coffee, with Italian flavorings and sauces on request.
 
Gauthier came up with the donut shop idea after he and his dad went seeking a sweet treat after a lunch about a year ago. Noticing there was little in the way of a local donut hangout, the two put their heads together and weighed the pros and cons.
 
"It went from a simple conversation about how there's nothing like this in town to maybe this is where I fit in," says Gautheir. "It was my entrepreneurial opportunity, and a chance to create the kind of place where people can enjoy hanging out."
 
While based in Williamston, Gauthier says Groovy Donuts will be rolling into Lansing, with a line of donuts offered through Bloom Coffee Roasters in Old Town in the near future.
 
Groovy Donuts is open every day except Monday, and can accommodate about 20 "dine-in" customers. Shop hours accommodate early risers as well as those looking for late afternoon or dinner hour snacks. The shop employs six staff.
 
Source: Andrew Gauthier, Owner, Groovy Donuts
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Husband-wife team bring art of hand-made, custom jewelry to Old Town

Very few accessories carry as much sentiment or personal style than jewelry. Alissa and Bob Sweet understand that.
 
In September 2015, the husband-wife team opened Sweet Custom Jewelry in Lansing's Old Town. The pair was driven by dual desires to own their own business, as well as to apply their talents to creating one-of-a-kind jewelry by hand. It's something, they say, sets them apart from other jewelers that are designer-oriented and outsource custom pieces.
 
"Most every piece here is made in-store by hand, from start to finish," says Alissa. "Customers can be as involved in the process as they want to be."
 
Those pieces can be bracelets, wedding and engagement rings, bands and rings, necklaces, earrings, charms, pendants, money clips and cufflinks. The Sweets source gems from New York, while metals come from multiple places. Customers can also bring in pieces that might have been passed down through generations, and ask that gems or other parts be used as the foundation for new jewelry.
 
While the Sweets come up with the majority of designs, customers are also welcome to bring in ideas and concepts. Regardless of the approach, Bob applies the same care and expertise learned from a combination of 15-years-on-the job and training through the California-based Gemological Institute of America.
 
The Sweets met at a local jeweler and worked together for about eight years. After getting married in October 2014, the two began looking for a spot to launch their own business. Old Town was the perfect spot, and emulated the small town feel they had grown to love from their Michigan travels.
 
Just like their line of jewelry, the 1,000-square foot shop was customized to accommodate display cases and a visible work area where Bob casts and creates custom pieces. Alissa and Bob are there most days, in addition to their greeter Jorge—a mid-sized, mix-breed rescue dog.
 
"Even Jorge has a custom-made collar," says Alissa. "There's a scroll engraving border that matches our wedding bands. They all kind-of go together."
 
Source: Alissa Sweet, Co-owner and Manager, Sweet Custom Jewelry
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Retail Therapy moves eclectic, comfy fashion boutique to Old Town

Celeste Saltzman couldn't handle the day-to-day of being home after her children grew up and went to college. So the former stay-at-home mom went looking and found a new way of living through retail.
 
Eight years ago, Saltzman opened Retail Therapy—a clothing boutique in Saginaw—and relocated to Okemos in 2012 when her physician husband got a job at Sparrow. In January 2016, Saltzman moved the fun shop for women's fashion again—this time to Lansing's Old Town.
 
"It's my own personal learning environment," says Saltzman. "This place keeps me on my toes and keeps me young. I feel focused. It's my cure for the empty nest."
 
While a 'cure' for Saltzman, Retail Therapy is a solution for fashion-conscious women seeking fun, eclectic and comfortable fashion.
 
"I describe it as a place where we sell clothes young women would wear and their mothers would steal from them," says Saltzman.
 
The 1,300-square-foot store in the first block of Turner Street carries a mix of American and European clothing that Saltzman says is on the arty side, but not "over the top." She's constantly rotating inventory, and she sources from companies that allow her to order small quantities so she can offer customers something truly unique.
 
"It's mostly what I call 'play clothes' that you can throw on and look great," Saltzman says. "You'll look pulled together when you're just out running errands."
 
Premium clothing includes Alembika—a line from Israel—and Comfy USA—a line made in California from soft fabrics that wash, pack and travel well. Retail Therapy also carries premium denim with patented fabric that stretch but won't stretch out, as well as a well-fitting leggings that coordinate with a variety of tops.
 
Retail Therapy opened in February after an initial move-in and remodeling in January. Saltzman installed new flooring and lighting, built dressing rooms, and freshened up back-of-house areas. The shop employs two part-time people as well as an assistant to help with business aspects.
 
"I try to keep things small and manageable," says Saltzman.
 
Source: Celeste Saltzman, Owner, Retail Therapy
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Long-time restaurateur brings convenience store to downtown

Residents, workers and visitors to downtown Lansing now have a spot to pick up everyday food, drinks and household products at a new artisanal convenience store in the Lansing City Market.
 
Opening just before the New Year, Iggy's In Convenience offers beer, wine, fresh produce, milk, eggs, bread, canned goods, household cleaning products, and other popular items found in a pantry, refrigerator or kitchen cupboard. About 50 percent of the store is devoted to produce like apples, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, lemons and limes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and potatoes. Items populating the remaining space in the 1,000-foot store include Michigan-made products like craft beer, wines and soda pops, popcorn, honey, and Detroit-made mustard and pickled asparagus.
 
"If we get requests from our neighbors, we try to carry those things too," say owner Igor Jurkovic. "Business is increasing every day. We're on the right path."
 
Jurkovic saw the need for the convenience store after having worked in the downtown district for a decade or more. The East Side resident keeps a busy schedule running the kitchen at The Exchange and Mediteran Café and Catering--a small restaurant on N. Washington Square that he opened in 2015.
 
Iggy's In Convenience is not Jurkovic's first experience with the Lansing City Market. For the past year, he has been supplying fresh produce to the Waterfront Bar and Grill—a vendor in close proximity to Jurkovic's store on the west side of the market. The store employs three people.
 
"We're just going to see where it takes us," says Jurkovic of Iggy's In Convenience. "This is a little side thing that we're doing."
 
Source: Igor Jurkovic, Owner, Iggy's In Convenience
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

IT company puts people back in the business through virtual CIO services

They don't sell or rent hardware. They don't sell or rent software. But what they do provide are technology and business services that can become the IT department for small- to mid-size companies.
 
Headquartered in Lansing, enPower Technology Solutions provides services that run counter to the assumption that IT is simply a commodity that can be bought and sold. Company founder Douglas Horne took issue with the trend, and set out to put the people back in IT.
 
"We need good IT services more than we ever had before," says Horne, a 20-year veteran of the IT industry. "Security threats and attacks are super high, and legal aspects are different with health care and banking. Even though IT has increasingly become a commodity, we have to make a shift in how we consult and manage IT."
 
Founded in 2015, enPower focuses on services typical of a chief information officer. The company consults on business management, process development, vendor and project management, as well as budget analysis related to the technology investments of each client. Company team members then overlay IT management services, and in many cases, provide day-to-day systems management and help desk services.
 
"We're essentially coining a new term: virtual CIO," says Horne. "We're not just technicians who come in and rent or sell you equipment. We work with your business on behalf of your business to help you build structures with an IT emphasis."
 
In a little more than a year and a half, enPower has grown to serve 25 small- to mid-sized companies along the I-96 corridor as well toward southwest Michigan. Horne and his team of four work virtually with clients via cloud-based systems, and go onsite once a week. The company expects to add up to six more employees by the end of 2017.
 
"What really sets us apart is our focus on people first," says Horne. "Many technology companies come in with their technology goggles on—and that's all they see. We understand businesses, we get to know you, and we work on the technology to make it fit with the people and the business."
 
Source: Douglas Horne, Founder and Managing Director, enPower
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Lucky 7 Motor Sports takes on details for time-pressed motorists

While Mary Mankey and her sons like cleaning and detailing cars, they know many people don't, especially when the weather dips below freezing.
 
In January, Mankey and her sons John and Joel Kuruda added car detailing to the line of services provided through Lucky 7 Motor Sports—a small motor sports repair company on U.S. 27 between North Lansing and DeWitt.
 
"We started thinking about business people who have to pick up clients," says Mankey. "Then we thought about people who simply don't like cleaning their cars. That's really how it all got started."
 
Mankey bought the 700-square foot property in mid-2014 and helped set up her two mechanically-inclined sons in the business of repairing motor cycles, four wheelers, snow mobiles and boat motors.
 
"John had been dismantling things she he was little," says Mankey of her son, a certified master mechanic. "I remember how our shed wound up being a bike repair shop for the neighborhood when he was a teen."
 
The expansion into car detailing was a natural extension of the business. No car is too big or too small, or too new or too old, Mankey says. Detailing packages include complete interior and exterior finishes, express services, and individual TLC on particular areas. Full detailing jobs can take about four hours and include steam cleaning the carpet and upholstery, foam cleaning and washing, waxing and buffing, washing all windows and tires, and blowing out vents. Customers can arrange for pick-up and delivery of their vehicle, wait onsite for less time-intensive detailing services, or be transported down the street to a local restaurant to pass the time.
 
"We're family-owned, we're small, and my sons are really good at detailing," Mankey says. "We care about what we do and want to present a good service to our customers."
 
Source: Mary Mankey, Owner, Lucky 7 Motor Sports
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Veteran Old Town resident opens professional office center, invites start-ups to join the district

A long-time Lansing property developer will be opening new office spaces in Old Town for small businesses or start-ups interested in setting up shop in the neighborhood.
 
After wrapping up a moderate remodeling job, Terry Terry, owner TT Ventures and founder of Message Makers, will open the Old Town Professional Center in mid-March. Located at 1129 N. Washington, the two-story building features eight separate offices or studios—five on the first floor, three on the second—as well as a kitchen, restrooms and shared common areas for conferences and meetings.
 
"It's perfect for someone who is ready to leave a business incubator or is looking for a unique space for a start-up," Terry says. "It's very affordable and in a great location."
 
Monthly rents range from $200 to $300 per office per month and include access to a free parking area directly adjacent to the building. Office tenants can enjoy the walkable community and become immersed in the north Lansing district that houses unique retail, art galleries and restaurants.
 
Terry acquired the 60-year-old brick building in mid-2015 and has been steadily working on rehab. The telecommunications company Pro-Tel occupied the facility for about 50 years, he says, and kept the building in good repair. Terry also purchased 1125 N. Washington around the same time. The 1923 Preuss Building sits behind and shares surface parking with the new professional center. Transformation of that space is underway, with plans to open the doors on a glass art studio for an area artist sometime in the next couple months.
 
As a long-time business owner and Old Town resident, Terry says he is happy to welcome newcomers to the district by providing ambient, affordable space.
 
"To see the development and interest in this area is very rewarding," Terry says. "It's great to be in a position where I can do this."
 
Source: Terry Terry, Owner, TT Ventures
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 
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