Entrepreneurship :Development News

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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.
 

Bloom Coffee Roasters set to spill the beans in Old Town

They've been percolating for a year or so.
 
Or to use popular lingo, they're roasting, pouring over, pressing and brewing up what they say will be among the finest cups of espresso, lattes and other freshly prepared, single-sourced coffees in town.
 
Come March, Jared Field and Cameron Russell will open the doors on Bloom Coffee Roasters in Old Town. Coffee fans are invited to come in, sit down and get to know the roasters taking up shop at 1236 Turner Street in Lansing.
 
"We deeply believe that drinking coffee should be one of the most pleasurable experiences of your day," says Field. "That's why we're committed to treating our customers like partners in our business."
 
Field and Russell first spilled the beans on their business concept in the summer of 2014.
They began as a roaster in REO Town, operating out of a 2,200-square foot warehouse. Within a few months, they moved to Old Town and set their sights on opening a sit-down coffee shop where they could sell their roasts and offer customers a place to enjoy a cup of Joe.
 
When open, Bloom Coffee Roasters will seat up to 30 people in a 1,000-square foot space. Customers will be able to enjoy conversation at a wrap around coffee bar or a window seat overlooking Turner Street. A wall along the back will provide a quieter area, while the roaster will be visible through a glassed-in area to the caffeinated and curious.
 
Field says the environment of Bloom will set them apart from other roasters and coffee shops in town. His goal, he says, is to continue creating a community of people who are interested in coffee, and a culture that just feels comfortable.
 
"People can get a snobby and create a bad impression of the industry. We don't want to be that way," Field says. "We want our customers to know they can come in and have a conversation with us, ask us questions. We want you to know your roaster—that's our hash tag. We want you to know the people who are pouring your coffee."
 
Bloom Coffee Roasters employs four part-time staff and roasts 200 to 250 pounds of beans each week. Field and Russell source their beans from Minnesota's Café Imports: a vendor that does direct trade with small farms. Coffee aficionados can also purchase Bloom coffee from the Old Town General Store, Foods for Living, and Monticello's Market in Haslett.
 
Source: Jared Field, Co-owner, Bloom Coffee Roasters
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

West Coast music producer brings skills home to Michigan to open new academy

Brian Roth's love for music took him from his hometown of Muskegon to Los Angeles and back to Michigan again.
 
After 20 years of composing and producing music for popular television, documentaries and commercials, Roth resettled in his home state to be closer to family. And while he continues to write and produce music scores from a home studio, Roth devotes his evenings to his newly opened Roth Academy of Music in Grand Ledge.
 
"There were a lot of things I didn't learn to prepare me for life as a musician and composer," says Roth. "That's my teaching style—to help others learn those things, and it's what I look for in my teachers."
 
Although an accomplished professional with credits that include scores for Grey's Anatomy, American Idol, Agents of Shield and Ken Burns documentaries, Roth realizes a lot of people simply take up music for fun.
 
"I want people to know I have the background niche if that's what you're looking for," says Roth. "I just like introducing music to people and helping them along."
 
Roth opened the 2,200-square foot school at 625 E. Saginaw Highway in Grand Ledge last November. The academy has four lesson rooms, a large classroom, and an enormous waiting area with a stone fireplace, wood floors, and a peaceful color scheme. 
 
With the expertise of six part-time teachers, Roth teaches more than 20 students from kids to adults on guitar, bass, piano, drums, violin, viola, cello and horn. Students can also take voice lessons, and he says he'll work hard to find an instructor for any instrument anyone requests.
 
"I found a dulcimer instructor because someone asked," he says. "And a harmonica teacher, too. If a run of people ask for saxophone, I'll add that, too."
 
As the family-owned business takes hold, Roth hopes to add a bit of retail and instrument rental, offer classes in music theory, and increase his involvement with the community. He also sees faculty or student concerts on the horizon.
 
"A lot of people helped me be successful in my career, now it's time for me to help others," Roth says. "I want to share the knowledge and things I learned along the way, and to make musical opportunities easier."
 
Source: Brian Roth, Owner, Roth Academy of Music
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale commits to larger home on East Side

Graduation season is coming early for two small business owners.
 
After nearly a year and a half of brewing from the incubator kitchen of the Allen Market Place, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale is getting ready to move into their own space.
 
But they won't be going far.
 
Owners Matt Jason and Jeremy Sprague have begun renovations to the 5,000 square-foot storefront at 1621 E. Kalamazoo St.—a space right around the corner from their current 200-square foot taproom.  
 
"Demolition is finishing up and we're excited about getting in there," says Jason. "We're working on some general plans right now, and connecting with some equipment manufacturers, too."
 
The microbrewery and distillery is slated to open sometime this summer. The facility footprint will feature space for a 7- to 10-barrel system, plus a 1,700-square foot pub area that seats 60 people. For now, customers can still get beer through the tap room in the Allen Market Place.
 
While Jason originally envisioned an interior space with an industrial feel, he and Sprague are opting for something cozy and filled with thought-provoking or meditative art. And since both are into history, nature and geological history, the space will convey a Michigan theme—even something prehistoric. 
 
"We want it to reflect our motto of 'dream-play,'" says Jason. "That's basically the translation of 'sleepwalker' in Japanese. We want our space to have a surreal aspect."
 
Sleepwalker Spirts and Ale will serve up specialty brews, some with local hops or with beans from Lansing-based coffee roasters like Bloom Coffee Roasters, Rustbelt Roastery and Craft and Mason Roasting Company. The duo is also looking ahead to distill different varieties of whiskey and spirits using Michigan hardwoods.
 
"We both love to learn," says Jason. "We're community-minded and always looking for new ideas."
 
Sleepwalker will employ about a half-dozen staff. The microbrewery and distillery is community-owned and operated, and continually welcomes new investors to the current group of about 50.
 
Source: Matt Jason, Co-owner, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

The Robin Theatre takes flight with musical and performance acts

A husband-wife team with talents in the performing arts and community organizing are six months in to a new Lansing business that offers a performance place for underrepresented, niche arts groups.
 
Dylan Rogers and Jeana-Dee Allen—founders and members of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle—opened The Robin Theatre in late July 2015. Located in REO Town at 1105 S. Washington Ave., the 1,600-square foot space provides what Rogers and Allen say is the perfect spot for poetry, comedy and intimate performances of live music.
 
"Jeana-Dee and I dream a lot and chat about how it would be really great to open a community performing arts space," says Rogers. "So when we saw the opportunity to adopt this building, we remembered the idea and decided to go for it."
 
Rogers and Allen sold their house on Lansing's East Side in June 2014 and leveraged their capital and sweat equity to gut the vacated space that has been a medical marijuana center and succession of grocery stores. They refinished the tin ceiling, stripped floors and repainted walls, redid major systems, and built a small stage. And they did similar renovations upstairs, transforming an uninhabitable space into their new REO Town home.
 
"Some of my favorite times were when we were working here and had the doors open and people would walk by and say, 'hey, can I help?'" says Allen. "It was a real community effort. We couldn't have made this happen without all the help from our friends, family and neighbors."
 
The result of that year-and-a-half of hard work is a black-box theatre that includes a stage, full sound system, lighting and seating for 100 people. Shows to date have been a mixed bag of small theatre, comedy, poetry, a pop-up holiday market and a huge variety of local and traveling musical acts ranging from vaudeville to jazz to singer-songwriter folk. Upcoming shows will continue to build on the variety, and focus on partnerships with musical venues and arts organizations in Lansing.
 
"We both knew the theatre would do well, but neither of us really knew what we were really getting into," laughs Allen. "It's been a ton of work and definitely stressful, but we kept to our budget and we're both still alive. I have 12 grey hairs now, and Dylan can count his. It's all been wonderful."
 
Source: Dylan Rogers and Jeana-Dee Allen, owners and founders, The Robin Theatre
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Mitten State Malt to provide local flavor for area craft brewers

With Michigan's network of craft breweries expanding at an exponential rate, an Okemos entrepreneur is stepping up to provide a local source for one of beer's essential ingredients.
 
In October 2015, Larry Judge turned the key on Mitten State Malt—the area's first artisan malt house. After three months of repurposing 2,300 square foot of warehouse space at 1860 ½ W. Grand River in Okemos, Judge says he's ramping up process the nearly six tons of locally harvested barley and wheat into malt—a dried cereal grain that adds body and flavor to beer and liquor.
 
"This all ties into the craft beer and local food movement," says Judge. "Everyone wants their food to have fewer miles on it, and to know who grew and produced the food. That goes for beer, too."
 
Malting involves steeping barley or wheat in water to partially germinate the grains, and then drying the grains in a kiln. The process releases enzymes needed for brewing. Different soaking times and kiln temperatures yield different varieties of malt that contribute to the taste and integrity of beer, spirits and other malt beverages.

Judge worked with a farmer out of Eaton Rapids to grow five acres of two-row barley—a variety coveted by many craft brewers—as well as a small yield of red and white wheat. Once harvested, the yields are processed, cleaned and certified through Michigan Crop Improvement Association in Okemos before malting. 
 
Judge will process 500-pound batches through a three-step malting process using giant stainless steel tanks he creatively repurposed from dairy farm equipment. Eventually, he hopes to work up to 1,000-pound batches, and to expand his growing acreage to 35 to 40 acres.
 
"When you go into a venture, your family sometimes labels your idea as crazy," says Judge. "You have to convince them you haven't gone completely mad. My family is looking at this as a crazy thing. But it's viable and not a crazy idea. I'll convince them."
 
Judge hopes to hire a full- and part-time employee once Mitten State Malt scales up. His goal, he says, is to start out small in the Meridian Township location, and start a second facility in the near future.  
 
Source: Larry Judge, Owner, Mitten State Malt
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Iorio's Gelateria brings a little bit of Italy to East Lansing's southern edge

A brother-sister team inspired by family heritage has brought a taste of Italy to East Lansing in the form of European-style coffee and sweet treats.
 
Nick and Mary Lemmer opened Iorio's Gelateria in the Trowbridge Lofts apartment complex at 1034 Trowbridge Road in September. The 1,700-square foot café provides a brightly-lit, Euro-style space to enjoy coffee prepared through one of four alternative brewing techniques, as well as a scoop of authentic, gelato made onsite.
 
"We're creating an experience," says Iorio's co-owner Nick Lemmer. "Lots of people have traveled and tasted gelato in Rome, or coffees in Europe. When you come here, we like to say you're walking into a little bit of Italy right here in East Lansing."
 
The Lemmers got their start in 2004 when Mary—then in high school—began selling Italian ice through a pushcart at festivals and local markets. Inspired by their immigrant great-grandparents who ran a general store on the East Coast, the brother and sister gradually took their business to increasing levels, opening a space in the Lansing City Market in 2009, then a store in Ann Arbor in 2011 when Nick began attending the University of Michigan.
 
Today, the Lemmers run the two college-town operations that focus on artisan gelato and a full-service coffee line made from single-source beans from the Zingerman's Coffee Company. Coffees are prepared through traditional as well as alternative brew methods that include pour over, AeroPress, French press and Chemex. Customers unsure of their roast or brew can literally "roll the dice" and have Iorio's pair two numbers from the dice with a coffee and brew method.
 
"We'll also advise you on gelato," says Lemmer. "We know people love coming in and having the same flavor sometime, but we sometimes like to encourage them to try something different, too."
 
Iorio's offers up to 18 flavors of gelato daily, including multiple chocolates, French or Madagascar vanilla, fresh mango and Italian favorites like Stracciatella and Sicilian pistachio. Other flavors rotate and vary by season, with current December favorites including eggnog, dark chocolate peppermint mocha and peppermint bark.
 
"We like being in a college atmosphere," says Lemmer. "It's exciting to be part of a new development that will spur growth in the area."
 
Iorio's Gelateria can seat up to 30 people indoors, and plans to open an outdoor patio for 25 come spring. The East Lansing café created 13 jobs, mostly part-time.

Source: Nick Lemmer, Co-owner, Iorio's Gelateria
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.
 

Farmer and meat-cutter goes to market with new Olivet store

Greg Saltzman is bringing the great outdoors to the city. Or at least to the small town of Olivet.
 
In mid-May, Saltzman and his wife Karen opened Whitetail Farms Fresh Market near the Olivet College athletics complex. The 6,400-square foot market at 4506 W. Butterfield Road features 1,600 square feet of food sales area, plus an in-house smoke and meat processing area. The new custom-build market expands on the family's decades of experience in meat processing, farming, hunting and just plain country living.
 
"We're gearing the market toward anyone within an 80- to 100-mile radius and we got something for everybody," Saltzman says. "We're not a big box story, and I'm into service and helping my customers find what they need when they walk in."
 
The Whitetail Farms Fresh Market is a spin-off of Saltzman's legendary Whitetail Farms Custom Deer Processing business that he operated since 1998. After consulting with the Small Business Development Association in Lansing, Saltzman decided last year to bring the business to town and to combine it with a small grocer and butcher shop.
 
"My venison processing had kept growing and growing and growing," says Saltzman. "I knew I would have to change things, so I purchased the property and started to build the business there."
 
Saltzman grew up the son of a meat cutter in Marshall, Mich. He started in the grocery business as a teen in 1975, and worked his way up from stocking shelves at the local Feldpausch to working in the meat department. He stayed in the business for nearly 30 years, then had the opportunity to help his wife run her father's farm. An avid hunter, he began processing wild meats, growing cash crops and raising beef cattle. After building a following of close to 800 customers, he knew it was time to take his business to the next level.
 
Whitetail Farms Fresh Market carries produce and grocery items that compliment the sales of fresh beef, pork and poultry. Customers will find marinades, seasonings and sauces, as well as regional produce, and can also call on him to process venison and other wild game on the premises.
 
Saltzman decked out the interior like a "man cave," carrying over the earth tones of the exterior and adding taxidermy decor in the form of a buffalo head and standing bear. He brought four employees from his previous facility and hired 9 more. He hopes to add more people and begin processing livestock in early 2016.
 
"I love the meat business," says Saltzman. "And I love my customers. I'm a farmer and a hunter and there's lots of stuff to talk about."
 
Source: Greg Saltzman, Owner, Whitetail Farms Fresh Market
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Duke's Saloon puts a little bit of country in Lansing's urban core

Brandon Montemayor traveled south and went kitty-corner across the Midwest before coming back with a concept for a new country bar in Mid-Michigan.
 
Duke's Saloon opened just after Memorial Day, bringing a "'lil' country, a lil' rock and a lotta fun" to downtown Lansing. Modeled after popular venues in cities like Columbus, Nashville and Indianapolis, Duke's immerses patrons in a country roadhouse experience, starting with a hand-painted mural of the Dukes of Hazzard and John Wayne by Detroit artist Jeremy Harvey. 
 
"There are tons of Top 40 and dance clubs but nothing for the country crowd downtown," says Montemayor, Duke's general manager. "We just wanted to broaden the demographic of things available to people."
 
Montemayor and owner Doug Johns Jr. completely transformed the previous Harem Urban Lounge at 414 E. Michigan Ave. to accommodate a dance floor, darts, full-size pool tables, a high definition big screen playing music videos, and a DJ who builds his playlist on requests via Twitter. A live band will perform country rock most every Friday night.
 
Duke's features an eight-item food menu with a tex-mex and southwestern flair, as well as 15 signature drinks. Among the top thirst quenchers is the Bushwacker—a blended frozen drink of rum, coconut and amaretto, served in a hurricane glass and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The full-service bar also decants the largest draft cider selection in the area.
 
Montemayor was born and raised in Lansing. He says the city is primed for a nightclub like Duke's that appeals to people like him who are great fans of today's country music.
 
"The thing I like about the music is it's so broad now," he says. "It used to mostly be people singing about losing their wife or their dog. Now, the messages they deliver are so much broader, and there's more of blend to the sound with pop and rock."
 
Duke's is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with free line-dancing lessons offered from 7:30-9 p.m. on Thursday nights. The bar accommodates 265 people, and employs eight bartenders and four servers.

Source: Brandon Montemayor, General Manager, Duke's Salon
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

Chiropractic center expands, adds disciplines for functional approach

Alisa Hoffman blended two disciplines, opened a well-equipped office, and began building a practice that has attended to the rehab, massage and physical therapy needs of Greater Lansing for three years.
 
Since May 2012, the Chiropractic Professional Center has grown from two to eight staff and added 2,000 square feet to the clinic at 3400 Pine Tree Road. Most of the growth, Hoffman says, took place in the last year, as word-of-mouth took hold of her unique, multi-disciplinary approach.
 
Hoffman learned her functional approach to chiropractic treatments at the New York Chiropractic College, and through several clinical rotations in upstate New York. Her team of chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists focus on how the body moves, applying gait analysis, compensation patterns and restriction to treat patients.
 
"Functional chiropractic rehab is essentially if you took chiro, massage and physical therapy and put it into one," Hoffman says. "My goal was to take my practice one step further and make it a one-stop shop for all treatments."
 
Hoffman says her appointments are longer than typical visits to the chiropractor, and involve more muscle work and stretching than traditional treatments. Techniques routinely used include Cox Flexion Distraction (for disc lesions), nerve impingements and facet arthropathies. She also employs traction to help decompress the spine, as well as the Graston Technique to help break down scar tissue and treat conditions related to soft tissue.
 
While her practice attends to most musculoskeletal issues like low back and neck pain, headaches, disc lesions, sciatica, and nerve root entrapments, her specialties lie in treating the lower extremities like hips, knees, ankles and feet, and shoulders. Hoffman says those specialties, combined with her functional approach, brings a lot of athletes through her doors, as well as people of all ages looking for pain relief.
 
Hoffman located her clinic in South Lansing to be near her hometown of Holt, and to be part of a larger medical office park. Plans are to add a fitness center and reflexologist to the mix of medical message, physical therapy, and chiropractic services in the coming year.
 
Source: Dr. Alisa Hoffman, Owner, Chiropractic Professional Center 
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Whipped bakes up solution for new location

Randy Umfleet always looks to bake something masterful be it cookies, cupcakes or a specialty cake. So when he faced the prospect of moving, the owner of Whipped Bakery concocted a creative solution that could take the cake.
 
Since April, Umfleet has set up shop inside Roma Bakery Deli and Fine Foods after agreeing to relocate and make way for the Creole—Old Town's up and coming restaurant, bar and performance venue. Not wanting to lose momentum, Umfleet arranged through friends to keep baking and offering his delectable desserts through Roma's kitchen. He also began laying the groundwork for opening a new retail space at 1209 Turner, just across the street from the location where he had operated for about 13 months.
 
"Everything is going great," Umfleet says. "I just love working with Roma. They're just fantastic people."
 
Umfleet is referring to Mena and Sostine Castriciano—the owners of the long-standing Roma Bakery, now up for sale after nearly 50 years. Umfleet isn't ruling out the possibility of purchasing the bakery. But for now, he's simply baking up his confections in Roma's full kitchen, and selling them to customers through pre-order and pick-up.
 
Come July, Umfleet will open the doors on his recreated retail outlet in Old Town. At 1,000 square feet, the new space will be slightly larger than his previous store, and will seat about 50 people. The new Whipped will feature all new furniture and fixtures within a simple, urban atmosphere where customers can enjoy specialty bakery items, coffee drinks, juices and more. Umfleet says he will bake everything at Roma, then deliver each morning to the retail location.
 
"I'm just excited about the future of Whipped," says Umfleet as he reflects on the possibilities of buying Roma as well as his new Old Town digs. "The potential to have two locations is nothing but positive."
 
Source: Randy Umfleet, Owner, Whipped
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Lansing Brewing Company on tap for fall

Beer lovers, pub fans, and folks looking to reclaim part of Lansing's heritage will find everything on tap when the Lansing Brewing Company reopens after a 100 year hiatus.
 
"This is just another step in making this city a fantastic place to live," says Sam Short, consultant with the Lansing Brewing Company.
 
Short is part of a team led by the Gillespie Group in bringing the only full-production craft brewery and distillery to the Capital City. Located in the heart of the Stadium District, Lansing Brewing Company will consist of a full-scale production facility for craft beers and spirits, as well as a pub and restaurant that serves progressive takes on classic comfort foods.
 
The original Lansing Brewing Company operated from 1898 to 1914, and sat on the corner of Turner and Clinton. The building was destroyed by fire in 1971, with On the Grand Condominiums rising from the site several decades later.
 
The new Lansing Brewing Company will occupy a renovated tool and die facility at 518 E. Shiawassee Street. The $1.5 million renovation is expected to be completed by late summer, with a public opening slated for fall. Jennifer Gillespie owns the brewery.
 
"We haven't had our own brewery for years, despite the fact that tons of other cities have been exploding with breweries," Short says. "This place will represent Lansing as a working city—a place where the working guy or woman can come and enjoy something that's made in your town for you."
 
The brewery will offer 10 beers, four spirits and two wines. Among the line-up will be the signature amber cream ale—a brew based on Lansing's signature beer produced and bottled at the original Lansing Brewing Company.
 
"It's a unique throwback beer," says Short. "No one in the nation brews an amber cream ale. We're reaching back into history, and going back to recipes that are time-tested over the century."
 
Lansing Brewing will employ about 75 people. Once renovated, the "industrial sheik" facility will feature a 150-seat restaurant, private event areas, and an outdoor garden and patio for up to 100 people. The facility will produce about 2,500 barrels in the first year, with a capacity for up to 5,000 barrels. The company plans to sell bottled brews through retailers.
 
Source: Sam Short, Consultant, Lansing Brewing Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Strength in Numbers brings power of gaming to Lansing

There's a new game in town. And the numbers are growing.
 
Based on the East Side, Lansing's Strength In Numbers Game Studio promises to transport gamers to alternate worlds to embark on lives filled with challenge, adventure and heroism. Now 23 employees strong, the start-up gaming company is attracting talent from Michigan and beyond as it looks to transform Lansing into a hub for gaming development, publishing and entrepreneurship.
 
"With one person, it's weak company, but with more you're stronger," says Founder Scott Reschke. "We want to build that infrastructure that attracts and allows talent to stay here. Why would you let them leave and go out west when we can build something right here in Michigan?"
 
Reschke's vision grew from his previous entrepreneurial adventures in computer repair and cyber cafes. During that time, he aggregated countless hours of research based on the preferences and passions of gamers, as well as the trends and buying habits of gamers and everyday consumers.
 
Armed with data and a penchant for exploration, Reschke began building a sustainable company in the video gaming arena. His goal, he says, is not just to recycle old gaming ideas, but to create challenging, innovative and competitive games that draw on original artwork, storylines and music created by his team.
 
Currently in development, SiN Studio's Tuebor will present a multi-genre, fast-paced video game rich in story and deep with group participation. Reschke derived the game's moniker from the Latin word on the seal of Michigan that means "I will defend"–a sentiment he says is well suited for the game's premise. 
 
"Video gaming is escapism," says Reschke. "It's no different than watching baseball, football or soccer any day it's on. Those fans are imagining themselves on the mound or on the field or in action. With gaming, it's just someone's outlet for imagining their lives are a little more exciting."
 
SiN Studios took up residence April 1 in the basement of the Lyman and Sheets office building at 2213 E. Grand River in Lansing. The studio will be holding an open house on May 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Members of the community can tour the 6,000-square foot studio, meet staff, experience live demonstrations on 3D character modeling and motion capture software, and pose for photos with local cosplay groups.
 
Source: Scott Reschke, Founder, Strength in Numbers Game Studio
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Design and advertising agency moves downtown, renews focus

A creative company that got its start 17 years ago recently set up shop on Washington Square, reflecting a rebirth that coincides with Lansing's downtown district.
 
The creative professionals at AE: Adventures in New Media say their new direction answers the growing need of organizations big and small to enhance their new media presence. And with a new location at 408 S. Washington Square, the three-member company says AE has the feel of a start-up but the track record of an established agency.
 
"You'll get the comfort a small company, where you can talk one-on-one with us," says John Addis, CEO and creative director. "But we also come with the experience of having done hundreds and hundreds of state and national projects as a team."
 
AE: Directions in New Media grew from Addis Enterprises, founded by Addis in 1998. The company resided in Old Town under the name of AE Studio and Gallery from 2006-2010, then went on hiatus while Addis worked for a larger agency. During that time, Addis continued to collaborate with Tony Sabo and Jennifer Berggren, two Lansing-based creatives. After several projects and late night discussions, the three decided to join forces and resurrect AE with an eye toward 21st century strategies.
 
"Our focus on new media doesn't mean we're excluding the old," says Addis. "But we are going to put focus on new media since the bang for the buck is so much greater. There is a place for traditional media in any strategy. It just depends on the audience."
 
Addis, Sabo and Berggren recently cut the ribbon on their new space that had been the home for Capitol Fur for more than 90 years. The 1,500-square foot interior features high ceilings, original wood floors, and was moderately reconfigured to accommodate spaces for conferences, collaboration and video and audio production. Plans are to hire an assistant this summer, as well as one or two more staff.
 
"If you're going to be a new kid on the block, you want to have a store front and have people walk by and peek inside," says Addis. "This space does that."
 
Over two decades, the AE team has won awards in logo design, website design, video production, music composition, print design, and campaign development. The team has also launched more than 250 business, governmental, university, and personal websites, and produced more than 100 video projects for television and web.
 
Source: John Addis, CEO and Creative Director, AE: Adventures in New Media
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Once Upon A Child resale outlet to open in Delta

Anyone with kids knows they seem to grow an inch overnight, transforming that new pair of jeans into ill-fitting capris, or that long-sleeved shirt into a quarter-sleeve fashion.
 
A new franchise in Lansing's Delta Township has a solution for keeping kids in stylish clothes without having to lay-out high-end prices. At Once Upon A Child, customers will find gently used kids clothes for newborns through tweens, as well as high-quality used toys, baby equipment and furniture.
 
Co-owner Lisa Starks says the store focuses on buying and reselling used children clothing and gear from individuals in the community. All clothing must be freshly cleaned and laundered, and free of rips, holes or tears, while all equipment and toys must meet voluntary and mandatory safety standards.  
 
"It's great because you can sell something to us for a fair price, or buy something in the store that still looks new," says Starks. "Unlike a consignment shop, sellers are paid immediately. And if you buy, you'll save a lot of money, too."
 
Starks and co-owner Patty Roberts acquired the space at 5827 W. Saginaw Highway in February after attending extensive training at the Once Upon A Child franchise headquarters in Minnesota. Since then, the two have worked to ready the 4,000-square foot space in the Delta Center Plaza for a mid-May opening.
 
"Being a mom, I can appreciate the store concept," says Starks, who has two children under 9 years old. "It provides a great value for buyers and sellers."
 
The new Once Upon a Child is one of about 12 Michigan franchise locations, as well as nearly 300 other franchise stores in the U.S. and Canada. Starks says she is planning to hire 15 to 20 staff. All staff, she says, will be thoroughly trained as merchandise buyers, and will assess and price items according to criteria set by the franchise headquarters.
 
Source: Lisa Starks, Co-owner, Once Upon A Child
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.
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