Entrepreneurship :Development News

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Mid-Michigan native applies brew master credentials to new Williamston microbrewery

Something's brewing in Williamston.
Starting in April, a developer with local roots will begin transforming the former home of the Williamston police and public works departments into a microbrewery and brewpub. When opened this fall, the soon-to-be-named venue will brew, sell and bottle more than a dozen types of beer on-site using equipment and ingredients sourced from Michigan.
"This will be the largest project we've worked on," says Travis Fritts, developer and partner in the Detroit Beer Company. "I've been trying to get back to Mid-Michigan for years. It feels like a good fit for Williamston and a good fit for me and my family."
Fritts grew up in Dimondale and followed his wanderlust to Germany. He knocked around taking food science courses at the Technical University of Berlin, and then began training at the university's institute for brewing: The VLB. Returning home with master brewing credentials, Fritts went to work for Webberville's Michigan Brewing Company before relocating to Detroit.
Fritts has longed to bring his stouts, pilsners, lagers and other inspired craft beers to Williamston. When he heard talk of the two-story industrial facility being up for sale, he made plans and presented his vision for an old world style pub and brewery to city leaders.
"It's a brewery, but we're concerned about good food, too," says Fritts. "The word 'pub' infers a meeting place for family and friends. We want to go for the café sort-of-feel."
The 25,00-square foot facility at 1500 W. Grand River will accommodate a 3,000 square-foot restaurant with 85 indoor seats and up to 15 on an outdoor patio. The remainder of the space will become production facilities and offices.  
Fritts will be acquiring brew tanks and related production equipment from Craftwerk Brewing Systems, an equipment manufacturer in Clarkson, Mich. He is also rebuilding a bottling line from a plant in Inkster that will be moved up to the Williamston facility come summer. The facility, he says, will create about 20 jobs between the restaurant, production and administration.
Source: Travis Fritts, Developer and Owner, upcoming Williamston microbrewery and pub
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Red Haven expands kitchen, adds staff to serve growing menu and food truck

Mid-Michigan farm-to-table dining experience is getting bigger.
The once fledging Red Haven is adding nearly 1,000 square feet to the existing 2,200-square food restaurant at 4880 S. Hagadorn Road in East Lansing. Co-owner Nina Santucci says Meridian Township approved the expansion the week of March 3. Renovations, she says, will be completed by mid- to late-April and primarily involve adding square footage to the kitchen, and reconfiguring space to create a private dining area.
"The additional kitchen space will allow us to prep and store food for our new lunch menu and for our food truck and catering services," says Santucci of the Red Haven and the popular Purple Carrot food truck. "Our goal is to get our food truck up and running five days a week rather than the current two we've been doing since the restaurant opened."
Santucci and her business partner and husband Anthony Maiale celebrated the grand opening of Red Haven in October 2012. A sit-down complement to the Purple Carrot, the restaurant serves upscale food made from seasonal, local ingredients in a casual environment.
Red Haven's tapas style of dining encourages restaurant guests to experiment and share menu items at their table. An ever-changing seasonal menu includes dinner favorites like white bean and kale soup, patty melt, pork steak, chicken confit panini, and shrimp fettuccini. The new lunch menu, which started in January, features similar items with a focus on sandwiches, soups and lunch-size plates of pasta.
"We try to put a creative spin on classic dishes," says Santucci. "We want to have that sense of whimsy and bring you something that you wouldn't expect."
Santucci says that the expanded kitchen will include a couple convection ovens plus lots of storage.
"It will be helpful to have more space for our dry storage items," she says. "Plus we'll actually have a real office here."
The Red Haven employs 25 cooks, wait staff and managers. Santucci says the expansion and new lunch service may enable the restaurant to add up to five staff in the summer season.

Source: Nina Santucci, co-owner, Red Haven
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Crosaires integrates community and elder living

After working 21 years working in the long-term care industry, Todd Walter was ready for a change—not just for himself, but for the elders he cared for.
Walter struck upon the business model of providing comprehensive care for a small group of elderly adults within a residential setting. He purchased a four bedroom, 2,800-square foot home on Zimmer Road in Williamston, invested $28,000 in renovations and updates, and created his long-envisioned labor of love.
Walter opened Crosaires in October 2012 with the goal of providing what he calls an "aging in community residence" for the elderly. The concept, he says, is to provide an assisted living community where caregivers become care partners who share in the responsibility of providing a balanced, fulfilling life for elders.
Elders living at Crosaires receive 24-hour medical care and supervision, and are allowed the freedom to experience life through the community where they live. Residents and staff regularly participate in events and activities in and near Williamston, and community groups are frequent visitors to the home.
"Our sole emphasis is on the elder," says Walter. "Everyone else—from the team who works here to families and the medical world—are serving as their supporters."
Within a year, Crosaires transformed the home's 800-square foot garage into two additional private residences with a private bathroom. Two more elders moved in in October 2013, and Waters added two staff as well. Crosaires currently employs nine staff and is home to six unrelated individuals age 77 to 94
"We're serving people during a particular phase of their life," says Walter. " A high majority of what we do here is based on the interests, desires and hobbies of the people who live and work here. What we're doing is part of a culture-change movement that can change how people view getting older."
Source: Todd Walter, Founder and Owner, Crosaires
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Lansing's first one-stop African market opens in Old Town

She came here in 2001. He followed a few years later. Today, the husband-wife team from Liberia set up shop in Lansing's Old Town to serve other immigrants and shoppers by providing African goods and cuisine.
"We saw a need for someone to open a store here," says Sam R.E. Dixon, co-owner of Chiere International Market at 304 E. Grand River. "We decided to be that one."
Sam and his wife, Sue-bunch Cecilia, opened what they describe as Lansing's only one-stop African market in November, and cut the ribbon in late February. The 1,100-square foot store carries food, decorative arts, and clothing from African countries including Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, La Cote d'ivoire and Nigeria.
The Dixons were inspired to open the store after observing the large population of Lansing immigrants and refugees carpooling once a month to Ann Arbor, Detroit and Chicago for African goods and products.
"Everyone we met said they were willing to go as far as they could to have the kinds of foods they had back home," says Sue-bunch. "We decided to bring the food here."
The Dixons work with suppliers in Chicago, Maryland, New Jersey and New York to stock staples like Nido Powder Milk, Plantain Fufu Flour, Liberian Fresh Palm Cream Butter and Pure Red Palm Oil. Fresh foods and produce include sweet potato leaves, okra, cassava, fresh meats and fish, as well as high-quality organic and locally sourced groceries. Other specialty items include rice, seafood, spices, canned goods and juices. All products, the Dixons say, are USDA and FDA inspected and approved.
In addition to food products, the Dixon also carry African arts and crafts and a line of beauty supplies, skin creams and African soaps. The goal, they say, is to make the shop appealing to anyone interested in African culture and products.
"People hear about us and call to see what we have," Sue-bunch says. "Once, when I told an MSU student that we had African pop, he said 'don't say anything else, I'm there.' People here really appreciate what we carry, and everyone is so supportive."
Source: Sam R.E. and Sue-bunch Cecilia Dixon, Owners/operators, Chiere International Market
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Williamston embroidery and gift store expands, locates on main street

Crystal Amon opened her first embroidery and design shop two years ago in Williamston. Within days she was stitching together plans for a bigger store.
"My husband calls it 'hobbies gone wild,'" says Amon of CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs and Gifts. "I just started getting more calls and I wanted to take the chance."
In late fall 2013, Amon moved her shop from the outer edge of town to 138 E. Grand River on Williamston's main thoroughfare. At 2,000 square feet, her newest base of operation gives her the space and visibility she needs for her growing business.
"A lot of my friends and the Williamston Eagles donated their time to help," says Amon. "I literally had people coming in to place orders right as we were moving in."
Amon cut the ribbon on her new store in mid-February. Despite the cold and snowy season, she says she has been as busy as ever offering machine embroidery and screen printing services, and creating custom vinyl banners and other products.
CC Embroidery also carries a line of pre-made or made-to-order apparel, accessories, window decals, soy wax candles, and handmade baby clothes by local women. Amon's crafty talents extend to handmade jewelry, including Native American beadwork.
"I'm here for whatever people need," says Amon. "My service is all personal. Sometimes my customers will even sit with me and we'll design together. I'll take their design or logo and they can see and make changes. It's very one-on-one."
Source: Crystal Amon, Owner, CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs and Gift Shop
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Restaurateur buys landmark Terranova's Market, hires four local staff

Faez Toma woke up one morning and knew he needed a change. He was ready, he said, to get out of the "rat race" and to pursue a different path in the restaurant biz. Something, he said, was right around the corner.
Toma found that change in Terranova's Market. And while nearly two hours up the freeway from Toma's home in Farmington Hills, the small grocery store in DeWitt was Toma's dream come true.
"I knew when I walked in that bingo—this was it," says Toma, who jokingly credits his childhood nickname "Fonz" for fueling his quest for a simpler life. "It was the little market in the little town I was looking for."
Toma purchased the 2,500 square foot store at 129 S. Bridge St. in December. He kept the moniker of the landmark store, and went about making incremental changes while retaining Terranova's small-town flair.
"I knew that something could be realized here with just a little bit of effort," says Toma. "The store was already a success but I knew it had even more potential."
Toma drew on his experience and family background in the liquor and restaurant business and expanded Terranova's spirits section to include craft beers, specialized bourbons and scotches. He also began changing up the grocery aisles to accommodate specialty items from small distributors.
"You can go anywhere and get a can of chicken noodle soup," says Toma. "Sure, I'll carry that, but I want my shop to be known for finding those specialized items you can't find anywhere else."
In January, Toma installed new double-decker ovens for making hot subs and stone-fired pizzas. He also stocks a cooler with homemade salads and sandwiches, and plans to offer more to-go foods as the store's kitchen remodel gets underway.
In keeping with the community, Toma hired four staff from DeWitt to help him run the market. He hopes, too, to localize his own life and cut down on his daily commute by moving his family closer sometime soon.
"DeWitt is a great and fantastic community," says Toma. "With me coming from a bigger city, it's refreshing to have that small-town experience."
Source: Faez Toma, Owner, Terranova's Market
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Four Blank & Ten creates space for talking interior design in Lansing's Old Town

As the owner of Four Blank & Ten, Jeremy Mick has been designing interior spaces from the comfort of his own home since about 2005. But recently, Mick decided to open his very first brick and mortar store, and provide a space where he could sit down, relax and talk ideas with prospective clients.
In late February, Mick officially cut the ribbon on his 150-square foot studio located inside of Leopold Bloom & Co., 523 E. Grand River, in Lansing's Old Town. The cozy space allows prospective clients to view lighting, flooring and paint samples, and to reimagine their own living quarters while viewing Mick's extensive portfolio for interior design.
"I like to create stylish and contemporary spaces by mixing traditional and modern styles," says Mick. "I don't like things to look like they popped out of a catalog."
Mick says he works with clients to help build spaces around existing pieces, and to expand upon ideas his clients may have.
"I want it to seem like an extension of what they may have done," he says. "My goal is to take their ideas and make the space something they are going to enjoy, rather than just making it look pretty."
Mick says he enjoys looking for unique pieces and finding things that can be repurposed or juxtaposed with different styles. A television armoire, for example, might find a new life as an office supply cabinet, while a 100-year-old antique might get a new look when positioned in a room with modern wallpaper.
"My goal is to make your home look like the design took years to come up with," he says. "That goes with the fact that more people are trying to invest in their homes and make them comfortable, rather than simply moving on."
Eventually, Mick says, he would like to expand to a larger space where he can display samples of cabinets, flooring and other decor, and even bring on a full- or part-time employee.
"Right now it's just me," he says.
Source: Jeremy Mick, Owner, Four Blank & Ten
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

HiTea bring traditional Asian tea, eight jobs to East Lansing

Yao Xiao believes in the art of tea preparation. And as the co-owner and partner of a new teahouse in East Lansing, he wants to show his customers how to get the most from a cup of tea.
"A lot of people don't know how to prepare tea and boil the tea leaves," says Xiao, also known as "Angus." "We'll show you the instruments to use and how to make tea the right way."
Angus is steeped in preparations to open HiTea, a 1,064 square foot teashop in the East Lansing Marriott at University Place. The shop, Angus says, will bring a contemporary edge to a traditional teashop, and feature 26 bubble tea flavors, Asian drinks, and a selection of breads, croissants, European style sandwiches, brownies, muffins, cheesecake and salads.
"The raw materials for our teas is directly imported from China," Angus says. "Our taste is much more traditional, and we will have toppings like bubbles and jellies to add into the cup."
Since January, Angus has been building a relaxing teashop by installing comfortable seating, decorative wood structures, and storage and preparation areas. He's also brought in more than 13 different pieces of equipment deemed essential for preparing high-end teas, including a water heater, boiler, icemaker, water filtration system, and a filling and shaking machine. When completed, the shop will seat 34 customers inside and six to eight outside.
The East Lansing HiTea, Angus says, is part of a growing chain of teashops that originated in China, and is the fourth U.S. location behind Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
Angus plans to open HiTea March 10 and to have a grand opening toward the end of the month. HiTea will employ eight people, with more staff added in the coming year.
Source: Yao Xiao ("Angus"), co-owner and partner, HiTea
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Kellie's Consignments takes customers on the road, looks to expansion

Kellie Johnson is inviting people to get on the bus.
On March 15, the owner of Kellie's Consignments will host her first-ever Spring Shopping Bus Tour that treats shoppers to a daylong excursion to consignment stores in Southeast Michigan.
"This winter sparked me to do it," says Johnson who has owned the popular Okemos store since 2006. "People are stir-crazy. This is a way for 55 people to get on a bus and go crazy."
Johnson says the 12-hour day starts at 8 a.m. with a lightly catered breakfast at the shop. Customers then board a charter bus and enjoy snacks, drinks and prizes en route to three destinations: Trading Closets in Brighton, Smart Chics in Novi, and Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.
"It's just perfect for spring break shopping," says Johnson of the all-inclusive $45 round-trip ticket. "We hope to do it again in the fall."
Johnson describes her consignment outlet as upscale recycling. Seventy percent of her inventory consists of items that people ask her to sell, while the remaining 30 percent are things she orders new or lightly used.
"We look for anything you have that is fashionable or decorative for the person or the home," she says. "Then we recycle items to other people who put them to good use."
Johnson works with nearly 8,000 consignees nationwide and greets about 300 shoppers a day in her 14,000-square foot shop. She added six new staff in 2013 for a total of 13 employees, and looks to add more in 2014 as she starts online sales. Her five-year plan includes opening additional brick-and-mortar stores across the state.
"I can remember once upon a day imagining if I would ever be in this building," says Johnson. "And now here I sit and say, 'well here I am. If you build it, they will come.'"
To reserve your seat on the Spring Shopping Tour contact Kellie's Consignments at 517-574-4523.
Source: Kellie Johnson, owner, Kellie's Consignments
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Aggie Mae's brings artisan baked goods, new jobs to Grand Ledge

Since changing careers in 2009, Neva Austin starts her day in the kitchen at 3 a.m.
"I was in sales and wanted to do something I had a passion for," says Austin, the owner of the growing line of Aggie Mae's bakeries in Greater Lansing. "I decided I would make breads and pastries for the farmer's market, and it just exploded from there."
Austin opened her newest bakery in Grand Ledge in mid-January after closing her shop at the Lansing City Market. The 2,100-square foot store at 914 Charlevoix Street is her second brick-and-mortar store in addition to her bakery in Lansing's Old Town.
Austin uses fresh ingredients for her breads, pastries, cakes and pies. She sources organic flour from Ferris Organic Farms in her hometown of Eaton Rapids, and Lansing's LorAnn Oils for flavorings. Downtown's Paramount Coffee supplies the beans for her frequently requested cups of brew.
Austin seems destined to knead the dough. Her grandmother, Elaine Maynard, was a restaurateur in Higgins Lake, and her great grandmother, Bertie Mae, had a bakery in Breckenridge. 
"My mother taught me how to bake from a very young age," says Austin of the store's namesake, Aggie Mae. "Some of my fondest memories are baking bread with my mom."
Austin makes her baked goods from scratch, including her 12 artisan breads, pastries, specialty cupcakes, pies and cheesecake. She also claims 15 made-to-order sandwiches, a signature granola, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast items.
Austin's Grand Ledge bakery employs seven staff. She adapted the space in the newer strip mall by painting, knocking out a wall, and replacing floor tile. She also brought in her own display cabinets, coolers and bakery equipment, and put in seating for up to 15 dine-in customers. She's held off doing a grand opening, but is planning one for late March or April, once the weather turns.
"My mother absolutely loves to come in," says Austin. "Her favorite thing, of course, is the 'Aggie Mae,' our signature chicken salad sandwich that is made in-house."
Source: Neva Austin, owner, Aggie Mae's Bakery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

St. Johns mom opens gym to get kids out of house and moving

Like a lot of moms with kids, Casie Grams was bouncing off the walls when snow, ice and freezing temperatures kept her family confined to the great indoors.
In January, Grams decided to take that pent-up energy elsewhere and opened PowerPlay Kids Fun & Fitness in St. Johns for kids ages 10 months through fifth grade.
"I see it giving children an outlet aside from being stuck at home inside," says Grams who has three children under 12. "Everything here is designed to build confidence. It's a non-competitive environment and meant to be fun."
The 1,600-square foot gym at 701 W. State Street is set up to accommodate a variety of activities, including gymnastics, indoor soccer, hockey, basketball, tennis, relays, playground games and more. Grams herself oversaw the light remodeling of the previous sports retail store, including laying new carpet, painting and making it "kid friendly" by bringing in equipment that includes a 25-foot Air Trak, balance beam, tumbling mats, gymnastics bars and stationary bikes.
"I also have a variety of other things like hula-hoops," say Grams whose background and certification is in gymnastics. "Every week we'll have a different theme."
PowerPlay offers several five-week classes that are set up according to ages, grades and siblings. She also offers a boys-only class and open gym twice a week. Parent participation is required for children 3 ½ or under.
"Eventually, I hope to expand and offer more classes," says Grams who runs the classes with the help of her mother and her nephew. "I just wanted to start somewhere."
In addition to 20 different classes and open gym, PowerPlay offers parent's night out, birthday parties and camps.
"It's an outlet," says Grams. "It's something fun to do and can help combat obesity. My goal is to just encourage a healthy lifestyle for kids."
Source: Casie Grams, Owner, PowerPlay Kids Fun & Fitness
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Craig Mitchell Smith Glass shines in new Old Town gallery

Craig Mitchell Smith has built his career on what some might say is fragile ground.
As a nationally sought after glass artist, Mitchell Smith has perfected his own technique for cutting and kiln-firing glass to emulate a painter's brush strokes. His sculptures, he says, are designed to enhance nature, and have found their way into private and public gardens both in the U.S. and abroad.
"It's a different way of thinking about glass," says Mitchell Smith, a self-taught artist who has worked as a designer and painter. "I think like a painter, and I treat my kiln like I would a canvas. It's just something I stumbled upon and it works for me."
Mitchell Smith's success with glass artistry has taken him across the country and to studios throughout Greater Lansing. In January 2014, the Lansing native brought the Craig Mitchell Smith Glass studio home to Old Town and opened to the public on Feb. 13 after seven years at the Meridian Mall.
The 4,000-square feet of the once Estes Furniture Warehouse will provide Mitchell Smith and his staff of four with triple the amount of production space as his former studio, as well as 1,000 square feet for display or retail. He says he invested about $25,000 to overhaul the building's electrical, and to install new flooring and lighting in the gallery area.
"We greatly needed the expanded workspace," says Mitchell Smith. "I plan on offering more classes, too."
Mitchell Smith's work has been shown at the Detroit Institute of Arts, on HGTV and through numerous gallery and museum exhibits nationwide. He says he works primarily by commission, and is doing one-man shows that take him to places like the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
"We're taking the show on the road," says Mitchell Smith of his work with large public American gardens. "But this new space suits my needs beautifully. My home is on the Grand River as is this gallery, so in good weather, I plan on kayaking home."
Craig Mitchell Smith Glass will hold a grand opening on Sunday, Feb. 23, from noon to 5 p.m. The public is invited.
Source: Craig Mitchell Smith, Owner, Craig Mitchell Smith Glass
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Spartan Coney brings gourmet dogs, hearty chili to East Lansing

East Lansing is going to the dogs.
Twelve, to be exact. But maybe more.
"I have 12 kinds of gourmet hot dogs on my menu," says Derrick Austin, co-owner of the recently opened Spartan Coney in East Lansing. "One of my favorites is the Jamaican. I also make a slaw dog, a BLT dog, one with bacon strips and spicy mustard, and a mac-n-cheese dog. And, of course, I can't leave out Chicago, New York and Coney Dogs."
Austin boasts at least four more dog delicacies, with several featuring his very own Coney sauce. He also gets creative with fries, topping taters with garlic parmesan, steak seasoning, Cajun spice, BBQ sauce, and, of course, chili.
"I have several types of chili," says Austin. "I make it hearty. I use ground turkey and ground pork in a lot of my chili, and I make a meatball and club chili. I could go on and on."
Austin's dogged delights are prepped in what he describes as a "small cubby hole" adjacent to Moe's Southwest Grill, which he also manages. He says his boss asked him what he wanted to do with the space, and gave him the option of pizza or hotdogs. Of course, Austin says, he went for the dogs, and opened Spartan Coney in September 2013.
Austin plans to build the menu of his grab-and-go venue, with one idea being convenient lighter fare like fruit cups and salads. He's also playing with the idea of offering a twist on funnel cakes—a county fair staple also known as elephant ears.
Austin grew up in Lansing and went to culinary school in Atlanta, Georgia. And while he's been in the food industry for nearly 30 years, he says he learned a lot about cooking from his mom and grandma.
"I'm from a family of nine boys and one girl," he says. "I was in the kitchen all the time, and it just caught on from there."
Source: Derrick Austin, Co-owner, Spartan Coney
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

AKA Social Media moves to TIC, reaches out to small businesses

Christopher Allen talked to his wife, Melissa, and decided to start a business. They had both worked for non-profits. And they both knew the challenge of promoting a good cause with limited resources.
That's where they knew they could step in.
In August 2013, the husband-wife duo put their like-minds together and launched AKA Social Media—an online marketing firm specializing in social media and email marketing. Their goal, Allen says, is to empower small businesses and nonprofits to reach their full marketing potential through a mix of social media and other communication tools.
"Our target market is businesses with fewer than five employees," says Allen. "And there are a lot of those in Greater Lansing. We're reaching out to insurance agencies, retail locations, coffee shops, that kind-of thing. So I guess you could say we're starting small."
Working from a home office, the two began offering services in training, social media management, email marketing and website design. Within months, the Allens had built a steady clientele that prompted them to seek out the start-up expertise of East Lansing's Technology and Innovation Center. They also brought on an additional family member, Joe Rabideau, to assist with new business development.
"We were drawn to the TIC because of their support system and connections that can help us move forward," says Allen of their January 2014 move to the TIC. "It's a great group of people building that base for entrepreneurship and start-ups."
Allen says his immediate goal is to continue to build his company's services and profile, and to become a go-to resource for social media marketing.
"In the type of economy we're in, social media offers a lot of advantages to small and local businesses," says Allen. "When you're working with a small budget, you might not be able to afford billboards and radio, but you can reach your target market with social media without as much of an investment."
Source: Christopher Allen, President, AKA Social Media
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Michigan Creative moves to new co-working space, adds first full-time staff

Brian Town founded a company named for his favorite place on earth. And his love for that place, as well as his business, is growing.
This February, Michigan Creative will celebrate three years of business, job creation, and new digs at the Center for New Enterprise Opportunity, 934 Clark Street in Lansing. It's a move, CEO Town says, that reflects his philosophy of always being there to provide expert creative services to Michigan businesses.
"It would be silly for us to get a space and be a company all by ourselves," says Town as he reflects on the value of occupying the third floor of co-working space at the NEO Center. "We're around so many people here who have a passion for the local area. It's a perfect fit, and it feels like we've been here forever."
Town, his staff of eight part-timers, and his first-ever full-time employee, Melissa Meschke, relocated from East Lansing's Technology and Innovation Center to Clark Street on Dec. 1. A grand opening is in the works for Feb. 20, with a program chock-full of speakers and presentations that celebrate good things happening in Michigan.
As a full-service marketing company specializing in web design and video production, Michigan Creative also offers branding, social marketing, and creative strategies for leveraging the often slim- to none-marketing budgets of any Michigan business.  
"We want to be unique and not just be 'that marketing company,'" says Town. "Our goal is to be long-time partners with companies we work with. We'd even like to place employees within companies once a week as a resource to help with marketing and business decisions."
Town says he envisions Michigan Creative as a 100-person company in as little as five years, with employees who live and raise families in mid-Michigan.
"Right now, we're a marketing company, but we hope to become a business development company too," says Town. "We just want to employ a lot of people and help them to stick around."
Source: Brian Town, CEO and Owner, Michigan Creative
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

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