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A to Zen Cleaning brings peace to chaotic life

Hannah Morse was on a mission to save time. As a single parent, she knew the demands of working, child care and then having to turn around and take care of a home.

So when she moved from Detroit to East Lansing in the summer of 2017 to be closer to family, Morse decided to pay forward the help and generosity she had received from relatives and friends. Putting on her thinking cap, she arrived at an idea for a home-based business that could lessen stress by helping others maintain a clean, well-lighted space.

Morse launched A to Zen Cleaning Service in January 2018. Her goal, she says, is to be that go-to person people need for tending to most any home cleaning chore. Dusting, picking up clutter, vacuuming and mopping floors are among the basic services in most any area of the home.

"I'm a single mom, so I know time is of the essence," reflects Morse. "Having that extra cleaning service or helping hand gives you more time to do what you enjoy and what your family enjoys."

Customers can choose from a cleaning package that includes several services or go a la carte. Cleanings can be scheduled on a regular basis, and alternated between solid cleanings and light pick-ups. Morse comes with all her own equipment and products, with non-toxic, plant-based cleaning solutions available on request.

A to Zen is also available for short-term or occasional services like before and after an in-home party or a holiday celebration. Customers can also request services for times when recovery from a surgery, injury or illness takes priority over cleaning

Before moving to East Lansing, Morse worked for a cleaning company. That experience, she says, taught her that customers like consistency and having the same person or company coming into their home to clean.

"I like giving people that sense of peace," she says. "The world is so chaotic and we are all stretched so thin. It's a great feeling to come home and have the calm feeling that a clean house can bring."

A to Zen Cleaning Services is currently hiring three to five staff, and has its sights set on moving to an office location as her business grows. For details, email Morse here.

Source: Hannah Morse, Owner, A to Zen Cleaning Service
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

Where the Wild Things Bloom warms a tiny space in Old Town

Urban gardeners, flower lovers and fans of local handmade goods will find reason to emerge from winter doldrums to visit a new boutique and floral shop on the southern edge of Old Town.

Where the Wild Things Bloom opened the first day of the New Year. Owner Brittany Simmons will draw on her 12 years in floral design to manage the full-service floral shop complemented by urban gardening products and goods made by Lansing locals. Her architect mother and business partner, Lisa Demankowski, is involved in curating and creating inventory for the new business.

"I have a love of items gathered in nature as well as contemporary and high-style design," says Simmons. "My mom and I decided we wanted to do our own thing and create as much as possible to celebrate design."

Located between Preuss Pets and Zoobies at 523 E. Cesar Chavez, Where the Wild Things Blooms occupies a south facing cozy space of no more than 700 square feet. That tininess, says Simmons, adds to the warmth and charm of the space she's already filled with exotic flowers, wall hanging planters, heirloom seeds and soil mixes, and gardening tools and pots. The shop carries an eclectic mix of artisan goods that include wool mittens, jewelry made from natural materials like porcupine quills, crochet pillows, body care products, beeswax candles, and vintage-style messenger bags.

Simmons and her mother look to launch classes for adults and children. Topics will include mindfulness, floral design and terrarium building. Regular discussion groups on plants and gardening are also in the works.

On the floral side, Where the Wild Things Bloom provides a range of flowers and designs for weddings and special events. Simmons says that just about any arrangement or type of flower is possible, while her base stock of floral and plants includes orchids, bromeliads and tillandsia. The shop will carry a variety of cacti, succulents and other warmer climate plants as Michigan temperatures rise.

"The community involvement and classes will be a big one for us," says Simmons. "We're really excited to meet with people and to spread the love of flowers, plants and design."

Source: Brittany Simmons, Owner, Where the Wild Things Bloom
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

Wooden Skate reopens with new name, new management

Kellie Johnson wanted to expand her horizons and found what she was looking for right around the corner.

In early- to mid-February, the long-time founder of Kellie's Consignments in Okemos will reopen the shuttered Wooden Skate, bringing her acumen for the best in resale and fine vintage to the iconic space at 1259 W. Grand River Ave.

"We're lightening and brightening it, but leaving the charm of what was there before," says Johnson. "We're not taking away anything, just adding a few things. People who shopped there loved it for what it was."

The Wooden Skate closed its storefront in 2012 after a nearly 40-year run as a seller of fine jewelry, antiques and estate goods. Owned by Gary Durow, the shop was renowned for being housed in a renovated building that replicated an 1880s town. The structure incorporated stained glass, tin ceilings, antique stairways, and oak columns and woodwork. The landscaped grounds featured a Victorian two-story child's playhouse, gazebo, and a "living cemetery" with wooden headstones bearing humorous inscriptions of people still "above ground."

While the Wooden Skate maintained an online presence and sales on-site by appointment, Durow was looking for someone to reopen the physical doors. Johnson fit the profile.

"I'm super excited to bring the Wooden Skate back to life," says Johnson. "It was the place where people came because their mom or grandma or their sister got their diamond there and they want to, too. Generations of people went there. It will be a perfect complement to Kellie's Consignments."

Kellie's Wooden Skate will retain the jewelry focus and bring a "hipster" appeal to the inventory of antiques. Customers will find items along the lines of what they might see on a show like "American Pickers"—including architectural artifacts, vintage and antique signs, and industrial antiques.

"It's not your grandma's antique store," says Johnson. "It's accent pieces, collectibles, and other cool stuff people are looking for today."

Kellie's Wooden Skate will feature both new and consignment inventory. Johnson is also expanding her business model at the popular Kellie's Consignment to include in-home moving and estate sales.

"We started doing this all in earnest over the past year," says Johnson. "We really have a focus now. We do recycling with flair. And we do it with the help of the community."

Johnson hired a full-time gemologist to work at the re-opened Wooden Skate. The shop will be staffed with a rotation of employees from Kellie's Consignments.

Source: Kellie Johnson, Owner, Kellie's Wooden Skate
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

New restaurant to bring old style charm to downtown

Tyler Bowdish worked in a steakhouse in downtown Chicago. His dad was a connoisseur of steak. So when the family relocated to their long-time vacation town of Saugatuck, the father and son set out to bring their favorite style of dining to west Michigan.

In October, Bowdish announced they will be opening a second location Bowdie's Chophouse in Lansing's Riverfront District at 320 E. Michigan Ave. The concept will mirror their two-year-old steakhouse in Saugatuck, and offer a similar menu of high quality steaks, seafood, generous sides, cocktails and wine to Mid-Michigan diners.

Bowdish says he and his dad decided on Lansing after a regular at their Saugatuck venue tipped them off about the available commercial real estate that had once housed the Knightcap.

"We heard that the Knightcap had been there forever, and that it had a similar vibe to us," says Bowdish. "We came here, looked around Lansing, and saw an opportunity to bring something to this part of the state."

Bowdish is targeting a Nov. 1 opening for the 58-seat restaurant, complimented by a 25-seat outdoor patio. He says the previous property owners already set the basic ambience, which means any renovations will be minor.

"We're not going to recreate the wheel," says Bowdish. "We're painting, changing the bar around a bit, and upgrading the light fixtures. That's about it."

The vision, Bowdish says, is to create an early- to mid-20th-century steakhouse, similar to a type where Frank Sinatra, the "Rat Pack" and others may have hung out over candlelight dinners. The chophouse will feature a small menu, but Bowdish says it hits all the key points, including USDA prime and dry-aged steak, lobster mac and cheese, New Orleans style beignets, and signature cocktails.

Bowdie's Chophouse will create 16 to 20 jobs, and will be managed and operated by Bowdish and Chef Jason Campbell.

"We want to give people a reason to come downtown and have a great dinner and walk around," Bowdish says. "I like what I see up and down the street with new bars and distilleries. It's a growing area and I see this place expanding. We just want to be part of it."

Source: Tyler Bowdish, Operator, Bowdie's Chophouse
Writer/Editor: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

Grand River Barber Company expands footprint with new location

While old school in concept, Grand River Barber Company makes the cut with modern technique and style.

Shortly after the Fourth of July, the East Lansing barbershop moved a quarter mile east on the city's downtown strip. General Manager and Barber Wayne Weigel says the search for a new space was prompted by the impending Center City District Development, but was something the four-year-old shop had been debating for a year or two.

"We had been thinking it was time for an upgrade, so it was just good timing," says Weigel. "We have a more conventional barber shop layout now. It's more spacious, the A/C works better, and it just looks really nice, upscale and comfortable."

Weigel and staff moved in late June to the former location of Velvet: A Candy Store at 507 Grand River Ave. The crew loved the space immediately. Black-and-white checkerboard flooring provided a barbershop vibe, while the ample square footage enabled the company to go from 6 to 12 chairs.

At 2,400 square feet, the new location on the avenue is more than double the size of the previous 1,100-square foot upstairs location. That, says Weigel, allows plenty of room for the five full-time and one part-time barber to serve customers—the majority being MSU students.

Grand River Barber Company fills the demand for urban cuts, but can also style and cut hair in traditional styles.

"We're among the few in this area providing a detailed, modern hair style for men," says Weigel. "We're not just getting hair shorter, we're giving the customer something very detailed."

Founder Grant Foley opened Grand River Barber Company in 2013, followed by a second shop in his hometown of Allen Park in 2015. The shop focuses on providing up-to-date, contemporary styles, and on creating an atmosphere similar to an old-fashioned shop.

"We want to be more than a barber shop," says Weigel. "We want to be a staple of East Lansing. So when you think of MSU, you think of Grand River Barber Company as a place where guys not only get a good style, they come in to hang with the guys at the barber shop."

Source: Wayne Weigel, Barber and General Manager, Grand River Barber Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

Acres of Play invites preschoolers to drive their own learning

D'Lynn Smith believes in letting kids make a mess. She also believes in letting them explore, move and direct their own playtime activities as a way to learn.

In early 2017, D'Lynn Smith opened Acres of Play based on her long-held philosophy of early learning and childcare. The licensed preschool—or "playschool" as Smith calls it—offers a home-based option for working families of 3-, 4- and 5-year old children.

"I opened this because I saw a great decline in programs offering true play for children—or simply allowing children to play authentically according to their nature," says Smith. "There's this huge academic push for kids to know their alphabet and be mathematically set and test well before kindergarten. I want to bring back that true, child-led form of play."

Acres of Play is located at D'Lynn's ranch-style home in Charlotte. She converted three rooms in the upper level for the preschool, starting with the 12-foot by 15-foot living room that became the main classroom and nap area. One of the three bedrooms became a "construction room" complete with toy bricks and tubes and other building materials; a second became an art and playhouse area furnished with a toy kitchen and stove, and an art table with supplies for making and creating.

Children go on occasional field trips and venture outdoors every day for play. The landscape of the huge, two-acre backyard is equipped with a climbing structure, a mud kitchen made with pallets, buckets and water, tools for shoveling and scooping, and items to roll and push and move.

"We do a lot of sensory and imaginary play," says Smith. "I don't have trademarked toys, and we don't watch movies or have screen time. We read a lot. We sing. We dance. We have art activities that are their own. It's very child-driven and child-led."

Acres of Play is licensed for six children and runs during the academic year. Smith also offers a series of summer camps based on age groups for children up to third grade. The preschool is currently enrolling for fall.

Source: D'Lynn Smith, Owner and Teacher, Acres of Play
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

Creatively Mi provides space for community-inclined in downtown Charlotte

Michelle Darling travels in two circles: the world of arts and crafts and the world of community. This spring, she brought those worlds together in a 2,000-square foot space in downtown Charlotte.

Darling's new business Creatively Mi at 129 S. Cochran answers her calling to build community by bringing people together through the pursuit of arts and crafts. So far, she's offered both public and private classes in painting, crocheting, knitting, sewing, wood burning, and craft-style classes for kids. Plans are in the works for scrap booking and painting furniture. She also offers the supplies and intel people need to create on-site or at home.

"As I've gotten older, I've found interests that keep me inspired," says Darling. "And I got my chance to turn my passion into a business."

Darling was born and raised in Charlotte. She moved away for a few years when she came of age, then moved back so she could be closer to her family again. She earned her associate degree in graphic design from Lansing Community College, and works as a web master for a Lansing company.

"I've been artsy and creative my whole life," says Darling. "And when I came back home, I decided I wanted to help build the Charlotte community. There's so much going on here now."

While out and about in her community activities, Darling heard many people looking for entertainment-based options. Creatively Mi, she says, fits that niche by providing a gathering space for people to take classes, pursue a hobby, or find a new past-time.

Creatively Mi can accommodate 60 to 100 people seated at artfully arranged tables. To add to the creative ambiance, Darling painted a large mural in the theme of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" on one wall, and smaller mural with circles on another. A third wall is white, while the fourth is "interactive," with customers welcome to sign their names.

Darling currently works with five instructors. She plans to bring on a few more as well as a staff member in the next few months based on interest and need. Creatively Mi will hold a grand opening the weekend of June 17.

Source: Michelle Darling, Owner, Creatively Mi
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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

The Grid brings a 'barcade' experience to Old Town

Corey Montie saw a lot of things when he left Lansing in the late 1990s to work as a professional outdoor mountain guide in California. But he came back in 2015, bringing with him a strong vision for an out-of-the-box business to add dazzle to Lansing's growing nightlife.

In mid-April, Montie opened the doors to The Grid in a repurposed bank in Old Town. The combination bar and arcade features 40 beers on tap as well as nearly three dozen vintage video games and pinball machines.

"I've seen a lot of these places on the East and West Coasts, and in major city markets like Chicago, Denver and Columbus," says Montie. "They're always packed and hopping."

Montie worked with his business partner Callie Mykut to refurbish the insides of the 3,000-square foot former bank at 226 E. Grand River Ave. Three years ago, the historic, two-story brick structure with large arched windows was home to The Chrome Cat restaurant and bar. Since then, the property has sat vacant, waiting for concept.

Montie and Mykut oversaw much of the custom work to ready for the first floor for a bar and vintage game machines, and the second level for seating and conversation. Design and lighting pay homage to the arcade world of the '80s, and draw heavily on Mario and Pacman influences.

Customers get three free tokens for each drink purchased to play games from the golden age of arcade video like Frogger, Pacman and Donkey Kong. Pinball machines date from as far back as 1962, and makeup close to half of the games on the floor. Montie's friend Jesse Russell is a long-time collector of arcade and pinball machines, and jump started The Grid with machines from his collection.

"We're targeting a specific theme and going for the nostalgic element," says Montie. "It's a way to relive something that you haven't done in years, and playing an arcade or pinball game is a quick, fun and easy activity when you're out socializing with friends.

Montie believes The Grid is the first true arcade bar in Michigan, and hopes the venue becomes an iconic destination for people in and outside of Lansing. Although The Grid doesn't have a kitchen, plans are in the works to have a food truck or two park nearby on weekends.

The Grid was 12- to 15-months in the making and created 15 jobs. Half the beers on tap are Michigan craft beers. Selections will rotate to feature as many smaller breweries as possible.

Source: Corey Montie, Co-Owner, The Grid
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer 


East Lansing dentist takes grind out of dental care with new practice

Lisa Knowles believes that the story of your health can be communicated by simply opening your mouth.

As the owner of the new Haslett-East Lansing Dental Health and Wellness, Knowles believes that a variety of health conditions can be spotted through regular dental check-ups. It was a concept she first learned at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, but something that became more and more apparent as she practiced the art and science of dentistry.

"We now know that things like periodontal disease is linked to overall health and heart," says Knowles. "Knowing that, you can sometimes see what is going on with people's health by looking in their mouth."

Knowles began seeing her first patients in mid-April at her new 2,000-square foot practice located at 1451 East Lansing Drive in East Lansing. She had previously worked as a dentist in several practices in Ohio and Northern Michigan. She started her own practice in Charlotte eight years ago before deciding to open the new location.

Before going to dental school, Knowles attended Alma College where she played softball. She majored in communication and had a keen interest in fitness. In between her dental pursuits, Knowles is an occasional speaker at dental and medical conferences, and creates materials for continuing education societies. 

"I've always been about being as fit as you can be and creating a winning mind and body," says Knowles. "I think what we do physically is so important. I hope to inspire others to be healthy, and I've been fortunate to have abilities in dentistry and communication to help."

In addition to traditional dental care from cleaning to extractions, Knowles offers health coaching services for her patients who range in age from children to adults. Knowles is the sole dentist within the practice and employs two staff.

Source: Lisa Knowles, Owner and Dentist, Haslett-East Dental Health and Wellness
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Got a story idea for Capital Gains? Email Ann Kammerer

Caffeine lover brews up coffee cocktails in DeWitt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flipping Redheads brings upcycled chic to Charlotte main street

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

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

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

"We're into upcycling," says Felice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photographer rebrands, opens first official studio in Charlotte

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

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

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

Dimes Brewhouse on tap to open in downtown Dimondale

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

Good Eats Diva brings legendary baked goods to Allen Market Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

Justin McVay and his wife Nina Gucciardo are up for adventure. In mid-November, they invited others to join by opening the doors on a new store focused on role-playing games.
The husband-wife team opened Manafold Games in mid-November after investing their savings and a month of sweat equity into refurbishing an older storefront. Customers entering the shop at 115 W. Grand River in downtown Williamston are greeted by freshly painted blue walls, a silver floor, and a series of shelves alternating with white pillars. Reclaimed glass cabinets, an exposed brick wall exhibiting local artists, and tables and chairs round out the atmosphere of the 1,300-square foot shop designed both for retail and as a social hub for the board and card gaming community.
"Our goal is to be a community center as much as a friendly game store," says McVay. "We're modeling ourselves on successful game stores like the Vault of Midnight in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. They have a very bright atmosphere that's friendly to the average consumer."
Manafold will stock an inventory of popular contemporary board and role-playing games including the Dead of Winter, the Legend of Zelda Monopoly, Game of Thrones Clue and some classic vintage games. The shop will also host drop-in events for role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, collectable card games like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, and unofficial Magic the Gathering nights. In time, McVay says he hopes to have tournaments, with registration taken in advance. He also hopes to branch into starting a euchre league in the coming year.
"I've been wanting to open a game store for about 10 years," says McVay. "I like games mostly because of the art, and also because of the empathy and competitive aspects. A really good game outlines all of human  nature. You can learn very quickly about people by playing games."
Source: Justin McVay, Owner, Manafold Games
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Blue Owl Coffee Company takes flight for landing by early 2017

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

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

Raji Singh never thought she would discover her calling through tealeaves. Today, the 2014 graduate of Michigan State University is a brand ambassador for an international tea company that recently selected East Lansing as its base for breaking in to the North American market.
With 15 offices in Europe and Asia, Newby Teas of London was looking to expand across the Atlantic. And Singh—a Newby team member with roots in Mid-Michigan—stepped up to make it happen.
After earning a degree in political science from MSU's James Madison College, Singh worked in international trade and moved to London. Once there, she heard about Newby Teas and landed a job with the company's sales, marketing and tea tasting team in late 2015.
"I fell in love with the brand and the mission," says Singh. "When they told me they didn't have a presence in North America, we decided it might be an opportunity for me to bring the tea back here."
Having grown up in Okemos, Singh felt at home in mid-Michigan, and sought out the support and resources through the MSU Product Center, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the City of East Lansing, and the Small Business Development Center. By March 2016, she was able to open an office in the East Lansing Marriott Center, and slate a grand opening for August.
Newby Teas sells tea and gifts inside luxury hotels, and is available to individuals through an online boutique. As a brand ambassador, Singh plans to expand the product's availability in hotels across the U.S., starting in big city markets like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
As well as supplying teas sourced from Nepal, India, Kenya, China, Japan and Taiwan, Newby Teas advances educational and charity-based causes. Singh points out that the Marriott office features an educational room that can accommodate up to 20 people for demonstrations and seminars. The company recently participated as a sponsor and vendor at Kaleidoscope--a health and education event for women through the Sparrow Foundation.
"This is an organization based on passion, education and cause," says Singh. "I'm really enjoying it, and believe in what we're doing."
The North American Office of Newby Teas of London employs four staff and is located inside the East Lansing Marriott at 333 Albert Ave., Suite 633.
Source: Raji Singh, Brand Ambassador, Newby Teas of London
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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M3 Group puts plans in motion to reinvent 19th century church for new headquarters

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

Although their business has been open for just about six weeks, their relationship has been brewing for a lifetime.
The father-son duo behind one of Lansing's newest brew pubs and taprooms admit that their interest in brewing beer is a habit run amok. Dan Malone started brewing 24 years ago, Kyle Malone about 6. But it's a passion they've poured into the well-received Ozone's Brewhouse—a place that brings brewing back to Old Town after Lansing Brewing Co. closed in 1914.
In mid-August, Dan and Kyle Malone opened the doors at 305 Beaver Street to an instant following. Many customers within walking distance became regulars, with some becoming mug club members—a privilege that comes with a customized mug stored on site and discounts on single beers and growlers. Others come in from around town to enjoy five mainstay brews and up to an eventual seven selections on a rotating tap.
"Beyond just a fantastic location, we talked to some of the people in Old Town and had conversations about how Old Town supports neighborhood businesses," says Dan, the dad-side of the business. "We found that to be true, and used a local designer and construction crew. It's just a very collegial environment."
The 3,600-square foot brewhouse seats 55 inside, with space for 35 more customers outside on the open-air patio. The Malones invested more than $400,000 to get the business started, with $200,000 applied toward transforming what Dan calls a "butt ugly warehouse and shack."
"At one point, this place had zero plumbing, no studs, no insulation, and just one little light source," says Kyle, the son half of the Malone equation. "We made it into a space where people could come in and have a beer, and added the drainage, plumbing and equipment for a brewing area, too."
The Malones worked hard to create a cozy feel, complete with reclaimed barn wood, Edison lighting, and the back bar from the Mustang Bar—a neighborhood haunt that shuttered in 1986. Long-time Old Town entrepreneur and supporter Terry Terry had preserved the bar after converting the Mustang into the UrbanBeat Events Center, and donated it to the Malones.
"It's a fantastic piece and has such character," says Kyle. "One of Terry's comments was 'it's a piece of Old Town that stayed in Old Town.' We were very, very pleased to have it."
Ozone's Brewhouse employs six staff, with Kyle running the day-to-day operations and serving as brew master. While the taproom doesn't serve food, customers can grab a bite to bring inside from Good Trucking' Diner, which parks its food truck on the premises.
Source: Dan and Kyle Malone, Owner, Ozone's Brew House
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

Growing realtor finds new home in REO Town

Exit Realty Home Partners just made its entrance in REO Town.
In mid-August, the independent realty franchise made its new home in the refurbished Krentel Building at 1000 S. Washington Ave. It was a move, says co-owner Jonathan Lum, that signified the broker's commitment to Lansing's renaissance and helping to building community through buying and selling homes.
"It's great to be in the center of the whole region," says Lum, co-owner of Exit Realty Home Partners. "One of the defining things of being in REO Town is being part of this city's revitalization. It's one of the cool things we've wanted to tap into."
Lum formed Exit Realty Home Partners about two years ago with Heather Driscoll, another independent agent focused on residential real estate. He says the two want to propel their franchise into growth mode as they guide homebuyers and sellers through the real estate process.
"We very much realize that with real estate, it's a lot more than buying and selling homes," says Lum. "Lots of times people who are moving have other stressors in their lives—like a death in the family, divorce, growing families or jobs. It takes a lot of coordinated efforts and we have a deep sense of empathy and understanding."
Lum says both he and Driscoll were born and raised in Greater Lansing and leverage their knowledge of the area. Part of their philosophy, he says, is to go above and beyond the customer's expectations, and to help connect clients with resources and service providers outside the realm of real estate if asked.
Exit Realty Home Partners closed 89 transactions in 2015, and are on track to exceed that number in 2016. Seven staff—including two owner/agents, two agents and three administers—currently work out of the REO Town office. Lum says he anticipates adding up six agents in the next 12 months.
The franchise's new 1,248-square foot space shares common areas with other occupants of the 1918 Krentel Building including the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Change Media and AKT Peerless.
Source: Jonathan Lum, Owner, Exit Realty Home Partners
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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Mahabir Wellness provides skincare procedures and products in boutique atmosphere

Gita Mahabir believes the best way to improve self-esteem is to adopt both and inside and outside approach.
Mahabir is a licensed esthetician who has been practicing since 2001. She is also a licensed counselor. Her focus, she says, is to help people gain a sense of control and inner happiness, as well as to provide skincare solutions for women and men.
"I work in a very direct manner," says Mahabir. "I'm very goal and action oriented."
Mahabir opened the Mahabir Wellness Center in Haslett in late July where she offers each of her services separately. Some clients receive one-on-one therapy by appointment. Others receive recommendations con skincare procedures that promote lasting results.
Along the skincare line, Mahabir offers dermaplaning and peel packages, micro-needling or collagen induction therapy, hair removal, and semi-permanent makeup and eyelash extensions. She's one of the few, she says, to offer semi-permanent makeup services in Greater Lansing. Clients typically opt for semi-permanent solutions for eyeliner or for color to eyebrows and lips. The results, she says, is similar to a tattoo, but more subtle, with the "permanence" lasting about three years as facial features and skin changes.
Mahabir carries a medical grade skincare line that is concentrated and 99 percent free of bacteria and preservatives. She customizes each product to suit the needs of each client, which often includes formulating a blend of specific collagen boosting ingredients.
"I work in a very customized fashion," says Mahabir. "If you're looking to get results and tell me what you're looing for, we will work together to achieve that."
Mahabir donates a portion of her earnings to social causes in the community including the Humane Society and EVE. Mahabir Wellness is located at 1640 Haslett Road, Suite 1. The 755-square foot space features two private suites, a waiting area and a boutique atmosphere.
Source: Gita Mahabir, Owner, Esthetician and Counselor; Mahabir Spa and Wellness
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Kincaid Henry continues upward trajectory with addition of key staff member

A development and construction company founded more than a decade ago in Lansing is upping its commitment to the area by adding a new staff member focused on leading development services.
Marilyn Crowley joined Kincaid Henry in mid-August. She holds a bachelor's in community relations from Michigan State University, is a certified economic development finance professional, and worked at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Company co-owner Ryan Henry says that Crowley will lead project teams in strategizing financial packaging; facilitating city, county, state and federal real estate development and redevelopment incentives; producing real estate standard documents; and engaging with financial institutions.
"One of our main focused as a service provider is to lead our clients," says Henry. "Marilyn will take that to another level, particularly through the real estate development process."
Kincaid Henry was founded 11 years ago in Lansing, with an eye toward fostering projects that contribute to the development and redevelopment of Greater Lansing and Lansing's urban core.
The company's commitment is reflected through a spate of recent projects that include Doggy Daycare and Spa in Okemos; The Element 903 in East Lansing; Ash Street Redevelopment in Mason; Lansing locations like The Beer Grotto, CO-Space, Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and The Marshall Street Armory; as well as projects in communities like Owosso, Jackson and Adrian.
Henry says the company's commitment to Lansing is reflected itself in the company's headquarters: an office space they renovated on the edge of Old Town. Kincaid-Henry co-occupies the building with NEO Center—a shared working space for start-up companies, entrepreneurs and the self-employed.
"We made the conscious decision to place our company in the urban core and to help create a space for business to grow," says Henry. "The building we own and operate from represents our double-down commitment to Greater Lansing and to help strengthen a community's urban core that can attract and retain talent."
Source: Ryan Henry, Owner, Kincaid Henry
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Beagle's Café and Bakery celebrates one year of providing sweet treats to Greater Lansing

Charles Beagle gets up at 4:30 a.m., his mind filled with ideas. Thirty minutes later, he's bringing his dreams to life as owner of Beagle's Café and Bakery.
At the age of 21, Beagle is already a seasoned business owner. A year ago in September, he opened Beagle's Cafe and Bakery  in Grand Ledge. Customers walking into the café, he says, are immediately greeted by the sights and smells of cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies, pies and Beagle's specialties: homemade bagels and scones. And for those not seeking sweet treats, Beagle's Café also offers a full breakfast and lunch menu including sandwiches, quiche, salads, wraps and a selection of specialty coffee and beverages.
Beagle set up shop in the space that was once home to the beloved Sweet Linda's at 214B Bridge Street. His goal, he says, is to revive the concept of the quaint hometown eatery, with his own personal twist.
"I want the café to feel like a second home for our customers," says Beagle. "Delicious food and affordable prices has always been the goal from the get go, but so has creating a comfortable environment and welcoming atmosphere that keeps customers coming back."
About 50 people can fit within the 1,300-square foot storefront decked out with what Beagle describes as "coffee colors"—or tans, browns and maroons. In addition to stocking his brick-and-mortar café, Beagle also sells goods to five different farmer's markets including DeWitt, Dimondale, Bath Township and East Lansing.
Beagle initially learned to bake from his mother and grandmother while growing up in Grand Ledge. He finished high school through an online program, started saving his earnings from his work at the Grand Ledge Farmers Market, and attended culinary school through an online program through Ashworth College.
"My mom is a real hard worker," says Beagle. "She taught me to be that way."
Beagle Café and Bakery employs three staff and is looking to add more as business grows.
Source: Charles Beagle, Owner, Beagle's Café and Bakery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Spartan Dance and Fit springs into new expanded studio

Tiffany Russell has been dancing all her life. And while she's traveled internationally, toured seven countries and 55 cities, and completed more than 100 shows, she finds her strongest performances in a space close to home.
Russell opened Spartan Dance and Fit in 2010, and has steadily grown the business from a handful of students to an astonishing 400 students and 200 adult members today. That growth, she says, has driven her expansion within the borders of East Lansing: from her original location on Ann Street to the northern tier on Lake Lansing Road, to a new space in Carriage Hills Shopping Center at 6075 N. Hagadorn Road.
"I'm super excited to have enough space to add new services and classes and to share them with the community," says Russell. "We've gotten big enough where we're a presence. We're eager to have more people come in the doors, check out what we're doing, and grow with us."
Spartan Dance and Fit teaches dance and fitness to kids and adults. Russell says her youngest dancer is 2 while her oldest is 60-something. She also has a 70-year-old member who takes fitness classes. The studio encompasses all the essentials like dance, fitness, wellness, healthy living and social well being, and offers a dance company for serious dancers.
Russell worked with DTN management to convert a former grocery store into a 13,000-square foot dance and fitness studio. The new location is four-times the previous size of Russell's former studio. In addition to rooms for dance instruction, the facility features a personal training room, cycling and small group training rooms, a smoothie bar, a two-room massage area, and a top-of-the line sauna and locker room.
"Our product speaks for itself," says Russell. "Our dance families and fit members are a community. We have members of the month, social mixers, and group camps. It's all about community involvement and building this strength in the heart of East Lansing—for all Spartans."
Spartan Dance and Fit operates with a management team of six full-time employees and 36 instructors.
Source: Tiffany Russell, Owner, Spartan Dance and Fit Center
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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FirstLight Home Care opens first office to serve Greater Lansing

Seniors, new moms and busy parents, people recovering from surgery, or other adults needing assistance will find a helping hand through a new-to-the-area provider of companion and personal care services.
Laingsburg resident Deb Moerland opened FirstLight Home Care in mid-July after she saw an increasing need for caregivers to step in and help with everything from household duties like cooking, cleaning and running errands; to mobility assistance and dementia care; to personal, companion and respite care. Non-medical care can be arranged for one day a week for two to four hours all the way up to around-the-clock. Services are provided at private residences, assisted living or retirement communities, or adult-family or group homes.
"We're also here to serve moms who need help around the house," says Moerland. "I've been a mom, so I know it can sometime get overwhelming."
Moerland decided to open a FirstLight franchise after working several years as an online college instructor following a career as a high school teacher. Thinking back to her years in the classroom, she realized she liked the personal interaction, and decided that her next step would be a business based on helping people.
"I just want to be able to help others," says Moerland. "People can get so overwhelmed sometimes and just need a little help. Also, I want to provide a way for older people to stay in their homes as long as they can."
Moerland's FirstLight franchise created two office jobs in the 876-square foot office at 4125 Okemos Road. She also hired and trained seven local caregivers.
FirstLight Home Care is a non-medical in-home care provider with a network of offices that provides care for more than 2,500 clients in more than 30 states. Because of high demand, Moerland anticipates creating up to 100 caregiver jobs through the Okemos franchise in the upcoming year.
Source: Deb Moerland, Owner, FirstLight Home Care Lansing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Crafty Palate opens for downtown diners, creates six jobs

Peggy and Tim Pinter love to travel. And they love restaurants. Both recently retired. So the natural thing to do with their newfound freedom was to start a restaurant—one that brought a worldly twist to American fare.  
At the end of April, the Pinters introduced breakfast and lunch seekers to the Crafty Palate. Lansing's newest eatery at 333 N. Washington Square features a seasonal menu with daily specials created from scratch, as well as deli selections for people on the go. Plans are in place to offer a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails, including several signature drinks unique to the restaurant.
"I like to cook, and I like going out to eat at nice places, too," says Pinter. "Tim and I couldn't think of anything else we'd rather do, so this is what we came up with."
Peggy says she and Tim will be involved in the new restaurant at the start. They hope to eventually turn over the day-to-day operations and management to their hospitality-minded son, Jeremy, who will oversee an experienced team of wait staff and chefs.
Among must-try sandwiches, Peggy says, is the Juliet—a smoked turkey and spinach dip on sourdough bread—and a grilled veggie—a mélange of artichokes, roasted red pepper, sun dried tomatoes, and pesto cream cheese on French bread. Other top favorites include salads, eggs and omelet dishes, and to die-for desserts like carrot cake and chocolate peanut butter cake.
Located in the previous spot of the Restaurant Mediteran, the Crafty Palate will seat 72 people between a main dining room and a deli area furnished with six high-top tables. A sidewalk patio will provide al fresco dining once the weather improves, while a separate conference room can accommodate 25 people for special gatherings or events.
"We just enjoy restaurants, so everywhere we travel, we try to seek out the most interesting ones," says Pinter. "People like to eat, don't they?"
The Crafty Palate created six jobs and will be open initially for breakfast and lunch.
Source: Peggy Pinter, Co-owner, The Crafty Palate
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Old-fashioned ice cream shop to anchor edge of Old Town

Linda Baughman and Rico Lewis knew they were destined to own a small business together. They just didn't know what kind and where it might be.
So when Lewis told her that the converted gas station in Old Town was up for lease, she knew they had found their little half-acre.
By the end of May, Baughman and Lewis will open an old-fashion ice cream shop in the repurposed historic gas station at 127 W. Grand River. Scoops in Old Town will feature 10 to 15 flavors of hand-packed ice cream—more than likely from the MSU Dairy Store. Baughman will also serve up hot dogs, chicken wraps and soft drinks.
"It's perfect for ice cream," says Baughman of the building that used to house Artie's Filling Station. "It's updated and cute and nostalgic. We love the look of it."
Scoops will serve walk-up customers and provide outdoor seating for 24 people on metal chairs and tables, shaded by teal, orange and green umbrellas. As spring gets underway, she hopes to landscape with flowers, bushes and ornamental hedges. Occasional musicians, face-painters, balloon twisters, and clowns may also be on the premises providing family-oriented entertainment. And being in Old Town, she says, provides countless opportunities to tie-in with festivals and seasonal activities.
"We'd like to be a destination both for families and individuals," says Baughman. "Someplace that's entertaining."
Scoops will focus on the business of ice cream for the summer, and is outlining a game plan for the cooler months. The business will create four jobs in addition to Baughman and Lewis.
Source: Linda Baughman, Co-owner, Scoops in Old Town
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Saddleback Barbecue pulls into REO Town

Matthew Gillett believes in the power of barbecue to bring people together. That, and the strength of a great neighborhood.
So when the vacated Vintage Café came up for lease, Gillett and his business partner Travis Stoliker were there, putting things in place to open Saddleback Barbecue in REO Town.
"It all happened so quick," says Gillett. "I couldn't be happier with the decision. Everyone is so supportive and welcoming. We hope to bring as much to the table as we can and help grow the area."
By the end of May, Gillett and Stoliker plan to open an authentic smoked southern barbecue venue at 1147 S. Washington Ave. The 1,200-foot restaurant will serve barbecue ribs, brisket, pulled pork and smoked chicken, and will offer a small selection of beverages and made-from-scratch sides like baked beans, mac-and-cheese, coleslaw, potato salad and fries.
"Mostly, we just want to focus on the meat," says Gillett. "That's our game."
Gillett will draw on 15 years of experience in the restaurant businesses and a "food sabbatical" that took him to Georgia to learn from a professional barbecue team. After observing competitions, studying recipes, and trying things out with a smoker, he was ready to bring it on home to Lansing.
Gillett began a small weekend catering venture that he balanced with his full-time job. He supplied meats for sporting events and fundraisers, and built a following for his savory fare.
When he heard of the spot in REO Town, Gillett decided it was time to start smoking on his own turf. His smoker, he says, will run 24-hours-a-day, allowing him to serve meats that are smoked to perfection over two days.
"Our love of the product will show through our smoking style and attention to detail," he says. "I want people to see what they're getting is above and beyond."
Although technically southern cuisine, Gillette says barbecue is a perfect fit for northern climes and for Lansing.
"Most people have some sort-of tie-in—be it tailgating, camping, the backyard patio and the grill," says Gillett. "Growing up in Michigan, we suffer through winters, and enjoy our summers. Barbecue is part of that."
The Saddleback Barbecue will seat 31 people and employ up to eight people—including the "night-shift" smoker. For starters, the restaurant will be open for lunch and early dinners, Monday through Saturday.
Source: Matt Gillett,  Owner and Operator, Saddleback Barbecue
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Jumbeaux brings Cajun- and southern-style meals to Lansing

Keith Havard wanted to bring some southern style to Lansing. So he applied what he knew best: cooking.
In late March, Havard opened the doors to Jumbeaux: a southern- and Cajun-style restaurant on Lansing's Westside. Within days, he was drawing a crowd, prepping lunches and late-afternoon meals for those with  a yen for regional cuisine.
Havard grew up in Louisiana. His Cajun grandfather passed along his recipes, equipping Havard with the culinary know-how to whip up both spicy and southern meals for family and friends. When he moved to Michigan to be close to his wife's family, he sensed his destiny was to bring Louisiana-style cooking to the city.
"I almost did a food truck," says Havard. "But then this location became available. I filled out the paperwork just as soon as I could."
Jumbeaux is occupying the space of the former Fork in the Road at 2010 W. Saginaw. With prime visibility, a good-sized parking lot, and space for 44 diners, Havard says the spot is perfect. His friend, Brandon Whitt, came up from Louisiana to be his head chef. Soon, the two were building a menu of Cajun and southern favorites like shrimp creole, blackened catfish, jambalaya, gumbo, po' boys, and smothered chicken.
"His dishes are just like home cooking," says Havard of Whitt, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of New York. "The must tries are definitely the crawfish etouffee or the shrimp and grits."
Customers to Jumbeaux place orders at a counter, with food delivered fast and hot to their table. Most meals are made daily in large batches, with some dishes—like alligator—based on availability. The majority of ingredients are sourced from local vendors, with alligator, po' boy and muffalatta bread coming straight from Louisiana.
Jumbeaux created six jobs and will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Source: Keith Havard, Owner, Jumbeaux
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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Bungalow 47 paints new horizons with second store

A specialty paint line, new digs and an ever-growing interest in "vintagey" décor led owners of the popular Bungalow 47 in Williamston to expand their horizons by opening a second store on the same city block.
While home décor and furnishings stayed put in the original store, the owners moved clothing, accessories and anything wearable to a storefront across the street. 47 Style opened last November—close to four years after owners Jill Rinner and Chantelle Deimling opened Bungalow 47.
"We simply outgrew our space," says Store Manager Lynne Nyberg. "Our original store was less than 1,000-square feet, so with all the vintage furniture and home décor and jewelry we carried, it was just too much for our customers to take in."
Nyberg says the owners seized the opportunity to move into the storefront on Grand River Avenue that had sat vacant for more than a year. The boutique offers accessories such as tops, scarves, boots, shoes, belts, socks, jewelry, gift items and other unique merchandise curated from across the United States. The original store will carry painted chairs, dressers, vanities, buffets, tables and other vintage furniture artistically repurposed and merchandised by staff.
Bungalow 47 will also carry a line of chalk and clay paint for do-it-yourselfers. The paint comes in 16 colors and holds the distinction of being expressly developed in cooperation with Junk Gypsies—a company out of Texas. The paint line was recently introduced at the annual Round Top Antiques Fair in Texas and will be marketed nationwide.
"We've been really focused on getting this new paint line out," says Nyberg. "The beauty of chalk and clay paint is that it can be painted on any surface without a lot of prep. It's fun, too, because you can do distressing, layer different colors, and sand it down. You can do-it-yourself and offer workshops, too."
The original Bungalow 47 Style is located at 118 W. Grand River and faces the new 47 Style at 141 W. Grand River. About a dozen people work between the two stores, with four staff added since the November expansion.
Source: Lynne Nyberg, Store Manager, Bungalow 47 and 47 Style
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Brain Balance of Lansing supports learning or behavior challenged kids

Parents seeking solutions for kids struggling with learning or behavior issues may find additional support through a new center in Okemos.
Brain Balance of Lansing began welcoming students last November to their 3,000-square foot, multi-room facility at 2325 Jolly Road. The achievement center franchise provides programs to children with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, OCD, and disorders related to behavior, sensory processing or learning. The Brain Balance program addresses the whole child by integrating sensory motor training, stimulation, and cognitive activities with nutritional and dietary guidelines, and is completely drug-free.
"Our program is always individualized," says Carole Woodward, owner of Brain Balance Lansing. "Children start at their level of functioning and have a positive experience here. We set them up to succeed."
Brain Balance students commit to 36 one-hour sessions over three months with about five to 10 minutes of home-based daily exercises during and after the program. Students divide their time between academic and sensory activities with ongoing support provided for up to 12 months following their graduation from the program.
"We don't just take care of symptoms," says Woodward. "We take care of the issues by focusing on the root of the child's problem."
Brain Balance of Lansing is among 75 achievement centers across the U.S., including centers in Kalamazoo and Birmingham, Mich. About 20 students age 5 through 18 are currently enrolled at the Okemos center, and are served by Woodward, her business partner Patrick Rowley, and five staff.
Brain Balance was founded a decade ago by Robert Melillo, a chiropractic neurologist and researcher. Melillo is also the author of "Disconnected Kids," a book that outlines the approach used through his learning franchise.
Source: Carole Woodward, Owner, Brain Balance of Lansing
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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New downtown restaurant and market pays tribute to Lansing fast-food icon

Tim Ellis returned to Lansing from the East Coast to be part of the downtown renaissance.
Around St. Patrick's Day, Ellis opened a combination restaurant, market and special events space at 229 S. Washington Square. Henry's on the Square, Ellis says, will bring excitement to downtown through top-notch customer service, big city amenities, and dining and entertainment delivered through a multi-use venue.
"I haven't seen this many people downtown in years," says Ellis who grew up in Waverly. "My goal is to help fill a void and provide people with more options."
Located in the storefront that once housed The Firm and the legendary Parthenon Restaurant, the blended business starts with a 400-square foot market stocked with fresh fruits, vegetables, chocolate, wine, cheeses and party supplies.
Further inside, an American bistro with an Italian flare provides intimate seating for up to 70 people. Patrons can enjoy cocktails or craft beers at a glass-tiled bar, while a special events suite for 45 to 60 people rounds out the 4,000-square-foot interior.
Wall space is reserved for local artists, as well as for the "wall of fame" dedicated to the late Leroy and Lois Henry, owners of H and H restaurants. The Henrys, Ellis explains, owned several area Burger King restaurants, including one on South Cedar where he worked as a teen in the early 1980s.
"I was a 15-year-old kid on my fourth day of my very first job," says Ellis. "And this gentleman in his 40s comes in and teaches me how to do the drink station. He was so kind and genuine and generous with his time. I never got over that, especially when I found out it was Leroy."
Ellis worked his way through the ranks at Lansing Burger Kings for more than 7 years. He drew from those experiences to launch WOW Hospitality—a restaurant consulting company based in Traverse City.
"Leroy shaped my whole career," says Ellis. " I decided that if I had an opportunity I would honor him by opening a restaurant."
Ellis took his tribute a step further and involved one of the Henry's daughters as a business partner. Henry's on the Square created 40 jobs, with 23 currently on board—some with family connections to the Burger Kings owned by Leroy and Lois.
"It's all part of bringing back a little tradition," says Ellis. "And that Lansing neighborhood feel."

Source: Tim Ellis, Manager, Henry's on the Square
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Antique dealer transforms Victorian home into Mason bed-and-breakfast

Jettie Feintuch has always had a fondness for older things. Her late father, David Feintuch, had founded the Mason Antique District, transforming a dusty ex lumberyard into the collection of 10 shops with a courtyard and gazebo that she now manages.
Feintuch's love for all-things-antique extends from the business to home front. Last year, she turned the Victorian home where she grew up into Mason's sole bed-and-breakfast. Sharing the beauty and history of the house made sense, she says, considering the footprint of the 3,500-square foot home could easily accommodate front and back living quarters.
"Plus, Mason doesn't have many places for visitors to stay," says Feintuch. "There are not a whole lot of options between Lansing and Mason."
Feintuch began welcoming guests to the Barnes Street Bed and Breakfast at 604 S. Barnes Road late last spring. Since then, she has hosted a range of guests including the family of a local exchange student, MSU alumni in town for sporting or performing arts events, business people, antique shoppers, and couples celebrating a special anniversary.
Built in 1887, the home-turned-B&B serves as a gateway to another era. The original owner, Samuel J.P. Smead, had founded the Farmers Bank, now known as the Mason State Bank. He lived in the house for about a year before he died, leaving the house to his wife and daughters who lived there for more than 40 years.
The Feintuchs bought the house in the 1980s and continued to retain the historic character of the home. The walls still bear the original wallpaper from 1887 and many of the furnishings are antiques—some having belonged to the Smead family.
"That's one of the biggest selling points about staying here," says Feintuch. "While we don't have a lot of modern amenities, our guests have immediate access to history. Everything they see, touch or experience is going to be old and antique."
The Barnes Street B&B has two guestrooms. Renovations are underway on the master bedroom that features a marble fireplace. Guests can enjoy a hot breakfast in the morning, and can easily walk two blocks to other dining and shopping options in downtown Mason.
"I've been very pleasantly surprised," says Feintuch. "Everyone seems delighted that we finally have a bed-and-breakfast in town."
Source: Jettie Feintuch, Owner, Barnes Street Bed and Breakfast
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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Mediteran Cafe recreates family restaurant on smaller scale in downtown Lansing

The closing of Restaurant Mediteran and Deli doesn't mean Lansing will be without the signature dishes that attracted diners for a decade.
Owner Igor Jurkovic simply opened a smaller version of the popular restaurant a few blocks away.
In mid-March, Jurkovic opened Mediteran Cafe at 200 N. Washington Square. The eatery features new and familiar dishes from the family of Croatian-trained chefs, and occupies a previous employee cafe in the Capitol National Bank Building.
"I'd been supplying the bank and its cafe with soups and catering services for the past several years," says Jurkovic. "I had my eye on the spot ever since my parents decided to retire and close the restaurant."
Jurkovic and his parents had run the Restaurant Mediteran since 2005. The family had come to Lansing in 1998 as refugees after the Bosnian War devastated their home, livelihood and family.
Igor's parents—Mirko and Ljubica—had worked and owned restaurants most their lives, and Igor had attended culinary school in Croatia. Starting a restaurant in Lansing drew upon those talents and enabled the family to rebuild their lives.
"I got adopted by this town," says Jurkovic. "We grew our business here and now people know us and our family."
The new cafe will feature soups; daily specials like spinach pies, gyros, lamb shank, Wiener schnitzel and goulash; and other favorites from the previous restaurant. Newer menu items include paninis, pastries, frozen yogurt, and Italian and other European coffees.
Jurkovic decked out the new space familiar decor from the old restaurant including the gallery of drawings by his father. He expanded the footprint of the previous bank cafe to about 3,000 square feet and hired four staff. The new restaurant features a main dining area with 10 tables plus two newly renovated areas for catering small- to mid-sized groups. Seating at an outdoor patio is also in the works.
In addition to his new venture, Jurkovic co-owns two Leaf Salad Bars in East Lansing and Okemos, and runs the kitchen for The Exchange.
"The restaurant business is my passion," says Jurkovic. "I'm very happy my parents are able to retire and are going that route, but I will miss their support. We'll do our best to recreate things on a smaller scale."
Source: Igor Jurkovic, Owner, Mediteran Cafe
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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Spirits rising as Lansing's first distillery readies to open downtown

Lansing is keeping its spirits up this spring as the city's first distillery opens downtown across from Cooley Law School Stadium.
American Fifth Spirits will usher in the manufacture and distribution of artisan spirits in a 4,600-square foot building at 112 N. Larch. Owner and head distiller Rick Wyble says American Fifth will also promote Lansing's cocktail culture through a tasting room and programs that educate consumers on the nature and production of distilled spirits.
Wyble says his dual business model makes American Fifth standout as a producer of spirits that will eventually include vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, rums, absinthe and liqueurs.
"The tasting room aspect allows customers to see and experience where everything is made and to build that knowledge base in our customers," says Wyble. "And manufacturing allows us to distribute."
American Fifth's first product—Hue Vodka—was released last November, and has attracted a band of followers dubbed "partillectuals." The vodka is retailed throughout the state and locally through Quality Dairy, Big Ten Party Stores, On The Rocks Party Store, Tom's Food Center and Tom's Party Store. Partillectuals and other interested consumers can also enjoy cocktails made from American Fifth spirits at Midtown Brewing Company, Buddies Pub in East Lansing, Soup Spoon Cafe, Taps 25 and Red Haven. The distillery's second product, Capital Gin, was released in mid-February.
With some manufacturing and distribution already in place, Wyble is turning to the launch of the tasting room and storefront. Repurposed from a car dealership-gone-pawn-shop, the two-story facility will feature 13-foot-ceilings, pine joists and steel beams, new poured floors with radiant heat, and a painstakingly-built penny-top bar. About 700 square feet will be dedicated to the distillery, with the tasting room swallowing up about 2,000 feet. Plans are to renovate and open the second floor in about a year.
American Fifth sources as many ingredients as possible from Michigan farmers, including wheat and corn from Williamston, rye from Corunna, and micro greens and botanicals from DeWitt.
"Michigan has an astonishing agricultural industry," says Wyble. "That's been one of the most amazing things in this whole journey, and a relationship we plan to continue."
Full-tilt production is expected to be the equivalent of 4,000 cases a year of all products. American Fifth Spirits created about 10 jobs, and is currently hiring.
Source: Rick Wyble, Owner, American  Fifth Spirits
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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Red Barn Dog Grooming puts focus on comfort, individual attention

There's a Facebook meme that says behind every good woman is a substantial amount of coffee and a good dog. For Nicole Mackinder, there are a substantial number of good dogs and maybe a cup of coffee or two.
Last fall, Mackinder opened Red Barn Dog Grooming and began offering personal care services for dogs that focus on healthy coats and skin.
"I groom dogs of all sizes," says Mackinder. "From 3-pound Yorkies to 100-pound rottweilers. Every dog and every breed is different. I enjoy them all."
Mackinder learned her dog handling skills from six years of work managing a small animal veterinary clinic in Eaton Rapids. She also learned to clip and trim man's-best-friend through an apprenticeship at Classy Canine in East Lansing.
Red Barn offers grooming by appointment in a clean, friendly and renovated space in Mackinder's home. Originally, she had planned to convert one of the two barns that sit on her property on Tomlinson Road, but her husband convinced her the garage could be just as cozy and easier to equip with grooming equipment and amenities.
Over the summer, Mackinder worked with her husband to line the interior of the 300-square-foot garage with barn-red exterior siding. Next, they installed a custom grooming table, raised washtub, kennel and waiting areas, and a small foyer for meeting with pet owners and dogs.
"It's pretty homey in here," says Mackinder. "We'll probably be putting in some new windows and doors to add to the look."
Mackinder says her goal is to provide low-stress services that put health and wellness first. She says she never has more than one or two dogs at a time, and takes her time to get to know the needs and temperament of each animal. She uses all-natural grooming products that promote healthy skin, and focuses on trimming and brushing techniques that maximize the comfort of the dog while removing mats or other tangles.
"It's called humanity before vanity," says Mackinder. "It's a well-known saying in today's grooming industry, and it's my philosophy 100 percent."
After each appointment, and with the owner's permission, Mackinder posts a photo of each fido with their "new do" to Facebook.
"As a groomer, you become attached to dogs rather quickly," says Mackinder. "It's important to remember that the dog may not have had grooming in mind that day and would rather be snuggling on the couch."
Source: Nicole Mackinder, Owner, Red Barn Dog Grooming
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Meat expands, offers carnivores more options for comfort food and drink

Sean Johnson hasn't had any trouble building a following for his signature southern barbeque and comfort foods he plates up through his Old Town restaurant. So when a larger space became available next door to Meat Southern B.B.Q. & Carnivore Cuisine, he didn't think twice about making the move to become even meatier.
In mid-February, Johnson opened the doors to his new, expanded  restaurant at 1224 Turner St. At 2,000 square feet, the space nearly triples the size of his original restaurant and provides more seating—both inside and out. Even more, the new digs enable Johnson to feature a bigger menu and a full bar, something that wasn't possible in his previous 800-square foot space.
"I had always hoped the restaurant would take off," says Johnson. "My wife and I thought it would be a hole in the wall place—just something we would have for several years. But when we starting seeing people lined up at the door all the time, we knew it was time to take the next step."
Johnson and his wife, Lynette, opened Meat in the summer of 2012 after taking a hobby for barbecuing to the next level. Since then, Meat has been met with a healthy reception to carnivorous offerings that include smoked brisket, pulled pork, turkey and an assortment of comfort foods like macaroni and cheese.
The move into a larger storefront, Johnson says, allows Meat to add additional sandwich and meat selections, as well an some appetizers and sides. Many menu items will rotate, with meats prepared daily through two industrial smokers.
Johnson and his family did the majority of the remodeling themselves over seven months, including the tables made from hardwood flooring. The new restaurant will seat up to 90 people, with 40 additional on a covered, outdoor patio—weather permitting.
The new Meat will feature a full bar with 18 beers on tap, including Michigan beers and other domestic favorites. Johnson says he added five staff, including a couple bartenders, and a host and hostess to help with workflow and expanded hours, bringing his staff up to 23.
"We work very hard to make sure the quality of food is the best we can provide," says Johnson. "And now, we're working hard to develop a bar following. People know we've expanded. But I don't think they really think of us as a place where they can go to enjoy a drink and snack, too."
Source: Sean Johnson, Manager, Meat   
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Experienced Chinese chefs bring flavorful dishes to Lansing's East Side

Mei Wan's outlook is simple: He likes to cook.
So when the opportunity came up to start a restaurant in Lansing, he took it, pulling up stakes and moving from Kalamazoo to start a new adventure.
In early January, Wan opened the doors to China Flavor on Lansing's East Side after finishing a six-month overhaul of the white brick diner at 2033 E. Michigan Ave. The restaurant brings new life to a space that was the previous homes of Lamai Thai Kitchen and Eddie's Chinese Restaurant that had sat vacant for nearly two years.
"I like the location," says Wan. "My friend told me this was a good part of town between East Lansing and Lansing, and I have lots of nice customers who come here."
China Flavor seats 72 people and offers an extensive menu packed with familiar Asian favorites like egg drop soup, egg or spring rolls, fried rice or lo mein, chop suey or chow mein, and a variety of chicken, beef, pork, seafood and vegetable dinners. Wan also cooks up authentic Chinese dishes including those made with duck, lamb and squid.
Wan says he's been in the restaurant business for more than 30 years. He learned his culinary art at a cooking school in China, and moved to Michigan in 1996 from the Guangdong province of South China. Since then, he's worked in restaurants and hotels. En route, he met his current chef from Hong Kong, who also has nearly 50 years in the restaurant business.
China Flavor created five jobs; offers take out, dine-in or delivery; and is open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. The past midnight hours, Wan says, are intended to attract customers working night shifts at the hospital or enjoying the nightlife.
"I'm very proud of my five-star food," says Wan. "You can come here to enjoy good food and good times."
Source: Mei Wan, Part-owner, China Flavor
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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New microbrewery and distillery set to open during Craft Beer Month

Blending business acumen, industrial engineering experience, and an affinity for craft beverages, two friends from DeWitt are working to bring a new microbrewery and distillery to Greater Lansing.
Business partners Aaron Hanson and Eric Elliott look to open Ellison Brewery and Spirits in Meridian Township in July to coincide with Michigan Craft Beer Month. The venture involves transforming a 4,600-square foot warehouse at 4903 Dawn Ave. into a destination for world class craft beer and artisan spirits made in Lansing—complete with a tasting room, production area and distribution facilities all in one.
"We'll be creating a big industrial feel where you'll experience all the aromas, sights and sounds associated with a microbrewery and distillery," says Hanson, president of operations. "It will be a completely open concept, where if you sit at the bar, you'll be able to see right into the brew house."
Ellison Brewery will have the capacity to produce up to 5,000 barrels of craft beer annually on a custom-designed production line that draws on Hanson's industrial training and experience. Distilled spirits will be produced through a smaller 53-gallon still and available for tasting room sales and limited distribution. Customers will be able to enjoy in-house wines in the tasting room, as well as a revolving menu of cocktails, meads, braggots and limited release craft beers. Eight beers will be on tap at all times, with selections rotating throughout the seasons
Brew masters Todd Schwem and cellar master Leon Traczynski will oversee the creation of craft beers and spirits, and round out what Hanson says is a solid, experienced management team.
"We're putting a strong focus on being a distributor," says Hanson. "We're laying the groundwork now to get our products out to markets in Lansing, Detroit and Chicago."
Hanson says customers will be able to take away craft beers in 64-ounce growlers, as well as specialty 32-ounce cans called crowlers. The "monster" cans, as Hanson describes them, are filled, labeled and sealed onsite, and provide a means for customers to store and enjoy products later.
"It allows us to give you something that's perfect for tailgating or to take to places that don't allow glass containers," says Hanson. "It's sealed and can be stored like a regular can of beer."
Ellison Brewery and Spirits will create eight to 10 jobs. 
Source: Aaron Hanson, President of Operations, Ellison Brewery and Spirits
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Firefly Hot Yoga Bar turns up the heat in downtown Lansing

For Abbey Weston, turning up the heat is a sure fire way to rest, relax and deal with stress. And in downtown Lansing, there's a new place where the heat is always on.
Weston co-owns the Firefly Hot Yoga Bar, a repurposed space on downtown's Washington Square that provides a place for yoga enthusiasts and those seeking an invigorating way to decompress.
"Our goal is to encourage people to be part of the downtown community and offer another venue for yoga, too," says Weston.
Weston and her business partner Patty Sutherland got the idea to open a second location of their East Lansing-based Firefly Hot Yoga Bar after seeing the potential of renovating a storage and office area above Kewpee Sandwich Shoppe. The 100-year-old building has been in Weston's family for more than 40 years, and she said she always loved the upstairs space.
"Patty and I went up there and we could see the bones of the building and the structure and how awesome it could be," says Weston. "We could envision the exposed brick, a skylight, and all the unique architectural features that would make for a great yoga studio."
Weston talked with her brother Tobin who was using the space as an office and storage, and came up with a renovation plan. Starting in August, they sketched out a floorplan, worked with an architect, and upgraded all the necessary mechanicals. By January, they had fashioned a 1,500-square foot studio that featured reclaimed barn wood, extreme sports flooring, and ambiance setting décor like succulents, an ottoman, and a vintage frame from the Lansing Civic Players.
But the most notable feature is the heat—driven by an infrared radiant system that's environmental friendly, noiseless and pegged between 90 and 110 degrees.
"You're getting an infrared sauna session and yoga all in one," says Weston. "Some people practice yoga, other lay in the heat and stretch. We encourage people to do what's right for their bodies."
Firefly's downtown location features about 28 classes a week taught by 15 instructors. Classes include Slow Burn, Kick Your Asana, Sweat and Surrender, Power Lunch, and DeTox to Retox.
"Location dictates a lot of what we do in our lives," says Weston. "Sometimes it's easier for people who work downtown to pop in at lunch or after work. We want to help build that vibrant downtown and see what we can do in Lansing."
Source: Abbey Weston, Partner, Firefly Hot Yoga Bar
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Specialty Asian grocer opens in Hannah Plaza

The feeling of being close to home just got a little stronger for East Lansing's Asian community as a new convenience store specializing in Chinese, Japanese and Korean foods opens in Hannah Plaza.
Yiming Shao opened the doors to the Hannah Market at 4790 Hagadorn Road right before Valentine's Day.
"We have lots of store frontage and signage so we're not hard to find," says Shao of the store situated between GNC and Sultan's. "Lots of people go in and out of here every day, so we hope people can find us and get what they may be missing from their home country."
The Hannah Market will offer fresh produce, meats, frozen foods, sodas, snacks, and made-to-order smoothies and bubble tea. Many of the products come fresh from local farms, with Chinese and other Asian products coming from distributors in New York, Chicago and California.
Shao knocked down walls between three previously vacant suites to create the 2,950-square foot store. He also put in new ceilings and flooring and upgraded the lighting. New shelving and high-end freezers and coolers create a clean, bright feel, as do the vibrant green hues that permeate most every inch of the store.
"It's the theme of the store—go green," says Shao. "It ties in with the university campus as well as relates to healthy food, too."
Shao says his emphasis on a clean, well-lighted space reflects his desire to create a nice store with good, solid products that will make people want to come back and shop. The Hannah Market created five part-time jobs. Shao plans to add full-time staff as the store expands and offers more options such as seafood and bakery selections.
Source: Yiming Shao, Owner, Hannah Market
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Beer Grotto set to premiere hybrid bar and retail experience in Stadium District

The soon-to-open Beer Grotto in Lansing's Stadium District is a testament to the vision of Sam Short and his business partners to rethink why people come to bars.
The absence of a traditional bar and the inclusion of "tasting pods" that dot an open landscape create an environment where customers can enjoy extraordinary beer or wine. Well-trained "beer geeks" and "cork dorks" will advise and assist customers with sampling and selecting a craft beverage that suits their tastes and preferences.
"We're looking to eliminate that buyer's remorse," says Short, one of four owners along with Troy Ontko, Brandon Ansel and Lisa Manno. "There's no need for that in this modern world. Our goal is to restructure the experience and to make sure you get what you want."
The combination tasting and to-go store is slated to open in early March and follows two Beer Grottos that recently premiered in Ann Arbor and Dexter. Patrons will be able to hang out in a full-service lounge, reserve event space for parties or other events, and purchase any of the craft beer and wines carried on site.
Designed as a destination for craft beverage fans, the Beer Grotto has 48 craft beers on tap and dozens of boutique wines—with about 75 percent made in Michigan. Customers can also enjoy a select line of non-alcohol beers, wines and sodas, as well as limited food options—or as Short says, "enough to get you through the happy hour."
Aside from the beverages, the interior décor will be an attraction unto itself. The 4,100- square foot space will feature tables with Cyprus wood tops made from 100-year-old Heinz pickle barrels. A 30-foot by 15-foot mural painted by Detroit artist Jeremy Harvey will add to the restaurant's welcoming ambiance.
"Jeremy is doing something similar to our Dexter store but unique to Lansing," says Short. "He did some crazy stuff there with phosphorescent paint, so you know he'll do something super amazing here, too."
The Lansing Beer Grotto will create about 25 full-time and 10 part-time jobs. Staff are expressly trained by area managers, and also receive training as beer cicerones and wine sommeliers.
"We have a triple bottom-line," says Short. "We think about people, the planet and profit—with people being first."
Source: Sam Short, Owner, The Beer Grotto
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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CrossFit Sanction grows, offers professional coaching to all levels of athletes

Dan Romigh started helping people reach their fitness goals through a gym he set up in a pole barn. Today, he's holding classes in a more conventional space on Lansing's southern edge with plans to move to a larger facility as membership grows.
Romigh started CrossFit Sanction in late October 2013 after taking exercise physiology courses at the University of Findlay in Ohio. As a former collegiate athlete, he was interested in pursing CrossFit as a sport, and was urged to open a gym of his own.
"I started out with two members," says Romigh. "We're up to 43 members and four coaches today."
Soon after starting CrossFit Sanction, Romigh moved operations to the current location at 3681 Pine Tree Road. With 1,200 square feet of training space, CrossFit Sanction features equipment like Olympic lift barbells, more than 1,000 pounds of weights, and 15 types of kettle balls.
Romigh contributes the rapid growth to the professional coaching as well as the community atmosphere of the gym. All coaches, including Romigh, hold a level 1 CrossFit license, with one claiming credentials as a USA Olympic weightlifting coach. All training takes place through organized classes, with all members encouraged to have workout partners.
"Our members range from elite athletes who compete on a regular basis to people who come here to get back in shape," says Romigh. "A lot of people like CrossFit because it's a different kind of routine."
Similar to his workouts, Romigh has specific goals for his business. His sites are set on a larger facility, one that will accommodate his increasing membership and additional training and CrossFit activities like rope climbing.
"We'll be ready to make the move once we hit about 70 members," say Romigh. "My goal is to reach that by October 1, as well as to add a couple more coaches."
In addition to managing CrossFit Sanction, Romigh is training for a spot on a professional fitness team. The team is one of just nine in the U.S. through the National Pro Grid League.
Source: Dan Romigh, Owner, CrossFit Sanction
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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RCP offers high-end scanning and printing to Michigan artists

A picture can be worth a thousand words, except when the picture doesn't do justice to original art or photography it represents.
As the owner of Reed Consulting Partners, also known as RCP, Mark Reed helps artists and photographers share and catalog their works by offering high-end digital imaging services.
"The only real answer was to invest in the highest quality scanner," says Reed. "The business evolved from there."
Reed purchased a large format Cruse Sycron Scanner—a piece of equipment he says is among the best in the nation when it comes to fine art scanning and printing. Most of these particular scanners, he says, reside in government installations, the Smithsonian, and European museums.
"The artists we have met to date are very impressed with the quality of the scan and what it can do for their career," says Reed.
The scanner's unique abilities enable the creation of digital images without ever touching the art. Images can be output onto most any medium including canvas, matte, archival paper, and vinyl, with stitch-less, large format pieces among RCP's specialties.
Reed works primarily with Michigan artists who come to him to create digital files for use in portfolios, copyright applications, catalogs, Web and magazine images, and reproduction prints for sale. He has scanned and reproduced fine art pieces up to 60- by 72-inches, including a large South American hymnal from the 1600s, pieces for a sports artist licensed by the National Football League, and large format photographs for display at Jackson National Life and Michigan State University. Another recent job involved scanning cherished watercolor paintings created by a family's deceased mother.
"She had spent years painting all these pieces and when she passed, all her kids wanted them," says Reed. "They split them up, but were also able to get scans and prints created if they didn't received the original."
RCP printing recently dove into the quilt market. Scanning quilts rather than photographing allows each stitch to stand out and highlights techniques used by the artist. Reed anticipates scanning for art quilters worldwide since quilts can be easily shipped.
Reed opened RCP in early 2014 in Portland. Six people work at the 5,500-square foot facility at 1301 E.Grand River Ave. shop, with plans to bring more on board in 2015.
Source: Mark Reed, Owner, RCP
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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The Cosmos brings out-of-this-world menu and sci-fi vibe to Old Town

Sam Short has been a science fiction fan since he was a kid.
Now he's created his own universe called The Cosmos.
In late January, Short opened a new pizzeria in Old Town that radiates sci-fi nostalgia. What's more, the restaurant plates up cuisine that propels pizzeria fare beyond the stratosphere.
"Science fiction gives us the most wondrous possibilities for progress," says Short. "And pairing it with wonderful and good food just made a lot of sense."
The 1,000-square foot restaurant at 611 E. Grand River is the previous home to Poppa Leo's and is attached to Zoobies Old Town Tavern via a short hallway addition. The Cosmos is the second of three ventures undertaken by the Potent Potables Project—a restaurant group Short operates with Aaron Matthews and Alan Hooper. The first was Zoobies. And the third will be The Creole, slated to open in early April.
"We're rehabbing part of Lansing's history and joining it with another historic part," says Short of connecting The Cosmos to Zoobies. "There's no sense in destroying an old building when you can repurpose it."
The Cosmos seats 48 people and when the weather warms up, will provide access to another 120 or so seats at an outdoor bar and roasting pit. Patrons can dine at old video consoles. Other tables and walls are decorated with sci-fi images of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Reproductions of nostalgic movie posters join phantasmal renditions of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon painted by Detroit artist Jeremy Harvey, further satiating Lansing's appetite for unique dining and drinking venues.
Head Chef Dan Konopnick is the force behind the menu, applying his Johnson & Wales training to out-of-this-world variations on wood-fired pizza that feature Bosc pears, caramelized apples, onions, pancetta, and gorgonzola, arugula and house-made mozzarella cheeses. Konopnick will also continue to perfect his famous duck fat fries and sweet treats like homemade ice cream and donut bites.?
"I like the 'Trust Me,' pizza," says Short. "It's literally a special that Dan comes up with. You come in, say 'Trust Me' and Dan will bring out a pie that's his special of the day. His pizza is just fantastically good."
About 40 full- and part-time people work at both Zoobies and The Cosmos—nearly double the staff from six months ago.
Source: Sam Short, Co-Owner, The Cosmos
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Gravity Works expands presence in Old Town, adds six staff

Lauren Colton was among the first people on board when Gravity Works set up shop in Old Town in 2009. Today, she is one of 17 on staff, with six new talents joining the design and development company in the past year.
Located at 1132 N. Washington Ave., Gravity Works continues to expand its universe of providing graphic design, website and mobile app work. With the recent acquisition of the former Love Betti antique shop, Gravity Works doubled its footprint to nearly 3,150 square feet. Once a small shop two doors from a streetlight, Gravity Works today illuminates corner real estate, providing frontage and visibility for a growing list of clients.
"The main thing is we want to have a space that supports the size and culture of our team," says Colton, information architect and business development strategist. "The new space supports that, and it supports clients coming onsite and being with us for longer stretches."
Gravity Works began their office transformation in late 2014 by knocking down and putting up walls, and accentuating the classic Old Town elements of plank floors, exposed brick and tin ceilings. The remodeling involved creating several private rooms with doors—something new to Gravity Works office culture.
"We have conference areas but they're open," says Colton. "It's nice for collaboration to have that open environment, but it's nice to have a closed space to sit down with a client for a long conversation."
Each of the three new private rooms has been named and decked out by employee teams. Themes include the Science Room, the Star Wars Room and the Video Game Room. New interior décor in other parts of the office includes a built-in couch and gaming area for employee breaks.
"It's a space that really gets everyone working together," says Colton. "It fosters bonding and forward thinking and looking ahead to what we want to become next."
Gravity Works originally took off with just 10 clients. At last count, the company serves 60 clients statewide with services that help an organization communicate, promote and connect with targeted audiences and customers.
"We started with the idea that design and development go hand-in-hand," says Colton. "You see a lot of companies that outsource development to India, or companies that outsource design. We can make a customized product by having those functions side-by-side."
Source: Lauren Colton, IA and Business Development Strategist, Gravity Works
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Mert's Meat expands Okemos location to satisfy customer appetite for specialty products

Accommodating customers is always top-of-mind for Shirley Decker Prescott. So when retail space opened up adjacent to Mert's Specialty Meats in Okemos, Prescott jumped at the chance to expand the footprint of her popular family market.
Right before the winter holidays, Prescott brought down the wall between the two suites, and added 1,300 square feet to her market's sales floor at 1870 W. Grand River Ave. It was a decision, she says, that was driven by seeing her customers volley for space within the friendly confines of her original store, and one that she says will enable her to carry an increasing line of fresh cut meat, seafood, dairy and cheeses, frozen items, and a variety of Michigan-made products for creating favorite meals.
"We have a lot of open space now in the grocery section and could add hundreds of more items," says Decker. "We're hoping to do that, and are looking for our customers to tell us what they want."
The expanded Mert's Meats consists of 3,000 square feet of retail space plus back room operations. Areas and aisles were reconfigured to accommodate 15 more doors of frozen, additional produce, and more sets of streamlined shelves for grocery.
"Our customers were wonderful during the transition," says Prescott of the transformation that took place over the winter holidays. "And now, they're here, enjoying the additional room and new products. I even saw some people the other day who had room to stand in the store and chat. That wasn't really possible before."
Prescott started the market with her husband Mert Prescott and son Brandon Decker in July 2012. Together, the three family members bring nearly 100 years of retail, food and community experience to the business. 
Mert's Meats employs 14 people between its Okemos location and newer store on Lansing's East Side. Because of the expansion, Decker says she has made some previously part-time staff full-time, and will bring back some seasonal help in the summer.
Source: Shirley Decker Prescott, Owner, Mert's Specialty Meats
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Popular Asian chef brings New Thai Kitchen to Okemos

Connoisseurs of Asian cuisine welcomed a popular local chef to Okemos when New Thai Kitchen opened in the former Sip N' Snack in December.
While Ying Xiong had intended to retired after closing the long-time Thai Kitchen in East Lansing two years ago, he couldn't resist the allure of serving up food in the previous space of the iconic Okemos diner.
"It's close to everything," says Xiong who lives in Okemos. "It's close to local shopping, and to residential places. And it's at the center of town."
Xiong and his wife, Chou, acquired the space at 4960 Okemos Road last June and undertook several months of renovations before the official ribbon cutting in January. He estimates he spent upward of $80,000 to knock down walls, upgrade fixtures and systems, outfit the kitchen with new equipment, and set the stage for dining through an inviting, modern décor.
"It's roomy but cozy," says Xiong. "We may expand, too, depending on how well it goes."
New Thai has attracted former customers from Xiong's East Lansing location, and has sparked the curiosity of suburban residents. The restaurant comfortably seats 48 people, with a capacity for 50.
Xiong employs a staff of six and serves lunch and dinner. The menu features traditional Thai fare including three types of Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao and Panang. Eventually, Xiong hopes to add a beer and wine license.
"We have a lot of different flavors and a different style of cooking than other Thai places," says Xiong. "I do a lot of the cooking myself, and learned over the years from my friends."
Source: Ying Xiong, Owner, New Thai Kitchen
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor
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Small batch coffee roaster relocates blooming business to Old Town

Business is blooming in Lansing's Old Town.
In late 2014, the co-owners of Bloom Coffee Roasters moved their less-than-year-old business from a south side warehouse into an 800-square-foot space at 1236 Turner St. It was a move, says Master Roaster Jared Field, that put him and business partner Cameron Russell in the right place at the right time for business growth.
"We're very excited to be completely immersed in the Old Town business culture and the atmosphere that comes with it," says Field. "It feels as if everything's in its right place."
Bloom Coffee Roasters focuses on sourcing high-quality coffee and roasting beans for optimal flavor. Field and Russell currently offer coffee from six different countries of origin in both whole bean or ground varieties. Coffees can be purchased through the Web site, or through the Allen Street Farmer's Market, Old Town General Store and Spotted Dog Café. A coffee program for businesses enables companies and organizations to place orders for up to five pounds of coffee at a time.
Long-term, Field hopes to build craft brewing and preparation into the equation. For now, he and Russell are sticking to the grind. Plans are also brewing for programs and services that benefit the greater good and particular non-profits.
"As an entrepreneur and as a human being in general, it's important to consistently grow and to always strive to be better," says Field. "It's also important to us to contribute to making our community a better, safer, and more comfortable place to live."
Source: Jared Field, Co-Owner, Bloom Coffee Roasters
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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Long-time coworkers envision new salon for downtown Haslett

They went to the same high school. They worked at the same place for five years. And while they lost touch for a few short months, the two met again, this time to set up shop doing what they both loved.
In September, Taylor Schavey-Feldpausch and Brooke Gonzalez opened the doors to Amore Salon and Spa at 1482 Haslett Road in Haslett. While both hail from Holt, the two stylists say they feel right at home starting their business where Schavey-Feldpausch's mother and grandparents grew up.
"The biggest thing for us right now is getting to know the community," says Schavey-Feldpausch. "We want to get the word out about who we are and get involved."
Amoré  sits at the top of a small hill near the base of a railroad track. The two friends were happy to find the space in mid-2014 and set out to bring a comfortable, laid-back feel to the 1,400-square foot space in a building they share with Hilltop Yoga.
"We spent a lot of days traveling to Detroit and back looking for furniture," says Schavey-Feldpausch. "We wanted to go with a more rustic look with older-looking furniture. We found everything we were looking for and more."
The salon features four hair stations, as well as areas for pedicures, manicures and waxing. While both friends are professionally educated and trained by the likes of Douglas J Salon and Institute and Protégé, each has their specialties.
"I like doing the cutting, both men's and women's hair," says Schavey-Feldpausch. "Brooke really likes doing the color."
Amoré  welcomes men, women and people of all ages for a menu of services that includes cuts, bang or beard trims, color and highlights, waxing and nails, and special occasion styling. Schavey-Feldpausch and Gonzalez currently staff the salon and are looking to hire up to two more stylists in 2015.
Source: Taylor Schavey-Feldpausch, Co-Owner, Amoré  Salon
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
Got a story idea? Drop me a note at annhkamm@gmail.com

Nutrition specialists open club in downtown Lansing

Father-daughter team Amanda and Jeff Whitson want to help reshape downtown Lansing one person at a time.
In mid-December, the Whitsons celebrated the grand opening of their new nutrition club just blocks from the state capitol. Located at 108 W. Allegan St. in the Hollister Building, CHEERS Nutrition Club offers a place where people can come on a regular basis to share general health, wellness and nutrition information in a social atmosphere.
"We call it CHEERS because it's like Cheers on TV where everybody knows your name," says Amanda Whitson who co-owns the club along with her dad. "It's a social atmosphere and a community. We like to say 'cheers to good health.'"
CHEERS offers daily and weekly memberships that allow access to a nutrition club as well as to all club activities including group sessions on nutrition and community weight challenges. Members and walk-ins can also enjoy protein snacks and a signature smoothie drink that Whitson says is a complete meal replacement with 21 vitamins, minerals, essential nutrients, 24 grams of protein and 300 calories.
"We call them fast food for smart people," says Whitson. "We have 32 flavors to choose from. They are all amazing and taste incredible."
Whitson says CHEERS is among several nutrition clubs she and her father have opened in Mid-Michigan communities in the past seven years, including Charlotte, Grand Ledge, Olivet, Lake Odessa and Hastings. Whitson says she and her father are independent distributors for Herbalife, with the clubs serving as a venue for distributing Herbalife products.
The 1,200-square foot Lansing club can accommodate up to 53 people at sit-down tables and a smoothie bar. A private room is also available for consultations and measurement taking. Whitson says the club will be primarily staffed by her and her dad, as well as by four additional health coaches.
"Our goal is to promote healthy, active lifestyles," says Whitson. "We're different from weight loss programs you might get at a retail vendor since you not only get our products, you get a personal coach to help you get the results you deserve."
Source: Amanda Whitson, co-owner, CHEERS
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor
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Traditional baker and Mexican chef opens new restaurant on Lansing's West Side

Ofilia Diaz checked out locations on the south, central and eastern edge of Lansing but decided on a tiny space on the West Side for her new restaurant serving authentic Mexican food and pastries.
El Burrito Mexicano opened the week of Thanksgiving for breakfast, lunch, dinner and occasional catering services at 801 W. Thomas L. Parkway. Big enough to seat 18 diners but small enough to feel cozy and warm, the 1,060-square foot space allows her to offer an expansive menu with familiar fares like burritos, tacos and enchiladas, as well as specialty egg and meat dishes. Customers can also satisfy their cravings for sodas and sweets tooth through a variety of Mexican sodas, dessert cookies and traditional pastries.
"I do all the cooking," says Diaz. "Lots of people like my enchiladas and wet burritos. I also make specialty beefs here, as well as tamales, barbacoa, menudo and soups. I'm excited."
Diaz has been baking and cooking as long as she can remember, and often worked as a part-time baker while holding a full-time job as a hospital tech. Diaz said her hospital co-workers had always encouraged her to open up her own restaurant, but she wanted to wait until she retired and could give the enterprise her full attention.
"My mom was an excellent cook, and I think I must have learned from her," says Diaz. "I was always calling her to ask how to make something. She would simply tell me over the phone because she doesn't have any recipes. Neither do I. It's just a little of this and a little of that."
In addition to stints baking cakes, cookies and pastries, Diaz also prepped, served and catered food through small locations at the Lansing City Market and the Lansing Mega Mall. None, she says, provided the space or accommodations she was looking for—until now.
Diaz has three staff, including her grown children and grandchildren who help around the kitchen.
"I used to help my mom bake," says Diaz. "And she would show me how to make sugar and butter cookies. I basically got all my recipes from her."

Source: Ofilia Diaz, Owner, El Burrito Mexicano
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Long-time artist friends open Peculiar Perspectives gallery in Williamston

They've been friends for more than 20 years. But it only took a single day for the two to join forces and open a business built on a shared aesthetic.
In early fall, artists Matt Mulford and Tony Steele opened Perculiar Perspectives—an art studio, gallery and gift shop offering works in cartooning, gothic and imaginative drawing. Located in Williamston's Keller Plaza, the new gallery is what the friends say might be the most eclectic 260-square-feet of space in Greater Lansing.
"It's quite a mix," says Steele. "We have our artwork plus hundreds of items including books, cards, matted prints for framing, and pins, jewelry and magnets featuring our art."
Steele and Mulford came upon the idea to open the gallery last summer during on one of their "art days"—or monthly outings the two take together to draw and create in different locations.
"On that particular day, we were in Williamston and someone pointed out that the upstairs of Keller's Plaza was full of spaces for artist types," says Mulford. "We checked it out and immediately knew we wanted to share the space and sell art from our studio."
Mulford says the majority of art he and Steele create is two-dimensional and purely imaginative—with no physical references. And while Mulford is primarily self-taught, Steele holds degrees in commercial art, illustration and graphic design from Lansing Community College.
"Tony and I complement each other very well," he says. "I lean toward wildlife or landscape themes so we meet in the middle with fantasy art. It's very inspiring."
In addition to using the space as a working gallery and gift shop, Mulford and Steele plan to hold drawing and painting classes for adults and children. Customers can also come in and browse, or simply observe the artists at work, creating two-dimensional critters, monsters and other fantasy-based artworks.
"Our goal is create a welcoming space, one that you won't come in and flee in terror," laughs Steele. "Everyone here in town has been really friendly, so sticking around is on our menu."
Source: Matt Mulford and Tony Steele, Owners, Peculiar Perspectives
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Established Trade Network moves to East Lansing

From skilled trades to professional services, the barter economy is alive and well, drawing on roots that pre-date the monetary system.
Greater Lansing's Trade Network, Inc., focuses on barter interactions between small and medium sized businesses throughout mid-Michigan. The office moved in early summer from West Lansing to a new East Lansing location to accommodate growth and put a fresh perspective on the age-old business.
Located at 740 W. Lake Lansing Road in Harrison Crossings, Trade Network serves more than 1,200 members across the state, with about 600 in Greater Lansing. Founded by President Gary Kay in 1991, the company is part of a $12 billion a year national industry that involves an estimated 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Lansing area business owners have used Trade Network to exchange products and services ranging from restaurant food and beverage, employee incentive programs, auto repairs, furniture, home improvements, weddings, legal services, housing, automobiles and even a one-person helicopter.
"Lots of people already barter," says Kay. "They say, 'I'll do your plumbing if you do my roof.' But the problem with one-on-one is you have to have what each other wants."
Kay says that in a trade exchange, members have more options to exchange and barter for services. Staff work with members to facilitate exchanges, and keep track of the transactions for year-end tax and other recordkeeping.
"We work with members to trade big things and little things, products and services," says Kay. "Trade exchanges are everywhere. Lots of people don't have the cash, but they do have the service or product that can be turned into a currency."
Kay took the opportunity to upgrade software and networking capabilities with the new office. About 7 people work in the 2,200-square foot space.
"I actually traded for the space," laughs Kay. "It's all part of the economics of barter."
Source: Gary Kay, President, Trade Network, Inc.
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Inventive family opens We Love Kids N Dogs in Meridian Mall

Artists, writers and filmmakers have long recognized the nearly symbiotic relationship between kids and dogs. And while Chris Allen's creativity leans toward business, the bond between fidos and children inspired his family's newest venture in the Meridian Mall.
Allen and his spouse Melissa opened We Love Kids N Dogs about a month before the start of the holiday season. The unique boutique and gift store features products for kids that encourage creativity and entrepreneurship, and curates a variety of pet products from small businesses not typically found in larger pet stores.
Allen says he got the idea for We Love Kids N Dogs after traveling to pet industry product expos. He and Melissa had taken to the road to promote the Poochie Bowl—a uniquely designed water and food bowl made in Lansing and invented by the Allen family.
"We met the creators of so many unique products, and realized we were all small business owners that didn't have the cache to get into a big box store yet," says Allen. "At that point, we decided we needed to do something to bring all these products back to Lansing."
After his travels, Allen mapped out a concept and took it to the Meridian Mall. A few months later, Allen found himself contacting folks he had met through expos, and bringing in products that include custom doggy coats, organic dog cookies, hand made leashes, ribbons and bows, and other one-of-a-kind pet accessories.
The 1,000-square foot space in the Macy's wing also features kids products and toys rooted in STEM curriculum. The goal, Allen says, is to offer products that can support a child's curiosity and natural play, while encouraging them to build, innovate and create.
"We want to help cultivate that mindset of building and engineering and being creative," says Allen. "That's where we got our start—by inventing a product—so we want to inspire kids to see where they can take things, too."
We Love Kids N Dogs carries about 35 product lines. The Allens staff the store with help from family members. After the holidays, Allen says he plans to create three to five jobs, and assess the possibility of opening a second store in Greater Lansing. 
Source: Christopher Allen, Owner, We Love Kids and Dogs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Downtown Barber reopens in Williamston with old-fashioned flair

The red and white striped barber pole on the exterior of Williamston's Downtown Barber provides the first hint of a shop steeped in tradition.
Pictures of hometown athletes, antique barber chairs, and a greeting area with drinks and candy for the kids adds to the local color of the 900-square-foot shop newly reopened under the management of Randy Kelly and his spouse, Nickie.
"You'll also see customers getting the hot towel and lather face shave," says Kelly. "And we have a lot of regulars who like to come in, hang out and talk. It's a true family barber shop."
Kelly jumped at the chance to purchase Downtown Barber when it went up for sale in early summer. After living and working in Southeast Michigan, the couple was eager to relocate to Mid-Michigan and to raise their growing family closer to their hometowns.
From August to the November grand opening, Kelly worked to create a business focused on community. As a former high school athlete with sports-minded kids, Kelly offers special cuts to school athletic teams—his most recent being playoff haircuts to the Williamston football and soccer teams.
"We did designs in their hair to boost their morale," says Kelly. "It's something that we want to keep going."
While Downtown Barber bills itself as a traditional barbershop for men and boys, Kelly says all family members are welcome.
"As barbers, we're trained in men's styles, and have dedicated training on how to use clippers and a straight razor," says Kelly. "Our attention is on the finer details of a man's hair cut, and not so much the chemical details like a cosmetologist might be."
Downtown Barber recently hired a second barber to serve customers. With 30 years of barbering experience, Jeanette Kruger can execute all the traditional barber cuts and modern styles, as well as provide the old-fashioned straight razor face shave.
"Plus, my son Maverick loves to ride his bike up here after school," says Kelly. "He likes to sweep, hand out suckers and candy, and really enjoys being a familiar face in the shop."
Source: Randy Kelly, Owner, Downtown Barber
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Vintage Junkies anchors REO Town with passion for repurposing

It all started with an online vintage store, an energetic friend, and a family connection in a reawakening business district.
In late October, Amy McMeeken opened her dream business in REO Town, inspired by friend and co-owner Aimee Macklin. Dubbed Vintage Junkies, the 900-square foot retail space brings vintage clothing, home décor, hand-painted furniture and jewelry to the previous Kwast American Bakeries at 1829 S. Washington.
"Vintage Junkies is something I've wanted to do for many years," says McMeeken. "When I met Aimee, we realized we loved to do the same kinds of things. Being the little go-getter she is, she managed to get us a store very fast."
The two business partners set out to recreate McMeeken's Etsy site from the ground up within the 1,500-square-foot Kwast facility. McMeeken says the space held a special connection for both her and Macklin. Both grew up in Lansing. Both live in REO Town. And Macklin herself had spent time in the Kwast bakery as a child, watching her aunt decorate cakes.
"I felt a brick-and-mortar store was more what I was looking for rather than simply an on-line presence," says McMeeken. "It gives you more opportunity to have larger items, and it's a place where we can both be creative."
McMeeken and Macklin share a passion for giving new life to old things. As part of prepping the old bakery for retail and work space, the two built merchandising displays from discarded items, including a dress form from a floor lamp and chicken wire, a wall display for scarves made from a box spring, and antique license plates connected together to form a lampshade.
"We plan to do a lot of our artwork on site," says McMeeken. "We also want to eventually add classroom space for art and photography, and even a coffee shop."
For the time being, McMeeken will continue repurposing items and curating merchandise from estate sales, auctions and donations. She also plans to connect with more local artists and provide opportunities for exhibits, displays and sale of artisan items.
"I love this side of town," says McMeeken. "I'm a GM baby, and my dad used to work down here. We love the history. We love that it's still really raw and new. It's fun to be a part of it."
Source: Amy McMeeken, Co-owner, Vintage Junkies
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Veteran retailer opens new gift shop in Okemos

Tami Jackard retired from retail after 20 years, moved out-of-state, then moved back home after a year-and-a-half with a fresh perspective. Looking around, she saw potential for her own store—someplace, she felt, where people could dwell on the possibilities and feel good regardless of the day.
In early fall, Jackard opened the doors to Dwell—a small gift and accessory shop in Okemos. Located at 5100 Marsh Road in Central Park Place, Dwell carries fashionable, one-of-a-kind items for the home, many handmade by local artists.
"It's the stuff I love," says Jackard. "I love being able to change my home around and have beautiful things surrounding me. I thought others would, too."
Jackard teamed up with former co-worker Jo Ann Schaefer to fill the store with an eclectic inventory. Schaefer herself provides some of the hand-painted furniture, and connects with other artists for handmade items like jewelry. Customers will also find silk flowers, decorative knick-knacks, pictures and paintings, handmade greeting cards and collectibles.
"I just wanted to create a place where someone can come in and get a gift for about $20," says Jackard. "I also wanted to have a store where people could come in and feel good, and to turn their day around if they're feeling down."
Jackard says she loves merchandizing and curating just the right mix of items. The 1,200- square-foot space was nearly perfect before she moved in, requiring just a fresh coat of paint and some moderate repurposing of dressing rooms and cubbies for merchandise display. She hired two staff to help with customer service, and may add more as her business grows.
"Honestly, the hardest part of all of this was finding a name for the store," she laughs. "And then, once I settled on the name Dwell, I would see a saying or something with the word every day. It haunted me for a while."
Source: Tami Jackard, Owner, Dwell
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Z-Solutions expands to historic storefront in Webberville

Although Josh Rockey could have taken his growing IT business just about anywhere, he chose to stay in his hometown.
A fixture on Webberville's main street since 2007, Z-Solutions relocated in September to a 1,800-square-foot space just next store at 110 W. Grand River. The move gives his team of five four-times the space, and provides room for the two additional staff he looks to hire next year. What's more, Rockey's move adds vibrancy to the community's downtown district by bringing new life to a shuttered storefront.
"The lights are on at night, everyone can see the front of the building now," says the Webberville native. "We had a lot of community members say they're glad to see us in here, helping to brighten up the downtown."
Rockey had heard various histories of the store front, the most recent being that the space had been the town grocer 50 years ago. But like many residents, Rockey only knew the shop as a vacant building filled with random stuff. Yellowed newspapers covered the windows, and the interior was falling into disrepair.
Rockey cleaned out, painted and redid major systems to bring the 130-year-old building up to date. He retained the original maple floors, remarking that the scratches and scuffs showed workmanship that stood the test of time.
"Although we're a modern tech company, we wanted to retain the look of an older building," says Rockey. "Overall, the building was in all-right shape considering it hadn't been a business for nearly 50 years."
Z-Solutions provides IT support and technology services to small businesses and individual users. Starting from a home-based operation in 2001, the company has grown to more than 100 clients within a 50-mile radius as well as a few remote customers in northern Michigan. Rockey says his primary clientele ranges from "mom and pop" shops with two users all the way up to companies with 150 users on their networks. Z-Solutions also services individuals, and sells and refurbishes computers.
"We pride ourselves on keeping our costs low," says Rockey. "We might not be in Lansing, but we're only 18 minutes away."

Source: Josh Rockey, Owner, Z-Solutions
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Good Dog! Training transforms feisty fidos into well-mannered friends

Janet Smith isn't going to the dogs. She's going to the owners.
That's her philosophy about dog training and the underpinning of Good Dog! Training—her 16-year-old business that opened its very first brick-and-mortar facility at 1575 Haslett Road in Haslett this fall.
"I'm not really working with dogs, I'm working with owners," says Smith. "While training of the dog is involved, it's really about teaching the owners how to train their dogs."
Smith started Good Dog! Training in 1998 after a need to train her dog gradually developed into a passion for the profession. Smith left her job in retail to teach classes through Doggy Day Care and Spa, and was subsequently recruited as a trainer for the Capital Area Humane Society. In the last few years, she returned to life as an independent trainer and concentrated on helping dog owners create lasting, trusting bonds with their pets.
Good Dog! Training offers basic, intermediate and advanced dog training classes; Canine Good Citizen certification training; and dog-and-people friend classes like agility, fly ball, rally, nose games and more. Specialty classes are available for shy dogs, aggressive dogs, and "bully" breeds, and private lessons can be arranged for dogs with temperament issues. Smith also offers a new "stay and train" service that provides busy clients the option to drop off their pet in the morning for a day of training and pick them up toward close of business.
"I think what people need to understand is that every time you interact with a dog, you're training it," says Smith. "Either the dog is training you, or you're training the dog."
Smith holds classes and one-on-one training in a repurposed 3,800-square-foot plaza storefront on the corner of Marsh and Haslett Roads. Before opening for business, she installed a rubber floor, painted, created a small waiting area, and decked out the windows with creative graphics. She also sectioned off a small retail area that offers tools and resources like leashes, harnesses, fitness products, and books.
Good Dog! Training will be holding a grand opening event in the near future. Old, new and interested customers are invited to attend and see what Smith says is the only facility in Greater Lansing set up exclusively for companion and pet dog training.
Source: Janet Smith, Owner, Good Dog! Training
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Triple Goddess Bookstore acquires East Side vibe with shared space

While the original plan for Dawne Botke's business was inspired by a psychic fair, no one could have predicted the longevity of Lansing's oldest new age bookstore.
In 1993, Botke opened Triple Goddess Bookstore with her mother and best friend. The bookstore operated from a repurposed farmhouse on Hamilton Road for two decades, fostering a symbiotic relationship with area businesses and restaurants. After her mother and best friend passed away, and when a redevelopment plan prompted her move, Botke relocated to build another trilogy on Lansing's East Side.
"We were lucky to be there for 20 years, but we're lucky now, too," says Botke. "I can walk to work now since I live in the neighborhood."
In early 2014, Triple Goddess began sharing storefront space with Everybody Reads and Creating Heroes Stephen's Way at 2019 E. Michigan Ave. Her 800-square-foot space is also easily accessible through an interior doorway to The Avenue—a popular music and gathering spot.
Triple Goddess carries an array of books and tools for growth and transformation, including music, herbs, candles, incense, statuary, smudge, crystals and jewelry. Customers can also find new and used books, journals and tarot cards; attend classes on new age topics; and have tarot card or astrology readings.
"I'm also doing a lot more collectibles now," says Botke. "That's one way that I'm fighting the Kindle revolution. They can't download me or collectibles."
New items include unique tarot cards and decks, and handcrafted gifts by local artists. Some of the artists, Botke says, are people she knew from her Okemos days, including an artist from the Nokomis Learning Center who makes 3-D dream catchers.
"One of the things I love about being here is that we're all banding together so it's one-stop shopping," says Botke. "And this block has a little bit of everything. You can get a haircut, have lunch or coffee, and come to us for a tarot reading. It's very friendly and awesome."
Source: Dawne Botke, Owner, Triple Goddess Bookstore
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News

Vine & Brew expands storefront, adds to inventory of specialty food and drink

A specialty food and drink store in Okemos just got bigger thanks to the steady growth of clientele.
In early November, store owner and manager Curt Kosal doubled the footprint of Vine & Brew to 2,000 square feet. That extra footage, he says, will allow him to accommodate a wider selection of food, craft beer and wine, as well as to host occasional events.
"We saw the demand was there and wanted to offer our customers a bigger selection," says Kosal. "And now that we're in place, we'll be looking at new and collaborative events with area restaurants and other places."
Kosal opened Vine & Brew in early 2012 after amassing close to 20 years of experience working in the beverage industry. He and his wife, Leslie, took the leap and open the store, keeping the focus on small, boutique brands and Michigan products.
Vine & Brew only carries craft beers and boasts an extensive selection of Belgian brews. Customers can mix and match beers and create their own six-pack, as well as choose and create mixed cases from more than 1,000 wines. Specialty food items include Michigan chocolates, snack foods, and hand-made biscotti.
"Our focus is specialty items and smaller, boutique brands," says Kosal. "We work hard to go out and find those thing, often going directly to the distributor or manufacturer."
Kosal says he is always on the lookout for new products, and that the new space allows him room to grow and add inventory. Vine & Brew is located at 2311 Jolly Road, and has two staff in addition to the Kosals.
Source: Curt Kosal, Store Owner and Manager, Vine & Brew
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Lansing residents keep on truckin' with new REO Town diner

In keeping with their play-on-words, long-time friends Nick Sinicropi and Zach Corbin will "keep on truckin'" as they start serving up breakfast and lunch through a brick and mortar version of a popular food truck.
Good Truckin' Diner opened in early November, bringing artisan style diner fare to 1107 S. Washington Ave. in REO Town. The diner follows the success of Sinicropi's Good Truckin' Food truck that has wheeled out lunchtime fare since early summer.
And another word favored by Sinicropi?
"Potential," he says. "That's my one-word answer for why we came to REO Town."
Sinicropi says the sit-down diner wasn't in his plans for this year, but after being invited to tour the real estate, he was in.  He noticed right away the positive vibe on S. Washington, and decided that REO Town wasn't the same neighborhood he remembered from coming-of-age on Lansing's Southside.
"I was really surprised when I came down here," says Sinicropi. "We want to get in on the ground floor and help build this area back up rather than coming in afterward."
Sinicropi knew the timing was right and joined forces with Corbin to get the restaurant moving. Leveraging his inclination for carpentry, Corbin gave the 800-square foot space an old-fashioned, industrial feel by using galvanized steel, a repurposed picket fence, old hubcaps, license plates and an Oldsmobile grill. He also framed two vintage state and city maps to enhance the hometown, automotive flair.
"Zach is really the mind behind the inside," says Sinicropi. "We wanted to keep the truck theme and he had some great ideas."
With décor in place, the diner began serving made-from-scratch meals for breakfast and lunch. Some creations are original, others are twists on traditional favorites. Plates run an average of $7.99 with popular fare including eggs and omelets, craft burgers, sandwiches, burritos and soups.
"Nick came up with a great menu," says Corbin. "He likes to get crazy, so you'll find things like a blacken burger with jalapeno cream cheese and habanero relish. We also have a Bourbon Street French toast with caramelized bananas."
Good Truckin' Diner seats 28, created five new restaurant jobs, and is open for breakfast and lunch every day but Monday.
Source: Nick Sinicropi and Zach Corbin, Co-owners, Good Truckin' Diner
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Seasoned business owner opens Cork and Bottle in Charlotte, creates 11 jobs

As the owner of three party stores, Sam Shango instantly recognized the need for a specialty adult beverage shop in downtown Charlotte.
After a few months of searching, Shango found the right space at the right time. With a little ingenuity, a little marketing, and a lot of applied knowledge, Shango opened the doors to Cork and Bottle in early October and brought an outlet for craft beer, wine and liquor to the town 30 minutes southwest of Lansing.
"It's not your average party store," says Shango. "We have 5,200 square feet of micro brews, wines from local regions, and craft liquors. Anything made in Michigan, you'll find here."
For Shango, it's all about location, location, location as well as selection, selection, selection. The vacated grocery store a few blocks west of Charlotte's business district provided ample visibility, while the space itself was easily adaptable to products displayed in warehouse style.
"When it comes to stores like this it's not so much about the physical store, it's what inside," says Shango. "We're a specialty place, and we're all about the product."
Originally from Detroit, Shango settled in Greater Lansing after attending college in the area. He's both a wine sommelier and a beer cicerone, and trains his staff in the finer points of adult beverages.
"If you come in here and you're looking for a particular type of wine, we'll find you a bottle that will suit you taste," he says. "We'll do that with beer and liquor, too, and we'll win you in quality and price."
Shango loves the regional trends he's seeing in beer, wine and liquors, particularly when it gives him the opportunity to meet the people who make the product.
"We actually 'sell' the people along with the beverage," remarks Shango. "It's a good feeling to be able to tell customers about the people who make the beer, wine or liquor, and to help them succeed, too."
Cork and Bottle also carries basic pantry staples and convenience foods. The store created 11 jobs and became Shango's fourth operation behind similar stores like the Rainbow Party Store in DeWitt, St. Johns and Detroit. He's currently looking to expand his concept across mid-Michigan.

?Source: Sam Shango, Owner, Cork and Bottle
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Mason Computer Repair sets up family business near downtown

You could call it a "son and pop shop." Or a "son and pop and sister" shop.
Located in a 900-square-foot free-standing building just outside the city square, Mason Computer Repair offers personalized service on sophisticated electronics while keeping it all in the family.
Matt LaClear opened the repair shop in mid-October with his sister Danielle Peffers and his son Jordan Strayer. The three also run a marketing business out of the building, zeroing in on the advertising, marketing and social media needs of small businesses.
"Working from home just wasn't conducive anymore," says LaClear who moved his business operations into the previous Tiki Jim's Hawaiian Food Hut at 100 State Street. "I needed the 'lair' to get away from my kids."
LaClear says Strayer, his eldest of seven children, has always been into computer repair, and monitored what his dad could "throw away" when computers went awry or upgrades were pending.
"He was always piecing them back together," says LaClear who been a business owner for 25 years. "He's been at it a long time."
Mason Computer Repair had served more than 75 customers in its first few weeks of business. The business specializes in residential and commercial repair of computers, as well as small electronics like cell phones and video game consoles. Repairs are typically done on-site, with some house calls on request.
Many computer problems, LaClear says, relate to software viruses, or to simple, fixable things like a broken hinge or screen on a laptop. He says sometimes all it takes is a simple repair that run no more than $75 to get a computer back up to speed.
"I used to be like everyone else and wanted to upgrade," says LaClear. "But with seven kids and needing to be economically-minded, I realized that you can have a five-year-old computer and it can do most everything you need it to if you maintain it properly."
Source: Matt LaClear, Owner, Mason Computer Repair
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Medical entrepreneur sets sights on Greater Lansing

In a region that often laments the "brain drain" of local talent, one entrepreneur is bucking the trend by setting her sights on the local eye care industry.
In mid-July, Dr. Jamie Norton purchased an existing eye care business and positioned a newly rebranded practice to grow and provide vision care for the local community.

Located at 4660 S. Hagadorn Road in the East Lansing Eyde Building, Norton Eye Care occupies about 3,000 square feet, employs four staff, and serves about 3,000 patients.
"This is exactly where I need to be to take care of people and start my practice," says Norton. "I want to be accessible and available to patients with hours that are convenient for them."
Norton graduated from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University and has been a practicing optometrist in Greater Lansing for more than six years. During that time, the Alpena native became increasingly attached to her patients as well where she lived and worked.
"My husband and I considered moving to a different area to open up a practice, but I'm very comfortable and happy here," says Norton. "It's hard to think of not being here to take care of my patients."
Norton sees patients of all ages beginning with children as young as 6 months old. Her certified optical team has more than 60 years of combined experience, and provides assistance with eye care and eye wear needs.
Norton's office suite is on the first floor of a six-story building populated with medical and like-minded service professionals. That, she says, adds to the convenience factor, with many of her patients stopping in after other appointments with questions on eye wear or eye care. The practice boasts one of the largest eye wear dispensaries in the area with more than 500 selections, including brands such as Gucci, Ogi and Vera Wang.
"It's a very modern in here," says Norton. "We have lots of windows and open spaces for people to move around." 
Source: Dr. Jamie Norton, Owner, Norton Eye Care
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Penn Station East Coast Subs debuts in Delta Township

They tried one store. Then opened a second. Now the Lansing-area family will launch a third venture in Lansing, building on the name recognition and quality reputation of a quick-casual restaurant.
In November, a husband, wife and two brothers opened a new Penn Station East Coast Subs at 5417 W. Saginaw, Suite B. The store is among the eight that Mark, Cheryl, Jeff and Chris Kellogg aspire to own in Lansing and Southeast Michigan, and follows Frandor and Okemos locations opened within the last two years.
"While there are a lot of sub concepts out there, we hear day after day about the quality of the sandwiches," says Mark Kellogg. "That reinforces our thought that Penn Station is one of the better products out there."
Kellogg says he and his spouse, Cheryl, were looking for business opportunities and stumbled upon Penn Station after visiting a friend who owned a franchise in their hometown of Coldwater. They were so impressed with the quality of the hot and cold subs, the made-to-order fries, the hand-squeezed lemonade, and fresh-baked chocolate chunk cookies that they decided to bring the concept to Lansing.
"Penn Station knows what they're good at and don't try to deviate from that," says Kellogg. "They've been around for about 25 years and their track record is very strong."
Penn Station was originally founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, has more than 235 restaurants in 13 states. Michigan is a targeted expansion state, and the Kelloggs brought the first franchise to Lansing. The 1,800-square foot restaurant near the Lansing Mall seats 45 people and created 20 part- and full-time jobs, similar to the other two Greater Lansing locations.
"We were excited about being able to bring Penn Station here," says Kellogg. "Cheryl and I have been in Lansing since 1985 and we're appreciative of the Lansing community and how they contribute to our success."
Source: Mark Kellogg, Co-owner, Penn Station East Coast Subs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

The Executive Influence helps small companies work through big challenges

Jeff Chaffin believes that even the best athlete needs coaching to continue to improve. And he applies that analogy to the world of business.
Working from a small office suite in downtown Lansing, Chaffin helps successful business leaders work through big challenges that may be standing in the way of peak performance. It's a calling he's been attracted to throughout his business career. So in early 2014, Chaffin opened the doors to The Executive Influence Coaching and Consulting at 120 N. Washington Square and applied his experience as a certified professional business coach.
"There are certain things that can happen as a company grows, including reaching a point where they encounter roadblocks or get stuck," says Chaffin. "We work with owners who tell us the life they are leading today isn't what they envisioned when they were getting off the ground."
Chaffin says small businesses face issues similar to those of large firms. Sales growth, marketing, recruitment and retention, and succession planning are just a few. And while large companies have access to more resources to address challenges, smaller companies don't have as many to draw on.
That, says Chaffin, is where executive coaches come in.
"We can help smaller businesses get to where they want to be," says Chaffin. "We follow their goals and their priorities. I don't come in telling them what they should do. We work with their vision. And we get results."
Chaffin enjoys consulting with small businesses, as well as with owners and employees. He welcomes the challenge of helping organizations find solutions, fix situations, and stay on the pathway to growth. He meets regularly with about 10 companies on a wide variety of issues. Those companies range in size from five to 600, with revenues from three-quarter of a million up to $50 million.
Chaffin works with two part-time assistants in the 600-square-foot office that includes access to three shared conference rooms. And his goals as a business owner?
"We want to make Lansing our center of operations," he says. "We can grow east, west and south, but I want this to be the hub. I love this area. It's ideal."
Source: Jeff Chaffin, Principal, The Executive Influence Coaching and Consulting
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Experienced technician opens A Perfect Ten Nails and Spa in Okemos, creates four jobs

While the décor is minimal, the newest nail salon and spa in Okemos has rapidly gained a reputation for services that exceed expectations.
Linh Phan opened A Perfect Ten Nails and Spa in mid-summer after months of remodeling the space at 2160 W. Grand River to exacting specifications. With cool white walls, golden accent lights, a line of comfortable chocolate chairs, and a panel of sheer aqua room dividers, A Perfect Ten provides a relaxing setting for top-of-the-line manicures and pedicures.
"Everything is personal and nothing is shared with another customer," says Linh Phan, manager/partner-owner. "Everything is personalized and nothing is shared with another customer. It's a very clean and relaxing place."
As a professional nail technician, Phan decided to start her own business as her daughter grew up and went on to attend medical school. Originally from Vietnam, Phan came to the United States in 1993, attended beauty college in Georgia, and moved to the Okemos-East Lansing area in 2002.
Phan says she loves being close to Michigan State University. That sense of comfort is reflected in the environment she's created for her customers—one that's relaxing, attentive and based on customer service.
A Perfect Ten carries up to 400 colors of OPI nail polish. Manicures take 30 to 45 minutes depending on whether customers go for the "no-chip" polish. Pedicures take up to 45 minutes, with customers having the option to add a hot rock massage.
"We do our personal best," says Phan. "I've been in the field a long time and love being here."
 Phan hired four technicians when she opened the 2,000-square foot space. She hopes to hire more as her customer base grows.
Source: Linh Phan, Manager/Partner-Owner, A Perfect Ten Nails and Spa
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Kick It Out Dance Studio relocates to bigger space, continues to add staff

Denise Krumm knew her dance business had kicked into high gear when her customers lined the hallways, waiting for the next class.
"I looked at my husband and said, 'we're packed in here like sardines,'" she says. "I knew we needed to expand."
In October, Krumm unveiled the new, expanded location for Kick It Out Dance Studio at 1760 E. Grand River Ave., in East Lansing. Just a mile or so from her original studio on Haslett Road, the new space more than doubles the studio's square footage from 1,000 to 2,200, and enables Krumm to continue offering dance and fitness programs to students of all ages and abilities.
Krumm launched Kick It Out Dance in July 2012. Starting her own studio was a natural progression in her life-long pursuit of dance and allowed her to coach, teach and educate others in the art of dance.
Kick It Out started with 14 students. In the second year Krumm counted  35. In 2014, 63 students came to Krumm's studio for courses in jazz, hip hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary and ballet, as well as fitness courses and workouts in Zumba, Zumba Toning, pound fit, and PiYo. Courses are tailored for students ages 2 through adult, and can follow both recreational and competitive pathways.
"Everybody has something to offer and to bring to the program," says Krumm. "That's part of our philosophy. I came from a very family-oriented studio and try to carry that through with my own business."
Krumm painted her new studio in her signature colors of dark purple and neon green. The bright, airy space includes two studio rooms with custom-built sprung dance sub floors, additional studios with Harlequin Cascade Marley floors, a spacious lobby, and rooms for students to do homework and store their personal items. Visitors and waiting parents can enjoy music, television and WiFi in the lobby.
"People just love the new studio," says Krumm. "It's a nice feeling to hear people say 'wow, this is nice.'"
The studio has added six employees since opening two years ago. The current staff of 13 includes six dance instructors, two assistant dance instructors and five fitness instructors.
Source: Denise Krumm, Owner and Director, Kick It Out Dance Studio
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

The Party Shoppe helps revelers party-on with boutique supplies and rentals

Although November harkens the start of winter festivities, one new retailer in Williamston believes that parties aren't bound by the season.
Melissa Cogswell opened The Party Shoppe in mid-October as a way to expand the 10-year-old home-based business she co-owns with Amy Cogswell. She says the brick-and-mortar store at 151 E. Grand River offers a unique selection of party supplies for themed and all occasions, including plates, cups, napkins, table ware, latex and foil balloons, balloon bouquets, gift bags, tissue paper, bulk and nostalgic candy, a variety of cold drinks and gourmet sodas, and fresh popped popcorn. Party planners can also rent bounce houses and machines that make popcorn, cotton candy and sno-cones, and hire face-painters and balloon twisters through the 600-square foot, boutique-style shop.
"We're here to help people have fun," says Cogswell. "At the end of the day, that's all that matters."
Cogswell says she and Amy got into the party business as an offshoot of their graphic design careers. The two soon built a loyal clientele as face painters and balloon twisters at parties and school events. When clients began clamoring for bounce houses and carnival-style food machines, Cogswell added rentals to the mix and found herself in full-time party mode.
The Party Shoppe, Cogswell says, services gatherings that range in size from 10 to the 100s. Equipment rentals come with free delivery and set-up, as well as on-the-spot instruction for how to make the best popcorn, cotton candy and sno-cones.
"We joke that we're in more birthday and party photographs than anyone else," says Cogswell. "It's a wonderful business to be in."
Source: Melissa Cogswell, Co-owner, The Party Shoppe
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Father-daughter tattoo artists open Ink & Needle in East Lansing

Chelsea Brown can't remember a time that someone in her family wasn't doing some type of art. So for her, it was a natural progression to follow her dad into the tattoo business by co-owning and managing a new shop in East Lansing.
Brown and her father, Bill, opened Ink & Needle in August. The Brown family also owns two other tattoo shops in Greater Lansing, including Southside Tattoo and Noble Ink.
"Everyone in my whole family is into art," says Brown. "My dad has always drawn as a hobby, and one day, he just decided to go for it and turn it into a career."
Ink & Needle offers residents and visitors to East Lansing a cozy and relaxing environment for getting a tattoo or piercing. The 1,200-square-foot space at the corner of Abbot and Albert has booths and chairs to accommodate up to four tattoo clients, plus a private piercing room.
The shop employs four tattoo artists and a full-time piercer. Brown herself is learning the trade by apprenticing with her father. She hopes to be ready to apply her skills by next April.
"It's nerve wracking and exciting at the same time," says Brown of learning from her dad. "He does amazing work. It's a nice bonding experience, and it's cool he can pass on his knowledge to me."
Brown says that her dad is considered among the best in the area for cover-ups. The other artists at the shop specialize in custom designs. Customers can view employee portfolios and choose the artist they want to do the work. Tattoos can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as eight hours. Some clients, depending on the design, may return for multiple sessions. Free touch-ups are also provided on all Ink & Needle work.
"We always like to make sure that the customer leaves with a great experience, not just a great tattoo," says Brown. "We make it about the client and not the shop. I really love art and giving people artwork that they can cherish forever."
Source: Chelsea Brown, Co-owner and Manager, Ink & Needle
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Black Iron Training becomes one of two specialized strength gyms in Michigan

Chris Kurisko has strong beliefs about strength.
He believes so strongly that he brought a revolutionary fitness program to his Lansing gym and became one of about 90 specialized and credentialed strength trainers in the United States.
In mid-October, Kurisko hung a banner on Black Iron Training proclaiming the facility's status as a "Starting Strength Gym." It's a designation, he says, that is claimed by only one other gym in Michigan.
"Starting Strength is a very unique and detailed approach to strength training that focuses on proper form and technique and how to effectively do each exercise," says Kurisko. "It's very well regarded and a growing movement in the fitness industry."
The Starting Strength training system is designed to safely and efficiently improve strength through barbell exercise. Developed by competitive power lifter and Olympic weight lifting coach Mark Rippetoe, the system leverages basic movements that work the entire body and gradually increases weight loads to make the whole body stronger.
Kurisko launched Black Iron Training in 2011 with the number one goal of helping individuals build strength—a focus he says aligns perfectly with the Starting Strength philosophy. After building a base of about 100 clients, he moved from his original 600-square-foot facility in April 2013 to 3233 Saginaw Highway, doubling the gym's size to about to 1,200 square feet.
"I think that people genuinely want to feel better, feel healthier, and want to take care of themselves," says Kurisko. "It's an underlying urge that we all have to be able to take care of ourselves the best we can."
Kurisko plans to add one or two private classes for beginners, and is also looking to bring on one or two staff as interest grows. Clients train using weights, barbells, platforms and racks, and range in age from 12 to 80. All instruction is private, by appointment, and done under the guidance of a professional coach.
"I'm working hard to get the message across the strength is for everyone and the foundation for all fitness," says Kurisko. "We're going to teach people how to do things correctly and how to follow a plan so they can progress toward their goals."
Source: Chris Kurisko, Owner, Black Iron Training
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

The Big Salad brings first mid-Michigan franchise to Alive in Charlotte

Chances are you can have it your way or at least one of 17 million ways at a food franchise new to Mid-Michigan.
Nourish by The Big Salad opened in early October, offering made-to-order salads, soups, sandwiches, smoothies and specialty drinks. Located inside Alive, a health park run by Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, the Charlotte location is the sixth restaurant in the Royal Oak-based chain. It's also the first in The Big Salad franchise that's located in a smaller market outside of Southeast Michigan.
The possibility of 17 million choices, CEO and founder John Bornoty says, comes from a make line of fresh ingredients that includes three different types of lettuce, 32 toppings, five meats and 29 dressings.
"Our generation not only wants healthy eating, they want food the way they want it," says Bornoty. "We are accustomed to choices and everyone wants things customized."
CEO Patrick Sustrich of Alive agreed, and says that Nourish by The Big Salad is a great model that meshes perfectly with the Charlotte health park. Alive had been looking for an outside restaurant to house inside the facility for several years. So when Sustrich heard about The Big Salad and their mission of promoting health and wellness, he invited Bornoty to partner with Alive and its existing cafe.
"Food service is a critical piece to helping people be and stay healthy," says Sustrich. "And it's something that can attract people to our building and keep them here for events, conferences and functions. Now with the new restaurant, we have people coming here just for lunch."
Although other Big Salads serve areas with populations of 100,000-plus, the small-town location in Charlotte represents an additional growth strategy for the chain.
"We love the model of what we're doing with Alive," says Bornoty. "We want to expand on the micro-franchise concept and take it to airports and hospitals. There's lots of opportunity in Michigan, and we're a Michigan-based company."
Nourish by The Big Salad employs 10 people and can seat up to 40 diners in the 700-square foot space. Take out is also available, with options to order online or through kiosks throughout Alive.
"You're not limited to sitting in Nourish by The Big Salad," says Sustrich. "We have people who find spots to sit and eat along our walking path, in our beautiful gardens, and other areas in our 65,000-square foot facility."
Source: John Bornoty, Founder and CEO, The Big Salad; Patrick Sustrich, Executive Director, Alive
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Battery Giant energizes Midtown, sparks creation of four job

Bob Cavin feels empowered.
As part of re-energizing his career, he and his spouse Fonda Turner-Cavin opened the doors to Battery Giant in early October—the first franchise outlet in Greater Lansing for the Michigan-based provider of energy products. What's more, the franchise is among the first tenants in MidTown—the Gillespie Group's new mixed-used development at 1306 Michigan Ave. in East Lansing.
"We want to become a household name," says Cavin. "And be a place where people and companies can shop for batteries right here in their own community."
Battery Giant packs more than 4,000 battery products into a single store, and is stocked through the Madison Heights-based parent company. What Cavin doesn't have on his shelves, he can access from the vast inventory of more than 14,000 types of batteries and battery systems available through Battery Giant fulfillment centers nationwide.
The store provides everything from everyday batteries to the most innovative, cost-effective solutions on the market, and serves individuals, companies and businesses.
"Our main market are specialized products you can't find at WalMart or other stores," says Cavin. "We tell our customers, save yourself an hour looking around at other stores. Just come to us. We'll have it."
Common products include batteries for cars, marine craft, RVs, snowmobiles, lawn equipment and motorcycles, as well as batteries for watches, remotes, electronic gadgets, cell phones, computers, cameras and toys. Customers can also find battery back-up systems for home or commercial use. All told, Battery Giant stocks replacement batteries, OEM battery products and battery systems for more than 100,000 devices and applications, with the majority of products made in the U.S.
Corporate downsizing led Cavin to explore owning and operating his own franchise. The consulting group FranNet introduced the experienced corporate executive to leadership at Battery Giant. In less than a year, Cavin was laying out plans to open his first store.
Cavin's 1,600-square foot shop includes spaces for retail, battery recycling and a training and tech center. The new store created four jobs, and Cavin hopes to bring more on board in other locations as the franchise expands across Greater Lansing.
"We're big on being part of the community," says Cavin. "We plan to sponsor sports teams, support community initiatives and be active members of various Chambers. We care about the community. That's our motto."
Source: Bob Cavin, Managing Partner, Battery Giant
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Bella Soaps and Lotions vends handmade products through Lansing City Market

Janet Riffel Ozanich is the 'J' part of L and J Sales. Her husband Larry is the 'L' part. Together, they offer a selection of quality handmade soaps and other good smelling stuff at their small stand in the Lansing City Market.
Bella Soaps and Lotions of L and J Sales is owned and operated by a husband-wife team who makes and sells quality health and beauty products in Greater Lansing. The two cut the ribbon on the retail space in late August and have already built a local following for the soaps, lotions, shampoos, conditioners and essential oils offered through their 11-foot by 11-foot space.
"Even though the space is small, we carry a lot," says Ozanich. "And if I don't have something in stock that you want, chances are I can make it and have it to you by the next day."
Ozanich makes the majority of her products at home. Her products, she says, contain natural ingredients that consist of mixtures of glycerin, palm oils and coconut oils. Her soaps include goats milk, coconut milk, honey, olive and aloe, buttermilk, oatmeal, hemp and a special bar beloved by mechanics that "gets the grease off."
"Instead of getting a commercial degreaser, they get this," says Ozanich. "They say it gets the job done."
Ozanich also blends a line of lotions scented for the season. For the fall, she's offering autumn harvest, apple and acorn, purely perfect pumpkin, hotbaked apple pie and cinnamon. She also carries a year-long line of mint-scented lotions including peppermint, lavender, patchouli, lavender and spearmint.
"I have a list of scents that keeps growing and growing," says Ozanich.
Customers will also find crystal bracelets, soy candles, essential oils from Young Living, a selection of J.R. Watkins products and SNAFU greeting cards. Gift buyers will enjoy the convenience of her "grab and go" or customized baskets for special occasions.
"I'm as good as any commercial soap and lotion store," says Ozanich. "And we try to give people a good price because we're all trying to stretch our dollars right now."
Source: Janet Riffel Ozanich, Owner, L&J Sales/Bella Soaps and Lotions
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Daily Bagel expands to Boji Tower, adds three jobs

Lansing's full-line deli just expanded.
In the late summer, Michael Mahdi opened what he called a "mini Daily Bagel" on the first floor of the Boji Tower in the downtown district. The 600-square foot restaurant will compliment Mahdi's main operation just down the street by offering breakfast and lunch options to occupants and passersby of Lansing's landmark high-rise.
"The people are nice and friendly and glad we're there," says Mahdi of his newest customers. "It's a convenience for them, especially in the winter time. It will be good to have food in the building."
Building residents encouraged Mahdi to move into Boji's vacant café and set up a smaller version of his New York style deli. Mahdi installed a couple new grills, walk-in coolers, a full line of kitchen equipment and coffee machines, and brought a fresh, upscale look to the space. And while the restaurant can seat up to 10 people, most customers choose to order and go.
The small deli will carry up to 15 different sandwiches made with a variety of meats, cheeses, and freshly baked bagels or breads. Breakfast sandwiches come on bagels or croissants and feature combinations of eggs, meats, cheeses or cream cheese. Customers can also opt for breakfast pastries, soups and salads.
The Boji version of the Daily Bagel will employ three people for starters, but may add two or three more as winter sets in.
"I just want to keep my customers happy and provide good quality food at reasonable prices," says Mahdi. "It's something that keeps me busy, and you always try to invent something and be creative."
Mahdi has owned and operated the Daily Bagel at 309 S. Washington Square since 2005. The restaurant, he says, has been a popular eatery in downtown Lansing since 1987.
Source: Michael Mahdi, Owner, Daily Bagel
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Tabooli serves up fast and fresh Mediterranean, hires 15 people

Fathy Shetiah wants to take Mediterranean cuisine mainstream.
Borrowing from the make-your-own model popularized by sandwich shops, Shetiah and his brother Mohammed launched Tabooli and brought on-the-go Mediterranean to Lansing's East Side.
"We know the food is really good, fresh and healthy, but others might not," says Shetiah, "Our goal is to take the intimidation away and encourage people to try something new."
Tabooli starts with an intentionally simple menu built around Mediterranean staples like beef or chicken shawarma, falafel, eggplant and kofta. Customers decide whether they want a "bowl" or a "wrap" then select from toppings like hummus, pickled turnips or tabooli. Salads, paninis, desserts and beverages round out the menu, with meals ranging in price from about $6 to $8.
Shetiah opened Tabooli with his brother Mohammed. It's the first for Shetiah, while his brother has owned franchises in Greater Lansing for about 15 years. Menu items, he says, draw on the influences of Lebanese, Greek and Italian cuisine, and were carefully developed from recipes created and tested by friends, family and community members.
"There's even a touch of Egypt," says Shetiah, alluding to his Egyptian heritage. "We've added or subtracted to our recipes to make them our own."
Tabooli opened in early September after a summer of rehabbing the vacant Kentucky Fried Chicken building at 1620 E. Michigan Avenue. The 2,400-square foot restaurant seats up to 35 people in a space decked out with a contemporary color scheme of orange, white and green. Customers can opt for pick-up or catering, and a  drive-through is slated to open in November.
"It's been an incredible amount of hard work," says Shetiah.  "But when someone likes what you do, there's immediate satisfaction. That's especially true when parents bring their kids in here and say their kids love the food. Kids can be picky, so that says a lot."
Tabooli employs 15 people, with plans in the works to open more locations in East Lansing, Greater Lansing and beyond.
"Our goal is to grow it," says Shetiah. "We want to make our restaurant stand out and to be able to say that it started right here in Lansing."
Source: Fathy Shetiah, Co-owner, Tabooli Mediterranean
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

On the Rocks Wine and Spirits opens in Carriage Hills, creates three jobs

Rocky Singh was at a neighborhood gathering not too long ago in the northeastern edge of East Lansing. When the host asked if he could run out and get a few things, he said yes, not realizing how long it would take.
"We couldn't believe we had to drive five miles or more just to get some simple things," says Singh. "That's when I realized the need for a small store on that side of town."
Singh looked around at property in the Carriage Hills neighborhood and spotted a vacant storefront facing Lake Lansing Road. Within days, he put in a call to the leasing agent DTN Management and talked about his concept for a high-end party store that also carried basic convenience items.
By September 1, Singh was ready to open the doors to On the Rocks Wine and Spirits at  3050 E. Lake Lansing Road. He had worked for several months to redo the space, putting in sleek shelving, dramatic energy efficient lighting, and a walk-in cooler faced with stone. Finishing touches of his unique décor included rusted metal accents from an old barn and a color scheme reminiscent of autumn.
While ritzy in style, On the Rocks is equally everyday in appeal. Singh carries up to 400 types of craft beers and more than 500 wines. He places a special emphasis on carrying Michigan products, but says he can order any specialty beer, wine or spirits someone is looking for. Customers can also sample craft beers, wines and spirits through scheduled in-store tastings.
"I see this as a great opportunity to bring a decent, high-end selection of wine and craft beer to this side of town," says Singh. "It's a great neighborhood, and there's a growing market for wine and spirits."
Customers to On the Rocks can run in for staples like bread, biscuits, cheese, bacon, lunchmeat, hotdogs, milk and cream cheese. Common over-the-counter medicines, dog and cat food, and a small line of fresh produce are also in the mix. Three employees work the floor of the 3,500-square foot store, but Singh may add more as business grows.
"The neighborhood has been very welcoming," he says. "It's really heartwarming. One couple even brought us a bouquet of flowers."
Source: Rocky Singh, Owner, On the Rocks Wine and Spirits
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Meridian Township goes to the dogs with new day care for canines

The ground is breaking. And soon, cement will be poured, walls will go up, and a new space will be created for the furry, four-legged friend in your life.
Beginning in late October, Kincaid Henry Building Group will start construction of a second, brand-new location for Doggy Daycare and Spa on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Cornell Road in Meridian Township. The 7,000-square foot Okemos facility will join the original location on Lansing's West side in offering beloved canines cageless daycare, overnight boarding and grooming services—all while their owners are at work or out-of-town.
"We're here to provide an environment where dogs can socialize, play and enjoy spending time with other dogs," says Owner Janice Milligan. "For dogs who like other dogs, they really benefit."
Milligan and her father and business partner Dean Milligan are investing more than $1.1 million to build the state-of-the-art facility. The new daycare and spa will closely resemble the current location at 5325 W. Mt. Hope Highway in Delta Township and will feature a 4,000-square foot gym where dogs can romp, play and interact. The new facility will also feature 20 4-foot by 6-foot overnight spaces and a large outdoor fenced area for play and potty.
Milligan says that the concept of daycare for dogs works today when it might not have 30 years ago.
"When I was growing up in the 80s, if someone said we should take a dog to daycare, my dad would've said they were nuts," she laughs.
Doggy Daycare, Milligan says, acknowledges that people are busy, and that dogs are regarded as more than simply dogs.
"Dogs are family members," says Milligan. "People aren't satisfied to have their dog sit in a kennel all day. Bringing them to daycare gives the dog a chance to play and makes the dog's world a little bigger."
Doggy Day Care and Spa was originally founded in Okemos in 2000 and relocated to Delta 11 years ago. Like the Delta facility, the new Okemos location will accommodate 60 dogs a day and employ 15 people.
Source: Janice Milligan, Owner, Doggy Day Care and Spa
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Clients address root causes of health concerns through new Williamston facility

People seeking solutions for a health concern may find relief outside the traditional doctor visit through a newly established business in Williamston.
Authentic Alternative Health Choice offers a variety of approaches that can help a person achieve external and internal balance. Located at 1232 E. Grand River just west of downtown Williamston, the small facility provides ample space for the practice of health disciplines that involve massage, hot stones, reiki, lymphatic drainage, hypnotherapy and EFT, naturopathic medicine and natural health services, holistic health, life counseling and more.
"Many people are not finding the results they want through some of the more traditional medicines," says Owner Nicole Giguere. "People might be taking things to get rid of pain and having a hard time achieving that. They look to us to find the root cause—be it muscular, skeletal or other."
Giguere is among four specialists offering a unique blend of services. Her specialty, she says, is massage therapy. Another specialist focuses on naturopathy. A third specialist practices hypnotherapy. And to round out the mix, a life coach can help clients navigate change or challenging circumstances.
"With some clients, we refer each other's services," says Giguere. "There are correlations among all of us."
Giguere moved into the 817-square-foot-space in the spring of 2014 and worked with her dad—a custom homebuilder—to do all of the interior renovations. Each practitioner, she says, has a private space to work one-on-one with any of the 35 clients who visit the center each week. A small lobby with a vinyl hardwood floor and light yellow walls provides a welcoming space to enjoy cold water, hot tea and New Age music while browsing a small line of retail health products including natural energy drinks, anti-oxidant juices and essential oils.
"We're looking at the body holistically, or the authentic root of a person," says Giguere when how she came up with the name of her business. "And because we offer alternative choices that are health focused, the name just seemed to follow."
Source: Nicole Giguere, Owner, Authentic Alternative Health Care
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Long-time dance studio moves to new South Lansing location

Sixty-three years and three generations later, Patsy Watson is still dancing.
She just leaves the management of her dance studio to her daughter.
"My mom said that God gave her the gift to dance and teach," says Rhonda Mitchell, owner of Patsy Watson School of Dance. "And she's still doing it at the age of 83."
After six decades, the south Lansing dance studio still produces some of the area's finest dancers and provides instruction to people of all skills and abilities, ages 3 to 103. In early October, the studio underwent a major change by opening the doors on a new location just a mile or so from its original home. The 3,980-square-foot building at 3808 S. Cedar Street is about 600 square feet bigger than their old location, and features three rooms, waiting areas, and two-way mirrors so parents can watch their kids during class.
Mitchell says the new space allows the studio to continue to flourish and to offer classes like ballet, tap, modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballroom, Zumba and turbo kick. The studio also teaches cheer, acrobatics, mini-gymnastics, and provides after school care for neighborhood kids. About 180 students are enrolled.
"I'm investing in my children and grandchildren by purchasing a building for our studio," says Mitchell. "It's a family business, through and through."
Mitchell says her mother opened the Patsy Watson School of Dance in Lansing in 1951 with $500 and passion for teaching dance. Her mom, she says, was born in Lansing, but her grandfather moved the family to England when Patsy was just 5. Although her family endured the challenges of living in Europe during World War II, Patsy still received a solid dance education that she brought back to the U.S. when she turned 18.
"My mom started all this," says Mitchell. "We're just following in her footsteps."
Like her mother, Mitchell grew up dancing. Her daughter Vanessa did too. And now, Mitchell's infant grandchild, Lola, will more than likely dance as soon as she learns to walk.
"We're using the gift that God gave us," says Mitchell. "We don't charge a lot because we want children to have the chance to dance."
Source: Rhonda Mitchell, Owner, Patsy Watson School of Dance
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Aurora's Closet offers name brands at thrifty prices

Thrift stores, says Jennifer Normandin, are all about the hunt.
It's about finding that pair of designer jeans you couldn't think you could afford. Or that prom dress that's slightly vintage. Or it's about finding that single plate that completes the set you inherited from a distant relative.
As the owner of Aurora's Closet in downtown Williamston, Normandin understands the allure of coming into a store and never knowing what you're going to find. Located at 100 W. Grand River Ave., Aurora's Closet carries affordable clothing in excellent condition, along with a variety of other items. Clothing ranges from size preemie to adults XXL. Shoppers will also find shoes, purses, hats, accessories, toys, furniture, books and assorted household items.
"Some people think thrift stores are full of items that no one absolutely wants anymore," says Normandin. "That's not the case with us. Everything here is very clean. You won't find stains or rips or really worn out things. We have lots of name-brand items, and we sell things at decent prices."
Normandin and her business partner Janet Stumpf cut the ribbon on Aurora's closet on September 11 after a few months of prep work in the historic building. While she's unsure of the square footage, Normandin says the former video store has more than ample room for nearly 2,000 items on multiple clothing racks, shelves, tables and floor displays.
"When we came here, everything had a fresh coat of paint," says Normandin. "We kept the wallpaper with the 1900s country theme. We thought the imagery of general stores, horses and carts, and picket fences matched the tone of the building and the city."
Normandin says she carries a lot of modern clothing with well-known brands—many of which would go for $60 or more new. The price tag on most any clothing item in her store is $10 or less, with many styles and items rotating with the season.
"We just want people to be able to shop and not break the bank," says Normandin. "Everyone deserves nice clothes and shouldn't have to pick or choose whether they can have a nice pair of jeans or have to trade it for something else they might need."
Source: Jennifer Normandin, Owner, Aurora's Closet
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Barbs Designs transforms big events into small business

For Barbara Joseph, the party never ends.
As the owner of Barbs Designs, Joseph is in the business of providing the highest quality decorations for special events from weddings to birthday parties to baby showers.
"I love working with people and helping them celebrate," says Joseph. "It's rewarding to create something beautiful and exciting and to help people reach something they've been dreaming of."
Joseph launched Barbs Designs after her children graduated high school and she found she had extra time on her hands. She had worked for years in local government, and decided to change career paths by taking a part-time job as an events stylist.
Joseph combined what she learned on-the-job with her life-long experience organizing parties for families and friends and opened her home-based business in  DeWitt in July 2013. Just recently, she added two part-time employees. She also relies on the continual support of her husband and sewing wiz mother.
"I have a huge inventory of products," says Joseph who is also venturing into floral design. "Everything from linens to centerpieces to candelabras, and even a wooden cake stand custom-designed by my husband."
Joseph can show clients actual samples of display items and linens, and keeps an extensive sample book of different fabrics. In some cases, she can custom-design linens for clients.
"My mom is my seamstress," she says. "She's the one behind me and supporting my creative side."
Joseph averages about two events a month for half the year, and about three during the spring and summer wedding and graduation seasons. She says she has planned events for small groups all the way up to those for 350 guests.
"Even though I'm a small business, I have big ideas," says Joseph. "I never forget that each and every event is special. I want to always have that one-on-one with each customer and make them happy."
Source: Barbara Joseph, Owner, Barbs Designs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

UnoDeuce Multimedia moves to new space, adds staff

Visual storyteller Paul Schmidt just got started on a new chapter of his business.
In August, Schmidt moved operations for UnoDeuce Multimedia across the street and upstairs to a new space in REO Town. While not too much bigger than his previous place of business next to Art Alley, his new studio at 1146 S. Washington Ave. offers a configuration that includes access to a lounge area, conference room and opportunity to grow.
"We're right upstairs within the New Horizons learning center," says Schmidt. "It makes for good synergy. It's good for my staff. And most of all, there's room for us to grow. That's one of the big things."
UnoDeuce recently added a full-time video producer, or as Schmidt calls, a "chief video storyteller." Paul Henderson started in the early summer. Schmidt also works with occasional sub contractors, and is considering bringing on more full- or part-time staff depending on workflow.
Schmidt launched UnoDeuce in 2001 with the mission of providing low-cost, high-quality media solutions for non-profit, church-based and small business organizations. Within a decade, the company had earned national recognition for its video production quality, and became the creator of websites and media production tools for clients across the country.
Schmidt's local and Michigan-based customers include Lutheran Social Services, Michigan Osteopathic Association, Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, Annabelle's Pet Station, Evolve Corporate Wellness and Top Duck Products. UnoDeuce also sponsors and provides video support for the Lansing Derby Vixens.
"I came across a stat once that said a video is worth 1.8 million words," says Schmidt. "For us, it's all about crafting stories about people's passions using video as a storytelling tool. "
Source: Paul Schmidt, Owner, UnoDeuce Multimedia
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Husband-wife team roasts up wood-fired coffee on Lansing's North Side

Paul and Emily Nicholls share a love for each other and for great coffee. So when the residents of Santa Cruz, California, moved to Lansing about three years ago and got a taste of the city's entrepreneurial culture, they knew their destiny was to brew up something big.
In June, the Nicholls opened Rust Belt Roastery at 801 E. Grand River after a long search for the best means of production. They had never forgotten the fellow they had met on a trip out West, someone who made the best coffee they ever had using a simple, wood-fired roaster.
"We started looking on-line and found a wood-fired roaster up in Wisconsin," says Nicholls. "We knew we had to have it."
Paul and Emily purchased the 1930s Victoria Italian roaster and had it delivered via tractor-trailer to Lansing. After some adept maneuvering, they successfully planted the 3,500-pound cast iron roaster inside the 960-square-foot building that would eventually become their place of business.
"It's a magical device," says Nicholls. "It's big and red and chrome and was made during that time when orchards were everywhere."
The Nicholls live within walking distance of the roastery on the edge of Old Town. They've added to the hometown feel by roasting their first few months of beans with the ample supply of red oak sacrificed by one of their trees during last year's ice storm.
"We got about 60 feet of wood from that mighty branch," laughs Nicholls who also sources cherry and apple wood from a Williamston farm. "I can roast 20 pounds of beans with a piece of wood the size of a baseball bat."
Nicholls says the wood-fired roaster produces an exceptional smooth cup of coffee with a rich smoky flavor. He roasts about two to three 20-pound batches every Saturday, and sources his beans through single-source or fair trade suppliers.
"I like everything about what I do," says Nicholls. "And Lansing is a neat place with old trees, a couple rivers and a lot of nice people all working on the same team. I like that."
Rust Belt Roastery coffee is carried through the Old Town General Store, Vet's Too Gift Boutique, Detroit Frankie's Wood-Fired Pizza, and the East Lansing Farmer's Market.
Source: Paul Nicholls, Owner, Rust Belt Roastery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New Horizons opens co-working space in REO Town, relocates up to 24 jobs

Back in the "old days," computer training took place in classrooms—complete with desktops, facilitators and giant printed manuals.
As a Michigan leader in computer learning and training, New Horizons wanted to find a new facility that reflected their business model and more effectively served their clients.
Enter REO Town and a building owned by developer Alan Hooper. It was a space, says New Horizons Chief Administrative Officer Scott McLean, that provided the energetic, urban environment he envisioned. What's more, it was close to highways, downtown, and to many New Horizons clients.
So in August, New Horizon moved from East Lansing to 1146 S. Washington and became a "tenant" within their new venture: a collaborative working and learning space for IT and coding professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, traveling business people and more.
"Our business has changed so much that we wanted to look at our space and see how we can continue to add value," says McLean. "The more we talked and thought about it, the more we got hooked on the idea of creating a co-working and learning center."
Co:Space consists of 6,500 square feet of open work area for up to 80 people. Customers have access to WiFi, printers, scanners and storage lockers, and can drop in or purchase monthly memberships. New Horizons set aside an area for computer classes, as well as a conference space for events or meetings.
McLean outfitted Co:Space with industrial-style furnishings, exposed brick walls and a polished concrete floor. One wall features a huge chalk drawing by Michigan artist Greg Oberle that pays homage to REO Town.
"We want to be an investor in Lansing," says McLean. "A lot of Michigan cities are undergoing urban renewal and recreating areas like this."
New Horizons will relocate 12 staff to the new facility, with a dozen more dropping in from other sites once or twice a week.
Co:Space and New Horizons invite the community to celebrate the new facility with an open house on Wednesday, October 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. Free parking is available behind the building or on the street.

Source: Scott McLean, Chief Administrative Officer, New Horizons
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

East Lansing Threads brings resort-inspired brands to town, creates 10 jobs

Marsha Chouinard never suspected the email her stepdaughter sent from the East Lansing Art Fair would recommend a storefront as the family's next work of art.
But when Chouinard saw the picture of the vacated Kirabo's at 225 E. Grand River, she instantly knew it was the perfect place to open the Midwestern "sister store" of her Destin, Florida, boutique.
Chouinard began putting things in motion to open East Lansing Threads—a clothing boutique for men and women featuring trendy brands such as Vineyard Vines, Southern Proper, Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, Ella Moss, 7 for All Mankind and Splendid. The 1,200-square-foot store also carries accessories and apparel from Over Under as well as designer handbags, footwear and artisan jewelry. 
"Our brands aren't super expensive, but they're high quality and very well made," says Chouinard. "We try to hit, good, better and best for everything we carry."
Chouinard developed her passion for fashion from her career as a purchaser and manager of resort retail. She has opened nearly a dozen stores, including a Threads boutique in Destin.
"While our main market is college, we know that lots of moms and community members need casual weekend wear, too," says Chouinard. "In Destin, we see a variety of ages—from middle school all the way to up to men and women in their 50s."
After securing the spot in June, Chouinard enlisted a renovation team to build out the space. Changes included pulling out the drop ceiling, repainting walls with charcoal and light gray tones, installing a slate-looking floor, and adding fitting rooms, a new cash desk and alcoves.
Chouinard's husband, Marty, grew up in Greater Lansing, and encouraged her to give Michigan a try for her second Threads store.
"We're very excited to be part of the community, for sure," says Chouinard. "I'm really happy to have a reason to be up here and be near other members of my family."
Threads opened in late September with a staff of three full-time and five part-time employees.
Source: Marsha Chouinard, Owner, East Lansing Threads
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Al-Lin Floral and Gifts grows business, moves to new space

Alan Vogl learned all about flowers from his grandma, a master gardener in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Today, Vogl is a master in his own rite as he tends to a flourishing and growing business in Okemos.
Vogl owns Al-Lin Floral and Gifts with his wife Linda. The 10-year-old business recently relocated to prime frontage at 1739 W. Grand River after outgrowing their space a mile east down the road.
"We attribute out growth to a quality product at a fair price," says Vogl of the move that nearly doubled the space for his business. "Our customer service also makes us stand out."
The husband-wife team decided to open the shop in 2005 after their kids packed up and went to college. Al had worked for years in a local floral shop, and with the business skills of his wife and the "home schooling" he had received from his grandmother, he felt confident cultivating a business of his own.
Al-Lin Floral's new 5,500-square-foot store captures attention from the busy roadway and positions the shop to nurture the floral and gift needs of new and returning customers.
"All our flowers are fresh and come in daily and last five to seven days," says Vogl. "We offer seasonal specials, and we do arrangements for corporate events, weddings, special occasions, every day, and most of all, just because."
The new store, Vogl says, will carry more unique gifts including pillows, lotions, napkins, candleholders and other home décor items. The new location will also offer a special line of Michigan products made by local artisans.
"We're not your typical everyday florist," says Vogl. "We encourage customers to participate in the design of their arrangement, and we offer floral classes so you can make your own arrangement to take home."
Al-Lin Floral and Gifts also offers seasonal decorating services for homes and businesses, tailored to customer preferences. The Vogls employ two part-time staff, and plan to hire up to two more part-time designers and three sales people in the next couple months.
Source: Alan Vogl, Owner, Al-Lin Floral and Gifts
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Established baker satisfies East Lansing's sweet tooth with French cookies

The trip to find one of the world's finest cookies just got reduced from a lengthy plane ride to a quick jaunt across town.
In late August, Kelly Toland opened the doors to her East Lansing bakery that specializes in French macarons. Located at 1133 E. Grand River Ave. next to Tasty Twist, Le Bon Macaron carries up to a dozen kinds of the European meringue cookie made from sugar, egg whites, almonds, and loads and loads of butter.
"They're really light cookies," says bakery owner Kelly Toland. "They're very pretty, too, and aesthetically pleasing for parties or weddings or desserts."
Toland says a macaron consists of two crispy shells filled with a flavored butter cream center. Cookies come in a rainbow of colors and many of the flavorings used in the butter cream center come directly from France. Must-tries including salted caramel, chocolate peanut butter, jasmine, violet or poppy seed.
"It's always fun to pick out or recommend flavors for customers," says Toland. "We have boxes with a clear front that hold six or 12, so no matter how you arrange them, they always look really nice together."
The 250-square-foot Le Bon Macaron is primarily a retail space with a back area for baking. Up to 15 people can sit on an outdoor patio shared with next-door neighbor Bell's Pizza.
Toland got the idea to bring a little bit of Paris to East Lansing after a college study abroad program landed her in France. When she came back, she started and ran her first business—A Piece O' Cake—for about seven years. She recently sold the business to open Le Bon Macaron.
Toland runs the bakery with her parents, Wendy and John Kobus. Her dad, she says, creates the macarons, starting nearly every morning at 5 a.m. to make shells, blend flavors and assemble the cookies.
"We've always baked and cooked together as a family," says Toland. "And since I was interested in food photography, one thing led to another. Cakes are a good creative outlet, and macarons are similar. Plus, they're very photogenic."
Source: Kelly Toland, Owner, Le Bon Macaron
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

The Runway debuts talent, fosters fashion growth in Lansing

Even before opening the doors to their highly anticipated retail space, The Runway has been racing to put Lansing on the fast track to becoming a Midwest fashion mecca.
With a grand opening slated for Thursday, Oct. 9, The Runway welcomes the fashion-conscious and fashion-curious into a 3,000-square foot storefront filled with quality, Michigan-based apparel. Featured products laid out in flexible 10 x 10 boutique spaces include Trybe, Brightly Twisted, Lionblood and MP Fashion. Others are on the way as the showroom and the related fashion incubator capture attention.
"Retail and fashion aren't the first thing many of us think of when we think of downtown Lansing," says Jeff Henry, operator of The Runway. "This is an inspiration for others to follow suit, as well as a motivator for our fashion incubator tenants to reach for."
The showroom can accommodate up to 25 brands. In addition to general traffic, the showroom looks to attract buyers from boutiques and other fashion retailers.
"It's a great way for buyers to get a visual of what items may look like in a store," he says. "It's also a great way to show the talent that's here in Michigan and why we started The Runway in the first place."
Located on the ground floor of the renovated Knapp's Centre, the showroom features all kinds of "wears" from sportswear to swimwear to street wear. A sweeping staircase leads to a 5,500-square-foot incubator on the second floor where up to 12 designers-in-residence and associate designers explore start-up businesses.
Anchor tenants enjoy private studio and office space, as well as shared resources to produce products. Associate designers can also access resources that include pressing and cutting tables, dress forms, industrial sewing machines, and the coveted OPTITEX's 2D and 3D software. Business planning and legal services are also available.
"We're focused on retaining talent and bringing industry and jobs here," says Henry. "We want to roll off the strength of manufacturing and return the Midwest to its history of making things."
Current designers-in-residence include Lawrence Hunt, Freshwater Apparel, LE&O, Allie Su Bridal, Swim Lively, Alex & Jayde Designs, Beauhawk, Lady Aitch, Bad Latitude and North Promontory. Economic development and organization support for The Runway comes through the Lansing Economic Development Corp. and LEAP. Major sponsors include Foster Swift and Peckham.
Source: Jeff Henry, Operations Manager, The Runway
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Confectionately Yours sweetens up sidewalk commute for downtown workers

Workers and visitors traversing the busy morning sidewalks of downtown Lansing this fall will find a sweet option for breakfast and snacks on the go.
Right after Labor Day, Heather Schmidt rolled out Confectionately Yours on the corner of Capitol and Michigan Avenues and began vending baked goods and coffee to passers-by.
Schmidt stocks an assortment of seven different breakfast items including scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls and yogurt parfaits within the 3-foot by 10-foot red canopied push cart. Granolas, cookies and brownies are also part of the inventory for afternoon or late-morning snackers. Hot coffee from Paramount is also on hand for caffeine seekers.
"We'll be offering seasonal baked goods and other things here and there," says Schmidt. "We want to keep it interesting so people smile and want to come back."
Schmidt worked in bakeries in Michigan and Rhode Island for about 18 years, and launched Confectionately Yours about two years ago from a licensed kitchen within her Dansville home. As demand grew for her cakes and other confections, Schmidt considered opening up a brick and mortar shop, but opted for a mobile option when her carpentry-inclined husband offered to build her a food cart.
Downtown Lansing was a logical choice to roll-out her food cart business, Schmidt says, because of the city's ongoing support of small business and street vendors.
"There's also nice traffic from downtown workers," says Schmidt. "It's great to be part of helping to liven up the downtown."
Schmidt says she bakes everything fresh the night before and then gets help with cleanup and stocking the cart from her three kids, ages 9 through 16. The Confectionately Yours food cart is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Source: Heather Schmidt, Owner, Confectionately Yours
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Lou and Harry's responds to customer demand for downtown location

Scott Rolen listened to his mentor in the restaurant business. He also listened to his customers.
In late August, Rolen cut the ribbon on Lou and Harry's Downtown and began his long-awaited venture into owning and managing his first restaurant. It's an opportunity, he says, he owes to Harry Saites—a founder of the Lou and Harry's family of restaurants. And it's a chance to answer the call for a Lou and Harry's in Lansing's urban core.
"People have been asking us for a while to bring a Lou and Harry's to downtown," says Rolen who has worked for Saites for 10 years and will operate his restaurant under a licensing agreement. "There's a wonderful clientele down here and as long as we continue to be quick and efficient, we're sure they'll love our product."
Rolen promises not to disappoint and will offer the original Lou and Harry's menu of freshly made sandwiches, gyros, burgers and salads. To distinguish the downtown location, he is offering his own homemade soups and sandwich specials on a daily basis. Early risers can also stop in for coffee and a simple breakfast, including yogurt parfaits, and pitas with eggs, meat and cheese.
The new eatery will seat 48 people in a 1,900-square-foot space that features booths, tables and a blend of old school and modern décor. Colors are deep and earthy, with a mix of blues, oranges and reds to set off the new floors, countertops and lights.
"Harry and I are totally like family, and his mom and dad, too," says Rolen. "They've all been hugely supportive. His mama came in and blessed the store. It's great to have them around."
Lou and Harry's Downtown employs 16 people, including two cashiers and prep, line and grill cooks. Rolen hopes to branch into catering and delivery once the sit-down restaurant is up and running. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Other Lou and Harry's are located on Chandler Road in Bath Township and on East Saginaw Street in East Lansing.
Source: Scott Rolen, General Manager/Owner, Lou and Harry's Downtown
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Beer Grotto on deck in Stadium District with hybrid store and lounge

A combination tasting room and store coming to Lansing's Stadium District complex next spring will help lessen the chance for "buyer's remorse" among lovers of craft beer and wine.
With the tagline "Taste It. Love It. Tote It.," the Beer Grotto will offer craft beverage enthusiasts a destination for sampling, experiencing and purchasing up to 48 draft beers and 80 wines—with about 75 percent made in Michigan. The Beer Grotto will also offer a select line of non-alcohol beers, wines and sodas, including the iconic Michigan brand Faygo.
"The idea for the Beer Grotto came about when we were thinking of customers who pick up a flavored stout or a wine with a cool label, only to realize they have five left in a six-pack or are stuck with a cooking wine," says Sam Short, one of three owners along with Troy Ontko and Brandon Ansel. "There's no reason for that. We want people to have a chance to taste everything in our store."
Beer Grotto patrons will also be able to hang out in full-service lounge, or reserve an event space for parties, meetings or celebrations. Short says the hybridized space will include individual tasting stations where well-trained staff dubbed "beer geeks" or "cork dorks" will assist and educate customers on beer and wine samples.
Short plans to hire about 20 part-time and 20 full-time staff for the 4,100-square-foot space. Located on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Cedar Street, the Beer Grotto will seat 200 people inside and 50 people on an outdoor patio.
The Beer Grotto, Short says, addresses the booming interest in craft beers and wines, as well as the ongoing resurgence of living and working in the urban core.
"We've watched Lansing grow in a wonderful way," says Short, adding that Pat Gillespie's Stadium District and other downtown developments create a perfect setting. "That mix of residential, tourism and visitors to downtown is something you don't see very often. We're happy to become part of it."
The Beer Grotto is on deck for early 2015 and will be open seven days a week. The Lansing location is the third Beer Grotto for Short behind Dexter and Ann Arbor.
Source: Sam Short, Owner, Beer Grotto
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Sweet Lorraine's serves up classic comfort food in arty setting

Satisfying the insatiable yen for the queen of comfort foods just got possible as a Detroit-based restaurateur opens the doors in downtown East Lansing this fall.
At 547 E. Grand River just across from the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac 'n Cheez will offer 14 made-to-order varieties of the famed culinary duo. Hungry or discerning appetites can also dine on salads, grilled sandwiches stuffed with macaroni and cheese, and end with a sweet treat of fresh-baked cookies or a salted caramel rice crispy bar.
"We've tried to give people an idea of our brand through our logo," says Lorraine Platman who owns the restaurant with her husband Gary Sussman. "The artwork is like something between The Flintstones and The Jetsons—showing that macaroni and cheese has been around forever, but we can also get it out to you fast and fabulous. In other words, it's not your mama's mac and cheese."
Platman and Sussman met at Michigan State University in the mid '70s, and are ecstatic about bringing the concept to East Lansing. The new location becomes the fifth in the Sweet Lorraine family that consists of two full-service deli and café concepts and three mac-and-cheese focused eateries. Other locations are in the works outside Michigan.
As an alumna of MSU's fine art program, Platman takes an interest not just in the food, but in the décor of her enterprises. The East Lansing location, she says, will feature industrial-style chairs with flexible backs, eye-popping veneer, and a terrazzo floor. A variety of pop-art posters and sayings will adorn the different colored walls, including a reproduction of a Sweet Lorraine's menu signed by Andy Warhol.
"I still get tongue-tied talking about how Andy Warhol came to my restaurant 30 years ago and signed my menu," says Platman of the influential artist who was in Detroit for a book signing. "He loved the different colored walls and had a sandwich."
The 2000-square-foot Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac 'n Cheez seats 65 people and will be serviced by 32 staff.
Source: Lorraine Platman, Owner, Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac 'n Cheez
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Dublin Jerky offers exotic flavors for the protein-crazed snacker

Once a point-of-sale favorite at party stores, jerky is making inroads as a healthy and satisfying alternative for snackers everywhere.
Just ask Bruce Patulski. He's a Michigan pioneer in the jerky renaissance and has been racking up popular and exotic varieties of the carnivorous snack for years. And last summer, Patulski brought a branch of the renowned Dublin Jerky to the Lansing City Market, offering the company's most flavorful varieties plus an eclectic mix of brats, firewood, mopeds and custom-made T-shirts.
"The proof's in the product," says Patulski of the booth's staple. "Our jerky is nice and juicy, and it bursts with flavor when you bite into it. It's insanely tender."
Patulski learned the jerky business from the Dublin Jerky founder, who is also his brother-in-law. He started as a teen working in the Greenville, Mich., shop, and has continued to smoke, rack and package prime cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, pork, wild boar, rabbit, pheasant, alligator, ostrich and python.
"It's definitely not your typical gas station jerky," says Patluski. "We source our meats from all over the country and they all go through FDA inspection."
Patulski carries the most popular of Dublin Jerky's 60 varieties in his 100-foot vendor space. The 15 to 20 types of jerky include his go-to items like the "sweet heat beef" and "apple jack beef" and spicy varieties made with hot or ghost peppers.
"I'm surprised they don't melt the bag," he laughs.
A quarter-pound bag of jerky, Patulski says, provides an option for people looking for a high-protein snack or quick meal. Several popular magazines like Esquire and Muscle & Fitness have mentioned Dublin Jerky by name as a way to curb hunger, help build muscle, and ward off carb cravings.
Dublin Jerky also carries a line of loaded brats including garlic and sauerkraut, maple and bacon, and a blue cheese and cherry. Like the jerky, the brats are smoked, fully cooked and made with all natural ingredients.
As for the mopeds and screen printing and firewood, Patulski says that's an offshoot of his father's retail business in Manistee.
"I'm in the business program at MSU," says Patulski who operates the market with his girlfriend. "I guess you could say that business is in my blood."

Source: Bruce Patulski, Owner, Dublin Jerky Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Stilettos and Steel brings pole fitness to Lansing's West Side

Candice Tess always had a passion for fitness and the idea of a fitness-related business. She just didn't know where she fit.  So when Tess happened upon pole fitness, she worked hard to dispel the eyebrow raisers and bring a pole fitness studio to Lansing.
"It's the most amazing form of strength training I have ever done and it's awesome," says Tess. "It's closely related to yoga, gymnastics and acrobatics and the only equipment needed is the pole and your own body weight as resistance."
In the next few weeks, Tess will open the doors on Stilettos and Steel Fitness at 6400 W. St. Joseph Highway. Tess will teach and hold classes in various levels of pole fitness, applying her expertise as a certified instructor through the Pole Fitness Alliance.
Tess worked with friends, family members and her "crafty husband" to gut, move or install walls, put in new floors and ceilings, and paint the 1,100-square foot studio. With purple as a signature color, the studio is cozy, warm and inviting, with a private pole room outfitted with six poles.
"It's pretty," says Tess. "We have a chandelier and we dim the lights when we do the dance part of the workout."
Tess says the 90-minute classes involve meditation, a yoga-based warm-up, pole tricks and spins, and a dance routine. People unsure of whether pole fitness is right for them can check out a one-time intro class or sign up for a mini-session. Membership options are also available.
Tess says she learned pole fitness through studios in Grand Rapids and Detroit since she couldn't find a studio closer to home.  As her confidence and abilities grew, she became a certified trainer so she could share her love of the discipline.
"One of my main goals is to take away the stigma attached to pole fitness," says Tess, citing that the American Council on Exercise accepted Pole Fitness as a form of exercise in 2009. "People don't understand that it's not the same as being a pole dancer. It's a workout that's totally for you that helps you feel strong, confident and sexy."
Source: Candice Tess, Owner, Stilettos and Steel Fitness
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Front 43 creates friendly gathering place on Lansing-East Lansing border

Frank Cheng noticed something big missing on Lansing's eastern edge and decided to start small. So far, he's begun to fill the need for a gathering place on the busy stretch between East Lansing and Lansing.
Since early August, Front 43 Neighborhood Pub has been serving up craft beers and high-end bar food in a cozy, low-key setting. Initially dubbed "The Barrel," the latest in Lansing's growing lineup of gastro pubs rebranded and kicked into gear right around the MSU Spartan's home opener.
"Everyone seemed to want a place like this in this area," says Owner and Manager Cheng. "We were always hearing that something like this was missing with all the housing and apartments in the neighborhood. It just seems like a great location."
Front 43 is well-poised to draw from the aura left by Jimmy's Pub—a Lansing landmark that relocated to Chandler Road when the site was razed for the Pointe North Retail Center in 2011. Cheng got first-hand insights into customers seeking places to enjoy food, drink and time with friends since he also owns and manages Xiao—Front 43's next-door neighbor.
The 1,200-square foot interior seats 45 people, while a small outdoor patio seats 15 more. A long bar and wall-mounted beer taps mingle with pictures of neighborhood and local imagery. Fifteen big-screen TVs (two of which are 80-inchers) provide a panorama of visual entertainment.
"It's very cozy and comfortable and warm," says Cheng. "I want it to be a neighborhood place, where everybody will get to know everyone."
Front 43 has 20 beers on tap, with 18 brewed in Michigan. Beers include Bell's Oberon and Big Two Hearted Ales, New Holland Dragon's Milk, and Strawberry Brown Ale. Customers can also enjoy wine, with local spirits coming to the mix down the road.
In keeping with the gastro-pub concept, Cheng will offer up non-traditional bar foods including mussels, calamari and three-cheese macaroni and cheese. Red meat eaters can satisfy a hearty appetite with a half-pound Angus burger.
Cheng spends about 10 to 15 hours a day on-site between Xiao and his newest venture. He hopes to hire up to 15 staff for Front 43, including two full-timers.
Source: Frank Cheng, Owner, Front 43 Neighborhood Pub
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Hatch adds square footage to nurture fledging enterprise

Student start-ups at Michigan State University can continue to move from coffee shops into an expanding landscape of co-office and shared spaces as the Hatch nearly doubles its floor space.
The popular co-working space and student business incubator at 325 E. Grand River Ave. in East Lansing added 1,135 of floor space and meeting rooms to bring the total square footage to 2,542 square feet over the summer. The expansion was funded by the Lansing Area Economic Partnership, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State University, and a three-year gift from the MSU Federal Credit Union.
"We needed extra space and extra amenities," says Paul Jaques, director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations and a Hatch "superhero" team member. "Space helps with growth. We were able to throw in some new technologies and rooms where people can break off and have meetings."
In 2013-14, 156 teams of start-up candidates came to the Hatch to explore and research business ideas, design and create, and collaborate and mentor. In 2014, students also raised more than $210,000 in start-up support through national and international business plan competitions and growth.
The expanded Hatch is outfitted with a pair of HD video conference-ready breakout rooms, a multi-media editing suite, new monitors, 24-hour key fob access and video security, WiFi, and a flexible power-charging system.
The new floor plan also builds on the idea of an "entrepreneurial ecosystem" by building out an adjacent co-working space for the community. The 1,900-square foot 300 Room, Hatch leaders say, can be used by community members for meetings or networking during open hours or via scheduled reservation.
"It's a community-focused space for the general community," says Marketing Director Amber Shinn. "It's ground zero for folks of all experience levels and provides a comfortable environment that encourages them to start and keep their business here."
Source: Paul Jaques, Director of Student and Community Engagement, Spartan Innovations
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Pilates Silver Sensations brings full-service Pilates to East Lansing

It's been described as intelligent exercise that yields profound results.
And for Rosemarie Gregg, Pilates became a force that transformed her life and livelihood.
In early September, Gregg "cut the ribbon" on Pilates Silver Sensations—the only full-service Pilates studio in the Lansing area. The 1,700-square foot studio at 4964 Northwind Drive in East Lansing offers Pilates classes in various formats, including mat, reformer equipment and total barre. The studio is also among the few licensed vendors of lucy Activewear in mid-Michigan.
"I'm calling it Pilates Silver because I work with people 35 to 70 years old," she says. "As we age, we compensate and our postural alignment goes out. Pilates can help realign the spine to its natural state."
Gregg's passion for Pilates harkens back to 2010 when she injured her back cross-country skiing. She says she went to seven doctors, including a neurologist, seeking relief from chronic pain and numbness. She found relief through Pilates.
"I started in a Pilates class and within six months, all my pain went away," says the 50-something Gregg. "I also got in the best shape I ever had been in my life."
Gregg was so convinced of the healing power of Pilates that she underwent nearly 500 hours of training to become a certified instructor of STOTT Pilates. She began teaching and rapidly outgrew the 300-square foot studio she and her husband set up in her Okemos home.
Gregg has about 50 active clients and has taught nearly 250 individuals. Her new studio will have four reformer machines and stands, 29-feet of bars, and two full walls of mirrors. Courses run on four- to six-week schedules, with some private instruction available. Gregg teaches most of the classes herself, but recently hired one Pilates and one yoga instructor to help with her growing clientele.
"Pilates will totally change the shape of your body and is the best form of exercise you can do to build your core strength," says Gregg. "It will give you the firmest butt, build your core strength, and tone your abs like crazy."
Source: Rosemarie Gregg, Owner, Pilates Silver Sensations
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Flat, Black and Circular adds square footage and inventory

Flat, Black and Circular started out in a space about the size of a small walk-in closet. Today, the 37-year-old East Lansing store at 541 E. Grand River is knocking down walls to make room for its fourth expansion in 20 years.
"The way we look at it, the more years that go by the more stuff there is in the world," says Jon Howard, FBC manager and buyer. "It's inevitable that we expanded."
The iconic music reseller started as a partnership between Dick Rosemont and Dave Bernath to support their vinyl-buying habit. While audio formats have changed and evolved, the store has remained true to vinyl, making it well-poised for the resurgence of all things 33-and-a-1/3 RPM.
"Right now, vinyl is trendy with younger kids who want to build a collection," says Howard. "They've gotten hold of their parent's stereos and see it's good to have something tangible in their hands rather than all digital."
Howard estimates that the store currently houses 20,000 pieces of vinyl, a few thousand CDs, hundreds of DVDs, and even a few hundred cassettes. The store acquires most of its inventory through items that people bring in to sell. Other inventory comes through "the hunt" of garage and estate sales, liquidations, and through word-of-mouth.
Howard says the current expansion will add 300 square feet to the existing 1,300-square-foot store. Plans are to move in a few rolling shelves, fill them with classical selections, and create a quieter space for the classical aficionado. Part of the new space will also be set aside for displaying miscellaneous musical equipment.
"We're browsing friendly, and everything is in alphabetical order," says Howard. "We're also not musical snobs at all. We will all admit that we like some horrible music."
FBC staff includes Howard, Bernath and one part-time worker. Rosemont, who moved to Santa Fe New Mexico, serves as a consultant.
Source: Jon Howard, Manager and Buyer, Flat, Black and Circular
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

For Crepe Sake opens in Lansing City Market, creates six jobs

A little bit of France just came to Lansing.
In early-August, Mark and Deborah Owen cut the ribbon on For Crepe Sake in the Lansing City Market. And while steeped in American tradition, the creperie offers a delectable selection of the French cuisine that is sure to please the palette.
Mark says he and Deborah decided to open a creperie to offer downtown diners something aside from subs, pizza and traditional sandwich fare. Mark, too, was determined to offer gluten-free options that taste delicious for people like himself who experience Celiac Disease or are gluten-intolerant.
"Crepes are very sophisticated and different," say Mark. "We have dessert crepes that are sweet with things like cream cheese and strawberries. And we have savory crepes, too, with meats and cheeses and eggs."
Mark says he gave all his crepes French names like "The Louvre," "The Hunchback of Notre Dam," or "Pomme." Visitors can also select the "Laissez-Faire" and build their own crepe from available items. Beverage-wise, diners can pair crepes with a hot beverage like brewed Zingerman's coffee; a latte, espresso or tea; or go for a cool soft drink, gourmet soda or juice.
"You can have your lunch and dessert at the same time, depending on what you get," says Mark. "A crepe is a really thin pancake, with the ingredients folded inside. It's kind-of like pancake meets enchilada."
Mark says he and Deborah did a year of R&D before opening their restaurant, including visiting other creperies, checking out recipes and menus, and investing in a professional crepe maker. The 450-square-foot space in the Lansing City Market offers the Owens a chance to "start small" and build a following. For Crepe Sake employs four people, in addition to Mark and Deborah.
Source: Mark Owen, Owner, For Crepe Sake
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Marco's Pizza brings 24 jobs and authentic Italian cuisine to Okemos

As a high schooler, Donna Sturgis dreamed of running her own business. But it wasn't until after she had built a career and gone through the economic downturn that she struck out on her own.
In September, Sturgis will open her second local franchise for Marco's Pizza at 1871 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos. Running a restaurant, she admits, is a departure from having worked her entire career as a mechanical engineer. But then she laughs and says she enjoys doing something that's just a "little different."
"When the automotive business went south, I knew it was time," says Sturgis. "I decided to open a franchise to fulfill my dream of being an entrepreneur."
Sturgis opened her first Marco's Pizza at Abbot and Lake Lansing in East Lansing in 2008. Over time, she grew her clientele and hired a staff of 19 people.
Sturgis hopes for the same success with her next Marco's Pizza in the Dusty's Cellar retail plaza. She gutted a space in the strip mall to bring it up to the franchise standards, including interior features like slate, tile floors, faux granite tables, and a counter made of cherry wood.
"It has an upscale look but you're only paying $20 or so for your pizza," says Sturgis. "You get an authentic Italian look when you come in."
That authenticity extends to the menu. Founder Paul Giamaro, Sturgis says, was born and raised in Italy, and brought his culinary talents and family recipe to the franchise.
"It's the same traditional dough and sauce recipe that we follow today," says Sturgis. "We make fresh dough and sauce in the store every day; it doesn't come from a freezer or factory. And we get all our vegetables locally from Michigan farmers."
Marco's menu features classic and specialty pizzas, fresh-baked subs, salads, and extras such as chicken wings, cheesy bread and cinnamon pastry.
Sturgis' new 2,000-square-foot store will employ 24 and seat 32 people. She is planning a grand opening for September 8 beginning at 9:30 a.m., complete with food sampling and kids' activities.
Source: Donna Sturgis, Owner, Marco's Pizza
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Painting entrepreneur automates paperwork for general contracting

Michael Henry learned how to scrape by, cut-in and get maximum coverage while in college. Today he's making a business of it.
Last May, Henry launched a full-service interior and exterior painting service with four staff—about a year after earning his degree in psychology from Michigan State University. He projects he will have completed about 50 jobs through MDH Painting by the end of the year, and estimates he will more than double his business in 2015.
"For the most part, I never saw myself having a 9 to 5 job," says Henry. "I knew the way I felt and operated before then."
Henry also owns and operates a second related business from the Lansing NEO Center. CorkCRM provides software expressly designed for construction contracting. Released by Henry and a team of computer scientists in November 2013, CorkCRM streamlines processes like estimating and preparing proposals, scheduling appointments, prospecting and tracking leads, generating contracts, processing time cards and expenses, and other traditional paperwork.
Henry's goal, he says, is to make it easier for contractors to do their work by leveraging technology for administrative functions. His company services about 10 contracting companies across the U.S., including Michigan, Florida, Arizona, California and Oregon. He also uses CorkCRM software when he estimates and coordinates jobs for MDH Painting.
"When I was working as a college painter, what I saw lacking was an all-in-one software system to run the business," says Henry who supervised crews for East Lansing's College Pro Painters. "We were doing a lot of things on paper and written documents, and it didn't enable the use of technology very well."
Henry says he hopes to eventually move from the NEO Center and into a larger office that can accommodate his growing staff. In addition to his four painters who work offsite through MDH Painting, Henry plans to hire an assistant for CorkCRM in the coming year.
Source: Michael Henry, Owner, MDH Painting and CorkCRM
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Piper & Gold expands and moves to Old Town

Moving to Lansing's Old Town was never out-of-the-question for Kate Snyder and her evolving public relations company, Piper & Gold.
"Coming out of a business incubator, you have that sense of community and that sense of support that surrounds you," says Snyder, principal strategist. "To me, that was important to have in a stand-alone office space. I knew I could get that in Old Town."
In mid-July, Snyder moved operations from the NEO Center on Clark Street to a space that used to be the city's "comfort station" near the railroad tracks. Historic and newly renovated, the two narrow rooms on the first floor of 313 ½ E. Grand River are just the right size, she says, for her small, outwardly-focused team.
"The move was a big step for us," says Snyder. "It gives us the infrastructure to continue to serve our clients and to enhance the way we do that. I'm very much about sustainable and controlled growth."
Snyder started the business in 2012 with the goal of providing traditional public relations with a digital twist. With an emphasis on non-partisan government organizations, nonprofits, associations and small business, Piper & Gold assists clients with communication strategy and planning, media relations, social media and serves as an extension of the clients' teams.
"I consider myself an accidental entrepreneur," says Snyder who did some consulting while working a traditional full-time gig. "It continued to grow, and I really enjoyed it. I decided to take the plunge, and am trying to create an environment that I've always wanted to work in."
Piper & Gold recently added a new team member, bringing the staff of the boutique PR firm to three full-time and two part-time employees.
Source: Kate Snyder, Principal Strategist, Piper & Gold
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Bloom Coffee Roasters stokes Lansing's caffeine craving from REO Town warehouse

Jared Field is building a business based on nostalgia as well as the future.
In the early summer, Field and his business partner Cameron Russell spilled the beans about Bloom Coffee Roasters and moved into a 2,000-square foot storage space in Lansing's REO Town. Along with an entrepreneurial spirit, they brought a small batch coffee roaster, some basic office equipment, and pounds of beans ready to roast into Lansing's newest line of craft coffees.
Field says his desire to introduce residents to the best coffee dates back to the love of the brew he acquired growing up in Michigan.
"For me, the coffee nostalgia goes back to when I was a kid and I'd spend time at my grandparents' cottage up north," he says. "It's that waking up to the smell of a freshly cooked breakfast and an overwhelming coffee aroma on a beautiful morning. It got me hooked."
Field didn't always set out to roast beans or to start his own business. As a new journalism graduate from Western Michigan University, Field took a job with a Kalamazoo coffee roaster. And while journalism jobs were sparse, the love for specialty coffee wasn't.
"I started roasting and fell in love with it," says Field who began roasting three years ago. "I told people I got the coffee buzz."
Field brought his knowledge of coffee to mid-Michigan after his father acquainted him with the start-up culture and coffee enthusiasm in Lansing.
After devising a strategy with the Michigan Small Business Development Center, Field partnered with Russell to build a small batch coffee retailer and wholesaler. The two roast about 20 pounds of beans a day and get their five varieties of coffee through the Minnesota based Café Imports.
Coffees are available online for purchase and delivery, and brewed cups can be found at Spotted Dog Café and the Waterfront Restaurant in the Lansing City Market.  Field says he is working to line up additional venues, and plans to add up to five staff as business grows. He also wants to set up community-based programs to benefit particular non-profits. 
"We strongly believe in Lansing and intend to be active in the community," says Field. "If we focus on roasting quality coffee and succeed, our business and the community around us will thrive."
Source: Jared Field, Owner, Bloom Coffee Roasters
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Michigan Creative brings designs to The Runway

Ever since he first heard of Lansing becoming the home of a premier fashion incubator, Brian Town has had designs on stitching together a clothing line. And as the founder and CEO of Michigan Creative, Town is well acquainted with start-ups and the entrepreneurial culture of Lansing.
"It's been a while in the making," says Town of fashion line he's launching through his marketing company. "We'd been thinking how cool it would be to have a shirt or a piece of clothing that was made right here in Lansing that you could wear anywhere."
Beginning in August, Town's Freshwater Apparel will be part of the inaugural class of The Runway—Lansing's fashion incubator, retail and production space in the renovated Knapp's Centre. Town will run business operations and some retail through a 200-or-so square foot office, while design, production and manufacturing of Freshwater Apparel will take place off-site through Lansing's Fashion Proto.
Town says Freshwater Apparel will offer high-end T-shirts and other casual clothing items and will float two shirts for starters.  The shirts, Town says, will be comfortable, stylish, and made with cotton and bamboo. The idea, he says, is to create T-shirts that are suitable for wear about town or on a casual workday.
"It's a fancy T-shirt, and not your typical 'I love such-and-such' kind of thing," says Town. "We'll work with Fashion Proto to make a couple 100 for starters."
Town says he plans to add other clothing items to Freshwater Apparel once they are up and running. Customers will be able to purchase shirts through the Knapp's Centre location or on-line. Town's hopes are that Freshwater Apparel will grow and become a stand-alone company with up to 10 employees.
"My first thought always comes to jobs," says Town, an avid supporter of the buy and make local movement. "Lansing has been known for manufacturing for years. So whether it's fashion or something else, the more we can make it here, there's no reason why we shouldn't."
Source: Brian Town, Owner, Freshwater Apparel
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

WDA creates modern workspaces with homey flair in new East Lansing facility

Efficiency and comfort are at the top of the list for long-time entrepreneur Konny Zsigo. And you'll see that when Zsigo moves his staff and base of operations this fall to a new headquarters in north East Lasing.
In early September, Zsigo will open the doors to the new headquarters of WDA at 4050 Hunsaker Drive. The interior of the nearly 12,400 square foot building owned by CRBE was custom designed for the mobile marketing company and as Zsigo says, will be like a second home to his 53 employees.
The company's new headquarters will be roughly 3,000 square feet larger than the current location on Northwind Drive. While the company was well served by the previous space, WDA's steady growth led Zsigo to seek larger, friendly spaces to call home.
"A big part of this move is to create a comfortable place for our employees," says the WDA president who hopes to add 15 to 20 more staff in 2015. "We've installed a much larger kitchen where we serve free lunch to all employees. We'll also have a coffee room with coffee and chocolate."
The Hunsaker Drive facility makes innovative use of space through custom-made environments that encourage communication among all employees. Zsigo says cubicles are non-existent and adds that no workspace or work surface is commercially made.
"Every desk is made to fit," says Zsigo. "A local vendor made the cabinetry, and we had designers create rooms, workspaces and traditional offices. There's a workspace for every personality type."
Zsigo founded WDA in 2001 and focuses on products that help brands reach their objectives in mobile media. He says the company has grown over the years by responding to the evolving needs of marketers in a high-tech environment.
"When I walk through this building and no one is around, it's overwhelming," says Zsigo. "The place is huge, with giant conference rooms and meeting spaces. It makes me feel proud to say I've been able to do this and to provide for some 50 or more employees. It feels really good as an owner of a small business."
Source: Konny Zsigo, President, WDA
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

DeWitt CrossFit gym rebrands, grows in popularity

While they recently rebranded their year-old gym, Brad and Bailey Hillard have remained true to their commitment to build community through functional, athletic training.
In mid-July, the Hillards opened the doors to Lake State CrossFit—a new, expanded version of CrossFit Malleus. The new gym, they say, provides space to "stretch out," as well as a memorable, easy-to-remember name for those interested in tackling the CrossFit phenomenon.
Located just a few doors down from their original facility in Clark Corners, Lake State CrossFit will continue to offer a certified training curriculum that provides an all-inclusive workout and fitness program for customers of any fitness level.
"My wife and I have always been athletes," says Brad who wrestled and played football throughout high school, and went on to coach. "It's in our nature. Once we started training in CrossFit, we believed in the concept and wanted to share it with others."
CrossFit, Brad explains, is an all-around, varied strength and conditioning program that pushes participants to perform at their highest possible level. Developed in the late 1990s, CrossFit workouts include interval training, weightlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, plyometrics, running and other exercises.
"You're not a specialist in anything," says Brad. "Your goal is to be an all-around good athlete."
The Hillards say they build community at their 6,100-square foot gym through instructor-led training and social events related to gym activities. Since originally opening in June 2013, the gym has grown from just a handful of members to more than 80 strong.
"We're excited to see what the future brings," says Brad. "We're going to bring a kids program here eventually, as well as specialty courses. We want to offer a boot camp, too, that provides an on-ramp to people who might be feeling a little intimidated."
The Hillards invite anyone to give the intro course a try and to join the no-contract gym at 1161 E. Clark Lake Road, Suite 260. Lake State CrossFit employs two staff in addition to Brad and Bailey, with plans to add more as the gym grows in popularity.
Source: Brad Hillard, Owner, Lake State CrossFit
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Jersey Giant expands to downtown Lansing, hires six employees

When he was six or seven, Luke Slocum loved going into his dad's sub shop and watching sandwich makers layer slices of premium meats and cheese on fresh breads and top with crisp vegetables, oil and vinegar and condiments.
"I also remember wanting to go in and help wash dishes," says the 24-year-old Slocum of growing up in the family-owned Jersey Giant restaurant business. "I didn't eat as many sandwiches as people always think I might have, though."
In mid-July, Slocum took 10 years of experience working in family restaurants and opened one of his own in downtown Lansing. The new Jersey Giant at 220 S. Washington Square is the eighth location in the growing array of family-owned and operated stores in Lansing, Lansing Township, Williamston, Grand Ledge, Portage and the Detroit suburb of Woodhaven.
Slocum set up shop in the vacated Cup of Dessert that closed in May. The 1,800-square foot space, Slocum said, was the perfect location and fulfilled his dream for opening his first restaurant in downtown Lansing.
"I just love downtown," says Slocum who says Jersey Giant has had their eye on a downtown Lansing location for about four years. "I love that the area is on the way up and doesn't look like it's stopping anytime soon."
Slocum repainted, redecorated and brought in a three-door refrigerator. Aside from that, he says he got pretty lucky with a space that provides an ideal ambience and set-up for a sandwich shop.
The downtown sub shop will offer the standard 16 selections featured at other locations, including the signature Jersey Giant, Beasty and Jersey Devil. Customers can enjoy a touch of the Jersey shore through the menu and selections his father Britt originally built after moving to the area in 1979.
Slocum says he might add one or two warm subs to the menu come winter but hasn't decided yet. He has hired a staff of six and plans to be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. He says he'll also be open extended hours from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday to catch the bar crowd.
"Being downtown at night, you tend to get a little hungry after the bar," Slocum says. "I'm young enough to uphold these hours and old enough at heart not to be out."
Source: Luke Slocum, Owner, Jersey Giants Sub
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Little Green Branches grows eco-conscious product lines for new families

As a mother of four children under 9, Missie Baldwin appreciates the ease and convenience of disposable diapers. At the same time, she hates the idea of trading green space for landfills every time she changes a diaper.
Baldwin switched to cloth diapers when her third child was born. Her friend, Stephanie White, owned Z-Bear—a store that specialized in eco-conscious baby products, including 21st century cloth diapers.
"Cloth diapers are a lot simpler than they seem," says Baldwin. "They're just as easy to use as disposables, and the only thing that it will add to your routine is one extra load of laundry a day."
Baldwin became such an expert that she bought Z-Bear from her friend and launched her career in retail. In June, she re-opened the 900-square foot boutique at 4976 Northwind Drive under the name Little Green Branches. She expanded the scope of the store to carry eco-conscious products for infants through pre-schoolers, and added a special section for moms.
"I'm looking to take the store to the next level," says Baldwin who recently hired three part-time people. "We'll even be providing a registry for new and expectant moms."
Little Green Braches sells cloth diapers and offers a cloth diaper rental program for newborns. Packages include fitted diapers and covers, a pail liner, and a special deep cleaning detergent. Customers rent and use diapers for a limited time and return them. Diapers are then washed and hygienically cleaned for use by the next family.
"Cloth diapers are extremely economical," says Baldwin. "It may seem like an upfront investment, but if you add up the cost of disposables, it will run you almost $3,000. You can get enough cloth diapers for about $200."
Aside from diapering systems, Baldwin carries baby wearing and breast feeding products, non-toxic toys, up cycled furniture, and a line of natural teas, herbs and soaps—some even made by Baldwin from products grown on her small organic farm. 
"I plan on having a dad department, too," says Baldwin. "I'm working on the products to put in there. It's coming soon."
Source: Missie Baldwin, Owner, Little Green Branches
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Sleepwalker one step closer to opening taproom in Allen Market Place

Approvals: Check. Painting: Check. Equipment: Check.
And by late summer or early fall, thirsty customers can check out a variety of brews at the Allen Market Place through a temporary "to-go" taproom of Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale.
"Our intent is to emulate 'pop-up' bars and restaurants that have appeared in large cities across the U.S.," says CEO Matt Jason of the work-in-progress. "These typically open for several months at a time, often to bring attention to a larger, already established business or to promote a future bar or restaurant."
In Sleepwalker's case, the 200-square foot taproom at 1629 E. Kalamazoo St. will preview plans for a full-sized brewery and distillery that Jason and his business partner Jeremy Sprague hope to open in the coming year.
Jason believes Sleepwalker's taproom will be the first of its kind in Michigan. He says while not technically part of the Allen Street Farmer's market, the market place location will attract customers for take-out craft beers in growlers, howlers and kegs. Customers will also be able to pair their beer and market finds with savory selections from Red's Smokehouse—a local barbecue establishment that shares kitchen space with Sleepwalker's.
"It will be good synergy with beer and barbecue to go," says Jason. "And like things at the market, our brews will include local ingredients and reflect seasonal changes."
While the exact timeline is pending federal approval, Jason says once open, the taproom will brew and distribute limited quantities of European and American-inspired craft beers. Plans for open hours include farmer's market Wednesdays, Friday afternoons, and to-be-determined weekend times.
"We've gone through all the hoops and are just waiting to hear back," says Jason who has received local and state approvals for the establishment. "The situation at the market is really unique. We're excited."
Since December 2013, Jason and Sprague have focused on fundraising and development for the community-owned business. The two have sought out and attracted 30 individual investors, and are more than halfway toward their $150,000 Kickstarter goal. Eventually, Jason and Sprague would like to build out a 3,000-square foot brick-and-mortar space on the East side or within Lansing's urban core.
"This is a great opportunity and fit for us," says Jason of the Allen Market Place location. "We'll be needing more time to finish our capitalization, so in the meantime, this spot gives us some more exposure and chance to grow."
Source: Matt Jason, CEO, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Red Fox Comics brings comic books and merchandise to Delta Township

Daniel Rust wants to foster the personal connection people often feel toward comic book characters. And he wants to do so through a retail environment that's bright, casual and fun.
In early to mid-August, the lifelong fan of comics will open a 1,600-square foot store in Delta Township that caters to the casual fan as well as the aficionado. And the location at 723 Brookside Mall, Rust says, makes Red Fox Comics an easy stop for people en route to popular restaurants, retailers or home.
"A lot of people feel intimidated when they go into comic books stores for fear they might say something wrong or be corrected," says Rust. "My store will be a casual place for people of all ages."
Red Fox Comics will carry all new comics from trusted names like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and IDW, as well as graphic novels and trade paper backs from the same or similar publishers. Customers will also find casual apparel like T-shirts, hoodies and caps, and merchandise and memorabilia like key chains, magnets, pins, mugs and other pop novelty items.
Rust devised his business plan with the Michigan Small Business Development Center, then worked with his father-in-law to deck-out the store with customized shelves and fixtures. Walls and trim will be decorated with a color scheme of green, black and white, or as Rust calls it "Green Lantern Green." 
Rust says he's loved comics since middle school. Like many people, the Haslett native says he was drawn to comics for their storylines, and often sympathized with the strengths or weaknesses of particular characters.
"My favorite character is Aquaman," Rust says. "As a kid, I always related to him. I have red hair and was always singled out, and I felt Aquaman was too. I thought, 'Hey, he's a cool guy. So why not?' I was always swimming in the summertime, so that was that."
Source: Daniel Rust, Owner, Red Fox Comics
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Mert's Meats expands to Eastside with second location

Grocers and markets are making their way back to Michigan Avenue, including a specialty meat store that began serving Eastsiders and the downtown community right before the summer solstice.
Mert's Specialty Meats on the Avenue opened in mid-June, offering a full line of fresh cut meat, seafood, dairy and cheeses, and a variety of Michigan-made products. The family-owned market run by Shirley Decker Prescott, her husband Mert Prescott and son Brandon Decker, is within a 10-minute drive of the original Okemos location that also opened in June three years ago.
"We know the neighborhood and the community," says Prescott who lives three blocks from the new store at 1629 E. Michigan Ave. "We think there's a need here for the fresh products and service we can give."
Mert's Meats on the Avenue will source beef and pork from the Midwest, including top choice products from the Iowa distributor Chairman's Reserve. Selections include grass-fed ground beef and steaks, free-range chicken and duck. The Eastside store will also carry salmon, crab and shrimp. Specialty and Michigan-made products include salsas and tortilla chips; barbecue sauces; spices, rubs and marinades; side dishes like pasta and rice; and some fresh produce.
"We also have unique selections like venison and elk and alligator and snake," says Prescott. "And we make our own sausages, including chicken, that are preservative and MSG free."
Both stores also offer recipe cards and can advise customers on how to best prepare what they are buying. Prescott says she can carry more frozen and specialty items in her new 1,800-square foot market since the space in the mixed-used development is slightly bigger than her Okemos location.
"We listen to our customers," says Prescott. "If they tell us they want something, we do what we can to bring it in."
Mert's employs 15 people between the two stores, including manager Jordan Eustace of the Lansing store, and a new-hire from Goodrich's Shop-Rite, Jessica Wilson.
"We know that Goodrich closing is a great loss to the community," says Prescott. "I shop there, and we are encouraging customers to bring us ideas from Goodrich's. They carried a lot of unique items that we would like to add to our inventory."
Source: Shirley Decker Prescott, Owner, Mert's Meats on the Avenue
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Dewitt newly-weds open JJ Frozen Yogurt, create jobs

Tham Doan and John Nichols devised plans for launching their own business shortly after getting married two years ago.
"We thought about it, started planning, and got the location in January," says Doan. "It seemed like a good idea and we decided to do it."
In late June, Doan and Nichols opened JJ Frozen Yogurt in DeWitt. The shop brings a fresh and delicious twist to the strip mall at 13070 Old U.S. 27, and offers a rotation of 100 flavors and varieties of the satisfying and healthy snack.
As a nurse at Sparrow Hospital, Doan is attuned to making healthy dietary choices that take food allergies into account. Nichols, too, understands the challenges of food sensitivities, having grown up with family members with severe allergies to dairy.
JJ Frozen Yogurt, Doan says, will carry traditional frozen yogurts as well non-dairy, sugar-free, fat-free and low-fat varieties. Customers can review posted nutrition and ingredient information for each yogurt and dozens of topping in the self-serve shop. Doan says, too, she is exploring ways to dispense peanuts and chocolates separately for the benefit of allergy-sensitive customers.
"We can tell you how the yogurt is made and what the ingredients are," says Doan. "We focus on customer service and have a very nice setting with free Wi-Fi."
Doan and Nichols completely rehabbed the small space that seats up to 35 customers. Contractors redid plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and heating, and installed equipment for storing and dispensing foods. The husband-wife team also rolled up their sleeves and contributed to the top-to-bottom overhaul that included fresh paint, new floors and a new ceiling. The couple also received help with business planning from the Michigan Small Business Development Center, housed at Lansing Community College.
Doan says she plans to offer coffee in the next few months and to expand the hours to accommodate early-risers. More immediately, she will add smoothies and tea to the summer line-up.
Doan works occasionally in between her nursing shifts, while Nichols runs the shop. JJ Frozen Yogurt employs three staff with plans to add a couple more once coffee services are up and running in the fall.
Source: Tham Doan, Owner, JJ Frozen Yogurt
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New salon brings metropolitan blowouts to MAC location

A salon concept popular in New York, Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas has blown in to East Lansing thanks to a local stylist and his entrepreneurial client.
Heat Blowout and Beauty Boutique is the area's first-of-its-kind finishing salon offering blowouts, haircuts, hair styling, makeup application, spray tans and hand treatments. The 600-square foot boutique will be nestled in an intimate space on the first floor the Michigan Athletic Club, and accessible through a separate entrance.
"A lot of people in the area aren't super familiar with the concept," says Chief Stylist Dan Buccilli who co-owns the salon with Molly Chan. "Once you come in and try it, you're going to fall in love with it."
Buccilli says Heat is the perfect stop for members of the MAC before they exit the club, as well as an accessible beauty indulgence for non-MAC and other community members. The boutique will also offer tailored packages and specials including bridal boot camps, private girls night out parties, and combined service deals.
"We picked the MAC because it's the perfect combination," says Buccilli. "You've worked out and maybe have your hair in a ponytail. But we make it possible for you to leave the gym looking perfect for work or whatever else you have to do."
Buccilli says the high-end luxury service comes at affordable price and includes a hair shampoo, neck massage, and a hair blowout and style. Blowouts can be classic with volume and tight curls, soft waves or loose curls, chic and sleek, or customized by request. Each blowout typically lasts three days, with tips provided for maintaining the look and style between visits.
"We can make anyone's hair look good no matter the texture or the length," says Buccilli. "We can style your hair to suit your personality and lifestyle."
The boutique will feature four styling and two nail stations, and carry hair products from Bumble and bumble. Buccilli will employ five staff for starters, with more added as demand grows.
Source: Dan Buccilli, Owner, Heat Blowout and Beauty Boutique
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Beer garden brands Midtown Brewing as Euro-destination

Although he grew up and lives in the city, Marc Wolbert has always integrated nature into everyday life.
Today, the Lansing business owner is bringing more green space to downtown by building a European style beer garden outside the Midtown Brewing Company.
"Nature is important to us as people," says Wolbert who manages the nano-brewery along with brewer Brandon Cook. "And while beer gardens are prevalent in Europe, it's not something you usually get in an urban area.
The Flint native drew on his collegiate education in landscape architecture to create a 400-square foot space ringed by planters and shaded by umbrellas. Since the early June ribbon cutting, Wolbert has worked with Old Town's Plant Professionals to nurture a colorful blend of pansies, sweet potato vines, herbs, ornamental cabbages and hops for leafy and fragrant patio where up to 40 patrons to enjoy a craft beer or meal.
"It's a full-service beer garden," says Wolbert. "You'll have your complimentary peanuts, and in line with my love of nature, we feature a casual and natural-style menu."
Wolbert says he sources ingredients from farmer's markets and the restaurant's off-site vegetable garden whenever possible. He says he just added a new kitchen staff member to help carry forward the farm-to-table style food, bringing the total new staff hired for the summer to six.
Midtown Brewing employs 25 people and spun off two years ago from the shuttered Michigan Brewing Company. The 4,000-square foot restaurant has been in the space at 402 S. Washington for five years. The new beer garden, Wolbert says, helps brand downtown as a beer destination, and creates a unique urban beer drinking vibe characteristic of European cities.  
"One of my next projects is a rooftop garden," says Wolbert. "We have lots of beautiful flat roofs here in Lansing. Covering them in green helps our environment. And it helps make things prettier."
Source: Marc Wolbert, General Manager, Midtown Brewing Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Family-owned auto parts company converts to NAPA brand

They say it's all in a name, but for Dick Seehase, it's also all in the family.
For 51 years, Seehase has been among the family members owning and operating The Parts Place. And while the Holt-based car parts company has spanned three generations and grown to nine mid-Michigan locations, the company prides itself on providing the highest level of customer service.
That quality of service, Seehase says, will be further ensured as the distributor of automotive parts and equipment switches affiliation from CARQUEST to NAPA, and adds an 18,000-square foot warehouse as the hub.
"It made perfect sense to go with a more traditional auto parts company," says Seehase of the changeover. "With our 50-year-old history and NAPA's 90, we'll be well-recognized and even more prepared to service our customers."
All eight stores will carry NAPA inventory and retain the nearly 60 professional staff who work in locations in East Lansing, West Lansing, Holt, Charlotte, Mason, Eaton Rapids, Williamston and Stockbridge.
The newly purchased warehouse on the corner of Waverly and St. Joseph will result in about three new staff joining the company. The space will also allow The Parts Place to carry about $2 million more in additional inventory to service all locations.
Seehase says the commercial market makes up about 70 percent of The Parts Place customers, with the remaining 30 percent coming from do-it-yourselfers.
"Years ago, lots of people could work on their own vehicles, but as the complexity has increased, we began servicing more commercial clients," says Seehase. "Our employees come from all different facets of the market, too, and know the business."
Seehase says The Parts Place changed affiliation in late April. He says he's anticipating the NAPA partnership will spur annual sales growth from about $9 to $15 million in the upcoming year.
"The NAPA brand name is one of the most recognized brands in the United States," says Seehase. "We're hoping to add more stores once we get our feet on the ground."
 Source: Dick Seehase, Company President, The Parts Place NAPA
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Wild Strawberry and More puts fruit, flowers and chocolate under one roof

Jacob Leyrer recognized the individual appeal of flowers, fruit and chocolate and united the three through Wild Strawberry and More.
"We're the only flower shop in the area that can do fresh flowers and fruit arrangements under one roof," says Leyrer who owns several specialty gift shops in Greater Lansing. "The next closest one you'll find is in Detroit."
Leyrer will hold a grand opening in late June for the newest branch of Wild Strawberry and More at 2024 E. Michigan Ave. At 1,300-square feet, the East Side shop joins Holt and Dimondale locations in offering fragrant, sweet and arguably nutritious arrangements of fruit and flowers for gifts, special occasions, weddings, signs of appreciation or sympathy, or just everyday personal indulgences.
Leyrer opened his corner store on Michigan Avenue in February following the successes of his relatively new Holt and Dimondale shops. The store, he says, is just one block from his childhood home on South Fairview Street, and reflects his passion for flowers that he cultivated growing up in a family floral business.
"I worked deliveries for my mom's floral shop when I was going to college," says Leyrer who attended Lansing Community College and played for their golf team. "I loved seeing the smile on people's faces when I brought something to their door."
Leyrer played professional golf for a number of years before deciding to open Wild Strawberries and More. And while he grew up around flowers, he says he prefers to apply his marketing and business background to running the shops rather than making the arrangements.
Wild Strawberry and More offers a range of cut flowers, fruit arrangements, chocolate dipped fruit, cards, balloons and small gifts like candles, vases and assorted knick-knacks. Leyrer's staff rotates from store to store and includes four designers, two delivery personnel, and two customer service reps.
"I just love putting out a great product and seeing people come back," says Leyrer. "It's inspiring to create something that people talk about, and to bring in new customers, too."

Source: Jacob Leyrer, Owner, Wild Strawberry and More
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Mark's Gourmet Dogs embarks on new business life after win on reality TV

Mark McGee always knew every dog has its day. He just never guessed his day would air on national television.
As the winner of the 2014 Food Network's Food Court Wars, McGee and his wife Krysta were awarded a year of rent-free space to expand their mobile hot dog cart operation to a fully-equipped restaurant in the Lansing Mall.
While many people learned of the success of Mark's Gourmet Dogs through the reality TV show, McGee says his path was charted years before when he took his first business class at Lansing Community College.
"I started at LCC with the idea of starting a hot dog cart," says McGee who had struggled through layoffs and diminished job prospects during the Great Recession. "LCC gave me the knowledge I needed to start a business. It was awesome. And it worked."
In 2009, McGee applied his classroom learning to setting up a food cart and bringing culinary flair to hot dogs and brats in Eaton Rapids. And when his son was born and his business took off, he and his wife started thinking about taking things to the next level.
"They'd already been talking about Food Court Wars when they came in," says Laurie Lonsdorf, Senior Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business Development Center at LCC. "But it was really iffy at that point, and they wanted to grow regardless of whether they made it or not. Ultimately, they knew they wanted an indoor location."
Lonsdorf began working with the McGees to identify locations and explore financing. She laid out checklists, provided suggestions on his business plan, and offered no-cost, confidential consulting about how the McGees could grow their startup venture.
"There's no way I could've done it without them," says McGee. "We needed their help no matter what happened, and when we found out we were on the show, things started rolling really fast. It's been quite a ride, but LCC and SBDC have been a great team."
When Mark's Gourmet Dogs took top prize and opened in the mall food court on May 30, Lonsdorf was there. She says LCC's SBDC will be to support and consult with the McGees on small business strategy as they hire four or more staff and enter the next phase of their business.
"Here's the funny thing though," says Lonsdorf. "While I couldn't wait to try Mark's food, I'm a vegetarian. I had the mac-and-cheese, coleslaw and Krysta's salted caramel ball. It was all great."
Source: Laurie Lonsdorf, Senior Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business Development Center at Lansing Community College
Mark McGee, Owner, Mark's Gourmet Dogs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Sinclair Grill takes ice cream on the road with two wheels and a sidecar

Cruisin' time is here. Greg Krantz knows that.
So come June, he takes to the road to cater weddings, open houses and outdoor parties with a favorite summertime dessert: ice cream.
As the owner of Sinclair Grill in Webberville, Krantz complements the fixings of his roadside diner with ice cream delivery and cart services. And his vehicles of choice? A Harley Davison equipped with refrigerated sidecars, a mid-century ice cream truck, and bicycle freezer carts—all pack with frozen favorites from the Michigan State University Dairy Store.
"This is the time of year when we heavily cater ice cream," says Krantz who recently became the area's only authorized vendor of MSU ice cream, cups and sandwiches. "We also have two malt machines and we do sundae bars for parties. We'll do most anything ice cream for a party or catered event."
Krantz says caters about 50 to 75 ice cream events over the summer, with business on the rise. He also caters breakfast, lunch and occasional dinner at nine companies in Greater Lansing, reaching as far down the road as Delta Township.
Krantz carries 16 flavors of MSU ice cream in his 800-square foot restaurant that's a reclaimed gas station diner that dates back to the 1930s. Krantz has 102 items on the menu that spans breakfast, lunch and dinner with standard American fare like hamburgers, hot dogs, French and chili fries, steaks, pulled pork, eggs and omelets, and some pasta.
Located at 345 W. Grand River in Webberville, the Sinclair Grill was among the hundreds of tiny roadside grills that dotted America's two-lane highways before freeways divided the landscape. Krantz bought the diner about three years ago and undertook a seven-month renovation to return the road-stop glory to the little restaurant.
The Sinclair Grill seats 49 inside and 49 outside on the summertime patio, and employs nine people. The interior is decked out with gas station and car memorabilia, with checkered tablecloths, chrome, and red and sea foam green accents for a 50s feel.
"We have a lot of motorcyclists and hot rodders who come to our diner," says Krantz, a confessed car and motorcycle enthusiast. "A lot of car clubs cruise here, like the model A or corvette club. They'll show up and fill the lot. It's like going back in time to the 40s or 50s."
Source: Greg Krantz, Owner, Sinclair Grill
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Go Greener plows the way toward expanded business

Grass grows. Spaces get dirty. Snow falls. Surfaces need repair. And that's where Go Greener comes in.
As long-time friends and experienced property managers, Russ Chambers and Mike Demmer launched the multi-tiered facilities management company in 2009. Starting with just three employees, Go Greener has grown to employ 30 staff, with plans to hire a half dozen more in 2014.
"It feels like we started a family here with our business," says Chambers. "We're involved in our community, too, and try to give back by sponsoring events at places like the YMCA and Peckham as much as we can."
Chambers and Demmer blended 20 years of combined experience to form a one-stop facilities management company that provides lawn care, janitorial and snow removal services, as well as asphalt repair and maintenance. The company's more than 100 clients includes schools, government offices, public buildings, manufacturing plants, financial institutions and retail centers, as well as a handful of residential customers.  
"If you're a business owner and you use several companies for all these services, we can consult and provide you with competitive pricing for all three," says Chambers. "We also have that small business feel, and our customers say our response time is great."
Go Greener's base of operations consists of a 5,000 square foot office building and nearly 70,000 square feet of warehouse space on Lansing's north side. The company's fleet is branded with the company's logo and dispatch with professionally clad staff for all services.
Chambers says that Go Greener's lawn services grew 45 percent over last year. The company's janitorial services also climbed by 40 percent, while snow removal piled up a whopping 60 percent from the previous season. Chambers admits part of the growth was due to the exceptionally rough winter, and added that the company went through 1,000 tons of bulk road salt that they shared with other businesses.
"I truly think our growth is from the service we provide our customers," says Chambers. "Word of mouth has helped, we have good name recognition. But when people say 'these guys do a good job,' that's the best."
Source: Russ Chambers, Owner, Go Greener
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New tenant to transform legendary Creole Gallery into dining, drinking and music venue

Although the real estate has changed hands, the new tenant coming into the space of the 15-year-old Creole Gallery plans to carry forward the cultural vibe that made the space a symbol of Old Town's renaissance.
Zoobie's Old Town Tavern co-owners Sam Short, Aaron Matthews and Al Hooper signed a lease the first week of June with new building owner Jamie Schriner-Hooper to open The Creole—a combination restaurant, cocktail bar and "listening room" in the 2,250-square foot space at 1218 Turner St. The new establishment, Short says, will pay homage to Creole Gallery founder Robert Busby by retaining the name, artistic sensibilities, and character and aesthetics of the interior.
"There's just a fantastic southern feel about the place," says Short. "It has that Louisiana, French-revival feel, and the sound and acoustics are great."
The Creole, Short says, will be a place to go to enjoy cocktails, beer and wine, and 50s-style punches, as well as gumbo-style cuisine. Live jazz, blues, funk, and roots rock acts will perform on the original built-in stage from Busby's gallery. Open space will be transformed into a dining area with a 100-person capacity. Other new features will include a full-service bar and a behind-the-scenes kitchenette, overseen by Johnson & Wales trained chef Dan Konopnicki.
Short says The Creole is slated to open in mid-August with a staff of 15 people. In addition to live music, he says the venue will also feature rotations of art by local and regional artists.
"We want to continue to build this unique dining and drinking culture to compliment the already spectacular art and bohemian vibe," says Short. "We're driven to make Old Town the progressive core of dining and drinking in the Lansing area."
Source: Sam Short, Co-Owner, The Creole
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

H2O Hydroponics gets planted in second Okemos location

Stan Havens will assure you it's the way to grow.
As the owner and partner of H2O Hydroponics, Havens can supply most everything needed for starting or maintaining an indoor garden. And most recently, he's brought those supplies to Okemos, opening a second location based on the success of his original Delta Township store.
"We knew there would be a real big demand for hydroponic gardening out here," says Havens of the new store that opened in March at 4706 Okemos Road. "We’re seeing a lot of people from MSU and horticulture students coming in for equipment and supplies."
Havens, his brother Bryan, and business partner Jon Olson launched H2O Hydroponics three years ago in their home turf of Waverly. The store, he says, was so popular that there was little doubt they would experience similar success in Meridian Township.
The 2,500-square foot space is stocked full of hydroponic gardening equipment including air pumps, reservoirs, lights, hoods and lamps; nutrients, natural pesticide solutions, and growing mediums; as well as trimmers and accessories such as garden soft ties and trellises. He also sells trays for herb gardens and is planning to bring in a full line of organic seeds.
"We cater to every day dirt gardeners, too," says Havens. "But indoor gardening is our main concept."
Havens attributes the growth spurt in hydroponic gardening to people's increasing interest in growing their own food and knowing where their food is coming from.
"Plus, it's just a really fun hobby," says Havens who grows as assortment of vegetables at home. "And you can grow year-round. That's the best part about it."
The Okemos store employs two employees, while the Waverly location employs 10.
"We're hoping as business grows that we can hire more local talent," says Havens.  
Source: Stan Havens, Owner/Partner, H2O Hydroponics
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Group of friends decant dreams for new Portland microbrewery

What was a downtown theater in one life and a pottery shop in another will become what owners say is the only microbrewery between Lansing and Grand Rapids when The Gallery Brewery opens this June in Portland.
The Gallery, says operations manager Hannah Green, will be a warm, comfortable place where friends can gather to enjoy seasonal craft beers, wine, and non-alcoholic brews like cream soda and root beer—all made onsite. Patrons, too, can enjoy a healthy version of bar food including flat bread pizza, baked chicken, hummus, salads, and baked cauliflower with buffalo sauce.
"We want everything to be and feel local," says Green. "We're in a farming community and we want to draw from that. It's something we're really working on."
Green, her husband Jared, friends Joe, Neil and Al Mathesin, and building owner Rush Clement reflected on their hopes and aspirations one night and came up with the idea for Portland's new brewpub.
"We've all been brewing for a couple years now and have a real passion for it," says Green. "We just got to talking and liked the whole concept of The Gallery."
The Gallery takes it name from the local artists the brewpub will feature each month. Green says they already have eight months worth of artists lined up, and are working to secure musicians to play once or twice a week on a built-in stage.
Green says all club owners have been pitching in to renovate the 2,500-square-foot-space that will retain its high-ceilinged, industrial feel. Seating areas will feature couches, coffee tables and a bar for a total capacity of 80.
"I have a big family, so between all of us we are handling the renovations ourselves," says Green. "It's been a lot of fun."
The Gallery will employ six people for starters with more added as business grows.
"This is right up my alley," says Green who works in the hospitality field. "I like meeting new people. I like serving food and drinks. It's fun to be able to create an experience for a customer coming in. That's what we plan to do."
Source: Hannah Green, Operations Manager, The Gallery Brewery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New Vision Natural Health charts road to wellness from Charlotte to Okemos

Nikki Bowles believes that when people know better they feel better.
And as a board certified naturopathic doctor, lifestyle coach and licensed esthetician, Bowles helps people make healthier choices, find balance in everyday life, and facilitate the natural healing process.
Since early 2009, Bowles has coordinated and provided a combination of holistic health practices through New Vision Natural Health in Charlotte. And as her practice grew, she knew she was ready to expand, and to offer her blend of services through an established facility in Okemos.
In May 2014, Bowles opened a second office for her naturopathic health practice inside the Institute for Bioenergy Studies at 4655 Dobie Road. She'll be there two to three days a week, she says, providing services that involve natural health consultations, bodywork therapies, energy healing techniques and Feng Shui adjustments.
"We can provide guidance and recommend things that can help you feel better," says Bowles, who also coordinates services with several independent holistic practitioners that includes a sustainability specialist, doula, intuitive Reiki master and holistic music advocate. "We can also address what might be putting you out of balance."
Bowles says that a variety of factors can create imbalances in the body and affect the natural ability to heal. Those factors might include poor nutrition, structural problems, negative thought, emotions or environmental toxins. Bowles works to gather information on a person's lifestyle and habits, and suggests combinations of therapies that can help. 
Bowles says she is looking to expand her network of practitioners as well as to open a store or co-op that showcases various naturopath practitioners, products and services.
"It would be an additional doorway to empowering people to heal themselves," says Bowles. "It would be another way to help you connect with people who can help you on your path to wellness."
New Vision Natural Health will be hosting an open house at their new Dobie Road facility on May 31, beginning with a free open group meditation from 11 to noon. The community is invited to come and meet practitioners, see the facility, and learn about products and services from 1 to 4 p.m.

Source: Nikki Bowles, N.D., Owner, New Vision Natural Health
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Kayak shop makes splash on the Grand River

Trey Rouss describes himself as being "pretty miserable" when he first moved to Lansing from Arizona 14 years ago.
"I missed the mountains and the ocean," says Rouss. "But once I discovered the Great Lakes, rivers and inland lakes and how water works here, I embraced it."
Rouss took to the water as an avid kayaker and became an immediate ambassador for paddle sports. Today, he's making a splash as Lansing's newest purveyor of paddle sports gear and instruction as the owner of the Power of Water Kayak store.
Rouss opened in early spring, and invited the public to fours days of paddle sports activities and demonstrations during a grand opening from April 24 to 27. His goal, he says, is broader than simply equipping people with gear and accessories; it's to equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to enjoy being on the water.
"We're focused on outreach and getting as many people as we can out on the water," says Rouss. "We want people in Lansing to see what the Grand River has to offer and to take an interest in exploring it more."
Located in a repurposed strip mall at 420 E. Saginaw, the Power of Water has access to Lansing's riverfront right out the backdoor. Rouss and his three staff decked-out the 1,300-square foot space with reclaimed barn wood for an earthy look that complements displays of nearly 20 stand-up paddle boards, 40 kayaks and gear.
Working with his director of programming Scott Fairty, Rouss offers classes for all ages and skill levels, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, advanced whitewater and river self-rescue.
"Our classes are focused, experiential and fun," says Rouss. "There's not a lot of talking and lectures. It's very on the water learning."
Rouss and his five to 10 instructors are certified through the American Canoe Association or the British Canoe Union. Courses run from May through October, with dry land or pool instruction offered during the off-season.
"The Grand River is an amazing resource going right through the middle of our town," says Rouss. "Our goal is to share our passion, to show people how to play on the water, and hope that will inspire people to protect it."
Source: Trey Rouss, Owner, Power of Water Kayak Store
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

AA Creative Corridor offers resourceful rental options to artistic community

When Ariniko O'Meara hung her photography exhibit on the walls of a gallery in REO Town, she didn't foresee she would be managing the space two months later.
But some things simply fall into place.
"Art Alley closed down a month before I was to exhibit," says the Lansing photographer. "I rented the space for a month, and saw no reason why we couldn't reopen."
Shortly after her October show, O'Meara refocused her energies toward relaunching the south side gallery. She changed the name from Art Alley to AA Creative Corridor, and then turned her attention toward expanding the use of the 1,100 square foot space at 1133 S. Washington Ave.
"We're renting the space as a venue," says O'Meara. "You can also rent space on the walls. It's a lot like what Art Alley was doing."
O'Meara envisions renting AA Creative Corridor for yoga classes, theater classes or other creative groups needing a venue for special events or activities. Rentals can be single use or in groupings, with prices scaled accordingly.
"We're flexible," says O'Meara. "We're hearing from community members who just need studio space. It's been a perfect fit."
O'Meara reports that six creatives are currently renting the space for exhibits, projects or activities. Community members can also rent the gallery for meetings, parties and classes. She is also reaching out to artistic groups and individuals interested in renting wall or floor space for exhibits or projects. She says she doesn't plan to do much physical renovation with the exception of possibly finishing the floors.
"People really like the look of the space," she says of the gallery that was converted from an outdoor alley to an indoor space. "There's old-fashioned advertising on the walls and rough floors. It's part of the draw."
Source: Ariniko O'Meara, Manager, AA Creative Corridor
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Grace Boutique nears June move to east side of Old Town

Every day, Summer Schriner gets one step closer to moving her boutique across Cedar Street and into the newest part of Lansing's Old Town.
"We're really excited to be expanding Old Town retail a little bit to the east," says Schriner, owner of Grace Boutique of Old Town. "It will be great to join Leopold & Bloom and get closer to Zoobies."
In January, Schriner announced she was moving Grace Boutique into Young's Landing, a building just across the street from the old Temple Club. Now five months into renovations, she says she's gearing up for a June opening that will also welcome a second tenant into the three-storefront building at 509 E. Grand River.
"It's been like herding cats," laughs Schriner of the ongoing renovations that involve pulling out carpet, refinishing floors, restoring original wood trim, painting, and installing new lighting and fans. "But everybody now is moving at the right time in the right place."
Schriner opened her women's shop that specializes in classic styles in 2007. Since then, she's built a loyal following of shoppers looking for clothing and accessories with a vintage feel. The move from her current location at 115. E. Grand River, she says, will double her floor space to 2,200 square feet, and allow her to carry more items and to showcase designers. She also plans to host occasional private shopping parties and other events as space and time allow.
"We're been very fortunate that word-of-mouth about our service and shop has helped us out," says Schriner. "I want women to know when they come here that I'll get them something they'll look fabulous in."
Schriner currently works with one other person to run the boutique. Shortly after her move, Curvaceous Lingerie will move from Okemos into the adjacent storefront to complete the retail duo.
"They're a good fit for Old Town," says Shriner of the business owned by Loren Long. "She has a great eye and the spunk and personality that fits down here."
Source: Summer Schriner, Owner, Grace Boutique
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Curvaceous Lingerie finds perfect fit in Old Town

Things are taking shape for Loren Long.
In June, the owner of Curvaceous Lingerie will move from a 250-square foot location inside the Wedding Bell in Okemos to a new 900-square-foot store in Old Town. It's a move, Long says, that allows her to stock and display a larger variety of merchandise. And it's a move that enables her to get a little edgier while retaining her focus on being a lingerie boutique for every woman.
"We offer a nice selection of classy lingerie pieces that you can't find anywhere else around here," says Long. "Bras in hard-to-find sizes are our number one."
Long grew up in Okemos and learned about selecting and fitting undergarments while working in the bridal industry in Florida and South Carolina. She says it never crossed her mind to go into the lingerie business until she was home shopping for a birthday gift with a friend.
"My friend mentioned to me that I knew so much that I could open my own lingerie store," she says. "I knew then she was right and that it would be a perfect fit."
Curvaceous Boutique originally opened in November 2012 and currently offers a more extensive range of lingerie sizes than a typical department store, including bra sizes 28-46, A-KK cup, and lingerie from small to plus.
"We're also a store for someone who wants a special nightie," says Long. "Lots of customers come in and say they're traveling with girlfriends or a couple and they want cute pajamas that aren't too revealing or sexy."
Curvaceous Lingerie will move into the retail space adjacent to the soon-to-relocate Grace Boutique of Old Town at 509 E. Grand River. Once ensconced, Long plans to introduce a lingerie line that mimics retro style with a pin-up flare. She also hopes to add one or two employees and to host events that include private parties, ladies nights out, and mini-boudoir photo sessions.
"Old Town has this dynamic energy," says Long. "My family is artsy, so it's a place where I feel really at home."
Source: Loren Long, Owner, Curvaceous Lingerie
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Strange Matter Coffee to open espresso bar, create gathering space

There's some strange brew coming to the East Side. And according to Lansing's latest artisan barista, she's serving up brew that begins with the essence of the bean.
Beginning in July, Cara Nader will open the doors to Strange Matter Coffee at 2001 E. Michigan Ave. The coffee bar, she says, has been in the works for about three years, and is a friendly collision of her two passions: science and java.
"Strange matter is a particular form of quark matter," says Nader of her business moniker. "It's a theoretical form of quark, often thought of as a liquid. It's a nerdy kind-of science thing."
Nader's confessed geekiness for science shapes her approach to brewing. Each cup served in Strange Matter, she says, will be made to order using one of several brewing devices. One device—the Chemex—extracts a clean cup of coffee through a drip filtering process. The Chemex, Nader says, resembles a science beaker, and is among contemporary devices featured in the Museum of Modern Art. Another system Nader uses—the V-60—involves a cone-shaped pour-over device that produces a quicker cup.
"We'll use a particular device to bring out different characteristics of the bean," says Nadar, who compares her coffee to micro-brewed beer. "Each device has its benefits and I'll be using one or another to highlight flavors."
Nader sources her beans from distributors like Populace Coffee who specialize in single- origin, seasonal coffee. She'll also feature a rotating menu of roasters from around the country, and a few varieties of chai tea.
"I like to focus on in-season coffee that's freshly harvested," she says. "We'll feature coffees from individuals farms and particular regions since not every region harvests at the same time of year."
Nader is currently replacing flooring, painting and putting in a espresso bar in the 1,500-square foot place that will seat from 25 to 30 people. And as business gets up and running, she hopes to bring two to three staff on board.
"I want people to sit and enjoy their beverage," says Nader. "Every coffee has it's place, and I want people to have that moment when they say 'wow, I didn't know coffee could be this good.'"
Source: Cara Nader, Chief Coffee Engineer, Strange Matter Coffee Co.
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Detroit Frankie's fires up outdoor kitchen for fresh, made-to-order pizza

Frank Tignanelli has gone from restaurants to backyards to city streets to make and bake the freshest pizza on earth.
"From the time you order to the time it's in the box it takes about seven minutes," says Tignanelli, a long-time Michigan restaurateur also known as Detroit Frankie. "And you're there watching me make it, watching it go into the oven. I even have people take pictures while it's baking."
In mid-March, Tignanelli started cooking his famous wood-fired pizzas for Greater Lansing in an outdoor kitchen on the corner of Cedar and Oakland, Monday through Friday. Passers-by can pull in, order pizzas to go from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and watch as Tignanelli hand-tosses the dough, sauces with fresh-packed tomatoes, and cheeses with whole milk mozzarella. Customers then choose up to four toppings from a list of 20 fresh ingredients, including meats, vegetables and fruits. Tignanelli completes the "old world charm" by cooking the 16-inch pizza in a deluxe wood-fired brick oven.
"I feed wood into the oven to keep it hot all day—about 750 degrees," says Tignanelli. "The crust gets little charred marks on the outside and stays chewy on the inside. You get a nice clean taste with all the fresh ingredients."
Tignanelli says he learned all about pizza from his dad "Papa Joe" while growing up in Detroit. In the mid-70s, he started in the pizza biz by working in family restaurants in central and Northern Michigan. In between restaurant gigs, he became an expert food distributor, then came back to his his true calling: creating and serving pizza. He bought the wood-fired brick oven, started catering, and began making and baking pizzas at festivals and events. When a friend suggested he find a weekday location, he staked out his current corner.
"I've owned and managed restaurants all over Michigan," says Tignanelli. "But what I always loved best was standing in front of my oven making pizza and talking to customers. And that's what I do now. It's like having a food show every day."
Source: Frank Tignanelli, Owner, Detroit Frankie's
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Retired executive revolutionizes wine cellar design with Revel Cellars

While he won't say who they in casual conversation, his customers include CEOs, venture capitalists and entertainers. And Forbes writes that his product is "the world's best," thereby adding to its cache.
It's a level of success, Jim Cash says, that's he didn't expect right off for his start-up business. But it's one he's been able to build thanks to the skills, craftsmanship and innovation he finds right here in Michigan, including support from the East Lansing Technology and Innovation Center.
In April, Cash moved Revel Custom Wine Cellars from the TIC to 435 E. Grand River Ave., signaling a new home for the company that creates wine cellar cabinetry for the discerning wine collector. It's cabinetry, he says, that provides a revolutionary way to showcase and protect prized wine collections, while bringing ease of access to wine cellar storage.
"Traditional wine racks are a matrix with individual cubicles where a single bottle goes," says the retired COO of Lansing's Christman Company. "I had a rack like that and had all kinds of problems from bottles not fitting to not finding the bottles I was looking for."
Cash drew on his love of wine and his nearly three decades of professional building experience to create cabinetry that involves sliding drawers, "lazy Susans" and dowels that leverage space and hold both bottles and cases. Customers can enhance the patented design with LED lighting, cellar doors, labels, and additional components for a system that combines form and function.
Cash coordinates sales and marketing from his new 700-square foot office, while the cabinets are built and constructed in western Michigan. His sales and management team includes two representatives based in San Francisco and Florida, and an operations manager in New York. His goal for 2014 is to build about 20 cellars at a cost of about $40,000 each. Long-term, he hopes to build and sell at least 50 a year.
"We're doing something that hasn't been done before," says Cash, who is a long-time wine collector himself. "There really hasn't been a design evolution in the way cellars are built. Essentially they've been built the same way for hundreds of years."
Source: Jim Cash, Owner, Revel Custom Wine Cellars
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Perfect Circle Recycling helps put waste to good use

Todd Wilson has never been shy about cleaning up and doing dirty work. In fact, he's building a business that helps haul away trash for a greener world.
Perfect Circle Recycling, Wilson says, gives residents an option for recycling food waste, leaves and grass clippings through a personal hauling service that connects with environmentally conscious reuse facilities.
"There is a lot of food byproducts that are being landfilled that could be repurposed," says Wilson. "I see it all as a perfect circle."
Wilson started his company in 2011 from his home in southwest Lansing with a little bit of ingenuity, a truck, a trailer and bins. Working with a partner in the composting business, he helped Central Michigan University initiate a system to recycle food waste into compost, renewable energy or animal feed.
Today, Wilson is focusing on building services back home in Eaton County and Delhi Charter Township. Beginning July 1, he plans to launch a weekly service that involves hauling food waste, leaves and grass clippings from small businesses, restaurants or residents to facilities that can repurpose the debris. Those facilities, he says, include composters, anaerobic digesters, compressed natural gas providers, or qualifying animal feedlots.
Customers signing up for Wilson's hauling service receive a three-gallon bucket for in-house use, as well as a 96-gallon roller cart. His service runs $10 a month. Customers who prepay for six months receive a 15-pound bag of premium compost, while those who pay it forward a year receive a 25-pound bag.
Wilson's short-term goal is to grow his customers to 100 or more this year and to divert at least 100,000 pounds of food waste from landfills.
"It's a way you can become a steward of your community and be involved," says Wilson. "Basically, it's just about being green."
Source: Todd Wilson, Owner, Perfect Circle Recycling
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Homeless Angels sets up home base for coordinating outreach

Jessep Magoon doesn't believe that everyone who holds up a cardboard sign and asks for help is doing so to support a drug or alcohol addiction.
That's why Magoon asked a friend to create a sign for his grassroots cause that helps redefine perceptions of the homeless.
In mid-April, Magoon's sign for the Homeless Angels found a permanent home in the window of their first brick and mortar office.
"It fit perfectly," says Magoon of the portable sign he has used for outreach events. "It was one of those fate things—that this place was meant to be."
Magoon co-founded the Homeless Angels with Mike Karl in November 2013. The idea, he says, is to provide a resource that bridges the gap between the homeless and local agencies.
Until April, the Homeless Angels was run from the streets. Volunteers met in parks, parking lots, churches or other supportive organizations to coordinate outreach and "street teams" to help Greater Lansing's homeless.
"Since the beginning, our big focus has been street outreach and building relationships with people who might otherwise fall through the cracks," says Magoon who is also a student at Lansing Community College. "But since we didn't have a home base it was hard to do client intake. We did everything by laptop and cell phone, and knew as we got more innovative we would need an office."
Directly across from the State capitol, the 900-square foot office at 328 W. Ottawa Street is easy-to-access, wired for Internet, has ample storage space for a food pantry and supplies, and is staffed by a core group of about 10 volunteers. There's even a washer and dryer on site to clean cloths or blankets for homeless clients. Rent, Magoon says, is funded by donations made through GoFundMe, with other services supported through community fundraisers and donations.
Magoon says his drive to build the volunteer non-profit is fueled by his past struggles with addiction. He finds inspiration, too, in the depth of understanding held by Karl, who previously lived on the streets.
"We know there are underlying factors and a story behind why people are homeless," says Magoon. "Our hope is to shed a positive light on a negative situation, and to show the community that the homeless are not just stereotypes, but people needing help to get them back into society."
Source: Jessep Magoon, Co-founder, Homeless Angels
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Galaxie Coffee Roasters fuels passion for artisan coffee in Greater Lansing

When Rick Carter takes to the streets in his bright red '63 Ford Galaxie 500, he's out for more than a classic cruise. He's delivering sustenance.
As one of Greater Lansing's new breed of micro coffee roasters, Carter ensures customers have the beans they need to fuel their week through local delivery or shipping.
"I have a route I run on Sunday mornings," says Carter who custom roasts coffee from his home after winding down from his full-time job. "But if someone needs coffee, I won't make them wait."
As the owner of Galaxie Coffee Roasters, Carter understands the love of java. His wife, Rachel, did too and bought him the small roaster for Christmas about seven years ago that started his adventure into roasting single-origin coffee.
Carter started out roasting one pound at a time for his daily brew, then began roasting for friends. Soon, his beans were all the buzz around his hometown of Mason. Energized by caffeine, he invested in a three-kilo shop roaster and began sourcing beans from Sweet Maria's and the Coffee Shrub—two coffee distributors that work directly with small farmers worldwide.
Carter launched Galaxie in September 2013. He has about 50 to 75 core customers for his seasonal varieties that feature beans from small farms in Guatemala, Sumatra, Yemen, Kenya, Colombia and other coffee growing regions. Coffee drinkers can also find a small selection of Galaxie artisan roasts through Best Sellers Books and Coffee Co. in downtown Mason.
In March, Carter worked with Bestseller's owner Jamie Robinson to host Galaxie's first public coffee cupping at the store. The event, Carter says, is akin to a wine tasting for coffee, and allows customers to sample and appreciate the full flavor of a particular brew.
"So many people just gulp coffee down on their way to work," says Carter. "My objective is to get people to slow down and smell the coffee."
Source: Rick Carter, Owner, Galaxie Coffee Roasters
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Cravings Okemos location brings new jobs, new popcorn mixes to area

Chad Jordan says he literally lived on popcorn when he first started working.
"I've always loved popcorn," says Jordan. "My first job was at a movie theater."
That kinship for the kernel led the East Lansing native to found Cravings Gourmet Popcorn in 2005. In two years, the specialty popcorn retailer moved from a small vendor space in the Lansing City Market to a storefront in historic Old Town. After seven successful years of creating flavors and blends for snackers with a yen, Jordan decided to expand east and open a second store in Okemos.
"We're excited to get going and start building our new location," says Jordan. "It's going to be a fun thing for the community."
Jordan announced the expansion in mid-February and has remained on schedule to open the doors at 1871 W. Grand River on June 1. The 4,600-square foot space near Dusty's Cellar will feature a sample bar that evokes instant "yums," as well as a viewing area where customers can marvel at the popcorn popping process. Like Lansing, Cravings Okemos location will carry unique and nostalgic bottled drinks including root beers, flavored sodas, or funky libations like coffee or bacon pop.

Jordan says his second store will create five to 10 new jobs, as well as new popcorn mixes that pay tribute to the community.
"We already have our Old Town mix of white cheddar and caramel," says Jordan. "So we'll probably have mixes for Okemos, Williamston and Haslett. And the East Side, too."
Source: Chad Jordan, Owner, Cravings Popcorn
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Go Green Trikes rolls out on Earth Day

Yvonne LeFave got rolling on her business while waiting for the bus in East Lansing.
"Traffic was backing up because of a delivery truck that had stopped to take in four loads of big boxes," says LeFave. "All of us at the bus stop were saying there had to be a better way."
LeFave set out to find it. Beginning Earth Day, LeFave will roll out Go Green Trikes—a local courier service for businesses that involves electric-assisted trikes. The trikes, LeFave says, are more nimble in traffic than many motorized vehicles and carry up to 600 pounds. Plus, they're quirky, eye-catching and fun.
"There's nothing else like them on the road," LeFave says.
LeFave's fleet of two can go up to 100 miles each at speeds of 15 miles per hour. The ELF—short for Electric, Lightweight and Fun—operates through pedaling and a solar-powered battery, and looks like a cross between a recumbent bike and a Smart car. Go Green's larger vehicle, the Truck Trike, resembles a small pickup truck on a bike frame and can carry up to 12 18-gallon totes.
Go Green's initial cargos will be made up of print items, food, and business-to-business supplies or products. And because it's Michigan, trikes will be on the road from April to November.
"I like green technology and the idea of living without a motorized vehicle," says LeFave, whose Quaker faith puts simplicity and stewardship top-of-mind. "I've wanted to show people what can be done without a car. And this does that."
Go Green Trikes will pedal between businesses in the East Lansing-Lansing downtown districts, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. LeFave hopes to set up an office on Lansing's Eastside in the coming year, and to employ two or more part-time staff as trike couriers. For now, Go Green Trikes is reachable through her web site.
Interested in learning more about Go Green Trikes? LeFave invites the public to attend an open house on her first day of business: April 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Michigan Energy Options, 405 Grove Street, East Lansing. Both trikes and city officials from East Lansing and Lansing will be onsite. 
Source: Yvonne LeFave, President, Go Green Trikes
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Music lover brings vision from the road with amphitheater development

Bob Jordan spent 20 years on the road in the music business getting his start as a mixer for Fleetwood Mac. Now he's home with a vision to bring bands to mid-Michigan's backyard.
Along with business partner Cheryl McCullough, Jordan aspires to break ground this summer on a 15,000-seat outdoor music amphitheater in Windsor Township. Located on 100 acres just a quarter mile off I-69, the $20 million dollar project will be a state-of-the-art theater that gives music fans a local option for high-end musical acts from April through October. Slated to open in 2015, the Mid-Michigan Music Theater will create 250 seasonal and 75 annual jobs.
"Lansing needs this," says Jordan, a resident of Williamston Township. "It's hard to get to DTE, Van Andel, FireKeepers or Soaring Eagle during the week. People really want this here."
The Mid-Michigan Music Theater will feature national headliners as well as local and regional acts. The layout will feature plenty of big screens, a scalable stage for big or small acts, and ample ceiling height for large or elaborate shows. Opening plans for the inaugural season include a two-day festival showcasing mid-Michigan performers.
"We're also looking into the engineering of having a roof that can close over the fixed seating area, similar to a football stadium," says Jordan. "That way we can do events in the winter and not have to depend on the weather."
Jordan says the theater will give back to the community through fundraisers, food drives, and ticket giveaways to non-profit organizations. He also envisions awarding percentages of parking fees to groups that serve as attendants during events.
Jordan has his sights on building a "green" arena using Michigan contractors. He's also seeking LEED certification. A crowd funding campaign on the arena website is open to community members interested in contributing to or investing in the project.
"We're going to do as much to support the community as we can," says Jordan. "That's important to us."
Source: Bob Jordan, Mid-Michigan Music Theater
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Maybelle's Café and Sweets creates a gathering place, four jobs

When Amy Zander told her friends about her recent venture to open a café in Grand Ledge, they smiled and said it was a perfect fit.
"They said my house has always been the place where all of us want to gather because I'm a good host and always had good things to eat," says Zander. "That's my goal now."
Beginning May 3, Zander will open the doors to Maybelle's Café and Sweets at 214B S. Bridge Street. It's a dream she's had since high school and later reinforced when she and her husband managed a private hunting lodge and full-service kitchen in Northern Michigan.
Zander will move into the previous home of Sweet Linda's Café—a beloved bakery and sandwich shop that recently closed when the owner retired. She won't be straying much from the Sweet Linda's premise, Zander says, and will offer sandwiches, soups and salads, homemade baked goods, gourmet coffee and organic loose-leaf tea.
"One thing I am doing differently is I am going to be offering a gluten-free line of sandwiches and baked goods," says Zander. "And then there's my bubble bread."
Baked from a family recipe, bubble bread is a variation on the cinnamon roll and comes in several flavors. Any customer who can say 'bubble bread' correctly five times in a row will get a free sample.
"I'm planning to have a nice balance between some good sweet treats and healthy foods," says Zander. "That's how I like to eat. I like to eat healthy, but I also like to have a great brownie or cookie to balance it."
Zander is taking out a back wall to double her capacity, and configuring arrangements of tables and couches for cozy seating. She's also opening up an outdoor patio and garden area that will feature live music when the weather breaks.
"After this crazy winter, I'm really looking forward to sitting out there myself," she says.
Zander plans to hire up to four staff, and may also get occasional help from the budding chefs in her family, including her two kids and husband.
Source: Amy Zander, owner, Maybelle's Café and Sweets
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Leaf branches out to new Okemos location, creates nine jobs

Although Leaf Salad Bar opened its Frandor location just eight months ago, the need to branch out was apparent within weeks.
"It took off so fast that I had to look for a second location almost immediately," says co-owner Mark Sprinkel. "We found an Okemos location that attracts a solid lunch market, and we have more than ample parking."
Sprinkel opened the doors on the 1,300-square foot restaurant in mid-March, serving 40 inside and 10 on an outdoor patio when weather permits. The Woodland Square location at 2319 Jolly Road has already attracted a steady following for the gourmet salad bar that offers a healthy alternative for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
With a staff of nine and the culinary prowess of chef Phil Bopka, the Okemos venue mirrors the format of Lansing location by allowing patrons to weigh and pay for their own salads created from more than 100 gourmet toppings. Leaf also serves soups, fruits and smoothies, bringing what Sprinkel says, is a new option for a fresh, fast and healthy lunch every day.
"You can be creative and have a chopped salad one day, an Italian the next," says Sprinkel. "Or you can make a fruit salad. People are starting to come in for breakfast smoothies, too."
Sprinkel and his business partner Igor Jurkovic of Restaurant Mediteran are looking to expand their catering horizons, including wheel-in salad bars at off-site events.
"Right now our catering is all pick-up," says Sprinkel. "We're also looking into opening locations in Detroit and East Grand Rapids, and hope to franchise the business."
Source: Mark Sprinkel, Owner, Leaf Salad Bar
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Soup Spoon Cafe adds space, expands service options

Nick Gavrilides is all about good food. He's also all about ensuring the best experience for his guests.
Those two factors,  Gavrilides says, are behind the recent expansion of the Soup Spoon Cafe at 1419 E. Michigan Ave. on Lansing's East Side.
"That and we could always use a little more storage space," says the owner and chef of the seven-year-old restaurant. "It can get a little cramped in here sometimes."
In late March, Gavrilides started reconstructing an adjoining space that used to house Bancroft Flowers. With expected completion by mid- May, the Soup Spoon addition will accommodate up to 30 guests, bringing the restaurant's total capacity to 100 diners for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Gavrilides says that while connected to the original footprint, the new space is ideal for private receptions and parties, as well as for accommodating larger groups.
While his primary motive is to offer more seating and cut down on wait times, Gavrilides says the expansion will also foster growth on the catering side—something the Soup Spoon has not done except on a small scale.
"I'm just excited to be able to serve more people, and to feel confident that they can get in, have a good lunch, and get back to work on time," says Gavrilides. "I'm also excited about expanding our catering offerings and to get the show on the road."
Since opening in the early 2000s, the Soup Spoon has built a healthy following through a menu that features six soups, world cuisine, craft beers, and locally roasted coffee. All items are reasonably priced, with per plate costs ranging from $5 to $29.
Gavrilides says he will be adding two new staff immediately and possibly up to five depending on public reception.
"If our catering needs go wild, we'll be in a position to offer more opportunity," he says.
Source: Nick Gavrilides, Owner and Chef, The Soup Spoon Cafe
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Black Cat Bistro brings sophisticated dining, 30 jobs to East Lansing

Two area restaurateurs looking to fill a niche in East Lansing are working together to transform a small retail space into a grand venue for sophisticated dining.
Beginning in late April, Los Tres Amigos' Arnulfo Ramirez and Georgio's Pizza's Thomas Alimonos will open the doors on the Black Cat Bistro at 115 Albert Street. The 2,000-square foot restaurant will be a partnership between the two entrepreneurs and will feature upscale, modern American cuisine in a fine dining atmosphere.
"Arnulfo and Thomas met as local business owners here," says Lorely Polanco, marketing director for the Black Cat Bistro. "They were interested in each other's approach to business, and they both had the idea of opening a fine dining establishment in East Lansing that could compete with destinations in Eastwood. They just clicked."
Polanco says the interior of the restaurant will strike a balance between simplicity and sophistication through dark leather booths, art deco walls, and wrought iron chandeliers. Nearly 80 diners will be able to enjoy indoor table service, while an outdoor patio adjacent to an East Lansing park will seat up to 30 guests.
Diners at the Black Cat can enjoy appetizers like bistro fries or peanut crusted goat cheese fritters, or salads like toasted almond and avocado or shaved asparagus and arugula. Main courses start at $11 up to $23 and include char-grilled skirt steak, mango and mustard glazed lake trout, mushroom strudel, and other dishes created by Executive Chef Jose Romero. Desserts favor cheesecakes, torts, ganache-filled oreos and a traditional Valencia rice pudding in a crispy almond cookie.
"Our menus is small but unique," says Polanco of the restaurant that will create about 30 jobs. "We'll have some local dishes that will feature local products, too."
Source: Lorely Polanco, Marketing Director for the Black Cat Bistro
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Zoobie's launches expansion, add foods, space and new jobs to popular tavern

A whimsical mix of the 1960s space race, coal-fired pizza and mid-century décor are fueling the expansion of a popular bar and restaurant in Old Town.
But that's not all that's driving the owners of Zoobie's Old Town Tavern at 611 E. Grand River Ave. to more than double its size by repurposing a vacant lot and pizza place next door.
"Our customers inspired us," says co-owner Sam Short of launching into the next phase of the business he operates with Aaron Matthews and Alan Hooper. "We had such a welcoming reception from Lansing, and the only real point we heard was that people wanted us to add food and a kitchen."
Short says it made sense to expand to the west and start a new pizza venture called The Cosmos Wood-Fired Pizza on the former site of Poppa Leo's. The half-million dollar plan involves refurbishing the pizzeria, connecting the two buildings via an addition, expanding the outdoor patio, and creating an eye-catching façade that includes a faux spaceship and cosmic mural. Local architect Ken Jones of Studio Intrigue and contractor Mike Reid from Capitol Mechanical are also involved bringing the concept down to earth.
"We're going to get started as soon as it thaws," says Short. "Our first order of business is paving the lots that took a winter beating, and then doing the groundwork."
Expected to open this June, The Cosmos will feature thin crust, Naples style pizza made in a wood-fire oven. Johnson and Wales trained chef Don Konopnicki will also create a small plate menu for both sides of the business. Short says that The Cosmos will locally source the wood for the pizza stove, and that menu items will feature fresh herbs from Zoobie's patio garden as the seasons allow.
The 1,500-square foot expansion will double Zoobie's interior space, while the patio will grow from an existing 55 to about 100 feet. About 10 new staff will be added once the 25-seat Cosmos is up and running.
"We're glad to be part of the local, creatively-driven businesses of Old Town," says Short. "Everything here is true Lansing. That's why we want to stay here and grow and create these fun options."
Zoobies and The Cosmos are exploring options for an exterior mural on the expanded tavern. Interested artists are welcome to email Sam Short via Zoobie's website for more details.

Source: Sam Short, co-owner, Zoobie's Old Town Tavern
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

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 Edito

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

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

Salon Savvy brings relaxing style and new jobs to East Lansing

Keeping her customers relaxed and comfortable is at the top of the list for Shirley Warren.
"We're positive. We're caring. And there's absolutely no drama," says Warren of Salon Savvy, one of East Lansing's newest salons. "We've worked hard to create the best possible atmosphere for our clients."
Despite being located at a busy intersection on East Lansing's western edge, Salon Savvy evokes a sense of calm through a soothing interior palette of blues, greens and neutrals.
A reception area with a beverage bar sets the tone, as do discreetly spaced hair, nail and pedicure stations within the 2,800 square-foot facility. The circular floor plan enables separate climate-controlled areas for most services, including shampooing, waxing and massage.
"Wendy and I always wanted to open up a modern and relaxed place where we could build clientele," says Shirley, mentioning that she and her business partner, Wendy Schram, have worked together for more than a dozen years. "This place used to be a salon, so when it became available, it all fell into place."
Warren says she, Schram and their husbands invested seven weeks of muscle and sweat to ready the salon at 1429 W. Saginaw St. for a mid-December opening. Renovations included painting, waxing floors and installing equipment for 10 hair styling and two nail stations.
"We're looking to expand fast," says Warren. "We're hopeful that we will be able to build loyal clientele."
Salon Savvy currently contracts with two stylists and a nail technician. Plans are to add up to six more stylists, a nail technician and a massage therapist in 2014.
Source: Shirley Warren, Co-Owner, Salon Savvy
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development Editor

Prime Shine Professionals puts the polish on any ride

James Phifer knows all about bringing a show room shine to every make and model of car.
Since high school, Phifer has cleaned, polished, painted and revitalized the exteriors and interiors of thousands of automobiles as a professional car detailer. He's worked at General Motors, car dealerships and detailer shops across Mid-Michigan. Now, after 35 years of professional experience, he's hanging a shingle on his own two-bay garage.
"It's been my dream to run my own business someday," says Phifer who officially "cut the ribbon" on Prime Shine Professionals in early January 2014. "I'm very thorough, and I've studied new and old techniques. I've been doing this so long I know the tricks of the trade and know what people are looking for."
Phifer's two-bay garage is located directly behind Williamston Car Wash at 1125 W. Grand River Ave. in Williamston. In August of 2013, Phifer signed a lease, moved his equipment into the 700-square foot space, added seating and modern touches in customer waiting areas, and began offering professional auto detailing and reconditioning services to the community.
Phifer's services involve full bumper-to-bumper revitalization, with the results being a superior finish and a glossy new car finish inside and out. Services may be purchased as a package or a la carte and include a full carpet extraction, paint and stain removal, headliner cleaning, scratch and scuff removal, headlight restoration and interior leather reconditioning.
Phifer welcomed two contractors to his shop and hopes to eventually serve as a training facility for high school students who want to learn the trade.
"I've detailed just about every kind of car you can imagine," says Phifer, who is fully licensed and insured. "But I'm still waiting for that Bentley to come through my doors."
Source: James Phifer, Owner, Prime Shine Professionals
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Farm Fresh Seafood makes a splash with new Okemos market

Greater Lansing might be landlocked, but that doesn't keep Russ Allen from bringing farm fresh seafood to Mid-Michigan.
As the owner of the 7-year-old Shrimp Farm Market in Meridian Township, Allen has tested the waters for raising shrimp in Michigan's climate. His innovative indoor farm system produces about 400 pounds of shrimp each month, and holds promise for making Michigan the shrimping capital of the Midwest.
Now this veteran of the shrimp farming industry is taking his vision to the street with Farm Fresh Seafood—a soon-to-be-open storefront in Okemos for farm fresh seafood.
"The customers who came to the Shrimp Farm Market seem to be excited about what we're doing," says Allen. "I'm seeing an opportunity to do the right kind of seafood market by promoting all farmer seafood."
Allen will close his previous shrimp market that he ran adjacent to his growing facility and open the 1,200-square foot storefront at 1731 W. Grand River Ave.
In addition to Allen's shrimp, Farm Fresh Seafood will sell fresh, farm-raised seafood shipped direct from farms in from Maine, Washington, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii and other parts of the U.S. Some fresh frozen seafood will also be available.
"I want to change the dialog and say that U.S. farmer seafood is still the best available," says Allen. "Our goal is to feature different farms and different species from around the country."
Allen plans to open as early as February, complete with a commercial kitchen that prepares delicacies such as shrimp cervich, shrimp salad and shrimp burgers.
"Right now, this is just a family-run operation," says Allen as he mentions the jobs created for his wife, son and his son's girlfriend. "We hope to expand in the next year and maybe add some staff. Hopefully, this store is just the first of many in Michigan and elsewhere."
Source: Russ Allen, Owner, Farm Fresh Seafood
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Cuttin Up Barber Shop to add staff, activities in 2014

Paul Trowbridge's path to business began in his hometown of Battle Creek, wound its way to Lansing, took a detour down south, and cut back to Lansing again.
"When I first got back, I noticed this area needed a barber shop," says Trowbridge, owner of Cuttin Up Barber Shop in REO Town. "There was one here years ago and I wanted to bring it back."
Since opening in November 2012, Trowbridge's business at 1135 S. Washington has steadily grown from a clientele he nurtured through a decade of Lansing barbering experiences, including his previous shop, Barber Love. And with REO Town's rebirth, Cuttin Up has experienced a mild uptick, allowing Trowbridge to lay plans for new staff and increased civic-engagement.
Beginning in 2014, Trowbridge will add at least one licensed barber to his staff of three. He's also looking to sponsor a day-of-service for military veterans, and to continue programs that benefit the Lansing Area AIDS Network.
With a modest budget and lots of muscle, Trowbridge transformed the 1,000-square foot space previously occupied by Betty's Buttons by putting in a new floor, liberating brick walls from plaster, updating lighting, and furnishing with refurbished fixtures and chairs.
"There's nothing cosmetologist about it," says Trowbridge. "It's truly a man's shop, and a place where guys can come and let their hair down."
But then he pauses.
"Of course, if a woman comes in with her son for his haircut, we're friendly," he says, adding that he might cut the mom's hair, too, if she asked. "We're building lots of ties with families and businesses in the area. We want to be here for the long haul."
Source: Paul Trowbridge, Owner, Cuttin Up Barber Shop
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development Editor

Conrad's owner opens new East Lansing catering company

As the owner of both Conrad's College Town Grill locations in East Lansing, Joe Conrad has a pretty good idea of what's going on in the city's food industry. With all of the university departments and businesses in the area, he saw room in the market for a new caterer. That led to the opening of Grand River Catering Company

"We're not a fine dining, by any means, but it's a better option than some of the corporate places where you have very limited options," says Conrad. "Everything is cooked fresh to order for each catering job, and we can be more flexible with our clientele. Whatever they want, if we can do it, we will."

After opening the second location of Conrad's on E. Grand River in 2012, Conrad realized he had 1,500 extra square feet in the rear of the business. That's where he launched the catering company. While Grand River Catering Company officially opened in Sept., a busy fall at Conrad's has allowed for a gradual ramp up of the new business. Conrad says he's looking forward to having more time to focus on catering during MSU's semester break. 

"We offer more of a personal touch," Conrad says. "Typically, I will be the one delivering the food and making sure that everything goes well."

Grand River Catering Company is currently staffed by Conrad and one other employee. He hopes his focus on servicing the university and local business community will help him grow into  the go-to catering option for East Lansing.

Source: Joe Conrad, Grand River Catering Company
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale aims to open Eastside distillery

Lansing area craft beer and whiskey fans: 2014 could be a very good year. With small breweries trickling into the region and small-scale distilling just getting its start in Michigan, brewing and distilling afficianados Matt Jason and Jeremy Sprague decided it was the perfect time to establish such a business right at the center of it all. 

"Lansing is the capital of a great beer state, and other than some small breweries, we don't have a lot of beer here yet, not like Grand Rapids," says Jason. "We want to make Lansing a destination for beer." 

Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale is their means to reaching that goal, a brewery and distillery they plan to open on Lansing's Eastside. The production facilty and pub is currently in a fundraising phase. Between seeking out individual investors and a forthcoming Kickstarter campaign, Jason and Sprague plan to raise $150,000 by spring of 2014 to begin buildout on a 3,000 to 4,000 square foot space by summer. 

"There are few places we're looking on the Eastside," says Jason. "The Eastside has the youngest demographic, highest population density, and highest percentate of expenditures on alcohol. With the Red Cedar development hopefully coming on board, the avenue has a lot of promise." 

The distillery and brewery would feature brown and white whiskey, as well as a selection of European and American-inspired beers. Plans for the pub also include a bakery, from which Sleepwalker would serve pizzas, pretzel rolls and other food items. Distribution is also a major part of the plan for Sleepwalker spirits, which Jason plans to expand internationally. 

Though funding and licensing will determine their final timeline, Jason hopes to be opening Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale by late summer or fall of 2014 with six to 10 employees. Within a few years, they hope to triple the size of their staff and become known as a destination for live musch, craft beer and local whiskey.

Source: Matt Jason, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Science lab incubator coming to 22,000 sq ft East Lansing building

Not unlike food entrepreneurs, early stage biotech and life science entrepreneurs face pretty high startup costs in the equipment and facilities department. In the spirit of niche incubators such as those that serve the food industry, former Arialink CEO Jason Schreiber decided to give area scientists a place where they could affordably get a business off the ground. With the purchase of a 22,000 square foot building on Dawn Ave. in East Lansing, a science laboratory incubator facility is on the way into the market. 
"Right now we see companies that are spinning out of MSU and other life science companies going to Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo," says Schreiber. "We're hoping to keep them in Lansing."
Schreiber says he's already received several inquiries from potential users of the space, and renovation will depend on the types of users that sign on. He hopes the space will accommodate both single-user labs and larger companies. 
"We saw the building, and we recognized the opportunity,'" he said of the two-story building that was once used for research and development. "It's a gem of a building, it just needs some love"
Renovations are expected to begin around February of 2014. Schreiber hopes to have the facility up and running by the middle to end of next summer summer. CBRE|Martin facilitated the sale of the property.

Source: Jason Schreiber, Property Owner
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hollow Mountain Comics and Games to open in downtown East Lansing

Aaron Solon is a games guy. Gabe Cooper is a comics guy. So both were disappointed when East Lansing's 21st Century Comics and Games closed last year - enough so that they considered buying it. Though that plan didn't come together, it got Solon and Cooper hooked on the idea of opening their own comics and games shop, and in January, that plan will come to fruition with Hollow Mountain Comics and Games
"I actually think it's lucky it turned out that way, since we've been able to do some cool stuff with our inventory and storefront, starting from scratch," says Solon. "Our atmosphere will be a lot more accessible than other game stores in the area as well, so I think we'll be able to appeal to both hardcore gamers and comic fans, as well as people who are new to the hobby, or are simply more casual about it."
The 1,000 square foot Grand River storefront will open in early January. Being close to campus was a must for the partners, who anticipate foot traffic and accessibility to be factors in the success of Hollow Mountain Comics and Games. 
Solon says he hopes the store will grow into a community hub for gamers and comic book fans, much like a store he grew up with in Ann Arbor, Get Your Game On. 
"The staff there was really great, and it provided a place for me to connect to the gaming community and get exposed to some really cool games that I might never have heard of if it wasn't for that store," he says. "My personal goal for Hollow Mountain is for it to be the kind of place that can give someone that kind of experience."
Hollow Mountain will initially be staffed by Solon and Cooper, and they hope to add an employee in a few months. Information about the store's grand opening will be posted to their Facebook page

Source: Aaron Solon, Hollow Mountain Comics and Games
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Massage Bliss opening in 3,000 sq ft Okemos location

Mother and daughter team Shannon Sawnick and Karen Smith were looking for a small business idea that would promote healthy and natural living, and upon finding a lack of massage salons in Okemos, they found their opportunity. The forthcoming business, Massage Bliss will open near the end of January on Grand River next to Dusty's Cellar
"We're excited tot be opening in Okemos," says Sawnick. "We don't think there is anything like this there. Our prices are going set us apart. We're hoping to appeal to everybody."
In addition to affordability, Sawnick plans to attract customers with stunning ambiance. Massage Bliss will offer an infrared sauna, a sitting room with a water fountain and fireplace, as well as a retail area and coffee bar. In addition to massage, the business will offer waxing and facial services. 
"We've already had a lot of positive feedback," says Sawnick. "We're already starting to sell gift cards." 
Massage Bliss will employ eight massage therapists and three receptionists. The 3,000 square foot storefront is currently under renovation."

Source: Shannon Sawnick, Massage Bliss
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

The Institution fitness studio to celebrate downtown grand opening

When Paul Nagel retired from military service, he thought he could leave his exercising day behind him. It didn't take long before he found himself unhappy with the results of that idea, and his change in habits changed the rest of his life. Now a certified trainer and new resident of Lansing, Nagel and he his partner Jennifer Battle own The Institution Fitness Studio, which will celebrate the grand opening of its new location on Dec.13.
"We like to have fun, but we want results too," says Nagel. "We take a personal interest in our customers. We're not here to make a million dollars overnight; we're here to give people their lives back."
The class-based fitness studio offers a variety of classes, and Nagel and Battle have a particular interest in children's fitness. They offer free weekly classes for kids between six and 12 on Saturdays. 
"For the first time in history our children will not outlive us," says Nagel. "We want to be part of the solution. Every single child is invited, and they can come and workout and have fun."
The new 1,000 square foot studio is on S. Washington Sq. Nagel says he and Battle hope to continue to grow The Institution to multiple locations and possibly franchise the business in the future. Currently, they're working to grow into their new space, and they plan to work with four to five contract instructors to help teach their courses. 

Source: Paul Nagel, The Instution
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

TLC Memory Keepers moves into new Williamston location

When Terie Clover started scrapbooking, it was just a hobby. But when she started to offer to help some of her friends and family who were too busy to finish their own projects, everyone quickly realized she had a knack for the art. After opening TLC Memory Keepers in Williamston two year ago, it became her job. 

"I decided this coul be a way I could share what I do with othe rpoepl. I have why I call a scrapbook club where epeople cn join and come any time during my open hours. 

The business has been growing ever since. Last year, Clover added scrapbooking materials to her shop, and this year, she moved from Keller's Plaza into a new location in the Miller Photography Studio. 

"It was difficult to have craft sessions upstairs and the owner of Miller Studios thought it would be great if we got together, " she says. "It’s a little bit  larger, and I do have more supplies and more space to hold classes."

Clover moved TLC Memory into the new location in Nov. She says she doesn't plan to become a millionaire with her business, but to simply continue to share her skills and supplies with her customers. 

Source: Terie Clover, TLC Memory Keepers
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hair & Company on Ash supports stylists' education, community art in Mason

Opening her own salon has been on Tricia Singh's to-do list for years. After nearly two decades in the business, she has reached her goal with the opening of  Hair & Company on Ash in Mason in Oct.  
"It has always been a dream of mine to open a full service, upscale salon that caters to the creative soul," she says. "It's difficult to work in an environment with rules and stipulations."
Rather than setting restrictions on her team of stylists, Singh infuses her staff with education. As the hair business is always changing, she said continual education is the best way to ensure ongoing quality for her customers and enrichment for her stylist. 
The 1,600 square foot salon offers massage therapy, nail services and facials along with hair services, but Singh doesn't stop there. With an eye on supporting all kinds of creatives in the Mason community, she carries locally made honey, soaps, lotions, candles, maple syrup, fine art and more. 
"It's about supporting all of our local people," she says.
Hair & Company on Ash currently employs a staff of seven. So far, Singh says her chairs have been full, and she couldn't be happier with the community's reception of the new salon.

Source: Tricia Singh, Hair & Company on Ash 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

A new Asian cuisine option opens on Michigan Ave.

Restauranteur Frank Lin knows an opportunity when he sees one. When he recognized the lack of a neighborhood Chinese restaurant on Lansing's east side, he decided to become the solution. His new Asian Gourmet Chinese Restaurant opened about a month ago on Michigan Ave. 
"The response has been good, and we haven't even done any advertising yet," says Lin. "Many people are coming right from this neighborhood. It's a very nice neighborhood here."
Location was key in Lin's decision to open Asian Gourmet. With large employers in close proximity, such as Michigan State University and Sparrow, he plans to attract a good lunch crowd. While Chinese fare is at the heart of the restaurant's offerings, Lin says Thai and other Asian cuisine is offered as well.
"We don't use MSG, and we mostly use fresh vegetables," says Lin. "It's very healthy with no extra fat or oils." 
The 1,500 square foot restaurant currently seats about 15 diners and has relied on carry out for much of their business. In the future Lin hopes to expand his in-house dining. Currently, Asian Gourmet Chinese Restaurant employs a staff of three. 

Source: Frank Lin, Asian Gourmet Chinese Restaurant 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Flint-based Halo Burger opens first Lansing-area location on road to national growth

A popular Mid-Michigan name in the hamburger business is about to become much more recognizable state- and nationwide, and East Lansing is among the first in it's growth spurt. Halo Burger was born in Flint in the 1920s and was recently sold to Dortch Enterprises. The new owners saw room for significant growth for the brand and opened their first new location on Flint's west side in April. From there, the goal is to spread throughout Michigan and the nation. 
On Aug. 12, East Lansing joined the now 15-location Halo Burger business. According to General Manager Alex Watkins, what the new restaurant offers the Frandor area is something different from the existing fast food market. 
"Halo Burger isn't fast food, it's good food fast," he says. "Our burgers are never frozen, and they're hand-pressed on the grill." 
Watkins calls the Halo Burger experience something between a Culver's and a Five Guys. The East Lansing location has been in the works for about a year, and the location was carefully chosen. 
"Frandor's great because it's the intersection of three different markets," says Watkins. "It has the Lansing market, the East Lansing market and the MSU community - not to mention it's the main hub for everyone going into and out of the city." 
In addition to expanding nationwide, Halo Burger intends to open more stores in the Lansing market. Watkins says an Okemos location is expected in the the next six months, and a west side location will follow in another year. The East Lansing location employs a staff of 25.

Source: Alex Watkins, Halo Burger
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Downtown Lansing to be among the first homes of "Shark Tank"-backed Tom+Chee restaurant

Next month Downtown Lansing will be among the first places to open a restaurant that is set to start spreading across the country. After appearing on ABC’s "Shark Tank" in May, the small, Cincinnati-based restaurant Tom+Chee earned $600,000 in investment funds, followed by more than 9,000 franchise requests from around the world. 
Fortunately for Lansing, franchisee Mark Wibel was in on the grilled cheese and tomato soup-themed restaurant concept early. Prior to appearing on the show, owners Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush met with Wibel, and the result will be Tom+Chee's seventh location opening in Lansing on Dec. 10. 
"He has a pretty extensive franchising history," Corey Ward says of Wibel. "We were identifying the best candidates to open our first stores, and he just has tons of experience with multiple brands."
The 1,700 square foot restaurant will feature unique, affordable twists on grilled cheese, such as "Hippy+Chee" with hummus and vegetables, "Pep+Chee" featuring pepperoni and "Flying Pig" with turkey, bacon and pickles. Ward hopes the Lansing lunch crowd will receive the grilled cheese concept just as well as the crowds at their original restaurant.
"The buildign actually reminded us a lot of our first location in Cincinnati," he says. "The architecture looks familiar, and it's a nice location - an awesome lunch location." 
Tom+Chee will open with 10 to 15 employees. The restaurant will soon be joined by three additional franchise locations outside of Michigan, and a boom of 30 to 40 Tom+Chee restaurants is expected in 2014. Wibel plans to open at least two more locations in Michigan. Ward and Quackenbush will be featured this Friday in an update episode of "Shark Tank."

Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Zaytoon Grill to bring well-known family recipes with an American fusion twist to the Westside

With the long-running Sultan's Restaurant and new Saffron Grill in East Lansing, the local market's love of the Samy Aburashed's family businesses has been tried and tested. This week, fans of Mediterranean cuisine will have another option with Aburashed's Zaytoon Grill opening on Elmwood Rd. near the Lansing Mall. 
"I've been looking for the last two years on the west side," says owner Samy Aburashed, who is nephew to the owner of Sultan's Restaurant. "There really isn't anything authentic out there."
Zaytoon Grill will begin with a soft opening this Saturday and will be fully open by Monday. Aburashed says the menu will have similar recipes to his family's well- known cuisine, but with a twist. 
"There will be a little modern touch to mine," he says. "I'm not scared to use a little more spice. It'll be a little different, with an American fusion to it." 
The 2,800 square foot restaurant will open with seating for 50 and about 10 employees. Aburashed says he hopes to expand in the future, looking to increase the size of the restaurant, and perhaps add a banquet facility and bakery to the business. 

Source: Samy Aburashed, Zaytoon Grill
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Player's Choice celebrates grand opening of FunTyme Dome in Okemos

It was just a year ago that Player's Choice golf shops opened in Okemos and Grand Ledge. Now, the business is growing with the opening of the FunTyme Golf Dome on James Phillips Dr. in Okemos.
"The company as a whole is doing pretty well," says owner Josh Herrera. "It's an opportunity for us to grow."
The approximately 54,000 square foot FunTyme Golf Dome offers indoor driving range services, as well as a pro shop. Herrera says the business may also host softball tournaments and other events in the dome. Golf lessons will be offered at the dome through a partnership with Gregg Webber Golf Academy.
The new FunTyme celebrated a grand opening on Nov. 1. Company-wide, Player's Choice has added nine jobs since last year, bringing their staff to 13.

Source: Josh Herrera, Player's Choice
Writer: Natalie Burg

Bordeaux serves up fine wines, local foods at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West

The dining room transformation inside the Crowne Plaza Lansing West was something more than a renovation; it's a whole new restaurant. Serving fine wines and made-from-scratch dishes, Bordeaux is the result of the hotel's desire to give their guests the Michigan experience they were looking for. 
"The more we listened, the more we heard the desire for an elevated dining experience on the west side of Lansing," says April Fitzsimmons, marketing coordinator for the Crowne Plaza. "It was also important for us to feature elements unique to our home state, such as Michigan wines and microbrews and the Timeless Timber used in the construction of our bar." 
The renovation touched nearly every surface of the hotel's restaurant space, including features by those more than 100-year-old Timeless Timber logs, which were recovered from the Great Lakes. The restaurant includes private dining rooms, named for various wine regions, as well as the Cork Room with more than 70 wine options, including, of course, Bordeaux.
While already receiving positive feedback from guests, Fitzsimmons says the menu will continue to evolve with the seasons and tastes of the guests. 
"Chef [Bradley] Lineweaver plans to transform the menu from time to time throughout the year, with the goal of keeping it fresh and creative," she says. "As he continues building relationships with in-state vendors, more and more locally sourced ingredients will make their way into his dishes."
Bordeaux plans to soon offer pre-order options for guests on the go. The restaurant employs a staff of 30. 
Source: April Fitzsimmons, Crowne Plaza Lansing West
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Continental Home Center opens 5,000 sq ft Mason location

It's hard to believe there wasn't a furniture store within 15 minutes of S. Cedar and N. Cedar St. in Mason, but that's exactly why Michigan-based Continental Home Center opened their newest location there. 
"We like family places," says Bethany Peterson, store manager of the Mason Continental Home Center. "We do lots of demographic research. Caro was our number one store, and Mason had the same environment."
The family-owned Continental Home Centers was once primarily known for furniture rental, but have now expanded their offers to include cash sales. In fact, the new Mason location, which opened in July, has already found significant interest in their cash sales. 
"We guarantee to be the lowest price," Peterson says. "We're super friendly, and we always work with your budget. If you're looking for a particular price, don't look at our tags and walk away."
The 5,000 square foot Continental Home Center employs a staff of four. Peterson says her goal is to become the business' best performing location.

Source: Bethany Peterson, Continental Home Centers
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New ODP Fitness offers variety of workout options on N. Larch

These days, it seems every new workout facility has a single specialty. Whether it's CrossFit, yoga, Zumba or personal training, it seems all the newest exercise businesses focus on one. When opening his own business, Kory Wertz, who got his start as a mixed martial arts enthusiast, decided he could offer something more by, well, offering more. 
"Michigan is the fifth most obese state in the country," says Wertz, owner of the new ODP Fitness on N. Larch. "To change that, you can't just target one specific thing. With the diversity of the classes, I can address a diversity of fitness levels."
The "ODP" of the business' name stands for "open door policy," which Wertz hopes will encourage anyone interested in improving or maintaining his or her health to give it a chance. ODP Fitness offers boot camp classes, personal training, functional training and Zumba. Wertz also provides strength and conditioning training for area high school sports teams. 
Between his sports training and the multi-faceted business opening in early Aug., Wertz says the business has been busy from the get-go.
"It's crazy. It's been nonstop," he says. "I hit my three-month goal in nine days. I was blown away from the amount of support I've received."
The 3,800 square foot ODP Fitness employs a staff of nine. Wertz hopes to continue to grow the business and eventually expand into multiple Lansing-area locations. 

Source: Kory Wertz, ODP Fitness
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Grand Rapids phone repair business expands into East Lansing

Just two years after the opening of their first retail location in Grand Rapids, Genius Phone Repair is going gangbusters. With five stores now on the west side of the state, the owners decided to expand further out, and East Lansing was the company's first stop. 
"We knew that the students were going to be a very good market," says store manager Jayson Vanderstel. "That demographic was one we never really explored before." 
Genius Phone Repair opened in a 1,500 sq ft E. Grand River location about six weeks ago. The downtown storefront with plenty of visibility to students was just what the company was looking for. 
"We knew it was a good place to look for a high volume of traffic," Vanderstel says. "It's also pretty close to Okemos and some of the carrier stores. It's a plus to have Verizon, Sprint and AT&T fairly close."
The store offers iPhone, iPod, iPad and smartphone repair services. According to Vanderstel, Genius Phone Repair prices can often beat the prices offered by phone manufacturers, even for phones with insurance coverage. The East Lansing location is the business' sixth retail store. It employs a staff of five. 

Source: Jayson Vanderstel, Genius Phone Repair
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

American Home Fitness celebrates 12th anniversary with new Okemos location

Some people will do anything to put off the start of a new home workout routine, but now accessibility to home workout equipment is no excuse. The American Home Fitness store is celebrating their twelfth year in the Lansing area with the opening of their new store in Meridian Crossing in Okemos. 
"We were pretty much just a destination," says Mark Renfer, general manager of the local American Home Fitness store. "It's nice to have neighbors and more traffic moving in and out here. We also get a lot of customers from outside the Lansing area as well, and this location is very easy to find." 
The new 3,000 square foot store is a bit smaller than the former location, but is closer in size to American Home Fitness' six other stores throughout Michigan and Ohio. The new store opened in July, and Renfer says he's looking forward to the beginning of their busy season in the new location. 
"We're going to keep doing our best to help the Lansing area and surrounding community get better fit and better educated," he says. "All of our staff are well-trained trained, and many are personal trainers."
Renfer is already looking to add a new part-time position at American Home Fitness and will add to the staff as needed as business continues to grow in their new location.

Source: Mark Renfer, American Home Fitness 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New westside Soldan's opens with new name, logo

A local familiar name in local pet supplies is unveiling some big changes. Soldan's Feeds and Pet Supplies is now open in its new W. Saginaw location under the shorter name Soldan's Pet Supplies, which will soon make its way onto all eight Soldan's stores. 
"We're changing our logo too," says Nikki Soldan, floor supervisor for the westside Soldan's. "We've done less and less with horse feed, so we're dropping the horse and adding a rabbit."
Perhaps the most dramatic change is Soldan's new westside home. Though not far from their former location near Best Buy, the new, larger space at 6201 W. Saginaw gives the pet supply store more visibility and more room for some new features, including a self-serve dog wash and shorter, more customer-friendly shelving. 
"With the shelves just five feet high, you can see across the whole store," says Soldan. "It opens everything up more so it's more inviting. Eventually, I think they're going to start doing this in all eight stores. We're sort of a guinea pig." 
The new Soldan's Pet Supplies location opened today after several months of preparation at the new site. The new store will offer expanded food and toy lines, and Soldan hopes the increased traffic will lead to an increase in their staff. Now employing eight to ten employees, if the westside location can meets their expectations, Soldan expects two to four more jobs could be created in the new store. 

Source: Nikki Soldan, Soldan's Pet Supply
Writer: Natalie Burg

LLB Asian Grocery brings specialty foods to Delta Twp.

Joseph and Vina Nguyen have been small business owners in the Lansing area for more than a decade, and they always knew something was missing from Lansing's west side. 

"We looked around and we saw on this side of town we didn't have any Asian specialty stores," says Joseph Nguyen. "My wife thought it would be conventient for all of the people around here." 

After four to five months of renovations, the Nguyens solves that problem by opening LLB Asian Grocery at 4221 W. Saginaw. Nguyen says the location was perfect for the new market because of its size and the amount of traffic that passes by every day. The store opened on Aug. 25.

"We doing okay," says Nguyen. "We are still getting people who are noticing us for the first time."

LLB Asian Grocery carries a variety of specialty Asian foods not found in other area stores, such as noodles, mainades, sauces, fish and spices. The 3,200 square foot store is staffed by five members of the Nguyen family. In the next five years, they hope to expand the store into a larger space. 

Source: Joseph Nguyen, LLB Asian Grocery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Grand River Barber Company brings urban cuts, retail to East Lansing

From yoga studios to nightlife, many of the businesses in East Lansing exist to serve the needs of students and other young adults. Until recently, however, there was one market that was being underserved. 
"My partner has friends in East Lansing they were all complaining that there were no barbershops here that could do an urban cut," says barber Doug Mrdeza, who began his career in Metro Detroit. "They would have to travel home to get a cut." 
Mrdeza and his partner have responded to that demand with the Grand River Barber Company in downtown East Lansing. The business, which opened Aug. 26, offers urban hairstyles for men, as well as a whole new take on the barbershop concept. 
"We have four 50-inch LCD screens and an X-Box, so when people are waiting they can play," says Mrdeza. "The whole atmosphere is very different."
In addition to the entertaining atmosphere, Grand River Barber Company is the the process of establishing a retail area, where they will carry attire and accessories. 
The 1,100 square foot barbershop currently employs Mrdeza, his business partner and one additional barber. Final renovations to the space are still underway, but Mrdeza says the community's response to the new business is already in full swing. He and his partner hope to grow into the business community as the shop grows, sponsoring local organizations such as youth sports leagues. 

Source: Doug Mrdeza, Grand River Barber Company
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Longtime S. Washington business opens REO Town Gardener retail space

With all that's shiny and new in REO Town these days, it's easy to look at even pre-existing businesses on S. Washington with new eyes. In the case of the more than 20-year-old business, Foliage Design Systems of Mid-Michigan, the double take is warranted. Previously a mostly business-to-business operation, the interior landscaping company has recently unveiled the REO Town Gardener, a new retail department offering patio and container gardening supplies to the public. 
"I've always wanted to have a retail outlet," says owner Jean Husby. "The right thing to do seemed to be to use it promote of healthy living in small spaces. Why not promote small gardening for as a hobby or for health purpose? You can use a windowsill to grow herbs or a salad garden." 
Husby says she is already experiencing an increase in foot traffic and general activity in REO Town since the completion of the streetscape project, Lansing Board of Water and Light development and entrance of new businesses into the neighborhood. It seemed like the perfect time to broaden her business' focus from just the back door to the storefront. 
"It's nice to see new foot traffic. There are ton of people passing by," Husby says. "Why not give them a reason to stop in?"
REO Town Gardener is located in a renovated 400 square foot space within the existing 7,000 square foot Foliage Design Systems building. The shop offers supplies for gardening in small containers, including a mix of Dr. Earth-brand products. Over the past year, Husby has increased her existing staff by one part- and one full-time position, and she has also hired a new employee for the new retail operations. 

Source: Jean Husby, REO Town Gardener/Foliage Design Systems of Mid-Michigan 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Indoor Grow Store opens first of two stores, creates 13 jobs

Some people put up with the things that aggravate them; others just change them. Alex Manuel is among the latter, and the result has been a new invention, one new retail store, another in the works and plans to grow his business all over the state. 
The Indoor Grow Store opened two months ago on S. Cedar, and it all began with Manuel's desire to make the process of indoor growing better. When growing the indoor plants, he was dissatisfied with the local prices of supplies, as well as the devices available to trim the plants. 
"I bought a machine and it was nothing. It was bad," says Manuel. "I invented my own trimmer. It’s the best in the country." 
To solve the problem of the steep prices on local growing supplies, he then opened his own store. Manuel says his prices at the 2,000 square foot South Lansing store are lower, not only than other stores, but also most online stores. 
Manuel will open second, larger Indoor Grow Store near the Lansing Mall in six to eight weeks. After that, he says, the sky is the limit for expansion.
"We are planning to have a store in every city in Michigan," says Manuel. "If I stay healthy, we are going to expand as much as we can."
The current Indoor Grow Store employs a staff of five. The forthcoming store will employ seven to eight workers and will be in a 5,800 square foot location.

Source: Alex Manuel
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Lothamer Tax Resolution expands into new, 7,000 sq ft headquarters

Lothamer Tax Resolution has been in business for 30 years, but ever since the company began specializing in IRS and Michigan tax problems, their growth has been notable. Now with nine satellite offices and a staff of 18, the business has expanded into a new headquarters on Dunkel in Lansing. 
"We choose this location because it was central to the Lansing area and great access the highway," says Lothamer Tax Resolution Vice President Marketing Amy Lothamer of the 7,000 square foot space. "We needed more space to accommodate our growing company."
When an individual or business finds itself in an issue with a tax agency, it can be a scary time. Lothamer specializes in resolving these issues, a niche which Lothamer says was much needed. 
The firm moved into their new location in early September after completely renovating the interior of the facility and celebrated their grand opening last week. The company has been hiring one to two new professionals a year for the past several years, and anticipates hiring another one to two staff members in the upcoming year. 

Source: Amy Lothamer, Lothamer Tax Resolution
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Leopold Bloom and Co. to bring the curated past to Old Town

Tony Sump is more than just a seller of antiques and home décor. 
"I'm kind of a curator of the past," Sump says, "finding really great pieces that are solid and long forgotten and up-cycling them into something that is usable." 
Sump and business partner Doug Meeks will bring that passion for antiquities to their new Old Town shop, Leopold Bloom & Co. The store will carry antiques, new home décor, as well as a collection of local artisanal goods.
Sump and Meeks aren't new to the antiques game. They've had a small presence in Howell for two years, and recently expanded into the Grand Rapids market. It was while looking for a location for a warehouse between the two that the Old Town space presented itself, and their plans quickly changed.
"It was reasonable and fit the needs for a store," Sump says. "We thought, maybe we could drop one of the other locations move it here."
That's exactly what happened. After about six weeks of renovations, the 1,200 square foot Grand River location is set to open for the first time this Friday during an open house from 5:30 to 9:00pm. The grand opening will take place Oct. 7. Leopold Bloom & Co. will open with two employees in addition to Meeks and Sump. 

Source: Tony Sump, Leopold Bloom & Co. 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Four Blank and Ten Design Group grows from home biz to Old Town storefront

Jeremy Mick's Four Blank & Ten Design Group may not be a brand new interior design firm, but its forthcoming move to an Old Town storefront is a big step from its home business roots. 
Four Blank & Ten Design Group is opening inside the new Leopold Bloom & Co. when it opens this month. The business, which specializes in a blend of traditional and modern design, has been in operation in one form or another since 2005. Its growth has been based on word-of-mouth referrals, but Mick expects that to change when he's in a highly visible Old Town location.
"My main motivation was to get more business," Mick says. "This is easier to find for clients, and if you have a street presence, people wander in."
The business will open along with Leopold Bloom & Co. this Friday during an open house from 5:30 to 9pm in the new Grand River location. Mick, who currently also works for the State of Michigan, hopes to see his business continue to grow into a fulltime venture. 

Source: Jeremy Mick, Four Blank & Ten
Writer: Natalie Burg, Develoment News Editor

New Leaf Salad Bar offers fast and fresh food to Frandor area diners

Leaf Salad Bar may be the newest addition to the Frandor shopping area, but the restaurant has been a long time coming. In fact, local entrepreneur and owner of East Lansing's Showroom Shine, Mark Sprinkel first came up with the concept in 1991. 
"I wanted to do it then," he says. "I never got around to it because the other business kept me pretty busy. When this location presented itself, I knew if I didn't do it now, I'd never do it." 
And did he ever. Within a month and a half, Sprinkel grabbed the 1,000 square foot location, partnered with local restaurateur Igor Jurkovic of Restaurant Mediteran and opened the doors of his new food concept: a gourmet salad bar for fast and healthy meals. 
In addition to offering 100 gourmet salad toppings for patrons to help themselves, weigh and pay by the pound, Leaf also serves soups, fruits and smoothies. The response, says Sprinkel, has been nearly overwhelming. 
"The concept got around fast. We're crazy busy. We've only be open three weeks and we have regular clientele," he says. "We're profitable in our first month."
Leaf now has a staff of ten. The restaurant seats 15 inside, six outside, offering take out service. Sprinkel is already thinking of adding an Okemos location next year and hopes to franchise the business. 

Source: Mark Sprinkel, Leaf Salad Bar
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Spherion brings unique staffing services to Old Town

Few things could be more optimistic signs for Lansing's job market than the opening of a new staffing agency. Spherion Staffing opened its doors in Old Town in July, and according to managing partner Brad Back, Lansing was just what the franchise's parent company, Randstad was looking for. 
"Lansing's market size is better serviced by an owner-operated store and we really liked what was happening with the Camero line being moved here," says Back. "We thought it was a great place to be in Michigan because of the diversity of industries here." 
After he and his wife both worked in corporate environments for some time. Back says he was attracted to Old Town because of the area's small town feel within the larger city. Similarly, the opportunity to own his own franchise allows him to exercise his entrepreneurial inclinations after working for Randstad for two years in Detroit. That small business feel, he says, will also be a benefit to clients. 
"We definitely have the service of an owner-occupied business, but the backing of a large corporation," Back syas. "A lot of these companies like the smaller service models, but sometimes you have to have the finances of a large company to staff these large customers." 
The 1,500 square foot Ranstad Staffing office is located at 106 E Grand River Ave in Lansing. The office has a staff of three, and Back says business in the first two months has exceeded expectations. 

Source: Brad Back, Spherion Staffing
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Velocipede Peddler peddles down Grand River to new East Lansing location

Mark Sanderson is good at keeping a secret. Long before the public learned a Whole Foods store would be coming to the Lansing area, he was in talks to sell his Grand River Ave. property to make way for the popular grocer. Now that the word is out, he has his own big news to share: his 38-year-old business, Velocipede Peddler is moving westward. 
"When I was right downtown [in East Lansing], I got lot of students, but I didn't have as many families," says Sanderson. "When I moved here, I lost some students, but gained a lot of families as clients. We felt this was an alternative where we can serve everyone."
The new home of the longtime bicycle business will be in a 4,800 square foot Brookfield Plaza space. Though the size will be similar to his current location, the layout will allow for an expansion of inventory and services. The new spot, between Bagger Dave's and Bikram Yoga Capital Area.
Though in a new location, Sanderson says customer can expect the same business ethic that has kept Velocipede Peddler in business for nearly four decades.
"I just try to give people want they want," he says. "I feel we have a really good service department. We have a friendly staff that is really knowledgeable."
Velocipede Peddler will open in its new location in early October. It currently employs a staff of eight to nine workers. Sanderson plans to hire a new mechanic and up to one additional staff member in the new location.

Source: Mark Sanderson, Velocipede Peddler
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Limner Press now front and center in Downtown Williamston

Limner Press is no stranger to Williamston, having made the town an artsier place for more than 25 years. The design, letterpress and art studio is now celebrating its new, more prominent location in the community – right in the center of downtown. 
"We moved because we had an opportunity to go onto Grand River," says Wendy Shaft, who owns Limner Press with her husband, Don Bixler. "Moving here has already increased our business."
Though slightly smaller than their longtime location, the downtown storefront has bolstered business in ways both expected and surprising. For instance, though the shop has always offered copier services, simply adding that to their sign on Grand River has attracted a steady stream of new customers. 
"Then they come in and see my art," says Shaft "and they see that I do wedding invitations. It's wonderful." 
Offering stellar customer service has always been, and continues to be at the center of Limner Press. – is currently working with her new lobby space to make it a cozy and inviting place for customers to meet and chat about their invitation and stationary needs. 
Limner Press moved to their new location in June. Shaft is looking forward to being a part of a growing community of wedding-related businesses in downtown Williamston. A collaboration of these store owners hope to offer a wedding-themed event this fall. 

Source: Wendy Shaft, Limner Press
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Capital Prime aims to be to-go steak restaurant in Lansing

With 31 years of restaurant experience that includes Beggar’s Banquet, Rick’s Café’, Harrison Roadhouse and The Nuthouse, Joseph Goodsir knew a gap in the local restaurant market when he saw it. 
"If you ask someone what's their favorite sushi place, they'd have an answer," says Goodsir. "If you ask people where their favorite place to get a steak is, it doesn't roll of the tongue."
Goodsir plans to change that with Capital Prime Steaks and Seafood in Eastwood Towne Center. The 250-seat restaurant will feature premium Certified Angus beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fresh fish and seafood, and will have a focus on locally grown produce.
Though opening in the former Bar 30 location, Goodsir says Capital Prime will look and feel entirely different.
"It has a great feel," he says. "It's warm and inviting. If you were ever in Bar 30, when you walk into the place now, you won't recognize it."
Capital Prime is scheduled to have a soft opening at the end of August and a grand opening in September. Goodsir says one of the best features of the restaurant will be a talented and well-trained staff, which will number about 60. 

Source: Joseph Goodsir, Capital Prime
Writer: Natalie Burg

FLEX City Fitness doubles space with new Downtown Lansing location

It didn't take very long for FLEX City Fitness to hit its stride. Just a year and a half after opening, the small group fitness business is moving from its original, 1,000 square foot location to a new, 2,200 square foot space on Washington Square.
"We grew about 50 percent in our first year, and we just wanted to be able to accommodate the growth," says FLEX City Co-founder Jenny Quinn. "We also wanted to stay committed to Downtown Lansing. We really believe in what's going on here."
FLEX City Fitness combines the community support of class exercise with the attention of a personal trainer with small classes. The classes alternate cardio and strength training, and the workouts change so clients are always surprised with a new challenge. 
"We have indoor cycling, treadmills, barre and more," Quinn says. "The intervals change every day, the different pieces of equipment change, so it keeps people's bodies changing and guessing."
Along with the new space, FLEX is developing online classes for clients who may not be able to attend as often or students who may leave town during the summer. The new studio will also have new equipment to improve clients' experience.
FLEX City Fitness will open for its first class in the new location on Aug. 19. The business is operated by Quinn and her partner, Trista Parisian with the help of two interns. They hope to continue their growth to add new instructors in the future. 

Source: Jenny Quinn, FLEX Citiy Fitness
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Downtown Barber brings artistic cuts to Williamston

Terianne Parks is a barber, but contrary to what some people think, that doesn't mean she only cuts men's hair; it means she's an expert in cuts in general.
"I think of myself as a sculptor," says Parks. "The reason I went to barber school instead of beauty school, is that it's more about the cut."
Parks is bringing that specialty to Williamston with her new shop, Downtown Barber, which opened on Grand River last week. The business offers cuts for men, women and children, as well as coloring, highlights, dreadlocks, extensions and straightening.
"We have the best prices from here to Downtown Lansing. We have the same price for men and women," Parks says. "I love cutting hair. It' how I serve the community."
Parks opened Downtown Barber in partnership with her sister and brother-in-law. She plans to hire two additional barbers to join her in the 850 square foot shop soon. 

Source: Terianne Parks, Downtown Barber
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Experience and style come to Old Town with Matthew Ryan Salon

Matthew Ryan Salon just opened in Old Town, but the owner, after whom the business is named, has been on a path to owning his own salon his entire life. 
"It's something I've always been drawn to," says owner Matthew Ryan. "It's just very natural for me to be drawn to hair." 
After managing a 60-stylist salon in Columbus, Ohio, Ryan moved to the Lansing area to be certified as a stylist himself at Douglas J. Upon finishing his courses, he knew we wanted to open his own place, an the 1,500 square foot Old Town location was the perfect fit. 
"It's a beautiful space, with exposed brick and hardwood floors," Ryan says. "Were right in the middle of Old Town, which is such an up-and-coming area. It's going in a really good direction." 
Matthew Ryan Salon opened about a month ago and employs five experienced stylists. Ryan hopes the salon will continue to grow and he may add additional services the business' offerings as it does. 

Source: Matthew Ryan, Matthew Ryan Salon
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Mad Eagle grows jewelry line into new store with Clever Clover

Clever Clover began as a line of jewelry at East Lansing's Mad Eagle boutique. The collection of original jewelry designs gained such popularity that when a Grand River storefront recently opened up, it became its own shop. 
"We thought it was a good opportunity to focus on that jewelry line," says Tara Green, manager of Mad Eagle and Clever Clover. "It's less expensive than sterling silver, but it's really fun. 
Clever Clover opened up at 207 E. Grand River last month after renovations brought such artistic touches to the space as flooring made from up-cycled bleacher boards, jewelry cases from the former downtown Jacobson's and shelving made from reclaimed lumber.
"It's really important for us to emphasize recycling too," Green says. "We did it all ourselves, from finishing the floor to doing the walls, and everything else. It was a labor of love." 
In addition to the Clever Clover jewelry line, the new store features clothing, home goods, lotions and candles. Two new jobs have been created with the opening of the new shop. 

Source: Tara Green, Clever Clover
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Loudpixel moves into new East Lansing office space

Loudpixel has been a company that could be located anywhere since its beginning in 2009. Though family was a driving force in the Chicago-born company's move to East Lansing in 2011, it's been the city itself that has kept the growing company in town, a location has been further cemented by their recent move to a permanent location in The State News building. 
"Spending a few months working in Washington DC really gave us an appreciation for East Lansing. It's a nice place to run a business," says owner Allie Osmar. "We bought a house in East Lansing, and we like the idea that we can walk to work. We wanted to that urban lifestyle we'd come from."
Loudpixel has grown about 30 percent per year, a purposely moderate pace that Osmar says is intended to produce sustainability over growth at any cost. Even with intentionally slow growth, the social media monitoring, analysis and reporting company has added two part-time positions in the last two years and is currently in the process of hiring one more. 
Along with a new location, Loudpixel is also beginning to offer new services to their clients, such as industry reports and consumer discovery reports.  
"We're also really enjoying consumer discovery reports," Osmar says. "We can go in and really help companies understand who their customers are, what they care about, and what are their interests are."

Source: Allie Osmar, Loudpixel
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Second Tamaki restaurant rolls into East Lansing

Tamaki is on a roll. After opening the quick, custom-made sushi spot at Frandor Shopping Center last year, restaurateur Frank Cheng  is now opening two more. One will bring his unique twist on sushi to Ann Arbor, and another will open in East Lansing's Brookfield Plaza.
"We've been looking for a place in East Lansing for some time," says Cheng. "Our customers who frequent Tamaki love it, and they want it closer to their place." 
The 2,000 square foot E. Grand River location will feature the same mix of rice bowls, noodles and custom-made sushi as the original, and will look similar in terms of decor. According to Cheng, the convenience of affordable, quick sushi made to order is perfect for East Lansing, with its large number of international students.
Cheng hopes to start renovations on the space soon and open the new Tamaki in August. The restaurant will employ about ten workers and seat 40 to 50 diners. 

Source: Frank Cheng, Tamaki
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Fastlane Powersports celebrates ribbon cutting in Mason

With a new name and owner, the business formerly known as Grove's Motorsports in Mason has all sorts of change underway. Though owner Jeff Giles managed it, as well as other power sports retailers for years, fans of the store will find new products, service professionals and more at the newly unveiled Fastlane Powersports.
"The former owner of this location owned multiple stores, and I was the operation manager for all of them," says new owner Jeff Giles. "He was wanting to retire, so we came to an agreement."
Giles says the timing was right for him to take on ownership of his own store. Though he says the recession hit the "toy market" particularly hard, things are beginning to look up. 
"We had to survive some very tough times, and I truly believe the last couple of years have shown that we're moving in the right direction," says Giles. "Not everyone survived, so there's a lot less competition nowadays." 
Fastlane Powersports features all new parts and accessories, as well as new faces in the services and sales departments. With a staff of 10, Giles has added three new employees, and hopes to add another two to three in the upcoming months. He has already completed some interior renovations of the new store, and plans to start on exterior renovations soon.

Source: Jeff Giles
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Piggee's Smokehouse and BBQ brings home cooking to W. Saginaw

There's good news for fan's of Uncle Larry's BBQ, formerly of Downtown Lansing. Owner Larry Piggee has taken his talents to W. Saginaw, opening  Piggee's Smokehouse and BBQ last week in the former Turkeyman location. 
The 1,500 square foot restaurant serves the kind of homemade cooking Piggee learned from his parents and grandmother growing up. The barbeque recipes come from him father, and he credits his mother for teaching him about his delicious sides. 
"I've been cooking. I've been in kitchens since I was child," says Piggee. "My mother and grandmother always had me help the out."
In addition to his barbequed meets. Piggee offers mac and cheese, bacon cheddar salads, red beans and rice, and blueberry applesauce, with new rotating sides every week.
Piggee has been working to develop Piggee's Smokehouse and BBQ since April. He currently offers dine-in service and catering, and hopes to soon offer delivery as well. The new restaurant employs a staff of four. 

Source: Larry Piggee, Piggee's Smokehouse & BBQ
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

The Runway to return fashion to the Knapp's Building in 2014

For decades, when young fashion designers wanted to make it in the industry, the obvious decision was to pack up and move to New York, Paris, London or precious few other fashion-centric cities. Could Lansing be the next hot spot for aspiring designers?
If it sounds far-fetched, consider the fact that The Runway, Lansing's forthcoming fashion business incubator isn't being created in the hopes that fashion talent will find their way to the city; it's to begin harnessing all of the fashion-based entrepreneurship that is already here. 
"When Jeff Smith and I were came on, we were evaluating and were looking for a unique thing we don't have an incubator for yet," says Co-Director the New Economy Division for Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). We kept running into people who were starting their own fashion lines. There are a number of people who are getting formally trained in this area, and there are lot more people who are dabbling in it on the side."
On track to open in January of 2014, The Runway will soon be under construction in an 8,200 square foot space in the Knapp's Building, including a floor level and mezzanine level. The first floor will offer a flexible space for the designers in residence to sell their work, as well as events. The mezzanine level will include 13 offices.
Not only is The Runway a great fit for a community with so much fashion talent, says Szymusiak, but also because of the very building it will be a part of. 
"This is bringing fashion back to the most iconic department store in the area," he says. "The retail space for tenants will really bring that back to the Knapp's Building."
LEAP is the service provider for The Runway, which is funded by the Lansing Economic Development Corp. 

Source: Ken Szymusiak, LEAP
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Suburban Antiquarian celebrates ribbon cutting in Williamston

Marc Leigh has long been a collector, having worked refurbishing antique furniture for some time. When a move from Massachusetts to Michigan took him from one such job and being laid off ended his time with another, he decided it was time to go into the antique business for himself, opening the Suburban Antiquarian in Williamston
"A few years ago a local artist contacted Dr. Keller about turning his space into artist studios, and my wife was one of the first artists to rent a space up there," says Leigh. "Because of that I got to know Dr. Keller and everything just kind of fell into place."
In his 250 square foot space, Leigh sells some art, collectables, toys, vintage vinyl and furniture from his own collection, as well as from the inventory he collects at auctions and estate sales. 
"It's really just about anything I come across. I do have quite a bit of vintage vinyl," Leigh says. "There will always be something different when you go up there. I try to keep the store as fresh as possible."
The Suburban Antiquarian celebrated its ribbon cutting in June. Leigh recently launched a website for the store. 

Source: Marc Leigh, Suburban Antiquarian
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Longtime Lansing restaurant becomes Fireside Grill, expands footprint and staff

Fireside Grill is set to open in Dimondale in a couple of weeks, and area diners can expect to the restaurant to offer something new, as well as something familiar. After 17 years in business, Lansing's Barley's American Grill closed a few months ago, only to reopen under the new name in a new location and with a different style of food. 
"We're adding pasta dishes, fresh seafood and prime rib," says owner Ed Hall. "If you want fries, we'll have an Idaho potato right in front of us, we'll cut it up and fry it on the spot. Things will be more fresh." 
Hall intends for the emphasis to be on the food itself. While Barley's American Grill operated on about 50 percent alcohol sales, he hopes to see the food at Fireside Grill become front and center. The restaurant will have both a dining area as well as a pub area with different menus.
Fireside Grill will open in a 12,000 square foot location that is more than twice the size of Hall's former bar and restaurant. Hall hopes to capitalize on his new, Dimondale location as well. 
"There's nothing in this area," Hall says. "People are always driving through here to get to a restaurant somewhere else. I want to offer those people something on this side of town."
Hall will retain his Barley's American Grill staff, but will add about 25 new jobs to staff the new restaurant. Fireside Grill will open in two phases, first with a smaller dining area and abbreviated menu before the entire restaurant is open for business.

Source: Ed Hall, Fireside Grill
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Michigan-based Franklin Vine to bring accessories and fun to Meridian Mall

If you think you think national chains are the only kind of retailer found in malls, a new store coming to Meridian Mall in August will surprise you. Franklin Vine, a women's accessory store in Ann Arbor's Briarwood Mall is opening a second location in Okemos. 
"We were contacted by Meridian Mall telling us about a great location and opportunity that was available," says owner Nicole Pierce. "After months of thought and consideration we came to a conclusion that Meridian Mall would be a great location for Franklin Vine." 
Pierce's story is nearly as unexpected than finding a small business in the mall. A graduate from Wayne State University in Life Science, Pierce couldn't find the job she wanted in her field, so she went from life science to retail science in 2011 with the opening of her first Franklin Vine. 
Pierce says the 900 square foot store in Meridian Mall will offer shoppers shoes, handbags, jewelry, scarves, hats, and leggings that are fresh from big name designers. 
"We hand-pick our pieces, traveling to New York and LA often looking for pieces that big box stores and other boutiques do not offer," Pierce says. "We try and avoid ordering online; we like to see it and touch it before we buy it. Often we will have trends before they are even a trend in chains stores."
Franklin Vine will open in the first week of August and will employ a staff of five. In addition to retail inventory, the shop offers in-store parties and styling services for events. 

Source: Nicole Pierce, Franklin Vine
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

REO Town to get old-timey with new Vintage Cafe

Lansing doesn't get more vintage than REO Town, making it the perfect place for Kait Medrano to open her forthcoming Vintage Café and Catering. That face that she's lived there her entire life didn't hurt either. 
"I'm a Southside Lansing-type person. I've owned a house about a quarter of a mile away from here since I was 19 years old," says Medrano. "I liked the fact that they're redoing the street down here, but keeping that old time, vintage, REO Town feel."
Medrano plans to open her 900 square foot S. Washington St. restaurant by August 1, though visitors will be invited in for a sneak peek on July 1 during the Board of Water and Light's Going Commercial Grand Opening. Patrons will get a chance to try her made-from-scratch cooking, such as monkey bread, roasted potatoes, quiche and coffee custom roasted for the restaurant. 
"We bake all our own baked goods. You can cut time, but you also cut flavor and quality," says Medrano, who worked as the catering supervisor for McLaren Greater Lansing until her position was eliminated. "Ever since I was eliminated, everyone asked, 'will you just cater somewhere else now?'"
Vintage Café will also feature catering and will host events. Medrano employs a staff of five and someday hopes to grow into a franchise. 

Source: Kait Medrano, Vintage Cafe and Catering
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

ASK expands with 1,700 sq ft addition, new staff

Lansing IT company ASK recently celebrated two milestones: the company's 20-year anniversary, and the 1,700 square foot expansion of their office on Sovereign Dr.
The expansion was a necessary one, as the company's growth trend has continued. Adding four new positions over the last year, ASK is now up to 21 employees. A great number of those are senior level technical consultants, which, says Maddox, allows the company to better serve customers. 
"We've added more staff again this year, so our growth has continued," says ASK President Mike Maddox. "What's really been nice about the expansion is having our two teams in the same network operation center, because there's a lot of natural collaboration between them."
The new space was made possible when a suite next to ASK vacated, and the company was able to work with landlord Dart Development to renovate the space to the IT firm's needs. Working with Lansing's DBI, ASK outfitted the expanded office with more collaborative and enjoyable workspaces. 
"It's a lot bigger and there's nice, floor-to-ceiling light," Maddox says. "The mood is elevated by virtue of the natural light, and then we put in a TV and game room for when they're here over weekends or waiting for things."
Maddox says he expects ASK to continue to grow over the next several years. The company will also be working to develop new ways to take advantage of newer technologies for their clients.

Source: Mike Maddox, ASK
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Head Room Salon doubles space, grows staff in new Old Town location

After 12 years of helping to grow and shape Old Town into the vibrant district it is today, one of its longtime tenants is doing some growing of her own. Kendra Cosme's Head Room Salon recently opened in a brand new space, doubling the popular salon's footprint. Though the jump in size was dramatic, Cosme's love of Old Town ensured that it wasn't a big move in terms of distance. 
"We were in Old Town back when it was a ghost down. There were no businesses around us. Everybody thought we were crazy for being there, but being in Old Town was the best decision I ever made." 
Despite pressure to look elsewhere, Cosme spent years looking for the right building to come available in Old Town. Finally, she purchased a 2,200 square foot space on N. Washington in August and her family set to work renovating it. 
"The building is beautiful," says Cosme. "It was really a family project. I had some ideas, but other people made them come to life." 
The $220,000 investment has doubled Head Room Salon in more ways than just space. Cosme's staff jumped from six to 10 employees, and she says there's room to add more in the future.

Source: Kendra Cosme, Head Room Salon
Writer: Natalie Burg

Williamston Sport & Spine brings family chiropractic business to Grand River

Chiropractic is in the blood of Krystal Siminski's family, having grown up with her father in the business. After becoming a chiropractor herself and working for her father in Owosso for some time, Siminski and her husband, fellow chiropractor Kyle Zimmerman, decided to open their own clinic. They're now celebrating the opening of Williamston Sport and Spine on W. Grand River. 
"My husband learned about Chiropractic through my family," says Siminski. "We just decided we wanted to branch out and start like my father did from the ground up." 
It was family that brought the new chiropractors to Williamston, as Simiski's sister also has a local business, the children's store Buttons and Beanstalks. The 700 square foot clinic opened three weeks ago. Williamston Sport and Spine offers several different chiropractic techniques, as well as massage therapy.
"We're very sports-minded, but we don't limit ourselves to that," Siminski says. 
Williamston Sport and Spine currently employs Siminski, Zimmerman and a receptionist, and they are looking to hire a fulltime massage therapist as well. 

Source: Krystal Siminski, Williamston Sport and Spine
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

What Up Dawg? looks to expand into Downtown Lansing

The East Lansing restaurant known as the hot spot for hot dogs is continuing to grow with an eye on Downtown Lansing. What Up Dawg? recently expanded their sales with a new downtown hot dog cart, and is hoping to be the newest business in the bustling block of Michigan Ave. that includes The Loft and The Tin Can. 
"One of the owners of this building saw us and they really weren't interested in doing their own food, they just wanted to book musical acts," co-owner of What Up Dawg Seth Tompkins says. "They are trying to provide an atmosphere on that block where you can go to multiple venues all at the same stop." 
The new space would operate as a "What Up Dawg Express" says Tompkins, offering an abbreviated menu from a 400 square foot location. The format would be similar to other food businesses on the block, and be believes the location would be a great fit for What Up Dawg. 
"With the convention center there and all those bars, its great, and it's about two blocks from the Capitol," Tompkins says. "And what I really like about this location is that it's a good location in July, and good location in September."
While plans for the new location are still pending, Tompkins says he hopes to open by August if possible. In addition to the new staff member hired to operate the hot dog cart that is open daily on the corner of Washington and Ottawa downtown, the express restaurant would create two new positions. 

Source: Seth Tompkins, What Up Dawg?
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Black Box Tattoos brings creative energy, three jobs to Delta Twp.

When the only tattoo shop on Lansing's west side closed several months ago, local tattoo artist Troy Albert saw an opportunity to fill the void. He opened Black Box Tattoo Studio in a 1,600 square foot W. Saginaw space in April. 
"On this side of town there was only studio for a long time," says Albert. "After they closed up it was an opportunity to step into a place and raise the standard of the tattoos around here."
Albert's interest in his current career grew from his love of art, and he found his way to tattooing as a way to create a sustainable job in the arts. 
"There aren't too many job opportunities out there for artists," Albert says. "A lot of people do street art and murals and just have to be the starving artist. With tattooing, it's a good job where you can show your creativity and be who you are while doing it." 
Black Box Tattoo Studio employs three tattoo artists, and Albert says the staff's attention to detail and care paid to each customer sets the business apart. 
"We try to raise the bar," says Albert. "We really want to work with the customers, so they're very happy. We don’t like to rush tattoos."
Albert encourages people to visit the shop even if they're unsure about getting a tattoo, as he and his staff are happy to answer questions and talk about ideas. Examples of their work can be seen on the Black Box Tattoo Facebook page

Source: Troy Albert, Black Box Tattoo
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New resale shop opens on Southside, offers space to sellers

After reselling items of their own for some time, Al Labrecque and Karen Greer decided to make a business out of the practice, opening Alveda's Resale Shop on S. Waverly in March. 
"We wanted to open something on the south side of town, because there's nothing like this on this side of Lansing," says Labrecque. "We talked about it and decided to do it."
The new 1,200 square foot store sells a variety of new and resale items, including toys, collectables, electronics and more. In addition to selling their own items, Labrecque and Greer have 12 small rental booths for other resellers. Two booths are currently occupied, and the remainder are available for rental. 
"Our goal was to be different," Labrecque says. "I've been told we look at lot nicer and we have some better stuff than the other shops."
Alveda's Resale Shop will celebrate its grand opening this Friday. The store currently employs both owners, as well as receiving staffing help from a family member. 

Source: Al Labrecque, Alveda's Resale Shop
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Capitol City Scoop to open this week with MSU Dairy Store treats

Downtown Lansing's newest business brings something new as well as something familiar to the neighborhood. Capitol City Scoop will be downtown's only dedicated ice cream parlor, serving MSU Dairy Store ice cream and opened by the owner of Downtown Lansing's The Barberrettes and Coterie Purlieu, Felix Compos.
"I'm hungry," says Compos. "I think Downtown Lansing needs these businesses that I've chosen. The Lugnuts and other businesses sell ice cream, but no one specializes in it."
A longtime MSU fan with family connections to the university, when Compos started thinking about an ice cream store, he immediately thought of the MSU Dairy Store. It only took a phone call to get the partnership moving, and with the local creamery's involvement, Capitol City Scoop will serve more than just ice cream. 
"We're going to have a chef and he'll be doing some foods," Compos says. "Quick stuff you can eat for lunch. Some of it will be a little Southwestern. We're bringing in real tortilla from San Antonio."
Capitol City Scoop will have 12 to 16 flavors of ice cream, as well as cheeses and lunches made by the in-house chef. Similar to Compos other businesses, the shop has undergone significant renovation to fit his classy, signature style, including an upper level seating area.
The shop is set to open on Thursday with a grand opening planned for next Monday. Capitol City Scoop will employ a staff of up to six.  

Source: Felix Compos, Capitol City Scoop
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Between the Buns & More brings Michigan made treats to Holt

For three years, Ruben Garcia has been delivering Michigan made snacks and condiments to food retailers all over the state. His company, RG Distribution, began with his desire share the chips, salsas and cheese dips of his employer, El Azteco, with the world at farmers markets, events and in retailers. The company has grown, now carrying an assortment of tasty treats made here in the Mitten, and now he's going to be able to count his own store, Between the Buns and More
"Before we even started the distribution company, I wanted a storefront," says Garcia. "I kept running these things to people and seeing how good they're doing, so I went and got my LLC."
Between the Buns and More is soon opening in a 350 square foot space inside Holt's Incu-BaKe. The location will give Garcia a place to sell the products he distributes, as well as continue to connect with the producers at the incubator kitchen. 
"We kind of help them out," Garcia says. "That's our goal, to help people gain confidence to go push the stuff. That's the big exciting thing for them to see their product in a store." 
Garcia hopes to open Between the Buns and More this week. As the store becomes established he hopes to hire up to two employees to manage the operations. In addition to growing as a business, Garcia's goal is to use the store to raise funds for community groups and non-profits, including food banks and arts programs for kids. 

Source: Ruben Garcia, Between the Buns & More
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Plush Consignment quadruples space with new Williamston location

A year after opening her Williamston resale shop, Plush Consignments, Jamie Cripe is quadrupling the store's footprint in a new location just two buildings east of the original W. Grand River shop. 
"I love being in Williamston," says Cripe. "I just fell in love with the little downtown area and the people around here."
The new 1,400 square foot space will be quite a jump from the 350 square feet in which Plush Consignments got started, but the extra room is much needed, Cripe says. In the expanded location, shoppers will more easily be able to browse, look through clothes and move around. 
"It's a gorgeous space," Cripe says. "There's exposed brick on one side and lots of natural light coming in from the back and the front."
In addition to having more space to display her plus-sized consignment clothing and accessories, Cripe will be expanding her offerings, include some home décor, events and space for local artists to display their work. 
Plush Consignments will open this week in the new location. Cripe hopes the new location will help the store expand its audience, hours and eventually hire additional staff. 

Source: Jamie Cripe, Plush Consignments
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New downtown law firm focuses on the arts and non-profits

A background in theater arts, non-profit administration and law may not be a conventional career path, but it's what has made Katharine Hude's new law practice, Hude Legal Services, so special. 
"I love working with non-profits and artists because of my background," Hude says. "It's part of what makes me a little unique in terms of what legal service I offer."
A Lansing native, Hude opened her Seymour Ave. business in February in a building shared by other legal practices and non-profits. Her specialty extends beyond offering legal advice to those in arts and non-profit community, but also consultant services such as strategic planning and communications planning. 
"I think there are a lot opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs in the Lansing area," says Hude. "The arts community is being looked at more and more in terms of economic development and attracting talent. It's important." 
Hude hopes to continue to grow her new practice in Downtown Lansing. She hopes Hude Legal Services might in the future have a staff that may provide non-profits with administrative services the organizations may not be able to afford to maintain in-house. 

Source: Katharine Hude, Hude Legal Services
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Embassy Grill to triple size and staff with new W. Saginaw location

After four years in their current W. Saginaw location, the Embassy Grill is on the move. Though the new home won't be far – just three blocks down W. Saginaw to the Lansing Towne Center – the 4,000 square foot location will triple their dining capacity, as well as their staff. 
"We're hoping for more traffic," says General Manager Rick Badawi. "We're tucked into a corner here, but we'll be able to seat more than 140 there."
Work on the new Embassy Grill location has been underway since late 2012. The conversion will fairly dramatic to the former retail space that is now on it's way ot becoming a restaurant. Badawi says the atmosphere will echo the business' current look, but with the addition of patio seating and a separation between the dining and bar areas. 
The Embassy Grill specializes in Lebanese, Italian and American dining, though Badawi says their Lebanese food has become a particular favorite to their clientele. They hope the larger, more visible new location will bring even more new diners to the restaurant. 
The new Embassy Grill location is slated to open in June. With the expansion into the new space, Badawi expect to grow his staff from six to up to 20. 

Source: Rick Badawi, The Embassy Grill
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

The Polish Deli brings fast, authentic cuisine to Okemos

The newest addition to the Meridian Mall food court is surprising in more than one way. First of all, it's no chain. The family-owned Polish Deli has been a successful independent business in Dearborn for more than a year. Owner Barbara Skonieczka had so much success, in fact, that Okemos is now home to the family's second location.
"We have new customers everyday," says Carol Piechowski of the Polish Deli. "People are just finding out about us. Everybody who stops by is glad to see us."
And though food at the Polish Deli can be ordered and served up in a hurry, the authentic Polish cuisine is anything but the typical fast food experience. Featuring homemade potato salads, perogie and more, the restaurant offers diners a unique dining experience. 
"We're more of a healthier fast food," Piechowski says. "Everything is homemade to order nothing is processed."
The Polish Deli opened in January and employs a staff of three. In addition to Polis fare, the restaurant carries such American dishes as chicken sandwiches, French fries and salads. 

Source: Carol Piechowski, The Polish Deli
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Grand Rapids pizzeria to open downtown East Lansing location

Another popular Grand Rapids destination is coming soon to East Lansing. Just as construction on the new HopCat is getting underway, Peppino's Pizzeria and Sports Grill has announced it will occupy an approximately 11,500 square foot space in St. Anne's Lofts. The restaurant will include a first-floor dining area, as well as a second floor with a patio and three-season bar area and retractable garage doors.
"The upstairs will be the smaller portion, but it'll be a really happening spot," says Eric Tuinstra, Peppino's chief marketing officer. "Overall, it should look and feel a lot like our downtown location, with the brick, the televisions and the wood panel ceilings."
The pizzeria specializes in fresh, handmade foods. Tuinstra says opening an East Lansing location made sense, considering how many of their Grand Rapids-area patrons are MSU fans, and have suggested a Peppino's near campus would do well. 
"We just kept hearing that people [in downtown East Lansing] were starving for a good place to eat, with good, real food that is reasonably priced," says Tuinstra.
The East Lansing location will be the fourth full-service Peppino's Pizzeria, joining restaurants in downtown Grand Rapids, south Grand Rapids and Allendale. The franchise also includes six carryout restaurants. 
The Peppino's franchise is owned by founder Joe DiLeonardo, and the East Lansing location will be operated by franchisee Kris Elliot. Tuinstra expects the new restaurant will employ between 65 and 75 workers and will open in August. 

Source: Eric Tuinstra, Peppino's Pizzeria
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hannah's Koney Island owner to open Athena's Diner on S. Cedar

Fans of Greek cuisine will have a new place to get their fix when the new Athena's Diner opens on S. Cedar St. in the former Jon's Country Burger building. The new restaurant, which will serve both Greek and American fare, will be owned by local restaurateur, Anton Prenaj. 
Area diners may be familiar with Prenaj's restaurant of eight years, Hannah’s Koney Island in East Lansing's Hannah Plaza. The new Athena's Diner, says Prenaj, will be both similar to and different from his existing restaurant.
"We will have great food, and our service will be very nice," he says. "It's not going to be a Coney Island, but it will be a family diner."
Prenaj hopes to open Athena's Diner in about one month, and expects to employ a staff of about 15 employees.  

Source: Anton Prenaj, Athena's Diner
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Bikram Yoga Capital Area to be region's first, opening in East Lansing

Ann Chrapkiewicz still remembers how she felts after her first Bikram Yoga class in 2003. 
"My whole body seemed to be functioning in a different way," she says. "I felt so good so quickly that I couldn't stay away."  
Chrapkiewicz immediately began practicing six days a week, and a year later attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles. After teaching at Bikram Yoga studios throughout the state, she's now opening her own business, Bikram Yoga Capital Area (BYCA) right in East Lansing's Brookfield Plaza. 
The 3,600 square foot studio is now under construction, transforming from a former grocery store space to a studio for yoga practiced at 105-degree heat and 40 percent humidity. The renovations include flooring, lighting, a new sound system, mirrors, new showers and changing rooms. 
Chrapkiewicz, who moved to the area five years ago to begin work on a doctoral degree in anthropology at MSU, says the nearest Bikram Yoga studio is 60 miles away. 
Bikram Yoga students all around the state of Michigan have been asking for a studio here for nearly as many years," says Chrapkiewicz. "So, after a long wait, the capital region and MSU will have access to this yoga."
BYCA will open in mid-June offering more than Bikram's Beginning Yoga class 30 classes each week. The studio will begin with a staff of five teachers with the support of four out-of-town instructors teaching occasional classes. 

Source: Ann Chrapkiewicz, Bikram Yoga Capital Area
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Park Dental Okemos opens in Doctor's Approach building

The healthcare services at the new Doctor's Approach building in Okemos have expanded with the opening of Park Dental Okemos inside the facility. The practice is owned by Dr. Wallace Walker, who has practiced dentistry in the Metro Detroit area for more than 30 years. 
Park Dental Okemos offers traditional family dentistry, as well as additional services some dentists refer out to other practices, including wisdom teeth removal. 
"Dr. Walker has taken courses to expand his knowledge," says Veronica Isham, office manager for Park Dental Okemos. "He does that continuously."
In addition to extra services, Isham says what makes Dr. Walker's practice unique is his laid-back, friendly personality. 
Park Dental Okemos opened on March 1 and is currently open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the first Saturday of each month and employs a staff of four. Isham says Dr. Walker hopes to expand to fulltime hours as the new practice grows. 

Source: Veronica Isham, Park Dental Okemos
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Family ice cream business connects with community in Dewitt

The Dalman family has long had a dream of running an ice cream shop, and now that plan has come to fruition in their hometown of Dewitt with iScream. The new 1,000 square foot shop serves ice cream, soft serve and low-calorie, high-vitamin smoothies. 
"We are in the center of Dewitt," says Max Dalman, who manages the store owned by his parents. "We're right by the schools, and are tons of neighborhoods over here." 
The Dalmans have been working on iScream since last fall, and the ice scream shop opened about a month ago. The shop currently employs a staff of eight. Despite the snowy weather during their opening, the community has come out to support the business, and they've found themselves even busier than expected. 
The concept of iScream includes reciprocating that community support. The Dalmans also have a smoothie booth that they bring to local events to offer smoothies to attendees. The organization running the event receives a portion of the proceeds of every smoothie sold. 
"We're in it for the fun," says Dalman. "We're trying to keep prices as low as we can and offer the best we can to the community."

Source: Max Dalman, iScream
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

87-year-old Apothecary Shop opens new Grand Ledge location

For 87 years, the Apothecary Shop has been serving the Lansing community. When an independent pharmacist in Grand Ledge retired and sold his business to a big box pharmacy, it became an opportunity for the long established business to expand it reach. 
"We have seen [Grand Ledge] customers driving all the way up to Lansing to see us because they like the service of the independent pharmacy," says Nag Yeasu, pharmacist with the new Apothecary Shop at Grand Ledge. "We decided we had the opportunity to open our second location." 
The new Apothecary Shop opened in April in a 1,400 square foot location on Charlevoix Dr. in Grand Ledge. It's proximity to other, big name pharmacies, says Nag Yeasu will work as a benefit to the new store. 
"People have to come to this corner to get their medicine already," says Yeasu. "If they know that this is the best service in the town, they will go to the independent pharmacy."
Those exclusive services include home delivery of medications, quick turnaround on prescriptions and personal customer service from a consistent staff. The Apothecary Shop also offers a service that many pharmacies long ago abandoned: mixing custom compounds for patients with special prescription needs. Yeasu adds that clients can always expect a human to answer the phone. 
The Apothecary Shop will celebrate its grand opening today. The pharmacy currently employs a staff of four, and Yeasu hopes to grow that number as the business continues to develop. 

Source: Nag Yeasu, Apothecary Shop of Grand Ledge
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New contemporary Italian restaurant seeks to bring new dining experience to Okemos

A different kind of restaurateur is planning to bring a different kind of dining experience to the Lansing area with Tannin, a new restaurant coming to Marsh Rd. in Okemos this spring. 
"We love interesting, novel food for their own sake," says Tannin owner Chris Roelofs. "We hope to make money, but our goal, first and foremost, is to make great food." 
Roelofs was a Ph.D. candidate in political theory while working at a restaurant in Williamston before taking the leap to going into business for himself. He and partner James Sumpter hope to add something new to the Lansing dining scene. 
"We really want to raise the level of food discourse in the area," says Roelofs. " One of the many aspirations I have is to produce a level of food that would be considered excellent in any location."
Tannin will open in a 2,500 square foot space on Marsh Rd. in late May. The restaurant will feature a unique menu of contemporary Italian dishes as well as influences by other cultures. Roelofs says in-house ingredients will be key to their identity, and even on-site cured meats and cheeses will be integrated into the menu over the next six months to two years. 
Tannin will employ 15 to 20 workers upon opening. 

Source: Chris Roelofs, Tannin
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

NBO Medical expands into new 6,000 sq ft office

NBO Medical launched in Lansing two years ago with the idea that people needed better access to a new treatment option for neuropathy. Now, with offices in Brighton, Flint, Grand Rapids and Naples, Florida, NBO Medical has serviced 5,000 patients suffering from numbness, pain, tingling and discomfort. That number is set to rise with NBO Medical's expansion into a larger facility on Belle Chase Way.
The quick expansion of NBO Medical is undoubtedly connected to its innovative treatment of neuropathy, which treats nerve damage, rather than attempting to mask symptoms through medication. Though medication is still considered the conventional treatment for neuropathy, says NBO Medical founder Dr. Paul DeWeiss, it comes with side effects, and it is only beneficial in about half of patients. 
"Because of the way neuropathy is currently treated, people have this chronic, degenerative condition, so their life shrivels up," says DeWeiss. "They stop playing tennis, they stop walking the dog, they aren't as socially active, so there is a lot of insolation and depression. It's been very gratifying to see people get their life back." 
NBO Medical opened the doors to their new 6,000 square foot facility in December. That's quite a jump from the company's original, 400 square foot office in East Lansing. After outgrowing their first office, NBO moved to Jolly Road, but now plans to continue to grow in their new location. 
Now with a staff of 15, DeWeiss says his staff has grown about 25 percent over the past year, and he expects continued growth in the future. The Lansing facility is home to both his local practice, as well as the administrative staff servicing all of his offices. DeWeiss plans to grow his number of offices, including a future Florida office, as well as a possible forthcoming partnership with a Metro Detroit area hospital. 

Source: Dr. Paul DeWeiss, NBO Medical
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Buttons and Beanstalks brings kiddie chic to Williamston

As a stay-at-home mom, Danielle Mackay loved to shop for her kids at children's boutiques, but kept running into the same problem: there just weren't enough options for boys. As both of Mackay's children are boys, this posed a problem for a boutique shopper like herself that she was determined to solve. Her answer was opening Buttons and Beanstalks.
"I do everything one-for-one between girls and boys," says Mackay. "I carry a lot of accessories that are really hard to find. I hand-make a lot of the hair ties and ties for little boys."
The children's boutique began online about a year ago, and has now expanded into a physical shop in Williamston's Keller Plaza. The new Buttons and Beanstalks opened on April 13 in a 220 square foot shop.
"I like that it is all indoors," Mackay says. "The size of the space is perfect."
Mackay now operates the shop on limited hours, but hopes to soon expand into full retail hours. She anticipates hiring up to three employees once Button and Beanstalks has expanded its hours. 

Source: Danielle Mackay, Buttons and Beanstalks
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Southside Tattoos opens westside location as Noble Ink

According to manager Roxy Hayes, the newly opened Noble Ink on W. Saginaw isn't your ordinary tattoo shop. 
"We're all very family oriented," she says. "We're not that stereotypical idea of tattoo shop."
Noble Ink is owned by Southside Tattoos owner Bill Brown who had a vision top open a new location on Lansing's Westside. Hayes says fans of the original shop will recognize the same level of cleanliness, skill and personable service at Noble Ink with a new aesthetic. 
"We have a lot of cool, aged décor," says Hayes. "A lot of local shops are darker with dark imagery on the walls. We have decorative mirrors and very old, cool tchotchkes everywhere."
Work on Noble Ink has been underway for a couple of months, and the new shop opened in March. The business currently employs three tattoo artists and one piercer. Hayes says the staff is looking forward to building a new clientele base on the west side of town. 

Source: Roxy Hayes, Noble Ink
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Michael's opens in former Brannigan Brothers space

Now on its third identity in the last year, the former Brannigan Brothers location in Downtown Lansing recently opened as a new restaurant and bar called Michael's. According to bartender Benjamin May, the new name comes with a classier atmosphere.
"We have a lot more top shelf alcohol," he says. " We're trying to attract a different crowd, a little bit older, such as the grad students at Cooley."
The restaurant's interior has been completely renovated since its time as Brannigan Brothers. Michael's now features live blues music on Wednesday nights and is also focusing on catering to sports fans with several TVs, as well as the local lunch crowd. 
Michaels currently employs a staff of approximately 14, and May says the new business has been busy since their opening in mid-March. 
"It's been a lot busier since the new owner has come in," he says. "We've got a pretty awesome staff."
May says Michael's hopes to soon add live music on the weekends in addition to Wednesdays. 

Source: Benjamin May, Michael's
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Beyond the Fleece expands in Williamston

Less than a year after moving into Williamston's Keller's Plaza, the family-owned specialty yarn shop Beyond the Fleece has already expanded into a new location. 
"We had great interest in store in Keller's Plaza, but we had many customers that were not able to climb the stairs," says owner Jill Blain. "I had also run out of room."
The shop's new, 2,000 square foot home on Grand River more than quadruples Blain's former location. The additional space allows Blain to do all of her fiber dying in the store, as well as provides a larger classroom area. 
Beyond the Fleece is an outgrowth from the Blain family farm, Frosty Acres where Blain and her husband Brandon raise fiber animals, including lamas, alpaca, angora goats, Shetland sheep and angora rabbits to make handspun and dyed yarns. 
"We support local artists and are a natural fiber store," says Blain. "We love to encourage the use of natural fiber and support local farmers."
The new Beyond the Fleece location opened on March 5. The store has grown in several ways over the past year, including carrying spinning wheels, looms, drum carders, and other yarn crafting accessories. The store also offers a variety of classes, workshops and lessons, and sells products from local artists in their in-store Michigan Fiber Artist Shoppe within the store.

Source: Jill Blain, Beyond the Fleece
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Howell's Jonna's 2 Go to expand to East Lansing

Jonna's 2 Go is a familiar brand a short drive east down I-96, with two locations in Howell. The popular party store is expanding westward with its first East Lansing store on Michigan Ave. in the former 24/7 convenience store. 
"We've always loved this area," says Anthony Jonna, manager partner of Jonna's 2 Go. "We're the biggest Spartan fans in the world." 
The East Lansing Jonna's 2 Go will be the fifth outlet of the Jonna family business, with two Jonna's Market stores in West Bloomfield and Taylor. The party store specializes in homemade pizza, sandwiches, salads and other deli items, along with craft beer and wine. 
"We're going to pay special attention to this one," says Jonna. "It'll really pop. I don't think anybody in the area will have seen anything like it." 
Work on the renovations is currently underway, and Jonna expects the store to open in the next few weeks. Jonna's 2 Go will employ about a dozen workers. 

Source: Anthony Jonna, Jonna's 2 Go
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Frozen yogurt and sweet bun shops come to Downtown East Lansing

East Lansing just got sweeter in two new ways with the opening of Tutti Frutti and O' My Buns on E. Grand River downtown. Kayla Nguyen brought the frozen yogurt and sweet bun stores together under one roof on March 7. 
"I went to visit my friend in California and I fell in love with frozen yogurt," says franchisee of both businesses, Nguyen. "It's non- or low-fat and it's good for digestion."
Located in a 1,800 square foot, second floor location next to Yoga State, Nguyen built out Tutti Frutti and O' My Buns to be a place where students can comfortably relax, study or hangout between or after classes. 
"I designed it to be more like a lounge," she says. "I personally prefer places like that, where students can move the tables together and come and do their homework."
Tutti Frutti offers frozen yogurt with a topping bar containing 50 choices of toppings. O' My Buns offers plain or cream cheese-filled buns with either coffee or vanilla topping. 
Nguyen currently employs a staff of three across the two stores, but plans to soon grow to 12 to 15 employees. 

Source: Kayla Nguyen, Tutti Frutti and O' My Buns
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

MODI Gallery offers new option for local artists

It began with Brendan Martin's desire to find the right place to show his own work, but now into its second show on Michigan Ave., the new MODI Art Gallery has the potential to become much more. 
After moving back to the Lansing area where he grew up after living in Philadelphia and studying art in New York, Martin noticed a gap in the local arts scene.
"There are [local galleries] with older, more accomplished artists, and others that sell postcards and jewelry," says Martin. "There isn't a professional environment for young, emerging artists. We wanted to be a tradition style gallery with one show per month." 
Together with partner Pat Abood, Martin set about changing that with the 600 square foot space at 605 E. Michigan Ave. A former medical marijuana dispensary, the pair invested some serious time and elbow grease into the storefront to transform it into a gallery, aided by funds raised on Kickstarter. 
MODI Gallery opened with a showing of Martin's work on Feb. 1. A second month-long showing is now underway, and artists have expressed interest in showing in April as well. That all depends, says Martin, on how MODI continues to take shape as an organization, as he hopes it will become more of a community project than a proprietorship.
"We want to stay open and be able to let people show there," he says. "We're looking at how we can do that." 
Martin is optimistic about MODI's future. He and Abood have already partnered with such organizations as the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and Lansing Art Works. 

Source: Brendan Martin, MODI Art Gallery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Williamston bridal offerings complete with Wedding Gallery

Dawn-Marie Joseph knows a thing or two about Williamston, having opened the popular Gracie's Place and Vivee’s Floral Garden and Café. One thing she's known for some time is that the town is becoming a destination for wedding businesses, with florists, caterers, invitation printers and a new cake shop. There's just one thing missing: a bridal shop. 
Joseph and partner Tina Benington will change that in April with the opening of The Wedding Gallery at the corner of Grand River and Putnam in Downtown Williamston. 
"What we really found in our research is basically customer service is key," says Joseph. "That business is 100 percent about the customers. We're not going to have every dress in the bridal magazines, but we'll work our hardest to find it for them, for what they can afford." 
To really complete the town's collection of wedding vendors, the building will also include Gallery Travel, a travel agency.
"The building offered me the opportunity, so right across from the bridal shop, we'll have the travel agency," says Joseph. "So, we'll be able to book honeymoons for our brides."
The Wedding Gallery and Gallery Travel will both open in April, sharing about 3,000 square feet of space and employing staffs of about three and two, respectively, in addition to Joseph and Benington. 

Source: Dawn-Marie Joseph, The Wedding Gallery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Blowout bar trend hits East Lansing with Salon Karma

The new Salon Karma brings hairstyling secrets from all over the U.S. to East Lansing. First, there's owner Dawnn Gibson, who brought her talents to the Lansing area from Toledo about six years ago. Then, the salon is also a blowout bar offering a shampoo, blow-dry and one of six chic styles. 
"The blowout bar came after us opening," says Gibson of the 2,200 square foot Salon Karma, which opened in December. "The idea came from an outside source form Arizona. I got online, and I saw that this is really big all over."
The idea, Gibson says, is to offer regular salon services to women that mimics the atmosphere of salons of years gone by, with ladies coming in weekly or monthly for a style and to socialize with friends. 
"We're working on getting a liquor license so people can have a beer or wine and relax while they're here," says Gibson. 
Salon Karma is located in the former location of Panopoulos Salon on Lake Lansing Rd. The business also offers regular salon services, including men's styles, nails, tanning, and aesthetician services. Gibson currently employs a staff of eight. 

Source: Dawnn Gibson, Salon Karma
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Williamston Barbell Club brings powerlifting to 2,800 sq ft Grand River space

Tom Donnelly's Williamston Barbell Club is a new kind of gym for the area, offering a focus on powerlifting, as well as other workout options such as classes and cardio. The venture is another project from Grace's Place owner Dawn-Marie Joseph and her partners. 
The 2,800 square foot facility at 350 W. Grand River Ave. has been under renovation for about three months and is now open for new members. While the gym is a new business for the family, Joseph says they also see the Williamston Barbell Club as a benefit for the community. 
"The gym will partly be used for goodwill," she says. "We'll have powerlifting, classes and kids' yoga here. People from LCC and different organizations have gotten in touch with us. We'll do boxing and different competitions."
With vacant land adjacent to the property, the partners have plans to add outdoor activities to their services, such as volleyball and outdoor powerlifting. 
The partners have invested about $200,000 into the renovation project, and hope to continue improving the facility, perhaps adding a screened-in workout area facing the Red Cedar River in the future. Tom Donnelly's Williamston Barbell Club currently employs a staff of three, in addition to contracted trainers and the four partners.
"It's a nice thing that my family is really involved," says Joseph. "It's nice that we're in a potion that we can work with our family the way we do." 

Source: Dawn-Marie Joseph, Tom Donnelly's Williamston Barbell Club
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Old Town General Store to bring specialty groceries to former Redhead space

With all of the growth Old Town has experienced over the past decade, one type of business has been missing from the mix of retail, dining and service that has been drawing people to the neighborhood: a grocery store.
Maria Van Atta is looking to soon change that void, giving Old Town residents and workers a place to pick up specialty foods, fresh produce and more with the forthcoming Old Town General Store.
"We have somewhat of a food desert here in Old Town," Van Atta says, "and I think if I can create a little oasis of reasonably-priced healthy, and tasty, specialty foods, the Old Town General Store will do quite well." 
The idea for the General Store began several years ago when Van Atta made a career change and searching for a new venture that would appeal to her sense of community and appreciation of nature.
"I enjoy and appreciate the goodness of nature, a sense of community and giving back, and supporting the local economy as much as possible," says Van Atta. "A general store has traditionally been a gathering place, where you would find interesting and unexpected things as well as convenience items." 
The 1,500 square foot E. Grand River location will do just with specialty foods, fresh produce, beer, and wine, with an emphasis on Michigan companies and sustainable and organic items. The Old Town General Store is expected to open May 3, and celebrate a grand opening on June 15. Van Atta plans to employ a staff of approximately four part-time workers at the store. 

Source: Maria Van Atta, Old Town General Store
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Renowned interior designer opens Downtown Lansing studio

Just when it seemed Downtown Lansing's 113 S. Washington Sq. couldn't get any more chic, the second floor of My Sista's Boutique is now the home of Kendra Dennis Designs, an interior design and event planning firm with a notable history in the industry.
Before arriving in Lansing, Kendra Dennis made a name for herself as "Designer of the Year" in 2003 by the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as the Certified Interior Designers in 2005. Dennis has appeared on HGTV’s Home and Garden Show and has been the featured designer on TV One’s hot renovation show, Divine Restoration.
"I think I always was kind of a designer, from a child," says Dennis. "I was always creating. It was a gift I already I had, and I turned it into a business."
The renowned designer grew up in Texas, but now joins her sister – My Sista's Boutique owner, Tina Robinson – in Downtown Lansing. Kendra Dennis Designs offers residential and commercial design, as well as special event planning
"Commercial is less stressful but my heart lies in residential," Dennis says. "It's an emotional renovation. I also do custom furniture design."
Kendra Dennis Designs opened in the 2,500 S. Washington Sq. space in December and celebrated their grand opening March 1. Dennis employs a staff of three, and also provides space for a boutique of her daughter's work, fashion designer Tanesa Peterson.

Source: Kendra Dennis, Kendra Dennis Design
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Family owned Save-a-Lot to become Monticello's Market

While big changes are in the works at the Bath Twp. Save-a-Lot location, one thing about the forthcoming grocery store, Monticello's Market, will remain the same: it'll still be local, family-owned business. 
"Our customers love coming to us because they know us. They know our kids," says Margie Potter. "We're here all the time during construction, and they'll see our car here, and stop by to how it's going. So that's really been fun." 
The building on Marsh Road in fact was even a grocery store owned by the Potter family before it became a Save-a-Lot 18 years ago. While keeping that tradition alive, the Potters will be brining a whole new look, feel and grocery offering to their customers. 
"I really want a whole different feel than a discount store," says Potter. "It's not that our prices are going to be high, but I want it to be beautiful. I want it to be warm and inviting, and a fun destination for people to come and have a great time."
The 10,000 square foot store is now under construction, which will include a deli counter and a small addition to expand the grocery store's footprint. In developing their vision for Monticello's Market, the Potters visited such popular grocery stores as Trader Joe's
The new market will feature Michigan products, as well as the wide selection of plants the Potters' customers have come to expect from the family business. Though the interior of the store is not expected to be ready to open before June or July, Monticello's will begin selling plants in April. Potter plans to employ a staff of about 12 in the new market. 

Source: Margie Potter, Monitcello's Market
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Okemos to be home to third Sugar Berry location

There's no denying it. Lansing loves Sugar Berry. Affection for the frozen yogurt shop is only growing, as is the business itself. Less than three years after opening the first Sugar Berry in Frandor, a third location is set to open soon in Okemos. 
After opening her second Sugar Berry on West Saginaw last year, owner Ann Nguyen could tell that demand for yet another location was still high. 
"A lot of people are coming from all sorts of directions for Sugar Berry," she says, "so I thought another one would make it easier for people. Okemos seems to be a really fun place for one." 
Work on the 1,500 square foot location near the corner of Okemos Road and Grand River is now underway. Nguyen says everything will be built new, including bathrooms, countertops and topping stations.
"I love the four-way traffic that is right there," she says. "The location is pretty good, and it's nice and bright." 
Nguyen hopes to open the store with April with about eight employees. The Okemos store will feature Sugar Berry's newest offering, bubble tea, which will soon be available across all three locations. 
Nguyen intends to open more Lansing-area businesses, but plans to expand beyond frozen yogurt in her next venture. Though not ready to release specific plans yet, she promises the new business will, just as Sugar Berry did, bring a new business concept to the area.

Source: Ann Nguyen, Sugar Berry
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Blue Button Bakery to bring breads, jobs to Williamston

A new bakery is in the works in Downtown Williamston, and the name behind it is one that is sure to get few people excited. Gracie's Place, the popular Putnam St. eatery will be opening the Blue Button Bakery by the end of this month, which will supply the restaurant's breads as well as other offerings to shoppers. 
"It'll have your regular things like bagels, different types of breads, and it'll also have pasties and sweets as well," says Gracie’s General Manager Ben Donnelly. "We're kicking around the idea of gelato."
The 1,600 square foot bakery will also house Gracie's catering business, as well as supply breads to other local restaurants. Donnelly hopes the Blue Button Bakery will eventually sell their breads in local grocery stores. 
"We're really just looking to offer the local area finer quality products," Donnelly says, "and make it available more locally so you don't have to drive so far to get that kind of quality."
Work on the Blue Button Bakery is now underway, and Donnelly hopes it will be ready to open by the end of March. He expect about ten employees to staff the bakery. 

Source: Ben Donnelly, Gracie's Place/Blue Button Bakery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Chic homegoods store expands into its own Old Town space

When Bradly Rakowski first launched his shop, Bradly's Home and Garden, it was in one corner of Old Town's Absolute Gallery. Now, just 14 months later, he's expanding into his very own location right in the same neighborhood. 
"It's still a small space, but it's manageable," says Rakowski. "It was kind of the next step in the progression of my business. I've been able to expand my lines."
The new Bradly's Home and Garden opened last week in a 500 square foot space in the Thelma Joyce Osteen Comfort Station recently purchased and renovated by the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. The MHPN now occupies the remaining portion of the building. 
"Old Town is great," Rakowski says. "There is a lot of food traffic in here, and people are looking for something unique. With the Mole Hole closing, I sort of fit that niche."
Rakowski's shop offers a variety of artistic home and garden goods, including wreaths, furniture, jewelry, pet accessories, artisan soaps and more. 
"It's kind of a mix of a rustic and glamour types," he says. "We'll have something made of high-end polished nickel and pair with something rustic."
Bradly's Home and Garden will celebrate its grand opening along with MHPN later this month. 

Source: Bradly Rakowski, Bradly's Home and Garden
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Wandering Waffles brings all-day breakfast to City Market

If you think waffles are sit-down-breakfast food only, the forthcoming Wandering Waffles at the Lansing City Market would ask you to think again. 
Samantha Wilbur says she always comes up with big ideas while her military husband was deployed, and every time he'd come home, he would talk her back down to earth. But when she came up with an idea for a food truck, he totally agreed. 
"I said, 'You're supposed to tell me no!'" says Wilbur. "But he said he thought it was a great idea, so I started looking into the process."
As the idea for Wandering Waffles developed, it morphed from a food truck concept to a Lansing City Market business. Wanting to serve the after-bar crowd, Wilbur decided a permanent location without restrictions on nighttime hours was the way to go.
What kind of waffles does one eat at 1 a.m.?
"We do bacon, deli meat and cheese," Wilbur says. "We also have a pizza waffle with homemade tomato sauce."
The homemade waffle toppings will also include more traditional flavors of caramel and marshmallow fluff, all made with as many local ingredients as Wilbur can get her hands on. Wandering Waffles will also offer gluten free waffles and toppings.
The 430 square foot City Market restaurant is expected to open soon, with Wilbur and two other workers behind the counter. The entrepreneur hopes to see the concept grow into multiple locations in the future. 

Source: Samantha Wilbur, Wandering Waffles
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Asian Express to join Okemos Dairy for carryout and dine-in

Okemos Dairy has been a longtime neighborhood favorite on Okemos Road. Starting next week, in addition to delicious ice creams, visitors to the location will be able to enjoy a meal along with their dessert at Asian Express. 
Ginny Cheung isn't new to the restaurant business. She and her husband owned Golden Wok restaurants, first in Adrian and then in East Lansing. But when the couple's children graduated from college and moved away, they were looking for a smaller operation to simplify their lives. 
"I want to have a small family restaurant with my husband," Cheung says. "I want to have a day or off or vacation when we want to" 
The 1,200 square foot location adjacent to the Okemos Dairy will feature carryout and a small amount of seating for dine-in customers, with seats for about 16 inside, and, when the weather improves, additional patio seating. The menu will be similar to Cheung's Golden Wok entrees. 
"Everything is fresh," says Cheung. "All of the vegetables are chopped here, and nothing cooked ahead."
Cheung chose the Okemos location because of her fondness for the neighborhood where here kids attended high school. Cheung and her husband will open Asian Express with a staff of four. 

Source: Ginny Cheung, Asian Express
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Business resource center, incubator hybrid opens in Downtown Okemos

The Meridian Asset Resource Center may have only recently made its debut in Downtown Okemos, but the concept has been around for some time. Originally a part of the Meridian Township Economic Development Corporation, the MARC has been offering business counseling at the Okemos Capital Area District Library for some time. 
Now under the Meridian Area Business Association, MARC has opened a 5,500 square foot office on Okemos Rd. The hybrid resource center and incubator offers temporary office space, meeting areas and other facilities for local entrepreneurs. 
"From the very beginning, we talked with [other area incubators and economic development organizations," says MARC Program Director Marsha Madle. "We've asked, 'Where is there a gap?' We want to have something that isn't duplicative, but will fit into that existing network." 
The MARC opened on Feb. 11 with a staff of three. In addition to Madle, Craig Allen serves as director of operations, and Malinda Barr is MARC's director of sales and promotions. Through April, MARC will offer free drop-in space.
"We want people to stop in and tell us how they can use it," says Madle.
The future goals of MARC include establishing ongoing programs, classes and events, providing dedicated, shared and open workspace for users, partnering with other organizations and becoming financially sustainable. 

Source: Marsha Madle, MARC
Writer: Natalie Burg, Develoment News Editor

Iron Quest to expand facility, services with 700 sq ft addition

Jason McCammon is on a quest to spread health and wellness throughout the Lansing area, and he's making more and more progress each year. The owner of Iron Quest Fitness is now planning a 1,250 square foot expansion of his facility this year. 
Iron Quest opened their current 4,500 square foot location at 2510 E Michigan Ave in July of 2010, offering a new kind of fitness option for the area. The business exclusively features one-on-one training in weight management, muscular development, sports performance and holistic wellness. According to McCammon, the need to expand says a great deal about the success of the approach.
"The concept we have there is so unique and the outcomes people get are so much above average," McCammon says. "It keeps on snowballing. You actually get them feeling better. They can't help but tell other people."
McCammon expects to begin construction in March or April, and has a goal of opening this summer. The new space won't simply be additional room for their existing activities, but will act as a multi-use area for classes, seminars and athletic training. 
"We'll expand our brand with classes," he says. "We may even do workshops, where I bring in people to do a talk." 
Along with the expansion, McCammon expectsto grow his staff as well, with plans to bring on up to five new instructors. His own skill set is expanding as well. McCammon is a currently working towards a degree in holistic health. 

Source: Jason McCammon, Iron Quest Fitness
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Arty Party brings local arts, events to Downtown Okemos

If you like art and having a good time, it's hard to think of anything that would sound more fun than an Arty Party. Artist Vivian Dwyer and her partners Susie Brewster and Leslie Raven are hoping Lansing area residents and visitors will agree when visiting their new Arty Party Studio in Downtown Okemos. 
"It's very homey here," says Dwyer. "It doesn’t look like a store. It's very bright and cheery."
Arty Party will feature both handmade art for sale, and art events including classes and art parties, during which guests will enjoy catered foods and learn how to make their own piece of art.
"A lot of things can be ordered," says Dwyer. "Everything in here is handmade."
The idea for Arty Party began when Dwyer, a painter, outgrew her home studio, from which she worked since 1980. Her search for outside space led to a partnership with Brewster, a multi-media artist, and Raven, who draws, paints, and teaches art. 
The 928 square foot studio opened in early February. Classes will begin soon, and those interested in attending can see upcoming offerings on the Arty Party website. 

Source: Vivian Dwyer, Arty Party Studio
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Bulgogi Korean Cuisine opens in East Lansing with 20 jobs

When Kevin Choi owned and operated Korean restaurants in both Novi and Ann Arbor, he noticed a similar thing happening in both locations. 
"There are many MSU students and that, during the weekend are going an hour away to go to the restaurant," says Choi. "There are many Asian students here, but they go to Ann Arbor and Novi because they couldn't find the right Korean food in East Lansing." 
Choi decided it was time to open an authentic Korean restaurant right where he knew there was demand: in East Lansing He opened the doors of his Bulgogi Korean Cuisine on Albert Avenue last week with 20 employees and room for 80 diners. 
Though other small Korean restaurants to exist in the area, Choi's offers something new to the scene. Not only is the 3,400 square foot Bulgogi Korean Cuisine larger than the others, it also features Korean barbeque grills at each table. 
" We bring out the customer scan too,' says Seoyoung Choi of Bulgogi Korean Cuisine. "A lot of customers don't know about Korean barbeque grills, so we want to make it a fun and enjoyable way to get the word out about Korean food."
In addition to Korean barbeque, Bulgogi offers other traditional Korean dishes, hot pots and noodle dishes. The restaurant is currently working to secure a liquor license, and Choi plans to add delivery as an option in the future. 

Source: Kevin Choi, Bulgogi Korean Cuisine
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Portable Feast re-opens in Old Town

The Portable Feast fed Old Towners from 2002 through 2009, and after a few years of trying something new, owner Sharon Hind decided it was time to revive her old business, in the exact same space. 
"I wanted to get back to doing my own thing and my creativeness instead of working for somebody else," says Hind. "And this area is a cool area. I have a lot of friends here who have been really supportive." 
Just like the former Portable Feast, the new business, serves light breakfast and lunch fare for dine-in or take away. Hind's reopening took place last week with salads, soups, wraps and more. 
"The menu is similar," Hind says. "There are some old favorites and new items. I'm still doing breakfast, lunch and casual catering. I'm thinking of opening into evening as well." 

Source: Sharon Hind, Portable Feast
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Have a development news story? Send Natalie an email here.

Jefferson Street Salon opens, creates three Grand Ledge jobs

When her employer closed its doors in September, hairstylist DeAnn DeChelbor wasn't about to walk away from the clients she'd been taking care of for 11 years. 
"We have the best the clientele," says DeChelbor. "We're like a family because we've know them for so long. They're like our family, and we didn't want to lose them."
The day after leaving Fantastic Sam's, she started looking for a location to start her own shop, and in December, she and partners Jennifer Temple and Andrea Graeber opened the doors of Jefferson Street Salon in Grand Ledge
The 1,200 square foot salon supports the three stylists with room to add up to three more in the future. Eventually, DeChelbor says, she would like to hire a massage therapist as well. 
According to DeChelbor, the goal of the Jefferson Street Salon is to offer high quality hair services at a lower cost than other area salons. 

Source: DeAnn DeChelbor, Jefferson Street Salon
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Have a development news story? Send Natalie an email here.

Zoobie's Old Town Tavern to be revived, create 15 jobs

Sam Short and partners Aaron Matthews and Alan Hooper first purchased the long-vacant Zoobie's building in Old Town, it was with an eye on another development project. 
"Originally, it was a means to an end," Short says. "We were looking to redevelop the Temple, and Zoobie's had a liquor license that was mobile. We had purchased it with the intention of moving it over."
Instead, that liquor license is staying put and will be a part of the re-opening of the bar under its former name: Zoobie's Old Town Tavern. The 1,500 square foot space is now under renovation, including plans for a new roof.
"We're looking to work with some of the great historic elements of the building," says Short. "It has a great 50s-era feel. We don't want to do anything kitschy, but we want to work some neat 50s design elements into it."
No opening date has yet been set, but Short expects the new Zoobie's to open in late spring or early summer of this year. The bar will feature craft beer and boutiq wine and well made, craft cocktails and will employ approximately 15 workers. No plans are yet made for the second floor, but Short says eventually expanding the bar into a restaurant or developing residential units in the space are possibilities. 

Source: Sam Short, Zoobie's Old Town Tavern
Writer Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Have a development news story? Send Natalie an email here.

New family bakery brings Italian pastries, five jobs to Mason

Mornings are coming pretty early these days for Roseanne and Tom Sherwood. The Mason couple has been arriving at their new bakery, Nana's Sweet Treats between three and four in the morning. But they're not complaining. 
"It's been very good," says Roseanne Sherwood. "We've been quite busy. We've been getting a lot of orders for cakes and cupcakes."
Sherwood began her baking career in her own kitchen, utilizing the state’s cottage food laws to produce goodies for customers on order. On Dec. 8, however, the husband and wife team moved their operations into a 2,500 square foot location on Cedar Street. 
"It's a great location because most people have to go right by here to get up town," Sherwood says. 
Nana's Sweet Treats was named for Sherwood's mother, and specializes in both American and Italian pastries, such as cinnamon rolls and cannoli. Everything, says Sherwood, is made completely from scratch. 
The new bakery celebrated its grand opening earlier this month. In addition to Roseanne and Tom Sherwood, Nana's Sweet Treats also employs three part time employees. 

The Sweet Cake quadruples space in new Williamston location

A little Portland bakery is getting a big boost in visibility next month as it moves to a storefront on Grand River in Williamston, more than quadrupling its space.
“I don’t have a storefront now,” says owner of The Sweet Cake, Shayna Bennett. “This was a great opportunity.”
Bennett began her cake business out of her Portland home in 2008 and quickly moved into a small commercial location in 2009. Since that time, demand for her unique, made-from-scratch cakes has been on the rise, outgrowing her 300 square foot spot. 
“I offer a lot of very unusually decorated, very personal cakes,” Bennett says. “I do a lot of the carved cakes like you see on TV. I plan to offer, in the very near future, gourmet cupcakes.”
Opening in early February in Downtown Williamston, The Sweet Cake will enjoy 1,400 square feet of space. Bennett plans to have a display up in the front of the store by the first of the month, in time for the local Ice Sculpture event. 
Bennett hopes The Sweet Cake will continue to grow in its new location, and would like to add a staff in the future. 

J.S. Peck Real Estate opens in Okemos, creates two jobs

According to Jeffery Peck, his new Okemos agency, J.S. Peck Real Estate is more than just an ordinary real estate business. 
“I was a private mortgage banker for 20 years,” says Peck. “I also do seminars for people with houses going into foreclosure and short sale. I let them know they don’t have to give up hope for the American dream.”
The 1,200 square foot office opening in October, offering credit counseling and help for those who may not believe they are candidates for homeownership.
“I think the biggest misconception people have is they think they can’t afford a home,” Peck says. “I’ll work with them for as long as need be to get approved. Then we’ll go shopping for houses.”
J.S. Peck Real Estate celebrated their grand opening in December. Peck currently employs a staff of two and plans to expand his location in the future. He would also like to open between three and four more offices over the next few years, including an additional Lansing-area location.  

New Okemos bike to aims for community envolvement, to create up to 12 jobs

American Cycle and Fitness may be new the Lansing area when it opens on Grand River in Okemos next month, but the brand is anything but new to Michigan. The store first opened in 1938 in Grosse Pointe and has grown into a six-locations throughout Southeast Michigan. Very soon, they’ll expand into the Lansing area. 
“We have six locations [in Metro Detroit],” says Michael Reuter, CEO of American Cycle & Fitness. “There isn’t a growth potential for us without taking market share from our other stores. Outside of Detroit, the Lansing are has been a possibility for us for years.”
That possibility will become a reality in February when American Cycle and Fitness opens near Playmakers. The proximity is no coincidence. Reuter and his partners have worked with Playmakers frequently in the past, and liken their commitment to community health and participation to Lansing’s legendary running store. 
“Those guys do business like we do business,” he says. “We’re excited to be close to them here. We really want to earn that reputation as well.” 
According to Reuter, American Cycle and Fitness will carry cycling equipment for biker enthusiasts of all ages and experience. 
“We make cycling fun for everyone,” Reuter says. “We have a bike for you if you’re eight or 80, or any age.”
The 7,200 square foot store will employ between eight and 12 employees upon opening, joining the company wide staff total that grows to around 100 during their peak season. A grand opening is planned for April 5. 

Grand Ledge Nana-n-Paws expands to 10 acrea property with eight employees

Patty Lance knows dogs. She’s been training them for 33 years, and after a few negative experiences with boarding facilities, began taking care of other people’s dogs in her home the way she felt they should be cared for. 
“I don’t like outdoor runs because dogs can escape. I don’t like leaving them unsupervised, because anything could happen,” says Lance. “I don’t like dogs in cages. I wanted it to be more like a home environment, instead of an institution of steel and cement.” 
Her client list outgrew her home, leading Lance to open Nana-n-Paws Doggie Daycare in Grand Ledge in September. The facility includes a 9,300 square foot main building and 5,000 square foot training and rental facility on 10 acres. 
“We also have an 11,000 square foot outdoor play area where and they are never unsupervised,” Lance says. “We have a bedroom and a kitchen here for staff to spend the night. Nine times out of ten we fall asleep with dogs in our beds.” 
Nana-n-Paws Doggie Daycare offers boarding facilities with separate rooms for older dogs, small dogs, large dogs who love to roughhouse and those with more timid personalities. The facility also has a retail store, grooming services, dog training and some veterinary services. 
“I just really love dogs,” says Lance, “and I don’t want them to be scared, I don’t want their feelings hurt. I want them to feel like they’re at home.” 
Lance hopes to continue to grow in her new location, with such plans as adding a dog park to her property, coordinating adoption days with area rescue organizations. Eight employees currently work at Nana-n-Paws. 

Local owners open area's third Culver's in Eastwood Towne Center

Lansing just can’t seem to get enough of Culver’s, the fast food franchise famous for its frozen custard. Holt residents Jay Laing and Scott Berman have now opened their first, but the area’s third Culver’s restaurant in Eastwood Towne Center.
“We looked at a variety of concepts, and Culver’s was the best fit for us,” says Laing. “It’s really proven to be successful over the past several years.”
The 4,300 square foot restaurant is one of the first few Culver’s in the nation with an updated floor plan that gives customers and employees more room. The restaurant holds 108 diners, and currently employs about 60 workers. Even more diners will be welcome when the weather allows them to open their patio. 
“We went to great lengths to make the patio an appealing place,” Laing says.
The new Culver’s opened last week after breaking ground in July. Laing says the business plans to be active in the community, including events and partnerships within Eastwood Towne Center. 

Opie's Pizza to open, create 11 jobs on Chandler Road

Paul De Leon could be opening an authentic Mexican restaurant in Wisconsin right now, but thanks to a chance meeting while shopping for a truck to take him there, his plans changed. 
“The sales guy had a long experience with pizza,” says De Leon. “He had a really good pizza recipe, and he asked me if I was interested in opening a restaurant with him.”
That’s how De Leon and Bill Grantham began their working relationship, which will result in the opening of Opie’s Pizza on Chandler Road in Bath Township later this month. 
“We’re about 96 percent ready,” De Leon says. “We had to make a pizza place out of a room with just four walls. We had to make the kitchen and dining room and bathrooms. It was a lot of work.”
De Leon and Grantham hope all that work will be worthwhile when they open their doors on January 23. The 1,800 square foot restaurant will include a full bar and will employ 11 workers upon opening.  
The business partners hope to expand Opie’s Pizza into a franchise, beginning with future locations in Old Town and Grand Ledge. 

Twisted Fiber Art expands into Mason space, doubles staff

Until recently, Twisted Fiber Art, was a bit of a secret in Mason. Operating for seven years in founder Meg Campbell-Crawley’s home. Though Campbell-Crawley’s unique, hand-dyed yarns have gained a worldwide following, the growing operation was hardly visible at all locally. 
All of that changed when she and partner Anne Bohl officially outgrew their space and opened in a 2,000 square foot studio and retail space in Downtown Mason in 2012.
“We weren’t looking for a retail spot,” says Bohl, “but we came in and talked to the woman who owns the space, and it was great for us. We have triple the space we had before, and people have really enjoyed it. The yarn is a real tactile thing, and they’ve wanted to touch it.”
As it turns out, the retail space was a great boon to the business. Since their move, Twisted Fiber Art has nearly doubled their staff, now employing nine workers, and fans of their yarn have traveled from miles around to see the unusual product. 
“We start with really nice yarn,” Bohl says of Twisted Fiber Art’s unique appeal. “Meg’s eye for color is just really, really special. Each skein is dyed by hand and with care. 
Bohl explains that the yarn differs from other products because their colors are not variegated, but striped, creating a different color-changing effect. 
“You can’t even tell the color is changing.,” she says. “It creates something that is just a show stopper.”
According to Bohl, she and Campbell-Crawley will continue to focus on slow, steady growth in their new location. The shop will soon add knitting lessons to their business, giving novice knitters the chance to learn how to do more and better knitting with their popular product. 

The independent bookstore returns to Holt with The Bookshelf

Some may believe the era of the independent bookstore is ending, but Laura Murphy isn’t buying it. When Bargain Books in Holt closed after Murphy managed the store for seven year, she wasn’t ready to give up on the concept – or the customers. 
“I enjoy the people who shopped there,” Murphy says. “The customers are just great. I've done a lot of retail in my day, and they're the best customers.”
That’s why Murphy opened The Bookshelf on Cedar in Holt in 2012. The approximately 2,300 square foot store offers fiction, children’s literature, textbooks, special orders and more. Murphy says that so far, her hunch that an independent bookstore could still survive seems to be true.
“Every day I get new customer in, and it gets better every day,” she says. “I didn't expect to make any money in the first year…but we did.”
Murphy hopes The Bookshelf will continue to grow so she can hire employees, and potentially open another store in the Lansing area. 

Grand Ledge's Design Rides triples size with new shop, expands staff

It was only by chance that John Williams moved his business Design Rides from Ionia to Grand Ledge in 2008 after his former landlord sold the building that house it. It turned out to be a great move for the auto detailing and customization business, which has doubled in volume since arriving in Grand Ledge. 
Design Rides grew so much, in fact, that they recently celebrated the opening of their new, larger location on East Saginaw. 
“We have a big clientele now,” says Williams. “I think it’s our dedication to making it right. We always make sure that everything is correct.” 
They’ll have a lot more room to exercise their attention to detail. The new, 2,800-square foot location is more than three times the size of the former Design Rides shop. 
“We’re going to start offering more services,” says Williams. “We’ll be able to start offering spray-on bed lining, custom fiberglass work, fiberglass tops, and offering lift kits.” 
Additionally, he says, Design Rides will be able to start working their way through a waiting list of customers that extends out of state. The growing business now has a staff for four full- and two part-time employees, two of which have been added over that last year. Williams expects to add two more full time staffers in the near future. 

Facials & More to open in Downtown Williamston

After seven years of working as an aesthetician for a variety of spas and medical offices, Williamston native Cheryl Selph will be bringing her talents home with the new Facials & More, slated to open in February. 
“Most of my background is in medical skin care with medical-grade chemical peels and skin care products,” says Selph. “I decided if I'm going to open something, it's got to be medical grade. It has to be something people can't go out and buy over the counter.”
Facials & More will open in a 450 square foot office on Grand River in Williamston. Selph will offer chemical peels, laser hair removal, detox body wraps and skin rejuvenations. Selph will be working in association with a Novi-based doctor for all medical procedures. 
“It's a pretty busy little plaza,” Selph says of her location. “It's not huge, but I wanted to start out where it's affordable.”
Selph hopes to open Facials & More in early February with the help of her daughter, who will work in the office as well. Eventually, Selph hopes to grow her business into a franchise. 

Grand Ledge Auto to celebrate ribbon cutting

Grand Ledge drivers have a new option for serving their vehicles. Everett High School grade Hugh McNichol began his career in automotive repair as a mechanic in the army reserves. After attending LCC for automotive technology and serving in Iraq, the local man returned to the Lansing area to continue his career. 
McNichol’s Grand Ledge Auto will celebrate their opening earlier this year with a ribbon cutting on December 17. The four-bay auto shop is located at at 854 West Jefferson. 
“I do diagnostics, engine repair, brakes, suspension, air conditioning and hybrids,” says McNichol. 
The only things McNichol doesn’t do, he says, are tires and bodywork. The ASE certified automotive technician says he plans to continue to develop his skills in his new business. 
“I’d like to one day to do electric conversions on gas vehicles,” McNichols says. 

Healthy Horizons nutrition club opens in Okemos

Getting healthy in Okemos just got a little easier – and more fun, according to Cindy Smith, partner in the new Healthy Horizons nutrition club. 
“It is a place for people to gather, and to bring people together with a focus on nutrition," says Smith
Healthy Horizons opened this month on Jolly Road in Okemos. The 1,400-square foot club is owned and operated by five partners, or “coaches.” Members of the club receive a daily meal-replacement smoothie, energizing tea and a shot of aloe. 
Additionally, Healthy Horizons hosts fit camps and weight loss challenges. While all of the coaches are passionate about nutrition for their own reasons, they are particularly proud of the new facility for a more personal one. 
“This club is near and dear to us because one of our team members was in the process opening this club up, and they became very ill and passed,” says Smith. “So now there is a group of us who came together rand make his dream a reality and open it.”
According to Smith, the nutrition club concept began in Mexico, and has now expanded to more than 1,200 clubs across the US. 

Brickhouse Grille to open in Portland, create 35 jobs

A new fine dining experience is coming to Downtown Portland with the Brickhouse Grille. The new restaurant is expected to open December 29 with a focus on steak and fresh seafood. 
“Everything is going to be fresh,” says owner Mike Hoorman. “This fish will literally be swimming 24 hours before I get it. We’ll also have pasta, chicken, and will be smoking our own meats in-house.” 
The 2,200 square foot restaurant is now taking shape in a former furniture store in Downtown Portland. Hoorman and his team has been hard at work since November, stripping the floors, replacing windows and installing the kitchen. 
“It was a perfect opportunity here in Portland,” Hoorman says. “There’s great parking, 125-year-old brick, 100-year-old wood flooring. It was just perfect.” 
The Brickhouse Grille will seat about 70 diners and will employ a staff of 35. Hoorman says the restaurant will place an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. 

Coco's Off the Rack opens on Lake Lansing, creates four jobs

Coco’s Off the Rack may have just opened in September, but Colleen Adams has been in the wedding gown business for decades. 
“It started with me just really just loving fashion,” Adams says. “I started out working retail in different places, and before Lett’s went out of business I worked there. I decided it was time to branch out and do something on my own.”
That “something” became Coco’s Off the Rack on Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing. The 2,000 square foot store not only sells bridal dresses, but also prom, ready-to-wear, and offers alterations. 
Though only open for a couple of months, Adams has already been busy with brides and other shoppers. The bustle has validated her decision to open in Lansing, even though she considered other options.
“Originally, I looed around at Novi because that’s were I live,” says Adams. “The more I thought about it, it seemed more reasonable to come to Lansing, because I’ve been working here since 1993.”
In addition to Adams the store currently employs one part-time employee, and Adams plans to soon hire two additional staffers. Coco’s will be hosting an open house this Saturday, along with her neighbors, Ann’s Dance Studio, Cutters’ Point and Magic BJJ Martial Arts Center.

New sushi restaurant brings healthy lunch options, four jobs to Frandor

Fans of Frandor’s Xiao, rejoice. There’s now a new Asian food restaurant by the same owner in the same neighborhood, but with a new twist. 
“Basically,” says Frank Cheng, owner of both Xiao and the new Tamaki Custom Sushi and Wraps, “I knew there was a need for more sushi in the area, especially in Frandor.”
According to Cheng, the format of the sushi spot will offer something brand new to the market. Tamaki uses a variety of Asian ingredients, such as Korean kimchi, to make a variety of fast, healthy and affordable dishes. 
“And it is build your own sushi,” says Chengs. “That’s what’s so fun about it.”
Tamaki opened in November in a 1,500 square foot Frandor location near Panera Bread. The restaurant offers sit-down and carryout dining, and currently employs a staff of four. 

Williamston seamstress opens CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs & Gift Shop

Several years ago, Crystal Amon came across an opportunity to work in a sewing shop, doing embroidery. 
“I’ve always been artistic and creative, and always enjoyed sewing and making stuff,” she says. “So I said, ‘what the heck, let’s try it.’”
Though a knee replacement took her away from that position five years later, by that time, Amon thought it might be time to make a go of it on her own. On November 1, she brought that plan to fruition with the opening of CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs and Gift Shop in Williamston
“I made the investment,” says Amon. “I knew what to do and my husband supported me and said, ‘this is your dream, let’s go for it.’”
The 1,000 square foot CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs and Gift Shop offers pre-made and made-to-order apparel, accessories, window decals, soy wax candles, baby apparel and more.
“I would say 95 percent of everything that is in the store is made here, Amon says. “I do beaded jewelry, I make little baby clothes, and the handbags are all handmade.”

Family Restaurant opens on Southside, creates 11 jobs

The Family Restaurant on South Cedar lives up to its name in two ways. Not only is the new business owned by three siblings, but it offers a menu comparable to any traditional American family dinner table. 
“We’re probably the only ones doing this style of home-style cooking,” says part-owner Dennis Jasman. “We have meatloaf, liver and onions, and we usually have four or five types of meat on the buffet.”
For Jasman and his sisters Linda Huett and Sandra Pitchford, the restaurant business has been the family business since their mother owned restaurants in Cheboygan and Flint. 
“My two sisters and me have always wanted to run a restaurant together,” says Jasman.
The 135-seat restaurant opened in August after some significant clean up and renovation of the existing building, which had been vacant for some time prior. The siblings chose the location because of its high traffic and proximity to their home on Lansing's Southside. The business, Jasman says, is about serving the public as much as it’s about business.
“We don’t’ want to get rich,” he says. “I guess basically we like meeting people. If you’re not satisfied with your meal, we’ll do what we can to make you satisfied. If you want something we don’t have and you’ve got an extra ten minutes, I’ll run down the store and get it for you.” 
The Family Restaurant currently employs a staff of eleven. Jasman says the large selection of hot buffet items is the eatery’s specialty.

Seven Islands Mercantile brings antiques, three new jobs to Grand Ledge

Talk about quick business development. Kathy Fitzpatrick, Peg Cook, and Roxann Mills of Grand Ledge were exchanging ideas on an antiques and vintage items business, and three weeks later, they had one. 
“We moved very quickly from conception to birth,” says Fitzpatrick. “We found a retail space that the right price and was right downtown.”
The North Bridge Street storefront offers a wide variety of items, including antiques, vintage items, home goods, cat toys, dog biscuits and caramel corn. 
“We all like antique and vintage items, and we like repurposing stuff into better stuff,” says Fitzpatrick. “We’re not just looking at antiques, not just vintage treasures, we’re looking at all of it.”
Seven Islands Mercantile opened in November. It now has limited hours on Thursday and Friday evenings, and is open during the day on weekends. In addition to selling their own items, they carry consigned inventory as well. The store currently employs the three co-owners. 

All Star Barbershop opens on Michigan Ave, adds two jobs

When Anthony McLiechey came across the opportunity to open his own barbershop on Lansing’s Eastside, it was the neighborhood itself that really sold him.
“It’s such a diverse neighborhood, there’s a little bit of everything,” says McLiechey. “I’ve lived on this side of town before, and I always liked it. There are a lot of independent businesses over here.” 
McLiechey opened his All Star Barbershop on Michigan Avenue on September 1 and specializes in extending discounts to seniors, students and children under 12. 
“Hopefuly it’ll be something that adds to the community,” says McLeichey of his shop. “You have a lot of businesses that just take from the community, and they don’t realy take pride in the people. I want to be someone who helps people.” 
The All Star Barbershop currently employs a staff of two, with two additional stations to accommodate future growth.

Okemos and Grand Ledge home to new Player's Choice Golf shops, four new jobs

Looking for a new place to shop for golf equipment? How about two? Player’s Choice Golf opened its first location in Grand Ledge in April, and has now opened a second location in Okemos. 
“I had been in the business for 30 years with another golf shop in town that closed in December,” says Player’s Choice Golf’s Chris Mann. “I ran into Josh Herrera at Meijer in early February, and we talked about the golf market.” 
A week later, Herrera called Mann to ask him to help operate a 700 square foot golf shop and outdoor driving range on East Saginaw Hwy in Grand Ledge. 
“We had a kick-off day, on April 13, and we had so many people there, there was no parking left,” says Mann. “I’ve never seen so many sales on one day.”
The successful opening certainly proved to Herrera there was local demand for their services. In addition to carrying a wide array of golfing equipment, Player’s Choice Golf specializes in club fitting and hosting demo days with manufacturers. The summer was so busy for the new shop, Herrera opened his second location at the Okemos Golf Center in late September. 
The second location is larger, about 1,400 square feet in size, and also includes a driving range. Mann says the business hopes to eventually expand both locations. The new business currently employs a staff of four across the two shops. 

Hibachi House offers fresh fast food, creates four jobs

Qiuyan Chen and her husband Mou Li aren’t new to the Asian food business, but their latest restaurant, Hibachi House, is something new for the Lansing area. 
“We decided to add a totally new thing to the Lansing area,” says Chen. “We cook the food right on the hibachi grill. It’s hot and fresh.”
It’s also fast. The 3,000 square foot, Delta Township restaurant seats sit-down diners inside, but also includes a drive-thru window for diners on the go. 
“A lot people who work don’t have a lot of time,” Chen says. “We can provide fast food that is a real meal during their lunch time.” 
Chen adds that the Hibachi House food is also healthy, using no MSG, little oil and low-sugar fried rice.
Hibachi House opened at 4021 W. Saginaw on October 15. The restaurant currently employs four workers. Chen hopes to expand the concept into additional Lansing-area locations in the future. 

Black Dog Antiques opens in Downtown Grand Ledge, creates two jobs

Shonda Bain began collecting antiques years ago. The hobby grew into hosting an antiques booth in Mason, and more recently grew into something even more. 
“I moved to Eagle and I saw that this spot was open,” Bain says of the Grand Ledge storefront that is now the home of her new Black Dog Antiques store, “and it just seemed like the right fit.” 
Bain and her partner Shannon Forbush opened the 1,600 square foot store on August 1, and have found their location to be an ideal spot during Grand Ledge events. 
“It’s next door to the parks, with the bands and festivals and the farmers market,” says Bain. “Grand Ledge has a lot of stuff going on all the time. It’s nice to always have something going on downtown.”
Black Dog Antiques offers a wide variety of antiques, from furniture to tools to kitchen items. The store employs Bain and Forbush, and also provides rental space for other antiques vendors. 

Holt-based Tacos E Mas opens Delta Twp location, adds six jobs

The Delacruzes opened Tacos E Mas in Holt four years ago with authentic family recipes. Lansing area diners approved, and demand for their specialty Mexican food has led to a second location in Delta Township.
The second Tacos E Mas opened in early October on W. Thomas L Parkway, just off of West Saginaw. The 1,000 square foot location offers carry out, delivery, as well as dine-in accommodations for up to 30 diners. 
The food at Tacos E Mas comes directly from General Manager David Delacruz Jr.’s grandmother’s recipes. The menu includes some unique items diners may not find at other Mexican restaurants, such as hot burros, a meat-filled tortilla covered in a spicy cheese sauce and beans.
“It’s all her recipes,” says Delacruz. “She passed away and left them to us. There are some ingredients that are a little more expensive in some things, but we stand by them, because it makes the food taste that much better.”
The new location currently employs six workers. Delacruz expects the business to eventually grow to a staff of ten. His family hopes to open a third Lansing location in the next one to three years. 

Williamston home brew store opens, adds two jobs

One day, explains Mary Reed of Williamston, her husband came home with an idea. 
“Since Michigan Brewing Company went out, and we knew they did a good business with home brew supplies, and they were in Webberville and we’re right here in Williamston,” she says, it only made sense that a market still existed for a home brew supply store in their area. 
“We started checking things out and we had great support from the local community here about dong it,” Reed says. “That really cinched it for us that we were going to do it.”
The result is the now open Home Brew Depot on Grand River in Downtown Williamston. The 400 square foot business sells equipment and ingredients kits for home brewing beer, as well as ingredients for making wine, liquor and soda. 
The Home Brew Depot opened near the end of September and celebrated their grand opening last weekend. The store currently employs both Reed and her husband Bill Reed. The pair hopes to grow their staff over the next year. 

Sign-A-Rama opens in 1,700 sq ft Okemos location

The economic downturn was tough on sign and graphic companies, leaving a hole in the Lansing market for a locally owned but nationally franchised sign company. After 20 years in the education and training industry Dale Kohlsmith paired that local need with his own dream to operate his own business, opening Sign-A-Rama on West Grand River in Okemos.
“All of the other stores had gone down in the area,” Kohlsmith says. “There are a lot of independent sign companies here, but not many formal franchise models. What differentiates us is that we are locally owned and operated, so we can provide the customer service of a local shop, but have the global resources of a corporation.”
The 1,700 square foot business opened in July and currently employs a staff of four. Kohlsmith plans to place a focus on utilizing vendors of American-made products, which a particular focus on Michigan-made goods. 
“At least 90 percent of our products are made in the US,” says Kohlsmith. “We’re also very focused on being eco-friendly.”
As the new Sign-A-Rama continues to grow in Okemos, Kohlsmith plans to branch out into specialty markets, such as vehicle wraps.

Aerospace manufacturer opens in 19,000 sq ft Mason space, adds nine jobs

New aerospace manufacturer, APEX Precision Solutions, Inc., announced the opening of a 19,000 square foot facility near Mason last week. The company, which launched in the spring of this year, was started by a team of manufacturing executives from the medical device industry. 
“We’ve been in operation, really since July of the facility,” says Matthew Rudd, President and CEO of APEX. “We’re operational now and taking orders.” 
APEX specializes in machined parts and fixtures for the aerospace industry and related fields. The company plans to create 25 to 35 new jobs over the next two years. 
“Our initial goal here is get the certifications that will allow us to enter into more component manufacturing,” says Rudd. “We plan on growing in the markets that we’re currently service, but we’ll be able to go a little deeper.” 
APEX currently employs a staff of nine. Investment in their new facility was made assisted by Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Small Business Technology Development Center, the Lansing Regional SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

Barfly Ventures to revive Lansing Brewing Company, add 50 jobs

Lansing Brewing Company closed its doors in 1914 when local prohibition laws were passed. It took 99 years, but Barfly Ventures of Grand Rapids will revive the historic downtown business, opening their own Lansing Brewing Company in the summer of 2013. 
“We have really strong ties as a company and as a family to East Lansing,” says Barfly Ventures owner Mark Sellers. “I got a call from Pat Gillespie about doing something in his building, and that got me thinking about doing one thing in Lansing and one in East Lansing.”
Lansing Brewing Company is now taking shape in an approximately 6,000 square foot space in The Gillespie Group’s Stadium District development on Michigan Avenue. The bar and restaurant will brew their own beer and have a full food menu. 
Barfly Ventures is also developing a bar in East Lansing called HopCat. Sellers says the Lansing area was an ideal location to expand his Grand Rapids-based operation because his project manager lives in East Lansing, and the distance is short enough for him to remain active in the businesses. 
“I feel I need to be present at my bars,” says Sellers. “I don’t like to be an absentee bar owner.”
Lansing Brewing Company will employ approximately 50 workers and is scheduled to open in the late summer of 2013. 

New Mason facility spurs growth, 12 new jobs for Capital Steel

A new facility and growing staff has Lansing-based Capital Steel receiving recognition at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Growth Awards. The steel bars and wire company recently expanded with a $2 million redevelopment project in Mason, creating a space large enough to process steel on site. 
“The market share we’ve gotten has allowed us to broaden our infrastructure to process the steel here in our facility instead of sending out it,” says Capital Steel President Dustin Preston, who owns the company with his wife. “We’re really keeping our ear to what the market is asking for. We’re so flexible with what we can do and add now.”
The new 120,000 square foot facility has allowed the Capital Steel staff to grow by approximately 12 employees over the last year, bringing the total staff to 55 workers. That’s a significant number, compared to the three to four employees Preston began with when he started the company in 2001. 
“We’ve really put together a great team,” says Preston. “We’ve been able to pull from a very talented group of people in the Lansing area.”

Grand Rapids' HopCat to open East Lansing location, create 50 jobs

A popular Grand Rapids nightlife spot will open in the upcoming multi-use development that will, upon completion, be Downtown East Lansing’s tallest building
HopCat, will be a bar and restaurant specializing in carrying a wide variety of microbrews, with a focus on Michigan craft beer, just like the original location in Grand Rapids. The forthcoming local version of the venue, explains owner Mark Sellers, will have even more beer options. 
“We’ll have 100 beers on tap,” he says, “which is twice as many as we have in Grand Rapids.”
That won’t be the only difference between the two HopCat locations. The 6,000 square foot East Lansing bar will have a different layout, décor and menu. 
“I never wanted to be someone who owns a chain,” Sellers says. “I purposely want this to look and feel a little different.”
Sellers hopes to open the East Lansing HopCat, which will be located on the ground floor of The Residences on Ann St., in the late summer of 2013. The business will employ approximately 50 workers. 

New same-day therapy practice opens in East Lansing, adds six jobs

Though she had been in private practice for 14 years, Leslie Auld, LMSW, ACSW felt there was something missing from her psychotherapy services.
“I wanted to be able to offer same-day appointments to people,” says Auld. “I feel like that need is largely unmet. There is a lot of research to support that if you get help right away, the outcome is better.” 
Her new office in East Lansing, Therapy Today, offers just that. Auld’s staff are able to see both regular psychotherapy clients and appointments made that day. Auld is currently operating with one office employee and one other therapist but will soon add an additional four therapists to her staff.   
“It’s a really beautiful location,” Auld says. “It’s perfect for a therapy practice because it was built for that. We’re right near Creative Wellness, and there is a yoga studio right next door. It feels like a healing community area.”
Therapy Today opened its Abbott Road location on September 5. Auld hope to one day open additional Therapy Today offices in other cities. 

New fish fry market offers fresh food to Eastside, creates three jobs

If the new East Side Fish Fry market could have two words to describe itself, they would be “fresh and clean.”
“We’re the cleanest fish fry in town,” says co-owner Eddie Zeineh. “I wanted to produce a fresh fish market where people can come and get healthy foods.”
The Kalamazoo Street market opened on the Eastside in July and also offers catering, grocery items and has a grill for grilling chicken, steak and fish. East Side Fishy Fry is particularly proud of its ability to accept EBT cards. 
“With EBT you can sometimes only get packaged foods,” say Zeineh. “You’ll get processed foods like potato chips and pop. We’re able to supply them with good, wholesome, healthy food at a good price.” 
The 2,500 square foot market hopes to add delivery services in the future. The business currently employs three workers. 

Vortex Midwest opens Williamston office, adding up to three jobs

If you’re a frequent visitor to playgrounds in Michigan, you’ve probably noticed a trend spreading throughout the state: splashpads. 
“Splashpads have been a hot item,” says Cory Anderson, owner and general manager of Williamston’s new Vortex Midwest office. “We have over 115 splashpads in Michigan and over 350 in the Midwest.”
Though affiliated with Montreal-based Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the new local business is owned and operated by Anderson and provides service and customer support to those many splashpads. 
Andreson opened the business out of his home in January of 2012, and it quickly grew to the point of needing staff and office space. Four months ago, Vortex Midwest officially opened it’s Grand River location in Williamston. Anderson currently has one staff member is looking to quickly add two more. 
“I moved in, and the landowner was very nice and gave me the possibility of expanding into more space,” says Anderson of the 600 square foot office and 1,500 square feet of storage space he currently occupies, “and it looks like I’m going to be needing it sooner than later. Things are just kind of booming.”

New Grand Ledge studio adds "Sugar and Spice" to fitness, creates eight jobs

According to Amber Carter, some women want a traditional workout, and others want something a little spicier. At Carter’s new Downtown Grand Ledge studio, Sugar & Spice Fitness Boutique, there’s something for women of either taste. 
“It really focuses on woman empowerment,” Carter says. “It doesn’t matter about your body size, you will be celebrated at our studio. We want people to feel sexy.” 
Sugar and Spice Fitness Boutique offers the typical workout classes, such as yoga and pilates, as well as alternative programs, including burlesque, pole fitness, belly dancing, among others.  
“We’d like it to just be a positive place for women in the community,” says Carter. “We teach confidence as a means for fitness.” 
The new studio opened about three months ago in a 2,000 square foot location on North Bridge Street in Grand Ledge. Sugar and Spice employs eight instructors. Carter plans to open a second studio in Lansing in about a year. 

ACC Natural Healing brings seven wellness practioners to downtown

Talk about finding a silver lining: Though Karen Kraft was already somewhat nutrition-minded and a certified massage therapist in addition to her work in the non-profit sector, it wasn’t until multiple diagnoses of Hodgkin’s lymphoma that she really began to focus more on both.
“It was a catalyst for me to get into that even more,” Kraft says. “While I was in the hospital at U of M, I wrote a business plan.”
A few years and a career change later, Kraft brought her business plan to life with the opening of ACC Natural Healing and Wellness Solutions on Ionia Street in Downtown Lansing in August. 

“It’s a beautiful old Victorian house,” says Kraft. “It has such a warm, welcoming energy to it.”

ACC services include massage, acupuncture, reflexology, reiki and more by Kraft’s seven practitioners, and offers discounts for area firefighters and Cooley Law School students. ACC also recently began hosting free lunchtime mediation sessions in their downtown location.

The 2,800 square foot business opened August. The space includes a large, open space on the third floor utilized for group meetings, tai chi, guest speakers and more. As ACC continues to grow, Kraft hopes to widen her product inventory, as well as begin a fundraising system to help clients with multiple therapy needs to receive the most comprehensive care.

The Swap Meet opens in 2,000 sq ft Michigan Ave space, creates three jobs

Jeff Smith spent a long time checking out all of the pawnshops in the Lansing area, and thought he could create something a little different for local buyers and sellers. So far, he’s feeling pretty good about the hypothesis. He first opened The Swap Meet eight months ago on South MLK, and he has already expanded into a new location on Michigan Avenue. 
“I don’t like dealing with things that sit around and don’t sell,” he says. “The fast flip is the best thing you can do in this business.”
The new 2,000 square foot location more than doubles the space of the original Swap Meet spot. In addition to focusing on a quick turnaround of his inventory, Smith only buys and sells electronics, with a special focus on video games. 
“I try to offer people a little better price for things,” Smith says. “I don’t say, ‘I’ll give you five bucks for that,’ and then sell if for a hundred. I try to do right by people.”
The Swap Meet opened on Michigan Avenue last week. The business currently employs Smith, along with two partners. Eventually, Smith says, he would like to expand upon The Swap Meet’s partnership with Cellular and Gaming Repair by growing into a joint location. 

Michigan Avenue home brew shop opens on Eastside, creates two jobs

After working as a builder and auto mechanic, Todd Branstner found a love for retail about a decade ago. When the closing of Webberville’s Michigan Brewing Company left a void in the local market in one of his other areas of interest – home brewing supplies – he decided it was time to go out on his own as a retailer. 
“The world of beer is huge,” Branstner says. “You can find pretty much anything on the market these days. Anything you want to do with beer, you can do. It’s a very exciting hobby to have.” 
Capital City Homebrew Supply opened on Michigan Avenue in mid-September. Branster and one employee operate the 650 square foot business that is conveniently located right in Branster’s neighborhood. 
“I’ve been on the Eastside for at least 20 years now,” he says. “I think the neighborhood has a lot of entrepreneurial spirit.”
As Capital City Homebrew Supply continues to grow, Branster hopes to expand the business into additional locations. 

Four partners open indoor gardening supplier on Northside

Indoor gardeners have a new source for their gardening supplies on North East Street in Lansing. 
“There are no garden supply stores in North Lansing,” says Patrick Mosholder of the new Greener Planet Gardening, “ and there are a lot of gardeners out here.”
Greener Planet Gardening opened its doors on October 1. The 2,500 square foot store offers supplies and nutrients and will eventually grow vegetables right in the store. According to Mosholder, the group of four partners looks forward to getting into the perennial supply market as well. 
“Our goal is to keep our overhead extremely low and pass the savings on to our customers,” Mosholder says. “This is a business where you have a lot of repeat customers and we’ll work  to help them succeed."
Once Greener Planet Gardening’s first location is established in Lansing. The partners plan to open additional stores, possibly in Illinois or Ohio.

Sin 2 Skin Tattoos to open third location, create six jobs

Just a year and a half after opening their first location on Cedar Street, Sin 2 Skin Tattoos has added a location in Brighton, and is now planning the opening of their second Lansing shop on West Saginaw. 
“The opportunity just came about,” says Sam Perez, brother of the growing business’ owner, Diane Raeder. “A friend owned the barber shop next door, and he knew the spot was opening up, and it seemed like a good idea.” 
The new, 1,100 square foot location will employ two receptionists, three tattoo artists and a piercer, according to Perez. He hopes the new location will open in January of next year. The key to the company’s growth, he says, is the way they treat their customers. 
“We have great practices and great customer service,” says Perez. “We stand behind all of our work.”
Perez says their plan is to continue growing Sin 2 Skin Tattoos into a franchise and to open up to seven locations. 

Salon 1131 opens in 1,800 sq ft Old Town spot, adds four jobs

After 10 years working as stylist, Lindsay Jones decided it was time to break out on her own, and there was no better partner for her on the venture than her boyfriend and stylist of 12 years, Roberto Cantu. The pair recently opened Salon 1131 in Old Town
“I worked at the same salon for those 10 years,” says Jones. “But I always wanted to be somewhere more trendy.”
The 1,800 square foot salon is located next door to Redhead Design Studio's new location on North Washington. According to Jones, the location was right because of its size, and ample parking.
“Old Town was very appealing to us,” says Jones. “We really liked the exposed brick, and the structure really suited what we needed.” 
Salon 1131 opened in early September and will celebrate its grand opening on October 6 during the Old Town Commercial Association’s Oktoberfest event. The salon currently employs four stylists. Jones expects to have a total of six stylists when the salon is at full capacity. 

Sunrise Market brings international groceries, two jobs to Michigan Ave

Ali Ali’s was in the wholesale grocery business, but he had never been in the industry himself until recently, when he saw a need for a centrally located international food grocer with low prices in the Lansing area. 
“I looked at this as something I could do, because the community needed it,” says Ali. 
Ali and his partner Mohammed Abdi opened the 2,500 square foot Sunrise Market on Michigan Avenue in July. The market features a variety of international foods, such as Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and African. 
“We are the lowest price in the town,” says Ali, “We are trying to help the community. Whether it’s grocery or the meat, we are the lowest of all of them.”
As the business continues to grow, Ali hopes to add a food preparation area to provide fresh prepared food for customers, as well as fresh vegetables. 

Backbone Chiropractic expands into 1,200 sq ft East Lansing location

Backbone Chiropractic and Massage Therapy is growing in in East Lansing. After seven years next door to the Center for Yoga on Grand River, owner Dr. Kristin Batdorf expanded into her own building on Lake Lansing Road.
“I’ve always wanted to own my own building and I needed to be in a bigger space,” Batdorf says. “We were bursting from the seams in our previous location.”
Batdorf attributes her growth to her unique approach to chiropractic. 
“I think that we operate a little slower,” she says. “We take our time. I’m trying to solve the problems people come in with. The massage helps, especially with people who are really tight, and it is an alternative to people who don’t’ like to be manipulated. “
The new location opened in September. In the new space, Batdorf has hired an additional massage therapist, expanded the hours of her receptionist, and hopes to eventually bring on an additional chiropractor. 
The 2,000 square foot building houses Backbone Chiropractic in one half of the space, and Batdorf is seeking to lease the other half.

New, 11,500 sq ft development underway for Doctor's Approach

Dr. Marcy L. Street is one busy lady. The dermatologist and owner of Doctor’s Approach in East Lansing is Mid-Michigan’s only fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon, and her business’ three divisions – dermatology and surgery, a medical spa and a product line – have grown out of her solo practice that began in 1992. No wonder she earned the Lansing Regional Chamber’s Outstanding Small Business Award this year.
It may also be no surprise that her achievements have made the Doctor’s Approach grow right out of its current location at the Sparrow Michigan Athletic Club‎. A new, 11,500 square foot facility is currently under construction on Jolly Road that will soon be the business’ new home.
“There are three divisions of the business,” says Street. “So it’s a way to help bring everything under one roof. All three divisions, as well as a dental practice, Park Dental, will be in the facility.” 
Street expects the move to take place in early October, and plans to grow her staff with the expansion. Twenty employees currently work for Doctor’s Approach, and four additional workers will be added to the staff. 
If there is a secret to Street’s success, she says it’s been the support she’s received along the way. 
“We just appreciate the support of the community,” she says. “That’s been huge. We are just so appreciative. It’s been a long and fun and exciting journey.”

SWAT Environmental expands into 9,000 sq ft facility, to hire nine new staff members

When SWAT Environmental began as a small radon mitigation company in 1988, it’s safe to say theat the Lansing based startup wasn’t expecting to grow to international notoriety. When the firm was recognized in Inc. Magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing companies, however, it’s place as the world’s largest radon mitigation company was confirmed.
SWAT now operates roughly 45 locations nationwide with a total of about 100 employees. Around 40 of those are right here in Lansing at the company's headquarters. Noss expects about nine new employees to be added locally by the end of the year. 
“Our main focus right now is franchising,” says SWAT’s Director of Marketiing, Matthew Noss. “We actually have been posting new positions for technicians across the country on a daily basis.” 
While Noss describes radon mitigation as the company’s bread and butter, he attributes their growth in part to expansion into other services, such as soil, water and air technologies – hence the SWAT acronym.
“It’s not just the expansion, but also the demand,” Noss says. “Our goal used to be to get 150 installations per week, but we’re doing around 300 installations per week right now.  We’re coming up on 100,000 installations across the county.”
With the increased staff and demand, SWAT has expanded physically as well. The company purchased an approximately 9,000 square foot facility in January and has been renovating it ever since. Staff have already moved into half of the former Moose Lodge office, located off of MLK. Renovations are currently underway on the other half, which will become a training facility.  

Williams Subaru building new $3M facility, expanding staff by up to eight

There’s something big going up on Howard Street in Lansing, and it represents some big growth for the Williams AutoWorld family. The new, 16,833 facility will become the new home for Williams Subaru
“We started our plans to build last fall,” says Jeff Williams. “It’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Everything will be under one roof."
The new building will include a variety of environmentally friendly features, such as LED lighting, hoists powered by compressed water, in-floor heating and greenspace.
The new building will also be home to new faces at Williams Subaru. Four new employees have been added to the staff already this year, and Williams expects another three or four employees to be added by the time the facility opens in early 2013. 
The nearly $3 million project is utilizing all local contractors, including D.L. Kesler & Sons.
“They’re doing a fabulous job,” says Williams. 

Painting With a Twist to hire up to five artists, bring painting parties to Frandor

A new business in Frandor will allow Lansing area art enthusiasts to try their hands at painting while enjoying time out with friends. Owner Diane Wey says all it took was one visit to Painting with a Twist in Ferndale to decide she wanted to bring the concept to Lansing. 
“We went in February to paint for my sister’s birthday,” says Wey. “The bug bit me. I contacted them the next day and said, ‘I want to do this.’”
Painting with a Twist hosts classes and parties for people of all ages to enjoy painting in a group with an artist instructing. 
“Everybody paints the same painting,” says Wey. “You’re busy for the whole class, but there’s time to chat and sip wine here and there. It’s not serious art; it’s fun art. It’s a wonderful evening out with girlfriends or sororities or baby showers. The greater Lansing area is so ready for this.”
Painting with a Twist will open in a 4,344 square foot location in Frandor at the end of October. Wey says the location is perfect because of its central location and proximity to the expressway.
“I worked with Amy at CBRE, who just absolutely became a friend,” Wey says. “We had a lot of fun, and she was very enthusiastic about the concept.”
Wey is now seeking artists to work as part-time instructors. She plans to hire up to five instructors. The Painting with a Twist business model also includes community outreach. Wey looks forward to finding ways to benefit the Lansing community through her new business.

New resale shop, Just My Style, opens in 2,000 sq ft Delta Twp location

There’s a new place for fashion resale in Lansing. Just My Style opened in August on West Saginaw in Delta Township. The 2,000 square foot facility offers children’s and adults' clothing, accessories and home goods. 
“This is what we’ve always dreamed of doing, starting our own business,” says Camie O’Dell, who owns Just My Style with her husband, Clarence O’Dell.
The O’Dells worked at a children’s home for more than 20 years. After taking some time off while dealing with health issues, the couple decided the time was right to fulfill their dream by opening a resale shop.
“We try to do name brand clothes at great prices,” O’Dell says. “Everything is in really good condition and really clean.” 
The O’Dells are still awaiting their sign, but are looking forward to attracting customers in their high traffic area.
“We love where we’re located,” says O’Dell. “Our goal is just to keep the good sales going and maybe offer people something different.” 

East Lansing's new China Tong introduces Cantonese cuisine, adds four jobs

After taking a break from more than 20 years in the restaurant business, Jim Guo recently decided it was time to jump back into the industry with the new China Tong in East Lansing. 
Located at 1105 East Grand River, the new 1,500 square foot restaurant features original Cantonese cuisine. 
“We are the only place doing that in town right now,” says Guo. “If people want to try original Cantonese cuisine, they can find it here.”
The restaurant has six tables for in-house dining and currently employs four workers. Guo hopes the restaurant will continue to grow and he can hire up to three more. China Tong opened last week.

Retail Therapy brings women's fashion and two jobs to Okemos

The new Okemos store, Retail Therapy, got its start four years ago in Saginaw when Celeste Saltzman’s job as a stay-at-home mom ended with her children grown out of the house, and she was looking for something else to do. 
“We have a little tagline: ‘just what the doctor ordered,’” says Saltzman. “My husband is a physician, and it’s meant to be a great place for women to come and get a little perk up.”
The fun store for ladies’ fashion relocated to Okemos along with Saltzman and her husband’s move the Lansing area. After her husband accepted a job with Sparrow Hospital, Saltzman found the perfect spot to re-open Retail Therapy on Marsh Road.
“I found a little store in the Central Park Place that was perfect,” Saltzman says. “It was previously store, and the colors were already just my colors, so it was meant to be.” 
Retail Therapy opened in early August and will likely celebrate a grand opening in September. The store offers premium denim, casual clothes and handmade jewelry and accessories for women. Saltzman currently employs two workers in the 950-square foot location. 
“It’s not anything you could find in a department store,” Saltzman says of her inventory. “I buy small lines that are boutique-driven, and I buy in small quantities, because when you live in smaller community you don’t want to see yourself coming and going all the time. There is always something new coming in.”

Holt hair studio receives makeover with new owner, services and stylists

Talk about a career change. After working with pension systems for years, Angi Hamilton decided to go back to school to pursue the job she had always wanted: hair stylist. Her dream was further fulfilled when she recently purchased The Hair Studio in Holt.
“I always wanted to have my own shop in my own community,” Hamilton says. “The previous owner had a fabulous clientele with great relationships she’d built over the years.”
Hamilton opened The Hair Studio as owner and stylist on Aug. 1.  Along with two new stylists, the 1,000 square foot shop now offers manicure and pedicure services, which were not available before. Hamilton hopes to grow her business to employ additional stylists, and to be known as a shop with top quality colorists. 
“All the stylists who are in here now are big on keeping up their education,” she says. “We’ve travelled to New York as a group to learn about the latest and greatest in color. Color and chemical services are really our strong suit.”

Local family opens 1,600 sq ft International Minute Press, adds three jobs

Lyle and Cary Ritter wanted to start a family business to pass on to their kids. With Cary Ritter’s 20 years in the printing industry, starting a family print shop seemed like the obvious choice.
“We print everything from brochures to booklets, letterhead, envelopes, promotional bags and other items,” says Cary Ritter. “We’re a one stop shop.”
The 1,600 square foot International Minute Press on West Saginaw offers all digital printing.
“That’s a niche we bought into because it goes right from the computer to the press,” Ritter say. “We’re very excited about the opportunity to service the community.” 
The Ritter’s new business employs Lyle, Cary and one fulltime employee. The couple hopes to eventually pass the business on to their children, and have enjoyed sharing free ice cream with their new customers.
“It’s been great,” Ritter says. “It’s been fun learning the community here. It’s been one excitement after another.” 

Tripp Auto to open 1,600 sq ft downtown location, add three jobs

The Jackson-based Tripp Auto Shop has only had a Lansing presence since 2010, but is already finding a place in the community. The family-owned business that participates in a variety of Lansing-area cultural events is now expanding its footprint locally with a new office in Downtown Lansing
“The new location will be like a concierge,” says owner Phil Tripp. “We’ll do estimates and detailing there, and then bring vehicles out to our Main Street location for repairs.”
The 1,600 square foot location will open next week with three employees and will work in conjunction with the 18,000 square foot Tripp Auto Repair location on West Main. Tripp says the new office will help further the company’s goals of giving exemplary service to their customers. 
“Lansing has half a dozen really good body shops,” says Tripp. “It’s about building relationships, and that’s something you have to prove to people. That’s how we built our Jackson store, one customer at a time.” 
Tripp says his family’s business specializes in guiding people through the process of paperwork and policies following an accident. 
Tripp’s Auto Shop first opened in Jackson in 1988 and now employs about 40 workers between their Jackson and Lansing locations. 

Los Tres Amigos to open in 3,800 sq ft downtown location, add up to 12 jobs

Ten years ago, Arnulfo Ramirez worked in the kitchen of a Los Tres Amigos restaurant. Today, he owns 12 restaurants, including the newest Los Tres Amigos location set to open soon in Downtown Lansing
“People know Los Tres Amigos, and really appreciate us in Lansing,” says Ramirez. “I decided to come downtown, and I’ve been working for a couple of years to find the right spot.” 
The new, 3,800 square foot downtown eatery will employ 10 to 12 workers. Ramirez says he plans to create an authentic Mexican atmosphere in the restaurant to give downtown workers and students a fun escape during the lunch breaks or after work. 
“I want people to feel like they are in a spot in Mexico,” Ramirez says. “All the furniture is coming from Mexico, and we’ll try to make it feel tropical.”
Ramirez hopes to open the doors to the new Los Tres Amigos in late August. 

Purple Carrot owners to open Red Haven restaurant, add up to 20 jobs

Nina Santucci and Anthony Maiale have always intended to open a restaurant; they just weren’t sure how their particular style of food would be received by the community. One year, a food truck and two national recognitions later, the owners of The Purple Carrot can rest assured that their food is indeed loved by the community. The pair is therefore opening up their first non-mobile restaurant called Red Haven this fall.
“I think of a peach as a little more sophisticated,” says Santucci of naming the new restaurant. “And the Red Haven peach was developed at MSU and is known as the most delicious, and now most popular in the world.” 
The 2,284 square foot restaurant will be located near the corner of Hagadorn and Mt. Hope in Okemos. The location is perfect, explains Santucci, for the atmosphere they’re trying to create.
“We really wanted to have the farm-to-table feel in the décor,” she says. “The windows look out at a bunch of MSU farm land, so that is kind of a nice little bonus.” 
Though the Purple Carrot and Red Haven will both serve food made from seasonal, local ingredients, the menu at the new restaurant will be entirely different from that of the food truck. Red Haven will serve tapas-style food items, as well as locally made alcoholic beverages. 
Red Haven is expected to open in mid-September and will employ 15 to 20 workers.

Haven Sports to open in 2,000 sq ft East Lansing space, create two jobs

The Haven stores in and around Lansing have had a singular focus as a smoke shop business since their opening in 2009. With their fifth location in Downtown East Lansing, however, the company is taking on a new theme: sports. 
“We weren’t necessarily in search of a place to open a new store,” says The Haven owner, Patrick Turner, “but we saw a window there, so we decided to seize the opportunity. There is a lot of traffic through there, with the students.”
The Haven in East Lansing will be a 2,000 square foot sports shop lounge featuring disc golf and yoga accessories. The business will also feature a study bar with charging stations and a grab-and-go food counter with sandwiches, drinks, gluten free items and healthy snacks. 
“We won’t really be competing with any other businesses on the strip for anything,” Turner says, “so hopefully, we’ll draw quite a bit off of the surrounding business.”
Turner expects to eventually hire two employees for the store, which he plans to open later this summer. 

Plush Consignments brings plus-sized fashion to Williamston

Having a tough time finding fashionable, affordable clothes in your size, ladies? Luckily for you, Jamie Cripe has been working on a solution for that problem for some time and the result is the new Plush Consignments store in Williamston. 
It all began with an idea and the Capital Area District Library.
“I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit and have always wanted to own my own business,” Cripe says. “My dad owned a local screenprinting business for over 30 years in Lansing, and I grew up in a business-owner environment, so I think it rubbed off a bit.”
In 2008, Cripe joined the Capital Area District Library’s “Spark! Your Future” business plan contest and attended business seminars provided by the program. Her business plan for an online plus-size consignment clothing store called Thick Girl Threads won. 
“That made me realize I was onto something good,” Cripe says. “I wanted to focus on sizes 12 and up because it is so difficult to find trendy, fashionable clothes for plus sizes at reasonable prices.” 
Now that plan has developed into a 400 square foot storefront in Williamston. Cripe chose to locate in Williamston because of the small-town feel and artsy vibe. 
“Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful and that makes it feel like a true community,” says Cripe. “Also, I believe that Williamston is one of the 'it' places to be starting a small business right now and I hope it continues to grow.”
A grand opening ceremony will take place at Plush on July 26. 

New Grand Ledge nutrition club offers challenges, shakes and classes

When Haley and Adam Auvenshine introduced healthy shakes into their diets, they loved the way it made them feel. So much so, in fact, that they decided to start introducing the shakes to as many people as they could. With their new Grand Ledge nutrition club, Shake It Up, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
“We do meal replacement shakes,” says Haley Auvenshine. “We do daily, weekly and monthly memberships, as well as free wellness profiles.”
The 1,600 square foot location on Bridge Street features a bar area and space for their weight loss challenges and classes. While some customers use the shakes to lose weight, others drink them for general health and wellness, and even to put on healthy weight. 
“A new thing that we offer is an athletic line,” Auvenshine says, “that appeals to athletes who want to build muscle.” 
Auvenshine hopes to do more classes in the shop in the future, such as yoga.

$2.1M Live, Learn, Lead Academy development to teach entrepreneurship, add 15 jobs

A lot of people don’t start receiving bank statements until after they’ve stopped receiving report cards. At the new Learn, Live, Lead Entrepreneurial Academy on West Miller Road in Lansing, students will receive both. 
“Every child inside of our school will have jobs,” says founder, Paula Diane Cunningham “They will apply for it, and they will interview. In addition to a report card, they will get bank statements. They have to understand that time is money. There are no excuses in this school.”
Cunningham is a former president of Lansing Community College and CEO of Capital National Bank. Cunningham says the school, which meets all Michigan certifications for K-6 schools, will be a free public institution  for students and parents who want a rigorous learning environment. 
“It is for students who want to be in an environment with high expectations and students who are creative,” says Cunningham. “Students will each have their own learning plans.”
The innovative academy will be held inside a former church. The 134,000 square foot building was purchased for $1.35 million and is currently undergoing $750,000 million in renovations. Enrollment is underway now, and Cunningham plans to admit 140 K-6 students the first year. Twelve to 15 staff will be employed for the new school. An affiliated high school is planned for the future.
“It’s been a labor and a journey of love,” Cunningham of the academy’s development. “We believe students needs more entrepreneurial skills and the tenants of entrepreneurialism should be beginning early on.”

Goldfish Swim School to open in Okemos, add 25 jobs

Future swimmers and their parents will soon have a new option for getting their bearings in the deep end. The Birmingham, Michigan-based Goldfish Swim School will be opening a location in Okemos soon.
“We are really excited to be moving into the Lansing area,” says Rebecca Burlingame, general manager of Goldfish. “We have a very specialized curriculum that has been proven. The instructors are very well trained, and are passionate about swimming and getting children the swim skills necessary for confidence.”
Goldfish accepts children from four months through 12 years of age and teaches them to swim in a 90 degree pool set in a 92 degree environment. Goldfish currently operates five locations and will soon expand to ten, including the Okemos facility.
The Okemos Goldfish will be located in an 8,000 square foot facility near Meridian Mall and will employ 25 workers upon opening, with a goal of reaching 45 after a year and a half of operations. Burlingame expects renovations to be complete in time for a late winter opening.
“We’re going to have to dig a pool,” she says. “And we have really unique, tropical décor for our facilities, so we’ll be making it look like our other locations.” 

Maru Sushi to open second, 2,800 sq ft location, adding 35 jobs

When Robert M. Song first opened Maru Sushi & Grill in 2009, he did so with the intention of eventually opening a second location in the Lansing area. He’s now doing that and more as Song has announced his second local spot is in the works just as the new Grand Rapids location is set to open. 
“My restaurant here is small, and I like small restaurants,” says Song. “I’ve had my eyes on that location for a number of years. Eastwood has grown and is still growing as we speak. It’s an even bigger market now than it has ever been.” 
The third Maru Sushi location is now under development on Lake Lansing Road in the former Ali Baba Mediterranean Cuisine location near Coolidge Road. The 2,800 square foot location will undergo a total redesign and will seat about 90 diners. 
“We have the initial drawings now,” says Song. “It will look clean, contemporary, progressive and will have the Japanese food that area lacks. I’m excited to be a part of East Lansing.” 
Song hopes the new Maru Sushi & Grill will be open early in 2013. He expects the restaurant to employ up to 35 full- and part-time workers. 
“Customers who live farther away in the northwest part of Lansing will be happy to hear the news that they won’t have to drive as far to get to Maru,” Song says. 

Next Level Transmission opens in Holt, creates four jobs

It’s not every day that one finds an auto repair business with a Tumblr account, but Holt’s new Next Level Transmission and Auto Repair isn’t a typical small automotive business. 
“We’re trying to reach the market that everyone else isn’t,” says Mariam Henfling, who owns the business along with her husband Roger Henfling. “We specialize in transmissions, but we are certified in basically all automotive repairs except alignment and welding.”
The Henflings originally purchased J & D Transmission earlier this year. They moved the Downtown Lansing location into Holt and reopened as Next Level in April. 
“My husband grew up in Holt. We purchased a home here and we like the whole area and community,” says Henfling. “It’s actually going really well. Sales are up probably 75 percent from what they were last year.”
The 3,700 square foot location employs both of the Henfligns, two full and one part-time employee. Next Level offers 24-hour customer service.
“We hope to grow as a business, become better entwined with the community and find a home here,” says Henfling.
Next Level will start that trend of community involvement by hosting the first ever Holt Hometown Car Show on August 25 in conjunction with the Holt Hometown Festival.

Michigan Ave salon doubles size, to add three jobs and local art

The new and expanded location of Rubie’s Paradise Salon is about more than just hair. 
“We just really like to support our community,” says owner Beth Sanford. “It’s fun to mix it up a little bit.”
The new, 900 square foot location of Rubie’s Paradise Salon will display and sell local art, which will rotate monthly. It will also feature an additional room that will be utilized for additional services. 
“We were looking around for a bigger space and with all the dispensaries that have closed, there were a million places on Michigan Avenue,” says Sanford. “It took quite awhile to find the proper place, but we found the place that we’re in and it’s perfect.”
Rubie’s made the move in mid-May, and is going strong enough already that Sanford is looking to hire two to three more stylists. Currently, three full and one part-time stylist are employed there. 
“We have more clients than our stylists have time right now,” Sanford says. “Things are going quite well.” 
The new Rubie’s location is just two blocks away for Sanford’s original space on Michigan Avenue, but is more than twice the size. 

The Purse Rack moves into 1,200 sq ft Delta Township space

It wasn’t Lana Face’s idea to open a designer purse store; it was her husband’s.
“We were in Grand Ledge, and he said, “What doesn’t Grand Ledge have?” says Face. “He said a purse store. A woman’s vanity is recession free. You come in get a purse and you feel good.” 
The Purse Rack opened in Grand Ledge in November and is already moving into a new, more centralized location in Delta Township. 
“Most people in the Grand Ledge area still come to the Lansing area frequently,” says Face. “We were hoping to centralize more, and pull some people from other areas.” 
The Purse Rack has been open in their new, 1,200 square foot location next to US Nails on West Saginaw for about four weeks now. The business currently employs both Face and her husband.
“We get a lot of walk-in business from US Nails,” Face says. “When you’re stopped at the light and look around you can see our sign, that is bright and colorful and lights up.”
The Purse Rack sells both consignment and new designer purses and also hosts purse parties with a lower hosting rate than many other purse party venues. 

$9M East Lansing development to be city's tallest building

Downtown East Lansing’s skyline is about to get taller. This month, work began on an eight-story, 60,000 square foot development named The Residences. It will include 42 apartments and 5,600 square feet of commercial space. 
“It’ll be the tallest building in Downtown East Lansing,” says Douglas Cron of Cron Management, who is developing the property. “As you drive down Albert going east, you’ll be looking right at it. It will be extremely striking.”
The approximately $9 million project will features 28 two bedroom units, seven of each three and one bedroom units. 
“The apartments are called adaptive residential,” says Cron. “They’re bigger units than what a lot of people are used to seeing. The bedrooms are bigger, they have walk-in closets, and the living rooms are larger.”
Cron adds that the inside of The Residences will have a contemporary, warehouse feel with exposed concrete and ten-foot ceilings. He expects the construction to continue for the next year, with the exterior framework completed by this winter. 

CitySpa opens in 600 sq ft East Lansing location

After years in the medical malpractice underwriting industry, Diane Lynch decided she needed a change. 
“I found that a professional massage was a great way for me to decompress from everyday stressors,” Lynch says. “So much so that I made a major career change and went back to school at Lansing Community College in pursuit of my therapeutic massage certification.”
After working with various local massage and wellness companies for a few years, Lynch decided it was time to open her own business. Her new company, CitySpa, recently opened on Grand River near Downtown East Lansing. 
“When I started looking for a place of my own, it was a stroke of good luck to find a beautiful office suite directly across from my alma mater, Michigan State University,” Lynch says. “I love the hustle and bustle of Grand River Avenue in East Lansing where city life is always new and exciting.” 
Lynch also chose the 600 square foot location for its relaxing environment, including skylights, vaulted ceiling, a spacious waiting room and two treatment rooms. Lynch offers therapeutic massage, couples massage, reflexology, facials, body wraps, raindrop therapy and more.  
“I care deeply about my work and that my clients not only find it relaxing but effective in addressing their soft tissue musculoskeletal issues,” says Lynch. “I continually strive to offer the latest and most effective techniques in my work.”

Local family to open 1,800 sq ft sub shop near Frandor, add 20 jobs

A Lansing-area family will soon launch a delicious new venture. Penn Station East Coast Subs is a well-known name south of the Michigan border. And beginning this month, Lansing will get the chance to become familiar with it as well.

“It’s a quick-casual restaurant with 14 different kinds of subs,” says Cheryl Kellogg, who is partnering with family members Mark, Jeff and Chris Kellogg on the business. “It’s an open kitchen concept, so you order the sub and you can watch it being cooked. We do fresh cut fries that we cut in the morning form potatoes, and will have fresh-squeezed lemonade.”

A focus on fresh ingredients, Kellogg says, is the hallmark of Penn Station East Coast Subs' success. The new Lansing shop will open in a 1,800-square foot storefront at 3020 East Saginaw this month. The Frandor-area location is the first of four Greater Lansing shops the Kelloggs intend to open in the near future.
“We were looking for certain demographics,” says Kellogg. “This place happened to come up and was right near Frandor. I feel very fortunate we got that spot.”
Kellogg says the first Penn Station East Coast Subs will employ 20 workers. The family is looking to open future locations near Meridian Mall, in East Lansing and near the Lansing Mall. They also plan to open locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. 

Eric's Specialty Foods opens in Lansing City Market

Lansing City Market visitors with a hankering for snack foods now have a new source in Eric’s Specialty Foods. The new market business sells baked goods, gluten free items and gift baskets, but their specialty is their special brand of popcorn. 
“It’s not patented yet, but we’re going to patent it,” says David Schaberg, father of Eric’s Specialty Foods founder Eric Schaberg. “We’ve been doing fundraisers with our flavored popcorn. It’s a specialty you won’t find elsewhere.”
Schaberg explains that the secret to their popcorn is that rather than being flavored with salt that comes off on your fingers, their flavors are glazed onto the popcorn. 
“Because we cook with a glaze, the cheese never comes off,” he says.
The Schabergs have been operating Eric’s Specialty Foods for nearly two years, and are looking forward to their new, 150-square foot home in the Lansing City Market. It all started, Schaberg says, because of their family’s fondness for popcorn.
“It’s been for the love of the corn more than anything,” he says. “We couldn’t find what we wanted locally, and we thought we had a good idea of how to make it. As it’s developed, we were right on that.” 
Eric’s Specialty Foods places a special focus on Michigan-made products and uses all of the in-state ingredients possible in their foods. The new location celebrated its grand opening at the market last week. 

ListTrue,a new real estate concept will bring 15 jobs to Lansing

A new option for homeowners in the real estate market is on its way to Lansing. ListTrue launched in Grand Rapids in January and will soon begin a statewide expansion with a Lansing office. The premise of the unique real estate service is that it allows homeowners to hand pick how much assistance they’d like in selling their home, potentially saving sellers lots of money in fees. 
“If you’re a homeowner and you feel comfortable with paperwork, then you don’t have to pay us to do that for you,” says Brian Knight, president of ListTrue. “If you’re a newbie or want more hands-one help, we can do that too.  People can either save money or use the savings to lower the price of their home.”
Knight uses the example of a recent Grand Rapids sale in which a couple chose a low-level of support from ListTrue, paying about $399 to list their home. 
“We saved them about $5,000,” says Knight. “They sold their house in two days. So they were able to lower the price and get a buyer right away.”
The Lansing location of ListTrue is expected to open later this summer in a 3,000 square foot office on Pine Tree Road in Lansing. Knight expects to hire between 10 and 15 agents at the location. After Lansing, ListServe plans to expand throughout Michigan, and eventually nationwide. 

Kick It Out Competitive Dance to open in 1,000 square foot East Lansing studio, adding four jobs

Denise Krumm wants Lansing area dancers to unlearn some of the lessons they may have retained about competitive dance on shows like Dance Moms. 
“I‘ve seen way too many children and adults turned away because someone says, ‘You’re not good enough,’” Krumm says. “I think if you have your heart and soul in it, there is a spot for everybody.”
Krumm’s new Kick it Out Competitive Dance will give all dancers the chance to compete. The new dance studio will place all students into appropriate levels so everyone from children to adults can learn dance, as well as enjoy the fun of competing. 
“I had been coaching dance for over 15 years. I’ve been coaching the ages form kindergarten through high school. I decided it was time for me to branch out and get into business for myself. I’ve got a really good staff behind me of teachers and instructors."
Krumm’s new studio will employ two instructors and two assistant instructors specializing in lyrical, jazz, hip-hop and pom dancing. 
“Our instructors are fantastic,” Krumm says. “They’re young, fresh and they know what they’re doing. They’ve done a lot of training, and I’ll also be sending them to additional trainings. I feel that they are going to pull in a lot of people because of their expertise and their enthusiasm.”
Kick it Out Competitive Dance will open on July 1 in a 1,000 square foot studio renovated by Krumm’s friends and family on Haslett Road in East Lansing

Soulful Earth Herbals expands into REO Town location

Kathleen Parker’s Soulful Earth Herbals personal care products began when she made an herbal salve for her son when he was born. When other moms liked it, she turned her hobby of working with herbs into a business. 
“I formulate and craft products, doing infusions with herbs,” Parker says. “I don’t use the harmful ingredient you’ll find in many products on the shelves in stores.”
After seven years of operating Soulful Earth Herbals at the Lansing City Market, Parker is expanding into her own REO Town shop. She will be located in the Art Alley building where she’ll enjoy nearly quadruple the space of her original location. 
“It’s going to offer me an opportunity to completely move the business out of my home,” says Parker. “People will be able to see how the products are made, and I can better host classes and workshops.”
For Parker, choosing to open in REO Town makes sense for her as a nearby resident, and also allows her to be a part of a neighborhood she’s eager to grow with. 
“REO is a growing community,” she says. “They are really mindful about how they are growing. I  just feel that this is the kind of community I want to be a part of.”
Parker is currently in the process of moving out of her City Market space and will open in the Art Alley building in August. Soulful Earth Herbals will continue to be sold at the City Market though Sweet Seasons Orchards.

Sweet Seasons Orchard doubles space in Lansing City Market

One of Lansing City Market’s vendors is expanding, allowing the unique seller of grains, beans, soup mixes and more to offer a growing variety of goods. 
“It will double my space,” says Nan Jasinowski of Sweet Seasons Orchards. “I’ve got lots of products, so we need to grow.”
According to Jasinowski, the additional room will give the businesses a chance to expand their varieties of flours, grains and beans. She also hopes to grow her gluten free offerings. New to the Sweet Seasons Orchard will be the Soulful Earth Herbals line of personal care products. 
“I hope to get into some other things,” says Jasinowski, “but we’re ramping up for a big season now. We do the orchard thing, so we’re about to be very busy.”
In addition to a permanent location at the Lansing City Market, Jasinowski and her family operate Sweet Seasons Orchard near Concord and participate in weekly farmer’s markets around the region. 
Jasinowski will begin to expand her Lansing location on July 1. 

FC Mason company to expand into 265,000 sq ft St Johns facility, add 40 jobs

A vacant St. John’s plant will see new life as a local company expands, thanks to a partnership between The Clinton County Economic Alliance, Clinton County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, City of St. Johns and the F.C. Mason company.
F.C. Mason will soon move its parts and supplies distribution company into the 265,000 square foot plant once occupied by Federal-Mogul in St. Johns. An increase of staff from 62 to 102 will accompany the move. 
“We were able to secure a $1 million Clean Michigan Incentive grant from the MDEQ,” says Clinton County Economic Alliance President and CEO, Brian Coughlin. “That enables them to remediate some of the soil problems at that site.”
Coughlin says officials expect site improvements and renovations to begin on the site this summer. For those involved in the project and the residents of St. Johns, the work couldn’t begin soon enough.
“That plant has been empty for four years,” says Coughlin. “It was a constant reminder of how manufacturing in Michigan took such a hit. Now that we have the plant back on line with a new company and new [jobs], it’s a good thing to see for the community.”

A new look comes to downtown with 3,800 square foot Eden Rock

A highly visible change came to the 200-block of Washington Square in Downtown Lansing earlier this spring when the Wild Beaver Saloon transformed into a whole new kind of bar. 
“It was operated and very successful for two years, almost to the date,” says Jerome Abood of Wild Beaver Saloon. “We closed it and remodeled the interior and exterior, and created an entirely new concept called Eden Rock. Our decision to close the Wild Beaver and convert to Eden Rock was all positive.”
The physical renovations include a cool white and blue exterior, classy outdoor seating and retractable glass doors.
“Like most of these buildings, being over 100 years old, they all offer so much charisma and charm,” says Abood. “From the beginning, our designs always wanted these bold architectural traits to be included as much as possible into the design to enhance the effect and feel of the casual diner or late night entertainment energy.  
Eden Rock first opened over Memorial Day with weekend hours, and the 3,800 square foot bar and restaurant is now open six days a week. The new menu features organic, homemade recipes such as pizza, pasta dishes, nachos, tacos, fresh-made salsa, bean and cheese dips.
“The menu is to complement the interior,” says Abood, “fresh and eclectic, yet comfortable and familiar.”
Eden Rock currently employs 20 workers. Abood plans to allow Eden Rock to continue to grow and evolve while serving the Downtown Lansing market. 

Nicholas Creative posts record growth, expands footprint and staff

It’s turning out to be a strong year for Nicholas Creative, the boutique website creative agency located in East Lansing’s State News Tech Center. The firm, which got its start as one of the Technology Innovation Center’s first tenants, reported a record high first quarter profit in 2012 and expects that growth to continue
“The growth we have experienced in 2012 is attributed to a growing base of loyal clients,” says Nicholas Creative owner Nicholas Chilenko, “and our ability to deliver robust content-managed websites and custom web-based applications.”
Nicholas Creative’s growth is beginning to show. The company expanded its office space from 200- to 600-square feet within the State News Tech Center, in which they share more than 5,000-square feet of common space with four other businesses. That space is necessary to hold a growing staff. Now at three employees and two interns, Chilenko recently hired one full-time employee and plans to add two more new full-time employees by the end of the year. 
“This year we are on pace to double last year's sales,” says Chilenko. “We will be releasing an updated version of our website in the third quarter and rolling out a nationwide sales campaign for our email marketing products.”

Historic DeWitt school to receive 9,700 sq ft addition to become senior living center, up to 15 jobs

When Dr. Tim Brannan and his partner at Brandino Properties came across the vacant Gunnisonville Elementary Building in DeWitt, they saw the potential for the site to not only return to its roots as a place of learning for children, but so much more. The developers plan to renovate the 26,000-square foot school, as well as build a 9,700-square foot assisted living facility called Gunnisonville Meadows on the same site. 
“For assisted living, we thought it would be an ideal setting,” says Brannan. “You’ll come right off the highway and you’re about five minutes away, and then you’re just five minutes away from Eastwood [Towne Center]. Families can come and visit and then take their senior out for dinner.”
Brannan was inspired to open an assisted living facility after his father was diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s and he and his mother had a difficult time finding the right local facility for his care. 
“There really wasn’t anyone who was well versed in the issues he was having,” Brannan says. “We wanted to provide some memory care options.”
Gunnisonville Meadows will share a site with the Blending Learning Academies charter school and Little Scholars Preschool and Childcare Center that will soon open in the renovated school. Interaction between students and seniors is expected to add to the learning experiences for kids and life enrichment for residents. 
Work on the 20-bed facility will begin soon and Brannan hopes it will be open for residents by late 2012 or early 2013. He plans to employ 12 to 15 workers there. 

New Mason gift store to feature vintage treasures

Downtown Mason’s new Ballyhoo Vintage Shoppe is a unique little store with roots planted firmly in fun. 
“We've been in Mason for about 27 years, and we just thought it would be fun to have a little shop,” says owner Amy Bowden. 
The approximately 350-square foot store opened on May 14 on South Jefferson in Mason and features both antique and new items with a vintage feel. Products include cupboards, furniture and style items.
According to Bowden, choosing the right location for Ballyhoo was fairly easy, as Downtown Mason hardly had any vacancies left.
“It was one of the only places available,” Bowden says, “and we loved it. We get a lots of traffic down here from Los Tres, and I'm sure we'll get even more when the Brewery opens.”
Ballyhoo is currently operated by Bowden herself and family members. Already, she reports a good response from shoppers, and attributes some that early success to her downtown neighbors. 
“The other businesses in the community have been great,” she says. “I wasn't sure what to expect when I came in, but it's a super community atmosphere. The other stores send people down my way. It’s been fun.”

Little Scholars Preschool to add Mason location, up to 10 staff

Little Scholars Preparatory School just opened in Downtown Lansing in 2010, and already, the childcare center and preschool are full to capacity with a waiting list. Owner Audrey Pallone says that the focus on education and low ratios of children to staff have made the center a success. 
Pallone hopes to experience the same kind of success in DeWitt with Little Scholars North Campus, which recently opened in two classrooms of the former Gunnisonville Elementary School. The school was recently purchased by Brandino Properties, who will soon open a charter school to share the 26,000-square foot space. 
“We’re proving that continuum of care,” says Brandino Properties’ Tim Brannan of the site that will, in total, house the childcare center, charter school and an assisted living facility. “[Pallone’s] focus is getting these kids ready for kindergarten. Her area of expertise is development and early child development.”
Little Scholars North Campus is licensed for 38 students and maintains a one to four teacher-to-student ratio, which exceeds state requirement. At full capacity the center could employ up to 10 workers. The center serves children ages six weeks through six years of age.

Michigan's top firefighter gear supplier expands to Mason space, adds four jobs

Walt Holden and Dan Hamel know a thing or two about firefighter protective equipment. The retired firefighters both sat on safety committees and instructed their peers on safety equipment during their firefighting careers. And, since 2007 they have been selling a variety of municipal protective equipment through their business First Due
In just five years, First Due has become the largest supplier of firefighter protective equipment in the state. They currently service 300 municipalities across the state and have a goal of reaching 500 - half of Michigan’s departments - in the next two years. 
“We have been doubling in size every year,” says Holden. “We needed to move to have more space. We needed some warehouse space, but mainly office space.”
In order to accommodate those needs, Holden and Hamel have moved from their Leslie location into a 1,400 square foot facility in Mason on Kipp Road.
“We could have put it anywhere in Michigan, but we liked the Mason area,” says Holden. “Because we have so many fire departments in this area, it made it very central for them.”
With all of their growth, First Due has added four new sales positions over the last year. That number should continue to climb as Holden expects the company’s growth to continue for some time. 
“We’re picking up three to four new departments per week,” says Holden. “We couldn’t be happier.”

New downtown gallery to showcase original art, custom furniture

With all the new housing options in and on the way to downtown, it’s only appropriate that residents will soon be able to outfit their homes with custom-designed furniture and art from a business right in their neighborhood. La Fille is the new gallery and design studio of artist Tiffany Klein opening in the former Mills Supply Building at 336 E. Michigan Ave. 
The gallery will feature Klein’s own artwork, wall finishes, designer fabrics and American-made Vanguard Furniture. 
“She had been in Old Town for the last three years in the old furniture warehouse, but she outgrew the space,” says Jill Rademacher of Klein Cabinets who is working with Klein on the new gallery. “She started doing bigger pieces of art, and needed more space. That’s when she had the bug to start the furniture line. She started doing finishes on the furniture itself.”
Klein’s carved concrete artwork has been featured in Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize.
La Fille will open to the public on June 22 after a June 21 ribbon cutting. The high-end art and furnishings will be paired with an “urban line” of furniture that is more affordable. Klein will also lease space in the building to two other artists. In addition to Klein and Rademacher, La Fille will eventually employ a gallery manager. 

Organic Eats & Treats opens in Downtown Williamston

Cindy Kroll didn’t set out to open an organic food business. The Chief Meeting Planner for the Michigan State Medical Society had plenty to keep her busy, but when she started making organic products for friends and family as gifts, an inadvertent demand for her talents began to build. 
“Word got out about how delicious they were,” says Kroll. “Dr. Keller told me there was a space upstairs that was available, and I thought I’d give it a try.”
Kroll is working with Incu-BaKe in Holt to prepare her selection of granola, organic hand sanitizer, baby wipes and insect repellent to sell in her new 300 square foot store called Organic Eats and Treats in Keller’s Plaza in Williamston
“I also order organic coffees and teas and sell them by the jar,” says Kroll.
Organic Eats and Treats opened on May 19 and is currently open on evenings and on Saturdays. Krolls hopes to expand her online sales and eventually get her organic products out into larger markets, such as schools. 

New 2,000 sq ft Mason party store features Broasted Chicken, deli

Susan Barkley used to visit a certain party store when her daughter raced at Spartan Speedway in Mason years ago, and it always struck her fancy. 
“We used to come in here and I thought it would be a fun place to own one day,” says Barkley. 
Now she has the chance to find out just how much fun it is, as Barkely recently celebrated the grand opening of Git Some Party Store on North Cedar, that very same store she used to dream of owning. Barkley now offers Broasted Chicken and a deli at the new 2,000 square foot store. 
“I have always loved Broasted Chicken,” Barkley says. “There hasn’t been a chicken place in this area since for awhile, so I thought people would like that.”
Barkley hopes to add ice cream and liquor sales to her inventory. Currently, the store is operated by Barkley, her family and one employee. The store has only been open for a few weeks, but it’s already living up to Barkley’s expectations. 
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she says. “We’re just going to continue to move forward and provide good food for everybody.”