Entrepreneurship :In the News

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Two Men and a Truck unwraps new headquarters

A homegrown moving franchise in Lansing unveiled an $8 million expansion that boosts the size of its headquarters to 55,000 square feet and holds promise for adding dozens of new jobs as the company steadily grows.
According to excerpts from the article:
"Two Men and a Truck was founded in 1985 by Mary Ellen Sheets and her sons, who used an old truck to make some extra money in high school. …
"President Randy Shacka said the company’s growth strategy, which included aggressive pushes into new markets, started in 2012. It now has 8,500 employees worldwide."
Read the full article here.

Lansing duo makes list of best new coffee roasters

Lansing's Craft & Mason made the list of top new coffee roasters satisfying coffee addicts nationwide in a recent edition of Thrillist—the on-line compiler of the best-of-the-best food, drinks, gear, services, entertainment, travel options, and events.
According to excerpts from the article:
"As the farm-to-table movement takes off in smaller cities like Lansing, a rising foodie tide raises all ships. That includes coffee-filled vessels thanks to Craft & Mason, known locally for a nitro cold-brew served out of their cafe at pop-up events …"
Read the full article here.

Lansing inventor harnesses solar power to charge mobile devices outdoors

Pedestrians finding their mobile devices low on juice may soon have an option for charging in the urban outdoors thanks to the ingenuity of Lansing-based EnerFusion Inc. and its owner Joe Kobus
According to excerpts from the article:
"The Lansing Board of Water & Light and Mayor Virg Bernero unveiled the city's first Solar Power-Dok picnic table … complete with an umbrella designed to provide energy whenever it is placed outdoors in direct sunlight.
"The table has solar panels attached to the umbrella and delivers electricity to four GFCI outlets and four USB power outlets that can charge gadgets such as cell phones, smart phones, and laptops."
Read the full article here.

Chamber recognizes 10 young professionals to watch in next decade

Capital Gains Managing Editor Suban Nur Cooley was among 10 of Greater Lansing's top young professionals honored through the eighth annual "10 Over the Next Ten" awards coordinated by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Grand River Connection.
According to excerpts from the article:
"Open to those under 35 who had worked in mid-Michigan for at least two years, the annual awards aim to recognize Greater Lansing’s future business and community leaders over the next decade."
Read the full article here.

Delhi shopping plaza redeveloped into medical care center offering high-demand services

A Lansing area cardiologist has redeveloped the former Delhi Village Square plaza at 2380 N. Cedar Street into a new medial center with urgent care, primary care and cardiovascular care under one roof.
According to excerpts from the article:
"Lansing Cardiovascular Consultants will have an office there along with Patient Central, an urgent care center that will be open from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. all year.

"It will also offer primary care physicians.

"Next door will be a regional lab and pharmacy."
Read the full article here.

DEFYE leaves mall to open Lansing wholesale operation

The owner of the DEFYE clothing label has decided to broaden the reach of his artistic brand by closing his retail operation in the Meridian Mall and going wholesale. Michael Doherty reopened his headquarters in early June at the John Bean Building at 1306 S. Cedar Street in Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:
"Doherty, 35, doesn’t want to have his own store right now. Rather, he said, he wants large, national chains to carry his brand.

"…Doherty said he plans to target clothing retailers such as Kearney, Neb.-based Buckle Inc., which has stores often located in shopping malls, and Glik’s, a family-owned business based in Granite City, Ill. He said he also would like to market DEFYE to more upscale department stores such as Macy’s Inc. and Nordstrom Inc."

Read the full article here.

Century-old mural discovered in REO Town, preservation plan underway

A giant advertising mural uncovered during the demolition of a building next to the Reach Studio Art Center will be preserved as part of the studio's ongoing expansion into several adjoining storefronts in REO Town.
According to excerpts from the article:
"The mural building went up in 1916 and once housed a Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company store, otherwise known as the A&P grocery chain, Brinkman said.

"That means the mural is 92 to 98 years old."

Read the full article here.

MSU's Building Winning Teams program enlists top coaching talent for summer lineup

Business professionals looking to learn tips and techniques from athletic coaching powerhouses at Michigan State University will have the opportunity this summer through a special program offered by the MSU Eli Broad College of Business.
Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio will be at the forefront of "Building Winning Teams: A Quest for Excellence," from June 3-5 at MSU's James B. Henry Center for Executive Development.
According to excerpts from the article:
"A total of seven Michigan State coaches will join faculty from MSU's Eli Broad College of Business. In addition to Izzo and Dantonio, head coaches Suzy Merchant (women's basketball), Tom Anastos (hockey), Jake Boss (baseball), Cathy George (volleyball), Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll (women's golf) and athletic director Mark Hollis will interact with participants."

Read the full article here.

Food entrepreneurs gear up for televised competition

A gourmet hotdog cart from the streets of Eaton Rapids is one of two businesses going head-to-head on a spring episode of "Food Court Wars." Mark’s Gourmet Dogs will be pitted against Grand Grillin of Lansing in the reality-based competition. The episode will air May 25 on the Food Network.
According to excerpts from the article:
"… Mark’s Gourmet Dogs, spent the week of March 17 to 21 filming with the national show in an effort to win his own spot at the Lansing Mall food court. The show will air sometime in late May and for now the outcome is a secret."

Read the full article here.

New fitness center looks to Motiv8 area residents

A new fitness studio has opened in St. Johns.

According to excerpts from the aritcle:

There is no “membership,” and there is no open gym. To utilize the facility, you need to join a class and show up on time. Some classes will have drop-in opportunities.

Motiv8 Fitness & Training offers personal training, sport and life coaching as well as group fitness classes.

Read the entire story here.

New In Town Firehouse Sub's/ Sawyer´s Pancakes

A new destination for sub sandwiches is coming to downtown Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

Work is underway on a second local location for Firehouse Subs, which is set to open Jan. 6 at 200 S. Washington Square in downtown. The space was formerly used for state offices. The restaurant is part of a national chain that boasts “700 locations and counting,” but owner Sam Shango was simply taken with the product.

Read the entire story here.

Lansing-based IDV Solutions opens third site near Washington, D.C.

Lansing-based IDV Solutions will soon open a Washington, D.C-area office.

According to excerpts from the article: 
IDV Solutions, which has its headquarters on Executive Drive in Lansing, opened its third site in Reston, Va., where it will work largely with federal agencies and the military, the company said Wednesday.

Read the entire story here.

Leaf Salad Bar to open Friday near Lansing's Frandor area

Leaf Salad Bar, a new restaurant, has opened near Frandor Shopping Center.

According to excerpts from the article:
Leaf Salad Bar will open inside roughly 1,200 square feet at 1542 W. Grand River Ave., near the triangle between Grand River, Saginaw Street and Coolidge Road. Owner Igor Jurkovic, who also owns Restaurant Mediteran and Deli in downtown Lansing, said its menu will feature smoothies and three different soups daily.

Read the entire story here.

New sushi restaurant adds to growing trend

East Lansing has a growing number of sushi restaurants. 

According to excerpts from the story:

With at least five sushi restaurants already established in the East Lansing area, another is about to join the pack of sushi options nearby.
An employee at Tamaki Custom Sushi and Wraps in Lansing confirmed they will be opening another location within the next few weeks in Brookfield Plaza, 1331 E. Grand River Ave.

Read the entire story here.

English Inn begins $550,000 expansion

Eaton Rapids' English Inn is now under construction, beginning a major expansion.
According to excerpts from the article:
Nelson, whose family bought the inn at 677 S. Michigan Road in 1996, wanted to add to the operation in 2007, building more cottages on the property. But the economy soured, leaving the English Inn with two existing cottages that sit beside the 1927 Tudor Revival house and expansion plans on hold.

Read the entire story here.

Old Town General Store open for business

Maria Van Atta's Old Town General Store is now open for business.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Old Town General Store’s stock includes boxed water from a Grand Rapids company; Higher Grounds, a fair-trade, organic coffee roasted in Traverse City; organic beef; candy and gelato from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor; and a selection of handmade body and facial products.

Read the entire article here.

Mayor Bernero welcomes new business owners to Old Town during ribbon-cutting ceremonies

Five new and two relocated businesses in Old Town celebrated ribbon cuttings with Mayor Virg Bernero last week.

According to excerpts from the article:

The businesses, each of which has opened or re-opened in the past nine months, include Linda J. Beeman Studio, Salon 1131, Old Town Marquee, Portable Feast, Bradly’s Home and Garden, Michigan Historic Preservation Network and Michigan Community Resources.

Read the entire story here.

LEAP awarded $500K for small business incubator

The Lansing Economc Area Partnership received $500,000 from the state for a small business incubator.

According to excerpts from the story:
Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc. received the funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund, an arm of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., for its work managing a network known as the Lansing Regional SmartZone. The SmartZone is a defined area of economic development, created out of state law, that is intended to draw technology firms near universities.

Read the entire story here.

Popular Portland pizzeria reopens

A small business in Portland recently reopened under new ownership.

According to excerpts from the article:
The Portland Party Store and Pizzeria reopened on Dec. 3, offering a variety of pizza and beverage choices as before. The store is under the ownership of brothers Adam, Alexander and Ted Keusch, who have brought in their own touches to the business.

Read the entire stoy here.

Greenlight Business Model Competition Coming To East Lansing With $50K In Prizes

A new Greenlight  Business Model Competition will come to East Lansing in the spring.

According to excerpts from the article:

This event will bring entrepreneurs from all over Michigan to the East Lansing area to pitch their ideas to an amazing panel of judges with chances of winning a total of $50,000 in cash prizes along with networking with angel and venture capital investors from throughout the state.

Read the entire story here.

Business incubators look to cultivate entrepreneurial spirit

Business incubators are on the rise in the Lansing area, spurring local business growth.

According to excerpts from the article:
For four years, dozens of entrepreneurs in such fields as information technology and biotechnology have cycled through what’s known as the Technology Innovation Center — 6,500 square feet near the corner of Grand River Avenue and Charles Street — in search of low rent and help to turn their dreams into startup companies.

Read the entire story here.

Meridian Township ranked as a top place for entrepreneurs

Meridian Township was named one of eight top communities for entrepreneurial growth and economic development in Michigan by researchers at iLabs, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.

According to excerpts from the article:
"I’m thrilled by the fact that the township received an Outstanding Community Award in 2012, and that we received a five star rating for the third consecutive year," said Rick Brown, Meridian Township’s associate planner.
The eCities research surveyed 114 communities from 40 counties in Michigan that are home to 34 percent of Michigan residents and nearly half of its college graduates.

Read the entire story here.

Red Haven Farm to Table Grand Opening

The Purple Carrot's Red Haven Farm to Table restaurant is now open.

According to excerpts from the article: 

Wednesday, October 17th marks the grand opening. Chef Tony Maiale and Nina Santucci bring their focus on local Michigan foods and products to the world of fine dining with their tapas-style restaurant, located at 4480 S. Hagadorn Road within The Hamptons mixed-use apartment complex near Mount Hope.

Read the entire story here

Lansing-area food trucks expand business with permanent restaurants

The forthcoming restaurant, Red Haven is the next venture to spring from an area food truck.

According to excerpts from the article:

Red Haven, The Purple Carrot’s sophisticated younger relative, will offer upscale small plates made with mostly Michigan ingredients to what is expected at first to be mainly a dinner crowd. The restaurant could open within weeks in The Hamptons of Meridian, a mixed-use development near Mt. Hope and Hagadorn roads in Meridian Township.

Read the entire story here.

Lansing's NEO Center to host Startup Weekend, event aimed at launching new businesses

This year's Startup Weekend in Lansing will be hosted by the NEO Center.

According to excerpts from the story:

The event begins Friday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. at the NEO Center, located at 934 Clark St. in Lansing.
Entrepreneurs pitch their ideas Friday evening. Attendees vote for the best ideas, then form teams to further develop the business ideas before pitching their plans to investors and "thought leaders" Sunday evening.

Read the entire article here.

New mobile food truck debuts at Saturday's game

Michigan State's first food truck debuted this month during an MSU football game.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Eat At State On-The-Go truck is MSU’s first mobile food vendor and hopefully will appeal to MSU community members whose needs were not being met with stationary cafeterias and Sparty’s convenience stores, said Bruce Haskell, associate director of Residential Dining.

Read the entire article here.

Home brewing store opens in Frandor

A new home-brewing supply store called opened in early August called That’s How We Brew near Frandor.

According to excerpts from the article:

“Our whole idea is to expand people’s education on crafting beer and to create a user-friendly, casual environment,” store owner Patrick Brazil said. “We will have a lot of products for the very experienced brewer to the intermediate brewer to the beginners.”
The store specializes in outfitting buyers with everything they would need to make their own individual brew.

Read the entire story here.

Ground broken in Delta for new senior complex

On Aug. 15,  the new Delta River Senior Village celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony.

According to excerpts from the article:

Delta River Senior Village will be a three-story, 38-unit apartment building for low and moderate income seniors 62 and older.
Made possible by a $3.67 million HUD grant, it is the first new apartment building in the township in five years, according to township community development director Mark Graham.

Read the entire story here.

Lansing-area eateries made to order: Restaurants need to fill niche

Like the Kellogg family, who just opened Penn Station East Coast Subs in Lansing, restaurantuers are finding success with niche markets. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Restaurateurs such as the Kelloggs are part of a breed of entrepreneur trying to push into a field that some experts call the toughest around.
The hospitality industry in Michigan is expected to generate some $12.6 billion in sales revenue and employ 374,800 people this year, based on figures from the National Restaurant Association.

Read the entire story here.

Olive oil business fills a niche

Great Lakes Olive Oil at Eastwood Towne Center is a family business looking to fill the local niche market for olive oil and balsalmic vinegars.

According to excerpts from the story:

Elyse Lee, her sister, Elexis Meloy, and their mother, Terri Lee, opened their first Great Lakes Olive Oil Co. store in 2010 in Frankenmuth, selling a variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Two years later, they’ve opened a second store at Eastwood Towne Center in Lansing Township.

Read the entire story here.

DeWitt welcomes new chiropractor

A new chiropractor has opened for business in DeWitt.

According to excerpts from the article:

“I just kept missing Michigan and I’m glad to be back,” said the DeWitt High School grad whose new clinic, Chambers Chiropractic at 12775 Escanaba, has been open three months.

Read the entire story here.

Old Town businesses mark move, opening

An Old Town business celebrated its openings and another marked its new location last week.

According to excerpts from the story:
Redhead Design Studio, which recently moved to the Walker Building at 1135 N. Washington Ave., and new restaurant Meat Southern B.B.Q. & Carnivore Cuisine, 1224 Turner St., were part of a ribbon-cutting event that spotlighted their new locations in Lansing’s Old Town business district.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing companies focus on global communication

Fathy Shetiah, owner of 7C Lingo, has witnessed a rise in the need for business interpreters in Lansing, as well as those interested in becoming them. 
According to excerpts from the article:

As the economy globalizes, the need for people who can translate written documents or interpret during business meetings is increasing. Locally, companies such as 7C Lingo want to capitalize on the demand by expanding their services into cultural sensitivity training and digital translation using a webcam and an Internet connection.

Read the entire story here.

Delivery service comes to MSU

A new business allows East Lansing residents and students to order delivery from restaurants that typically do not offer those services.

According to excerpts from the article:
Straight2YourDoor, an online delivery service operated out of an office at 2875 Northwind Drive, opened last Monday, bridging the gap between customers and local restaurants that don’t have an option for delivery.

Read the entire story here.

New Eastwood pizzeria to open on May 21

An expanded section of Eastwood Towne Center that will soon host four new restaurants saw its first open on Monday.

According to excerpts from the article:
Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza will occupy 4,500 square feet in The Heights at Eastwood, a new, roughly $45 million mixed-use development north of the shopping center along U.S. 127 and Lake Lansing Road. The pizzeria will open at 11 a.m. Monday. Other restaurants are expected to open in the coming months, including Bar 30, a 7,900-square-foot restaurant and nightclub; Carlos and Jorge’s, a 5,000-square-foot Latin eatery; and Eleven Prime, an 8,000-square-foot steak and wine bar.

Read the entire story here.

MSU to host international trade conference

Lansing’s business community will have the chance to network and learn at upcoming conference focused on international trade.

According to excerpts from the article:
The Port Lansing 2012 Global Logistics Conference is scheduled for Tuesday at the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University. Speakers will include former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard and Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Read the entire story here.

Michigan State Creates Spartan Innovations to Launch Spin-Offs

The new MSU subsidiary Spartan Innovations will help the university’s faculty and students form spin-off companies based on technology developed at MSU, while also building the local culture of entrepreneurship.

According to excerpts from the article:

Hasemann says Spartan Innovations will provide five key resources: university-wide entrepreneurship education that engages the community, stipends to support student startup business participation, CEO mentors-in-residence to help manage startups and take MSU technology to market, access to a network of external angel and early-stage investors, and gap funding from the MSU Foundation to support the earliest stages of MSU technology development.

Read the entire article here

Potterville resident to publish children's book

Pottervile resident Jo Lehman will soon be publishing a children's book called A Run in the Park with the help of 2 Moon Press. 

According to excerpts from the article:

The soon-to-be children’s book, which will be available at Barnes and Noble and on the Web site Amazon.com, was created during a car trip that Lehman took with a few of her grand-kids. The ride to Florida was noisy, remembered Lehman, and the youngsters were all chatting.

Read the entire story here.

Lansing Couples on a Smart Budget Establish Dessert Trend

Okemos-based Gellocake brings an inexpensive dessert option to Lansing-area events. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Local TV station Production Manager Rob and his newlywed wife Jesse decided to hire Gellocake LLC to cater their wedding after hearing a recommendation from Jesse's father. Gellocake is a growing licensed home-based bakery run by Dessert Designer Lilian Chavira. Jesse mentioned that she loved how Lilian worked with them. She really made it easy to bring our ideas to life on a specific budget.

Read the entire story here

The World's Best Wine Cellars: For Billionaires And Maybe For You Too

East Lansing-based Revel Cellars has been getting national attention, including some celebrity cients.

According to excerpts from the article:

What do billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, former Amway CEO Dick DeVos, and celebrity adopters Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have in common?

At first glance, not a whole lot. To see the connection, you would have to look at their wine cellars, designed and painstakingly built by Revel Custom Wine Cellars, which someone familiar with the company described to me as “the Bentley of wine cellars.”

Read the entire story here.

Food trucks could move into E.L. with council approval

The East Lansing city council will consider a policy to allow food trucks to operate downtown.
According to excerpts from the article:

The policy revision builds on guidelines approved last year allowing food cart vendors to operate at three different locations in the city.
The revision would set aside space at two metered parking spaces near the Albert Avenue and Division Street intersection for two food trucks.

Read the entire article here. 

St. John's liquid fertilizer business growing

The St. Johns business, Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers is growing into a new, 50,000 square foot facility.

According to excerpts from the story:

But the company soon plans to have ample room and then some for its growing staff. The company currently has 26 employees — seven added last month — and will add more as needed.

Read the entire story here.

Mason's Dart Container buying Solo Cup in $1B deal

Mason's Dart Container Corp. has announced the purchase of Solo Cup Co. in a $1 billion deal.

According to excerpts from the story:
Dart, based in Mason, said in a statement the deal to take over rival cup maker Solo is expected to close during the third quarter that ends in September.

Read the entire story here.

Fugly McGillicuddy part of growing Lansing-area fashion sector

A Webberville designer is getting national attention for his t-shirt designs.

According to excerpts from the article:

The meticulously detailed, carefully crafted caricature-like drawings that find a home on the bright T-shirts and sweatshirts in a clothing rack in Montalvo’s Webberville office make up the world of Fugly McGillicuddy, the clothing veteran’s local line he launched about a year ago.
Now, his work is grabbing the attention of some emerging musical artists and could end up with national TV exposure. He joins several other designer-entepreneurs who are helping build a fashion base in the Lansing area.

Read the entire story here.

LCC grads start new tie-dye business

Two St. John's entrepreneurs are finding success with their new business, Tie Dye Inc.

According to excerpts from the article:

Fox and Lenneman, both graphic design majors at Lansing Community College, have been working on their tie-dye business for about five months. Starting out small, Fox and Lenneman work out of their homes; specifically the dining room.

Read the entire story here.

Business grows for Lansing-Jackson freight line operator

A new railroad company, Jackson & Lansing Railroad Line, took over the lines in Mason more than a year ago, and has been showing signs of growth.

According to excerpts from the article:

The railroad company has grown since taking over. It started with 28 employees and has grown to 52. It also had four locomotives when it started and recently finished the purchase of its sixth. Dobronksi said he is running 50 percent more freight now than what Norfolk Southern did back in 2010.

Read the entire story here.

Tria Marketing & Design is seeing growth

Old Town-based Tria Marketing & Design is growing, both in staff and revenue. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Tria Marketing & Design added two new hires in late 2011 to double the size of the firm. In addition, the firms revenues were up 57% year over year from 2010. After undergoing a structural change in late 2010, where two long time partners left for other opportunities, President and CEO Ann Siegle embarked on a growth plan for the 9-year old female-owned marketing, web design & graphic design firm.

Read the entire article here.

Purple Carrot featured in the 20 Best Food Trucks in the United States

Local food truck The Purple Carrot was named one of the best of its kind in the nation by Smithsonian magazine.

According to excerpts from the article:

According to Mobile Cuisine magazine, you won’t find America’s favorite vegetarian food truck in hippie-Meccas Portland or San Francisco, but in…Lansing, Michigan. The Purple Carrot is Michigan’s first “farm to truck” food stand and takes this mission seriously.

Read the entire article here.

Six Lounge Hookah & Smoke Shop celebrates official grand opening

A new smoke shop and lounge has opened in Downtown East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

The lounge, located at 400 Albert Ave., opened for business Jan. 23, but held its grand opening this weekend, which featured a disc jockey with dance music and a light show.

Read the entire article here.

Mich. garment leaders off to Turkey to talk trade

East Lansing non-profit Prima Civitas is leading a trade mission to Istanbul with the Michigan Garment Industry Council.

According to excerpts from the article:

Members of the Michigan Garment Industry Council and economic development officials from around the state plan to attend Istanbul Fashion Week and meet with Turkish businesses and investors during their visit.

Read the entire story here.

Jewelry Feast: 3 Frandor shops open within blocks of each other

Frandor shoppers now have multiple options for purchasing jewelry. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Three jewelry stores operating within blocks of each other in the area north of Frandor Shopping Center has some customers confused.

Medawar Jewelers, Azzi Jewelers and Promise Jewelers have either moved or opened anew.

Read the entire article here.

Coffee shop outlets blanket area to satisfy caffeine, doughnut fans

Coffee and doughnut enthusiasts in the Lansing area now have several new options for dining.

According to excerpts from the article:

At least seven new coffee and bake shops have opened in the area in just the past couple months as popular chains expand their local presence.

Read the entire story here.

Home and Garden opens in Old Town

A new Old Town business, Home and Garden, has opened on East Grand River. 

According to excerpts from the article:

The business, located inside Absolute Gallery at 307 E. Grand River, offers home furnishings, accessories, lighting, reclaimed items, services and seasonal garden items. There will be an open house 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday.

Read the entire article here.

New E.L. Great Clips location brings competition downtown

A new salon will soon be joining the business mix in Downtown East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

Students will have a new place to get their hair cut when Great Clips opens a new store on the corner of Grand River Avenue and M.A.C. Avenue in February.

Read the entire story here.

New billiards lounge opens in East Lansing

Downtown East Lansing has a new spot for nightlife. 

According to excerpts from the story:

Heart Beats, 301 M.A.C. Ave., a combination billiards, karaoke and Chinese gaming lounge, will open for business after about nine months of planning and development between Chen and a team of four other business partners and MSU students.

Read the entire article here.

New billiards lounge opens in East Lansing

An innovative new entertainment business opens in East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

Heart Beats, 301 M.A.C. Ave., a combination billiards, karaoke and Chinese gaming lounge, will open for business after about nine months of planning and development between Chen and a team of four other business partners and MSU students.

Read the entire story here

New business incubator opens in Lansing

The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity opened in Lansing this week. 

According to excerpts from the article:

The center, a low-profit limited liability company or L3C, welcomed nine small-business tenants to its building Monday, located at 934 Clark St.

Read the entire article here

Medawar Frandor moving, changing name

A familiar name in Lansing-area jewelry will be taking on a new one and moving to a new, Frandor-area location. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Medawar Frandor Diamonds & Fine Jewelry is moving to a new location and changing its name to Azzi Jewelers.

The jewelry store at 3101 E. Saginaw St. in Lansing is moving a block away to the building that housed Yaya’s Flame Broiled Chicken.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing's Biggby Coffee fastest-growing in US

Lansing's own Biggy Coffee is getting national attention for its incredible rate of growth. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Biggby Coffee was named the fastest-growing coffee chain in the United States last week by news outlet CNBC, and CEO Bob Fish says the company's success can be linked, in part, to Michigan's tough economy. 

Read the entire article here.

5 Lansing-area companies make magazine's list

The Lansing-area's Axiom Group, ICS Marketing Support Services, Liquid Web Inc., TechSmith Corp. and Top Flite Financial all ranked among the fastest growing companies in the United States in 2010.

According to excerpts from the story:

Five Lansing-area companies have made Inc. magazine’s annual list of the top 5,000 private companies in the nation based on three-year revenue growth.

Read the entire article here.

DeWitt bakery receives national award

A DeWitt bakery recently received a prestigious award from the most widely read baking industry publications.

According to excerpts from the article:

Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe was one of only two bakeries across the country that received Modern Baking Magazine's 2011 "Leadership Award for Merchandising".

Read the entire article here.

Pet groomer opens in Gables Plaza

A new business has opened in Meridian Township offering pet grooming services.

According to excerpts from the article:

Groomingdales East has opened at 2830 E Grand River Ave.

The pet groomer, located in Gables Plaza, specializes in dog and cat grooming. It is owned by Marie Welter, who has 15 years of experience. She has one employee.

Read the entire article here.

MSU plans workshops to boost businesses

Michigan State University has announced plans to help Michigan companies find new markets with a series of workshops over the next 18 months.

According to excerpts from the article:

The university said it's using an $180,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to work with regional agencies on boosting exports in two of the state's most chronically struggling regions.

Read the entire article here.

Former L&L employees plan Okemos meat shop

A local couple will open a 2,400 square foot meat shop in Okemos.

According to excerpts from the story:

A week after L&L went into receivership Dec. 14, 2010, the couple had picked out a location to open their own specialty meat shop.

Now, Mert's Specialty Meats is expected to open in late June at 1870 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos, less than a mile from the former L&L location that is now home to Tom's Food Center.

Read the entire article here.

Spartan Tech Center to open downtown

A new computer repair shop opens on Abbott in Downtown East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

Spartan Tech Center will be filling the vacancy left by Swirlberry and is owned by Adna Technologies, a Lansing-based company that offers information technology services. The store will open for business sometime next week, with a more formal store opening happening in mid- to late July.

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneurs learn how to turn a dream into success at MSU

Existing and hopeful business owners met for networking and sharing advice and ideas at the Entrepreneur Connect 2011 event.

According to excerpts to the article:

The two-day event, which wraps up today at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development at Michigan State University, drew nearly 160 people Thursday afternoon. About 275 people were expected to attend evening events.

It's hosted by MSU's Entrepreneurship Network, the city of East Lansing, Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc. (LEAP) and Great Lakes Entrepreneur's Quest (GLEQ).

Read the entire article here.

Governor unveils new program for covering new business' legal expenses

A new program aimed to help start up costs for small businesses was announced this week by the governor.

Today in Lansing, Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled a new program aimed at covering legal expenses for new businesses.

Overall there is around $1 million worth of help that will be provided through this program. Business will apply for the assistance.

Read the entire article here.

Haslett's Burgdorf Winery on growth path

The Burgdorf Winery in Haslett has been making a name for itself while, making wines from grapes grown on MSU's teaching vineyard. Now the winery is about to expand.

According to excerpts from the article:

This small operation is what people call a "boutique" winery — but that's about to change.

Owners Deborah and David Burgdorf are excited over a number of medals at this year's wine competitions and their plans to move the winemaking out of the current cramped space this fall. They'll move to a 2,400-square-foot barn behind the tasting room and will ramp up production from their current 1,000 cases a year to five or 10 times that.

Read the entire article here.

Couple plans to open restaurant on wheels

A couple plans to bring the national food truck trend to the Greater Lansing area, beginning in East Lansing.

According to excepts from the article:

Maiale and girlfriend Nina Santucci, who co-own a truck they plan on turning into a mobile restaurant called The Purple Carrot, said the truck likely will be in different locations throughout the city once it’s up and running and will serve a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

The truck is scheduled to open May 6 in the parking lot of 4360 S. Hagadorn Road.

Read the entire article here.

90 years and counting: Emil's still a favorite for downtown dinner crowd

Family-owned Emil's restaurant celebrates 90 years of growing and serving the Lansing community.

According to excerpts from the article:

Ninety years after the southern Italy immigrants Emil and Carmella DeMarco went into business in Lansing, people are still lining up for Emil's Old World traditions, said grandson Mark Grescowle.

"We've not just seen the children of customers grow up, we've seen their children's children come through here," said Grescowle, who owns the approximately 4,000-square-foot restaurant with his brother, Paul Grescowle. The restaurant seats 150 people.

Read the entire article here.

Indoor shrimp farming could grow into big Michigan industry

Local indoor shrimp farmer has developed technology that could change the commercial shrimp industry in Michigan.

According to excerpts from the article:

Today, Russ Allen is looking for a way to build a shrimp Rouge Plant -- a pollution-free, recirculating facility that could breed, grow, process and ship a million pounds of shrimp a year.

It's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Allen, who spent 23 years establishing outdoor shrimp farming in Central and South America, has been raising shrimp indoors in Okemos since 1994 at his Seafood Systems research facility.

Read the entire article here.

Next Bright Idea prizes awarded for fitness center, job application

Two local entrepreneurs-in-the-making got an boost from LEAP, Inc for their ideas, including a universal job application and fitness center powered by patrons' kinetic energy.

According to excerpts from the article:

Tomina's "Universal Job Application" was named the best Next Bright Idea in the college/community division at an entrepreneurship competition for local high school and college students and community members. The competition is organized by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, or LEAP Inc.

Tomina walked away from the competition with a new Apple iPad provided by LEAP and said he's got a jump start on turning his idea into a profitable business.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing program helps budding cultural entrepreneurs get off to a good start

An East Lansing program uses Community Development Block Grand funds to help entrepreneurs launch creative businesses.

According to excerpts from the article:

Trenell Anderson sat among several other Lansing-area creative minds at a workshop designed to help cultivate the cultural presence in East Lansing.

Through the Downtown East Lansing Cultural Entrepreneurship Program, Anderson and others seeking to launch a creative business can receive Community Development Block Grant funds to help their work. But they must meet low- to moderate-income standards and plan to grow their business in downtown East Lansing.

Read the entire story here.

New assisted living center opens in DeWitt

A DeWitt home has been converted into a 24-hour assisted living facility providing meals, housekeeping services, activities and more for residents.

According to excerpts from the story:

When they decided to open an assisted living center at 607 Turner St., Howard and Brenda Green had their work cut out for them.

Now, after a year of preparation, the New Life Assisted Living Center is open for business.

Read the entire article here.

Shared space co-working facility finds a following in Lansing's Old Town

Home-based office workers are finding networking opportunities, office space and amenities at Second Gear Coworking in Lansing's Old Town.

According to excerpts from the story:

Derek Kastner sometimes heads to a coffee shop when he feels cooped up in his home office, even though it's not always an ideal workplace.

Kastner was starting to consider opening his own co-working facility when he learned about Second Gear Coworking at 1134 N. Washington Ave. in Lansing's Old Town district. Now, he has a place to go when home gets to be too much—and he pays for access without feeling as though he's taking advantage of a business.

Second Gear came about when Gravity Works Design and Development decided to lease the 700-square-foot space next to its office.

Second Gear markets itself as an ideal spot for entrepreneurs, freelancers, writers, designers, software developers, educators, lawyers, small-business owners and startups.

Users can pay $15 a day or up to $240 for 20 visits to use the facility's desks, Internet access, conference area, projector, printer and other office amenities.

Read the entire story here.

Growing insurance and financial sectors looking to hire in Capital region

Insurance, financial services and IT continue to be strong and growing job sectors in the Capital region as hiring picks up again.

According to excerpts from the article:

The insurance industry employed about 6,000 people in the Lansing area in 2009, according to the most recent data released by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. The financial services sector, which is often lumped in with insurance in labor numbers, employed nearly 4,000.

Rich Howard, director of Greater Lansing Insurance and Financial Services Council, said he expects roughly 800 new insurance jobs and 250 to 300 new financial services jobs in about five years.

The Lansing region boasts a concentration of large, locally based insurance companies, such as Auto-Owners Insurance Co., Jackson National Life Insurance Co., Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America, Delta Dental of Michigan and Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan. Other insurers, such as Accident Fund's Detroit-based parent Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, also have sizable area operations.

Read the entire article here.

$1.8 million endowment enables $80,000 in student grants at MSU

Michigan State University has received a $1 million endowment from the Forest Akers Trust to fund entrepreneurial grants for undergraduates across all programs.

According to excerpts from the article:

If it weren't for a $5,000 grant, Sam Goodsitt probably would have filed away his idea for a hybrid home generator.

But with the help of the grant, the 22-year-old Michigan State University student is working with professional engineers to create a prototype for the wind and solar-powered generator.

Goodsitt was the recipient of an entrepreneurship grant through a $600,000 endowment established last year by the Midland-based Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation.

MSU liked what it saw with that endowment, so it went after more money. The Forest Akers Trust answered the call with a $1 million endowment to provide students with grants of up to $5,000.

The Akers endowment is open to students in all fields, while the Gerstacker endowment is focused on the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The combined $1.6 million should generate about $80,000 in interest earnings each year for student grants and programming.

Read the entire article here.

Two day East Lansing art expo and sale highlights local art scene

East Lansing Public Art Gallery and the City of East Lansing hosted an Art Expo in the Hannah Community Center featuring the works of Capital region residents.

According to excerpts from the article:

Yvette Robinson said the Art Expo hopefully would show community members the importance of local art in the area.

"Art is something that has been affected by the cuts in the communities all across the state," Robinson said. "This is a way to show . . . that art does play an intricate role in all the communities in and around town."

Stevie Thompson, a criminal justice junior, said she thinks it’s important to support local artists, even though she does not have a lot of experience with art herself. She said she has some handmade jewelry pieces, and appreciates the uniqueness of original, local art.

"You can introduce new styles to people," Thompson said. "If someone thinks it’s cool, they’ll ask you where you got it — you’re promoting the people that made it."

Read the entire article here.

City of Lansing launches $200,000 green technology loan program

A new loan fund for businesses to invest in green technology is now available from the City of Lansing. The city will finance two to four loans totaling $200,000 in its first year.

According to excerpts from the article:

The city of Lansing launched a new loan fund today that will work to help Lansing businesses finance energy-efficiency upgrades and install renewable energy technologies.

Wind turbines, solar arrays and heat capture systems are possibilities, city officials say.

The deadline for the first round of applications is March 25. Exactly $200,000 will be available to fund two to four loans ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, according to the mayor's staff members.

The city received a federal grant to embark on the loan project. The Lansing Economic Development Corp. and Bernero's Greater Lansing Go Green! Initiative will administer the fund.

Interested applicants should schedule a pre-screening meeting by Feb. 25. For more information, visit www.lansingmi.gov/gogreen or call (517) 702-6903.

Read the entire article here.

Pitava women's clothing opens new location in downtown East Lansing

Downtown East Lansing's new Pitaya retail store brings affordable women's fashion to shoppers featuring unique, American-made Pitaya-brand items.

According to excerpts from the article:

Female students looking for a new place to shop for clothes in downtown East Lansing have another option this week with the opening of Pitaya, a clothing store hoping to fill a niche for affordable fashion in the area.

Pitaya originated in Bloomington, Ind., in 1990 and has 16 other locations across the country.

"We have an incredible selection for such a small store," Mazor said. "I think it’s a winning concept.”

Heather Pope, East Lansing’s community development specialist, said the city was notified of Pitaya’s opening last fall and said she thinks Pitaya will be a positive addition to the downtown market because it adds to the number of shopping destinations in East Lansing.

Some local businesspeople who cater to a similar student demographic said they think the proximity of Pitaya to other clothing retail stores will be good for all the downtown businesses.

Read the entire article here.

Retired GM Employee Starts Own Faith-Based Fashion Line in Lansing

Ray Jackson, a Lansing resident and retired GM statistician, ventured into the fashion business about seven years ago, aiming to combine evangelism and fashion with his business, Kingdom Dreams.

According to excerpts from the Article:

Jackson, 52, started off about seven years ago with an online business selling T-shirts with the logo for his brand, originally called Kingdom Wear.

He grew the label by selling clothes at Christian music concerts, fashion shows and other events.

In October 2008, Kingdom Dreams, as the company was renamed, expanded into a kiosk at the Lansing Mall, selling sweatshirts, jeans and other apparel.

Now, Jackson has a full line of men's and women's casual and formal clothing he sells online and at a recently opened a 2,020-square-foot storefront in Lansing Mall.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing LAUNCHED Event Celebrates Successful Local Entrepreneurs

The successful second annual LAUNCHED event, held on Dec. 9. at at Dublin Square Irish Pub, celebrated the entrepreneurial successes and commitment of local innovators to growth in the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

The event began in 2009 as a celebration of the first-year anniversary of the Technology Innovation Center, 325 E. Grand River Ave., said Nicholas Chilenko, a principal of Nicholas Creative and one of the organizers of the event.

At Launched!, East Lansing Mayor Vic Loomis presented an Innovator of the Year award to Good Fruit Video, a local company that creates videos for businesses to increase their Internet presence, and a Student Innovator of the Year award to Eric Jorgenson, an economics and general management senior who has been involved in many local business startups and organized the recent event Startup Weekend Lansing to promote business building.

Read the entire article here.

National Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Hits Capital Area High Schools

Thanks to sponsorship from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) Inc., and area students, the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour made its way to Lansing last Wednesday.

According to excerpts from the article:

Author and entrepreneur Arel Moodie spoke to about 450 high school students from 14 Lansing-area high schools as part of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour's stop in Lansing. The tour then moved on to East Lansing.

"Entrepreneurs solve problems for people in the form of a business," Moodie said.

Moodie, 26, started his first company in college and is now part owner of Extreme Entrepreneurship Education Corp., the New York company that presents the nationwide tour.

LEAP's president and CEO, Denyse Ferguson, hopes broadening the program gets the entrepreneurial gears turning in high school students' minds.

"Expanding our reach to these students enables us to tap into our youth at an even earlier stage of their lives and introduce them to an entrepreneurial mind-set," Ferguson said.

"The kids totally responded to it, they all wanted to talk to Arel (Moodie) and hear more. I think part of the lesson is to get them that young. College is great, but if you can start with some of those freshman, it's fantastic."

Read the entire article here.

Young Professionals See Lansing As a Place Of Potential and Progress

Not everyone leaves Lansing for assumed greener pastures. The so-called brain drain phenomenon does not apply to everyone. There are many who see the potential and progress in the Capital region, and choose to stay.

According to excerpts from the article:

When Amanda VanderMeulen looks out the window from her office at Biggby Coffee headquarters, she sees a different Michigan than the one so many other young people see.

She sees a place of potential and progress.

Show them there's a reason to stay, says VanderMeulen, 22, business development coordinator for Biggby.

"There are great things happening," she says. "Above all else, Michigan is a place where you can start something."

"A lot of students don't understand that there are jobs here," she says.

Read the entire article here.

Rustwire E-zine Highlights Lansing's Entrepreneurial Incubation Efforts

Entrepreneurial incubators in the Capital region are fueling the economy and creating jobs by enabling business owners to get their ideas off the ground at a lower cost.

According to excerpts from the article.

Incubator is a loose term generally used to describe the capture of new talent, economic programs and business support in a physical structure. The greater Lansing area has four: The TIC, the Hatch, ITEC and the NEO Center. Between the four, approximately 45-60 jobs have been created.

Of the 20 original TIC companies, 13 remain. Some of them closed and some moved back into home office space but two of them — Enliven Software and Gravity Works — outgrew the TIC, moving their businesses to larger spaces within the community.

Read the entire article here.

Ten Young Professionals Recognized as Tomorrow's Leaders To Watch

The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Grand River Connection teamed up to host the fourth annual Ten Over the Next Ten awards, honoring young professionals who are bound to make a substantial impact in the future of the Capital region .

According to excerpts from the article:

Ten young professionals, ranging from CEOs to state and university officials, were recognized Tuesday for their talent and potential to have the biggest impact on the Lansing area in the next decade.

“It’s important to recognize young talent especially in a city like Lansing, being named one of the top 10 young professional cities to live in,” said Tom Ruis, president of the Grand River Connection young professional group.

Lansing was named one of “10 Great Cities for Young Adults” by financial news organization Kiplinger Washington Editors Inc. in July.

Read the entire article here.

Why The Capital Region Is A Great Place To Be An Entrepreneur

According to Doug Stites, of Capital Area Michigan Works!, entrepreneurship is possible for nearly everyone, and the Capital region is emerging as a great place for people to start a new business, take risks and seek out their passion or innovative idea. 

According to excerpts from the article.

Entrepreneur Magazine named East Lansing one of the top 10 college towns to start a business, CNN Money named Greater Lansing one of the 50 most business-friendly cities.

And most recently, well-known financial news organization Kiplinger's named Lansing one of the top 10 cities in the country for young adults.

Incubator space such as the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center, NEO Center and the Hatch is making it easier for individuals with great ideas and solid business plans to put it in action without needing much capital to start.

Read the entire article here.

Issue Media Group One Of Inc. Magazine's 5000 Fastest Growing Companies

Issue Media Group, the parent company of this magazine, has landed on Inc. magazine's 2010 rankings, placing 22 in media, and 1672 overall in the ranking of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

According to excerpts from the article:

"The leaders of the companies on this year's Inc. 5000 have figured out how to grow their businesses during the longest recession since the Great Depression," said Inc. president Bob LaPointe. "The 2010 Inc. 5000 showcases a particularly hardy group of entrepreneurs."

The 2010 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2006 to 2009. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by June 30, 2006. Additionally, they had to be based in the United States, privately held, for profit, and independent (not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies) as of December 31, 2009.

Read the entire article here.

Land Bank Brings Creative Solutions to Ingham County's Development Challenges

From the sale of the former home of the School for the Blind superintendent to the owner of Rizzi Designs to the Deluxe Inn graffiti art project, the Ingham County Land Bank is shaking things up here in the Lansing region.

According to excerpts from the article:

On the day Rochelle Rizzi first saw the grand, brick house along Pine Street in Lansing, it was “complete construction zone.” The 6,000-square-foot Colonial Revival house was once the home of the superintendent of the School for the Blind but had been vacant more than a decade.

Rizzi was on a quest to find the perfect space for her marketing firm, Rizzi Designs, and when she stepped inside, she knew she had found the right place. “I knew which furniture was going to be in what room,” she remembers. “It just seemed like a great fit.”

Luckily, the Land Bank was much more sympathetic to her cause than, say, an out-of-state multi-national bank.

Read the entire article here.

Kiplinger Names Lansing One of Nation's Top Ten Best Cities For Young Adults

Lansing is among the 10 best cities for young adults, according to a national financial news magazine. Kiplinger cited Lansing’s low rent and high-paying technology job opportunities in its list of cities, which also included Chicago, Austin and Portland, Ore.

According to excerpts from the article:

We began our search using the criteria we used to select our overall list of Best Cities for the Next Decade: healthy economies fueling new job growth.

We fine-tuned our search using other youth-friendly factors such as large percentages of people under 35, cost of living and rental costs, culture, nightlife, and the time you're likely to spend in traffic.

Home to five medical schools, two law schools and Michigan State University, Michigan’s capital is a little-known hotbed for young professionals. Granted, this Great Lakes community can’t quite compare to the larger cities on our list in terms of job prospects or things to do. But it has a relatively low cost of living. And its youthful population, downtown renewal projects, and emerging technology sector make Lansing a stand-out in mid-sized cities.

Read the entire article and view the slideshow here.

Neogen Corporation Looks to Expand, Redevelop Facility on Lansing's Eastside

A Lansing-based animal and food safety company is looking to expand. Neogen Corp. has an agreement with the city to buy the Oak Park Field Office at 717 E. Shiawassee Street for $200,000.

According to excerpts from the article:

If everything is approved, Neogen CEO Jim Herbert said he expects to take possession of the property by October or November.

"We've sort of specialized in taking older buildings and refurbishing them for newer technology uses," he said.

Those include the Oak Park School on Lesher Place and Allen Street School on East Kalamazoo Street.

"They've been great from an urban redevelopment standpoint," said Karl Dorshimer, vice president of the Lansing Economic Development Corp.

Read the entire article here.

GiftZip.com Makes Entrepreneur Magazine National Top 10 Startup List

An East Lansing web company has been honored a second time by Entrepreneur magazine.

GiftZip.com has been named one of “10 Hot Startups” by the national magazine.

According to an excerpt from the article:

They are the companies that capture the hearts and minds of their potential customers and, with them, that indispensable thing called market share. They're invariably run by men or women with an eye for sustainability—and expansion.

The list runs the gamut of sectors. Some have venture capital money behind them; most were bootstrapped. Some are service companies. A few are manufacturers. Others are retailers. And while we routinely receive news of hot startups, and it's usually impossible to compare apples to oranges—or in the case of this list, apps to beer—these 10 independents, with their fast-paced success and future potential, are the ones that made even our seasoned staff and contributors say, "Wow!"

Read the entire article and what they had to say about GiftZip.com here.

Michign Hot Dog Experiment Seeks Special Liquor License In East Lansing

The Michigan Hot Dog Experiment plans to open on M.A.C. Avenue and is seeking a special liquor license.

According to excerpts from the article:

The license the business wants is offered to establishments that open in areas of a city that are designated for redevelopment.

This is the first time the city has approved one of these licenses for its downtown. Mayor Vic Loomis said this was the perfect test case because the eatery is small, seating only about 50 people.

“It’s kind of a niche operation,” he said, adding that he’d like to see the license used in a similar manner in the future.

Read the article here.

East Lansing Woman Lands Dream Internship with NASCAR in California

A 21-year-old Lansing woman is enjoying the internship of her dreams this summer in the Los Angeles office of NASCAR.

Mariel Moorer is one of 23 young men and women selected from hundreds of applicants to participate in the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based company's diversity internship program.

According to excerpts from the article:

This summer marks Moorer's second stint with the company — she spent the summer of 2008 working on research and marketing for NASCAR's entertainment group in Los Angeles.

Moorer went to East Lansing High School and graduated in May from the University of Michigan with a degree in communication studies.

In addition to her gigs at NASCAR, Moorer has interned for WKAR radio in East Lansing and worked in marketing for Michigan State University's athletic department.

Her previous internship involved helping coordinate celebrity appearances at NASCAR events. Now she tracks media coverage on the West Coast.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing Competes For $190 Million GM Plant Upgrade

Lansing hopes to entice General Motors to invest $190 million in a Lansing plant to ramp up for production of a new vehicle.

According to excerpts from the article:

The city of Lansing could end up offering General Motors Co. $9.8 million in tax incentives if the automaker picks a Lansing plant for a new vehicle.

That is the amount of a personal property tax abatement Mayor Virg Bernero wants the Lansing City Council to approve to help persuade GM to invest $190 million to add an unnamed vehicle — and about 600 jobs — to its Lansing Grand River assembly line.

The abatement would be spread out over 25 years — or about $390,000 a year.

GM isn't saying what other sites it's considering for the work.

However, GM has said it plans to bring the work to an existing factory. In addition to Lansing Grand River, GM currently has assembly plants elsewhere in Michigan as well as in Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Texas and Louisiana.

Read the entire article here.

Local Clothing Label Finds Niche With New Store Space

A local clothing label has carved out a niche among other retailers in Meridian Mall. DEFYE clothing recently moved from a kiosk inside the mall to a 1,000-square-foot store.

According to excerpts from the article:

The company, founded by Okemos native Michael Doherty, sells screen-printed graphic T-shirts, sweatshirts, button-down shirts, hats, jeans and other clothing items for men and women. Doherty also makes some children’s apparel.

Doherty designs the artwork for the screen-printed items for DEFYE, named after the phrase "define your own existence."

"It's really exciting," he said of his company's growth. "A lot of it has to do with this connection with college students and a lot of people kind of going through this same struggle of finding their own way in life, and a lot of them can relate to the whole message behind the label."

Read the article here.

Prima Civitas Foundation Prepares For New Leadership, Continued Growth

With a $2 million annual budget and an all-star lineup of leaders, including former Lansing Mayor David Hollister, the Prima Civitas Foundation is preparing for some key staff changes.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Prima Civitas Foundation is at somewhat of a critical juncture as three principal employees prepare to retire.

The Lansing-based nonprofit is in its fifth year as an economic development foundation serving mid-Michigan and other parts of the state.

David Hollister, 68, plans to retire as president and CEO in March 2011, while outgoing Executive Director Dennis Sykes, 64, retires in September and Irma Zuckerberg, 62, a project director, leaves after June 30.

The organization has been planning for the retirements, said Steven Bennett, acting executive director.

"It's going to be an opportunity for us to bring on new, fresh talent," Bennett said.

Read the rest of the article here.

East Lansing Looks to Cultural Entrepreneurs to Support Local Arts

East Lansing city officials are looking for "cultural entrepreneurs" to help keep the arts alive on a tight budget.

According to excerpts from the article:

The arts and culture portion of the city's budget has dropped almost 50 percent, or $154,567, during the past five years, according to city documents. That is pushing officials to be creative when trying to attract musicians and artists downtown.

Instead of funding some music and art festivals with the city's money, officials want to bring in people who can organize them on their own. These "cultural entrepreneurs," as they've been dubbed, would rent space in a city-owned area, such as a park, to set up an event.

Roger Peters, a member of the East Lansing City Council and liaison to the Arts Commission, said individually sponsored events outside the city's budget keep the arts alive. The financial constraints have impacted almost every artistic endeavor the city puts on, he said.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing-Based Firm Traction Thrives on Hard Work, Relationships

Camron Gnass, owner of Lansing-based Traction, is a design workaholic who has led campaigns for Biggby Coffee and Lake Trust Credit Union. His hard work is paying off.

According to excerpts from the article:

The eight-employee staff at Traction, formerly known as Vision Creative, develops brand identities, logos, communication strategies, advertising campaigns, websites and provides other services.

Their work includes the Biggby Coffee website, NuUnion Credit Union (now Lake Trust Credit Union) ad campaigns, and logos for Enso, Troppo and several other local businesses. Several projects have won ADDY Awards through the local chapter of the American Advertising Federation.

Traction was recognized this year for its work on NuUnion's "Member Up!" campaign that involved placing hundreds of $5 bills stamped with advertisements throughout Michigan State University's campus.

Read the rest of the article here.

$100,000 SmartZone Award To Honor Michigan's Most Innovative Entrepreneur

The Great Lakes Entrepreneur Quest (GLEQ) will soon announce the winner of its SmartZone Award, a contest among Michigan entrepreneurs challenged to write the best business plan.

According to excerpts from the article:

This year’s business-plan writing contest features participants from all parts of the state, including six from the Upper Peninsula, nine from the upper Lower Peninsula, 41 from the west side of the state, 67 from mid-Michigan, and the balance from sections of Southeast Michigan.

The industries represented are across the board, with the highest concentrations in IT (including software, wireless applications, e-commerce, electronic medical records, video and new media), Life Sciences, Alternative Energy, Advanced Manufacturing and Materials, and Food and Agriculture.

GLEQ has risen to the challenge thanks to its statewide network of support. Through collaborative relationships with the SmartZones, universities, industry associations, entrepreneurial support organizations, and economic development agencies, GLEQ has a roster of 250 volunteers that support the competition as Ambassadors, Coaches and Judges.

Read the rest of the article here.

Public Input Scheduled for Two Proposed Development Projects in East Lansing

Two projects, both with plans to build upward along Albert Avenue in downtown East Lansing, are slated for discussion on July 20.

According to excerpts from the article:

The first development is an eight-story building planned for the area near Grove and Ann streets. A rental home and one other building could be demolished to make way for the high-rise structure, which is planned to house restaurants on the first level and 42 apartments on the other floors. Construction could begin in May 2011 if Cron Management, the developer, can acquire the necessary funding. According to city documents, the structure is slated to be about 8,013 square feet.

The other downtown development could be completed in two phases. The area where The Post Bar is, 213 Ann St., could be expanded to three stories and used for restaurants or businesses. Kris Elliot, who also owns The Post, is spearheading the project.

This plan also eliminates the buildings at 215-217 Ann St. to allow for a separate, four-story structure. That building is planned to contain two floors of retail space and two floors of lofts. Construction could begin this summer. The project is 6,436 square feet, according to city documents.

Read the rest of the article here.

First TEDx Lansing Event Draws 500 Local Innovators and Entrepreneurs

Michigan State University (MSU) played host to the greater Capital region's most innovative thinkers and doers for the area's first TEDx event.

According to excerpts from the article:

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a national conference held each year to showcase the country's best and brightest innovators.

TEDx events are local, independently organized conferences under that umbrella.

The central message of all those innovative speeches? Despite the area's economic woes, mid-Michigan isn't dead yet. People here can still innovate or start up their own companies.

Greater Lansing, TEDx faithfuls will tell you, is buzzing once again.

Read the entire article here.

Redevelopment Planned For 37,000 Sq Ft Marshall Street Armory In Lansing

The Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) signed a 15-year lease for the Marshall Street Armory, which as been vacant since 2006. The 37,000-square-foot building at Marshall and Jerome streets that will serve as offices for MNA and four other nonprofits.

According to excerpts from the article:

The 37,000-square-foot building is planned as a home to nonprofits that have a statewide reach as well as those that serve the local community, said Kyle Caldwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association. The facility near the intersection of Marshall and Jerome streets also may provide space for smaller nonprofits that need some help getting a start.

The project hinges on acquiring financing from the state and federal government for brownfield redevelopment and historic grants, said Pat Gillespie, president of Gillespie Group, which is planning the project. . . .

The building will be restored to fit with its 1924 architectural style. The bricks, limestone and windows will all be kept with that motif. The 24-feet high ceilings will allow for a lot of natural light in the building, Gillespie said.

"We want to reinvent the building and we want to bring it back to life," he said.

About 85 percent of the planning for the project is complete.

Gillespie said he's acquired about 50 percent of the financing for the project and he expects the rest to fall into place once the state and federal grants are secured.

Read the entire article here.

Group Set to Start Pioneering Urban Farm Project on Eastside Land Bank Parcels

The Urbandale Farm Project—Lansing's first urban farm—is set to kick off its inaugural season at the south end of Hayford Street.

According to excerpts from the article:

A half-acre of vacant land on Lansing's Eastside is about to become the Michigan capital's pioneering urban farm, with help from two Michigan State University faculty members.

The Urbandale Farm Project is the first effort of the Lansing Urban Farm Project, co-founded by Laura DeLind and Linda Anderson.

"Throughout spring and summer, the pair will join area residents, students and volunteers from the federal volunteer program AmeriCorps to maintain the farm," university spokeswoman Kristen Parker said in a story on the university's Web site.

The Lansing project is in the Urbandale area and can't be developed because it sits on the city's 100-year flood plain, DeLind said. The Ingham County Land Bank now owns the farm site.

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneurs Are Returning to Michigan For Comfort and Economic Opportunity

Entrepreneurs are finding renewed opportunity in Michigan, and many are returning to find solace in their home state after living elsewhere. The state's low cost of living and entry costs for young start ups are among the advantages luring them back home.

According to excerpts from the article:

Successful careers outside Michigan proved to be not enough for East Lansing natives Joe and Rose Glendinning.

The siblings longed to return home and run their own business, looking to create a less-stressful, more relaxed lifestyle closer to family and friends.

Joe Glendinning, a high-paid attorney in Chicago, moved back in 2007 and opened a Biggby Coffee franchise in Bloomfield Hills the following year. After some cajoling, he convinced his little sister, a Boston banking executive, to join him in his entrepreneurial venture.

Today, the pair run two Biggby Coffee franchises; the second opened last month in Birmingham. While there is no data on the return of Michiganians, the Glendinnings are among the stories of natives who are coming back home and partially countering the population exodus from the state.

Gordon Krater, managing partner at Southfield-based financial services firm Plante & Moran, isn't surprised to hear that native Michiganians are slowly trickling back to the state to start a business.

The timing is perfect for entrepreneurs to open a business in Michigan because a large number of vacant commercial buildings are available, rents are low and there's a big pool of unemployed workers, he said. Another draw for people who have been living in other states and want to move back to Michigan: The housing supply is plentiful and reasonably priced, he said.

"It's a good time and place to start a business here," he said.

Read the entire article here.

Young Lansing Leaders Adopt Twitter Tools To Tackle Local Challenges

Young leaders in Lansing are on the cutting edge of Twitter innovation, applying the social media tool to a variety of local needs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

According to excerpts from the article:

Capital Area Michigan Works communications officer Kate Tykocki, 29, uses Twitter primarily to post Lansing job leads. It gives her a way to interact with local employers and job seekers in real time.

"It's been invigorating to connect with people and hear these stories and know we are making a difference," Tykocki said.

She said it took her a while to warm up to the idea of using Twitter.

"I was almost a little resistant to start," Tykocki said. "I didn't want to waste a bunch of time. I waited to jump on the bandwagon."

Brett Kopf, 23, didn't hesitate to dive in and start using Twitter—and now it's his job. The MSU graduate recently started Social Bonfire, a social media consulting company.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Entrepreneur Juggles Global Translation Business, Coffee Franchises

Fathy Shetiah's Lansing-based company, Global Image Network, uses more than 400 freelance translators around the world to handle projects in 35 different languages. The venture is just one of Shetiah's many ongoing entrepreneurial projects, and it's growing quickly.

According to excerpts from the article:

Fathy Shetiah starts most days at about 6 a.m., checking to make sure everything is running smoothly at three or four of the 20 Biggby Coffee stores he co-owns with his

He then heads over to his office in Lansing, where he runs Global Image Network, a translation service company. Shetiah switches focus back and forth throughout the day, depending on which business demands more attention.

Shetiah, 35, has been performing this balancing act for about two years. But it seems to suit him.

"I'm a marketing guy," he said. "I can't sit still."

Shetiah moved from Egypt to the United States in 1989, when he was 14. He attended East Lansing High School and graduated from Michigan State University in 1999 with a degree in marketing.

Read the entire story here.

On Earth Magazine Touts Lansing's Entrepreneurial Culture, Sustainability

MSU student and periodic Capital Gains contributor, Kelly Steffen, writes in On Earth magazine about the four key things Lansing is doing to support more innovation, sustainability and young talent in the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

Many people have this perception of Michigan and even more specifically of Lansing, that is clogged with a generic negativity. I will even admit that before I plugged myself into this whole vibrant and innovative scene, I thought only "losers" who couldn't find a job in Chicago or elsewhere, stayed here.

Now, I know I couldn't have been further from the truth. Both young and old students, professionals and entrepreneurs here in Lansing work endlessly to create green cities, collaborative co-working spaces and a vibrant nightlife.

So, before you even start with "there's no opportunities nor a fun nightlife in Lansing (or Michigan)," come hang out with me and my friends for a day, we'll change your mind.

My life is booming with innovative ideas, entrepreneurial resources, incredible mentors, impressive friends in Lansing; yours could be too.

Read the entire article here.

City's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in Old Town Neighborhood

Danny Trevino opened Lansing’s first official medical marijuana dispensary in the city's Old Town neighborhood.

According to excerpts from the article:

In a storefront in Lansing's Old Town, Darryl Brija waits patiently in a chair while Rochelle Harris checks his driver's license and measures out a quarter-ounce of marijuana.

Brija, 52, of Potterville, hands over $90 in cash. Harris hands him the plastic bag of marijuana, which Brija slips into his jacket pocket.

The transaction is business as usual at Lansing's first official medical marijuana dispensary, which might test the limits of the state's medicinal marijuana law.

Read the entire article here.

Kuntzsch Business Services Growing Strong With State's Green Economy

Rachel Kuntzsch, owner of Kuntzsch Business Services in Grand Ledge, is working with area non-profits to advance sustainability efforts in the Capital region and across the state.

According to excerpts from the article:

If Michigan ends up leading the nation in developing alternative energy systems and the use of renewable resources, Rachel Kuntzsch expects play a role in making that happen.

"Right now, it's easy being green," she said. "There is a lot of emphasis on sustainability and sustainable solutions."

Kuntzsch, a 35-year old Grand Ledge resident, founded Kuntzsch Business Services in 2004, and operated it out of her basement for several years until it outgrew the capacity of a home office, and in 2008 moved to the refurbished building at 300 N. Bridge St.

Kuntzsch hired the company's first full-time employee in 2007, and has added four more in the past 18 months.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Technologies and Business-CONNECT Celebrate Downtown E.L. Openings

The area surrounding East Lansing’s Technology Incubation Center (TIC) is starting to fill up, and two new tenants have been added to the mix: MSU Technologies and MSU Business-CONNECT.

According to excerpts from the article:

Both MSU Technologies, which promotes the transfer of MSU’s best research ideas into the marketplace, and Business-CONNECT, a new MSU office that helps businesses connect with MSU and its research enterprise in more efficient and productive ways, demonstrate MSU’s commitment to the economic future of Michigan.

“MSU Technologies brings our inventions to the marketplace, so it is only fitting to operate MSU Technologies in the marketplace,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said when the move was announced in 2009. “This move will improve service to faculty and allow us to interact with companies and investors in a cutting-edge business environment.”

Simon joined other representatives from MSU and the city of East Lansing to formally open the offices.

Read the entire article here.

$13 Million Stadium District Development in Downtown is Nearing Full Capacity

Pat Gillespie’s Stadium District mixed use property in Downtown Lansing, first opened in 2008, is nearly full.

According to excerpts from the article:

One commercial spot and three condominiums remain open in the nearly $13 million building that opened in May 2008 at the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and South Cedar Street.

The structure is considered a key downtown development project.

A restaurant and bar operator from the Chicago area has a letter of intent to lease the last 4,125 square feet of the 36,000-square-foot commercial space, said developer Pat Gillespie of East Lansing-based Gillespie Group.

Read the entire article here.

Haslett Businessman Builds the Country's First Million Dollar Training Program

Not only did On Target Living owner Chris Johnson create the country’s first million dollar training program, he’s also created the premier training facility for trainers in the Midwest.

According to excerpts from the article:

It seems too good to be true that one of the most sought after experts on fitness and nutrition lives right here in the Lansing area—and there is a studio staffed with personal trainers right around the corner.

After Chris Johnson, owner of On Target Living in Haslett, received his undergraduate business degree from Western Michigan University in 1980, and after a multi-year, multi-job stint in the working world, he came to Michigan State University and earned his master’s in exercise physiology.

Then, in December of 1990, a month before the Michigan Athletic Club opened, Johnson was hired as its fitness director. He built the program from the ground up, and says that what he learned along the way eventually helped the MAC have the first million dollar training program in the country (circa 1996).

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Business Owner Offers Web Advice in Entrepreneur Magazine Column

Nicholas Chilenko, president of East Lansing-based Nicholas Creative, offers small businesses advice concerning web design in his column in Entrepreneur magazine.

According to excerpts from the column:

The Internet offers a wealth of new opportunity for small businesses, but web surfers are a sensitive bunch. One wrong move and your new customers could be forever lost in the ether. Keep them happy by following these website usability guidelines.

Get organized. Most Internet users appreciate a familiar website layout and can become confused when presented with nontraditional formats. Give them what they want. Visitors typically start scanning a web page at the top left corner and move diagonally down to the bottom right, so it makes sense to place your logo and navigation at the top of the page. The main content and teasers to deeper information should be in the center of the page.

Easier = better. Visitors should be able to find any content on your site within a few clicks. Arrange your navigation in descending order of popularity with concise and obvious labels. Be wary of fancy drop-down or pop-out menus, as they can be cumbersome and annoying to use (but effective if executed properly).

Read the entire article here.

GiftZip.com Hits Entrepreneur Magazine’s List of Blackboard to Boardroom

GiftZip.com Founder Sam Hogg is one of several entrepreneurs recognized in Entrepreneur magazine for using class time as a planning period for his business idea.

According to excerpts from the article:

With their increasing focus on entrepreneurship and programs for developing solid, marketable business plans, business schools are becoming the 21st century version of the legendary Hewlett-Packard garage. The cocoon of the business school gives students the chance to develop their ideas under the mentorship of some of the sharpest minds in the business world. In many cases, it also gives them a chance to fail without destroying their reputations or bank accounts.

The result? You're as likely today to find an entrepreneur who developed a business concept in the classroom as you are to find one who bootstrapped a startup in Silicon Valley. We spoke with entrepreneurs whose ideas successfully made the leap from academia about how an entrepreneurial education can be the first step in creating a dream business.

Read the entire article here.

21-Year-Old Entrepreneur Finds Opportunity At Tech Innovation Center

The creative culture in the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center (TIC), persistence and access to professional expertise is elevating the status of Nicholas Creative, the web development company started by Nicholas Chilenko, 21.

According to excerpts from the article:

At 16, Chilenko was driving a BMW 330—a vehicle he bought himself—and working part time as a creative director for an Internet agency in Novi.

He worked with clients that included AAA, Ford Motor Co. and Comerica Inc.'s Comerica Bank.

Chilenko left the agency after a year and launched Nicholas Creative just before he graduated from high school in 2006.

He continued running his business in the dorms at MSU before finding his new home at the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center.

"I'm happy to be a part of the new entrepreneurial class, especially in the Lansing area because so many people are so involved with it," he said.

Read the entire article here.

Companies Making Dollars and Sense of Lansing’s Old School Buildings

The national magazine Next American City has taken notice of Lansing’s recent success in turning vacant neighborhood school buildings into spaces for high tech, medical and creative industries. The buildings are being scooped up by companies desiring large, relatively cheap start up space.

According to excerpts from the article:

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, and health care companies are scooping up abandoned school buildings ranging from 20,000 square feet to more than 50,000 square feet in size. After purchasing them for $100,000 to $400,000 or less than $20 a square foot, these firms are rehabbing them and turning them into economic generators.

“Over the last 20 years, we have taken five buildings that had really begun to be eyesores on the community and converted them into offices and manufacturing space,” says James Herbert, founder and CEO of the Neogen Corporation.

Neogen is a publicly traded company that develops food and animal safety products. Each year Neogen manufactures more than $50 million worth of product at its Lansing headquarters, which is divided into two campuses, both of which are situated in old school buildings.

The Lansing School District has sold more than 20 school buildings in the last four decades to a small group of tech companies, including Neogen.

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneur Magazine Highlights Success of Innovative Local Shrimp Farmer

The March issue of Entrepreneur magazine hails the familiar face of the Capital region’s Russ Allen, who operates an internationally known shrimp farm.

According to excerpts from the article:

There are many startup sectors contending for the recognition of being the industry that leads the financially beleaguered state of Michigan out of its post-auto industry struggle. Shrimp farming isn't one of them.

That hasn't stopped Russ Allen, who earned his sea legs in the 1970s in Ecuador, where he helped establish the region's shrimp farming business. In his first year there, Allen helped export 100,000 pounds of shrimp. A decade later, Ecuador was exporting 210 million pounds a year.

He headed to Belize in 1981 and pioneered the process there, launching what ultimately became Belize's biggest industry. Then, after 30 years abroad, he went home to Michigan in 1992. At the time, a legal structure for aquaculture didn't exist in the state. In 1996, with the help of then-Gov. John Engler, Allen helped pushed through Michigan's first aquaculture development act.

Read the entire article here.

Proposed Bike Share Program Wins Big at Ignite, Eve of Ignition Contests

Theresa Gasinski’s plan to put bicycle banks around the region as part of a bike sharing program won her first place at Eve of Ignition and a spot at Ignite Lansing, reinforcing community interest in her idea.

According to excerpts from the articles:

The event's 15 presenters were chosen by popular vote in an online poll prior to the event. Topics ranged from how to become an amateur astronomer to how to write a novel.

The Lansing Principal Shopping District hosted the event along with area sponsors.

The presenters at Ignite gave the sort of keynote speech you might hear at a conference, but in a condensed form. The event's slogan is "enlighten us, but make it quick." Each presenter had five minutes to make their point. The presenters' slides forwarded automatically every 15 seconds.

Read the entire article here.

64,000 Sq Ft Downtown East Lansing Project May Include Restaurant Incubator

A restaurant incubator is a likely candidate for a 64,000 square foot build out in downtown East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

Developers David Krause and Douglas Cron are planning a 64,000-square-foot building for the northeast corner of Grove and Albert streets.

They're seeking site plan approval from the East Lansing Planning Commission on March 10.
"I think there's a need for more residents downtown, and the more variety you can provide the stronger the downtown is," Krause said.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Incubators Capitalizing on MSU Students' Entrepreneurial Talents

The many incubators popping up in East Lansing and Lansing are giving enterprising Michigan State University (MSU) students the support they need to launch their ideas.

According to excerpts from the article:

Eric Jorgenson has notebooks with several million dollars scribbled on the pages. The business and economics junior carries pen and pad wherever he goes, and whenever he thinks of the next best business venture he pulls out the notebook.

Jorgenson, who will co-direct The Hatch, an entrepreneurial incubator for students to be located at 325 E. Grand River Ave., is just one of many minds East Lansing and MSU are attempting to tap into as the city pushes entrepreneurship.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing EDC Expands Loan Program to Include More High Tech Companies

The Lansing Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is broadening the geographic coverage of its business loan program services to include more high tech companies.

According to excerpts from the article:

Historically, the Business Finance Assistance Program targeted specific areas such as Old Town, Michigan Avenue and downtown. It provided loans to several bars and restaurants.

"We've got to think about how we're going to help small businesses—in particular, how to diversify them," said Bob Trezise, the LEDC's president and CEO.

"The downtown has taken off. Maybe the loan and other efforts did their jobs."

Read the entire article here.

Sales Jump 303% for GiftZip.com

Though overwhelming, the holiday season went well for GiftZip.com, an East Lansing-based gift card aggregation site that saw its sales increase 303 percent from November to December 2009.

According to excerpts from the article:

GiftZip.com, the East Lansing-based online eGift card kiosk developer, said Wednesday that its holiday season was marked by growing site traffic and sales. ??Overall, site traffic increased 25percent in December from the previous month and has increased sevenfold since June of 2009. The higher amounts of traffic resulted in unparalleled sales for business, as sales jumped 303 percent over the previous month.

In addition to a prosperous December, GiftZip.com rung in the New Year with continued recognition and support from the Michigan business community. GiftZip.com was awarded The Best First Year Business Website in Lansing in the 2009 Lansing Web Awards.

In an effort to support the Michigan economy and foster relationships with local businesses, GiftZip.com continues to use contractors from Michigan. GiftZip.com switched its site hosting to Lansing-based LiquidWeb and also enlisted the services of Nicholas Creative, a fellow East Lansing Technology Innovation Center business, to design GiftZip.com 3.0. The new site,which hopes to be launched within the next few months, will update the look and feel and offer enhanced search features to increase ease of use for consumers.

Read the entire article here.

Vietnamese Refugee Serves Up Some of Asia’s Finest

Vietnamese refugee Mary Ann Le serves a trifecta of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine at her restaurant, Asia’s Finest.

According to excerpts from the article:

She opened it after moving to the United States in 1989after a brief stay in the Philippines as a Vietnamese refugee. She took classes at Lansing Community College to learn English, worked in a few local restaurants, then opened shop on the south side. She cooks, cleans and manages— the typical busy life of an independent restaurateur. After seven years in business, it’s safe to say her food has given her some success.

“We’re very famous for our Vietnamese and Thai food,” Le says. “Thai food, spicy food, is very popular in Michigan. Hot flavors in cold weather.”

The Chinese menu is popular and filled with the usual culinary suspects: lo mein, fried rice, General Tso’s chicken, etc. The Thai menu features spicier fare, and the pad thai — sautéed meat with stir-fried noodles,bean sprouts and green onions — is oft requested. But for a taste of authenticity, go for a Vietnamese soup.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Grad's Enliven Software Company Expanding Into International Markets

East Lansing-based Enliven Software recently moved into a larger space within the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center (TIC) and is now expanding into west African and Australian markets.

According to excerpts from the article:

A map would tell people Nigeria and East Lansing are worlds away. Bunmi Akinyemiju would tell people they share a border.

The international expansion wouldn’t be possible without MSU’s commitment to global initiatives and reputation as a worldly university, he said.

“MSU is one of the top global universities in the country,” said the MSU alumnus, who was born in Michigan when his parents came to MSU from Nigeria to earn their master’s and doctoral degrees. “I think that (MSU has) invested in really making sure the education that students get here is global.”

Read the entire article here.

Former GM Employee Open Quinney’s Southern Soul Food on Lansing's South Side

After 24 years with General Motors, Vickie Quinney and her husband Mack have opened a southern style restaurant on Cedar Street.

According to excerpts from the articles:

Quinney’s Southern Soul Food found a home in an old strip mall on Cedar Street. just north of Holmes Road.

After 24 years of laboring at the now-shuttered Fisher Body plant, Vickie says long days with her husband (the pair have no other employees) are a breeze.

Vickie’s parents are natives of Alabama, products of the Deep South who migrated north yet kept their cooking heritage intact. The family spent time cooking together, and Vickie decided to continue the legacy through her new restaurant.

Read the entire article here.

Innovations and New Developments Mark Bright East Lansing Economy in 2009

2009 was a good year for the Capital region, which welcomed several important economic investments including the $550 million FRIB facility, the Technology Information Center (TIC) and IBM’s move to East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

While Michigan felt the pain of the highest unemployment in the nation, the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, a tanking housing market and a sharp slowdown in commercial sales, East Lansing could point to the following developments:

1.) FRIB, okay, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. The $550 million Department of Energy-funded nuclear physics research facility will be a science facility dedicated answering complex questions about the structure of matter, about the stars, about basic elements on our plan, event how the planet came into existence.

Its practical benefits, as well: $1 billion economic impact over the first decade, 180 new jobs for scientists, 5,800 one-year construction jobs, 220 spin-off jobs.

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneur Uses E.L. Technology Center to Launch Social Media Business

Julielyn Gibbons, president of i3 Strategies, used the East Lansing Technology and Innovation Center (TIC) to launch a social media business that’s becoming a household name in the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

In 2009, she decided to start her own business, because she realized that very few people could do what she could; and because instead of getting pigeonholed into being a politico, she wanted to make the biggest impact possible working with the biggest number of people possible.

Therefore, even though the economy seemed to be screaming “NO,” after she met “a great group of people in the area, that emboldened [her] to become entrepreneurial,”as well as Jeff Smith, who runs the Technology Innovation Center (TIC) in East Lansing.

Total capital required? “Less than $1,000,” she answers with a smile.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky because since I’ve started, all of my business has been word of mouth,” she says. Her most notable recent work has been for Capital Area Michigan Works! for whom she coordinates and presents monthly workshops for job seekers on how to use social media to find a new job. She said the work “hits home on a multitude of levels,” because at one time or another in the past two years, both of her parents and siblings have lost their jobs.

A good portion of her work is done in the form of workshops and presentations on social media. “I’ve gone all over the country: Boston, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Detroit. It’s really something. ”

Read the entire article here.

Couple Buys Old Diner and Opens New Boondox Restaurant in Wacousta

Mary and Roger Hansen recently renovated an old diner in Wacousta, northwest of Lansing, transforming into an upscale restaurant.

According to excerpts from the article:

Owners Mary and Roger Hansen, who spent three months turning a pink-and-white diner into a sleek space with lots of warm oak paneling and homey touches, are hoping for a liquor license soon for serving drinks with meals. They say, though, that their place will stay family-friendly and never turn into a bar.

Boondox opened Dec. 11 and Roger says the staff served almost 100 dinners in four hours.

"All we heard was how they'd be back," he said.

Boondox is a true home-grown place whose owners hail from Pewamo-Westphalia (Mary) and St. Johns (Roger). At Wacousta and Herbison Roads, it's "right in the middle of everything," as Mary puts it.

Read the entire article here.

Grand Ledge Man a Finalist for $100,000 National Alternative Energy Prize

Grand Ledge resident Alan Fox is one of five finalists for the ConocoPhillips Energy Prize, a competition designed to foster citizen-driven alternative energy options.

According to excerpts from the article:

More than 150 proposals were submitted for the contest, which seeks new ideas to develop alternative energy, improve energy efficiency or combat climate change.

Fox will present his concept — using pressurized hydraulic fluid to improve wind turbine power output — to judges in Houston on Monday. He won $25,000 as a finalist and will compete for the $100,000 first-place prize. The first runner-up receives $50,000 and the second runner-up wins $25,000.

Fox, 51, owns a custom glass company that specializes in glass etching for commercial and residential use.

"A couple years ago I was thinking about the problems with wind energy, the cost of the turbines and the fact that the energy is created inconsistently," he said.

Read the entire article here.

Downtown Lansing MBC Location Draws Clientele with 17 Draft Beers

The Webberville-based Michigan Brewing Company (MBC) opened a new location in Downtown Lansing, drawing beer lovers from around the area.

According to excerpts from the article:

“The concept was to create a place that was going to be a fun place to gather and talk,”said service manager Melinda Carpenter. “Good food, great beer and smooth music playing in the background. No televisions, no smoking; there is definitely no place else like this.”

Well, not outside the family, at least. The pub’s mothership is the original Michigan Brewing Co., headquartered in Webberville. That 76,000-square-foot location serves many functions: brewery, distillery, winery (Michigan Brewing also has its own signature gin, vodka and wine), and home to “Things Beer,” a novelty store, selling T-shirts, beer steins and home brewing supplies.

Owner Bobby Mason had been eying a new Lansing location on Washington Square near Kalamazoo Street since February 2008, but the sluggish economy and recent snafus with liquor license transfers kept the project from hopping along.

The new establishment, simply called MBC, is a bit more focused on the pub side of the business, and with that focus comes a spotlight on food and service. Carpenter formerly managed a fine dining seafood restaurant in Grand Rapids, and she said she’s happy to now call Lansing home. Kitchen manager Stephen Joseph honed his culinary skills at the Lansing area Scalawags restaurants, where he got to know his way around seafood.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Student Businessman Featured on Touring Entrepreneurialism Panel

Michigan State University (MSU) student Brett Kopf gave a glimpse of what it’s like to start two companies while in college during a panel discussion hosted by the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour.

According to excerpts from the article:

The event, part of a nationwide tour by an online group, featured a business idea workshop, speeches from young entrepreneurs and a chance to network.

Michigan State University senior Brett Kopf was among the panelists. The 22-year-old is starting two companies while he works on his degree in food industry management.

One company offers social media strategies. The other will provide text message and e-mail alerts to remind students when class assignments are due.

"There's no better time than now," he said of starting his own company. "When the whole world is retrenching and stepping back in their little hole, there needs to be people to step up and take the reins."

Read the entire article here.

New Urgent Care Facility Opens to Serve Lansing's Southside Neighborhoods

An urgent care facility for the uninsured and under-insured recently opened on Lansing’s Southside at 2025 W. Holmes Rd.

According to excerpts from the article:

Dr. Eleanore Kue hopes to treat 10,000 patients annually at His Healing Hands Health Center and eventually expand into other offices on the opposite side of the building.

"This is a very underserved community," Kue said on Monday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The 2025 W. Holmes Road walk-in facility will treat patients in three exam rooms from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Four days of operation will happen in early January, Kue said.

Read the entire article here.

Restaurant Brings New Orleans Flavor to Lansing's Southside Neighborhood

After spending a significant amount of time in the south, Wally Elchaer moved to Lansing and opened the Orleans Fresh Fish and Bar-B-Que restaurant on the Southside.

According to excerpts from the article:

Elchaer credits his success in Lansing and previous restaurant ventures to homemade food. “Nothing comes out of cans ready to be served,” he said. “Everything is homemade — everything. It’s my recipe."

Elchaer said he makes all of the bread, pizza crust, fish and chicken breading, desserts, slaws, sauces — everything — in his prep kitchen.

The menu covers a lot of culinary bases: chicken, fish and seafood, pizza, grinders, barbeque, salads, sandwiches, calzones and pasta. In previous stops around the country, Elchaer has owned individual restaurants that focused on one or two of the foods he offers at Orleans.

Starting in Nashville, Tenn., then spreading to a few other cities in the South, Elchaer created a chain of pizza shops that now boasts more than 10 locations. He also has owned a couple of Subway franchises, a barbeque restaurant named the Pig Pit and a seafood market that, like Orleans, offers to fry what you buy.

Read the entire article here.

Central Solutions Increases Technology Solutions for New Mason Developments

Growing tech company Central Solutions is setting up servers, personal computer and security systems in the new Mason city hall/police station.

According to excerpts from the article:

Brian Tort, president of Central Solutions, said the company started as a consultant to plan for the future of technology in general for Mason. And there's little doubt that information technology is growing.

"My whole philosophy is we want to be the general contractor for IT," Tort said.

City Administrator Marty Colburn acknowledged that Central is "very involved" with the new city hall/police station. It's necessary, he said, that "as technology continues to be developed that we develop along with it."

Read the entire article here.

Old Town Consulting Firm Rolls Out New Geothermal Heat Pump Service

Old Town environmental consulting firm Triterra, is now offering geothermal heat system services.

According to excerpts from the article:

Geothermal heat systems services, a new technology that takes advantage of Michigan’s ground temperature, are now available through Triterra. Triterra is a professional environmental sustainability consulting and Brownfield development services firm founded in Lansing, Mich.

Geothermal heat systems utilize the ground temperature to provide efficient cooling and heating. It regulates the temperature by transfer heat from the earth into the building to add warmth during the winter. Similarly, summer heat is transferred back into the ground to cool the building. It is considered a much efficient and environmentally friendly sourceof heating and cooling.

There are two different types of geothermal heat and cooling systems: closed loop and open loop. It is important to consult a hydrologist to ensure that the correct loop and process for your project is done correctly.

Read the entire article here.

Enliven Software Outgrows Tech Center, Expands to 1,200 Sq Ft Space

East Lansing’s Technology and Innovation Center (TIC) is losing one of its most successful tenants, Enliven Software, to a larger space. But the farewell is bittersweet, as the purpose of the TIC is to help companies grow and expand.

According to excerpts from the article:

Enliven Software plans to move out of its 400-square-foot space at the center by the end of the month to a 1,200-square-foot office within the same building.

“We’ve outgrown the space,” said CEO Bunmi Akinyemiju, a 2000 graduate of Michigan State University.

Akinyemiju launched his company in 2007. He now has 10 people on staff.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Technology Innovation Center Grows Future of Michigan Commerce

The businesses located in East Lansing’s Technology and Innovation Center (TIC) represent the next generation of entrepreneurship in the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

You can't see it, but you can feel it.

Synergy bubbles throughout the Technology Innovation Center as ideas and creations are vetted — ideas that hopefully grow into new technology-based businesses and jobs for the area.

Located in East Lansing on the third floor of the Barnes & Noble Building, the center houses start-up businesses that pay market rent for their space, but have reduced fees for access to the Internet, conference rooms and office equipment. It's a way to encourage and help entrepreneurs prove themselves in the marketplace without huge start-up costs.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Startup GiftZip Taps Growing $90 Billion Gift Card Industry

East Lansing-based GiftZip.com was one of a few gift card companies recently featured in Entrepreneur Magazine.

According to excerpts from the article:

As the holiday shopping season kicks off — and merchants brace for another lean year — a small group of online entrepreneurs is setting up shop around one of retail's only bright spots: The gift card.

Yes, the gift that says "I put almost no effort into this" has morphed into a $90 billion industry, according to the TowerGroup, a Massachusetts research and consulting firm. Sales of gift cards—that is, any card issued by a merchant redeemable for goods and services—jumped to $97 billion in 2007 from $57 billion in 2005. While the dollar figure dipped in 2008, First Data, a retail tracking service, found that shoppers actually bought more gift cards than the year before; they just loaded less money onto them.

"When the dust settles, we see gift cards surpassing $100 billion by 2012," said Brian Riley, research director for the TowerGroup. Online entrepreneurs who've built businesses around the phenomenon are banking on it. Here's how they're cashing in on plastic fever:

The gift card without the card. Shoppers choose a merchant "card" and an e-gift card pops up in the recipient's inbox,which can be redeemed in-store or online. "My intent was to take that department-store kiosk model and put it online," says founder Sam Hogg, who came up with the idea while taking a Sustainable Supply Chain class at Michigan State University.

Who's in: The mass (Forever 21, Target) and the deeply niche (Culinary Teas, Glitzy Pet Jewelry) How it pays off: Merchants compensate the East Lansing, Mich., company  by paying a percentage of sales, or paying to have traffic driven their way or their logo placed next to a big company like Target. GiftZip began in June; Hogg expects to break even early next year.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Wedding Cake Designer Makes TheKnot.com's Best of 2009 List

Intricate cake designs from A Piece O’ Cake in East Lansing have made it into a national magazine that features all aspects of wedding design and planning.

According to excerpts from the article: 

Kelly Kobus has taken that primal yen for comfort food to a whole new level with her East Lansing bakery, A Piece O’ Cake.

Kobus, 24, bought A Piece O’ Cake from the previous owners two years ago right after she graduated from college. She was a French major and an art minor, but she always had a love for food. During her senior year she studied abroad in France, where she took some cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu and also took private classes. These classes led to her working with (and studying under) some of Paris’s top gourmet chefs, and when she came home her career began to take shape.

“When I came back, I started interning at Le Chat Gourmet [a classical French culinary arts program in Eaton Rapids], and soon afterward my dad found this bakery for sale,” Kobus said. “I talked to the owner, and she asked me if I had graduated from culinary school, and when I told her no she told me that was perfect. She said, ‘They teach you pastries in culinary school, but they don’t teach you the art of the cake.’”

A Piece O’ Cake was recently featured in TheKnot.com’s Best of Weddings 2009, putting her in the elite class of go-to wedding cake makers in the state.

Read the entire article here.

Three MSU Students Start Grocery Delivery Business From Their Dorm Room

Three Michigan State University (MSU) students are ramping up Spartanicity, their electronic shopping service company.

According to excerpts from the article:

Adam Root, David Switzer and Joe Brummitt have started Spartanicity, an online grocery store that delivers everything from Ramen noodles to laundry detergent.

The 21-year-olds met through a student investment group. Their venture, run through www.spartanicity.com, currently has more than 500 products for sale.

"We were just trying to think of things we could get involved in while we were at school," Root said.

He said the idea grew out of the time and effort it takes some students to get groceries while living on campus without a car.

Read the entire article here

Enliven Software COO One of Speakers at Inaugural TEDxDetroit Event

East Lansing-based Enliven Software's COO Matt Dugener was one of several presenters at the idea-sharing event TEDxDetroit.

According to excerpts from the article:

Dugener said entrepreneurs are a subset of enterprising persons, those who come up with new ideas. He said Michigan must create a culture where both types can survive. And that hasn't been the case. Dugener cited the case of one friend who had a great business idea, thought about starting it in Michigan but eventually started it in Texas. Dugener, working for the Michigan Economic Development Corp. at the time, asked the friend why Texas got the company.

Replied the friend: "In Texas, when you're an entrepreneur, you're a hero. . . . In Michigan, when you're an entrepreneur, you're treated like a criminal. 'You must not be able to hold down a job.' 'Why aren't you working for one of the Big Three?' 'You have an MD PhD, what are you doing starting a company?'"

Dugener used a quote from economist John Maynard Keynes, "Most men love money and security more, and creation and construction less, as they get older," to explain how Michigan has for decades trained its children to be employees, not employers. Michigan is a state built on command and control, he said, where a few people at the top get to have all the ideas, and everyone else has to merely implement those ideas like a good drone.

Obviously, that must change for Michigan to survive.

Read the entire article here.

Handy's Mexican Market and Deli Changes Hands, Offers Diverse Products

Two years ago, Handy´s Mexican Market and Deli changed hands. Now Daniel Pesina, the store's new owner, is changing up the merchandise, too.

According to excerpts from the article:

“We’ve changed a few things,” Pesina said. “We added merchandise and we’ve found bigger distributors with better costs for us.”

Pesina and family members bought the store from Ken Handy, who started in 1970. It was the first Mexican specialty market in Lansing.

Pesina wants keep the store’s legacy intact. “There’s always that saying,” he said. “If it’s not broke, let’s not fix it.” Over three decades, Handy’s became known as a small, family store, a great place for friendly conversation as well as homemade pork rinds. The staff will even carry groceries to your car.

Read the entire article here.

Schuler Books and Music Adds On-Demand Book Selling Capacity and Equipment

Schuler Books & Music, which has locations in Lansing and Okemos, has turned to Espresso Book Machine, a machine that can print a book as quickly as a barista can make an espresso.

According to excerpts from the article:

When University of Michigan graduate Bill Fensenheld began selling books more than 25 years ago in a dusty Ann Arbor bookstore, he had no idea that one day another UM grad, Google founder Larry Page, would give him access to millions of books to sell at his own shops.

Schuler Books & Music, a Michigan based book retail chain started by Fensenheld and his wife, Cecile, will soon be able to offer books printed on-demand for customers in its Grand Rapids, Okemos and Lansing locations.

Espresso book machine prices range from $75,000 to $90,000, depending on speed. The only other Espresso in the state is at a University of Michigan Library.

At this point, the mini chain has purchased a single Espresso for its 28th Street store in Grand Rapids, but it will deliver on-demand books to its Okemos and Lansing stores several times a week.

Read the entire article here.

Ignite 2.0 Excites 500 Attendees At Temple Building With Ideas and Innovations

The Ignite Lansing 2.0 event was a huge success, with roughly 500 people packing the Temple Club in Old Town Lansing to toss around ideas and listen to multiple, five minute presentations.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Ignite program is a worldwide event hosted by individual communities. Lansing’s first Ignite event was in April, and program volunteers said they hope to host another event next spring.

“I think it’s a really cool opportunity, especially for start-up firms to get their ideas out there,” said international relations senior Jennifer Seager, a volunteer at Ignite Lansing. “A lot of times these ideas sit under the water because they can’t find people to fund them, or get them off the ground, because you need support.”

Before the event, Spotlight Michigan, an MSU group, hosted Eve of Ignition. It encouraged MSU students to mimic the IgniteLansing event by presenting their own projects.

Five students were selected from five student organizations to make their presentations and compete for the opportunity to start their own business.

Spotlight Michigan was born out of a James Madison College seminar last year, which since has grown to a yearlong seminar promoting entrepreneurship in Michigan.

Read the entire article here.

Everybody Reads Bookstore Looking Forward to Making Co-Op Transition

Eastside Lansing-based Everybody Reads is hoping to become a co-op within the next nine months.

According to excerpts from the article:

Owner Scott Harris believes the move will bring stronger financial backing for the store and enable it to offer more services to customers.

In a co-op model, members buy a share of ownership in a store. In exchange, members have a greater voice in how the store is run.

While details such as the cost of a membership have yet to be hammered out, Harris said the change makes good sense. He hopes to find about 500 people willing to take a stake in the store.

Read the entire article here.

Tripper’s Sports Bar in Frandor Celebrates 20 Years in Business

Tripper’s General Manger Steve Tripp is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Tripper’s, an Frandor-based bar founded by his brother Jim.

According to excerpts from the article:

MSU and Michigan fans alike were able to finally have a place to root for their teams.

“In this business you need to change with the times," said Steve Tripp, General Manager and brother of Jim.

“Our father Fred Tripp was the guiding light in starting this business with our foundation in the restaurant business and strong ties to MSU.”

“Jim was always trying something different. He wanted to be able to offer our guest a big city experience, whether it was the Game Room Arena, Martini’s or the Comedy Zone. He wants Tripper’s to be a place to spend the day.”

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing's The Hatch Facility Designed to Incubate Student Entrepreneurs

Less than a year after creating its first incubator, the City of East Lansing will open its second, this one designed to foster student entrepreneurs.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Hatch will be located in the 1,500-square-foot gallery at Scene Metrospace, an alternative art and performance venue at 110 Charles St. It'll be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, the days Scene Metrospace is closed.

When it opens, The Hatch will be similar to the Technology Innovation Center in that it offers low-cost workspace for entrepreneurs to do business. But The Hatch is solely for students.

"One of the major benefits of this space is that chance encounter with somebody that's doing something similar to what you're doing or ancillary to what you're doing, and the two organizations move forward together or start doing business together," Smith said.

Read the entire article here.

National Coney Island Opens First Capital Region Coney Station in East Lansing

Roseville-based National Coney Island has opened a new National Coney Station at 565 E. Grand River Ave. in East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

For advertising junior Eric Dornbrook, Thursday’s grand opening of the National Coney Station, 565 E. Grand River Ave., would be the beginning of a love–hate relationship, he said.

“It’s really a disaster, is what it is,” Eric Dornbrook said. “We live two blocks away, and now we’re never leaving.”

For Michiganians like Dornbrook, National Coney Island was a staple of childhood and its arrival in East Lansing means Hani sandwiches and Coney dogs will now be an option for students.

National Coney Island was first founded in Roseville, Mich., in 1965, and since then, the restaurant has popped up in more than 20 locations, most of them in metro Detroit. East Lansing’s National Coney Station is the first of its kind in the Lansing area.

Read the entire article here.

Williamston Parents Find Success With Car-Based Educational CD Business

Through their company, Rock N Go, Williamston moms Cheryl Miller and Heather Lewis have created a fun, effective way to continue their children’s education while shuttling them around town.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Williamston moms came up with their own alternative, starting Rock N Go LLC three years ago. Together, they have produced a line of educational music CDs that encompass such musical genres as punk, blues and reggae that come with workbooks and materials for kids to enjoy in the car.

The CD packages have covered counting, addition, subtraction, drawing and watercolor painting. And they've caught the attention of the National Parenting Center in Woodland Hills, Calif., which has given the "So Skip Counting" CD and workbook kit its 2009 Seal of Approval.

Miller and Lewis recently received Henderson, Nev.-based Creative Child magazine's Seal of Excellence award for 2009.

Read the entire article here.

Growing Mooville Creamery Adds to Capital Region Food and Fun

Mooville Creamery in Nashville, about 35 miles southwest of Lansing, is a growing producer of  milk, ice cream and butter. In addition to being a popular destination spot, the facility also stocks the Foods for Living store in East Lansing and has a spot at the Lansing City Market.

According to excerpts from the article: 

Passersby who had seen the operation taking shape at the corner of M-66 and M-79 took notice. By the time Mooville opened in 2005, area residents were ready.

"You have no clue what you've gotten yourself into until you do something," Louisa Westendorp said. "The first day we opened we didn't want to look at how long the line was."

Four years later, Mooville is a destination stop for families and a growing operation with 15 employees, not including the Westendorps.

The company started out bottling 800 gallons of milk each week, and it now bottles up to 5,000 gallons, Doug Westendorp said.

The dairy facility sells 32 flavors of ice cream, distributes its products to 45 stores and offers 32 flavors of ice cream.

The Meijer Inc. store in Charlotte plans to start selling Mooville milk by the end of October.

Read the entire article here.

GiftZip.com New Chief Operating Officer is MSU Grad Recruited From Boston

The electronic gift card company GiftZip.com, has added another employee, this time encouraging a Michigan State University (MSU) graduate to leave his job in Boston and move back to the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

 John Gwillim, a 2007 MSU finance alum, will be joining the team in the coming weeks as Chief Operations Officer and will oversee the day-to-day activities of the company. He is tasked with ensuring the long-term profitability of the GiftZip.com concept.

Gwillim joins GiftZip.com from Boston-based BNY ConvergEx, a successful 2006 Bank of New York spin-off providing software solutions for hedge fund trading markets. 

“The ability to come back to Michigan and still work in a fast-moving, high-tech environment was something I really wanted to pursue," Gwillim said. "I’m from Michigan, I’ve known [founder] Sam [Hogg] a long time, and GiftZip.com is a very attractive opportunity poised for growth. The more I looked at it, the more it made sense to me.” 

Hogg credits a changing East Lansing entrepreneurial culture for attracting talent like Gwillim away from Boston, often thought of as second only to Silicon Valley as a hub for technology start-ups. Hogg said being able to showcase things like the Technology Innovation Center (where GiftZip.com is located) as well as other MSU-based start-ups will keep more ofthe talent in the area and even get some to return, like Gwillim. 

Read the entire article here.

Popular Ramon’s Restaurant Reopens on Lansing's Westside

Ramon’s, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Lansing, reopened in a new Westside Lansing location on Saginaw Street earlier this year and has seen a steady increase in business.

According to excerpts from the article:

The restaurant, which opened in January, has seen a steady increase in costumers since its new start. Many of them were patrons of the restaurant’s previous incarnations on Washington and East Grand River avenues.

For store owner Rieger (ne Fuentes), the new location on Saginaw Street is a slow return from the renowned Lansing restaurant her parents owned. But for Rieger and her husband, Steven, the return of her family-oriented Tex-Mex restaurant is a dream come true. "I daydreamed about when I would get my own restaurant," she said. "I think I’m a dreamer. I mean, how else do you get what you want than to have dreams?”

Out at 806 1/2 Saginaw St., Lansing, the primarily take-out restaurant, which shares a building with Pope´s House of Style, is a sight for sore eyes for former patrons who remember the original, pure Tex-Mex flavor of her parents´ cooking.

The small, white sign out on the parkway that reads "Ramon´s. We´re back," points to the rich and often painful history of the restaurant and the family behind it.

Read the entire article here.

Four Friends Open Collegeville Textbook Co. In East Lansing

Former bookstore managers Tom Muth, Aaron Larvick , Adam Seyburn and Ken Kerbyson recently opened Collegeville Textbook Co. in East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

"We'd go out to the bar and have beers and talk about how great it'd be to have our own store," said Tom Muth, a 2003 graduate of Michigan State University.

Muth, Aaron Larvick , Adam Seyburn and Ken Kerbyson opened Collegeville Textbook last month at 321 E. Grand River Ave . — within a block of Ned's Bookstore and Student Book Store.

The owners all have been managers at bookstores in East Lansing and other college towns. They have combined experience of more than 70 years in the industry.

Read the entire article here.

Bosnian Refugees Build the American Dream With Downtown Lansing Restaurant

The family behind the popular Restaurant Mediteran got its start in Bosnia, a country they escaped 20 years ago for better opportunities, first in Croatia, then Germany and finally the United States.

According to excerpts from the article:

While the disquietude of their experiences in Bosnia has been eased with a new life and successful restaurant — downtown Lansing’s Restaurant Mediteran — the memories of a devastated homeland linger.

“The war was very rough, very violent,” Igor Jurkoic said. “We didn’t have any other choice but to leave the country and look for safer place. We could either leave or stick around and die.” He returned to Bosnia on vacation a month ago. "It's changed now, but since we have found our peace here, it would be ridiculous for us to go back, since we got bad memories and everything else."

Jurkovic's family came to the United States in 1999, unable to speak English. But within six years, they manifested the American dream into Restaurant Mediteran. 

Read the entire article here.

Michigan Brewing Co. Says Downtown Lansing Location Will Be Open Soon

Webberville-based Michigan Brewing Co. parlayed the Downtown opening date for its Downtown Lansing location for about a year, but the brewer is now preparing to open by the end of 2009.

According to excerpts from the article:

Officials say plans are back on track and the 50-employee site on Washington Square near Kalamazoo Street should open within a few weeks.

"It's been proposed for a while but the economy made it difficult to get the necessary financing," said Ernie St. Pierre, general manager for the company's expansion. "We finally worked it out this spring."

The cost of the project has not been disclosed by the privately owned company.

Michigan Brewing Co., based in Webberville, opened in 1995. Its 76,000-square-foot headquarters includes a brewery, pub, tasting room, distillery, winery and store that caters to home brewers and wine makers. Its beer is distributed in 10 states and Sweden.

Read the entire article here.

Growing MC Squared Technology Group Hires Four in 2009, Needs More

MC Squared Technology Group is planning to add a few more staff members to the four employees already hired in 2009.

According to excerpts from the article:

Leaders at the technology company said that can-do attitude is what has fueled MC Squared's transformation from a one-man operation to a growing business that has hired four people so far this year and looks to add as many more before the year is out.

President and CEO Scott McAuley started the company in 2002 as an after-hours computer repair service. MC Squared has since developed into a web design and development firm as well as remaining an on-call problem solver.

"What we tell people is you do what you do best, and we'll take care of the technology," McAuley said.

Read the entire article here.

New Management Brings Updates and Renovations to Courthouse Pub in Mason

Courthouse Pub's Joe Ghinelli has brought a new look to a popular Mason pub, which he and a partner recently renovated.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Courthouse Pub in downtown Mason has just about everything any blue-collared, red-blooded happy-hour reveler could want. After a couple of decades in the restaurant business, general manager and co-owner Joe Ghinelli knows a thing or two about what brings customers through the door, and more important, what keeps them coming back.

Like his good-looking bar keeps behind the hexagonal bar, Ghinelli is ever ready to chat about anything from sports to politics, or, if you're feeling uninspired, just the weather. Makes no difference, as long as you enjoyed your visit, a gregarious Ghinelli said.

"The best part is the people," said Ghinelli, along time Mason resident in his own right. "Growing up here and seeing all the people I haven’t seen in a long time is by far the best part."

Read the entire article here.

Two-Story Troppo Restaurant Expansion Underway in Downtown Lansing

Downtown Lansing fine dining restaurant, Troppo, is in the middle of an expansion that will move the restaurant across the street and include expanded eating space, a kitchen and banquet facilities.

According to excerpts from the article:

An expanded dining room, patio, bar, kitchen and banquet facilities are all part of Troppo's plans for its new restaurant, now under construction.

Troppo, located in 5,000 square feet at Washington Square and Michigan Avenue, plans to double its space in a new two-story building across Michigan Avenue.

Tavern on the Square, also located on Washington Square, is expected to move into Troppo's current location. The new Troppo will be located adjacent to the One Michigan Avenue office building.

Read the entire article here.

Slate Magazine Reporters Pay Visit to Lansing's Technology Empowerment Center

Slate magazine reporters recently spent some time at the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC) in Lansing, a redeveloped facility designed to encourage technological development in the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

The site is the future home of leading technology, education and MSU affiliated organizations. The choice of the location was to profile stimulus funding around Michigan. The Lansing office space is providing training through the Capital Area Michigan Works WIA Youth program funding through stimulus dollars.  

“The focus of the program is to give kids in the Lansing area an opportunity to get real work experience and to pick up skills that make them more employable” said Ryan Vartoogian, President of Spartan Internet Consulting.

Situated in the former Holmes Street School in Lansing, ITEC focuses on imparting technological skills to children and adults by conducting activities related to the fields of science, mathematics and engineering.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Grad Opens i3 Strategies to Connect Businesses with Web and Social Networks

Michigan State University (MSU) graduate Julielyn Gibbons recently opened her Internet communication company, i3 Strategies in the East Lansing Technology and Innovation Center.

According to excerpts from the article:

Located in the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center, 325 E. Grand River Ave., Gibbons helps clients strategize how to use the Internet and social networking Web sites to their benefit. Some of her clientele include nonprofit organizations and campaigning politicians.

“I help them do whatever they’re trying to do, whether it’s market a new program, or if it’s just general outreach to the public,” she said. “I put together a strategy that all kind of work together through the greater goal.”

Gibbons works closely with Cliff Lampe, an MSU professor of telecommunication, information studies and media, whose research deals with social networking. Lampe said he sees social media expanding to more companies and organizations in the future.

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneurs Start Up Collegeville Textbook Co. on Grand River in East Lansing

Collegeville Textbook Co. is the newest textbook store to find a home on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article: 

Collegeville Textbook Co. started as a pipe dream, brewed among friends at a bar.

But after years of climbing the management ladder at bookstores owned by big companies, four local textbook industry veterans set out on their own.

"We'd go out to the bar and have beers and talk about how great it'd be to have our own store," said Tom Muth, a 2003 graduate of Michigan State University.

Muth, Aaron Larvick, Adam Seyburn and Ken Kerbyson opened Collegeville Textbook last month at 321 E. Grand River Ave. — within a block of Ned's Bookstore and Student Book Store.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Professor Says Challenged Economy Offers Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

The economic challenges facing the nation also offer economic opportunity to entrepreneurs willing to face them, says Michigan State University (MSU) Accounting Professor Sanjay Gupta.

According to excerpts from the article:

“There always are challenges in setting up a new business, whether in good times or bad,” said Gupta, chairperson of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems in the Eli Broad College of Business.

“However, there are some unique challenges budding entrepreneurs face, especially during the current economic downturn,” he said.

New entrepreneurs willing to take a chance may be catalysts in turning around the entire economy, but they need to adhere to sound business principles to succeed.

Read the entire article here.

TreeHouse Toys Reopening in Okemos Location as Brilliant Sky Toys & Books

Local toy store, TreeHouse Toys & Books, is closing its Eastwood Towne Center location, but will reopen in Okemos in mid-September as Brilliant Sky Toys & Books.

According to excerpts from the article:

Brilliant Sky is the name of similar toy stores owners Brent and Sonia Taylor began franchising in 2007.

"This is a very positive thing for us and we believe that this is going to allow us to bring our customers an even better store at an even better location," he said. "We really think this is the key to really thrive and grow, and strengthen the Brilliant Sky brand, as well."

The Central Park Place store also comes with 5,000 square feet of basement storage. TreeHouse's Eastwood site was 4,700 square feet, he said.

Read the entire article here.

Wild Wing Café Plans Move to Okemos Location, Expects to Hire 120

Wild Wing Café, a Southern-style family restaurant, is scheduled to open in the former Bennigan’s building in Okemos.

According to excerpts from the article:

The new management plans to hire about 120 workers. More than 20 existing Bennigan's employees are expected to transfer to the new restaurant.

LaBelle Management of Mount Pleasant kept the Bennigan's restaurants open in Michigan despite widespread closings nationwide after the chain filed for bankruptcy last summer.

But the bankruptcy hurt the restaurant's image and sales declined at some Michigan locations, said Joe Koz, general manager for the new Wild Wing Cafe.

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneurial Pro Basketballer Runs Lansing Apparel Co., Helps Local Youth

NBA player and Lansing native Desmond Ferguson recently returned to Lansing to help young ballers and check on his business, Moneyball Sportswear, a Lansing-based athletic apparel company that sells basketball jerseys to high school teams.

According to excerpts from the article:

Headquartered in Lansing, Ferguson's company started out selling uniforms to public high school basketball teams in Detroit.

"I wanted something to fall back on after basketball and I've never wanted to work for anybody but me," said Ferguson, Moneyball's president.

Moneyball has expanded nationwide. Locally, it supplies uniforms to Lansing's three high schools—Everett, Eastern and Sexton.

Everett, Ferguson's alma mater, was the first school in Lansing he approached.

Read the entire article here.

Former MSU Basketball Star Plans to Open Restaurant in East Lansing

Mateen Cleaves, the former Michigan State University (MSU) basketball star, is planning to open a restaurant in East Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

The 2000 men’s basketball national champion plays for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA’s D-League, yet he often makes East Lansing trips to participate in basketball camps, visit the Spartans men’s basketball team and meet with head coach Tom Izzo.

But Cleaves is trying to make his stay in East Lansing more permanent, as he plans to open a restaurant in East Lansing with the help of former Michigan Wolverine and NBA star Chris Webber, who owns and operates Center Court with C-Webb in Sacramento, Calif.

“We could have done it in Detroit or in Flint, but I wanted my first one in East Lansing, where it all started for me,” Cleaves said. “I’m excited about putting it in East Lansing. I told Chris before he comes he better put in a reservation.”

Read the entire article here.

Two MSU Alumni Create a Hit Website With "TextsFromLastNight"

Two Michigan State University (MSU) alumni, Benjamin Bator and Lauren Leto, have started what is now a popular funny text message site, www.TextsFromLastNight.com.

According to excerpts from the article:

TextsFromLastNight.com allows users to post outrageous text messages and is quickly becoming a bookmark in browsers everywhere.

“Well, it was kind of the result of a few really good weekends,” Bator said. “Lauren and I would always forward each text . . . when we’d wake up in the morning. We’d send it to all of our friends, kind of like ‘guess who sent this last night?’”

TFLN began as a blog with posts from the founders and their friends, and after a redesign in April 2009, the site’s popularity grew exponentially, Bator said.

Read the entire article here.

6,600 Sq Ft East Lansing Tech Incubator Beats Capacity Goal

The Technology Innovation Center (TIC) in East Lansing has exceeded its goal of achieving 50 percent capacity by the end of year one and has instead hit 80 percent capacity.

According to excerpts from the article:

In East Lansing, there has been a significant transformation in the last eight months.

The Technology Innovation Center (or TIC), part of the Lansing Regional SmartZone, a partnership among the City of Lansing, City of East Lansing, MSU and others, to promote growth of technology-based businesses in the Lansing region, the TIC grew out of the need for a creative space for business start-ups.

The 6,600-square-foot center is located above Barnes and Noble on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing and is a creative, flexible, contemporary space, developed as a business accelerator, complete with access to resources like accounting and legal services offered by LEAP and SBTDC.

Read the entire article here

India Palace Reopens in East Lansing With Improved Menu and Atmosphere

After several months of renovations, the India Palace in East Lansing has reopened, offering customers an improved atmosphere and menu.

According to excerpts from the article:

Chef and owner Paddy Rawal reopened India Palace a few months ago, transforming the eatery from a run-of-the mill curry and rice factory to a gourmet eatery. With more than two decades of experience in restaurants around the world, from cooking in five star kitchens beside master chefs to managing the operations of food distributors, Rawal brings a wealth ofknow-how to his new baby on Albert Avenue in downtown East Lansing. 

"I came (from India) to Michigan eight years ago with $100—with a dream—to this great country,” he said. “It is a land of opportunity, and I am an example."

With a partner, Rawal first opened an Indian restaurant in Farmington Hills, but the lure of a new adventure and opportunity drew him to East Lansing earlier this year. After signing on the dotted line (currently as a management company, until the liquor license is transferred), Rawal worked around the clock for two days before opening for his first day of business.

Rawal said he had a plan for his new restaurant from day one. His culinary philosophy involves employing a variety of spices and aromatics to enrich and enhance the flavors on his menu. He embraces the complexity of Indian cuisine, and he is quick to admonish typecast Indian cooking that over emphasizes heat in place of diversity.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing-Based IDV Solutions Forms Australian Visualization Partnership

IDV Solutions, a Lansing-based software company, has formed a partnership with Melbourne, Australia-based Geomatic Technologies to provide interactive IT solutions for commercial and government markets.

According to excerpts from the article:

Geomatic Technologies will deliver powerful geospatial solutions built on IDV’s Visual Fusion platform to industries where timely, informed decision-making is critical. This alliance will aid Australasian customers in gaining new insights into critical business data, enable faster access to information, and improve collaboration and decision-making. The Visual Fusion platform has been generating considerable interest worldwide withhigh profile deployments at the United Nations and at several US Government Departments. The new GT channel partnership will enable IDV to make Visual Fusion available to Australasian customers for the first time through a leading local solution provider.

“We are excited to begin working with IDV Solutions software to deliver powerful, innovative visualization solutions for our clients using the Visual Fusion platform” said Ross Caldow, Business Development Manager at Geomatic Technologies. “Visual Fusion is a clear leaderin providing rich toolsets for immersive mapping user experiences on top of the Microsoft Single View Platform. We find that our clients have an increasing need for rapid visualization of their critical business data via map interfaces and Visual Fusion provides this to them in a cost-effective and highly engaging manner.”

“IDV is very pleased to partner with Geomatic Technologies,” said Scott Parker, Vice President of Sales and Channels for IDV Solutions. “Geomatic Technologies is a leader in working with geospatial and mobile technologies. Australia is a geospatial savvy market and we believe the combination of our companies will serve customers well.”

Read the entire article here.

Consultant Earns Recognition with Greater Lansing Emerging Entrepreneur Award

Jeff Dettloff, owner of Lansing-based Providence Consulting, was recognized at the Entrepreneurial Awards of Greater Lansing as one of the area’s emerging entrepreneurs.

According to excerpts from the article:

In 2004, after 14 years of working for another company, Dettloff decided the time was right to forge a new path and go into business for himself as president and chief problem-solver of Providence Consulting Company.

Dettloff’s plan was simply stated: Helping people, solving problems and making technology easier! When Dettloff incorporated his new business, there were no customers, no products or services, no assets and only a few relationships that had potential.

Now, five years later, Providence is strong and growing stronger. The company employs five IT professionals who share Dettloff’s vision; a recent independent customer satisfaction survey confirmed that Providence achieved superior scores in every measured category, including overall performance.

Read the entire article here.

Izzo’s Delicious Pizza Changing the Face of REO Town Neighborhood

Izzo’s has always been a popular bar for REO Town barflies, but in February, Geno Abbey added pizza to the establishment, joining the pizzeria to Izzo’s Pub.

According to excerpts from the article:

“Since we opened in February, we’ve been bringing a whole new entourage of people to the neighborhood,” said Geno Abbey, owner of Izzo’s Pizza, which is attached to Izzo’s Pub, owned and operated by Mary Izzo. “Politicians, business people, young families are all coming down here for lunch, after work, you name it. This area had a bad reputation, but the response my pizza has been getting and the amount of people it’s bringing in is blowing my mind.”

And theirs too, apparently. Case in point: Abbey walks by a table of newbies who are learning the art of folding their pizza (more on that shortly). When he asks how they like it, they both respond, “Amazing.” “I’d be happy with ‘good,’” he grins, walking away from the table. “But I’ll take ‘amazing.’”

Abbey grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in a restaurant family; his father-in-law taught him the art of making pizza from scratch. When he moved to Lansing in 1994 to go to Cooley Law School, he thought the restaurant life was behind him.

“But then I got a job after Cooley where I was doing a lot of traveling, and by 2001 I was getting really burned out,” he said. “I wanted to get back into the business, so I came to Vic Izzo [operator of Izzo’s Pub], and he let me start bartending for him. He became like a godfather to me.And I always had a passion for pizza; I never lost that. I’d still make hand-rolled pizza every Friday at home.”

Read the entire article here

Former Owner of Sahara’s Middle Eastern Restaurant Opens Farm Market in Lansing

Hasan and Ahmad Elbast, former owners of Sahara’s Middle Eastern restaurant have opened Tom’s Greenland Farm Market on South Cedar Street, selling organic produce for the same price as non-organic. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Hasan opened Tom’s Greenland Farm Market, where Ahmad manages, on South Cedar Street at the location that previously housed Van Houghton’s, a longtime market in its own right.

Like its predecessor, Tom's also dabbles in more than fruits and vegetables. A few groceries and some bulk food items have places in the establishment, and after next week, when flats of pansies, potted gardenias and dozens of other spring flowers arrive, the front of the store will transform the concrete of the city into an oasis of bucolic serenity.

Ahmad Elbast buys his wares wholesale up to three times a week from Detroit’s Eastern Market. 

Read the entire article here.

Four Lansing-Based Companies Named Among Michigan's 50 Companies to Watch

A&M Aquatics, Capital Steel & Wire Inc., Dewpoint Inc. and Niowave Inc. in Lansing have all been added to this year’s “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch” list.

According to excerpts from the article:

The companies were recognized for their economic impact as “second-stage” ventures—established and growing firms that are privately owned and employ between six and 99 employees with annual revenue between $750,000 and $50 million. They will be honored at the Michigan Celebrates Small Business event at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Leaders Surprised and Grateful for Recent $10 Million Anonymous Donation

Michigan State University is one of 13 colleges and universities across the country to
receive an anonymous gift over the past few weeks. MSU has received $10 million.

According to excerpts from the article:

Both MSU President Lou Anna Simon and Bob Groves, the vice president for university advancement, said they have no idea where the money came from.

They also said they're more than glad to have it.

"Ten million dollars is an extraordinary gift any way you slice it," Groves said.
And it's not an isolated occurrence. Rather, it's part of what is now a $68.5 million mystery, large anonymous donations given over the past several weeks to at least 13 colleges and universities around the country, all of them led by women.

In each instance, most of the money was earmarked for scholarships and financial aid, particularly for women and minorities.

In MSU's case, that's $7 million. The remaining $3 million can be used for whatever university officials deem appropriate.

Read the entire article here.

Chrome Cat Party in Old Town Celebrates City Pulse 'Top of the Town' Winners

The Lansing City Pulse hosted their Top of the Town Awards Ceremony at the Chrome Cat in Old Town, to celebrate business owners and professionals who were voted “the best” in the poll.

According to excerpts from the article:

Twenty-five awards were given out Monday out of winners in 103 categories.

The festivities began at 5 p.m. with an hour of mingling and eating. Winners sat, chatted and imbibed in the Chrome Cat’s cavernous downstairs bar, as Michigan State University jazz students played speedy music.

Local best-of-the-besters, like Golden Harvest (Best Breakfast, Best Bang for your Buck, Best Wait staff) purveyor Zane Vicknair, rubbed elbows with the likes of Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann (Best Environmentalist) and Bob Fish, a co-founder of Biggby Coffee (Best Cup of Coffee).

“I think it’s because I work at a place that’s a really awesome establishment,” said Ashley “at Stober’s” Jasman on her win for Best Bartender. “I get along well with the customers, and I serve good drinks. I’m a good communicator.”

Read the entire article here.

$1.6 Million Construction of New Lansing City Market to Commence Soon

The construction of the new Lansing City Market could start as soon as this month, which would herald an October or November opening. 

According to excerpts from the article:

John Decker lost his management job, then discovered Lansing City Market would lease him space to sell his trees.

Now, Decker's ready for the next phase: a new $1.6 million market on the banks of the Grand River with longer hours of operation.

Construction could start this month, once a bid is awarded. Prep work will escalate until a shell of the new facility with about 13,000 square feet of space rises, likely in July.

"All of us are pushing for the groundbreaking," Decker said.

Those qualified to receive a construction bid include local firms Christman Co., Granger Construction Co. and Wieland-Davco Co.

Read the entire article here.

After Renovation, Saper Galleries Continues to be Artistic Stronghold

Saper Galleries has been in East Lansing since 1978 and, after a recent renovation, continues to have a strong presence in the Capital region art community.

According to excerpts from the article:

Walking into Saper Galleries, at 433 Albert Ave. in East Lansing, you realize that all your preconceived notions about art galleries are untrue.

Roy Saper first opened the gallery in 1978 in his home on Bailey Street in East Lansing and saw customers by appointment only. The gallery was the culmination of Saper’s dream to “buy artwork and share it with people.” In 1985, things started to get too big for his home, so he looked for a new location.

“We looked all over the area: Lansing, East Lansing, Okemos,” he said. “Then we found this junky, vacant lot. So I designed our building, and we moved in May of 1986, a week after my son was born.”

Read the entire article here.

Old Town Bar Changes Hands, Steps Up With Quality Food

Not only is the new Chrome Cat bar on Grand River in Old Town smoke-free, it also has delicious food—two qualities introduced when the bar changed hands.

According to excerpts from the article:

Ease into a seat at The Chrome Cat on Grand River Avenue in Old Town and let the weight of the world slide off your shoulders as you sip cherry wheat ale from a Mt. Pleasant brewery and spoon comforting mouthfuls of homemade chicken noodle soup or six-bean chipotle chili.

Atmosphere and good food (on a limited menu) is what it's all about at The Chrome Cat, which is technically a management group and not the actual bar and restaurant, because the liquor license has not yet transferred from Rendezvous on the Grand, the building's former tenet.

In its spacious confines, which used to house a bank, under a barrel-shaped ceiling, everyone is welcome. The misconception is that The Chrome Cat is a lesbian bar, co-owner Michelle Taylor said, but, along with co-owner Lisa Whitehead, she wants her business to welcome everyone: gay, straight, transgender—heck, even men.

"This was meant to be safe for everybody," she said. "We don’t want to be pegged as one thing or another, but we definitely want to make it a safe place for women to go, kick back, relax, come and hang out."

Read the entire article here.

New Two Story Nightclub Opens on Lansing's Southside

The Venue is open Thursday through Sunday nights, offering two floors of entertainment on Lansing's Southside.

According to excerpts from the article:

Chances are if you live on the south side of Lansing or near the Holt border, you've seen spotlights in the sky, but couldn't pinpoint where they were coming from.

Head over to The Venue on South Cedar near the Interstate 96 interchange and you'll find out why.

The Venue, open since late February, is an unassuming hotspot in a mini-mall. With a Lowe's across the street and a hotel next door, one would be surprised to walk in and discover a two-story nightclub with four bars.

Read the entire article here.

Andy’s Deli Heating Up Holt

Andy Garza recently opened his Mexican restaurant, Andy’s Mexican & American Deli, inside Brower Foods & Hardware store in Holt.

According to excerpts from the article:

Andy Garza runs what amounts to a one man operation at his little Holt deli, but it wasn't supposed to be that way. When he originally planned to open Andy's Mexican & American Deli, located inside the Brower Foods & Hardware store on Aurelius Road, Garza's stepfather, Alfredo Moncada, was slated to work as his delivery man. But a car accident cut Moncada's life short last November, and Garza, taking care of his grieving mother, had to put his venture on the shelf for a few months. 

"I had a sign that said 'coming soon' forever," Garza said. “People kept asking me 'When are you going to open, when are you going to open?' so it was difficult."

But open he did, in mid-December, and although it's usually just Garza working the kitchen and counter (with the exception of his daughter, who helps out after school), the venture would be nowhere without the cooperation of his landlord, Tom Brower, a second generation owner of the old-fashioned hardware and grocery store who Garza calls a mentor.

Read the entire article here.

Eastside Lansing Bookstore Embraces the Cause of Community-Building

Eastside Lansing bookstore Everybody Reads is more than a bookstore, it’s a community center. And it recently upped its community presence by creating a portal with next door neighbor, the Gone Wired Cafe.

According to excerpts from the article:

Everybody Reads’ spirit of inclusiveness goes way further than the first word in the store’s name. If you take just a few minutes to explore the store, you’d find bookshelves stocked with some of the most contemporary works on social justice, history, literature, religion, cooking and on and on.

Naomi Klein’s newest book shares a table with Forbes magazine; a few rows away is a shelf displaying cutting-edge vegan and vegetarian cookbooks; and up the aisle a blue yard sign with the word “Peace” in big, bold letters. The clerks are friendly and helpful. Patrons curl up inchairs throughout the store browsing through books. For owner and founder Scott Harris, this is just the way it was meant to be. The store opened in May 2006, and was born out of a dream Harris shared with his now deceased wife — a family tragedy that gave Harris a reason to open the store.

Harris was formerly employed in the car insurance industry, but he gave it up because he couldn’t justify the way insurance was being priced. So he took a job as a substitute teacher, which in a sense gave him opportunity to see the light about opening the bookstore. On the second day of a two-day assignment as a sub, one of his student’s parents passed away. Harris recommended he go to Ele’s Place, which offers support to those in mourning.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing-Area Auto Dealers Investing, Still Optimistic About Future

Jeff Crippen, president of Crippen Buick Pontiac GMC Mazda Volvo in Lansing, is celebrating the car dealership’s 35th anniversary with an expansion. Crippen and other Lansing dealers say they’re hopeful for the future.

According to excerpts from the article:

Crippen says, “We’ve just celebrated our 35th anniversary. We recently completed a major renovation of our facility and we continue to do well. Business in 2008 was comparable to 2007 and the news is positive, especially here in Lansing.”

Sherrill Freeborough, president of Saturn of Grand Ledge and Okemos, echoes that optimism. She says, “Being in Lansing is a healthy thing for a car dealership. Our reputation is good and that’s reflected in our continued growth. Yes, we have seen a slight decline in our sales business, but in the long run, Saturn is going to be fine. We’re continuing to do business as always and we’re happy to be in Lansing.”

Read the entire article here.

World-Traveling Artist and Fashion Designer Owner Opens Store in Okemos

Michael Doherty, 29, just opened a physical space for his fashion label, DEFYE, in the Meridian Mall in Okemos.

According to excerpts from the article:

DEFYE LLC - borne of the phrase "define your own existence"—sells hats, shirts and pants that all bear Doherty's original art.

While the retail landscape has been littered with casualties and industry sales in general are sluggish in an economy in recession, Doherty's fashion foray, DEFYE, is getting larger. The company has eight employees who share the administrative ends of the job, one store attendant who works part time and two marketing and promotions staffers.

"It's been almost perfect timing. My clothing goes against the flow of negativity and frustration that seems so common right now," said Doherty.

"It defies that sense of hopelessness and fear."

Read the entire article here.

MSU Students Trade Spring Break for Job Shadow Opportunity

Several hundred Michigan State University (MSU) students will spend their spring break job-shadowing businesses across the area as part of a March 10 event hosted by MSU’s Career Services Network.

According to excerpts from the article:

The effort is part of a larger program officials hope will connect area college students with entertainment and job prospects, helping to keep them in the area after graduation.

About 65 businesses had signed up for the event as of Monday, said Paul Jaques, internship developer for MSU's Career Services Network. That's a few more than last year, but Jaques figures there would be even more businesses if it weren't for the national recession.

Businesses have until Wednesday to sign up for this year's job shadow day.

"I want it to be a lot bigger," Jaques said. "I guarantee that I'm going to have more students than businesses."

Read the entire article here.

Web Ascender Recognized as Microsoft Certified Gold Partner

Okemos-based Web Ascender was recently recognized as one of the smallest certified Microsoft Certified Gold Partners in the country.

According to excerpts from the article.

The Microsoft Gold Certification is the highest level of corporate certification offered by Microsoft. The Microsoft certification process is a point-based system based on individual employee skills as well as customer references for real-world projects.

Individually, the Web Ascender team has worked hard to obtain personal Microsoft certifications, which are critical to becoming eligible for competencies and obtaining the corporate Microsoft Gold Partnership. As a team, the Web Ascender staff has completed over 23 exams and received six premier Microsoft certifications. 

After meeting the individual requirements, Web Ascender proved their real world experience in delivering solutions using these technologies. Over the course of the last six months, nine project case studies were created with over 20 customer references.

Read theentire article here.

Flavors Fill Authentic Asian Food Market in East Lansing

East Lansing’s Oriental Mart, well-known for its abundant supply of Southeast Asian foods, spices and delicacies, is one of many Asian-based market thriving in the Capital region.

According to excerpts from the article:

"It smells very, very good to some people," says store manager Christopher Lien. "But for most people, they can’t stand it."

A freezer case full of durians sits near the end of the produce aisle at Oriental Mart, on the north side of Grand River Avenue between Hagadorn and Park Lake roads, and is easily the largest pan-Asian store in the area. Want basil seed and honey soda? Shrimp snack chips? Chicken, cow or pigfeet? All are found at the eclectic grocery store, which opened nearly 30 years ago before Lien's parents took over in 1984.

Lien’s Chinese family migrated to the United States via Vietnam, and he says the store provides just about any native Asian—whether they are from the Philippines, India or anywhere between—with the sights, smells and tastes of home. In addition to groceries, Oriental Mart stocks kitchen tools and merchandise, such as tea cups and table sets, decorative statues and even a small outdoor grill that looks like two gas stove burners mounted to a chrome cafeteria cart.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Examines Options for New Abbot Street Retail District

The City of East Lansing is discussing the idea of creating a retail district on Abbot Road.

According to excerpts from the article:

The East Lansing City Council discussed traffic patterns on the two roads and use permits for one of the corners of the intersection, which is currently occupied by a vacant lot. The other three corners already are occupied by retailers.

“This is the third or fourth time council’s looked at it, and we’re looking at what use could do to traffic patterns in the area,” Mayor Vic Loomis said.

No developers are looking into the space in question, officials have said, but the city would like to rezone the area in an effort to make it more appealing to potential developers.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Scene Metrospace Director Creating Sense of Place

Tim Lane, the director of the artistic space called Scene Metrospace in downtown East Lansing, has created a hot spot for area artists and musicians.

 According to excerpts from the article:

Scene Metrospace, the walls of which are frequently covered with a diverse variety of art, was born out of funds allocated to East Lansing in the wake of its Cool City designation in 2004. It began life inside an old bank building on Abbot Road that was scheduled for demolition. In the fall of 2007, it moved to its present 1,500-square-foot location on Charles Street, just down from the Secretary of State’s office.

Lane, who graduated from Michigan State University in 1989 with a degree in English education and taught for three years, returned to the Lansing area for graduate school and settled in the area.

When his wife got a job teaching in the Lansing School District, Tim became a stay-at-home dad for about ten years, during which time he did freelance artwork, wrote art columns for “What's On” in the Lansing State Journal, and became increasingly involved in the local art scene. He now works for the City of East Lansing, and having been active in Scene’s renovation following its move, eagerly accepted the director job when it became available in September 2008.

Read the entire article here.

ETM Enterprises Announces Expansion, Job Creation

Grand Ledge-based ETM Enterprises is expanding into the windmill manufacturing business, a move that’s expected to create up to 50 new jobs.

According to excerpts from the article:

A local company is expanding and bringing new jobs to mid-Michigan.

Those new jobs also mean a new way of doing business for ETM Enterprises in Grand Ledge.

Gaby Fleischman shows us how green technology is helping to lead the way.

ETM Enterprises has been manufacturing truck parts for almost 30 years.

Now they are shifting gears and making parts for windmills.

Pam Kelly, ETM Enterprises: "Being able to get intothis wind energy field is a major step forward for us. It's a field totally separate from what we normally do."

Read the entire article here.

MSU Product Center Turning Out Entrepreneurs

Michigan State University’s (MSU) Product Center is helping entrepreneurs from around the state commercialize on their spicy ideas.

According to excerpts from the article:

On an August day in Western Michigan, new business owner Brian Ellis chopped his colorful Michigan produce, mixed his special blends of savory Indian spices and bottled his favorite chutneys. Two days later, his first orders came in, and he had a growing operation.

Although many share Ellis’ dream of becoming his own boss, the speed of his start-up was made possible not just by hard work, but also by the help he found through a nearby incubator kitchen and the expertise at Michigan State University’s Product Center.

Changes in our economy have spurred many in Michigan to look elsewhere for income, and just about anyone in the state would agree that help diversifying our economy couldn’t come quickly enough. With so many out of work across all kinds of industries, many would be entrepreneurs are looking to what they know and what they have to start their own businesses.

We have seemingly every kind of food expertise right here, either at the state of Michigan or at Michigan State University, yet uncovering these resources can be a big undertaking for people up to their elbows in pasta dough.

Read the entire article here.

Old Town Gallery Show Supports Autistic Artists

The Absolute Gallery in Old Town Lansing is highlighting the work of a several local, autistic artists including the work of Scott Fargus, an autistic Okemos High School graduate.

According to excerpts from the article:

The recent Okemos High School graduate’s paintings are bright and bold and often labeled by others as “abstract” or resembling the Cubist style of Pablo Picasso.

“His artwork is affirmation that we all come with gifts,” says his mother, Esther Onaga. Fargus and his mother celebrated those gifts at the opening reception of Absolute Gallery’s “Autism: Communication through Art,” an exhibit featuring colored pencil, crayon, acrylic and watercolor workby eight students with autism from throughout Michigan.

“Autism is such a popular buzz word lately, and it’s my hopes to show people, through art, what it’s all about,” said Kathy Holcomb, owner of Absolute Gallery.

Read the entire article here.

Middle Eastern Restaurant Opens in Delta Township

Lebanon natives Adel and Nadia Badawi opened their Middle Eastern restaurant, The Embassy Grill, in Delta Township a month ago.

According to excerpts from the article:

The Embassy serves authentic Middle Eastern dishes: kibbee (baked and raw), falafel, schwarma, humus, pickled turnips, tobouli—and the list goes on.

"This is our food," Adel Badawi says. "This is the food they serve in Lebanon."

Tucked in the corner of a strip of storefronts along Saginaw Highway, just west of the Lansing Mall, The Embassy keeps a low profile. But despite only a few weeks in business, manager Liz Badawi says the restaurant has served a steady stream of hungry diners. Keeping some of the signature items that made a name for the space’s previous tenant, Carmello’s Italiano Ristorante, helps account for The Embassy's early bustle.

Read the entire article here.

Eaton Rapids Artist Lands Contract with Hobby Lobby Stores

Eaton Rapids Artist Deb Malewski recently signed two contracts with Hobby Lobby, an agreement that will place her designs on Hobby Lobby shelves.

According to excerpts from the article:

Some of the items include a serving tray, cookie jar, platter, paper gift bags, mugs, and plates.

The subject matter is primarily "cute cupcakes." The products, called "gift ware" and typically made of ceramic, have been both Halloween- and Christmas-themed. Turn one of these items over and you will find the name "Deb Malewski" stamped somewhere on the bottom.

Malewski got her designs on the Hobby Lobby products after being contacted by an "agent"—a company called Next Day Art.

"They came to me," she said. "They saw my Web site."

Read the entire article here.

Pearl's Downtown Lansing Eatery Changes Owners

Pearl’s Café and Coffee Shop, a small eatery that feeds many of Downtown’s workforce, has changed owners.

According to excerpts from the article:

Pearl's Café and Coffee Shop is the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall, tucked away on the first floor of the Boji Tower in downtown Lansing. Most folks who happen by Pearl's have business inside the tower's Senate Hearing Room or with a lawyer on the 21st floor. But those lucky explorers who do find Wendy Burns' mini-eatery, just past the elevators, well, they're in for a treat.

Talk to many restaurateurs and chances are you’ll hear how a sluggish economy is taking a toll on business. But in Burns' case, the tanking economy actually helped push her into the business last June. She worked for the previous owner, and when opportunity rang, she stepped up to the counter. 

Read the entire article here.

U.S. Microsoft Tech Centers Grab Onto Lansing-based IDV Technology

Eight U.S. Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) have chosen to partner with Lansing-based IDV Solutions in order to use its Visual Fusion platform.

According to excerpts from the article:

Visual Fusion is a platform that integrates siloed enterprise information with Web services into a portal, leveraging Microsoft® Office SharePoint Server, to provide immediate insight and understanding of an organization’s information.

Visual Fusion is an important part of the MTCs’ SharePoint and data visualization engagements, providing MTC alliance partners the capability to demonstrate applications in production conditions. This helps MTC customers visualize how to leverage their existing data investments, take advantage of Web 2.0, and integrate their disparate information into a single web-based application.

“IDV’s Visual Fusion is an exciting addition to the Microsoft Technology Centers,” said Chuck McCann, director of the MTC Alliance Member Program. “Demonstrating how Visual Fusion leverages SharePoint to rapidly build custom visual composite applications to immediately answer pressing business questions drives home one of the many value points of SharePoint in the enterprise.”

Read the entire article here.

National Runners Seek Out Well-known Okemos Prostheticist

Okemos-based prostheticist Jan Stokosa has earned a reputation for great work that attracts runners from all over the world.

According to excerpts from the article:

Amy Dodson, 46, a fourth-grade teacher who lives in Sahuarita, Ariz., outside of Tucson, has spent much of her winter break in Okemos, working with certified prostheticist Jan Stokosa who built and fit her new, high-tech leg.

[Stokosa's] state-of-the-art lab is known among athletes with disabilities.

The cost of a high-performance leg is $12,000 to $20,000 beyond the cost of a typical leg.

The leg is so precisely fitted that a quarter-turn of a screw in the shaft between foot and leg socket can make a difference in fit.

"A lot of my colleagues will say, 'This is ridiculous, to be so fine in tuning,' " Stokosa said. "But it is like a race car."

Stokosa accompanied Dodson to Toronto in May 2006 when she ran a 50-kilometer (about 31 miles) ultramarathon.

Despite a stop every 5 kilometers to check the device, she finished the race in four hours, 58 minutes.

"I wound up winning my age group, which was so cool!" she said.

Read the entire article here.

New Columbia Street Mall Opens in Downtown District of Mason

Small business owner Arwyn Carr and his father, Arwyn, Sr., recently opened the Columbia Street Mall in Mason.

According to excerpts from the article:

Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, said, "With the recent addition of both the Maple Street and Columbia Street malls, there is an even stronger connection between the two major sections of the downtown development district."

The Columbia Street Mall, which opened shortly after Thanksgiving, fills the spot where the Trellis, a gift shop, was located before it moved to Maple Street.

Fourteen dealers sell their wares at the new mall, with rental fees supporting the business.

Read the entire article here.

Fat Matt’s Pizza Celebrates Successful Year in East Lansing Location

East Lansing-based gourmet pizza shop, Fat Matt’s Pizza, is coming up on its one-year anniversary.

According to excerpts from the article:

“People just love the name—I’ve got people here everyday taking pictures of our sign,” says owner/operator “Fat” Matt Eyer. “I named it because it’s easy to remember, and because it’s just me. I’m a big eater, and I make pizzas the way I would want someone to make them for me.”

Eyer says his customized style is simple: You put a thin layer of sauce on the crust, you load it up with cheese until you can’t see the sauce anymore, you load up the first topping until you can’t see the cheese anymore, and continue through all the toppings this way. It makes for quite a pile in the end.

“I just hate it when I get a pizza and it’s got, like, two pieces of pepperoni on each slice, as if someone sat there and counted it out,” he says. “This is a style I came up with all on my own, and it seems to be working just fine so far.”

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Bakery Benefits From Gluten-Free Food Trend

East Lansing-based bakery, A Piece O’Cake, has seen business grow based on consumer demand for gluten free products.

According to excerpts from the article:

A growing number of businesses are selling products aimed at celiacs—people who have difficulty digesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

One of them is A Piece O'Cake bakery in East Lansing, where gluten-free hamburger and hot dog buns, pizza dough and cookies are made as well as award-winning designer wedding cakes.

Kelly Kobus, owner of A Piece O'Cake, said gluten-free businesses are booming as the public becomes more aware of celiac disease andthe dietary needs of its patients.

Read the entire article here.

Gillespie Touts Strength of Downtown Lansing Housing Market

Lansing Developer Pat Gillespie was recognized by weekly Lansing publication, the City Pulse, for making multiple significant development contributions to the city.

According to excerpts from the Q&A with Gillespie:

The market has shifted. We have projects around the state, and our strongest market is downtown Lansing. Strongest absorption, strongest rent per square foot. We have a waiting list at Prudden Place [condos], which we’re expanding by 72 units, and the Stadium District will be full by spring. If you had told me that 10 years ago, I’d have told you you’re nuts.

Read the entire article here.

Female Entrepreneurs Thrive in Old Town Lansing

Old Town Lansing has experienced a resurgence within the last few years, due in large part to the many female business owners occupying its storefronts.

According to excerpts from the article:

Nearly half of the businesses in the heart of the commercial district—from boutique shops to creative firms to restaurants—are owned by women, according to a recent count by the Old Town Commercial Association. That far outpaces the state.

There were 217,673 women-owned businesses in Michigan in 2005, the most recent figures available from the U.S. Small Business Administration. That's 26 percent of the 831,823 businesses in the state.

SBA counts any business owned at least 51 percent by women as women-owned.

Another 81,773, or about 10 percent, of businesses in Michigan are owned equally by men and women.

Read the entire article here.

Southside Breakfast Spot Changes Hands, Opens as Grumpy's Diner

Former Southside Lansing breakfast spot, the Korner Kitchen, has changed hands and is now known as Grumpy’s Diner.

According to excerpts from the article:

“You can usually hear my big voice laughing and carrying on no matter where you’re sitting,” says Grumpy’s Diner owner/operator Bill Walker. “Temperamental cooks went out with the horse and buggy. We try and make things fun around here.”

Last month Walker took over what used to be the Korner Kitchen, on the corner of Pennsylvania and Mt. Hope avenues in Lansing, re-opening the recently closed restaurant after a massive internal renovation.

“After I took over from the last guy, we closed it down and did a complete top-to-bottom overhaul,” Walker says. “These are the same four walls, but that’s about it. We pulled out everything, we cleaned everything, and we started over completely from scratch inside. This is a completely new restaurant with a completely new mindset.”

Read the entire article here.

Female Entrepreneurs Get Boost From Bounce House Venture

Mothers and entrepreneurs, Kelly Ramirez and Joan Blackmer, are enjoying the entertainment and economic kickback from their new 10,000 square foot bounce arena.

According to excerpts from the article:

Ramirez, 40, a former interior designer, and Blackmer, 37, a former social worker, have created the Jumpin' Jax Bounce Arena, a 10,000-square-foot play area filled with colorful inflatable structures that kids can slide down, bounce on or climb over.

Five days a week, hundreds of kids whoop it up, giving their parents a chance to read magazines, make a Wi-Fi connection, or even join in the fun on one of five giant inflatables. The cost is $8 per child for unlimited fun.

Lisa Aylward, a DeWitt mother of three high-energy boys, 7, 5, 3, said her sons "love it. They would go every day, if I would let them. . . . I take them there every four to six weeks to burn off their extra energy."

Read the entire article here.

Local Bio-Sciences Company Builds on MBI International Collaboration

DuPont Applied BioSciences is collaborating with MBI International to commercialization a new bio-based product line.

According to excerpts from the article:

MBI International is a leader in bridging the gap between research and commercialization through collaborative de-risking of bio-based technologies. MBI's unique "Collaborative De-Risking"process systematically addresses technological uncertainties, which impede new technologies from getting to market.

"We are very excited that DuPont Applied BioSciences has chosen MBI as a partner to help de-risk this important new product line," stated Dr. Bobby Bringi, recently appointed President of MBI International. "We had the opportunity to work with DuPont Applied BioSciences on an initial phase of this project, and are proud that they have chosen to extend this partnership with MBI."

MBI International fits a unique niche in the marketplace. Virtually all bio-based technology developments that come from the lab need to go through a process development and scale-up stage to determine commercial viability. Once the uncertainties or risks associated with early technological developments are mitigated via de-risking, a company like DuPont Applied BioSciences is better positioned to make product-related investments.

Read the entire article here.

Capitol Bancorp Consolidation Brings 35 Jobs to Capital Region

Capitol Bancorp Ltd. will bring 35 jobs to the Capital region when it consolidates its operations center in Tempe, Ariz.

According to excerpts from the article:

The bank development company said today another 65 corporate jobs also are expected to be added over the next two years. Officials declined to say how much the jobs pay.

"Bringing all operations together into one center will obviously have many advantages, which include consistency in operations and economies of scale," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Reid said.

The Tempe operations center had been the hub for processing transactions at Capitol's western U.S. banks, spokeswoman Angela Kimber said. Technology improvements allow that work to be done in Lansing despite a time zone difference.

Read the entire article here

Troppo Restaurant Relocation Loan Gets City Council Approval

The Lansing City Council has agreed to give Troppo owner, Kris Elliott, a $440,000 loan to move Troppo across Michigan Avenue.

According to excerpts from the article:

"Council is approving the concept of the project," Councilwoman Carol Wood said.

Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar said there seemed to be very little risk in giving the green light to the plan, which includes a $440,000 loan from the Lansing Economic Development Corp.

According to the resolution, the loan, already approved by the LEDC board, will finance "furniture, fixtures and equipment."

Elliott wants to move the upscale Troppo from the southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue and Washington Square intersection to the northeast corner.

Read the entire article here.

$440,000 Troppo Restaurant Loan Awaits Council Approval

The Lansing City Council is considering a proposal to loan Troppo restaurant owner Kris Elliott $440,000 to move his Downtown Lansing restaurant across the street. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Elliott wants to move the upscale restaurant at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Washington Square from the southeast corner of the intersection to the northeast corner. It would be located in a new building attached to the One Michigan Avenue office building.

Elliott led a $10 million buyout of the office building,which includes a National City bank branch and local offices for IBM, earlier this year.

Officials say the project, which would top $1 million, is a way to reshape downtown's main intersection of Michigan and Washington Square—and provide more fuel for a developing entertainment district.

Read the entire article here.

Smart Office Systems Calls Westside Lansing Home to New HQ

Smart Office Systems owner, Paul Covert, is putting $800,000 into the former ASC Inc. warehouse on Lansing’s Westside, giving his expanding furniture business room to grow.

According to excerpts from the article:

The founder of Lansing-based Smart Office Systems sold his company to publicly traded Open Plan Systems for $6 million in 1996.

But that sale left Covert, a native of Eagle, with a question:

Now what?

Covert came up with the answer over the ensuing months, as he watched the office furniture company he founded founder under new ownership. Covert returned to the helm of the business he started and helped re-establish Smart Office Systems as an independent company.

Read the entire article here.

Two Men and a Truck Growing Strong, Going Green

The Capital region-based success story, Two Men and a Truck, tops national rankings for customer service, underscoring a philosophy they say is the driving force behind their international expansion.

According to excerpts from the article:

The company has more than 1,300 trucks on the road. There are some 200 business sites in the United States, five in Canada and two in Ireland.

When adding a new franchise the company looks for a location with a strong working class to provide employees and a mobile middle class that can afford and needs the service.

Brig is concentrating on growing the company's interstate moving segment. Many franchises are up and running in the West; now it's time to move east.

"Despite the tight market conditions, we have not lost any franchises and the company continues to grow," Brig says.

As a cost control measure and because the family believes in conservation, the company is going green. A solar/wind turbine system sits alongside its headquarters, primarily as backup power.

"This system can keep us up and running, but it also makes us aware of how much power is used by such things as coffee makers and computers left on," Brig says. "We have saved five times what the windmill generates just by consciously turning off lights and putting systems on timers. Everyone is getting with the program."

Read the entire article here.


30th Anniversary of E.L. Saper Galleries Showcases Dr. Seuss

Downtown East Lansing’s Saper Galleries is celebrating 30 years of business with its “The Art of Dr. Seuss” exhibit.

According to excerpts from the article:

For his 30th anniversary show, Roy Saper wanted big fun. He also wanted to showcase an artist everybody knows and nobody knows. The result is “The Art of Dr. Seuss,” a touring exhibit authorized by the estate of Dr.Seuss that kicked off Sunday in East Lansing. Of course, the show salutes Theodore Geisel, AKA Dr. Seuss, as the subversive fantasist who liberated children’s books from the conformist blahs of Dick and Jane. But the exhibit also goes outside the margins to put Geisel into context as an advertising man, editorial cartoonist, magazine artist, wartime propagandist and moonlighting painter.

Read the entire article here.

Local Distillers Hope to Take Michigan Liquor Worldwide

A new state law freeing up restrictions on the distilling of liquor could fuel the growth of Michigan’s liquor-producing industry.

According to excerpts from the article:

So far, there are 11 distilleries in Michigan, including Michigan Brewing Co. in Webberville, Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. Johns and a research distillery run by Michigan State University.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States expects U.S. revenue to spirits makers to reach $19 billion this year. Revenue rose 5.6 percent to $18.2 billion in 2007, the Washington-based group reported earlier this year.

Michigan residents spend $800 million to $850 million a year on spirits, said Kris Berglund, a professor at MSU who teaches how-to distilling workshops and runs his research lab out of Michigan Brewing Co.

"We produce less than 1/20 of a percent of that," he said.

Read the entire article here

Grand Ledge-based Sinto Corp Growing Amid Tough Economy

Grand Ledge-based Roberts Sinto Corp. is using diversification to surge ahead of the other manufacturers that have taken a hit due to the economy.

According to excerpts from the article:

Roberts Sinto Corp., which makes foundry equipment and specialized automotive conveyer belt systems, has added a third line of business at its 50-worker plant and has diversified. The company now makes complex surface treatment machines that can smooth and finish metal, plastic and other parts, and will bring more jobs to the Grand Ledge factory.

That diversification is making Roberts Sinto, which is owned by Japan's Sintokogio, less dependent on the automotive industry for its income while opening up opportunities to find customers in other lines of business. And that kind of broadening, an area manufacturing expert said, can mean the difference between growth and decline for a company.

In mid-Michigan, companies looking for ways to branch out beyond automaking and related industries are often the companies that are expanding, said Bob Sherer, director of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council.

Read the entire article here.

Capital City Collectibles Moves to New Location

Eastside Lansing's Capital City Collectibles is cleaning house and moving from its 2016 E. Michigan Ave. to a new venue a few doors down, making way for a new business.

According to excerpts from the article:

After five years at 2016 E. Michigan Ave., Capital City Collectibles is moving a few blocks away to a smaller location because the building whose first floor he leases has been sold. So, between now and the end of the month, Capital City will be having a massive sale to get rid of inventory as well as an auction on Oct. 30. At his new location, at 1723 E. Michigan, the plan is to have a more focused, accessible stock.

On Friday, Jahner was sorting through his comics for duplicates, sending redundancies to the dollar-bin, even if they are worth up to $20. The majority of the store’s non-comic stock is discounted up to 50 percent. The price of comic and cartoon art hanging on the walls can be negotiated with Jahner, who has made a further offer to literacy institutions.

“If any schools or libraries are interested, I’d be very willing to donate books to them for free,” he said. However, a simple move down the street isn’t going to get in the way of some of the store’s dedicated customers. “I’ve been a consistent customer for decades, and CCC has been a supporter of our collection,” said Randall Scott, who works at the Michigan State University library and was browsing the store recently. “It’s the closest thing we’ve got to a good old-fashioned comic book store in the area. When they move, I’ll still be coming in, makes no difference to me the location.”

Read the entire article here.

10,000 Sq Ft Small Planet Resurrection Primed for Food and Music Lovers

After an eight-year hiatus, East Lansing’s popular Small Planet music venue and restaurant is primed to pack crowds into its 10,000 square foot building.

According to excerpts from the article:

In the Chandler Road Plaza, just north of Lake Lansing, a new Planet has formed. No, it’s not the same as it was, but it has been cleverly designed to blend the old with the new, simultaneously wooing its old audience allowing the new generation make it their own.

Original owner Vaughn Schneider is still the brains of the operation, although he has turned day-to-day duties over to daughter Natalie and positioned himself as general manager. But you can still tell this place is his baby.

“It’s still in its infancy,” says Schneider with pride, looking around the 10,000-square-foot space with mostly bare walls. "We’re still refining the look of the place, but it’s all coming together. Everyone’s getting a kick out of watching everything slowly taking shape. Even I don’t know what it’s going to look like when it’s all done.”

Read the entire article here.

Biggby Coffee Adds Proprietary Marshmallow Sauce to Product Line

The ever growing East Lansing-based coffee franchise, Biggy, has added yet another product to its menu—B Mellow. B Mellow is a marshmallow sauce used in signature coffee drinks.

According to excerpts from the article:

Biggby Coffee developed its unique marshmallow sauce over a four-month period of trial and error with the help of Ohio-based Phillips Syrup, a leading manufacturer of specialty syrups and flavorings. Biggby Coffee is the first retailer to introduce the marshmallow to the gourmet coffee segment.

"Our goal was to introduce something that is totally innovative, unique, against the grain and tastes amazing," said Michael McFall, president of Biggby Coffee. "The result is a new flavor sauce that's fun, delicious and takes us all back to our childhood when marshmallows held a prominent place in the food pyramid."

The B Mellow marshmallow sauce is a sweet, opaque syrup that looks and tastes just like a melted marshmallow, only it pours like a chocolate or caramel sauce typically would. The result is a unique and tasty solution to the sticky mess of real melted marshmallows, and a boon for the coffee retailer and marshmallow-loving consumers around the country.

Read the entire article here.

Nomination Deadline Nears For Michigan Small Business Awards

Nov. 14 marks the deadline to nominate businesses that are fueling the state’s economy for a 2009 Michigan Celebrates Small Business award.

According to excerpts from the article:

On April 30, 2009 the Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards will put the spotlight on companies that fuel Michigan's economy. If you know a growing company that's fueling Michigan's economy nominate them today for a Michigan Celebrates Small Business award. Nominations are due November 14th with applications due December 5th.

Small business is the lifeblood of Michigan's economy. Not since the early years of the era of mass production has that statement been more true. The five founding organizations that support and celebrate entrepreneurism in Michigan have banded together to create Michigan Celebrates Small Business, the state's premier awards ceremony for entrepreneurs and small business leaders.

Read the entire article here.

Local Distributor Canada Dry Celebrates 75 Years in Michigan

The Shanker family is celebrating its 75th year as a family-owned and operated Capital region business. The Shanker’s own Canada Dry Bottling Co., a beverage distribution company.

According to excerpts from the article:

As the distributor marks its 75th year in business, taking a chance on new products and a new business model have it poised for further growth.

The family owned business, on Pierson Highway in Delta Township, now distributes 40 brands of nonalcoholic beverages to 1,000 stores in nine Michigan counties, including Ingham, Clinton and Eaton, Shanker said.

Canada Dry Bottling salesmen regularly make in- person rounds and visit each customer, showing them new products and taking orders. Trucks deliver products to stores several times a week.

Read the entire article here.

48 Years Later, Business Continues to Grow for DeLuca’s

Family-owned and craved by its many fans, DeLuca’s Restaurant is one of Lansing’s most well-known pizza shops and Italian restaurants. Employing 52 people, the crew is working hard to keep up with the vegetarian "craze" while celebrating a successful 48 years in business.

According to excerpts from the article:

DeLuca’s, arguably Lansing’s most famous pizzeria, if not restaurant in general, began life as the Willow Bar in 1960. Started by Pat DeLuca and his brother, it became Pat’s sons’ (Chuck, Tom and John) first and last jobs in their early teens, even though their father tried to dissuade them from coming to work there, let alone buying the restaurant (in 1981).

“He wanted us to go to school and get a good education, but I was stupid,” Chuck said with a dry chuckle. “I went to school, but my heart just wasn’t in school, so I started working here and then all of us did.”

“It just kind of happened,” John broke in. “It just kind of consumed us.”

The DeLucas know better than to mess with success, which is why “the house special has been here from day one."

Read the entire article here.

Troppo Restaurant Has Designs on $1 Million Move and Expansion

Plans are emerging to move one of Downtown Lansing’s most popular upscale restaurants, Troppo, across the street. Owner Kris Elliott plans to move Troppo into a new building on the sunnier southeast corner of Michigan Avenue.

According to excerpts from the article:

"We need critical mass, and I think we're getting it," said Elliott, who moved Troppo from downtown East Lansing in 2004. "We're very excited for all the things going on down here."

The new restaurant would be more than twice the size of the current space.

Elliott would move his Tavern on the Square into the current Troppo space, which is about 5,300 square feet. That would leave Tavern's 3,100-square-foot spot at 206 S. Washington Square open for a new venue.

The new Troppo would be built on what's now a concrete pedestrian plaza adjacent to the One Michigan Avenue office building. Elliott led a $10 million deal to buy the building in March.

Read the entire article here.

Okemos-Based Shrimp Experts Tackles Challenges of Seafood Farming

Russ Allen, a former Galapagos Island tour boat operator, is using cutting edge seafood technology to expand his Okemos-based Seafood Systems business.

According to excerpts from the article:

“There’s probably three or four other people in the United States working on this technology, maybe the same amount other places around the world,” Allen says. “It really is the cutting edge of technology worldwide.”

While he maintains a market as part of his operations known as Seafood Systems, the scope of Allen’s vision is bigger than shrimp sales.

“Our primary focus here is not to produce shrimp for a market,” Allen says. “It’s to develop the technology to do this.”

Allen has been farming shrimp for more than 30 years all over the world, selling his product to importers and distributors. He began farming shrimp after tiring of operating a Galapagos Islands tour boat. He helped pioneer the practice of outdoor shrimp farming, first in Ecuador, then in Central America.

Read the entire article here.

New Fashion Store Opens Doors in Downtown Williamston

Dave and Teri Okowit recently opened a new clothing store called ‘N’Vious Fashions, in Williamston.

According to excerpts from the article:

Owners Dave and Teri Okowit recently opened 'N'Vious Fashions at 125 E. Grand River Ave., seeking to re-create the look and feel of an Art Deco 1920's women's fashion store with a strong emphasis on personal service.

The Okowits, who met at a Williamston Red Cedar Jubilee classic car show and married at the show a year later, have utilized resources found at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores in both Williamston and Mason to create a shop that reflects elegance and creativity.

"We very much wanted to have a 'green' angle with the store," said Dave Okowit. "Seventy percent of our fixtures and lighting came from the Re-Store, and about 85 percent of the store total has recycled materials.

Read the entire article here.

Fast-Growing Dewpoint Demonstrates Strength of Area IT

With doubling revenue and expanding market share, the Lansing-based information technology consulting company Dewpoint is exactly the type of business the Capital region is trying to attract and retain.

According to excerpts from the article:

The information technology consultant's revenue has more than doubled in the past four years. Its payroll has climbed to nearly 70. And its chief executive, Andrew Kotarba, has been named to a key advisory position at computer server maker Sun Microsystems Inc.

That kind of growth—steady revenue and a few jobs at a time—is exactly the kind of company Doug Stites says Lansing needs to revamp the ailing local economy, which has seen its jobless rate rise.

"They're growing. They're running counter to the cycle that is adversely affecting others in the more traditional sectors," said Stites, president and chief executive officer of work force development agency Capital Area Michigan Works.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing-based Music Production Company Releases New Michigan Anthem

Harvest Music + Sound Design, a Lansing-based production company, recently created an anthem highlighting the state.

According to excerpts from the article:

"Speak to Me (My Michigan)" was released today by Harvest Music + Sound Design, a 26-year old music production agency, which lists as clients Meijer, Chevrolet, Ford Motor Co., Herman Miller, among others.

The sweet, melodic and uplifting song was written and is performed by award-winning and versatile lyricist Jules Anna Jones, a member of the Harvest Creative Team, who says the words to the four minute anthem came t oher easily.

"'Speak to Me (My Michigan)' is really a love song," says Jones. "I was inspired by the incredibly beautiful place I call home, and the remarkable people who live here."

Harvest President and Executive Creative Director, Steve Curran, says the company produced the piece as a gift to those who live and work in Michigan.

The single is available now at julesannajones.com and can be downloaded for 99 cents, or the CD single can be purchased for $2.99 at the same site.

Read the entire article here.

Video Games Help Marshall Music in Lansing Celebrate 60 Years

Lansing-based Marshall Music Co. is celebrating its 60th anniversary, with a boost from the growing musical video game industry.

According to excerpts from the article:

You might want to think twice before pulling the plug on your child's favorite video game.

It could be training a budding musician — and helping a mainstay Lansing-based music company in the process.

Music-oriented video games such as "Guitar Hero" are driving young people to more than just the local gaming store. They also are piquing players' interests in the actual instruments they toy with — virtually or otherwise.

As the company enters its seventh decade, Lansing-based Marshall Music Co. is benefiting in what some might say is an unexpected way from the gaming onslaught.

Read the entire article here.

Plans for Ottawa Block Development in Downtown Lansing Taking Shape

Local green developer, Gene Townsend, is enhancing the Downtown Lansing Capitol area with his planned 76-condo development.

According to excerpts from the article:

Townsend is predicting 76 condominiums, 24 more than originally announced. The first 12 will go up mid block along Ottawa. We could start to see dirt being moved toward the end of the year, Townsend estimated.

Bob Trezise, head of Lansing’s Economic Development Corp., said that the Ottawa Block has spurred a the new Neighborhood Enterprise Zone and that the city hopes homeowners, or prospective homeowners, will take advantage of the tax credits to fix up or build new homes.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Sushi Spot Adds European Pastry Fusion

SanSu, East Lansing’s hottest sushi spot, is moving outside the roll with its unique development of an Asian/European inspired sweet shop, Chapelure.

According to excerpts from the article:

“Fusion pastry shops like this are common in bigger cities like L.A. and New York,” says owner/manager Soogee Ahn. “Asian pastry chefs will go study in Europe, then bring back recipes and styles to their home countries or will move to the United States, where they combine all these items on a single menu. So you’ll get German, French and Japanese delicacies all in one shop. There’s nothing else like this in the area.”

Chapelure (French for “bread crumbs”) was planned for nearly two years before its soft opening at the beginning of summer. Ahn returned to East Lansing with her husband, Tae, to oversee the transition of SanSu’s old digs into her dream job.

Read the entire article here.

Jazz Party Spices Up Dinner and Dancing in Old Town

Jazz parties accompanied by Louisana-themed cuisine have livened up the dinner and dancing scene in Old Town.

According to excerpts from the article:

While serious music fans have no qualms about cramming into East Lansing’s Gumbo & Jazz to hear Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson and his quartet up close and personal when it hosts the occasional free weekend jam session, the cozy Creole restaurant doesn’t offer a lot of room for dancing.

On Saturday, the world-renowned saxophonist and Professor of Jazz at Michigan State University wants the audience to take advantage of the extra floor space at Perspective 2 Studio in Old Town, when he and his wife, Desi, will host “A Taste of Louisiana,” the first of what they hope to be a regular series of “jazz parties.”

Guests will have the chance to load up on plenty of calories before hitting the dance floor to burn them off. While Baton Rouge native Desi Anderson has been serving her Louisiana cuisine daily at Gumbo & Jazz since she and Wes opened the place last fall, she plans to stretch out way past the usual menu of red beans and rice and jambalaya. “My wife is presenting one of the best facsimiles of Louisiana food you will see,” Anderson said.

Read the entire article here.

Draft House Pub in Dewitt Wins Waste Reduction Award

The Draft House Neighborhood Pub near DeWitt recently won a 2008 prize from the Waste Reduction Awards Program for making environmentally friendly changes in its business practices.

According to excerpts from the article:

Among its eco-friendly efforts has been the reduction in its water consumption by over half and becoming styrofoam free.

The Tri-County Waste Reduction Awards Program is a regional program that recognizes local businesses and other groups for their outstanding efforts to reduce waste, recycle and conserve natural resources.

The Draft House, which in 2007 became only the third restaurant in Michigan to achieve green status, has invested some money to run greener. The restaurant spent $10,000 on new equipment to reduce water usage by54 percent.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing Biotech Firm Neogen Reaches $100 Million in Revenue

Eastside Lansing biotech firm, Neogen Corp., recently reported more than $100 million in revenue, setting a new record for the food safety company.

According to excerpts from the article:

"We all do take pride in reaching the achievement of the $100 million level," said James Herbert, Neogen's chairman and chief executive officer. "But I can assure you we won't spend much time basking in that."

Neogen reported Tuesday it earned $12.1 million, or 81 cents per diluted share, for the fiscal year that ended May 31. That was up nearly 33 percent from a year earlier, when Neogen earned $9.13 million, or 64 cents per diluted share.

Revenue grew nearly 19 percent to $102.42 million. That was up from $86.14 million the previous fiscal year.

Read the entire article here.

Axiom Group of Lansing Adding 80 Percent More Work, 15 New Jobs

Lansing-based IT company, the Axiom Group, recently landed a contract with law firms representing Hanover Insurance, a win that will boost the company’s work volume and add up to 15 jobs.

According to excerpts from the article:

Because of that contract, Axiom expects to boost its work volume by 80 percent from last year. It also should lead to the creation of up to 15 jobs, bringing the company's work force to 50 by year's end.

Most of those jobs will be entry-level, but there will be a need for some computer specialists, too. In the Lansing area, computer professionals such as network analysts and computer support specialists make a median wage of less than $60,000, according to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth's Labor Market Information.

Axiom is an example of what some say will lead future economic growth in the Lansing area and statewide—technolog-related companies growing gradually, a few jobs at a time.

Read the entire article here.

Women Breaking Glass Ceiling In Lansing-area Auto Dealerships

Area women are breaking the auto industry’s glass ceiling, using their skills and business sense to successfully own and operate car dealerships.

According to excerpts from the article:

Sherrill Freeborough was a young widow with a small child who needed to find a way to support her family.

Now, she's the owner of Saturn of Grand Ledge and Saturn of Okemos.

Lisa Schuesler heard a rattle in her car and wanted to learn more about the auto service business. She now works in it, managing the service department at Freeborough's Okemos store.

Deanna Criscuolo started selling cars at her father's dealership, Spartan Toyota in Lansing, when she was in college. She's now on track to someday take over the dealership with her brother, Derek.

These women, and others climbing the leadership ladder at area car dealerships, didn't set out to break through the glass ceiling in an industry that's predominantly male.

Read the entire article here.

Five Lansing Area Companies Competing for $30 Million in Tech Funding

Five Lansing area tech companies are competing with 95 other Michigan firms for $30 million in state-funded 21st Century Jobs Fund low-interest loans.

According to excerpts from the article:

"It's an excellent program and a great opportunity for these companies, some of whom just need that extra couple of million dollars to put into play some things to create a great amount of jobs," said Denyse Ferguson, vice president for new business development at Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc., which helped two companies looking to locate in the area apply for funding.

The competition is different from earlier rounds of the Jobs Fund, which has doled out $126.3 million to 78 companies, universities and other organizations doing work in the fields of alternative energy, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and homeland security and defense.

This time, the competition is only open to for-profit companies in late stages of bringing products to market, MEDC spokeswoman Bridget Beckman said.

"It's focused on companies that are set up to create jobs in the near-term," Beckman said.

Read the entire article here.

$4.1 Million Green Rehab Planned for Old Town School

Old Town business owners are ecstatic about the $4.1million rehabilitation of the old Cedar Street School in Old Town. 

According to excerpts from the article:

The $4.1 million project is expected to be Old Town's first environmentally friendly "green" building. Its owners are aiming for a gold ratingthe second highest levelfrom the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

"It's just a fit for both of us," said Carla Guggenheim, who's partnering with Gail Shafer to open the Old Town Medical Arts building.

The women had been looking for an historic building to rehab and both said it was important to make the building healthy and environmentally friendly.

The project is slated to include a geothermal heating and cooling system that involves drilling wells and tapping the water supply to heat and cool. There also will be low- maintenance landscaping and a plant-covered roof.

Read the entire article here.

New Businesses Opening in Downtown East Lansing

By August, three new businesses including two restaurants and a gym, will open in East Lansing along Michigan Avenue.

According to excerpts from the article:

Tim Dempsey, community development administrator for East Lansing said businesses need to be careful when deciding to come to East Lansing. Food service especially is very competitive, and he said he recommends businesses closely study the market and really ask themselves what is going to differentiate their business from others.

“A lot of times, people assume that just because they’re across the street from a huge university, they can open their doors and be successful,” he said. “I would argue it’s just the opposite—there’s so many choices (here), especially in food.”

Read the entire article here.

New York Style-Deli Lands at Lansing Shopping Center

Amici’s, a New York-style deli, just moved into the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing. The Clippert Street deli offers lots of different subs, many of which include a New York favorite—pastrami.

According to excerpts from the article:

Amici’s, Italian for friends, breaks off from the rest of the hoagie and hero-serving establishments in the area with a combination of quality food and unique menu items one might have thought would necessitate a trip to Detroit or New York to get in the past.

Manager Mike Tiffany says the aim of Amici’s is to provide the area with an authentic East Coast deli alternative to the cookie-cutter sandwich shops that populate this part of the country.

“We want to be as close to a New York-style deli as possible,” Tiffany says.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing-based Writer Launches New Music Zine

Lansing-based blogger and music buff, Rich Tupica, has launched his Mid-Michigan music zine, "Turn it Down."

According to excerpts from the article:

Tupica says the zine will focus on Lansing artistic events and people. Unlike other publications in town, Tupica says “Turn it Down” will exclusively cover “creative people and their endeavors.”

To gather material for the first issue, Tupica has been checking out a live show or a band practice almost every night. He says artists lug heavy equipment to shows and rehearse several times a week while working day jobs and going to school. “They need support, otherwise they will likely stop playing music,” he says.

Tupica says these artists and what they bring to the city should not be ignored.

“These guys are not making a lot of money, they don’t have record deals,” he says. “They do it because they love it, and that makes for a lot of good stories.”

Read the entire article here.

Frandor Coin Shop Looking at 3,100 Sq. Ft. Expansion

Liberty Coin Services is expanding its current 2,000 square foot space by adding a second, 3,100 square foot location in Frandor Shopping Center.

According to excerpts from the article:

Increasing gold and silver values coupled with the popularity of quarters commemorating individual states have boosted business so much that owner Patrick Heller estimates customer traffic has at least tripled in the past five years.

Liberty Coin's original locationabout 2,000 square feet in the basement of the Bank of America building at 300 Frandor Ave.will remain a hub for browsing display cases and shopping for collectibles.

The new 3,100-square-foot store, which opened this month across the parking lot at 300 N. Clippert St. Suite 15B, provides office space where employees evaluate merchandise customers hope to sell.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing's Neogen Targets $200 Million in Revenue, Doubles Research

Lansing-based Neogen Corporation is doubling its research efforts in order to meet its plan to bring revenues to $200 million.

According to excerpts from the article:

The company said it will hire an additional 23 personnel by early fall.

"As we now plan to double our revenues toward $200 million, the need to also double our research and development efforts became obvious," said James Herbert, Neogen (nasdaq: NEOG - news - people )'s chairman and chief executive, in a statement. "With the rapid expansion of our revenue and worldwide presence has come a tremendous number of new opportunities for product development."

The company needs the larger staff to develop those opportunities, he said. Most additions will be in the company's Lansing, Mich., laboratories, though it will support new products for the Lexington, Ky.-based animal safety division, as well as research teams in Randolph, Wis., and Ayr, Scotland.

Read the entire article here.

Healthy Coffee Shop Percolating in Lansing Mall

LaPriest Blocker's new store, The Healthy Coffee Stop, is giving Lansing Mall visitors a healthy option for a mid-day shopping pick-me-up.

According to excerpts from the article:

Blocker said it's the first business of its kind in Michigan.

Blocker says his potential customers are legion. "There are 1.4 billion cups of coffee poured on a daily basis," he said. "More people drink coffee than anything else except water."

If coffee's not your thing, The Healthy Coffee Stop also stocks tea, mocha and hot chocolate.

Blocker, who has owned the business since January, swears you can get the boost you need without the jitters, stomach upset or acid reflux that often accompany regular coffee. Even more important, you can reap some health benefits.

Read the entire article here.

CADL Increasing Resources for Local Businesses

The Capital Area District Library (CADL) is upping its efforts to help local business owners create business plans and market their products by offering classes and other resources to new business owners.

According to excerpts from the article:

Lansing even has a business librarian who does one-on-one counseling and assists in the development of business plans entrepreneurs can take to the bank.

With that in mind, meet Marsha Madle, president of Madle Marketing, LLC, who served on the CADL advisory committee, is a founding memberof the Meridian Area Business Association (MABA), chairperson of the Meridian Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Meridian Township Entrepreneurial Asset Movement (MTEAM), the latter of which counts as its primary accomplishment the formation of the Meridian Assets Resource Center(MARC).

Madle’s groups make use of the Hope Borbas Okemos library extensively and she said that head librarian Joan Smith is “very proactive with business.” The Okemos Library is purchasing books to enhance their business collection for small business, and Madle said, “That has been driven because ofthe MARC, but Joan has always been very business oriented long before the MARC.”

Read the entire article here.

Lansing Hip-Hop Team Partners with Eastside Business

Lansing hip-hop team, Urban Diversity, and Eastside Everybody Reads bookstore owner, Scott Harris, have developed a “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours” relationship to help grow each other’s businesses and improve Lansing’s Eastside.

According to excerpts from the article:

After discussing a consignment deal, Urban Diversity’s Kemal Mailey asked Harris about the Lansing bookstore’s “Portal Project” with neighboring Gone Wired Café

“We’re looking to build a door that will connect us with Gone Wired,” says Harris of the collaborative project. “After speaking with Kemal and realizing that not only was he located right in our backyard but also that we shared a very similar mission, it just made sense to help each other out.”

To help the two businesses raise money toward their new portal, Mailey agreed to donate $1.50 from the proceeds of each copy of “Life on the Corner” sold at Everybody Reads to the ongoing Portal Project fund.

Read the entire article here.

New Lansing Urban Salon Treats Men to the Good Life

Lansing’s only men’s day spa is teaching urban men that joining women at the spa is an acceptable and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

According to excerpts from the article: 

Goodfellas Salon at 414 E. Michigan Ave in Lansing is bringing a new era in men’s grooming to the Lansing area.

“Every major city has a place like this, but we are unique to this area,” said owner Michael Campbell. “We thought about bringing the urban male to the Lansing area and we cater to their needs.”

Haircuts, massages and manicures are geared specifically for men, with packages named after prominent gangsters such as Jimmy Hoffa, Al Capone and John Gotti. The “Hoffa” is the most deluxe package; it includes a haircut, neck shave, hot towel and scalp massage.

Read the entire article here.

New Bicycle-based Cabs Arrive on Lansing Streets

Wyoming, Michigan-based Elite Pedicabs is bringing bicycle-driven commuter carriages to Lansing. 

According to excerpts from the article:

Convenience, said Randy McCullough, co-owner of Elite Pedicabs, is what he offers.

"Jump in the pedicab, and we can get you down without getting your car, without being in a parking garage or a metered space, without having to worry about traffic," he said.

McCullough said the Wyoming, Mich.-based company will concentrate its initial efforts on Lansing's weekend night scene. It will pedal mainly short trips Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the downtown area.

The fare will be $3 for two blocks and $1 for each additional block. Service is expected to begin May 31 for the "Be a Tourist in Your Own Town" event, when Elite Pedicabs will run downtown and in Old Town.

Read the entire article here.


Small Business Center Opens on Lansing's Southside

A new small business center has opened on Lansing’s Southside. The new Cerna Business Center, located at 6070 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., gives businesses space to work, host meetings or offer networking events.

According to excerpts from the article:

"It gives us a professional place to be where it's quiet," said business owner Joseph Gradwohl. "You get a lot done, and people feel a lot better about the meeting."

The concept behind Cerna—space that can be rented by the hour with the amenities of a traditional office—appeals to smaller-business owners, home-based businesses that might only occasionally need meeting space and traveling businesspeople.

The space also is available to other groups, such as neighborhood clubs, said Graciela Underwood, office manager for Cerna, an employee-owned company whose president is Marta Cerna.

Cerna features a 120-square-foot conference room that seats six to 10, two 80-square-foot offices and two open-space workstations, Underwood said. Read the entire article here.

Proposal Afloat for Lansing Riverfront Boat and BBQ

Developer Ken Settimo wants to open a boating and barbeque business on the Grand River near the Kalamazoo Bridge in Downtown Lansing. Settimo’s proposed business, The Grand Fish, follows a riverfront development trend in the city.

According to excerpts from the article:

“What we’re trying to do is take a vacant piece of property in the floodway and turn it into an outdoor venue,” said Settimo.

Boaters can launch their rented vessel from the nearby boat dock at Cherry Hill Park, which the Parks and Recreation Board has approved.

Settimo says The Grand Fish could open as soon as June or early July, because no major construction would be involved. The project is right now in front of the city planning department, and still has to be approved by City Council.

Read the entire article here.

Liquid Web Launches New Server Offering

Lansing-based Web hosting provider, Liquid Web, has launched a new Microsoft Windows virtual private server (VPS) offering that’s powered by Parallels Virtuozzo Containers.

According to excerpts from the article:

The offering will be delivered from Liquid Web’s two fully-owned and operated mid-western data centers. This represents an expanded partnership with Parallels, which already supplies Liquid Web with Parallels Plesk Control Panel software that is bundled with all Windows dedicated server offerings.

Parallels Virtuozzo Containers includes the Parallels Infrastructure Manager, a robust set of management tools that helps Liquid Web personnel deliver their “Heroic Support,” which has become a trademark of their services.

Read the entire article here.

Delphi Exec Recognized for Entrepreneurial Contributions

Delphi Corporation’s Jayson Pankin was recently recognized by the Small Business Foundation of Michigan as an Intrapreneur Extraordinaire—defined as an individual that demonstrates exceptional merit in the assumption of risks for an enterprise that transforms ideas into new value for their host-company employer.

According to excerpts from the article:

“Intrapreneurship is particularly important for Michigan businesses seeking to prosper in the highly competitive global economy, and within this context, one of the most impressive intrapreneurs in Michigan today is Jayson D. Pankin, New Venture Creation Specialist, Delphi Corporation,” says SBFM Executive Director Mark Clevey.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing and Ingham County Receive National PR Award

The City of Lansing and Ingham County recently won an award from the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) and the Central Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for collaborating on the Hold on to Your Home campaign.

According to excerpts from the article:

Hold on to Your Home received top honors from the NAGC, taking first place in the combined Blue Pencil and Golden Pen Award category—a category developed to honor organizations across the country that have achieved excellence in print and online communications.

In the organization's annual competition, the City of Lansing and Ingham County were recognized for the effective branding of the Hold on to Your Home campaign. On the local level, the PRSA Central Michigan Chapter awarded the Hold on to Your Home campaign its Award of Excellence in the Public Service category for 2008.

Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing said, "We are pleased with the success of the Hold on to Your Home campaign. The resources provided through the program have supplied invaluable support to residents facing foreclosure."

Read the entire article here.

Lansing's Dewpoint Inc. Expanding in Detroit Area

A Lansing-based information technology consulting firm, Dewpoint Inc, has plans to expand its Detroit-area presence by adding a fourth office in Southfield.

According to excerpts from the article:

Dewpoint Inc. recently signed a three-year lease at 25800 Northwestern Highway in the Real Estate One building. The office adds to locations in Lansing, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.

The company has been working sporadically in the Detroit area for years but was deriving most of its business from Central and Western Michigan and from Indiana, said Frank Gall, vice president of sales and head of the new office.

"What we decided strategically is we're going to hire people and make Detroit a target" for growth, he said.

Read the entire article here.

Art Deco Knapp's Building Targeted as Downtown Cultural Center

Tom Truscott, with the Michigan Historical Society, and Jim Anderton with the Lansing Symphony, are hoping to turn the vacant, 69-year-old Knapp’s building in Downtown Lansing into the city’s next cultural center.

According to excerpts from the article:

Anderton, a former president of Lansing Community, is a make-things-happen kind of guy. The pair snagged an architect and some engineers from the Christman Co., which built Knapp's, plus folks from the Eyde Co., Knapp's owners, to look at the possibility of placing an arts center there. Then they went to the Lansing Economic Development Corp.

“I had the cart before the horse,” Anderton said the EDC convinced him. “We have to follow a disciplined and orderly process.”

The effort to restore a great building may not quite be tangible, but the EDC is pursuing a downtown performing arts center. According to EDC Vice President Karl Dorshimer, a request for qualifications has been put out to find a consultant to develop a business plan for an arts center.

“This will not be just a study. It will be an action plan,” said Dorshimer, emphasizing the word “action.”

Read the entire article here.

Franchising Fitness Facilities Locate in Mason and Haslett

Entrepreneurs Dennis Kloss and Ryan Carter cut the ribbon on their second Snap fitness facility this month. Kloss and Carter now own a Snap fitness in Mason and Haslett.

According to excerpts from the article:

Kloss and Carter each came to Snap Fitness with business backgrounds. Kloss most recently worked for American Express, while Carter owns the Baja Grille restaurant in downtown Mason.

The Chanhassen, Minn.-based company began franchising in April 2004, and now has clubs in 44 states and 11 Canadian locations. In all, there are more than 1,200 Snap Fitness locations.

Another Snap Fitness location is at 3552 Meridian Crossing Drive in Okemos, and the Web site lists gyms soon to open at 115 E. Grand River in East Lansing and E. Grand River and Putnam in Williamston.

Read the entire article here.

Specialized Gift Store Opens in Eaton Rapids

A small, specialized gift basket store called Cindy’s Gift Baskets recently opened in Eaton Rapids. Cindy’s Gift Baskets owner Cindy Davis says her business, which she ran out of her Charlotte home, had expanded to a point that she needed a storefront.

According to excerpts from the article:

Davis said she'd been making gift baskets and selling them at craft shows for a number of years. But when her grandmother Florabel Converse entered the Dimondale Nursing Care Center she discovered a unique venue to sell her wares. Since then, she traveled to several area nursing homes, setting up a booth and offering her baskets for sale.

"Those people in the care centers often have no way to get gifts when something they know or someone in their family has a birthday or whatever," Davis said. "So I would bring in my baskets, and the cups and other things that go inside, and people would flock to my table."

Each of Davis' baskets is unique and are typically filled with mugs, tea pots or cups and goodies such as tea, cocoa , cookies or candy. And they are not expensive.

Read the entire article here.

Local Designer Runs a Fashionable Home Business in Okemos

Local fashion designer, Shirin Mahjoory, is a fourth-generation designer and operates a successful design business out of her Okemos home.

According to excerpts from the article:

She learned design skills from her grandmother, an expert embroidery designer in Iran. She learned business sense from her aunt, who ran an Iranian technical school to help people make a living in the arts. And she learned both skills from her mother, who ran an Iranian clothing factory that employed 500 people, including 400 men.

"I'm not going to make multimillions in this business," Mahjoory says. "But at the same time, as much as I love my work, I wouldn't work for free. This is a dying art and it's very time-consuming. But by not having the overhead of a storefront, I can pass the savings on to my clients."

Read the entire article here.

$60 Million Office Building Proposed for Downtown Lansing Site

Lansing may soon see a $60 million, 12-story office building on the site of the former YMCA in Downtown Lansing. Developers Daniel Essa ad Julie Lawton-Essa, of the Lawton Group Development, want to build on the two-acre site.

According to excerpts from the article:

The building, dubbed The Lenawee, would include 160,000 square feet of upscale office space, 8,200 square feet of ground-floor retailand a 750-space parking structure.

It could be finished as soon as the end of 2010.

"It's pretty exciting," said Lawton-Essa, who has nearly 20 years in real estate. "Right now, Lansing does not have anything like this available."

Read the entire article here.

Entrepreneur Turning 11,500 Sq Ft Reo Town Building Into Nightclub

Young entrepreneur Jonathan Solis, 29, plans on turning an 11,500 square foot building in Reo Town into the Atomic Restaurant & Nightclub. Solis is in the process of acquiring the $110,000 building.

According to excerpts from the article:

“Yeah, it’s a fixer-upper,” laughs Solis, as he disentangles his foot from a dangling wire. “But we’re going to completely gut this. When I look at this, I don’t see decay. I see the future of this area’s nightlife. I see something that can bring hundreds of people down to REO Town every weekend. I see potential.”

Read the entire article here.

European-style Coffee Spot Opens on Lansing's Westside

Lansing’s Westside just got a little more European. A 1,200 square foot coffee shop, Brewster’s Beanery, recently opened on West Saginaw, bringing a little European flair to the area.

According to excerpts from the article:

Brewster’s Beanery has the European coffee lounge look. The 2,100-square-foot space includes a fireplace surrounded by leather chairs, a waterfall, booths and tall bistro tables and outdoor seating when the weather gets nice. Along with coffee, they serve paninis, bagels, scones, croissants, muffins, wraps and salads.

Also like European coffee lounges, Brewster’s baristas are well trained. Manager Jason Westenbroek, a member of the Barista Guild, trains baristas in pulling shots of espresso, steaming and foaming perfect milk and tasting coffees from several different areas of the world.

“Our baristas have to pull their own shots and tamp their own beans, which makes the shots perfect, so each latte or mocha at the store is the best it can be,” Brim said.

Brim said Westenbrock’s specialties include the popular latte art. “In the finishing touch with the whip, he makes flowers and other designs in the lattes (a heart is a favorite, but there are also designs like flowers),” Brim said. “I want a visit here to be an event.”

Brim also plans to host events at the shop, and has planned her first book-signing event with local children’s book author Judith Wade on April 26.

“We have large, open space, because I wanted to bring in groups for meetings, and we can arrange special hours for any other groups that would like to meet here,” Brim said.

Brewster’s Beanery, 6003 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing. Hours: 6:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Sunday. (517) 886-6300.

Read the entire article here.

Stadium District Posts New Sign, Joins Busy Street

The $12.5 million Downtown Lansing Stadium District development announced that it’s ready for its first tenants by placing a large neon side out front. The mixed-use space is just one of several new developments lining Michigan Avenue.

According to excerpts from the article:

The stadium district is ready for residents. Today developers raised the stadium district sign to the front of the building. It's one of the last steps to prepare the building for move-in day, which for some residents will happen as early as this month.

When David Sell decided to open a new nightclub in Downtown Lansing, he knew he was on to something.

David Sell, Harem Managing Partner: "This is Lansing's first urban lounge. It's actually a large dance club and lounge that's modeled after dance clubs that you have in big cities."

Last week Harem Urban Lounge opened to huge crowds, proving to Sell downtown is the place to be.

David Sell: "I think they're really beginning to invest in downtown Michigan. This is the capital of Michigan, it needs to be a jewel of a city."

Harem Urban Lounge isn't the only new business planting itself in Downtown Lansing. Right now, there are new businesses popping up all over the area.

Bob Trezise, Lansing Economic Development Corporation: "We have a half billion dollars of new private investment occurring downtown."

Bob Trezise says by this summer the stadium district and a high end men's hair salon will join Harem Urban Lounge on Michigan Avenue, while Washington Avenue serve as home to the popular food joints Jimmy Johns and Mennas.

Read the entire article here.

Pole Dancing Hits East Lansing as Latest Fitness Trend

First there was step aerobics. Then there was fitness yoga and Pilates. Today's trend is pole dancing—a sexy, entertaining way to get in shape. And East Lansing has its very own pole dancing studio.

According to excerpts from the article:

Megan Dolby, a 23-year-old Michigan State University student and owner of Pin-Up Pole Dancing in East Lansing, teaches three different levels of pole dancing to adventurous sorts looking to buff up or just feel a little more sexy.

"People gravitate toward what they like," she said. "It's fun, challenging and pretty to watch. And it's definitely sexy."

The svelte Dolby makes gliding around the pole look so easy, it seems like she's suspended from the ceiling.

But this class isn't for the faint of heart.

She teaches her students to hang upside down from the pole and actually pull themselves to the top. All of it takes arm strength, coordination and a willingness to not take yourself too seriously.

Read the entire article here.

Club Opener Proves Lansing’s Ready to Get Funky

Double lines and packed floor space at the new Harem dance club opening, proved that Lansing’s ready to support a New York-style club. The Downtown nightclub officially opened last week and was packed by 10:30 p.m.

According to excerpts from the article:

"This place is classy and has a nice ambiance,"said Sally Keiser, 23, as she edged her way to the bar. "I like to go out more in Lansing than East Lansing and this will be a lot of fun."

Caitlan McSweeney, 22, who went to the club to have a few drinks and dance, especially liked the atmosphere.

"I really like the vibe here," she said."It's pretty sweet and they have good music."

Harem, which advertises itself as an "urban lounge" with a Middle Eastern theme, features a huge bar and dance floor, multiple VIP rooms and four, 50-inch high-definition TVs.

Owned by Doug Johns, the club has $30,000 worth of lighting on the dance floor which also has two raised platforms for dancing.

At the entrance, club-goers were met by two doormen and were directed to a coat check. Manager Dave Sell said the club also plans to enforce a dress code.

The inside has original brick walls, plush couches and cushions, a swank-urban feel and lots of space. By 11 p.m. there wasn't an empty table in the place.

Read the entire article here.

Big Manufacturer Forms Relationship with MSU

After 47 years of manufacturing some of the world’s largest equipment, Metalist International Inc. Owner Ed Reeser finally has a gig with Michigan State University (MSU). This year, Reeser’s company will build a $450,000, 250-ton hydraulic press for MSU.

According to excerpts from the article:

The job has turned Metalist into a sort of poster child for area manufacturers and other businesses.

Many long have wanted to tap into a university with a $1.8 billion budget and $377 million in sponsored research last academic year. But few knew how or thought the university would want to do business with them.

"The climate is different out there now,"Reeser said. "They're really interested in opening up to their neighbors."

For Metalist, the opportunity to break into university work came last fall, when Reeser toured through a mechanical engineering lab with other members of the Capital Area Manufacturing Council, a trade group affiliated with work force development agency Capital Area Michigan Works.

Associate professor Farhang Pourboghrat showed off a press his research team uses to study new polymer composite materials. He mentioned he was working to get a much larger one.

Reeser saw an opportunity.

"He said, 'You think you could build it?' "Reeser recounted. "I said, 'No, sir. I know I can.' "

Until then, Pourboghrat figured a Minnesota firm that had done work for him in the past would get the job.

"It was totally serendipitous," Pourboghratsaid. "Once they sat down and we went through the design, I realized these guys were capable of handling the job."

So, he sought bids from both firms. Metalist won.

"The convenience and ease - we can work together and resolve issues or come up with better ideas," Pourboghrat said. "That is wonderful as opposed to trying to spend a lot of money to go to Minneapolis."

The work is a boost for Metalist, which has about 35 workers at its 100,000-square-foot plant near Potter Park in Lansing. The company once had more than 200 employees, Reeser said, but tough times for manufacturers and forge operators locally led to cutbacks.

Read the entire article here.

$100,000 Communications Competition Kicks Off

Small businesses in the area are competing for a $100,000 communications makeover that will give the winning business a more visible presence in the state. The makeover is being sponsored by several Mid-Michigan businesses.

According to excerpts from the article:

Any business located in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton or Jackson County that has 500 or fewer employees is eligible to enter. The winner will be announced June 19 at the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) annual meeting in East Lansing. 

Winner does not have to be present. The winning company will receive more than $100,000 worth of equipment, services and advertising.

The winning company will receive a brand makeover, Cisco phone system and installation, voice and data service and installation, multi-function office equipment, exposure on radio and TV spots including the Big Show, hosted statewide by Michaels Patrick Sheils; and a feature in the Greater Lansing Business Monthly.

In addition, all contest entrants will receive a 90 day free membership in SBAM, the top 10 entrants will receive a 1-year membership in SBAM and the winner will be featured in an article in SBAM’s publication, Focus on Small Business.

Read the entire article here.

Harem Nightclub To Open Amid Growing Downtown Entertainment District

Big city-style Harem nightclub is hitting the Michigan Avenue entertainment scene. The club is the latest addition to the growing entertainment district known as the Stadium District , and the 10th bar or restaurant along the Michigan Avenue corridor between Grand River and Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to excerpts from the article:

Next month, a new nightclub, Harem, will open at 414 E. Michigan Ave. It will become the 10th bar or restaurant operating between the Grand River and Pennsylvania Avenue along Michigan Avenue.

A handful more are within walking distance on Washington Square and other places.

And three more restaurants could join the mix later this year in first-floor space in the new $12.3 million Stadium District building.

"I think people take downtown Lansing for granted and don't realize what a cool entertainment district this is turning out to be," said Doug Johns Jr., who owns Harem, The Exchange and Omar's.

"What's beautiful about it is the diversity and different types of venues down there."

Building a wide variety of such venues, along with unique retail spots and interesting cultural attractions, are seen as key indicators for a successful downtown, said Karen Gagnon, coordinator of the state's Cool Cities urban redevelopment program for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

"We're told in surveys young people - people of all ages want vibrancy," Gagnon said. "They want to have an experience."

In an April 2004 survey of university students and recent graduates by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., slightly more than half said their preferred place to live is near the downtown of a large- or medium-sized city.

Yet when choosing their preferred place, 93 percent of those surveyed said safe streets is the most important factor.

Read the entire article here.

Family Lumber Co. in Charlotte Celebrates 100 Year Mark

Since 1908, Charlotte-based Fulton Lumber Co. has withstood downturns in the economy and the spread of chain home improvement stores. As the company turns 100, it once again celebrates continued growth.

According to excerpts from the article:

In an age of big-box retailers such as Home Depot Inc., Lowe's Cos. Inc. and Menard Inc., Christi Dutcher, who helps run the family business, said a "history of information" is what keeps Fulton Lumber growing as it embarks on its second century.

Dutcher's brother said another strength of the 100-year-old lumberyard has always been what he called the moral value ingrained in it.

"My grandfather was somebody that was respected tremendously for his integrity, fairness, good nature," said Mike Fulton, 51, of Charlotte. "And my dad's carried that on. He's very much in that same mold. We hope that these are the principles that we would continue to operate on."

A century ago, W.B. Fulton founded the lumber company with his brother-in-law, Ike Colborn. W.B. Fulton's grandson, Bob Fulton, and two of Bob Fulton's children - Dutcher and Mike Fulton - now run the company.

"If you don't have the trust and loyalty of your customers, then you don't have a business, as far as I'm concerned, in a small town," said Bob Fulton, 86, of Charlotte.

Fulton's lumber and hardware operation encompasses about two acres that includes a retail store, several two-story lumber storage bins and seven other storage buildings, Mike Fulton said.

In the 4,100-square-foot showroom, expanded from 900 square feet in the 1970s, Fulton Lumber sells items such as paint, hardware and metal products, said Dutcher, 58, of Gun Lake. Besides the owners, the business has 12 full-time and two part-time employees.

Multiple types of lumber, from pine to mahogany, are trucked in from more than 100 suppliers worldwide, primarily from the West Coast, Dutcher said.

Other wood products include plywood, doors and windows.

The Michigan Lumber and Building Materials Association gave Fulton Lumber a Century Award earlier this year, honoring the company for being owned by the same family in the same location for 100 years, said association President Rick Seely.

"It is highly unusual in today's business climate, especially in an industry that can be volatile," he said.

Read the entire article here.

$5 Million Would Finalize Move to Lansing for Israeli Startup

An Israeli pharmaceutical company is scheduled to open shop in the Lansing area in the next three to four months. RenoPharm, an Israeli startup, is waiting on $5 million from investors before putting down roots in Lansing.

According to excerpts from the article:

The operation could be the first success story of a volunteer group looking to build business ties between Michigan and Israel. It also would be the first recruitment win for the fledgling Lansing Economic Area Partnership Inc.

"Our goal is to get closer to the U.S. market," said Peter Assaf, chief executive officer and founder of RenoPharm Ltd., which operates from a for-profit business incubator in Nazareth. "I'm planning in three to four months to be there."

RenoPharm officials visited Michigan in October and returned in February to scout possible locations, meet with local leaders and connect with companies with which it likely would do business.

The last remaining hurdle is raising $5 million from investors for the move and Phase I clinical trials for its patented drug compound.

Assaf said he found the right mix in Lansing because of potential research resources at Michigan State University and access to life sciences service companies in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

The one-hour drive to those cities should be easy for company officials used to flying 15 hours to reach business partners, said Matt Dugener, president and chief executive officer of regional economic development group LEAP.

"The southern part of Michigan has all the resources a biotech firm needs to be successful," he said. "They're just not all in one community."

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Dance Club Embraces New Name, Upgrades

A downtown East Lansing nightclub, Club 131, recently underwent an interior renovation. The club, now named Club Rush, officially opened to the public March 14.

According to excerpts from the article:

Christian Dorsch, general manager of the club’s sister restaurant, Harper’s Brewpub, says the change is being made to create a new environment for East Lansing residents. “[It’s] for a new format, a new image,” he explains. Squashing rumors that the joint establishments are doing poorly, Dorsch says the change has nothing to do with lack of sales. “If we weren’t doing well, we wouldn’t want to invest in a new concept,” he says.

The club’s “new concept” will involve upgrades to entertainment, ambience and décor, bringing in what Dorsch calls “category A” disc jockeys from the Chicago market and plenty of special effects lighting.

“It’s going to be incredibly attractive, appealing to the eye,” Dorsch says. “There’s going to be a cosmetic face lift.”

With major audio and visual upgrades, Dorsch says the club will feature “incredible” light shows. “We have ambience lighting, intelligence lighting, mood lighting, you name it,” he says. It’s all going to be connected with the shows.”

Coming just four years after 131’s debut, the remodeling follows on the heels of a similar revamping to neighboring bar The Post, but Dorsch says the upgrade was in the works before that. “We’ve been talking about doing this for a while,” he says. “Part of the concept was getting all the right entertainers and promoters involved, all working together.”

Read the entire article here.

Growing Yarn Business Moves to 1,700 Sq. Ft. Eastside Shop

Rae’s Yarn Boutique owner, Rae Blackledge, recently moved her store to a bigger space on Lansing’s Eastside. This is the second time Blackledge’s business has grown to the degree that she’s needed to find a bigger operating space.

According to excerpts from the article:

Starting out in a stall at the Mega Mall, on Lansing’s north side, Blackledge brought her passion for knitting to the people. “I have knitted since fourth grade; my grandma taught me,” she says.  “I get very nervous when I’m sitting still, and it helps to have something in my hands to keep me calm.

Blackledge has come a long way since the fourth grade, but her love for knitting hasn’t faded a bit. A year after opening shop, she moved the business to the Frandor Shopping Center, where it flourished for nearly three years. On the day of this interview, she proudly sported a “Got Yarn?” T-shirt behind the counter of her shop’s new home on East Michigan Avenue. Blackledge moved the boutique to the roomier digs in early January.

“We mainly moved because we felt it was time to expand our shop,” she says. “We were feeling very crowded.”

Blackledge says the Frandor location was “divided up very poorly” and had a lot of wasted space. Now with an open 1,700 square feet, Rae’s has more than doubled in size, allowing customers more space to learn to knit or crochet with one of Blackledge’s classes, work on projects or simply shop for yarn and supplies, Blackledge says her shoppers have responded well to the move. “I think almost all of our customers have been in to see the new space,” she says.

Blackledge says the boutique’s selection and knowledgeable employees separate it from the “big box stores.” “We can really help out if you have problems or specific questions,” Blackledge says.

Read the entire article here.

Developers Adding Five Stories to $22.4 Million Downtown Lansing Tower Project

Downtown developers Allen Drouare and Shawn Elliott are adding five stories to their proposed Capitol Club Towers development in Downtown Lansing. The developers originally planned a 12-story rather than the 18-story building they now envision.

According to excerpts from the article:

The proposed $22.4 million Lansing building would likely eclipse the city's second-tallest building, the 16-story Grand Tower office building immediately to the south.

The tallest building is the Boji Tower at the corner of Capitol and Allegan streets.

Developers are citing strong demand for the added height.

"It's overwhelming the response that we're getting," said Dan Wert, a project manager with Grand Rapids-based Robert Grooters Development Co., a partner in the project.

"We believed in this project from the get-go. We knew Lansing was ready for it."

Wert and local developers Allen Drouare and Shawn Elliott laid out the details for the tower at a reception for about 300 potential residents and area business leaders at the University Club of Michigan State University.

Going taller has allowed the project to grow from about 122 owner-occupied units to about 175, developers said. So far, they've taken 80, $1,000 deposits from people interested in living at Capitol Club Tower.

The building would include about 200,000 square feet of residential space and 50,000 square feet of retail space on two floors.

Read the entire article here.

Christman Renovation of Mutual Building in Downtown Lansing Stays True to Architecture

The Christman Company recently finished its $12 million renovation of the former Mutual Building in Downtown Lansing. The Christman Company, which specializes in historic renovations, took special precautions to maintain the historical integrity of the building.

According to excerpts from the article:

After nearly two years of planning and construction, Lansing based contractor Christman Co. is casting those historic features with trendy, modern elements.

"It says more than words ever could what our company is capable of," Chief Executive Officer Steven Roznowski said Tuesday during a tour of the six-story building.

The company moved into the building last month after finishing the $12 million redevelopment project.

Officials plan to rechristen the structure the Christman Building at an event Tuesday.

Built by Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Co. as its headquarters, it most recently housed state offices.

The redeveloped Mutual Building includes a three-story glass atrium, sixth-story conference room addition with a view of the state Capitol and a host of modern mechanical features.

In Christman's fourth- and fifth-floor offices, a long compound-curve wall painted in a copper patina ushers employees down the main corridor.

Meanwhile, on the first floor, which served as the original executive suites, floor-to-ceiling wood paneling and plaster crown molding have been painstakingly restored.

"We wanted to have both of those elements represented," Roznowski said of the old and modern features.

Read the entire article here.

Syrian Native Creates Thriving Business in East Lansing

Syrian native, Siham Baladi, moved to East Lansing in 1975 so her husband could teach civil engineering at Michigan State University (MSU). But it didn’t take long for Baladi to create a place for herself. Since 2004, Baladi has operated a successful boutique, Silver & Beyond, in East Lansing's Marriott Hotel, and now she’s ready to expand.

According to excerpts from the article:

After so many years as a teacher, why did you open Silver & Beyond?

Baladi: The turning point in my life was when I turned 50 and my mom passed away. My dad passed away three years before my mom. It's a horrible feeling to be an orphan, and I had a new empty nest, too, with the kids gone. I had to take time off. I didn't do anything for two years. During this time my daughter kept saying to me, "Come on, Mom, what are you going to do, sit in a rocking chair? You know your dream is to have your own boutique, so why don't you do it?" ... And I didn't want to go back to teaching. I don't know how I did it, but here it is. I love what I'm doing right now.

What's best about it?

Baladi: I'm blessed to be able to travel all over the world. I believe traveling opens your mind. You don't live in a box anymore. If you don't travel, especially to poor countries, you don't know what you have. You have to see the poor to respect what they have and how they find happiness in life. And now my job takes me all over the world. ... I'm on a mission to find beautiful things to share with everybody around me.

What do you sell in your store?

Baladi: It's mostly jewelry and accessories: Designer purses, wallets, evening purses, scarves. I feel like it's my job to help everybody accessorize to reflect who they are, look stylish and have fun. You can have the most expensive outfit, but if you do not have the right accessories, it's not going to work. I believe beauty comes from the inside, but it's also very important how you present yourself. My friends always tell me I'm put together all the time. Well, you have to work at putting yourself together. Your look reflects who you are.

Why do you think your store has been successful?

Baladi: I work very hard. I work like 48 hours in 24 hours. I'm here all the time representing my business and helping the customers. And I love beautiful things and I'm trying to bring style we wouldn't otherwise have around this area. Why make people travel to New York, Chicago or Las Vegas to find these products? And I have customers from the hotel who are surprised we have these products in East Lansing. I have calls all the time from people who wished they bought something while they were here and ask me to ship it. Now I have customers from Atlanta, Chicago, New York and California.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing Toy Store Opening More National Franchises

National Lansing-based toy store franchise, Brilliant Sky Toys & Books, has opened one franchise in Phoenix and is working on several deals to open additional franchises in other states.

According to excerpts from the article:

Brilliant Sky Toys & Books has earned the attention of the toy industry in recent years: Playthings Magazine 2003 Best New Store Design and Travel Savvy Magazine "Top Seven Toy Shops" - 2005, and now are gaining attention with shoppers and entrepreneurs looking for a new business venture that is financially and emotionally rewarding.

"Since we announced our plans to expand nationally, we have been hearing from dozens of potential franchisees on a weekly basis," said Brent Taylor, founder of Brilliant Sky Toys & Books.

While big toy retailers and toy manufacturers have suffered hard times in recent years, Brilliant Sky Toys & Books has seen tremendous growth.

"Our company's gross profit has increased nearly 60-percent since 2003. We attribute a large part of that growth to the fact that our concept offers families a different kind of toy store, featuring unique brands, hands-on play areas, extraordinary customer service and imaginative scenery that cannot be found at other toy stores," said Taylor.

Unique to the Brilliant Sky Toys & Book's concept is the aesthetic layout of the store. Instead of shoppers having to walk through aisles and aisles to find toys, they'll find most of the store is an open, exploratory play area and products are creatively displayed amongst unique visuals and abundant play areas throughout the store.

Read the entire article here.

Biggby Coffee of East Lansing Plans to Double Franchises In Next Two Years

The popular East Lansing-based Biggby Coffee franchise will double its operations in the next two years. Biggby opened its first franchise in 1999 and has 86 stores in 11 states, with 70 more stores under contract.

According to excerpts from the article:

Michael McFall, president of Biggby Coffee, said more than a dozen potential franchisees come to the East Lansing headquarters for the twice-a-month discovery days to learn more about opening their own Biggby.

He expects that the business will have 384 units by 2011 and be well on its way to becoming a national chain. His partners are the chain founders Mary Roszel and Bob Fish.

Potential franchisees need to have a minimum net worth of $400,000 with $100,000 of that in cash. It costs $250,000 to $350,000 to open a store. The upfront franchise fee is $30,000.

Jimmy Giarraputo, 45, is part of a group of investors that owns four Biggby Coffee franchises in metro Detroit. They are in Auburn Hills, Shelby Township, Southfield and Royal Oak.

He expects to generate positive cash flow within two to three years. The first store, in Shelby Township, opened in October 2006 and the group has plans for several more stores in the metro area.

"It's like any other business. You have to grow them, nurture them," Giarraputo said. "I think the coffee industry is almost recession-proof because most people need their coffee to get them going in the morning."

He praised the Biggby Coffee team for guiding him and his partners, who had no experience in the coffee business, to build their operations.

Read the entire article here.

Skin Care Products Web Site Taking Local East Lansing Dermatologist Overseas

A local dermatologist, Marcy Street, is on her way to creating an international presence for herself via her skin car product link, Doctor’s Approach. Street recently hosted representatives from two international companies that are interested in buying her products.

According to excerpts from the article:

On Friday, Street hosted Li Rong, owner of Beijing-based Mojo International Ltd., and area business leaders at a reception to celebrate her first potential overseas contract.

The two companies are two-thirds of the way through negotiations, Street said.

"It looks at though all the steps are in place," she said.

The Beijing company had sent an employee to Michigan State University's Visiting International Professional Program. Mojo was looking for U.S. products for its spas, hospitals and other businesses.

Lansing business leaders pointed Mojo to Street. So far, the company is interested in six products from the line she developed from her local dermatology clinic.

Li said he has 10,000 storefronts that could sell Doctor's Approach products.

Read the entire article here.

Lansing-Based Plas-Labs Reaches $5 Million in Sales

Plas-Labs, a Lansing-based science research equipment manufacturer, has grown to more than 100 employees since opening in 1967, and now has nearly $5 million in sales. Plas-Labs primarily designs equipment that separates scientists from their experiments.

According to excerpts from the article:

"I knew that I didn't want to help a big company get bigger," said Plas-Labs President Dave Regan, 69. "I had made a lot of money in the hotel business, and I wanted an opportunity to make money for myself."

Plas-Labs designs and builds custom plastic isolation and containment units that keep researchers separated from the objects they study. Most units are "glove boxes" – airtight plastic boxes with safety gloves extending inside. The gloves, made of hypalon, are chemical and ultraviolet resistant.

"It makes it a safe situation for the operator . . . but it also protects sensitive materials from the operator," Regan said.

For example, a poultry isolation unit, measuring one cubic yard, lets scientists study birds with poultry flu without exposing themselves to the virus. The mechanism, used by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, North Carolina State University and elsewhere, also can hold other small animals, such as cats and monkeys.

About 15 percent of Plas-Labs' units are designed specifically for animals, Regan said. Others can hold research subjects such as DNA and anaerobes - organisms that can live without atmospheric oxygen.

Regan and his son, Mike Regan, vice president of special projects custom engineering, design the products.

One glove box not for animal use costs an average of about $8,000, Dave Regan said. However, costs vary – Plas-Labs once built a $60,000 stem cell research unit.

Last year, Plas-Labs built a terrorist rapid response unit for the United Arab Emirates' military department. It was used to test materials used by terrorists, such as anthrax, Regan said.

Plas-Labs exports about 35 percent of its products. Its distributors include Cole-Parmer Instrument Co. in Vernon Hills, Ill., Jencons Scientific Ltd. in the United Kingdom and Fisher Scientific Bioblock in France.

Plas-Labs also has made products for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.

"The nice thing about that is when you're selling scientific research equipment all over the world, you have some protection if the economy becomes unstable in one country," Regan said.

Read the entire article here.

$45,000 Grant Fuels Mid-Michigan Entrepreneurship Programs

A $45,000 Mott Foundation grant awarded by Lansing's Prima Civitas will help Mid-Michigan entrepreneurial programs assist local entrepreneurs in their endeavors. The money was awarded to 10 Mid-Michigan organizations.

According to excerpts from the article:

The awards are funded by a grant received from the C.S. Mott Foundation in October 2007. A competitive bid process was announced in December for regional higher education and related institutions who would host an Entrepreneur or Inventor Day in order to spur innovation by fostering investment in talent development and cultural change.

Funded proposals received from across the region will either showcase individuals’ and firms’ business development efforts during an Inventors Day or provide a platform for funding pitches to actual investors during an Entrepreneur Day.

“These ten proposals will create significant opportunities throughout the Mid-Michigan region for entrepreneurs of all walks of life who will help create the new Michigan economy,” said President David Hollister. “An entrepreneurial spirit will be the backbone of our economy and these proposals will further the tremendous work that is already being done to help spur Michigan’s economy.”

Organizations that received a mini-grant include: Central Michigan University, Delta College, Michigan Futures Seminar of the James Madison College at MSU, MSU Extension Center in Huron County, MSU RSPPA Program, M-Team of Meridian Township, Saginaw Valley State University, ThumbWorks! Michigan Works Agency, University of Michigan-Flint Launch Program, and a combined proposal from Baker College, Jackson Community College, and Spring Arbor University.

Read the entire article here.

Holmes Street School Renovation Means High Tech Education in Eastside Lansing

The $2 million renovation of the old Holmes Street School in Lansing will create a high tech hub and education center for Lansing residents. The new hub will include Spartan Internet and the new Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC).

According to excerpts from the article:

The new center will occupy the first floor of the former school. Spartan Internet Consulting Corp., which purchased the former school for $110,000, is set to relocate its headquarters to the third floor of the building.

The expansion will allow Spartan Internet to add between 30 and 50 jobs.

The Information Technology Empowerment Center will open in late summer, officials said Monday, after an expected $2 million renovation of the 85-year-old, three-story building is completed.

"The typical family around here does not have a computer," said Adam Pitcher, president of the Holmes Street School Community Neighborhood Association, which represents residents in the surrounding eastside neighborhood.

The goal is to introduce technology to children to prepare them for careers in high-tech fields, as well as to train parents and professionals to be more tech savvy.

"We want to break the digital divide," Pitcher said.

The center is a partnership between the neighborhood, city of Lansing, Lansing School District, Michigan State University, Prima Civitas - a community nonprofit group - and a handful of information technology firms.

Read the entire article here.

Tax Incentives Help Secure New Lansing Biotech Company

The City of East Lansing is giving entrepreneur Kris Berglund a tax break on his new biotechnology company, Working Bugs LLC. The city agreed to exempt Working Bugs LLC from paying taxes on equipment.

According to excerpts from the article:

Without the tax abatement, Berglund and his business’ co-manager, Dianne Holman, said they would be unable to afford the equipment necessary to get the operations moving.

Berglund’s lab equipment could cost up to $36,000 per piece.

“It all really racks up,” Holman said. “The personal property tax puts an unfair burden on biotech firms.”

City officials see the abatement as a way to boost the region’s economy.

Caroline Sallee, a consultant with the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, said the two fields have seen growth in jobs and wages.

Between 1998 and 2003, high-tech jobs in southeastern Michigan grew by 5 percent, and wages grew by 4.2 percent, Sallee said.

Read the entire article here.

Innovators Converge on East Lansing for Mid-Michigan Entrepreneur Day

Entrepreneurs from around the state took a trip to East Lansing last week to present their ideas to investors and other entrepreneurs during Mid-Michigan’s Entrepreneur Day. The eight presenters included Pardalis, Rapid Biosense and Cerious Technologies.

According to excerpts from the article:

"We're constantly looking for investment, but it's also for other kinds of contacts," said John Cunningham, chief executive officer of Lansing-based startup Rapid BioSense, which is working to produce a new type of test to quickly and inexpensively detect bacteria.

"We find these forums extremely valuable as a way to build our network of people."

Economic development officials say making those kinds of connections are integral to building a regional economy based on entrepreneurship and innovation.

That's why the Prima Civitas Foundation, with support from the Flint-based C.S. Mott Foundation, plans to spend $45,000 over the next few months to help bring inventors, entrepreneurs and investors together across a 13-county region, in communities such as Saginaw, Flint and Lansing.

"I'm quite energized at what I'm seeing around the region," said David Hollister, president and CEO of the Lansing-based nonprofit economic development organization.

Tuesday's event was the third Entrepreneur Day for Prima Civitas in the Lansing area. Hollister said the organization hopes to hold similar events about every other month in cooperation with other area economic development groups and educational institutions. He said the idea is to help create a better climate for small business startups by linking entrepreneurs with coaches, investors and each other.

Read the entire article here.

$12 Million Green Project Slated for Unused 5.8 Acre Downtown Plot

Green developer Gene Townsend is putting together plans for a $12 million project on a 5.8 acre piece of land in downtown Lansing. The project will include developing green space and demolishing old houses on a parcel of land that is bordered by Butler Boulevard, Sycamore Street, Ottawa Street and Ionia Street.

According to excerpts from the article:

Gene Townsend unveils his plan for the first major residential development near the Capitol Complex since the state began the wholesale demolition of inner-city housing in the 1960s.

At the turn of the 20th century, the neighborhood west of the State Capitol was so vibrant the local press dubbed it “The Gold Coast.”  A century later, after a period of decline and a partial steamrolling to make room for largely unrealized state projects, developer Gene Townsend hopes to breathe new life into the patchwork area with a new complex of 52 condominiums, mixed-use buildings and communal areas.

The $12 million project will fill a 5.8-acre parcel bordered by Ionia Street on the north, Sycamore Street on the east, Ottawa Street on the south and Butler Boulevard on the west. Most of the new housing will fill vacant property, with four of the surviving residences blended in. The state will sell the parcel as surplus property to the Lansing Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for $460,000, which will in turn sell it to Townsend before a Jan. 13 legislative deadline to close the deal. The authority’s board approved Townsend as the developer on Tuesday and gave Bob Tresize Jr., president of the Lansing Economic Development Corp., the green light to negotiate the deal with the state.

Gene Townsend’s plans for the Ottawa Street parcel include 52 condos in styles to fit into the neighborhood bordering the Capitol Complex.

Read the entire article here.

East Lansing Working on Artist Co-Op

The City of East Lasing is putting together an Artist Co-Op in a vacant business at 325 Grove St. next to Woven Art Yarn & Fiber Gallery. The Artist Co-Op is being funded by the City’s new Entrepreneurship Program.

According to excerpts from the article:

The city’s Department of Planning and Community Development presented the proposal to the East Lansing City Council during Tuesday’s work session at City Hall, 410 Abbot Road.

If passed, the Artist Co-Op would lease the store and sublease it to low- and moderate-income artists or entrepreneurs in the city.

This project would enhance the arts and culture in the community, senior project manager Lori Mullins said.

“We believe that supporting arts and culture is good for the economic development of the entire downtown,” she said.

The Artist Co-Op, which would be located adjacent to Woven Art, would have space for about six different artist studios, Mullins said.

Those who financially qualify for the Artist Co-Op would receive financial assistance. Businesses with five or fewer employees would be eligible to receive a maximum of $6,000 in grants and loans, and other small businesses seeking expansion could receive up to $15,000 in total funding.

Read the entire article here.

$100 Million Michigan Wine Industry Growing

The 50 commercial wineries that make up Michigan’s $100 million wine industry produce more than 357,000 cases of wine each year and are expected to generate even more revenue for the state in the upcoming years.

According to excerpts from the article:

 Michigan winemakers are unique in that they are known for both cool-weather wines, such as white Riesling, and warmer weather reds like Pinot Noir. You might even be surprised to know the state produces a fine Ice Wine. The diversity of Michigan wines is enough to make a viticulturist blush with excitement!

It’s a fact that wine grapes love Michigan’s mesoclimate created by Lake Michigan. The vast majority of Michigan grapes are grown within 25 miles of Lake Michigan, which provides a favorable “lake effect” microclimate of more moderate temperatures compared to interior portions of the state.

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which was founded in 1985 to support development of the state’s wine growing industry and is a division within the Michigan Department of Agriculture, estimates that 1,800 agricultural acres in the state are cultivated to grow wine grapes. That makes the state eighth in wine grape production in the nation.

“The Michigan wine industry is growing quite rapidly. There is great interest in wine development and investment around the state,” said Linda Jones, executive director of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “The priorities of the council are encouraging growth of the winemaking industry, promotion of Michigan wines and funding research to support wine grape growing in Michigan.”

The council also publishes the Wine Country magazine and sponsors numerous wine tasting events and competitions across the state each year.

The more than 50 commercial wineries in Michigan produce over 375,000 cases of wine annually, Jones said. The wineries are a popular destination for wine connoisseurs, attracting more than 800,000 visitors annually. Wine and wine tourism are estimated to be a $100 million industry in Michigan.

Read the entire article here.

Capitol Bancorp of Lansing Opens Eighth Community Bank in California

Lansing-based Capitol Bancorp Limited recently opened its eighth community bank in California. The $4.7 billion company also has banks in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa, Palm Desert and Escondido.

According to excerpts from the article:

Including the opening of Bank of Feather River, Capitol Bancorp has 57 individually chartered community banks across the nation. Capitol Bancorp has opened eight de novo community banks in 2007, including Sunrise Community Bank in Palm Desert, and currently has applications pending for 11 de novo banks in seven states.

"As Capitol Bancorp continues to execute its plans for strategic national growth and geographic diversification, we maintain our focus on regions such as California, where our existing banks are enjoying positive growth," said Capitol Bancorp Chairman and CEO Joseph D. Reid. "Bank of Feather River will be an excellent addition to the local business environment, with its outstanding bank leadership and experienced staff focused on providing the utmost in customer service."

The Bank of Feather River will be servicing a full suite of products and services for Yuba City small-business owners, commercial real estate owners and entrepreneurs.

Leading Bank of Feather River as President is Richard Veale, who has 36 years of banking experience, predominantly in northern California. Veale holds an associate's degree from Sierra College and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Chico State College.

Read the entire article here.

Okemos Children’s Boutique Making Inroads in Little Fashion

The Little by Little Unique Children’s Boutique that recently opened in Okemos is making inroads in the tot fashion industry, offering parents another style option for their kids.

According to excerpts from the article:

Discerning shoppers who might otherwise travel to Birmingham or Grand Rapids for girls' and boys' clothing and furniture can now save on gas by visiting Little by Little.

Among sought-after brands Little carries are Biscotti, Cakewalk, One Kid, Cache Cache, Baby Lulu, Baby Nay and Angel Dream.

"I have a lot of unique clothing, some one-of-a-kind," said store owner Kathy Little.

Sizes Little stocks currently range from infant through 6X for girls and infant through 4T for boys.

"Once they get beyond a 6X in girls, they want to wear their own thing. They like to pick it out themselves," Little said.

Parents and grandparents interested in vintage looks for their little girls may choose from a selection of hand-smocked dresses.

The shop has already drawn both interest and repeat business.

"We're getting some of our old (customers) from Hickory Limb that have been back in and are so excited we're here," Little said.

Read the entire article here.

Charlotte-based Company Growing with Homeland Security Business

Spartan Motors, Inc., based in Charlotte, has moved into the homeland security sector, and business is so good that the company’s expanding and adding 125 new jobs.

According to excerpts from the article:

Spartan Motors Inc. is adding more than 100 workers and two buildings to its headquarters.

The company, which makes chassis for military vehicles, recreation vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances, said Tuesday it will renovate 200,000 square feet in the two buildings it bought, adding 125 positions to Spartan's payroll once the project is complete. It said buying and revamping the structures will cost $4.5 million.

Spartan has been hiring throughout the year. In May, it said it was adding 100 workers, with pay starting at $12.50 an hour.

Spartan Motors employs 1,100 in Charlotte.

The extra space is needed to make military vehicles more efficiently and give Spartan subsidiary Spartan Chassis Inc. an edge when it bids for military work. Spartan makes chassis and assembles components for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, program.

It is the second time this year Spartan has acquired more buildings to support its military efforts. In September, Spartan opened two buildings with a combined 80,000 square feet of space. Spartan spent $8 million to buy and renovate the structures and added 100 jobs.

Read the entire article here.

Michigan Life Science Network Launching Two Businesses

The Michigan Life Science Network is launching two businesses designed to create new life science opportunities for Michigan companies. The two companies, Michigan Virtual BioPharma Company, LLC and the Michigan Virtual Medical Device Company, will launch exhibits at the MichBio Expo in Lansing in October.

According to excerpts from the article:

“These new LLCs will pull together the knowledge and qualifications of the 600-plus human life science companies scattered across the state and organize them into a functional cooperative full service pharmaceutical company and full service device company for the first time and then, market them across the nation and the world,” said Michael Debiak, president of Michigan Life Science Network.

The two virtual companies are actually databases, comprised of relevant information about the region’s companies — contact information, services offered, specialty areas, working styles, etc. There will be one database for the medical device industry, called The Michigan Virtual Medical Device Company, LLC, and one for pharmaceutical companies, The Michigan Virtual BioPharma Company, LLC.

To help communicate the breadth of Michigan’s life sciences resources, each database initially will be presented as a 10-foot-tall organizational chart at the MichBio Expo annual convention being held next week in Lansing, MI. Companies will be asked to attach their business cards to the areas of the chart where their services are most relevant.

Practically speaking, the two databases will serve as a tool for attracting business to Michigan’s life sciences companies. A visiting organization from Japan in search of a commercialization partner, for example, would have an efficient way of accessing all Michigan companies with expertise in that field. When there are multiple companies within Michigan that offer the same services, Michigan Life Science Network will organize a vetting process to find the most appropriate fit.

Read the entire article here.

MSU Showcases High Tech Developments for Local Firms

Michigan State University (MSU) professors recently hosted several area high tech firms to show them the research and development they’ve created in the high tech arena.

According to excerpts from the article:

Xi's project was on display Wednesday as part of a tour designed to showcase university research and labs - and hopefully persuade manufacturers to work with them on practical applications for their research.

Representatives from 15 to 20 Lansing-area companies heard five professors talk about their research at MSU's College of Engineering, then watched several laboratory demonstrations of new technologies that could be applied to manufacturing.

"We're trying to form the partnerships between the college and what we're good at, and the manufacturers and what they're good at," said Leo Kempel, the college's associate dean of special initiatives. "Forge the connections between the great things going on in the greater Lansing area ... and what's going on in the college where we're growing in our impact in research and economic development."

The College of Engineering's 165 faculty members have 400 projects in the works, Dean Satish Udpa said.

"There's no point of developing things here in the laboratory and letting that die on the vine," he said. "That's what it's all about - making sure the ideas generated here get into manufacturing."

Read the entire article here.

Local Nonprofit Gets $2.75 Million Grant

The Early Childhood Investment Corp. in Lansing recently received a $2.5 million grant to help oversee programs in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties. The grant is part of a $10 million grant awarded to local nonprofits through the Kresge Foundation.
According to excerpts from the article:

The Kresge Foundation last week approved nearly $10 million in grants to 20 Michigan nonprofits for efforts to revitalize the area and work with area youth.

The two largest local grants by the Troy-based foundation were made to youth programs:

- $2.75 million to the Early Childhood Investment Corp. in Lansing to oversee the planning, development and implementation of early childhood systems in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

- $1.5 million to Detroit Youth Foundation to fund programs at YouthVille Detroit, a neighborhood youth center.

Read the entire article here.

Local East Lansing and Lansing Businesses Combining Resources

Lansing-based Bake N' Cakes and East Lansing's Green River Café are working together to maximize their resources and profits. Green River Café is using Bake N' Cakes ovens to make its organically grown bread rather than setting up its own expensive in-house baking system.

According to excerpts from the article:

Jim Jabara had all the ingredients for his bread, many of them locally grown and organic to boot. But there was one more thing the owner of the Green River Cafe in East Lansing needed: a place to bake it.

Across town, Jeff Johnson had the solution. His Bake N' Cakes ovens bake breads and other goods nearly every day, but not with the organic and locally grown ingredients Jabara's cafe is known for.

So, the restaurateur and the baker struck a deal.

"I go over and we do some baking together for Green River on occasion," said Jabara, who opened his cafe about a year ago, "and we also leave product with him."

Jabara and Johnson are working to help spread that spirit of camaraderie among area small-business owners and, in the process, helping to build more support for local wares.

Capital Area Local First, of which Johnson is president and Jabara is vice president, is one of several efforts brewing to encourage a locally focused economy. The new organization seeks to link small-business owners, while educating consumers about what's available locally.

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Lansing-based Emergent BioSolutions Grabs $448 Million Contract for Vaccine

Lansing-based Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. recently signed a $448 million three-year contract with the federal government to supply the anthrax vaccination for the country's biodefense stockpile.

According to excerpts from the article:

In a conference call, CEO Fuad El-Hibri said the contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the largest deal in the company's history.

HHS is buying 18.75 million doses of BioThrax (anthrax vaccine adsorbed) - the only FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of the anthrax infection - for a fixed price of $400 million. The fixed price, El-Hibri noted, means the government is "committed" to purchasing all 18.75 million doses. HHS had specified 18.75 million as the maximum number of doses in the agency's May 2007 request for proposal, he added.

The vaccine, El-Hibri said, will supplement the 10 million doses of the vaccine already included in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) - a national cache of vaccines, anti-infectives, chemical antidotes and other medical supplies that can be deployed within 12 hours to anywhere in the U.S. or its territories in the event of a disaster.

Emergent BioSolutions' earlier agreements with HHS for the 10 million doses were worth more than $240 million, El-Hibri noted.

If the FDA approves the firm's pending supplement to its biologics license application to extend the shelf life of BioThrax from three years to four years, the company will receive an additional $34 million, El-Hibri said.

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Developer Looking To Build Condos for MSU Fans

Brenan Hospitality Management Group is considering building condos near Michigan State University (MSU) for die-hard fans that don’t to stay in hotels when they go to games. The company is also looking at building similar condos in Ann Arbor.

According to excerpts from the article:

For many diehard fans, the condos are an opportunity to avoid sky-high hotel prices or the expense of maintaining a house or apartment near the stadium. The condos are also furnished and maintained by building staff.

On the weekend of the Michigan-Ohio State football game, a room at the Super 8 Motel on Jackson Ave. - about two and a half miles from the stadium - costs $139 per night, according to hotels.com. The next weekend, when there's no game, the same room costs $55 per night.

Mike Brenan is also working on a project near Michigan State University in East Lansing. The East Lansing development is billed as a "real estate opportunity for the Spartan faithful" on the company's website. Plans for the East Lansing project were scheduled to be finalized earlier this week but were delayed, Brenan said yesterday. He said he hopes to announce final plans for an Ann Arbor site in October of next year.

Brenan's first foray into housing for college football fans started several years ago when he developed hotel-style condominiums in South Bend, Ind. for Notre Dame fans.

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