Local entrepreneurs purchase Essexville shopping center, look to revitalize area

Growing up in the small village of Akron, Michigan, Lisa Schneider and her family would drive the next county over, to Bay County’s Essexville, in order to go shopping for back-to-school clothing.

So it’s perhaps a bit of sentimentality that she wants to re-energize an Essexville's commercial district.

But not only does Lisa talk the talk, she walks the walk.

Lisa and her husband Bill Schneider own a business here. Not only that, but the Schneiders, owners of Hampton’s Boutique, Tanning & Salon, purchased the shopping center in which they’re located, the old Medical Mall 2 on Center Road, in June 2019.

It’s a big jump in responsibilities, going from running a salon to owning and operating an aging shopping center, but for Lisa Schneider, it’s as much a passion project as it is a business opportunity.

"We used to come to shop in Essexville as kids," Lisa says. "There’s not as much here anymore. I would love to see it built back up."

The Schneiders have re-named their shopping center Hampton’s Plaza. They’re always looking to upgrade, Lisa says, with an eye on a new parking lot in the future.

Hampton’s Boutique Tanning & Salon currently takes up five of the 30 suites in the center. Other businesses include custom printers Picking Daisies, optometrist Dr. Jay W. Bosco, and Heart to Heart healthcare training.

Lisa would love to find some new businesses to complement the current tenants, she says, like a coffee shop or deli. A larger tenant is looking at spaces, but if that falls through, maybe the Schneiders will open a banquet center – if they can find the time.

"I always appreciate when people give back to the community. We’ve run specials for hurricane relief and after school programs; the Bay County Humane Society is next," Lisa says.

"This is about supporting small businesses."

Hampton’s Plaza is located at 1480 W. Center Rd. in Essexville.

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