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Mert's Meat expands Okemos location to satisfy customer appetite for specialty products

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

Popular Asian chef brings New Thai Kitchen to Okemos

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

Small batch coffee roaster relocates blooming business to Old Town

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

Long-time coworkers envision new salon for downtown Haslett

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

Nutrition specialists open club in downtown Lansing

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

Traditional baker and Mexican chef opens new restaurant on Lansing's West Side

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

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

Long-time artist friends open Peculiar Perspectives gallery in Williamston

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

Established Trade Network moves to East Lansing

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

Inventive family opens We Love Kids N Dogs in Meridian Mall

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

Downtown Barber reopens in Williamston with old-fashioned flair

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

Vintage Junkies anchors REO Town with passion for repurposing

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

Veteran retailer opens new gift shop in Okemos

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

Z-Solutions expands to historic storefront in Webberville

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

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

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

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

Triple Goddess Bookstore acquires East Side vibe with shared space

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