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

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

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

Mason Computer Repair sets up family business near downtown

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

Medical entrepreneur sets sights on Greater Lansing

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

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

Penn Station East Coast Subs debuts in Delta Township

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

The Executive Influence helps small companies work through big challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battery Giant energizes Midtown, sparks creation of four job

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

Bella Soaps and Lotions vends handmade products through Lansing City Market

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

Daily Bagel expands to Boji Tower, adds three jobs

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

Tabooli serves up fast and fresh Mediterranean, hires 15 people

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