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Strength in Numbers brings power of gaming to Lansing

There's a new game in town. And the numbers are growing.
 
Based on the East Side, Lansing's Strength In Numbers Game Studio promises to transport gamers to alternate worlds to embark on lives filled with challenge, adventure and heroism. Now 23 employees strong, the start-up gaming company is attracting talent from Michigan and beyond as it looks to transform Lansing into a hub for gaming development, publishing and entrepreneurship.
 
"With one person, it's weak company, but with more you're stronger," says Founder Scott Reschke. "We want to build that infrastructure that attracts and allows talent to stay here. Why would you let them leave and go out west when we can build something right here in Michigan?"
 
Reschke's vision grew from his previous entrepreneurial adventures in computer repair and cyber cafes. During that time, he aggregated countless hours of research based on the preferences and passions of gamers, as well as the trends and buying habits of gamers and everyday consumers.
 
Armed with data and a penchant for exploration, Reschke began building a sustainable company in the video gaming arena. His goal, he says, is not just to recycle old gaming ideas, but to create challenging, innovative and competitive games that draw on original artwork, storylines and music created by his team.
 
Currently in development, SiN Studio's Tuebor will present a multi-genre, fast-paced video game rich in story and deep with group participation. Reschke derived the game's moniker from the Latin word on the seal of Michigan that means "I will defend"–a sentiment he says is well suited for the game's premise. 
 
"Video gaming is escapism," says Reschke. "It's no different than watching baseball, football or soccer any day it's on. Those fans are imagining themselves on the mound or on the field or in action. With gaming, it's just someone's outlet for imagining their lives are a little more exciting."
 
SiN Studios took up residence April 1 in the basement of the Lyman and Sheets office building at 2213 E. Grand River in Lansing. The studio will be holding an open house on May 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Members of the community can tour the 6,000-square foot studio, meet staff, experience live demonstrations on 3D character modeling and motion capture software, and pose for photos with local cosplay groups.
 
Source: Scott Reschke, Founder, Strength in Numbers Game Studio
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Design and advertising agency moves downtown, renews focus

A creative company that got its start 17 years ago recently set up shop on Washington Square, reflecting a rebirth that coincides with Lansing's downtown district.
 
The creative professionals at AE: Adventures in New Media say their new direction answers the growing need of organizations big and small to enhance their new media presence. And with a new location at 408 S. Washington Square, the three-member company says AE has the feel of a start-up but the track record of an established agency.
 
"You'll get the comfort a small company, where you can talk one-on-one with us," says John Addis, CEO and creative director. "But we also come with the experience of having done hundreds and hundreds of state and national projects as a team."
 
AE: Directions in New Media grew from Addis Enterprises, founded by Addis in 1998. The company resided in Old Town under the name of AE Studio and Gallery from 2006-2010, then went on hiatus while Addis worked for a larger agency. During that time, Addis continued to collaborate with Tony Sabo and Jennifer Berggren, two Lansing-based creatives. After several projects and late night discussions, the three decided to join forces and resurrect AE with an eye toward 21st century strategies.
 
"Our focus on new media doesn't mean we're excluding the old," says Addis. "But we are going to put focus on new media since the bang for the buck is so much greater. There is a place for traditional media in any strategy. It just depends on the audience."
 
Addis, Sabo and Berggren recently cut the ribbon on their new space that had been the home for Capitol Fur for more than 90 years. The 1,500-square foot interior features high ceilings, original wood floors, and was moderately reconfigured to accommodate spaces for conferences, collaboration and video and audio production. Plans are to hire an assistant this summer, as well as one or two more staff.
 
"If you're going to be a new kid on the block, you want to have a store front and have people walk by and peek inside," says Addis. "This space does that."
 
Over two decades, the AE team has won awards in logo design, website design, video production, music composition, print design, and campaign development. The team has also launched more than 250 business, governmental, university, and personal websites, and produced more than 100 video projects for television and web.
 
Source: John Addis, CEO and Creative Director, AE: Adventures in New Media
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Once Upon A Child resale outlet to open in Delta

Anyone with kids knows they seem to grow an inch overnight, transforming that new pair of jeans into ill-fitting capris, or that long-sleeved shirt into a quarter-sleeve fashion.
 
A new franchise in Lansing's Delta Township has a solution for keeping kids in stylish clothes without having to lay-out high-end prices. At Once Upon A Child, customers will find gently used kids clothes for newborns through tweens, as well as high-quality used toys, baby equipment and furniture.
 
Co-owner Lisa Starks says the store focuses on buying and reselling used children clothing and gear from individuals in the community. All clothing must be freshly cleaned and laundered, and free of rips, holes or tears, while all equipment and toys must meet voluntary and mandatory safety standards.  
 
"It's great because you can sell something to us for a fair price, or buy something in the store that still looks new," says Starks. "Unlike a consignment shop, sellers are paid immediately. And if you buy, you'll save a lot of money, too."
 
Starks and co-owner Patty Roberts acquired the space at 5827 W. Saginaw Highway in February after attending extensive training at the Once Upon A Child franchise headquarters in Minnesota. Since then, the two have worked to ready the 4,000-square foot space in the Delta Center Plaza for a mid-May opening.
 
"Being a mom, I can appreciate the store concept," says Starks, who has two children under 9 years old. "It provides a great value for buyers and sellers."
 
The new Once Upon a Child is one of about 12 Michigan franchise locations, as well as nearly 300 other franchise stores in the U.S. and Canada. Starks says she is planning to hire 15 to 20 staff. All staff, she says, will be thoroughly trained as merchandise buyers, and will assess and price items according to criteria set by the franchise headquarters.
 
Source: Lisa Starks, Co-owner, Once Upon A Child
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Crafty Palate opens for downtown diners, creates six jobs

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

Old-fashioned ice cream shop to anchor edge of Old Town

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

 

Saddleback Barbecue pulls into REO Town

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

Jumbeaux brings Cajun- and southern-style meals to Lansing

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

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

Brain Balance of Lansing supports learning or behavior challenged kids

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

Bungalow 47 paints new horizons with second store

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

New downtown restaurant and market pays tribute to Lansing fast-food icon

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

Source: Tim Ellis, Manager, Henry's on the Square
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
 
Got a story idea for Capital Gains Development News? Email Ann Kammerer here.

Antique dealer transforms Victorian home into Mason bed-and-breakfast

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

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

Mediteran Cafe recreates family restaurant on smaller scale in downtown Lansing

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

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

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

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

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

Red Barn Dog Grooming puts focus on comfort, individual attention

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

Meat expands, offers carnivores more options for comfort food and drink

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