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On the Rocks Wine and Spirits opens in Carriage Hills, creates three jobs

Rocky Singh was at a neighborhood gathering not too long ago in the northeastern edge of East Lansing. When the host asked if he could run out and get a few things, he said yes, not realizing how long it would take.
 
"We couldn't believe we had to drive five miles or more just to get some simple things," says Singh. "That's when I realized the need for a small store on that side of town."
 
Singh looked around at property in the Carriage Hills neighborhood and spotted a vacant storefront facing Lake Lansing Road. Within days, he put in a call to the leasing agent DTN Management and talked about his concept for a high-end party store that also carried basic convenience items.
 
By September 1, Singh was ready to open the doors to On the Rocks Wine and Spirits at  3050 E. Lake Lansing Road. He had worked for several months to redo the space, putting in sleek shelving, dramatic energy efficient lighting, and a walk-in cooler faced with stone. Finishing touches of his unique décor included rusted metal accents from an old barn and a color scheme reminiscent of autumn.
 
While ritzy in style, On the Rocks is equally everyday in appeal. Singh carries up to 400 types of craft beers and more than 500 wines. He places a special emphasis on carrying Michigan products, but says he can order any specialty beer, wine or spirits someone is looking for. Customers can also sample craft beers, wines and spirits through scheduled in-store tastings.
 
"I see this as a great opportunity to bring a decent, high-end selection of wine and craft beer to this side of town," says Singh. "It's a great neighborhood, and there's a growing market for wine and spirits."
 
Customers to On the Rocks can run in for staples like bread, biscuits, cheese, bacon, lunchmeat, hotdogs, milk and cream cheese. Common over-the-counter medicines, dog and cat food, and a small line of fresh produce are also in the mix. Three employees work the floor of the 3,500-square foot store, but Singh may add more as business grows.
 
"The neighborhood has been very welcoming," he says. "It's really heartwarming. One couple even brought us a bouquet of flowers."
 
Source: Rocky Singh, Owner, On the Rocks Wine and Spirits
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Meridian Township goes to the dogs with new day care for canines

The ground is breaking. And soon, cement will be poured, walls will go up, and a new space will be created for the furry, four-legged friend in your life.
 
Beginning in late October, Kincaid Henry Building Group will start construction of a second, brand-new location for Doggy Daycare and Spa on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Cornell Road in Meridian Township. The 7,000-square foot Okemos facility will join the original location on Lansing's West side in offering beloved canines cageless daycare, overnight boarding and grooming services—all while their owners are at work or out-of-town.
 
"We're here to provide an environment where dogs can socialize, play and enjoy spending time with other dogs," says Owner Janice Milligan. "For dogs who like other dogs, they really benefit."
 
Milligan and her father and business partner Dean Milligan are investing more than $1.1 million to build the state-of-the-art facility. The new daycare and spa will closely resemble the current location at 5325 W. Mt. Hope Highway in Delta Township and will feature a 4,000-square foot gym where dogs can romp, play and interact. The new facility will also feature 20 4-foot by 6-foot overnight spaces and a large outdoor fenced area for play and potty.
 
Milligan says that the concept of daycare for dogs works today when it might not have 30 years ago.
 
"When I was growing up in the 80s, if someone said we should take a dog to daycare, my dad would've said they were nuts," she laughs.
 
Doggy Daycare, Milligan says, acknowledges that people are busy, and that dogs are regarded as more than simply dogs.
 
"Dogs are family members," says Milligan. "People aren't satisfied to have their dog sit in a kennel all day. Bringing them to daycare gives the dog a chance to play and makes the dog's world a little bigger."
 
Doggy Day Care and Spa was originally founded in Okemos in 2000 and relocated to Delta 11 years ago. Like the Delta facility, the new Okemos location will accommodate 60 dogs a day and employ 15 people.
 
Source: Janice Milligan, Owner, Doggy Day Care and Spa
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Clients address root causes of health concerns through new Williamston facility

People seeking solutions for a health concern may find relief outside the traditional doctor visit through a newly established business in Williamston.
 
Authentic Alternative Health Choice offers a variety of approaches that can help a person achieve external and internal balance. Located at 1232 E. Grand River just west of downtown Williamston, the small facility provides ample space for the practice of health disciplines that involve massage, hot stones, reiki, lymphatic drainage, hypnotherapy and EFT, naturopathic medicine and natural health services, holistic health, life counseling and more.
 
"Many people are not finding the results they want through some of the more traditional medicines," says Owner Nicole Giguere. "People might be taking things to get rid of pain and having a hard time achieving that. They look to us to find the root cause—be it muscular, skeletal or other."
 
Giguere is among four specialists offering a unique blend of services. Her specialty, she says, is massage therapy. Another specialist focuses on naturopathy. A third specialist practices hypnotherapy. And to round out the mix, a life coach can help clients navigate change or challenging circumstances.
 
"With some clients, we refer each other's services," says Giguere. "There are correlations among all of us."
 
Giguere moved into the 817-square-foot-space in the spring of 2014 and worked with her dad—a custom homebuilder—to do all of the interior renovations. Each practitioner, she says, has a private space to work one-on-one with any of the 35 clients who visit the center each week. A small lobby with a vinyl hardwood floor and light yellow walls provides a welcoming space to enjoy cold water, hot tea and New Age music while browsing a small line of retail health products including natural energy drinks, anti-oxidant juices and essential oils.
 
"We're looking at the body holistically, or the authentic root of a person," says Giguere when how she came up with the name of her business. "And because we offer alternative choices that are health focused, the name just seemed to follow."
 
Source: Nicole Giguere, Owner, Authentic Alternative Health Care
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Long-time dance studio moves to new South Lansing location

Sixty-three years and three generations later, Patsy Watson is still dancing.
 
She just leaves the management of her dance studio to her daughter.
 
"My mom said that God gave her the gift to dance and teach," says Rhonda Mitchell, owner of Patsy Watson School of Dance. "And she's still doing it at the age of 83."
 
After six decades, the south Lansing dance studio still produces some of the area's finest dancers and provides instruction to people of all skills and abilities, ages 3 to 103. In early October, the studio underwent a major change by opening the doors on a new location just a mile or so from its original home. The 3,980-square-foot building at 3808 S. Cedar Street is about 600 square feet bigger than their old location, and features three rooms, waiting areas, and two-way mirrors so parents can watch their kids during class.
 
Mitchell says the new space allows the studio to continue to flourish and to offer classes like ballet, tap, modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballroom, Zumba and turbo kick. The studio also teaches cheer, acrobatics, mini-gymnastics, and provides after school care for neighborhood kids. About 180 students are enrolled.
 
"I'm investing in my children and grandchildren by purchasing a building for our studio," says Mitchell. "It's a family business, through and through."
 
Mitchell says her mother opened the Patsy Watson School of Dance in Lansing in 1951 with $500 and passion for teaching dance. Her mom, she says, was born in Lansing, but her grandfather moved the family to England when Patsy was just 5. Although her family endured the challenges of living in Europe during World War II, Patsy still received a solid dance education that she brought back to the U.S. when she turned 18.
 
"My mom started all this," says Mitchell. "We're just following in her footsteps."
 
Like her mother, Mitchell grew up dancing. Her daughter Vanessa did too. And now, Mitchell's infant grandchild, Lola, will more than likely dance as soon as she learns to walk.
 
"We're using the gift that God gave us," says Mitchell. "We don't charge a lot because we want children to have the chance to dance."
 
Source: Rhonda Mitchell, Owner, Patsy Watson School of Dance
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Aurora's Closet offers name brands at thrifty prices

Thrift stores, says Jennifer Normandin, are all about the hunt.
 
It's about finding that pair of designer jeans you couldn't think you could afford. Or that prom dress that's slightly vintage. Or it's about finding that single plate that completes the set you inherited from a distant relative.
 
As the owner of Aurora's Closet in downtown Williamston, Normandin understands the allure of coming into a store and never knowing what you're going to find. Located at 100 W. Grand River Ave., Aurora's Closet carries affordable clothing in excellent condition, along with a variety of other items. Clothing ranges from size preemie to adults XXL. Shoppers will also find shoes, purses, hats, accessories, toys, furniture, books and assorted household items.
 
"Some people think thrift stores are full of items that no one absolutely wants anymore," says Normandin. "That's not the case with us. Everything here is very clean. You won't find stains or rips or really worn out things. We have lots of name-brand items, and we sell things at decent prices."
 
Normandin and her business partner Janet Stumpf cut the ribbon on Aurora's closet on September 11 after a few months of prep work in the historic building. While she's unsure of the square footage, Normandin says the former video store has more than ample room for nearly 2,000 items on multiple clothing racks, shelves, tables and floor displays.
 
"When we came here, everything had a fresh coat of paint," says Normandin. "We kept the wallpaper with the 1900s country theme. We thought the imagery of general stores, horses and carts, and picket fences matched the tone of the building and the city."
 
Normandin says she carries a lot of modern clothing with well-known brands—many of which would go for $60 or more new. The price tag on most any clothing item in her store is $10 or less, with many styles and items rotating with the season.
 
"We just want people to be able to shop and not break the bank," says Normandin. "Everyone deserves nice clothes and shouldn't have to pick or choose whether they can have a nice pair of jeans or have to trade it for something else they might need."
 
Source: Jennifer Normandin, Owner, Aurora's Closet
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Barbs Designs transforms big events into small business

For Barbara Joseph, the party never ends.
 
As the owner of Barbs Designs, Joseph is in the business of providing the highest quality decorations for special events from weddings to birthday parties to baby showers.
 
"I love working with people and helping them celebrate," says Joseph. "It's rewarding to create something beautiful and exciting and to help people reach something they've been dreaming of."
 
Joseph launched Barbs Designs after her children graduated high school and she found she had extra time on her hands. She had worked for years in local government, and decided to change career paths by taking a part-time job as an events stylist.
 
Joseph combined what she learned on-the-job with her life-long experience organizing parties for families and friends and opened her home-based business in  DeWitt in July 2013. Just recently, she added two part-time employees. She also relies on the continual support of her husband and sewing wiz mother.
 
"I have a huge inventory of products," says Joseph who is also venturing into floral design. "Everything from linens to centerpieces to candelabras, and even a wooden cake stand custom-designed by my husband."
 
Joseph can show clients actual samples of display items and linens, and keeps an extensive sample book of different fabrics. In some cases, she can custom-design linens for clients.
 
"My mom is my seamstress," she says. "She's the one behind me and supporting my creative side."
 
Joseph averages about two events a month for half the year, and about three during the spring and summer wedding and graduation seasons. She says she has planned events for small groups all the way up to those for 350 guests.
 
"Even though I'm a small business, I have big ideas," says Joseph. "I never forget that each and every event is special. I want to always have that one-on-one with each customer and make them happy."
 
Source: Barbara Joseph, Owner, Barbs Designs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

UnoDeuce Multimedia moves to new space, adds staff

Visual storyteller Paul Schmidt just got started on a new chapter of his business.
 
In August, Schmidt moved operations for UnoDeuce Multimedia across the street and upstairs to a new space in REO Town. While not too much bigger than his previous place of business next to Art Alley, his new studio at 1146 S. Washington Ave. offers a configuration that includes access to a lounge area, conference room and opportunity to grow.
 
"We're right upstairs within the New Horizons learning center," says Schmidt. "It makes for good synergy. It's good for my staff. And most of all, there's room for us to grow. That's one of the big things."
 
UnoDeuce recently added a full-time video producer, or as Schmidt calls, a "chief video storyteller." Paul Henderson started in the early summer. Schmidt also works with occasional sub contractors, and is considering bringing on more full- or part-time staff depending on workflow.
 
Schmidt launched UnoDeuce in 2001 with the mission of providing low-cost, high-quality media solutions for non-profit, church-based and small business organizations. Within a decade, the company had earned national recognition for its video production quality, and became the creator of websites and media production tools for clients across the country.
 
Schmidt's local and Michigan-based customers include Lutheran Social Services, Michigan Osteopathic Association, Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, Annabelle's Pet Station, Evolve Corporate Wellness and Top Duck Products. UnoDeuce also sponsors and provides video support for the Lansing Derby Vixens.
 
"I came across a stat once that said a video is worth 1.8 million words," says Schmidt. "For us, it's all about crafting stories about people's passions using video as a storytelling tool. "
 
Source: Paul Schmidt, Owner, UnoDeuce Multimedia
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Husband-wife team roasts up wood-fired coffee on Lansing's North Side

Paul and Emily Nicholls share a love for each other and for great coffee. So when the residents of Santa Cruz, California, moved to Lansing about three years ago and got a taste of the city's entrepreneurial culture, they knew their destiny was to brew up something big.
 
In June, the Nicholls opened Rust Belt Roastery at 801 E. Grand River after a long search for the best means of production. They had never forgotten the fellow they had met on a trip out West, someone who made the best coffee they ever had using a simple, wood-fired roaster.
 
"We started looking on-line and found a wood-fired roaster up in Wisconsin," says Nicholls. "We knew we had to have it."
 
Paul and Emily purchased the 1930s Victoria Italian roaster and had it delivered via tractor-trailer to Lansing. After some adept maneuvering, they successfully planted the 3,500-pound cast iron roaster inside the 960-square-foot building that would eventually become their place of business.
 
"It's a magical device," says Nicholls. "It's big and red and chrome and was made during that time when orchards were everywhere."
 
The Nicholls live within walking distance of the roastery on the edge of Old Town. They've added to the hometown feel by roasting their first few months of beans with the ample supply of red oak sacrificed by one of their trees during last year's ice storm.
 
"We got about 60 feet of wood from that mighty branch," laughs Nicholls who also sources cherry and apple wood from a Williamston farm. "I can roast 20 pounds of beans with a piece of wood the size of a baseball bat."
 
Nicholls says the wood-fired roaster produces an exceptional smooth cup of coffee with a rich smoky flavor. He roasts about two to three 20-pound batches every Saturday, and sources his beans through single-source or fair trade suppliers.
 
"I like everything about what I do," says Nicholls. "And Lansing is a neat place with old trees, a couple rivers and a lot of nice people all working on the same team. I like that."
 
Rust Belt Roastery coffee is carried through the Old Town General Store, Vet's Too Gift Boutique, Detroit Frankie's Wood-Fired Pizza, and the East Lansing Farmer's Market.
 
Source: Paul Nicholls, Owner, Rust Belt Roastery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New Horizons opens co-working space in REO Town, relocates up to 24 jobs

Back in the "old days," computer training took place in classrooms—complete with desktops, facilitators and giant printed manuals.
 
As a Michigan leader in computer learning and training, New Horizons wanted to find a new facility that reflected their business model and more effectively served their clients.
 
Enter REO Town and a building owned by developer Alan Hooper. It was a space, says New Horizons Chief Administrative Officer Scott McLean, that provided the energetic, urban environment he envisioned. What's more, it was close to highways, downtown, and to many New Horizons clients.
 
So in August, New Horizon moved from East Lansing to 1146 S. Washington and became a "tenant" within their new venture: a collaborative working and learning space for IT and coding professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, traveling business people and more.
 
"Our business has changed so much that we wanted to look at our space and see how we can continue to add value," says McLean. "The more we talked and thought about it, the more we got hooked on the idea of creating a co-working and learning center."
 
Co:Space consists of 6,500 square feet of open work area for up to 80 people. Customers have access to WiFi, printers, scanners and storage lockers, and can drop in or purchase monthly memberships. New Horizons set aside an area for computer classes, as well as a conference space for events or meetings.
 
McLean outfitted Co:Space with industrial-style furnishings, exposed brick walls and a polished concrete floor. One wall features a huge chalk drawing by Michigan artist Greg Oberle that pays homage to REO Town.
 
"We want to be an investor in Lansing," says McLean. "A lot of Michigan cities are undergoing urban renewal and recreating areas like this."
 
New Horizons will relocate 12 staff to the new facility, with a dozen more dropping in from other sites once or twice a week.
 
Co:Space and New Horizons invite the community to celebrate the new facility with an open house on Wednesday, October 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. Free parking is available behind the building or on the street.

Source: Scott McLean, Chief Administrative Officer, New Horizons
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

East Lansing Threads brings resort-inspired brands to town, creates 10 jobs

Marsha Chouinard never suspected the email her stepdaughter sent from the East Lansing Art Fair would recommend a storefront as the family's next work of art.
 
But when Chouinard saw the picture of the vacated Kirabo's at 225 E. Grand River, she instantly knew it was the perfect place to open the Midwestern "sister store" of her Destin, Florida, boutique.
 
Chouinard began putting things in motion to open East Lansing Threads—a clothing boutique for men and women featuring trendy brands such as Vineyard Vines, Southern Proper, Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, Ella Moss, 7 for All Mankind and Splendid. The 1,200-square-foot store also carries accessories and apparel from Over Under as well as designer handbags, footwear and artisan jewelry. 
 
"Our brands aren't super expensive, but they're high quality and very well made," says Chouinard. "We try to hit, good, better and best for everything we carry."
 
Chouinard developed her passion for fashion from her career as a purchaser and manager of resort retail. She has opened nearly a dozen stores, including a Threads boutique in Destin.
 
"While our main market is college, we know that lots of moms and community members need casual weekend wear, too," says Chouinard. "In Destin, we see a variety of ages—from middle school all the way to up to men and women in their 50s."
 
After securing the spot in June, Chouinard enlisted a renovation team to build out the space. Changes included pulling out the drop ceiling, repainting walls with charcoal and light gray tones, installing a slate-looking floor, and adding fitting rooms, a new cash desk and alcoves.
 
Chouinard's husband, Marty, grew up in Greater Lansing, and encouraged her to give Michigan a try for her second Threads store.
 
"We're very excited to be part of the community, for sure," says Chouinard. "I'm really happy to have a reason to be up here and be near other members of my family."
 
Threads opened in late September with a staff of three full-time and five part-time employees.
 
Source: Marsha Chouinard, Owner, East Lansing Threads
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Al-Lin Floral and Gifts grows business, moves to new space

Alan Vogl learned all about flowers from his grandma, a master gardener in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
 
Today, Vogl is a master in his own rite as he tends to a flourishing and growing business in Okemos.
 
Vogl owns Al-Lin Floral and Gifts with his wife Linda. The 10-year-old business recently relocated to prime frontage at 1739 W. Grand River after outgrowing their space a mile east down the road.
 
"We attribute out growth to a quality product at a fair price," says Vogl of the move that nearly doubled the space for his business. "Our customer service also makes us stand out."
 
The husband-wife team decided to open the shop in 2005 after their kids packed up and went to college. Al had worked for years in a local floral shop, and with the business skills of his wife and the "home schooling" he had received from his grandmother, he felt confident cultivating a business of his own.
 
Al-Lin Floral's new 5,500-square-foot store captures attention from the busy roadway and positions the shop to nurture the floral and gift needs of new and returning customers.
 
"All our flowers are fresh and come in daily and last five to seven days," says Vogl. "We offer seasonal specials, and we do arrangements for corporate events, weddings, special occasions, every day, and most of all, just because."
 
The new store, Vogl says, will carry more unique gifts including pillows, lotions, napkins, candleholders and other home décor items. The new location will also offer a special line of Michigan products made by local artisans.
 
"We're not your typical everyday florist," says Vogl. "We encourage customers to participate in the design of their arrangement, and we offer floral classes so you can make your own arrangement to take home."
 
Al-Lin Floral and Gifts also offers seasonal decorating services for homes and businesses, tailored to customer preferences. The Vogls employ two part-time staff, and plan to hire up to two more part-time designers and three sales people in the next couple months.
 
Source: Alan Vogl, Owner, Al-Lin Floral and Gifts
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Established baker satisfies East Lansing's sweet tooth with French cookies

The trip to find one of the world's finest cookies just got reduced from a lengthy plane ride to a quick jaunt across town.
 
In late August, Kelly Toland opened the doors to her East Lansing bakery that specializes in French macarons. Located at 1133 E. Grand River Ave. next to Tasty Twist, Le Bon Macaron carries up to a dozen kinds of the European meringue cookie made from sugar, egg whites, almonds, and loads and loads of butter.
 
"They're really light cookies," says bakery owner Kelly Toland. "They're very pretty, too, and aesthetically pleasing for parties or weddings or desserts."
 
Toland says a macaron consists of two crispy shells filled with a flavored butter cream center. Cookies come in a rainbow of colors and many of the flavorings used in the butter cream center come directly from France. Must-tries including salted caramel, chocolate peanut butter, jasmine, violet or poppy seed.
 
"It's always fun to pick out or recommend flavors for customers," says Toland. "We have boxes with a clear front that hold six or 12, so no matter how you arrange them, they always look really nice together."
 
The 250-square-foot Le Bon Macaron is primarily a retail space with a back area for baking. Up to 15 people can sit on an outdoor patio shared with next-door neighbor Bell's Pizza.
 
Toland got the idea to bring a little bit of Paris to East Lansing after a college study abroad program landed her in France. When she came back, she started and ran her first business—A Piece O' Cake—for about seven years. She recently sold the business to open Le Bon Macaron.
 
Toland runs the bakery with her parents, Wendy and John Kobus. Her dad, she says, creates the macarons, starting nearly every morning at 5 a.m. to make shells, blend flavors and assemble the cookies.
 
"We've always baked and cooked together as a family," says Toland. "And since I was interested in food photography, one thing led to another. Cakes are a good creative outlet, and macarons are similar. Plus, they're very photogenic."
 
Source: Kelly Toland, Owner, Le Bon Macaron
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

The Runway debuts talent, fosters fashion growth in Lansing

Even before opening the doors to their highly anticipated retail space, The Runway has been racing to put Lansing on the fast track to becoming a Midwest fashion mecca.
 
With a grand opening slated for Thursday, Oct. 9, The Runway welcomes the fashion-conscious and fashion-curious into a 3,000-square foot storefront filled with quality, Michigan-based apparel. Featured products laid out in flexible 10 x 10 boutique spaces include Trybe, Brightly Twisted, Lionblood and MP Fashion. Others are on the way as the showroom and the related fashion incubator capture attention.
 
"Retail and fashion aren't the first thing many of us think of when we think of downtown Lansing," says Jeff Henry, operator of The Runway. "This is an inspiration for others to follow suit, as well as a motivator for our fashion incubator tenants to reach for."
 
The showroom can accommodate up to 25 brands. In addition to general traffic, the showroom looks to attract buyers from boutiques and other fashion retailers.
 
"It's a great way for buyers to get a visual of what items may look like in a store," he says. "It's also a great way to show the talent that's here in Michigan and why we started The Runway in the first place."
 
Located on the ground floor of the renovated Knapp's Centre, the showroom features all kinds of "wears" from sportswear to swimwear to street wear. A sweeping staircase leads to a 5,500-square-foot incubator on the second floor where up to 12 designers-in-residence and associate designers explore start-up businesses.
 
Anchor tenants enjoy private studio and office space, as well as shared resources to produce products. Associate designers can also access resources that include pressing and cutting tables, dress forms, industrial sewing machines, and the coveted OPTITEX's 2D and 3D software. Business planning and legal services are also available.
 
"We're focused on retaining talent and bringing industry and jobs here," says Henry. "We want to roll off the strength of manufacturing and return the Midwest to its history of making things."
 
Current designers-in-residence include Lawrence Hunt, Freshwater Apparel, LE&O, Allie Su Bridal, Swim Lively, Alex & Jayde Designs, Beauhawk, Lady Aitch, Bad Latitude and North Promontory. Economic development and organization support for The Runway comes through the Lansing Economic Development Corp. and LEAP. Major sponsors include Foster Swift and Peckham.
 
Source: Jeff Henry, Operations Manager, The Runway
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Confectionately Yours sweetens up sidewalk commute for downtown workers

Workers and visitors traversing the busy morning sidewalks of downtown Lansing this fall will find a sweet option for breakfast and snacks on the go.
 
Right after Labor Day, Heather Schmidt rolled out Confectionately Yours on the corner of Capitol and Michigan Avenues and began vending baked goods and coffee to passers-by.
 
Schmidt stocks an assortment of seven different breakfast items including scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls and yogurt parfaits within the 3-foot by 10-foot red canopied push cart. Granolas, cookies and brownies are also part of the inventory for afternoon or late-morning snackers. Hot coffee from Paramount is also on hand for caffeine seekers.
 
"We'll be offering seasonal baked goods and other things here and there," says Schmidt. "We want to keep it interesting so people smile and want to come back."
 
Schmidt worked in bakeries in Michigan and Rhode Island for about 18 years, and launched Confectionately Yours about two years ago from a licensed kitchen within her Dansville home. As demand grew for her cakes and other confections, Schmidt considered opening up a brick and mortar shop, but opted for a mobile option when her carpentry-inclined husband offered to build her a food cart.
 
Downtown Lansing was a logical choice to roll-out her food cart business, Schmidt says, because of the city's ongoing support of small business and street vendors.
 
"There's also nice traffic from downtown workers," says Schmidt. "It's great to be part of helping to liven up the downtown."
 
Schmidt says she bakes everything fresh the night before and then gets help with cleanup and stocking the cart from her three kids, ages 9 through 16. The Confectionately Yours food cart is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
 
Source: Heather Schmidt, Owner, Confectionately Yours
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Lou and Harry's responds to customer demand for downtown location

Scott Rolen listened to his mentor in the restaurant business. He also listened to his customers.
 
In late August, Rolen cut the ribbon on Lou and Harry's Downtown and began his long-awaited venture into owning and managing his first restaurant. It's an opportunity, he says, he owes to Harry Saites—a founder of the Lou and Harry's family of restaurants. And it's a chance to answer the call for a Lou and Harry's in Lansing's urban core.
 
"People have been asking us for a while to bring a Lou and Harry's to downtown," says Rolen who has worked for Saites for 10 years and will operate his restaurant under a licensing agreement. "There's a wonderful clientele down here and as long as we continue to be quick and efficient, we're sure they'll love our product."
 
Rolen promises not to disappoint and will offer the original Lou and Harry's menu of freshly made sandwiches, gyros, burgers and salads. To distinguish the downtown location, he is offering his own homemade soups and sandwich specials on a daily basis. Early risers can also stop in for coffee and a simple breakfast, including yogurt parfaits, and pitas with eggs, meat and cheese.
 
The new eatery will seat 48 people in a 1,900-square-foot space that features booths, tables and a blend of old school and modern décor. Colors are deep and earthy, with a mix of blues, oranges and reds to set off the new floors, countertops and lights.
 
"Harry and I are totally like family, and his mom and dad, too," says Rolen. "They've all been hugely supportive. His mama came in and blessed the store. It's great to have them around."
 
Lou and Harry's Downtown employs 16 people, including two cashiers and prep, line and grill cooks. Rolen hopes to branch into catering and delivery once the sit-down restaurant is up and running. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Other Lou and Harry's are located on Chandler Road in Bath Township and on East Saginaw Street in East Lansing.
 
Source: Scott Rolen, General Manager/Owner, Lou and Harry's Downtown
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor
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