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Ciena Healthcare Management expands footprint of Delta facility, adds 30 more jobs

Plans for a new rehabilitation facility in Delta Township have grown in scope after an enthusiastic reception prompted the health care company to take a second look.
 
Southfield-based Ciena Healthcare Management is expanding the blueprint of the 78,000-square-foot Regency at Lansing West by several thousand feet to accommodate 120 beds—up 20 from the 100 announced at the December 2013 groundbreaking. The increase, says CEO Mohammad Qazi, adds $1 million to the $9.1 million investment, as well as 30 more full-time jobs.
 
"We're also excited that we're creating construction jobs during the building phase," says Qazi, who estimates the now 150 full-time staff jobs will bring about $6 million in salaries to the local economy. "The community response has been very positive. We're anxious to get open."
 
Regency at Lansing West is the first Ciena facility in mid-Michigan and joins a network of 34 other company-run centers in the state. The facility will be located on Broadbent Road off Interstate 96 and is slated to open in fall 2014.
 
The single story building will feature private and semi-private rooms, common areas, a restaurant with chef-prepared food, and a library, lounge and salon. Regency at Lansing West, Qazi says, is a departure from older health and rehab facilities built in the '60s and '70s, and mirrors the "medical hospitality model" in which customers are regarded as guests, not patients.
 
"Most of the guests we will have will be coming direct from the hospital for a couple weeks of rehabilitation, and will range in age from 60 to 70," he says. "Since we are looking to meet the needs and expectations of a relatively younger population, this will be a very different environment, with lots of amenities."
 
Source: Mohammad Qazi, president, Ciena Healthcare
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Students climb toward new careers at Lansing Community College

The demand for line workers is climbing, and Lansing Community College is poised to help students reach new heights through a growing Electrical Utility Lineworker Program.
 
"I've heard figures from a local utility company that half of their line workers will retire in the next three years," says Matt Dunham, program director for the Utility and Energy Systems Program at LCC.
 
Dunham says about 53,000 jobs are projected to open up nationally for line workers before 2020, with median salaries of more than $63,000. In Michigan, about 100 or more jobs are expected to be available in 2014. The need for skilled line workers has bubbled up even more after record-breaking ice and snowstorms in early winter tested the response times of mid-Michigan utilities.
 
Last summer, LCC doubled the size of its line worker training program by opening the six-acre, $2.1 million Great Lakes Center for Utility Training with support from the Board of Water & Light. Three adjunct instructors were hired in 2013 and one in 2012 to facilitate training.
 
Since 2008, the LCC's line worker program has trained and certified more than 60 people through a school to work partnership with Consumers Energy. About 50 percent of those graduates have gone on to work at the utility, while others have secured employment through contractors associated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The college also partners with the Lansing Board of Water & Light to provide classroom training for 12 occupational apprenticeships at the municipal utility.
 
Students interested in learning more about LCC's selective admissions program for utility line workers should attend one of three information sessions on Feb. 5, Feb. 17 or March 13. Further information is also available on the program website.
 
Source: Matthew Dunham, program director, LCC Utility and Energy Systems Program
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Firehouse Subs brings 30 jobs and fundraising flair to downtown Lansing

Sam Shango took his family on a Florida vacation and came back with more than T-shirts. He came back with a concept for a hot franchise.
 
The first week of January, Shango opened the doors to Firehouse Subs at 200 S. Washington Square in downtown Lansing. Founded by firefighters, the "fast casual" Florida chain gained fame and popularity by serving piping hot meats and cheeses on toasted rolls while raising dollars for first responders.
 
"I've been watching the brand and was taken by their unique business model," says Shango of the eatery that merges food and fundraising. "Not only is the food great, but they have a foundation that benefits local fire stations and the community."
 
Shango laid the groundwork for the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation while preparing to open his first franchise. Now in full operation, Lansing's Firehouse Subs commits a percentage of sub sales to support local first responders and public safety organizations. Other foundation venues include spare change canisters, rounding up sales, and selling empty five-gallon pickets buckets for $2 each.
 
"I've never done anything so complete," says Shango of joining a franchise that boasts 700 units across 38 states. "From the quality of the food to giving back to the community – it just makes you feel good to be part of it, and to eat lunch here."
 
Shango invested about $400,000 to transform the 2,500-square foot state office facility to a sit-down restaurant. Renovations included upgrades to HVAC, water and electrical systems, as well as an extensive corporate makeover to simulate a firehouse interior. Red, white and black dominate the floor plan, while a Lansing-centric mural commands attention.
 
Shango hired 30 people to staff the first of three Firehouse Subs he plans to co-own and manage with his brother Eddy Shango.
 
Source: Sam Shango, Co-Owner and Manager, Firehouse Subs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

The Institution fitness studio to celebrate downtown grand opening

When Paul Nagel retired from military service, he thought he could leave his exercising day behind him. It didn't take long before he found himself unhappy with the results of that idea, and his change in habits changed the rest of his life. Now a certified trainer and new resident of Lansing, Nagel and he his partner Jennifer Battle own The Institution Fitness Studio, which will celebrate the grand opening of its new location on Dec.13.
 
"We like to have fun, but we want results too," says Nagel. "We take a personal interest in our customers. We're not here to make a million dollars overnight; we're here to give people their lives back."
 
The class-based fitness studio offers a variety of classes, and Nagel and Battle have a particular interest in children's fitness. They offer free weekly classes for kids between six and 12 on Saturdays. 
 
"For the first time in history our children will not outlive us," says Nagel. "We want to be part of the solution. Every single child is invited, and they can come and workout and have fun."
 
The new 1,000 square foot studio is on S. Washington Sq. Nagel says he and Battle hope to continue to grow The Institution to multiple locations and possibly franchise the business in the future. Currently, they're working to grow into their new space, and they plan to work with four to five contract instructors to help teach their courses. 
 

Source: Paul Nagel, The Instution
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Downtown Lansing to be among the first homes of "Shark Tank"-backed Tom+Chee restaurant

Next month Downtown Lansing will be among the first places to open a restaurant that is set to start spreading across the country. After appearing on ABC’s "Shark Tank" in May, the small, Cincinnati-based restaurant Tom+Chee earned $600,000 in investment funds, followed by more than 9,000 franchise requests from around the world. 
 
Fortunately for Lansing, franchisee Mark Wibel was in on the grilled cheese and tomato soup-themed restaurant concept early. Prior to appearing on the show, owners Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush met with Wibel, and the result will be Tom+Chee's seventh location opening in Lansing on Dec. 10. 
 
"He has a pretty extensive franchising history," Corey Ward says of Wibel. "We were identifying the best candidates to open our first stores, and he just has tons of experience with multiple brands."
 
The 1,700 square foot restaurant will feature unique, affordable twists on grilled cheese, such as "Hippy+Chee" with hummus and vegetables, "Pep+Chee" featuring pepperoni and "Flying Pig" with turkey, bacon and pickles. Ward hopes the Lansing lunch crowd will receive the grilled cheese concept just as well as the crowds at their original restaurant.
 
"The buildign actually reminded us a lot of our first location in Cincinnati," he says. "The architecture looks familiar, and it's a nice location - an awesome lunch location." 
 
Tom+Chee will open with 10 to 15 employees. The restaurant will soon be joined by three additional franchise locations outside of Michigan, and a boom of 30 to 40 Tom+Chee restaurants is expected in 2014. Wibel plans to open at least two more locations in Michigan. Ward and Quackenbush will be featured this Friday in an update episode of "Shark Tank."

Source: 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

LCC's $31M Arts & Sciences Building renovation unveiled as hub for creativity and innovation

Lansing Community College's newly renovated Arts and Sciences Building is more than just a facility to house students and instructors; it's a building designed to embrace learning, support inquiry and foster creativity. The $31 million renovation of the 180,000 square foot project was completed just in time for fall classes to begin in Aug., and LCC celebrated the building's grand opening in October. 
 
"Our goal was to build spaces that were inviting to students and enable learning and teaching in a place where everyone would want to be," says LCC President Brent Knight. "We set out to build spaces as good as any college or university in the nation for freshman and sophomore instruction."
 
The Arts and Sciences Building includes such features as a tutoring and study space called the Learning Commons, a visual homage to history's great writers called the Writers Walk, the Science Innovation Center and more than 250 works of art. Key to the design, says Knight, was creating spaces that could change with the evolving demands of higher education. 
 
"We have many large, open spaces in the building," he says, "so that will serve the college in the future, no matter how learning changes."
 
Now underway is another LCC project nearby on Grand Ave. Knight says the renovation of the student commons building will create an "instant Lansing landmark." 
 

Source: Brent Knight, Lansing Community College
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Custom Embroidery Plus moves to larger, 2,500 sq ft Lansing location

Custom Embroidery Plus is celebrating the opening of their new Lansing location. The new 2,500 square foot space near N. Cedar on E. Saginaw brings the company closer to downtown, as well as into a larger, more visible location. 
 
"We do screen printing, embroidery, Carhartt, scrubs and heat press," says owner Kirk Gartside.
 
The new Custom Embroidery Plus location is about 400 square feet larger than its previous Lansing location. Garside says the extra space will allow the business to expand both its services and its inventory. 
 
"We're MSU licensed, so we have MSU gear in here," says Gartside. "We just plan to keep growing."
 
The original Custom Embroidery Plus store is in St. Johns. The company employs seven to eight employees across both locations. 
 

Source: Kirk Gartside, Custom Embroidery Plus
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Smalley Investments looks toward growth in new home, historic Kerr House

The new home of Smalley Investments is giving the local investment management firm the chance to return to Downtown Lansing, just as their move is giving the home itself a chance to return to its historic status as an active building. The stately, 1854 Kerr House has been renovated for the needs of Smalley Investment is now a part of the company's growth. 
 
"It's an absolutely gorgeous structure," says owner Joe Smalley. "It has these huge columns in the front, and it's a very prominent looking building. It needed a lot of world, but I was able to see the potential. I saw I could put my stamp on it." 
 
Smalley did that with the help of local designer Bradly Rakowski, of Bradly’s Home & Garden in Old Town. Work on the approximately 2,200 square foot renovation began in April, and Smalley Investments moved in in June. The firm opened in Downtown Lansing in 1999, before later moving to East Lansing. Smalley says he is delighted to return to downtown.
 
"Being back downtown has really given us the ability to serve our business clients," says Smalley. "We now have a larger footprint, so we can have larger meetings with our new conference room."
 
The large space will also help the firm continue to grow in size. Smalley is currently in the hiring process and expects to hire up to two additional staff members over the next year. 

Source: Joe Smalley, Smalley Investments
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

FLEX City Fitness doubles space with new Downtown Lansing location

It didn't take very long for FLEX City Fitness to hit its stride. Just a year and a half after opening, the small group fitness business is moving from its original, 1,000 square foot location to a new, 2,200 square foot space on Washington Square.
 
"We grew about 50 percent in our first year, and we just wanted to be able to accommodate the growth," says FLEX City Co-founder Jenny Quinn. "We also wanted to stay committed to Downtown Lansing. We really believe in what's going on here."
 
FLEX City Fitness combines the community support of class exercise with the attention of a personal trainer with small classes. The classes alternate cardio and strength training, and the workouts change so clients are always surprised with a new challenge. 
 
"We have indoor cycling, treadmills, barre and more," Quinn says. "The intervals change every day, the different pieces of equipment change, so it keeps people's bodies changing and guessing."
 
Along with the new space, FLEX is developing online classes for clients who may not be able to attend as often or students who may leave town during the summer. The new studio will also have new equipment to improve clients' experience.
 
FLEX City Fitness will open for its first class in the new location on Aug. 19. The business is operated by Quinn and her partner, Trista Parisian with the help of two interns. They hope to continue their growth to add new instructors in the future. 

Source: Jenny Quinn, FLEX Citiy Fitness
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

The Runway to return fashion to the Knapp's Building in 2014

For decades, when young fashion designers wanted to make it in the industry, the obvious decision was to pack up and move to New York, Paris, London or precious few other fashion-centric cities. Could Lansing be the next hot spot for aspiring designers?
 
If it sounds far-fetched, consider the fact that The Runway, Lansing's forthcoming fashion business incubator isn't being created in the hopes that fashion talent will find their way to the city; it's to begin harnessing all of the fashion-based entrepreneurship that is already here. 
 
"When Jeff Smith and I were came on, we were evaluating and were looking for a unique thing we don't have an incubator for yet," says Co-Director the New Economy Division for Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). We kept running into people who were starting their own fashion lines. There are a number of people who are getting formally trained in this area, and there are lot more people who are dabbling in it on the side."
 
On track to open in January of 2014, The Runway will soon be under construction in an 8,200 square foot space in the Knapp's Building, including a floor level and mezzanine level. The first floor will offer a flexible space for the designers in residence to sell their work, as well as events. The mezzanine level will include 13 offices.
 
Not only is The Runway a great fit for a community with so much fashion talent, says Szymusiak, but also because of the very building it will be a part of. 
 
"This is bringing fashion back to the most iconic department store in the area," he says. "The retail space for tenants will really bring that back to the Knapp's Building."
 
LEAP is the service provider for The Runway, which is funded by the Lansing Economic Development Corp. 


Source: Ken Szymusiak, LEAP
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

What Up Dawg? looks to expand into Downtown Lansing

The East Lansing restaurant known as the hot spot for hot dogs is continuing to grow with an eye on Downtown Lansing. What Up Dawg? recently expanded their sales with a new downtown hot dog cart, and is hoping to be the newest business in the bustling block of Michigan Ave. that includes The Loft and The Tin Can. 
 
"One of the owners of this building saw us and they really weren't interested in doing their own food, they just wanted to book musical acts," co-owner of What Up Dawg Seth Tompkins says. "They are trying to provide an atmosphere on that block where you can go to multiple venues all at the same stop." 
 
The new space would operate as a "What Up Dawg Express" says Tompkins, offering an abbreviated menu from a 400 square foot location. The format would be similar to other food businesses on the block, and be believes the location would be a great fit for What Up Dawg. 
 
"With the convention center there and all those bars, its great, and it's about two blocks from the Capitol," Tompkins says. "And what I really like about this location is that it's a good location in July, and good location in September."
 
While plans for the new location are still pending, Tompkins says he hopes to open by August if possible. In addition to the new staff member hired to operate the hot dog cart that is open daily on the corner of Washington and Ottawa downtown, the express restaurant would create two new positions. 
 

Source: Seth Tompkins, What Up Dawg?
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Capitol City Scoop to open this week with MSU Dairy Store treats

Downtown Lansing's newest business brings something new as well as something familiar to the neighborhood. Capitol City Scoop will be downtown's only dedicated ice cream parlor, serving MSU Dairy Store ice cream and opened by the owner of Downtown Lansing's The Barberrettes and Coterie Purlieu, Felix Compos.
 
"I'm hungry," says Compos. "I think Downtown Lansing needs these businesses that I've chosen. The Lugnuts and other businesses sell ice cream, but no one specializes in it."
 
A longtime MSU fan with family connections to the university, when Compos started thinking about an ice cream store, he immediately thought of the MSU Dairy Store. It only took a phone call to get the partnership moving, and with the local creamery's involvement, Capitol City Scoop will serve more than just ice cream. 
 
"We're going to have a chef and he'll be doing some foods," Compos says. "Quick stuff you can eat for lunch. Some of it will be a little Southwestern. We're bringing in real tortilla from San Antonio."
 
Capitol City Scoop will have 12 to 16 flavors of ice cream, as well as cheeses and lunches made by the in-house chef. Similar to Compos other businesses, the shop has undergone significant renovation to fit his classy, signature style, including an upper level seating area.
 
The shop is set to open on Thursday with a grand opening planned for next Monday. Capitol City Scoop will employ a staff of up to six.  
 

Source: Felix Compos, Capitol City Scoop
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New downtown law firm focuses on the arts and non-profits

A background in theater arts, non-profit administration and law may not be a conventional career path, but it's what has made Katharine Hude's new law practice, Hude Legal Services, so special. 
 
"I love working with non-profits and artists because of my background," Hude says. "It's part of what makes me a little unique in terms of what legal service I offer."
 
A Lansing native, Hude opened her Seymour Ave. business in February in a building shared by other legal practices and non-profits. Her specialty extends beyond offering legal advice to those in arts and non-profit community, but also consultant services such as strategic planning and communications planning. 
 
"I think there are a lot opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs in the Lansing area," says Hude. "The arts community is being looked at more and more in terms of economic development and attracting talent. It's important." 
 
Hude hopes to continue to grow her new practice in Downtown Lansing. She hopes Hude Legal Services might in the future have a staff that may provide non-profits with administrative services the organizations may not be able to afford to maintain in-house. 
 

Source: Katharine Hude, Hude Legal Services
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Michael's opens in former Brannigan Brothers space

Now on its third identity in the last year, the former Brannigan Brothers location in Downtown Lansing recently opened as a new restaurant and bar called Michael's. According to bartender Benjamin May, the new name comes with a classier atmosphere.
 
"We have a lot more top shelf alcohol," he says. " We're trying to attract a different crowd, a little bit older, such as the grad students at Cooley."
 
The restaurant's interior has been completely renovated since its time as Brannigan Brothers. Michael's now features live blues music on Wednesday nights and is also focusing on catering to sports fans with several TVs, as well as the local lunch crowd. 
 
Michaels currently employs a staff of approximately 14, and May says the new business has been busy since their opening in mid-March. 
 
"It's been a lot busier since the new owner has come in," he says. "We've got a pretty awesome staff."
 
May says Michael's hopes to soon add live music on the weekends in addition to Wednesdays. 
 

Source: Benjamin May, Michael's
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

MODI Gallery offers new option for local artists

It began with Brendan Martin's desire to find the right place to show his own work, but now into its second show on Michigan Ave., the new MODI Art Gallery has the potential to become much more. 
 
After moving back to the Lansing area where he grew up after living in Philadelphia and studying art in New York, Martin noticed a gap in the local arts scene.
 
"There are [local galleries] with older, more accomplished artists, and others that sell postcards and jewelry," says Martin. "There isn't a professional environment for young, emerging artists. We wanted to be a tradition style gallery with one show per month." 
 
Together with partner Pat Abood, Martin set about changing that with the 600 square foot space at 605 E. Michigan Ave. A former medical marijuana dispensary, the pair invested some serious time and elbow grease into the storefront to transform it into a gallery, aided by funds raised on Kickstarter. 
 
MODI Gallery opened with a showing of Martin's work on Feb. 1. A second month-long showing is now underway, and artists have expressed interest in showing in April as well. That all depends, says Martin, on how MODI continues to take shape as an organization, as he hopes it will become more of a community project than a proprietorship.
 
"We want to stay open and be able to let people show there," he says. "We're looking at how we can do that." 
 
Martin is optimistic about MODI's future. He and Abood have already partnered with such organizations as the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and Lansing Art Works. 


Source: Brendan Martin, MODI Art Gallery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
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