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Homeless Angels sets up home base for coordinating outreach

Jessep Magoon doesn't believe that everyone who holds up a cardboard sign and asks for help is doing so to support a drug or alcohol addiction.
That's why Magoon asked a friend to create a sign for his grassroots cause that helps redefine perceptions of the homeless.
In mid-April, Magoon's sign for the Homeless Angels found a permanent home in the window of their first brick and mortar office.
"It fit perfectly," says Magoon of the portable sign he has used for outreach events. "It was one of those fate things—that this place was meant to be."
Magoon co-founded the Homeless Angels with Mike Karl in November 2013. The idea, he says, is to provide a resource that bridges the gap between the homeless and local agencies.
Until April, the Homeless Angels was run from the streets. Volunteers met in parks, parking lots, churches or other supportive organizations to coordinate outreach and "street teams" to help Greater Lansing's homeless.
"Since the beginning, our big focus has been street outreach and building relationships with people who might otherwise fall through the cracks," says Magoon who is also a student at Lansing Community College. "But since we didn't have a home base it was hard to do client intake. We did everything by laptop and cell phone, and knew as we got more innovative we would need an office."
Directly across from the State capitol, the 900-square foot office at 328 W. Ottawa Street is easy-to-access, wired for Internet, has ample storage space for a food pantry and supplies, and is staffed by a core group of about 10 volunteers. There's even a washer and dryer on site to clean cloths or blankets for homeless clients. Rent, Magoon says, is funded by donations made through GoFundMe, with other services supported through community fundraisers and donations.
Magoon says his drive to build the volunteer non-profit is fueled by his past struggles with addiction. He finds inspiration, too, in the depth of understanding held by Karl, who previously lived on the streets.
"We know there are underlying factors and a story behind why people are homeless," says Magoon. "Our hope is to shed a positive light on a negative situation, and to show the community that the homeless are not just stereotypes, but people needing help to get them back into society."
Source: Jessep Magoon, Co-founder, Homeless Angels
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Go Green Trikes rolls out on Earth Day

Yvonne LeFave got rolling on her business while waiting for the bus in East Lansing.
"Traffic was backing up because of a delivery truck that had stopped to take in four loads of big boxes," says LeFave. "All of us at the bus stop were saying there had to be a better way."
LeFave set out to find it. Beginning Earth Day, LeFave will roll out Go Green Trikes—a local courier service for businesses that involves electric-assisted trikes. The trikes, LeFave says, are more nimble in traffic than many motorized vehicles and carry up to 600 pounds. Plus, they're quirky, eye-catching and fun.
"There's nothing else like them on the road," LeFave says.
LeFave's fleet of two can go up to 100 miles each at speeds of 15 miles per hour. The ELF—short for Electric, Lightweight and Fun—operates through pedaling and a solar-powered battery, and looks like a cross between a recumbent bike and a Smart car. Go Green's larger vehicle, the Truck Trike, resembles a small pickup truck on a bike frame and can carry up to 12 18-gallon totes.
Go Green's initial cargos will be made up of print items, food, and business-to-business supplies or products. And because it's Michigan, trikes will be on the road from April to November.
"I like green technology and the idea of living without a motorized vehicle," says LeFave, whose Quaker faith puts simplicity and stewardship top-of-mind. "I've wanted to show people what can be done without a car. And this does that."
Go Green Trikes will pedal between businesses in the East Lansing-Lansing downtown districts, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. LeFave hopes to set up an office on Lansing's Eastside in the coming year, and to employ two or more part-time staff as trike couriers. For now, Go Green Trikes is reachable through her web site.
Interested in learning more about Go Green Trikes? LeFave invites the public to attend an open house on her first day of business: April 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Michigan Energy Options, 405 Grove Street, East Lansing. Both trikes and city officials from East Lansing and Lansing will be onsite. 
Source: Yvonne LeFave, President, Go Green Trikes
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Center for Business Innovation enters strategic partnership, strengthens cloud services

When you hear the word 'cloud' associated with Lansing, you can start thinking of something aside from the city's reputation as one of the nation's most overcast cities.
In mid-March, a Michigan managed technology service provider headquartered in Lansing announced a new partnership to offer Microsoft Office 365 services to businesses and organizations. By pairing with AppRiver—a software-as-service organization—the Center for Business Innovation will build on 14 years of cloud computing experience by becoming an authorized reseller for Office 365.
"We're excited to partner with AppRiver for our Office 365 service offerings," says Douglas Horne, CBI technology services director. "Our partners will not only receive anywhere access to the latest version of Microsoft applications, but will also have access to the CBI Partner Care Center for personable, technical support."
The CBI provides business-to-business cloud, networking, imaging and professional services to thousands of customers across Michigan and the Midwest. The new partnership with AppRiver is an extension of CBI's cloud services in the mobility market.
"People are wanting to work on phones and tablets and from coffee shops and homes," says Katie Saglimbene, CBI marketing and communications director. "The new service and software will serve the workforce more from the mobility aspect."
Saglimbene says that CBI provides technical support for nearly 2,000 customers. The same will hold true for the new partnership with AppRiver when customers need to resolve issues related to the use of Office 365.
"It's easier for our partners to call us than to try and call Microsoft directly," she says. "We can provide that personal relationship and level of support that you might not get from a big conglomerate."
CBI has regional offices in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Southfield, Flint and Saginaw. About 45 people work in the Lansing office, with potential to add more trained specialists to service Office 365.
Source: Katie Saglimbene, Marketing and Communications Director, Center for Business Innovation
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Red Haven expands kitchen, adds staff to serve growing menu and food truck

Mid-Michigan farm-to-table dining experience is getting bigger.
The once fledging Red Haven is adding nearly 1,000 square feet to the existing 2,200-square food restaurant at 4880 S. Hagadorn Road in East Lansing. Co-owner Nina Santucci says Meridian Township approved the expansion the week of March 3. Renovations, she says, will be completed by mid- to late-April and primarily involve adding square footage to the kitchen, and reconfiguring space to create a private dining area.
"The additional kitchen space will allow us to prep and store food for our new lunch menu and for our food truck and catering services," says Santucci of the Red Haven and the popular Purple Carrot food truck. "Our goal is to get our food truck up and running five days a week rather than the current two we've been doing since the restaurant opened."
Santucci and her business partner and husband Anthony Maiale celebrated the grand opening of Red Haven in October 2012. A sit-down complement to the Purple Carrot, the restaurant serves upscale food made from seasonal, local ingredients in a casual environment.
Red Haven's tapas style of dining encourages restaurant guests to experiment and share menu items at their table. An ever-changing seasonal menu includes dinner favorites like white bean and kale soup, patty melt, pork steak, chicken confit panini, and shrimp fettuccini. The new lunch menu, which started in January, features similar items with a focus on sandwiches, soups and lunch-size plates of pasta.
"We try to put a creative spin on classic dishes," says Santucci. "We want to have that sense of whimsy and bring you something that you wouldn't expect."
Santucci says that the expanded kitchen will include a couple convection ovens plus lots of storage.
"It will be helpful to have more space for our dry storage items," she says. "Plus we'll actually have a real office here."
The Red Haven employs 25 cooks, wait staff and managers. Santucci says the expansion and new lunch service may enable the restaurant to add up to five staff in the summer season.

Source: Nina Santucci, co-owner, Red Haven
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Red's Smokehouse to bring BBQ artistry to Lansing City Market

Carol Smith has perfected her artistry for years. Now she's ready to share her barbecue and smoking finesse with Greater Lansing through Red's Smokehouse in the Lansing City Market.
Located directly across from the Waterfront Bar & Grille, Red's Smokehouse will offer briskets, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and portabella mushrooms and vegetables come early- to mid-April. The idea, Smith says, is to provide easy take-out food that can be enjoyed at home or outside on a warm day. She even has plans to serve chili and soup with a smoky flavor once she gets up and running in her 425-square foot booth.
"We're a barbecue restaurant that does things a little bit different," says Smith. "I do more dry rubs than wet, and use more spice than others. One of my rubs has 20 spices, so it's a little more complex."
Smith earned her chef hat after attending culinary school and worked for a variety of restaurants in Michigan and other states. She's been a server, chef, butcher and manager, and has prepared meals for weddings, graduations and other special events through her catering services.
Smith and her assistant, Jacke Randall, say they will focus on bringing a Michigan flavor to Red's Smokehouse as much as possible.
"Right now I have a friend who does tree trimming and we're on the hunt for hickory, cherry and apple so we can use local woods to smoke," says Smith.
Smith and Randall say Red's Smokehouse signature items will be the pulled pork sandwich, followed by pulled pork nachos with black beans and cheese. The versatile features of a Chinese-made smoker will also allow Red's to diversify the menu and to cold smoke vegetables, cheese and seafood.
"This is a really great opportunity for us," says Randall. "The City Market is a great place to start out small and grow big."
Source: Carol Smith and Jacke Randall, Owners, Red's Smokehouse
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Avant-garde food court at LCC inspires downtown dining

Diners hungry for downtown ambiance will find an abundance of satisfying and trendy selections when Lansing Community College opens its new food court this fall.
Now under construction, the food court in the Gannon Building will feature a smorgasbord of specialty areas for a customized, culinary experience as well as nationally branded vendors including Einstein Bagels, Pizza Hut and Subway.
Food stations managed by the Michigan-based Continental Services will feature handcrafted Angus burgers, hand-cut French Fries, breakfast burrito and sandwiches, and other specialty grill items. Diners can create fresh, custom salads at a Wild Greens station, while time-pressed or snack seekers will find grab-and-go options such as frozen yogurt, fresh popcorn, pretzels and cherry and cola-flavored ices through the Retail Market Outtakes. An EVO circular grill in a global cuisine area allows adventurous palates to experience foods from around the world.
"The community is welcome to come in, dine and see the new LCC," says Director of Public Affairs Ellen Jones. "The food options are fantastic and will awe you as much as the incredibly designed space."
The food court and student commons area are part of LCC's $18.3 million renovation to the Gannon Building that includes a curving glass wall on the building's eastern side.
"The beautiful glass wall will make the building an instant landmark and help make Grand Avenue truly grand again," says Jones. "On a nice day, downtown workers may want to walk the avenue past the Accident Fund to enjoy the wonderful view as well as a spectacular lunch."
Lansing's Granger Construction will manage the construction, while Lansing Glass will install the curving glass wall. Viracon, a company that made the glass for the Spertus Building in Chicago, will manufacture the actual glass, with framing provided by Innovation Glass. 

Sparrow and Mary Free Bed to bring advanced inpatient rehab, 70 jobs to Lansing

A joint venture between two hospitals in Lansing and Grand Rapids will provide advanced inpatient rehabilitation care and create employment opportunities in mid-Michigan.
Sparrow Hospital and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital will partner to create Mary Free Bed at Sparrow, a dramatic expansion of Sparrow's rehabilitation unit that will be built during the next 18 to 24 months.
"Patients in mid-Michigan have not had the kind of access to rehabilitation care that patients in Southeast Michigan or Grand Rapids have had," says Kent Riddle, CEO of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids. "Rather than going it alone, Sparrow approached us in this exciting venture to broaden the base of rehab care available."
The two hospitals will co-invest $5 to $7 million to double the size of the existing 20,000 square foot rehabilitation unit at Sparrow's Lansing facility. The new 40,000 square foot wing will span the entire sixth floor, feature all private rooms and two therapy gymnasiums, and will accommodate up to 40 patients day—twice the unit's current capacity. Staff is also expected to double, Riddle says, upping current needs from 70 to 140 employees.
"We see a tremendous opportunity to service patients together with quality rehabilitation and through sub-specialty programs," says Riddle. "Serving patients with cancer and stroke care is high on our list, for instance."
Established in 1891, Mary Free Bed has grown into the most comprehensive provider of rehabilitation services in the state. Sparrow is the largest provider of inpatient rehabilitation care in mid-Michigan and has the region's only Level 1 Trauma Center.
Source: Kent Riddle, CEO, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Michigan Creative moves to new co-working space, adds first full-time staff

This February, Michigan Creative will celebrate three years of business, job creation, and new digs at the Center for New Enterprise Opportunity, 934 Clark Street in Lansing. It's a move, CEO Town says, that reflects his philosophy of always being there to provide expert creative services to Michigan businesses.
"It would be silly for us to get a space and be a company all by ourselves," says Town as he reflects on the value of occupying the third floor of co-working space at the NEO Center. "We're around so many people here who have a passion for the local area. It's a perfect fit, and it feels like we've been here forever."
Town, his staff of eight part-timers, and his first-ever full-time employee, Melissa Meschke, relocated from East Lansing's Technology and Innovation Center to Clark Street on Dec. 1. A grand opening is in the works for Feb. 20, with a program chock-full of speakers and presentations that celebrate good things happening in Michigan.
As a full-service marketing company specializing in web design and video production, Michigan Creative also offers branding, social marketing, and creative strategies for leveraging the often slim- to none-marketing budgets of any Michigan business.  
"We want to be unique and not just be 'that marketing company,'" says Town. "Our goal is to be long-time partners with companies we work with. We'd even like to place employees within companies once a week as a resource to help with marketing and business decisions."
Town says he envisions Michigan Creative as a 100-person company in as little as five years, with employees who live and raise families in mid-Michigan.
"Right now, we're a marketing company, but we hope to become a business development company too," says Town. "We just want to employ a lot of people and help them to stick around."
Source: Brian Town, CEO and Owner, Michigan Creative
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Craft & Mason spills the beans on single-source fresh coffee

Jeremy Mason was never much of a coffee drinker until he came upon an espresso place that sourced beans from local farmers. From then on, he was hooked.
"When I find something I like, I look at it from as many angles as I can," says the co-owner of Craft & Mason Roasting Company, a brand new micro roaster in Lansing. "I started visiting coffee shops that used small roasters and checked out direct trade arrangements for ordering green beans."
Mason bought his first beans from Sweet Maria's—a home-roasting site that sources beans directly from small farmers. He did his first roasts in a popcorn popper, and when he shared a cup with his friend, Eric Craft, they decided to brew up something bigger.
The two friends purchased several hundred pounds of beans, bought a small roaster, and launched Craft & Mason in a 500-square-foot warehouse. Since December 2013, the two have roasted once a week, filling orders for local restaurants, coffee shops and individuals.
"We feel coffee tastes best when it's fresh," says Mason, who sells online direct and ships within one to two days. "If you can drink coffee within the first two weeks of its roast, it's the best."
Mason believes that enjoying coffee that's fresh roasted from a single origin can be as unique as eating food from a great local farm. His goal, he says, is to honor small coffee farmers by finding the optimal spot in each roast that maximizes the complex flavors of the beans.
"It's a little bit like wine," says Mason of the varieties he sources from El Salvador, Columbia and Sumatra. "All the questions you might ask of a cabernet or pinot wine, you could apply to coffee."
Source: Jeremy Mason, Co-owner, Craft & Mason Roasting Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

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."

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
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