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REO Town to get old-timey with new Vintage Cafe

Lansing doesn't get more vintage than REO Town, making it the perfect place for Kait Medrano to open her forthcoming Vintage Café and Catering. That face that she's lived there her entire life didn't hurt either. 
 
"I'm a Southside Lansing-type person. I've owned a house about a quarter of a mile away from here since I was 19 years old," says Medrano. "I liked the fact that they're redoing the street down here, but keeping that old time, vintage, REO Town feel."
 
Medrano plans to open her 900 square foot S. Washington St. restaurant by August 1, though visitors will be invited in for a sneak peek on July 1 during the Board of Water and Light's Going Commercial Grand Opening. Patrons will get a chance to try her made-from-scratch cooking, such as monkey bread, roasted potatoes, quiche and coffee custom roasted for the restaurant. 
 
"We bake all our own baked goods. You can cut time, but you also cut flavor and quality," says Medrano, who worked as the catering supervisor for McLaren Greater Lansing until her position was eliminated. "Ever since I was eliminated, everyone asked, 'will you just cater somewhere else now?'"
 
Vintage Café will also feature catering and will host events. Medrano employs a staff of five and someday hopes to grow into a franchise. 

Source: Kait Medrano, Vintage Cafe and Catering
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

ASK expands with 1,700 sq ft addition, new staff

Lansing IT company ASK recently celebrated two milestones: the company's 20-year anniversary, and the 1,700 square foot expansion of their office on Sovereign Dr.
 
The expansion was a necessary one, as the company's growth trend has continued. Adding four new positions over the last year, ASK is now up to 21 employees. A great number of those are senior level technical consultants, which, says Maddox, allows the company to better serve customers. 
 
"We've added more staff again this year, so our growth has continued," says ASK President Mike Maddox. "What's really been nice about the expansion is having our two teams in the same network operation center, because there's a lot of natural collaboration between them."
 
The new space was made possible when a suite next to ASK vacated, and the company was able to work with landlord Dart Development to renovate the space to the IT firm's needs. Working with Lansing's DBI, ASK outfitted the expanded office with more collaborative and enjoyable workspaces. 
 
"It's a lot bigger and there's nice, floor-to-ceiling light," Maddox says. "The mood is elevated by virtue of the natural light, and then we put in a TV and game room for when they're here over weekends or waiting for things."
 
Maddox says he expects ASK to continue to grow over the next several years. The company will also be working to develop new ways to take advantage of newer technologies for their clients.

Source: Mike Maddox, ASK
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Head Room Salon doubles space, grows staff in new Old Town location

After 12 years of helping to grow and shape Old Town into the vibrant district it is today, one of its longtime tenants is doing some growing of her own. Kendra Cosme's Head Room Salon recently opened in a brand new space, doubling the popular salon's footprint. Though the jump in size was dramatic, Cosme's love of Old Town ensured that it wasn't a big move in terms of distance. 
 
"We were in Old Town back when it was a ghost down. There were no businesses around us. Everybody thought we were crazy for being there, but being in Old Town was the best decision I ever made." 
 
Despite pressure to look elsewhere, Cosme spent years looking for the right building to come available in Old Town. Finally, she purchased a 2,200 square foot space on N. Washington in August and her family set to work renovating it. 
 
"The building is beautiful," says Cosme. "It was really a family project. I had some ideas, but other people made them come to life." 
 
The $220,000 investment has doubled Head Room Salon in more ways than just space. Cosme's staff jumped from six to 10 employees, and she says there's room to add more in the future.
 

Source: Kendra Cosme, Head Room Salon
Writer: Natalie Burg

Williamston Sport & Spine brings family chiropractic business to Grand River

Chiropractic is in the blood of Krystal Siminski's family, having grown up with her father in the business. After becoming a chiropractor herself and working for her father in Owosso for some time, Siminski and her husband, fellow chiropractor Kyle Zimmerman, decided to open their own clinic. They're now celebrating the opening of Williamston Sport and Spine on W. Grand River. 
 
"My husband learned about Chiropractic through my family," says Siminski. "We just decided we wanted to branch out and start like my father did from the ground up." 
 
It was family that brought the new chiropractors to Williamston, as Simiski's sister also has a local business, the children's store Buttons and Beanstalks. The 700 square foot clinic opened three weeks ago. Williamston Sport and Spine offers several different chiropractic techniques, as well as massage therapy.
 
"We're very sports-minded, but we don't limit ourselves to that," Siminski says. 
 
Williamston Sport and Spine currently employs Siminski, Zimmerman and a receptionist, and they are looking to hire a fulltime massage therapist as well. 
 

Source: Krystal Siminski, Williamston Sport and Spine
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

Black Box Tattoos brings creative energy, three jobs to Delta Twp.

When the only tattoo shop on Lansing's west side closed several months ago, local tattoo artist Troy Albert saw an opportunity to fill the void. He opened Black Box Tattoo Studio in a 1,600 square foot W. Saginaw space in April. 
 
"On this side of town there was only studio for a long time," says Albert. "After they closed up it was an opportunity to step into a place and raise the standard of the tattoos around here."
 
Albert's interest in his current career grew from his love of art, and he found his way to tattooing as a way to create a sustainable job in the arts. 
 
"There aren't too many job opportunities out there for artists," Albert says. "A lot of people do street art and murals and just have to be the starving artist. With tattooing, it's a good job where you can show your creativity and be who you are while doing it." 
 
Black Box Tattoo Studio employs three tattoo artists, and Albert says the staff's attention to detail and care paid to each customer sets the business apart. 
 
"We try to raise the bar," says Albert. "We really want to work with the customers, so they're very happy. We don’t like to rush tattoos."
 
Albert encourages people to visit the shop even if they're unsure about getting a tattoo, as he and his staff are happy to answer questions and talk about ideas. Examples of their work can be seen on the Black Box Tattoo Facebook page
 

Source: Troy Albert, Black Box Tattoo
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New resale shop opens on Southside, offers space to sellers

After reselling items of their own for some time, Al Labrecque and Karen Greer decided to make a business out of the practice, opening Alveda's Resale Shop on S. Waverly in March. 
 
"We wanted to open something on the south side of town, because there's nothing like this on this side of Lansing," says Labrecque. "We talked about it and decided to do it."
 
The new 1,200 square foot store sells a variety of new and resale items, including toys, collectables, electronics and more. In addition to selling their own items, Labrecque and Greer have 12 small rental booths for other resellers. Two booths are currently occupied, and the remainder are available for rental. 
 
"Our goal was to be different," Labrecque says. "I've been told we look at lot nicer and we have some better stuff than the other shops."
 
Alveda's Resale Shop will celebrate its grand opening this Friday. The store currently employs both owners, as well as receiving staffing help from a family member. 
 

Source: Al Labrecque, Alveda's Resale Shop
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

Between the Buns & More brings Michigan made treats to Holt

For three years, Ruben Garcia has been delivering Michigan made snacks and condiments to food retailers all over the state. His company, RG Distribution, began with his desire share the chips, salsas and cheese dips of his employer, El Azteco, with the world at farmers markets, events and in retailers. The company has grown, now carrying an assortment of tasty treats made here in the Mitten, and now he's going to be able to count his own store, Between the Buns and More
 
"Before we even started the distribution company, I wanted a storefront," says Garcia. "I kept running these things to people and seeing how good they're doing, so I went and got my LLC."
 
Between the Buns and More is soon opening in a 350 square foot space inside Holt's Incu-BaKe. The location will give Garcia a place to sell the products he distributes, as well as continue to connect with the producers at the incubator kitchen. 
 
"We kind of help them out," Garcia says. "That's our goal, to help people gain confidence to go push the stuff. That's the big exciting thing for them to see their product in a store." 
 
Garcia hopes to open Between the Buns and More this week. As the store becomes established he hopes to hire up to two employees to manage the operations. In addition to growing as a business, Garcia's goal is to use the store to raise funds for community groups and non-profits, including food banks and arts programs for kids. 
 

Source: Ruben Garcia, Between the Buns & More
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Plush Consignment quadruples space with new Williamston location

A year after opening her Williamston resale shop, Plush Consignments, Jamie Cripe is quadrupling the store's footprint in a new location just two buildings east of the original W. Grand River shop. 
 
"I love being in Williamston," says Cripe. "I just fell in love with the little downtown area and the people around here."
 
The new 1,400 square foot space will be quite a jump from the 350 square feet in which Plush Consignments got started, but the extra room is much needed, Cripe says. In the expanded location, shoppers will more easily be able to browse, look through clothes and move around. 
 
"It's a gorgeous space," Cripe says. "There's exposed brick on one side and lots of natural light coming in from the back and the front."
 
In addition to having more space to display her plus-sized consignment clothing and accessories, Cripe will be expanding her offerings, include some home décor, events and space for local artists to display their work. 
 
Plush Consignments will open this week in the new location. Cripe hopes the new location will help the store expand its audience, hours and eventually hire additional staff. 
 

Source: Jamie Cripe, Plush Consignments
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

Embassy Grill to triple size and staff with new W. Saginaw location

After four years in their current W. Saginaw location, the Embassy Grill is on the move. Though the new home won't be far – just three blocks down W. Saginaw to the Lansing Towne Center – the 4,000 square foot location will triple their dining capacity, as well as their staff. 
 
"We're hoping for more traffic," says General Manager Rick Badawi. "We're tucked into a corner here, but we'll be able to seat more than 140 there."
 
Work on the new Embassy Grill location has been underway since late 2012. The conversion will fairly dramatic to the former retail space that is now on it's way ot becoming a restaurant. Badawi says the atmosphere will echo the business' current look, but with the addition of patio seating and a separation between the dining and bar areas. 
 
The Embassy Grill specializes in Lebanese, Italian and American dining, though Badawi says their Lebanese food has become a particular favorite to their clientele. They hope the larger, more visible new location will bring even more new diners to the restaurant. 
 
The new Embassy Grill location is slated to open in June. With the expansion into the new space, Badawi expect to grow his staff from six to up to 20. 


Source: Rick Badawi, The Embassy Grill
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
 

The Polish Deli brings fast, authentic cuisine to Okemos

The newest addition to the Meridian Mall food court is surprising in more than one way. First of all, it's no chain. The family-owned Polish Deli has been a successful independent business in Dearborn for more than a year. Owner Barbara Skonieczka had so much success, in fact, that Okemos is now home to the family's second location.
 
"We have new customers everyday," says Carol Piechowski of the Polish Deli. "People are just finding out about us. Everybody who stops by is glad to see us."
 
And though food at the Polish Deli can be ordered and served up in a hurry, the authentic Polish cuisine is anything but the typical fast food experience. Featuring homemade potato salads, perogie and more, the restaurant offers diners a unique dining experience. 
 
"We're more of a healthier fast food," Piechowski says. "Everything is homemade to order nothing is processed."
 
The Polish Deli opened in January and employs a staff of three. In addition to Polis fare, the restaurant carries such American dishes as chicken sandwiches, French fries and salads. 


Source: Carol Piechowski, The Polish Deli
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Grand Rapids pizzeria to open downtown East Lansing location

Another popular Grand Rapids destination is coming soon to East Lansing. Just as construction on the new HopCat is getting underway, Peppino's Pizzeria and Sports Grill has announced it will occupy an approximately 11,500 square foot space in St. Anne's Lofts. The restaurant will include a first-floor dining area, as well as a second floor with a patio and three-season bar area and retractable garage doors.
 
"The upstairs will be the smaller portion, but it'll be a really happening spot," says Eric Tuinstra, Peppino's chief marketing officer. "Overall, it should look and feel a lot like our downtown location, with the brick, the televisions and the wood panel ceilings."
 
The pizzeria specializes in fresh, handmade foods. Tuinstra says opening an East Lansing location made sense, considering how many of their Grand Rapids-area patrons are MSU fans, and have suggested a Peppino's near campus would do well. 
 
"We just kept hearing that people [in downtown East Lansing] were starving for a good place to eat, with good, real food that is reasonably priced," says Tuinstra.
 
The East Lansing location will be the fourth full-service Peppino's Pizzeria, joining restaurants in downtown Grand Rapids, south Grand Rapids and Allendale. The franchise also includes six carryout restaurants. 
 
The Peppino's franchise is owned by founder Joe DiLeonardo, and the East Lansing location will be operated by franchisee Kris Elliot. Tuinstra expects the new restaurant will employ between 65 and 75 workers and will open in August. 


Source: Eric Tuinstra, Peppino's Pizzeria
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hannah's Koney Island owner to open Athena's Diner on S. Cedar

Fans of Greek cuisine will have a new place to get their fix when the new Athena's Diner opens on S. Cedar St. in the former Jon's Country Burger building. The new restaurant, which will serve both Greek and American fare, will be owned by local restaurateur, Anton Prenaj. 
 
Area diners may be familiar with Prenaj's restaurant of eight years, Hannah’s Koney Island in East Lansing's Hannah Plaza. The new Athena's Diner, says Prenaj, will be both similar to and different from his existing restaurant.
 
"We will have great food, and our service will be very nice," he says. "It's not going to be a Coney Island, but it will be a family diner."
 
Prenaj hopes to open Athena's Diner in about one month, and expects to employ a staff of about 15 employees.  
 

Source: Anton Prenaj, Athena's Diner
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
677 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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