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Entrepreneurship : Development News

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Local owners open area's third Culver's in Eastwood Towne Center

Lansing just can’t seem to get enough of Culver’s, the fast food franchise famous for its frozen custard. Holt residents Jay Laing and Scott Berman have now opened their first, but the area’s third Culver’s restaurant in Eastwood Towne Center.
“We looked at a variety of concepts, and Culver’s was the best fit for us,” says Laing. “It’s really proven to be successful over the past several years.”
The 4,300 square foot restaurant is one of the first few Culver’s in the nation with an updated floor plan that gives customers and employees more room. The restaurant holds 108 diners, and currently employs about 60 workers. Even more diners will be welcome when the weather allows them to open their patio. 
“We went to great lengths to make the patio an appealing place,” Laing says.
The new Culver’s opened last week after breaking ground in July. Laing says the business plans to be active in the community, including events and partnerships within Eastwood Towne Center. 

Opie's Pizza to open, create 11 jobs on Chandler Road

Paul De Leon could be opening an authentic Mexican restaurant in Wisconsin right now, but thanks to a chance meeting while shopping for a truck to take him there, his plans changed. 
“The sales guy had a long experience with pizza,” says De Leon. “He had a really good pizza recipe, and he asked me if I was interested in opening a restaurant with him.”
That’s how De Leon and Bill Grantham began their working relationship, which will result in the opening of Opie’s Pizza on Chandler Road in Bath Township later this month. 
“We’re about 96 percent ready,” De Leon says. “We had to make a pizza place out of a room with just four walls. We had to make the kitchen and dining room and bathrooms. It was a lot of work.”
De Leon and Grantham hope all that work will be worthwhile when they open their doors on January 23. The 1,800 square foot restaurant will include a full bar and will employ 11 workers upon opening.  
The business partners hope to expand Opie’s Pizza into a franchise, beginning with future locations in Old Town and Grand Ledge. 

Twisted Fiber Art expands into Mason space, doubles staff

Until recently, Twisted Fiber Art, was a bit of a secret in Mason. Operating for seven years in founder Meg Campbell-Crawley’s home. Though Campbell-Crawley’s unique, hand-dyed yarns have gained a worldwide following, the growing operation was hardly visible at all locally. 
All of that changed when she and partner Anne Bohl officially outgrew their space and opened in a 2,000 square foot studio and retail space in Downtown Mason in 2012.
“We weren’t looking for a retail spot,” says Bohl, “but we came in and talked to the woman who owns the space, and it was great for us. We have triple the space we had before, and people have really enjoyed it. The yarn is a real tactile thing, and they’ve wanted to touch it.”
As it turns out, the retail space was a great boon to the business. Since their move, Twisted Fiber Art has nearly doubled their staff, now employing nine workers, and fans of their yarn have traveled from miles around to see the unusual product. 
“We start with really nice yarn,” Bohl says of Twisted Fiber Art’s unique appeal. “Meg’s eye for color is just really, really special. Each skein is dyed by hand and with care. 
Bohl explains that the yarn differs from other products because their colors are not variegated, but striped, creating a different color-changing effect. 
“You can’t even tell the color is changing.,” she says. “It creates something that is just a show stopper.”
According to Bohl, she and Campbell-Crawley will continue to focus on slow, steady growth in their new location. The shop will soon add knitting lessons to their business, giving novice knitters the chance to learn how to do more and better knitting with their popular product. 

The independent bookstore returns to Holt with The Bookshelf

Some may believe the era of the independent bookstore is ending, but Laura Murphy isn’t buying it. When Bargain Books in Holt closed after Murphy managed the store for seven year, she wasn’t ready to give up on the concept – or the customers. 
“I enjoy the people who shopped there,” Murphy says. “The customers are just great. I've done a lot of retail in my day, and they're the best customers.”
That’s why Murphy opened The Bookshelf on Cedar in Holt in 2012. The approximately 2,300 square foot store offers fiction, children’s literature, textbooks, special orders and more. Murphy says that so far, her hunch that an independent bookstore could still survive seems to be true.
“Every day I get new customer in, and it gets better every day,” she says. “I didn't expect to make any money in the first year…but we did.”
Murphy hopes The Bookshelf will continue to grow so she can hire employees, and potentially open another store in the Lansing area. 

Grand Ledge's Design Rides triples size with new shop, expands staff

It was only by chance that John Williams moved his business Design Rides from Ionia to Grand Ledge in 2008 after his former landlord sold the building that house it. It turned out to be a great move for the auto detailing and customization business, which has doubled in volume since arriving in Grand Ledge. 
Design Rides grew so much, in fact, that they recently celebrated the opening of their new, larger location on East Saginaw. 
“We have a big clientele now,” says Williams. “I think it’s our dedication to making it right. We always make sure that everything is correct.” 
They’ll have a lot more room to exercise their attention to detail. The new, 2,800-square foot location is more than three times the size of the former Design Rides shop. 
“We’re going to start offering more services,” says Williams. “We’ll be able to start offering spray-on bed lining, custom fiberglass work, fiberglass tops, and offering lift kits.” 
Additionally, he says, Design Rides will be able to start working their way through a waiting list of customers that extends out of state. The growing business now has a staff for four full- and two part-time employees, two of which have been added over that last year. Williams expects to add two more full time staffers in the near future. 

Facials & More to open in Downtown Williamston

After seven years of working as an aesthetician for a variety of spas and medical offices, Williamston native Cheryl Selph will be bringing her talents home with the new Facials & More, slated to open in February. 
“Most of my background is in medical skin care with medical-grade chemical peels and skin care products,” says Selph. “I decided if I'm going to open something, it's got to be medical grade. It has to be something people can't go out and buy over the counter.”
Facials & More will open in a 450 square foot office on Grand River in Williamston. Selph will offer chemical peels, laser hair removal, detox body wraps and skin rejuvenations. Selph will be working in association with a Novi-based doctor for all medical procedures. 
“It's a pretty busy little plaza,” Selph says of her location. “It's not huge, but I wanted to start out where it's affordable.”
Selph hopes to open Facials & More in early February with the help of her daughter, who will work in the office as well. Eventually, Selph hopes to grow her business into a franchise. 

Grand Ledge Auto to celebrate ribbon cutting

Grand Ledge drivers have a new option for serving their vehicles. Everett High School grade Hugh McNichol began his career in automotive repair as a mechanic in the army reserves. After attending LCC for automotive technology and serving in Iraq, the local man returned to the Lansing area to continue his career. 
McNichol’s Grand Ledge Auto will celebrate their opening earlier this year with a ribbon cutting on December 17. The four-bay auto shop is located at at 854 West Jefferson. 
“I do diagnostics, engine repair, brakes, suspension, air conditioning and hybrids,” says McNichol. 
The only things McNichol doesn’t do, he says, are tires and bodywork. The ASE certified automotive technician says he plans to continue to develop his skills in his new business. 
“I’d like to one day to do electric conversions on gas vehicles,” McNichols says. 

Healthy Horizons nutrition club opens in Okemos

Getting healthy in Okemos just got a little easier – and more fun, according to Cindy Smith, partner in the new Healthy Horizons nutrition club. 
“It is a place for people to gather, and to bring people together with a focus on nutrition," says Smith
Healthy Horizons opened this month on Jolly Road in Okemos. The 1,400-square foot club is owned and operated by five partners, or “coaches.” Members of the club receive a daily meal-replacement smoothie, energizing tea and a shot of aloe. 
Additionally, Healthy Horizons hosts fit camps and weight loss challenges. While all of the coaches are passionate about nutrition for their own reasons, they are particularly proud of the new facility for a more personal one. 
“This club is near and dear to us because one of our team members was in the process opening this club up, and they became very ill and passed,” says Smith. “So now there is a group of us who came together rand make his dream a reality and open it.”
According to Smith, the nutrition club concept began in Mexico, and has now expanded to more than 1,200 clubs across the US. 

Brickhouse Grille to open in Portland, create 35 jobs

A new fine dining experience is coming to Downtown Portland with the Brickhouse Grille. The new restaurant is expected to open December 29 with a focus on steak and fresh seafood. 
“Everything is going to be fresh,” says owner Mike Hoorman. “This fish will literally be swimming 24 hours before I get it. We’ll also have pasta, chicken, and will be smoking our own meats in-house.” 
The 2,200 square foot restaurant is now taking shape in a former furniture store in Downtown Portland. Hoorman and his team has been hard at work since November, stripping the floors, replacing windows and installing the kitchen. 
“It was a perfect opportunity here in Portland,” Hoorman says. “There’s great parking, 125-year-old brick, 100-year-old wood flooring. It was just perfect.” 
The Brickhouse Grille will seat about 70 diners and will employ a staff of 35. Hoorman says the restaurant will place an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. 

Coco's Off the Rack opens on Lake Lansing, creates four jobs

Coco’s Off the Rack may have just opened in September, but Colleen Adams has been in the wedding gown business for decades. 
“It started with me just really just loving fashion,” Adams says. “I started out working retail in different places, and before Lett’s went out of business I worked there. I decided it was time to branch out and do something on my own.”
That “something” became Coco’s Off the Rack on Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing. The 2,000 square foot store not only sells bridal dresses, but also prom, ready-to-wear, and offers alterations. 
Though only open for a couple of months, Adams has already been busy with brides and other shoppers. The bustle has validated her decision to open in Lansing, even though she considered other options.
“Originally, I looed around at Novi because that’s were I live,” says Adams. “The more I thought about it, it seemed more reasonable to come to Lansing, because I’ve been working here since 1993.”
In addition to Adams the store currently employs one part-time employee, and Adams plans to soon hire two additional staffers. Coco’s will be hosting an open house this Saturday, along with her neighbors, Ann’s Dance Studio, Cutters’ Point and Magic BJJ Martial Arts Center.

New sushi restaurant brings healthy lunch options, four jobs to Frandor

Fans of Frandor’s Xiao, rejoice. There’s now a new Asian food restaurant by the same owner in the same neighborhood, but with a new twist. 
“Basically,” says Frank Cheng, owner of both Xiao and the new Tamaki Custom Sushi and Wraps, “I knew there was a need for more sushi in the area, especially in Frandor.”
According to Cheng, the format of the sushi spot will offer something brand new to the market. Tamaki uses a variety of Asian ingredients, such as Korean kimchi, to make a variety of fast, healthy and affordable dishes. 
“And it is build your own sushi,” says Chengs. “That’s what’s so fun about it.”
Tamaki opened in November in a 1,500 square foot Frandor location near Panera Bread. The restaurant offers sit-down and carryout dining, and currently employs a staff of four. 

Williamston seamstress opens CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs & Gift Shop

Several years ago, Crystal Amon came across an opportunity to work in a sewing shop, doing embroidery. 
“I’ve always been artistic and creative, and always enjoyed sewing and making stuff,” she says. “So I said, ‘what the heck, let’s try it.’”
Though a knee replacement took her away from that position five years later, by that time, Amon thought it might be time to make a go of it on her own. On November 1, she brought that plan to fruition with the opening of CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs and Gift Shop in Williamston
“I made the investment,” says Amon. “I knew what to do and my husband supported me and said, ‘this is your dream, let’s go for it.’”
The 1,000 square foot CC Embroidery, Vinyl Designs and Gift Shop offers pre-made and made-to-order apparel, accessories, window decals, soy wax candles, baby apparel and more.
“I would say 95 percent of everything that is in the store is made here, Amon says. “I do beaded jewelry, I make little baby clothes, and the handbags are all handmade.”

Family Restaurant opens on Southside, creates 11 jobs

The Family Restaurant on South Cedar lives up to its name in two ways. Not only is the new business owned by three siblings, but it offers a menu comparable to any traditional American family dinner table. 
“We’re probably the only ones doing this style of home-style cooking,” says part-owner Dennis Jasman. “We have meatloaf, liver and onions, and we usually have four or five types of meat on the buffet.”
For Jasman and his sisters Linda Huett and Sandra Pitchford, the restaurant business has been the family business since their mother owned restaurants in Cheboygan and Flint. 
“My two sisters and me have always wanted to run a restaurant together,” says Jasman.
The 135-seat restaurant opened in August after some significant clean up and renovation of the existing building, which had been vacant for some time prior. The siblings chose the location because of its high traffic and proximity to their home on Lansing's Southside. The business, Jasman says, is about serving the public as much as it’s about business.
“We don’t’ want to get rich,” he says. “I guess basically we like meeting people. If you’re not satisfied with your meal, we’ll do what we can to make you satisfied. If you want something we don’t have and you’ve got an extra ten minutes, I’ll run down the store and get it for you.” 
The Family Restaurant currently employs a staff of eleven. Jasman says the large selection of hot buffet items is the eatery’s specialty.

Seven Islands Mercantile brings antiques, three new jobs to Grand Ledge

Talk about quick business development. Kathy Fitzpatrick, Peg Cook, and Roxann Mills of Grand Ledge were exchanging ideas on an antiques and vintage items business, and three weeks later, they had one. 
“We moved very quickly from conception to birth,” says Fitzpatrick. “We found a retail space that the right price and was right downtown.”
The North Bridge Street storefront offers a wide variety of items, including antiques, vintage items, home goods, cat toys, dog biscuits and caramel corn. 
“We all like antique and vintage items, and we like repurposing stuff into better stuff,” says Fitzpatrick. “We’re not just looking at antiques, not just vintage treasures, we’re looking at all of it.”
Seven Islands Mercantile opened in November. It now has limited hours on Thursday and Friday evenings, and is open during the day on weekends. In addition to selling their own items, they carry consigned inventory as well. The store currently employs the three co-owners. 

All Star Barbershop opens on Michigan Ave, adds two jobs

When Anthony McLiechey came across the opportunity to open his own barbershop on Lansing’s Eastside, it was the neighborhood itself that really sold him.
“It’s such a diverse neighborhood, there’s a little bit of everything,” says McLiechey. “I’ve lived on this side of town before, and I always liked it. There are a lot of independent businesses over here.” 
McLiechey opened his All Star Barbershop on Michigan Avenue on September 1 and specializes in extending discounts to seniors, students and children under 12. 
“Hopefuly it’ll be something that adds to the community,” says McLeichey of his shop. “You have a lot of businesses that just take from the community, and they don’t realy take pride in the people. I want to be someone who helps people.” 
The All Star Barbershop currently employs a staff of two, with two additional stations to accommodate future growth.
626 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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