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Entrepreneurship : Development News

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Lothamer Tax Resolution expands into new, 7,000 sq ft headquarters

Lothamer Tax Resolution has been in business for 30 years, but ever since the company began specializing in IRS and Michigan tax problems, their growth has been notable. Now with nine satellite offices and a staff of 18, the business has expanded into a new headquarters on Dunkel in Lansing. 
 
"We choose this location because it was central to the Lansing area and great access the highway," says Lothamer Tax Resolution Vice President Marketing Amy Lothamer of the 7,000 square foot space. "We needed more space to accommodate our growing company."
 
When an individual or business finds itself in an issue with a tax agency, it can be a scary time. Lothamer specializes in resolving these issues, a niche which Lothamer says was much needed. 
 
The firm moved into their new location in early September after completely renovating the interior of the facility and celebrated their grand opening last week. The company has been hiring one to two new professionals a year for the past several years, and anticipates hiring another one to two staff members in the upcoming year. 
 

Source: Amy Lothamer, Lothamer Tax Resolution
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Leopold Bloom and Co. to bring the curated past to Old Town

Tony Sump is more than just a seller of antiques and home décor. 
 
"I'm kind of a curator of the past," Sump says, "finding really great pieces that are solid and long forgotten and up-cycling them into something that is usable." 
 
Sump and business partner Doug Meeks will bring that passion for antiquities to their new Old Town shop, Leopold Bloom & Co. The store will carry antiques, new home décor, as well as a collection of local artisanal goods.
 
Sump and Meeks aren't new to the antiques game. They've had a small presence in Howell for two years, and recently expanded into the Grand Rapids market. It was while looking for a location for a warehouse between the two that the Old Town space presented itself, and their plans quickly changed.
 
"It was reasonable and fit the needs for a store," Sump says. "We thought, maybe we could drop one of the other locations move it here."
 
That's exactly what happened. After about six weeks of renovations, the 1,200 square foot Grand River location is set to open for the first time this Friday during an open house from 5:30 to 9:00pm. The grand opening will take place Oct. 7. Leopold Bloom & Co. will open with two employees in addition to Meeks and Sump. 
 

Source: Tony Sump, Leopold Bloom & Co. 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Four Blank and Ten Design Group grows from home biz to Old Town storefront

Jeremy Mick's Four Blank & Ten Design Group may not be a brand new interior design firm, but its forthcoming move to an Old Town storefront is a big step from its home business roots. 
 
Four Blank & Ten Design Group is opening inside the new Leopold Bloom & Co. when it opens this month. The business, which specializes in a blend of traditional and modern design, has been in operation in one form or another since 2005. Its growth has been based on word-of-mouth referrals, but Mick expects that to change when he's in a highly visible Old Town location.
 
"My main motivation was to get more business," Mick says. "This is easier to find for clients, and if you have a street presence, people wander in."
 
The business will open along with Leopold Bloom & Co. this Friday during an open house from 5:30 to 9pm in the new Grand River location. Mick, who currently also works for the State of Michigan, hopes to see his business continue to grow into a fulltime venture. 
 

Source: Jeremy Mick, Four Blank & Ten
Writer: Natalie Burg, Develoment News Editor

New Leaf Salad Bar offers fast and fresh food to Frandor area diners

Leaf Salad Bar may be the newest addition to the Frandor shopping area, but the restaurant has been a long time coming. In fact, local entrepreneur and owner of East Lansing's Showroom Shine, Mark Sprinkel first came up with the concept in 1991. 
 
"I wanted to do it then," he says. "I never got around to it because the other business kept me pretty busy. When this location presented itself, I knew if I didn't do it now, I'd never do it." 
 
And did he ever. Within a month and a half, Sprinkel grabbed the 1,000 square foot location, partnered with local restaurateur Igor Jurkovic of Restaurant Mediteran and opened the doors of his new food concept: a gourmet salad bar for fast and healthy meals. 
 
In addition to offering 100 gourmet salad toppings for patrons to help themselves, weigh and pay by the pound, Leaf also serves soups, fruits and smoothies. The response, says Sprinkel, has been nearly overwhelming. 
 
"The concept got around fast. We're crazy busy. We've only be open three weeks and we have regular clientele," he says. "We're profitable in our first month."
 
Leaf now has a staff of ten. The restaurant seats 15 inside, six outside, offering take out service. Sprinkel is already thinking of adding an Okemos location next year and hopes to franchise the business. 

Source: Mark Sprinkel, Leaf Salad Bar
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Spherion brings unique staffing services to Old Town

Few things could be more optimistic signs for Lansing's job market than the opening of a new staffing agency. Spherion Staffing opened its doors in Old Town in July, and according to managing partner Brad Back, Lansing was just what the franchise's parent company, Randstad was looking for. 
 
"Lansing's market size is better serviced by an owner-operated store and we really liked what was happening with the Camero line being moved here," says Back. "We thought it was a great place to be in Michigan because of the diversity of industries here." 
 
After he and his wife both worked in corporate environments for some time. Back says he was attracted to Old Town because of the area's small town feel within the larger city. Similarly, the opportunity to own his own franchise allows him to exercise his entrepreneurial inclinations after working for Randstad for two years in Detroit. That small business feel, he says, will also be a benefit to clients. 
 
"We definitely have the service of an owner-occupied business, but the backing of a large corporation," Back syas. "A lot of these companies like the smaller service models, but sometimes you have to have the finances of a large company to staff these large customers." 
 
The 1,500 square foot Ranstad Staffing office is located at 106 E Grand River Ave in Lansing. The office has a staff of three, and Back says business in the first two months has exceeded expectations. 
 

Source: Brad Back, Spherion Staffing
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Velocipede Peddler peddles down Grand River to new East Lansing location

Mark Sanderson is good at keeping a secret. Long before the public learned a Whole Foods store would be coming to the Lansing area, he was in talks to sell his Grand River Ave. property to make way for the popular grocer. Now that the word is out, he has his own big news to share: his 38-year-old business, Velocipede Peddler is moving westward. 
 
"When I was right downtown [in East Lansing], I got lot of students, but I didn't have as many families," says Sanderson. "When I moved here, I lost some students, but gained a lot of families as clients. We felt this was an alternative where we can serve everyone."
 
The new home of the longtime bicycle business will be in a 4,800 square foot Brookfield Plaza space. Though the size will be similar to his current location, the layout will allow for an expansion of inventory and services. The new spot, between Bagger Dave's and Bikram Yoga Capital Area.
 
Though in a new location, Sanderson says customer can expect the same business ethic that has kept Velocipede Peddler in business for nearly four decades.
 
"I just try to give people want they want," he says. "I feel we have a really good service department. We have a friendly staff that is really knowledgeable."
 
Velocipede Peddler will open in its new location in early October. It currently employs a staff of eight to nine workers. Sanderson plans to hire a new mechanic and up to one additional staff member in the new location.
 

Source: Mark Sanderson, Velocipede Peddler
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Limner Press now front and center in Downtown Williamston

Limner Press is no stranger to Williamston, having made the town an artsier place for more than 25 years. The design, letterpress and art studio is now celebrating its new, more prominent location in the community – right in the center of downtown. 
 
"We moved because we had an opportunity to go onto Grand River," says Wendy Shaft, who owns Limner Press with her husband, Don Bixler. "Moving here has already increased our business."
 
Though slightly smaller than their longtime location, the downtown storefront has bolstered business in ways both expected and surprising. For instance, though the shop has always offered copier services, simply adding that to their sign on Grand River has attracted a steady stream of new customers. 
 
"Then they come in and see my art," says Shaft "and they see that I do wedding invitations. It's wonderful." 
 
Offering stellar customer service has always been, and continues to be at the center of Limner Press. – is currently working with her new lobby space to make it a cozy and inviting place for customers to meet and chat about their invitation and stationary needs. 
 
Limner Press moved to their new location in June. Shaft is looking forward to being a part of a growing community of wedding-related businesses in downtown Williamston. A collaboration of these store owners hope to offer a wedding-themed event this fall. 
 

Source: Wendy Shaft, Limner Press
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Capital Prime aims to be to-go steak restaurant in Lansing

With 31 years of restaurant experience that includes Beggar’s Banquet, Rick’s Café’, Harrison Roadhouse and The Nuthouse, Joseph Goodsir knew a gap in the local restaurant market when he saw it. 
 
"If you ask someone what's their favorite sushi place, they'd have an answer," says Goodsir. "If you ask people where their favorite place to get a steak is, it doesn't roll of the tongue."
 
Goodsir plans to change that with Capital Prime Steaks and Seafood in Eastwood Towne Center. The 250-seat restaurant will feature premium Certified Angus beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fresh fish and seafood, and will have a focus on locally grown produce.
 
Though opening in the former Bar 30 location, Goodsir says Capital Prime will look and feel entirely different.
 
"It has a great feel," he says. "It's warm and inviting. If you were ever in Bar 30, when you walk into the place now, you won't recognize it."
 
Capital Prime is scheduled to have a soft opening at the end of August and a grand opening in September. Goodsir says one of the best features of the restaurant will be a talented and well-trained staff, which will number about 60. 


Source: Joseph Goodsir, Capital Prime
Writer: Natalie Burg

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

Downtown Barber brings artistic cuts to Williamston

Terianne Parks is a barber, but contrary to what some people think, that doesn't mean she only cuts men's hair; it means she's an expert in cuts in general.
 
"I think of myself as a sculptor," says Parks. "The reason I went to barber school instead of beauty school, is that it's more about the cut."
 
Parks is bringing that specialty to Williamston with her new shop, Downtown Barber, which opened on Grand River last week. The business offers cuts for men, women and children, as well as coloring, highlights, dreadlocks, extensions and straightening.
 
"We have the best prices from here to Downtown Lansing. We have the same price for men and women," Parks says. "I love cutting hair. It' how I serve the community."
 
Parks opened Downtown Barber in partnership with her sister and brother-in-law. She plans to hire two additional barbers to join her in the 850 square foot shop soon. 

Source: Terianne Parks, Downtown Barber
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Experience and style come to Old Town with Matthew Ryan Salon

Matthew Ryan Salon just opened in Old Town, but the owner, after whom the business is named, has been on a path to owning his own salon his entire life. 
 
"It's something I've always been drawn to," says owner Matthew Ryan. "It's just very natural for me to be drawn to hair." 
 
After managing a 60-stylist salon in Columbus, Ohio, Ryan moved to the Lansing area to be certified as a stylist himself at Douglas J. Upon finishing his courses, he knew we wanted to open his own place, an the 1,500 square foot Old Town location was the perfect fit. 
 
"It's a beautiful space, with exposed brick and hardwood floors," Ryan says. "Were right in the middle of Old Town, which is such an up-and-coming area. It's going in a really good direction." 
 
Matthew Ryan Salon opened about a month ago and employs five experienced stylists. Ryan hopes the salon will continue to grow and he may add additional services the business' offerings as it does. 
 

Source: Matthew Ryan, Matthew Ryan Salon
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Mad Eagle grows jewelry line into new store with Clever Clover

Clever Clover began as a line of jewelry at East Lansing's Mad Eagle boutique. The collection of original jewelry designs gained such popularity that when a Grand River storefront recently opened up, it became its own shop. 
 
"We thought it was a good opportunity to focus on that jewelry line," says Tara Green, manager of Mad Eagle and Clever Clover. "It's less expensive than sterling silver, but it's really fun. 
 
Clever Clover opened up at 207 E. Grand River last month after renovations brought such artistic touches to the space as flooring made from up-cycled bleacher boards, jewelry cases from the former downtown Jacobson's and shelving made from reclaimed lumber.
 
"It's really important for us to emphasize recycling too," Green says. "We did it all ourselves, from finishing the floor to doing the walls, and everything else. It was a labor of love." 
 
In addition to the Clever Clover jewelry line, the new store features clothing, home goods, lotions and candles. Two new jobs have been created with the opening of the new shop. 

Source: Tara Green, Clever Clover
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Loudpixel moves into new East Lansing office space

Loudpixel has been a company that could be located anywhere since its beginning in 2009. Though family was a driving force in the Chicago-born company's move to East Lansing in 2011, it's been the city itself that has kept the growing company in town, a location has been further cemented by their recent move to a permanent location in The State News building. 
 
"Spending a few months working in Washington DC really gave us an appreciation for East Lansing. It's a nice place to run a business," says owner Allie Osmar. "We bought a house in East Lansing, and we like the idea that we can walk to work. We wanted to that urban lifestyle we'd come from."
 
Loudpixel has grown about 30 percent per year, a purposely moderate pace that Osmar says is intended to produce sustainability over growth at any cost. Even with intentionally slow growth, the social media monitoring, analysis and reporting company has added two part-time positions in the last two years and is currently in the process of hiring one more. 
 
Along with a new location, Loudpixel is also beginning to offer new services to their clients, such as industry reports and consumer discovery reports.  
 
"We're also really enjoying consumer discovery reports," Osmar says. "We can go in and really help companies understand who their customers are, what they care about, and what are their interests are."
 

Source: Allie Osmar, Loudpixel
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Second Tamaki restaurant rolls into East Lansing

Tamaki is on a roll. After opening the quick, custom-made sushi spot at Frandor Shopping Center last year, restaurateur Frank Cheng  is now opening two more. One will bring his unique twist on sushi to Ann Arbor, and another will open in East Lansing's Brookfield Plaza.
 
"We've been looking for a place in East Lansing for some time," says Cheng. "Our customers who frequent Tamaki love it, and they want it closer to their place." 
 
The 2,000 square foot E. Grand River location will feature the same mix of rice bowls, noodles and custom-made sushi as the original, and will look similar in terms of decor. According to Cheng, the convenience of affordable, quick sushi made to order is perfect for East Lansing, with its large number of international students.
 
Cheng hopes to start renovations on the space soon and open the new Tamaki in August. The restaurant will employ about ten workers and seat 40 to 50 diners. 
 

Source: Frank Cheng, Tamaki
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Fastlane Powersports celebrates ribbon cutting in Mason

With a new name and owner, the business formerly known as Grove's Motorsports in Mason has all sorts of change underway. Though owner Jeff Giles managed it, as well as other power sports retailers for years, fans of the store will find new products, service professionals and more at the newly unveiled Fastlane Powersports.
 
"The former owner of this location owned multiple stores, and I was the operation manager for all of them," says new owner Jeff Giles. "He was wanting to retire, so we came to an agreement."
 
Giles says the timing was right for him to take on ownership of his own store. Though he says the recession hit the "toy market" particularly hard, things are beginning to look up. 
 
"We had to survive some very tough times, and I truly believe the last couple of years have shown that we're moving in the right direction," says Giles. "Not everyone survived, so there's a lot less competition nowadays." 
 
Fastlane Powersports features all new parts and accessories, as well as new faces in the services and sales departments. With a staff of 10, Giles has added three new employees, and hopes to add another two to three in the upcoming months. He has already completed some interior renovations of the new store, and plans to start on exterior renovations soon.
 

Source: Jeff Giles
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
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