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Southside Tattoos opens westside location as Noble Ink

According to manager Roxy Hayes, the newly opened Noble Ink on W. Saginaw isn't your ordinary tattoo shop. 
 
"We're all very family oriented," she says. "We're not that stereotypical idea of tattoo shop."
 
Noble Ink is owned by Southside Tattoos owner Bill Brown who had a vision top open a new location on Lansing's Westside. Hayes says fans of the original shop will recognize the same level of cleanliness, skill and personable service at Noble Ink with a new aesthetic. 
 
"We have a lot of cool, aged décor," says Hayes. "A lot of local shops are darker with dark imagery on the walls. We have decorative mirrors and very old, cool tchotchkes everywhere."
 
Work on Noble Ink has been underway for a couple of months, and the new shop opened in March. The business currently employs three tattoo artists and one piercer. Hayes says the staff is looking forward to building a new clientele base on the west side of town. 
 

Source: Roxy Hayes, Noble Ink
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

Beyond the Fleece expands in Williamston

Less than a year after moving into Williamston's Keller's Plaza, the family-owned specialty yarn shop Beyond the Fleece has already expanded into a new location. 
 
"We had great interest in store in Keller's Plaza, but we had many customers that were not able to climb the stairs," says owner Jill Blain. "I had also run out of room."
 
The shop's new, 2,000 square foot home on Grand River more than quadruples Blain's former location. The additional space allows Blain to do all of her fiber dying in the store, as well as provides a larger classroom area. 
 
Beyond the Fleece is an outgrowth from the Blain family farm, Frosty Acres where Blain and her husband Brandon raise fiber animals, including lamas, alpaca, angora goats, Shetland sheep and angora rabbits to make handspun and dyed yarns. 
 
"We support local artists and are a natural fiber store," says Blain. "We love to encourage the use of natural fiber and support local farmers."
 
The new Beyond the Fleece location opened on March 5. The store has grown in several ways over the past year, including carrying spinning wheels, looms, drum carders, and other yarn crafting accessories. The store also offers a variety of classes, workshops and lessons, and sells products from local artists in their in-store Michigan Fiber Artist Shoppe within the store.
 
 

Source: Jill Blain, Beyond the Fleece
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Howell's Jonna's 2 Go to expand to East Lansing

Jonna's 2 Go is a familiar brand a short drive east down I-96, with two locations in Howell. The popular party store is expanding westward with its first East Lansing store on Michigan Ave. in the former 24/7 convenience store. 
 
"We've always loved this area," says Anthony Jonna, manager partner of Jonna's 2 Go. "We're the biggest Spartan fans in the world." 
 
The East Lansing Jonna's 2 Go will be the fifth outlet of the Jonna family business, with two Jonna's Market stores in West Bloomfield and Taylor. The party store specializes in homemade pizza, sandwiches, salads and other deli items, along with craft beer and wine. 
 
"We're going to pay special attention to this one," says Jonna. "It'll really pop. I don't think anybody in the area will have seen anything like it." 
 
Work on the renovations is currently underway, and Jonna expects the store to open in the next few weeks. Jonna's 2 Go will employ about a dozen workers. 
 

Source: Anthony Jonna, Jonna's 2 Go
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Frozen yogurt and sweet bun shops come to Downtown East Lansing

East Lansing just got sweeter in two new ways with the opening of Tutti Frutti and O' My Buns on E. Grand River downtown. Kayla Nguyen brought the frozen yogurt and sweet bun stores together under one roof on March 7. 
 
"I went to visit my friend in California and I fell in love with frozen yogurt," says franchisee of both businesses, Nguyen. "It's non- or low-fat and it's good for digestion."
 
Located in a 1,800 square foot, second floor location next to Yoga State, Nguyen built out Tutti Frutti and O' My Buns to be a place where students can comfortably relax, study or hangout between or after classes. 
 
"I designed it to be more like a lounge," she says. "I personally prefer places like that, where students can move the tables together and come and do their homework."
 
Tutti Frutti offers frozen yogurt with a topping bar containing 50 choices of toppings. O' My Buns offers plain or cream cheese-filled buns with either coffee or vanilla topping. 
 
Nguyen currently employs a staff of three across the two stores, but plans to soon grow to 12 to 15 employees. 
 

Source: Kayla Nguyen, Tutti Frutti and O' My Buns
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

Williamston bridal offerings complete with Wedding Gallery

Dawn-Marie Joseph knows a thing or two about Williamston, having opened the popular Gracie's Place and Vivee’s Floral Garden and Café. One thing she's known for some time is that the town is becoming a destination for wedding businesses, with florists, caterers, invitation printers and a new cake shop. There's just one thing missing: a bridal shop. 
 
Joseph and partner Tina Benington will change that in April with the opening of The Wedding Gallery at the corner of Grand River and Putnam in Downtown Williamston. 
 
"What we really found in our research is basically customer service is key," says Joseph. "That business is 100 percent about the customers. We're not going to have every dress in the bridal magazines, but we'll work our hardest to find it for them, for what they can afford." 
 
To really complete the town's collection of wedding vendors, the building will also include Gallery Travel, a travel agency.
 
"The building offered me the opportunity, so right across from the bridal shop, we'll have the travel agency," says Joseph. "So, we'll be able to book honeymoons for our brides."
 
The Wedding Gallery and Gallery Travel will both open in April, sharing about 3,000 square feet of space and employing staffs of about three and two, respectively, in addition to Joseph and Benington. 
 

Source: Dawn-Marie Joseph, The Wedding Gallery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Blowout bar trend hits East Lansing with Salon Karma

The new Salon Karma brings hairstyling secrets from all over the U.S. to East Lansing. First, there's owner Dawnn Gibson, who brought her talents to the Lansing area from Toledo about six years ago. Then, the salon is also a blowout bar offering a shampoo, blow-dry and one of six chic styles. 
 
"The blowout bar came after us opening," says Gibson of the 2,200 square foot Salon Karma, which opened in December. "The idea came from an outside source form Arizona. I got online, and I saw that this is really big all over."
 
The idea, Gibson says, is to offer regular salon services to women that mimics the atmosphere of salons of years gone by, with ladies coming in weekly or monthly for a style and to socialize with friends. 
 
"We're working on getting a liquor license so people can have a beer or wine and relax while they're here," says Gibson. 
 
Salon Karma is located in the former location of Panopoulos Salon on Lake Lansing Rd. The business also offers regular salon services, including men's styles, nails, tanning, and aesthetician services. Gibson currently employs a staff of eight. 
 

Source: Dawnn Gibson, Salon Karma
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Williamston Barbell Club brings powerlifting to 2,800 sq ft Grand River space

Tom Donnelly's Williamston Barbell Club is a new kind of gym for the area, offering a focus on powerlifting, as well as other workout options such as classes and cardio. The venture is another project from Grace's Place owner Dawn-Marie Joseph and her partners. 
 
The 2,800 square foot facility at 350 W. Grand River Ave. has been under renovation for about three months and is now open for new members. While the gym is a new business for the family, Joseph says they also see the Williamston Barbell Club as a benefit for the community. 
 
"The gym will partly be used for goodwill," she says. "We'll have powerlifting, classes and kids' yoga here. People from LCC and different organizations have gotten in touch with us. We'll do boxing and different competitions."
 
With vacant land adjacent to the property, the partners have plans to add outdoor activities to their services, such as volleyball and outdoor powerlifting. 
 
The partners have invested about $200,000 into the renovation project, and hope to continue improving the facility, perhaps adding a screened-in workout area facing the Red Cedar River in the future. Tom Donnelly's Williamston Barbell Club currently employs a staff of three, in addition to contracted trainers and the four partners.
 
"It's a nice thing that my family is really involved," says Joseph. "It's nice that we're in a potion that we can work with our family the way we do." 
 

Source: Dawn-Marie Joseph, Tom Donnelly's Williamston Barbell Club
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Old Town General Store to bring specialty groceries to former Redhead space

With all of the growth Old Town has experienced over the past decade, one type of business has been missing from the mix of retail, dining and service that has been drawing people to the neighborhood: a grocery store.
 
Maria Van Atta is looking to soon change that void, giving Old Town residents and workers a place to pick up specialty foods, fresh produce and more with the forthcoming Old Town General Store.
 
"We have somewhat of a food desert here in Old Town," Van Atta says, "and I think if I can create a little oasis of reasonably-priced healthy, and tasty, specialty foods, the Old Town General Store will do quite well." 
 
The idea for the General Store began several years ago when Van Atta made a career change and searching for a new venture that would appeal to her sense of community and appreciation of nature.
 
"I enjoy and appreciate the goodness of nature, a sense of community and giving back, and supporting the local economy as much as possible," says Van Atta. "A general store has traditionally been a gathering place, where you would find interesting and unexpected things as well as convenience items." 
 
The 1,500 square foot E. Grand River location will do just with specialty foods, fresh produce, beer, and wine, with an emphasis on Michigan companies and sustainable and organic items. The Old Town General Store is expected to open May 3, and celebrate a grand opening on June 15. Van Atta plans to employ a staff of approximately four part-time workers at the store. 

Source: Maria Van Atta, Old Town General Store
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Renowned interior designer opens Downtown Lansing studio

Just when it seemed Downtown Lansing's 113 S. Washington Sq. couldn't get any more chic, the second floor of My Sista's Boutique is now the home of Kendra Dennis Designs, an interior design and event planning firm with a notable history in the industry.
 
Before arriving in Lansing, Kendra Dennis made a name for herself as "Designer of the Year" in 2003 by the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as the Certified Interior Designers in 2005. Dennis has appeared on HGTV’s Home and Garden Show and has been the featured designer on TV One’s hot renovation show, Divine Restoration.
 
"I think I always was kind of a designer, from a child," says Dennis. "I was always creating. It was a gift I already I had, and I turned it into a business."
 
The renowned designer grew up in Texas, but now joins her sister – My Sista's Boutique owner, Tina Robinson – in Downtown Lansing. Kendra Dennis Designs offers residential and commercial design, as well as special event planning
 
"Commercial is less stressful but my heart lies in residential," Dennis says. "It's an emotional renovation. I also do custom furniture design."
 
Kendra Dennis Designs opened in the 2,500 S. Washington Sq. space in December and celebrated their grand opening March 1. Dennis employs a staff of three, and also provides space for a boutique of her daughter's work, fashion designer Tanesa Peterson.

Source: Kendra Dennis, Kendra Dennis Design
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Family owned Save-a-Lot to become Monticello's Market

While big changes are in the works at the Bath Twp. Save-a-Lot location, one thing about the forthcoming grocery store, Monticello's Market, will remain the same: it'll still be local, family-owned business. 
 
"Our customers love coming to us because they know us. They know our kids," says Margie Potter. "We're here all the time during construction, and they'll see our car here, and stop by to how it's going. So that's really been fun." 
 
The building on Marsh Road in fact was even a grocery store owned by the Potter family before it became a Save-a-Lot 18 years ago. While keeping that tradition alive, the Potters will be brining a whole new look, feel and grocery offering to their customers. 
 
"I really want a whole different feel than a discount store," says Potter. "It's not that our prices are going to be high, but I want it to be beautiful. I want it to be warm and inviting, and a fun destination for people to come and have a great time."
 
The 10,000 square foot store is now under construction, which will include a deli counter and a small addition to expand the grocery store's footprint. In developing their vision for Monticello's Market, the Potters visited such popular grocery stores as Trader Joe's
 
The new market will feature Michigan products, as well as the wide selection of plants the Potters' customers have come to expect from the family business. Though the interior of the store is not expected to be ready to open before June or July, Monticello's will begin selling plants in April. Potter plans to employ a staff of about 12 in the new market. 
 

Source: Margie Potter, Monitcello's Market
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Okemos to be home to third Sugar Berry location

There's no denying it. Lansing loves Sugar Berry. Affection for the frozen yogurt shop is only growing, as is the business itself. Less than three years after opening the first Sugar Berry in Frandor, a third location is set to open soon in Okemos. 
 
After opening her second Sugar Berry on West Saginaw last year, owner Ann Nguyen could tell that demand for yet another location was still high. 
 
"A lot of people are coming from all sorts of directions for Sugar Berry," she says, "so I thought another one would make it easier for people. Okemos seems to be a really fun place for one." 
 
Work on the 1,500 square foot location near the corner of Okemos Road and Grand River is now underway. Nguyen says everything will be built new, including bathrooms, countertops and topping stations.
 
"I love the four-way traffic that is right there," she says. "The location is pretty good, and it's nice and bright." 
 
Nguyen hopes to open the store with April with about eight employees. The Okemos store will feature Sugar Berry's newest offering, bubble tea, which will soon be available across all three locations. 
 
Nguyen intends to open more Lansing-area businesses, but plans to expand beyond frozen yogurt in her next venture. Though not ready to release specific plans yet, she promises the new business will, just as Sugar Berry did, bring a new business concept to the area.
 

Source: Ann Nguyen, Sugar Berry
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Blue Button Bakery to bring breads, jobs to Williamston

A new bakery is in the works in Downtown Williamston, and the name behind it is one that is sure to get few people excited. Gracie's Place, the popular Putnam St. eatery will be opening the Blue Button Bakery by the end of this month, which will supply the restaurant's breads as well as other offerings to shoppers. 
 
"It'll have your regular things like bagels, different types of breads, and it'll also have pasties and sweets as well," says Gracie’s General Manager Ben Donnelly. "We're kicking around the idea of gelato."
 
The 1,600 square foot bakery will also house Gracie's catering business, as well as supply breads to other local restaurants. Donnelly hopes the Blue Button Bakery will eventually sell their breads in local grocery stores. 
 
"We're really just looking to offer the local area finer quality products," Donnelly says, "and make it available more locally so you don't have to drive so far to get that kind of quality."
 
Work on the Blue Button Bakery is now underway, and Donnelly hopes it will be ready to open by the end of March. He expect about ten employees to staff the bakery. 


Source: Ben Donnelly, Gracie's Place/Blue Button Bakery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Chic homegoods store expands into its own Old Town space

When Bradly Rakowski first launched his shop, Bradly's Home and Garden, it was in one corner of Old Town's Absolute Gallery. Now, just 14 months later, he's expanding into his very own location right in the same neighborhood. 
 
"It's still a small space, but it's manageable," says Rakowski. "It was kind of the next step in the progression of my business. I've been able to expand my lines."
 
The new Bradly's Home and Garden opened last week in a 500 square foot space in the Thelma Joyce Osteen Comfort Station recently purchased and renovated by the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. The MHPN now occupies the remaining portion of the building. 
 
"Old Town is great," Rakowski says. "There is a lot of food traffic in here, and people are looking for something unique. With the Mole Hole closing, I sort of fit that niche."
 
Rakowski's shop offers a variety of artistic home and garden goods, including wreaths, furniture, jewelry, pet accessories, artisan soaps and more. 
 
"It's kind of a mix of a rustic and glamour types," he says. "We'll have something made of high-end polished nickel and pair with something rustic."
 
Bradly's Home and Garden will celebrate its grand opening along with MHPN later this month. 


Source: Bradly Rakowski, Bradly's Home and Garden
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
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