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New contemporary Italian restaurant seeks to bring new dining experience to Okemos

A different kind of restaurateur is planning to bring a different kind of dining experience to the Lansing area with Tannin, a new restaurant coming to Marsh Rd. in Okemos this spring. 
 
"We love interesting, novel food for their own sake," says Tannin owner Chris Roelofs. "We hope to make money, but our goal, first and foremost, is to make great food." 
 
Roelofs was a Ph.D. candidate in political theory while working at a restaurant in Williamston before taking the leap to going into business for himself. He and partner James Sumpter hope to add something new to the Lansing dining scene. 
 
"We really want to raise the level of food discourse in the area," says Roelofs. " One of the many aspirations I have is to produce a level of food that would be considered excellent in any location."
 
Tannin will open in a 2,500 square foot space on Marsh Rd. in late May. The restaurant will feature a unique menu of contemporary Italian dishes as well as influences by other cultures. Roelofs says in-house ingredients will be key to their identity, and even on-site cured meats and cheeses will be integrated into the menu over the next six months to two years. 
 
Tannin will employ 15 to 20 workers upon opening. 
 

Source: Chris Roelofs, Tannin
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

NBO Medical expands into new 6,000 sq ft office

NBO Medical launched in Lansing two years ago with the idea that people needed better access to a new treatment option for neuropathy. Now, with offices in Brighton, Flint, Grand Rapids and Naples, Florida, NBO Medical has serviced 5,000 patients suffering from numbness, pain, tingling and discomfort. That number is set to rise with NBO Medical's expansion into a larger facility on Belle Chase Way.
 
The quick expansion of NBO Medical is undoubtedly connected to its innovative treatment of neuropathy, which treats nerve damage, rather than attempting to mask symptoms through medication. Though medication is still considered the conventional treatment for neuropathy, says NBO Medical founder Dr. Paul DeWeiss, it comes with side effects, and it is only beneficial in about half of patients. 
 
"Because of the way neuropathy is currently treated, people have this chronic, degenerative condition, so their life shrivels up," says DeWeiss. "They stop playing tennis, they stop walking the dog, they aren't as socially active, so there is a lot of insolation and depression. It's been very gratifying to see people get their life back." 
 
NBO Medical opened the doors to their new 6,000 square foot facility in December. That's quite a jump from the company's original, 400 square foot office in East Lansing. After outgrowing their first office, NBO moved to Jolly Road, but now plans to continue to grow in their new location. 
 
Now with a staff of 15, DeWeiss says his staff has grown about 25 percent over the past year, and he expects continued growth in the future. The Lansing facility is home to both his local practice, as well as the administrative staff servicing all of his offices. DeWeiss plans to grow his number of offices, including a future Florida office, as well as a possible forthcoming partnership with a Metro Detroit area hospital. 

Source: Dr. Paul DeWeiss, NBO Medical
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Buttons and Beanstalks brings kiddie chic to Williamston

As a stay-at-home mom, Danielle Mackay loved to shop for her kids at children's boutiques, but kept running into the same problem: there just weren't enough options for boys. As both of Mackay's children are boys, this posed a problem for a boutique shopper like herself that she was determined to solve. Her answer was opening Buttons and Beanstalks.
 
"I do everything one-for-one between girls and boys," says Mackay. "I carry a lot of accessories that are really hard to find. I hand-make a lot of the hair ties and ties for little boys."
 
The children's boutique began online about a year ago, and has now expanded into a physical shop in Williamston's Keller Plaza. The new Buttons and Beanstalks opened on April 13 in a 220 square foot shop.
 
"I like that it is all indoors," Mackay says. "The size of the space is perfect."
 
Mackay now operates the shop on limited hours, but hopes to soon expand into full retail hours. She anticipates hiring up to three employees once Button and Beanstalks has expanded its hours. 

Source: Danielle Mackay, Buttons and Beanstalks
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

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
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