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Entrepreneurship : Development News

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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.
 

Okemos and Grand Ledge home to new Player's Choice Golf shops, four new jobs

Looking for a new place to shop for golf equipment? How about two? Player’s Choice Golf opened its first location in Grand Ledge in April, and has now opened a second location in Okemos. 
 
“I had been in the business for 30 years with another golf shop in town that closed in December,” says Player’s Choice Golf’s Chris Mann. “I ran into Josh Herrera at Meijer in early February, and we talked about the golf market.” 
 
A week later, Herrera called Mann to ask him to help operate a 700 square foot golf shop and outdoor driving range on East Saginaw Hwy in Grand Ledge. 
 
“We had a kick-off day, on April 13, and we had so many people there, there was no parking left,” says Mann. “I’ve never seen so many sales on one day.”
 
The successful opening certainly proved to Herrera there was local demand for their services. In addition to carrying a wide array of golfing equipment, Player’s Choice Golf specializes in club fitting and hosting demo days with manufacturers. The summer was so busy for the new shop, Herrera opened his second location at the Okemos Golf Center in late September. 
 
The second location is larger, about 1,400 square feet in size, and also includes a driving range. Mann says the business hopes to eventually expand both locations. The new business currently employs a staff of four across the two shops. 
 

Hibachi House offers fresh fast food, creates four jobs

Qiuyan Chen and her husband Mou Li aren’t new to the Asian food business, but their latest restaurant, Hibachi House, is something new for the Lansing area. 
 
“We decided to add a totally new thing to the Lansing area,” says Chen. “We cook the food right on the hibachi grill. It’s hot and fresh.”
 
It’s also fast. The 3,000 square foot, Delta Township restaurant seats sit-down diners inside, but also includes a drive-thru window for diners on the go. 
 
“A lot people who work don’t have a lot of time,” Chen says. “We can provide fast food that is a real meal during their lunch time.” 
 
Chen adds that the Hibachi House food is also healthy, using no MSG, little oil and low-sugar fried rice.
 
Hibachi House opened at 4021 W. Saginaw on October 15. The restaurant currently employs four workers. Chen hopes to expand the concept into additional Lansing-area locations in the future. 
 

Black Dog Antiques opens in Downtown Grand Ledge, creates two jobs

Shonda Bain began collecting antiques years ago. The hobby grew into hosting an antiques booth in Mason, and more recently grew into something even more. 
 
“I moved to Eagle and I saw that this spot was open,” Bain says of the Grand Ledge storefront that is now the home of her new Black Dog Antiques store, “and it just seemed like the right fit.” 
 
Bain and her partner Shannon Forbush opened the 1,600 square foot store on August 1, and have found their location to be an ideal spot during Grand Ledge events. 
 
“It’s next door to the parks, with the bands and festivals and the farmers market,” says Bain. “Grand Ledge has a lot of stuff going on all the time. It’s nice to always have something going on downtown.”
 
Black Dog Antiques offers a wide variety of antiques, from furniture to tools to kitchen items. The store employs Bain and Forbush, and also provides rental space for other antiques vendors. 
 

Holt-based Tacos E Mas opens Delta Twp location, adds six jobs

The Delacruzes opened Tacos E Mas in Holt four years ago with authentic family recipes. Lansing area diners approved, and demand for their specialty Mexican food has led to a second location in Delta Township.
 
The second Tacos E Mas opened in early October on W. Thomas L Parkway, just off of West Saginaw. The 1,000 square foot location offers carry out, delivery, as well as dine-in accommodations for up to 30 diners. 
 
The food at Tacos E Mas comes directly from General Manager David Delacruz Jr.’s grandmother’s recipes. The menu includes some unique items diners may not find at other Mexican restaurants, such as hot burros, a meat-filled tortilla covered in a spicy cheese sauce and beans.
 
“It’s all her recipes,” says Delacruz. “She passed away and left them to us. There are some ingredients that are a little more expensive in some things, but we stand by them, because it makes the food taste that much better.”
 
The new location currently employs six workers. Delacruz expects the business to eventually grow to a staff of ten. His family hopes to open a third Lansing location in the next one to three years. 
 

Eco-friendly The Root Celler opens, to create five jobs

For Kristine Gilbert-Gigante, owning her own salon has been a lifetime pursuit. 
 
“I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser,” she says. “We have pictures of me when I was little with curlers and doing hair.”
 
Now, after 14 years of working as a professional stylist, Gilbert-Gigante has opened The Root Cellar, an eco-friendly salon on West Saginaw in Lansing.
 
“Our goal is to be as eco-friendly as possible,” she says. “We recycle everything we use. If I’m not going to do it, nobody is going to do it for me.”
 
The Root Cellar specializes in “eco aware” products, such as ammonia free hair color and gluten free hair products. The 1,000 square foot salon opened in early October and employs Gilbert-Gigante, an additional stylist and a reflexologist. Gilbert-Gigante will add two additional staff members to her team in the near future, and will also soon being offering raindrop therapy services. 
 

Williamston home brew store opens, adds two jobs

One day, explains Mary Reed of Williamston, her husband came home with an idea. 
 
“Since Michigan Brewing Company went out, and we knew they did a good business with home brew supplies, and they were in Webberville and we’re right here in Williamston,” she says, it only made sense that a market still existed for a home brew supply store in their area. 
 
“We started checking things out and we had great support from the local community here about dong it,” Reed says. “That really cinched it for us that we were going to do it.”
 
The result is the now open Home Brew Depot on Grand River in Downtown Williamston. The 400 square foot business sells equipment and ingredients kits for home brewing beer, as well as ingredients for making wine, liquor and soda. 
 
The Home Brew Depot opened near the end of September and celebrated their grand opening last weekend. The store currently employs both Reed and her husband Bill Reed. The pair hopes to grow their staff over the next year. 
 

Sign-A-Rama opens in 1,700 sq ft Okemos location

The economic downturn was tough on sign and graphic companies, leaving a hole in the Lansing market for a locally owned but nationally franchised sign company. After 20 years in the education and training industry Dale Kohlsmith paired that local need with his own dream to operate his own business, opening Sign-A-Rama on West Grand River in Okemos.
 
“All of the other stores had gone down in the area,” Kohlsmith says. “There are a lot of independent sign companies here, but not many formal franchise models. What differentiates us is that we are locally owned and operated, so we can provide the customer service of a local shop, but have the global resources of a corporation.”
 
The 1,700 square foot business opened in July and currently employs a staff of four. Kohlsmith plans to place a focus on utilizing vendors of American-made products, which a particular focus on Michigan-made goods. 
 
“At least 90 percent of our products are made in the US,” says Kohlsmith. “We’re also very focused on being eco-friendly.”
 
As the new Sign-A-Rama continues to grow in Okemos, Kohlsmith plans to branch out into specialty markets, such as vehicle wraps.
 

Aerospace manufacturer opens in 19,000 sq ft Mason space, adds nine jobs

New aerospace manufacturer, APEX Precision Solutions, Inc., announced the opening of a 19,000 square foot facility near Mason last week. The company, which launched in the spring of this year, was started by a team of manufacturing executives from the medical device industry. 
 
“We’ve been in operation, really since July of the facility,” says Matthew Rudd, President and CEO of APEX. “We’re operational now and taking orders.” 
 
APEX specializes in machined parts and fixtures for the aerospace industry and related fields. The company plans to create 25 to 35 new jobs over the next two years. 
 
“Our initial goal here is get the certifications that will allow us to enter into more component manufacturing,” says Rudd. “We plan on growing in the markets that we’re currently service, but we’ll be able to go a little deeper.” 
 
APEX currently employs a staff of nine. Investment in their new facility was made assisted by Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Small Business Technology Development Center, the Lansing Regional SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 
 

Barfly Ventures to revive Lansing Brewing Company, add 50 jobs

Lansing Brewing Company closed its doors in 1914 when local prohibition laws were passed. It took 99 years, but Barfly Ventures of Grand Rapids will revive the historic downtown business, opening their own Lansing Brewing Company in the summer of 2013. 
 
“We have really strong ties as a company and as a family to East Lansing,” says Barfly Ventures owner Mark Sellers. “I got a call from Pat Gillespie about doing something in his building, and that got me thinking about doing one thing in Lansing and one in East Lansing.”
 
Lansing Brewing Company is now taking shape in an approximately 6,000 square foot space in The Gillespie Group’s Stadium District development on Michigan Avenue. The bar and restaurant will brew their own beer and have a full food menu. 
 
Barfly Ventures is also developing a bar in East Lansing called HopCat. Sellers says the Lansing area was an ideal location to expand his Grand Rapids-based operation because his project manager lives in East Lansing, and the distance is short enough for him to remain active in the businesses. 
 
“I feel I need to be present at my bars,” says Sellers. “I don’t like to be an absentee bar owner.”
 
Lansing Brewing Company will employ approximately 50 workers and is scheduled to open in the late summer of 2013. 
 

New Mason facility spurs growth, 12 new jobs for Capital Steel

A new facility and growing staff has Lansing-based Capital Steel receiving recognition at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Regional Growth Awards. The steel bars and wire company recently expanded with a $2 million redevelopment project in Mason, creating a space large enough to process steel on site. 
 
“The market share we’ve gotten has allowed us to broaden our infrastructure to process the steel here in our facility instead of sending out it,” says Capital Steel President Dustin Preston, who owns the company with his wife. “We’re really keeping our ear to what the market is asking for. We’re so flexible with what we can do and add now.”
 
The new 120,000 square foot facility has allowed the Capital Steel staff to grow by approximately 12 employees over the last year, bringing the total staff to 55 workers. That’s a significant number, compared to the three to four employees Preston began with when he started the company in 2001. 
 
“We’ve really put together a great team,” says Preston. “We’ve been able to pull from a very talented group of people in the Lansing area.”
 

Grand Rapids' HopCat to open East Lansing location, create 50 jobs

A popular Grand Rapids nightlife spot will open in the upcoming multi-use development that will, upon completion, be Downtown East Lansing’s tallest building
 
HopCat, will be a bar and restaurant specializing in carrying a wide variety of microbrews, with a focus on Michigan craft beer, just like the original location in Grand Rapids. The forthcoming local version of the venue, explains owner Mark Sellers, will have even more beer options. 
 
“We’ll have 100 beers on tap,” he says, “which is twice as many as we have in Grand Rapids.”
 
That won’t be the only difference between the two HopCat locations. The 6,000 square foot East Lansing bar will have a different layout, décor and menu. 
 
“I never wanted to be someone who owns a chain,” Sellers says. “I purposely want this to look and feel a little different.”
 
Sellers hopes to open the East Lansing HopCat, which will be located on the ground floor of The Residences on Ann St., in the late summer of 2013. The business will employ approximately 50 workers. 
 

New same-day therapy practice opens in East Lansing, adds six jobs

Though she had been in private practice for 14 years, Leslie Auld, LMSW, ACSW felt there was something missing from her psychotherapy services.
 
“I wanted to be able to offer same-day appointments to people,” says Auld. “I feel like that need is largely unmet. There is a lot of research to support that if you get help right away, the outcome is better.” 
 
Her new office in East Lansing, Therapy Today, offers just that. Auld’s staff are able to see both regular psychotherapy clients and appointments made that day. Auld is currently operating with one office employee and one other therapist but will soon add an additional four therapists to her staff.   
 
“It’s a really beautiful location,” Auld says. “It’s perfect for a therapy practice because it was built for that. We’re right near Creative Wellness, and there is a yoga studio right next door. It feels like a healing community area.”
 
Therapy Today opened its Abbott Road location on September 5. Auld hope to one day open additional Therapy Today offices in other cities. 
 
629 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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