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Mert's Meats expands to Eastside with second location

Grocers and markets are making their way back to Michigan Avenue, including a specialty meat store that began serving Eastsiders and the downtown community right before the summer solstice.
 
Mert's Specialty Meats on the Avenue opened in mid-June, offering a full line of fresh cut meat, seafood, dairy and cheeses, and a variety of Michigan-made products. The family-owned market run by Shirley Decker Prescott, her husband Mert Prescott and son Brandon Decker, is within a 10-minute drive of the original Okemos location that also opened in June three years ago.
 
"We know the neighborhood and the community," says Prescott who lives three blocks from the new store at 1629 E. Michigan Ave. "We think there's a need here for the fresh products and service we can give."
 
Mert's Meats on the Avenue will source beef and pork from the Midwest, including top choice products from the Iowa distributor Chairman's Reserve. Selections include grass-fed ground beef and steaks, free-range chicken and duck. The Eastside store will also carry salmon, crab and shrimp. Specialty and Michigan-made products include salsas and tortilla chips; barbecue sauces; spices, rubs and marinades; side dishes like pasta and rice; and some fresh produce.
 
"We also have unique selections like venison and elk and alligator and snake," says Prescott. "And we make our own sausages, including chicken, that are preservative and MSG free."
 
Both stores also offer recipe cards and can advise customers on how to best prepare what they are buying. Prescott says she can carry more frozen and specialty items in her new 1,800-square foot market since the space in the mixed-used development is slightly bigger than her Okemos location.
 
"We listen to our customers," says Prescott. "If they tell us they want something, we do what we can to bring it in."
 
Mert's employs 15 people between the two stores, including manager Jordan Eustace of the Lansing store, and a new-hire from Goodrich's Shop-Rite, Jessica Wilson.
 
"We know that Goodrich closing is a great loss to the community," says Prescott. "I shop there, and we are encouraging customers to bring us ideas from Goodrich's. They carried a lot of unique items that we would like to add to our inventory."
 
Source: Shirley Decker Prescott, Owner, Mert's Meats on the Avenue
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Web-based consignment shop curates upscale kids clothing

Two life events pushed Amy Mills to start her own business. The first was fostering and adopting an infant. The second was breast cancer.
 
"We had just started fostering Jeremy when we found out," says Mills, who has been cancer-free for six months. "The two things really pushed me to do something I had always wanted to do, and everyone was confident I could."
 
In March, Mills launched Molly & Oliver's Children's Upscale Resale with the guidance of the Capital Region Small Business Development Center. With local partners in Lansing and Portland, the web-based consignment shop curates children's clothing for newborns through tweens.
 
"When you're home taking care of kids you don't have time to go shopping," says Mills, who came up with the tag line 'live well, dress well' after reflecting on the challenges of building a wardrobe for her son. "Plus, it's hard to find nice clothes without having to spend a fortune."
 
Mills leveraged her professional photography skills to create the boutique website that showcases name brand and designer clothing like Baby Gap, Abercrombie Kids, Carter's, Jumping Beans, Ralph Lauren and Polo. Consignees can drop-off items at Mother & Earth Baby Boutique at 4601 W. Saginaw St. in Lansing, or at Distinctive Occasions at 160 Kent St. in Portland. Consignees receive 40 percent of the sales, and anything that doesn't sell is donated to A New Beginning Pregnancy Center in Charlotte.
 
Mills says if her business continues to grow, she may consider setting up a brick-and-mortar shop or moving into a space in one of her partner stores. For now, her base of operations is her home in Mulliken.
 
"Currently, my husband's man-cave has been turned into Molly & Oliver's," she says. "And as much as he'd like his man-cave back, he's been very supportive."
 
Source: Amy Mills, Owner, Molly & Oliver's Children's Upscale Resale
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Dewitt newly-weds open JJ Frozen Yogurt, create jobs

Tham Doan and John Nichols devised plans for launching their own business shortly after getting married two years ago.
 
"We thought about it, started planning, and got the location in January," says Doan. "It seemed like a good idea and we decided to do it."
 
In late June, Doan and Nichols opened JJ Frozen Yogurt in DeWitt. The shop brings a fresh and delicious twist to the strip mall at 13070 Old U.S. 27, and offers a rotation of 100 flavors and varieties of the satisfying and healthy snack.
 
As a nurse at Sparrow Hospital, Doan is attuned to making healthy dietary choices that take food allergies into account. Nichols, too, understands the challenges of food sensitivities, having grown up with family members with severe allergies to dairy.
 
JJ Frozen Yogurt, Doan says, will carry traditional frozen yogurts as well non-dairy, sugar-free, fat-free and low-fat varieties. Customers can review posted nutrition and ingredient information for each yogurt and dozens of topping in the self-serve shop. Doan says, too, she is exploring ways to dispense peanuts and chocolates separately for the benefit of allergy-sensitive customers.
 
"We can tell you how the yogurt is made and what the ingredients are," says Doan. "We focus on customer service and have a very nice setting with free Wi-Fi."
 
Doan and Nichols completely rehabbed the small space that seats up to 35 customers. Contractors redid plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and heating, and installed equipment for storing and dispensing foods. The husband-wife team also rolled up their sleeves and contributed to the top-to-bottom overhaul that included fresh paint, new floors and a new ceiling. The couple also received help with business planning from the Michigan Small Business Development Center, housed at Lansing Community College.
 
Doan says she plans to offer coffee in the next few months and to expand the hours to accommodate early-risers. More immediately, she will add smoothies and tea to the summer line-up.
 
Doan works occasionally in between her nursing shifts, while Nichols runs the shop. JJ Frozen Yogurt employs three staff with plans to add a couple more once coffee services are up and running in the fall.
 
Source: Tham Doan, Owner, JJ Frozen Yogurt
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New salon brings metropolitan blowouts to MAC location

A salon concept popular in New York, Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas has blown in to East Lansing thanks to a local stylist and his entrepreneurial client.
 
Heat Blowout and Beauty Boutique is the area's first-of-its-kind finishing salon offering blowouts, haircuts, hair styling, makeup application, spray tans and hand treatments. The 600-square foot boutique will be nestled in an intimate space on the first floor the Michigan Athletic Club, and accessible through a separate entrance.
 
"A lot of people in the area aren't super familiar with the concept," says Chief Stylist Dan Buccilli who co-owns the salon with Molly Chan. "Once you come in and try it, you're going to fall in love with it."
 
Buccilli says Heat is the perfect stop for members of the MAC before they exit the club, as well as an accessible beauty indulgence for non-MAC and other community members. The boutique will also offer tailored packages and specials including bridal boot camps, private girls night out parties, and combined service deals.
 
"We picked the MAC because it's the perfect combination," says Buccilli. "You've worked out and maybe have your hair in a ponytail. But we make it possible for you to leave the gym looking perfect for work or whatever else you have to do."
 
Buccilli says the high-end luxury service comes at affordable price and includes a hair shampoo, neck massage, and a hair blowout and style. Blowouts can be classic with volume and tight curls, soft waves or loose curls, chic and sleek, or customized by request. Each blowout typically lasts three days, with tips provided for maintaining the look and style between visits.
 
"We can make anyone's hair look good no matter the texture or the length," says Buccilli. "We can style your hair to suit your personality and lifestyle."
 
The boutique will feature four styling and two nail stations, and carry Bumble Bee hair products. Buccilli will employ five staff for starters, with more added as demand grows.
 
Source: Dan Buccilli, Owner, Heat Blowout and Beauty Boutique
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Beer garden brands Midtown Brewing as Euro-destination

Although he grew up and lives in the city, Marc Wolbert has always integrated nature into everyday life.
 
Today, the Lansing business owner is bringing more green space to downtown by building a European style beer garden outside the Midtown Brewing Company.
 
"Nature is important to us as people," says Wolbert who manages the nano-brewery along with brewer Brandon Cook. "And while beer gardens are prevalent in Europe, it's not something you usually get in an urban area.
 
The Flint native drew on his collegiate education in landscape architecture to create a 400-square foot space ringed by planters and shaded by umbrellas. Since the early June ribbon cutting, Wolbert has worked with Old Town's Plant Professionals to nurture a colorful blend of pansies, sweet potato vines, herbs, ornamental cabbages and hops for leafy and fragrant patio where up to 40 patrons to enjoy a craft beer or meal.
 
"It's a full-service beer garden," says Wolbert. "You'll have your complimentary peanuts, and in line with my love of nature, we feature a casual and natural-style menu."
 
Wolbert says he sources ingredients from farmer's markets and the restaurant's off-site vegetable garden whenever possible. He says he just added a new kitchen staff member to help carry forward the farm-to-table style food, bringing the total new staff hired for the summer to six.
 
Midtown Brewing employs 25 people and spun off two years ago from the shuttered Michigan Brewing Company. The 4,000-square foot restaurant has been in the space at 402 S. Washington for five years. The new beer garden, Wolbert says, helps brand downtown as a beer destination, and creates a unique urban beer drinking vibe characteristic of European cities.  
 
"One of my next projects is a rooftop garden," says Wolbert. "We have lots of beautiful flat roofs here in Lansing. Covering them in green helps our environment. And it helps make things prettier."
 
Source: Marc Wolbert, General Manager, Midtown Brewing Company
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Vendors plentiful as Allen Street Farmer's Market strides into summer

There are a growing number of restaurateurs joining the roster at the Allen Street Farmer's Market and Allen Market Place, including two that will leave a lasting impression on the palate.
 
Red's Smokehouse began serving up pulled pork nachos, smoked portabella sandwiches, tasty sides and more out of the Allen Market Place incubator kitchen in June. Owners Carol Smith and Jacke Randall say the idea is to provide easy take-out for the home or for a picnic on a warm sunny day.
 
"This gives us a launch pad to grow from," says Randall. "We can do some catering, and it's providing us a chance to bottle our sauces, too."
 
Randall says she and Smith plan to smoke year-round as a pioneering anchor tenant of the indoor market at 1619 E. Kalamazoo St. More immediately, they hope to expand their hours beyond the typical market days as more food and beverage operators come on board.
 
"Everything is happening all at once," says Randall, remarking that she and Smith had been challenged to find a suitable spot for their unique smoker. "Now that it's coming together, it's exciting."
 
Tannin, a year-old Italian eatery from Okemos, also joined the farmer's market in June, bringing fresh lemonade, handmade pastas, Italian pastries, coffee and tea, and more to their booth.
 
Executive Chef James Sumpter says he studies what the other 20-or-so vendors bring to market and then offers unique selections from the brick-and-mortar restaurant at 5100 Marsh Road.
 
"We bring out about six or seven varieties of our dried pasta, as well as fresh mozzarella that we roll at the restaurant," says Sumpter. "Our cornerstone is an Italian croissant rolled up with chocolate and vanilla. People get addicted to it."
 
Sumpter says the cornetti exemplifies how Tannin goes the extra mile for customers. Cornetti, he says, can take about eight or nine hours to prepare and involves multiple, labor-intensive steps.
 
"It makes me feel good to make something so tasty that makes people so happy," says Sumpter. "I really appreciate the organization and sense of community of the market, too."
  
Sources: Jacke Randall, Co-owner, Red's Smokehouse
James Sumpter, Executive Chef, Tannin
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Restoration Works gives blighted home new life

Three years ago, two homes in Lansing's Eastside were on the verge of collapse. Both sat empty except for the squirrels and raccoons that had taken up residence. Rumors circulated that one had been a meth lab. It was time, community organizers knew, to reclaim the nearly century-old family homes.
 
In partnership with the Allen Neighborhood Center and the Ingham County Land Bank, Lansing Community College began transforming the tax-foreclosed houses. Faculty set up shop in the 1500 block of East Kalamazoo Street. Students made one of the two homes their classroom. And hammers began to swing as the Restoration Works project got underway to conquer blight in a city neighborhood.
 
"We've done everything from reconstruction, roofing and siding to redoing the kitchen, bathrooms, floors and drywall," says Jim Lynch, director of LCC's Design and Construction Technologies Program and project coordinator for Restoration Works. "We also did some electrical and energy efficiency work."
 
Lynch says students from all seven areas of the College's Design and Construction Technologies Program have helped restore the first home at 1512 E. Kalamazoo St. By taking the lab component of courses to a real-world setting, Lynch says, students have been able to put their learning to the test and contribute to the community.
 
"Our students can now drive down the street and say 'I worked on that house,'" says Lynch. "There's pride involved. People can point to something and say they made a difference."
 
Lynch says that LCC also helps facilitate workshops on home improvement at the project site. Workshops focus on window glazing, dry walling or flooring, and show homeowners what they can do to update and fix-up their houses.
 
"Older homes are great," says Lynch. "They're built well, they have character. And that's the benefit. They're typically solid structures that you're simply giving a facelift."
 
Today, the first of the two homes owned by the Land Bank is nearly ready for sale. Volunteers from the Allen Neighborhood Center are finishing up the interior painting and exterior landscaping. Plans are to have a community-wide open house and put the house on the market by mid- to late July. Proceeds from the home sale, Lynch says, will go to fund the rehabilitation of the second Restoration Works home at 1501 E. Kalamazoo St.
 
"We're really looking forward to getting started on the next house," says Lynch. "We learned a lot and hope to be more creative with the second."
 
Source: Jim Lynch, LCC Project Coordinator, Restoration Works
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Family-owned auto parts company converts to NAPA brand

They say it's all in a name, but for Dick Seehase, it's also all in the family.
 
For 51 years, Seehase has been among the family members owning and operating The Parts Place. And while the Holt-based car parts company has spanned three generations and grown to nine mid-Michigan locations, the company prides itself on providing the highest level of customer service.
 
That quality of service, Seehase says, will be further ensured as the distributor of automotive parts and equipment switches affiliation from CARQUEST to NAPA, and adds an 18,000-square foot warehouse as the hub.
 
"It made perfect sense to go with a more traditional auto parts company," says Seehase of the changeover. "With our 50-year-old history and NAPA's 90, we'll be well-recognized and even more prepared to service our customers."
 
All eight stores will carry NAPA inventory and retain the nearly 60 professional staff who work in locations in East Lansing, West Lansing, Holt, Charlotte, Mason, Eaton Rapids, Williamston and Stockbridge.
 
The newly purchased warehouse on the corner of Waverly and St. Joseph will result in about three new staff joining the company. The space will also allow The Parts Place to carry about $2 million more in additional inventory to service all locations.
 
Seehase says the commercial market makes up about 70 percent of The Parts Place customers, with the remaining 30 percent coming from do-it-yourselfers.
 
"Years ago, lots of people could work on their own vehicles, but as the complexity has increased, we began servicing more commercial clients," says Seehase. "Our employees come from all different facets of the market, too, and know the business."
 
Seehase says The Parts Place changed affiliation in late April. He says he's anticipating the NAPA partnership will spur annual sales growth from about $9 to $15 million in the upcoming year.
 
"The NAPA brand name is one of the most recognized brands in the United States," says Seehase. "We're hoping to add more stores once we get our feet on the ground."
 
 Source: Dick Seehase, Company President, The Parts Place NAPA
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Wild Strawberry and More puts fruit, flowers and chocolate under one roof

Jacob Leyrer recognized the individual appeal of flowers, fruit and chocolate and united the three through Wild Strawberry and More.
 
"We're the only flower shop in the area that can do fresh flowers and fruit arrangements under one roof," says Leyrer who owns several specialty gift shops in Greater Lansing. "The next closest one you'll find is in Detroit."
 
Leyrer will hold a grand opening in late June for the newest branch of Wild Strawberry and More at 2024 E. Michigan Ave. At 1,300-square feet, the East Side shop joins Holt and Dimondale locations in offering fragrant, sweet and arguably nutritious arrangements of fruit and flowers for gifts, special occasions, weddings, signs of appreciation or sympathy, or just everyday personal indulgences.
 
Leyrer opened his corner store on Michigan Avenue in February following the successes of his relatively new Holt and Dimondale shops. The store, he says, is just one block from his childhood home on South Fairview Street, and reflects his passion for flowers that he cultivated growing up in a family floral business.
 
"I worked deliveries for my mom's floral shop when I was going to college," says Leyrer who attended Lansing Community College and played for their golf team. "I loved seeing the smile on people's faces when I brought something to their door."
 
Leyrer played professional golf for a number of years before deciding to open Wild Strawberries and More. And while he grew up around flowers, he says he prefers to apply his marketing and business background to running the shops rather than making the arrangements.
 
Wild Strawberry and More offers a range of cut flowers, fruit arrangements, chocolate dipped fruit, cards, balloons and small gifts like candles, vases and assorted knick-knacks. Leyrer's staff rotates from store to store and includes four designers, two delivery personnel, and two customer service reps.
 
"I just love putting out a great product and seeing people come back," says Leyrer. "It's inspiring to create something that people talk about, and to bring in new customers, too."

Source: Jacob Leyrer, Owner, Wild Strawberry and More
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Mark's Gourmet Dogs embarks on new business life after win on reality TV

Mark McGee always knew every dog has its day. He just never guessed his day would air on national television.
 
As the winner of the 2014 Food Network's Food Court Wars, McGee and his wife Krysta were awarded a year of rent-free space to expand their mobile hot dog cart operation to a fully-equipped restaurant in the Lansing Mall.
 
While many people learned of the success of Mark's Gourmet Dogs through the reality TV show, McGee says his path was charted years before when he took his first business class at Lansing Community College.
 
"I started at LCC with the idea of starting a hot dog cart," says McGee who had struggled through layoffs and diminished job prospects during the Great Recession. "LCC gave me the knowledge I needed to start a business. It was awesome. And it worked."
 
In 2009, McGee applied his classroom learning to setting up a food cart and bringing culinary flair to hot dogs and brats in Eaton Rapids. And when his son was born and his business took off, he and his wife started thinking about taking things to the next level.
 
"They'd already been talking about Food Court Wars when they came in," says Laurie Lonsdorf, Senior Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business Development Center at LCC. "But it was really iffy at that point, and they wanted to grow regardless of whether they made it or not. Ultimately, they knew they wanted an indoor location."
 
Lonsdorf began working with the McGees to identify locations and explore financing. She laid out checklists, provided suggestions on his business plan, and offered no-cost, confidential consulting about how the McGees could grow their startup venture.
 
"There's no way I could've done it without them," says McGee. "We needed their help no matter what happened, and when we found out we were on the show, things started rolling really fast. It's been quite a ride, but LCC and SBDC have been a great team."
 
When Mark's Gourmet Dogs took top prize and opened in the mall food court on May 30, Lonsdorf was there. She says LCC's SBDC will be to support and consult with the McGees on small business strategy as they hire four or more staff and enter the next phase of their business.
 
"Here's the funny thing though," says Lonsdorf. "While I couldn't wait to try Mark's food, I'm a vegetarian. I had the mac-and-cheese, coleslaw and Krysta's salted caramel ball. It was all great."
 
Source: Laurie Lonsdorf, Senior Business Consultant, Michigan Small Business Development Center at Lansing Community College
Mark McGee, Owner, Mark's Gourmet Dogs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Sinclair Grill takes ice cream on the road with two wheels and a sidecar

Cruisin' time is here. Greg Krantz knows that.
 
So come June, he takes to the road to cater weddings, open houses and outdoor parties with a favorite summertime dessert: ice cream.
 
As the owner of Sinclair Grill in Webberville, Krantz complements the fixings of his roadside diner with ice cream delivery and cart services. And his vehicles of choice? A Harley Davison equipped with refrigerated sidecars, a mid-century ice cream truck, and bicycle freezer carts—all pack with frozen favorites from the Michigan State University Dairy Store.
 
"This is the time of year when we heavily cater ice cream," says Krantz who recently became the area's only authorized vendor of MSU ice cream, cups and sandwiches. "We also have two malt machines and we do sundae bars for parties. We'll do most anything ice cream for a party or catered event."
 
Krantz says caters about 50 to 75 ice cream events over the summer, with business on the rise. He also caters breakfast, lunch and occasional dinner at nine companies in Greater Lansing, reaching as far down the road as Delta Township.
 
Krantz carries 16 flavors of MSU ice cream in his 800-square foot restaurant that's a reclaimed gas station diner that dates back to the 1930s. Krantz has 102 items on the menu that spans breakfast, lunch and dinner with standard American fare like hamburgers, hot dogs, French and chili fries, steaks, pulled pork, eggs and omelets, and some pasta.
 
Located at 345 W. Grand River in Webberville, the Sinclair Grill was among the hundreds of tiny roadside grills that dotted America's two-lane highways before freeways divided the landscape. Krantz bought the diner about three years ago and undertook a seven-month renovation to return the road-stop glory to the little restaurant.
 
The Sinclair Grill seats 49 inside and 49 outside on the summertime patio, and employs nine people. The interior is decked out with gas station and car memorabilia, with checkered tablecloths, chrome, and red and sea foam green accents for a 50s feel.
 
"We have a lot of motorcyclists and hot rodders who come to our diner," says Krantz, a confessed car and motorcycle enthusiast. "A lot of car clubs cruise here, like the model A or corvette club. They'll show up and fill the lot. It's like going back in time to the 40s or 50s."
 
Source: Greg Krantz, Owner, Sinclair Grill
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Go Greener plows the way toward expanded business

Grass grows. Spaces get dirty. Snow falls. Surfaces need repair. And that's where Go Greener comes in.
 
As long-time friends and experienced property managers, Russ Chambers and Mike Demmer launched the multi-tiered facilities management company in 2009. Starting with just three employees, Go Greener has grown to employ 30 staff, with plans to hire a half dozen more in 2014.
 
"It feels like we started a family here with our business," says Chambers. "We're involved in our community, too, and try to give back by sponsoring events at places like the YMCA and Peckham as much as we can."
 
Chambers and Demmer blended 20 years of combined experience to form a one-stop facilities management company that provides lawn care, janitorial and snow removal services, as well as asphalt repair and maintenance. The company's more than 100 clients includes schools, government offices, public buildings, manufacturing plants, financial institutions and retail centers, as well as a handful of residential customers.  
 
"If you're a business owner and you use several companies for all these services, we can consult and provide you with competitive pricing for all three," says Chambers. "We also have that small business feel, and our customers say our response time is great."
 
Go Greener's base of operations consists of a 5,000 square foot office building and nearly 70,000 square feet of warehouse space on Lansing's north side. The company's fleet is branded with the company's logo and dispatch with professionally clad staff for all services.
 
Chambers says that Go Greener's lawn services grew 45 percent over last year. The company's janitorial services also climbed by 40 percent, while snow removal piled up a whopping 60 percent from the previous season. Chambers admits part of the growth was due to the exceptionally rough winter, and added that the company went through 1,000 tons of bulk road salt that they shared with other businesses.
 
"I truly think our growth is from the service we provide our customers," says Chambers. "Word of mouth has helped, we have good name recognition. But when people say 'these guys do a good job,' that's the best."
 
Source: Russ Chambers, Owner, Go Greener
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Sparrow unveils expanded surgical center, creates six jobs

A $15 million expansion more than doubled the size of the surgical center at Sparrow Hospital and further positioned Sparrow as a national leader in healthcare.
 
The hospital dedicated the new surgical center in mid-May by showcasing the 10 high-tech operating rooms that comprise the 16,000-square foot center.
 
The new state-of-the art operating room suites brings the total number of high-tech suites at Sparrow to 18. The expansion is part of the more than $250 million in construction that Sparrow has undertaken in the last three years to transform and deliver nationally-recognized quality care.
 
"Over the last few years our surgical volume has continued to grow," says Barbara McQuillan, director of surgical services at Sparrow. "It's an exciting time and this new expansion is the result of a lot of long-term planning to meet the healthcare needs of our region."
 
Features of the new center include space-saving equipment, touch-screen monitors, precision lighting, and floors designed to provide support and reduce fatigue. The space also includes Sparrow's first frozen specimen lab which can enable real-time diagnosis and intervention while a patient is still in surgery.
 
Additional renovations slated for a later date include pre- and post-surgical areas, central sterile supply and the post-anesthesia care unit.
 
McQuillan says that the new surgical arena centralizes the majority of the hospital's OR suites, improves workflow and ultimately the patient experience. The new center will result in about six new positions, as well as changes in surgical services related to clinical engineering, radiology and ancillary support.
 
"By optimizing the day-to-day operations, it ensures we are able to provide the best care to every patient, every time," says McQuillan, "which is good for our community and good for the thousands of caregivers who make it all happen."
 
Sources: Barbara McQuillan, Director of Surgical Services, Sparrow
Sacha Crowley, Communications Specialist, Sparrow 
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

His & Her Beauty Bar rocks out hair with a vintage twist

Danielle Wirth started getting in everyone's hair at the age of 12. That's about the time her father began showing her some of the professional secrets he applied every day at his barbershop in Ann Arbor.
 
By the time Wirth finished high school, she had amassed years of experience doing hair for homecoming, dances and proms. Added to the cosmetology training she received through the Capital Area Career Center, the Williamston native was well equipped to work in a salon or hang her own shingle.
 
"I always have my hand in someone's hair," says Wirth who recently opened her own salon in Williamston. "I just can't get enough of it."
 
Wirth cut the ribbon on the His & Her Beauty Bar at 725 W. Grand River Ave. in Willilamston in early June. It's a place, she says, that blends old school barbering with new school cuts. She describes her style as "vintagey" with a modern twist, combining fashion, trends and precision cutting techniques she learned from her dad.
 
Wirth's 1,250-square foot salon will have six chairs, three stylists and eventually separate areas for a massage therapist, esthetician and make-up artist. The red, black and white décor shouts nostalgia with portraits of beautiful mid-century stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elvis.
 
"Elvis is awesome and always had amazing hair," says Wirth. "I meet a lot of guys who would love to have hair like his, and since there's no particular name for his hair style, I offer a cut called the 'Elvis Haircut.'"
 
In addition to the Elvis cut, Wirth's vintage hair services include pin curls, victory rolls and finger waves.
 
"A lot of people are asking for those kinds of things now," says Wirth. "I can execute old style hair trends as well as precision cutting."
 
Wirth says she loves how much you can change someone's life simply by altering their hair, make-up or eyebrows. She says nothing compares to the gratitude she sees on a customer's face when she turns the chair around and they see their new look for the first time.
 
"I can rock out anyone's hair," says Wirth. "Sometimes people need someone to tell them in a nice way what needs to be done. I'm not afraid to do that."
 
Source: Danielle Wirth, Owner, His & Hers Beauty Bar
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

New tenant to transform legendary Creole Gallery into dining, drinking and music venue

Although the real estate has changed hands, the new tenant coming into the space of the 15-year-old Creole Gallery plans to carry forward the cultural vibe that made the space a symbol of Old Town's renaissance.
 
Zoobie's Old Town Tavern co-owners Sam Short, Aaron Matthews and Al Hooper signed a lease the first week of June with new building owner Jamie Schriner-Hooper to open The Creole—a combination restaurant, cocktail bar and "listening room" in the 2,250-square foot space at 1218 Turner St. The new establishment, Short says, will pay homage to Creole Gallery founder Robert Busby by retaining the name, artistic sensibilities, and character and aesthetics of the interior.
 
"There's just a fantastic southern feel about the place," says Short. "It has that Louisiana, French-revival feel, and the sound and acoustics are great."
 
The Creole, Short says, will be a place to go to enjoy cocktails, beer and wine, and 50s-style punches, as well as gumbo-style cuisine. Live jazz, blues, funk, and roots rock acts will perform on the original built-in stage from Busby's gallery. Open space will be transformed into a dining area with a 100-person capacity. Other new features will include a full-service bar and a behind-the-scenes kitchenette, overseen by Johnson & Wales trained chef Dan Konopnicki.
 
Short says The Creole is slated to open in mid-August with a staff of 15 people. In addition to live music, he says the venue will also feature rotations of art by local and regional artists.
 
"We want to continue to build this unique dining and drinking culture to compliment the already spectacular art and bohemian vibe," says Short. "We're driven to make Old Town the progressive core of dining and drinking in the Lansing area."
 
Source: Sam Short, Co-Owner, The Creole
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor
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