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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

Group of friends decant dreams for new Portland microbrewery

What was a downtown theater in one life and a pottery shop in another will become what owners say is the only microbrewery between Lansing and Grand Rapids when The Gallery Brewery opens this June in Portland.
 
The Gallery, says operations manager Hannah Green, will be a warm, comfortable place where friends can gather to enjoy seasonal craft beers, wine, and non-alcoholic brews like cream soda and root beer—all made onsite. Patrons, too, can enjoy a healthy version of bar food including flat bread pizza, baked chicken, hummus, salads, and baked cauliflower with buffalo sauce.
 
"We want everything to be and feel local," says Green. "We're in a farming community and we want to draw from that. It's something we're really working on."
 
Green, her husband Jared, friends Joe, Neil and Al Mathesin, and building owner Rush Clement reflected on their hopes and aspirations one night and came up with the idea for Portland's new brewpub.
 
"We've all been brewing for a couple years now and have a real passion for it," says Green. "We just got to talking and liked the whole concept of The Gallery."
 
The Gallery takes it name from the local artists the brewpub will feature each month. Green says they already have eight months worth of artists lined up, and are working to secure musicians to play once or twice a week on a built-in stage.
 
Green says all club owners have been pitching in to renovate the 2,500-square-foot-space that will retain its high-ceilinged, industrial feel. Seating areas will feature couches, coffee tables and a bar for a total capacity of 80.
 
"I have a big family, so between all of us we are handling the renovations ourselves," says Green. "It's been a lot of fun."
 
The Gallery will employ six people for starters with more added as business grows.
 
"This is right up my alley," says Green who works in the hospitality field. "I like meeting new people. I like serving food and drinks. It's fun to be able to create an experience for a customer coming in. That's what we plan to do."
 
Source: Hannah Green, Operations Manager, The Gallery Brewery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Above the Grand provides casual experience for artistic-minded shopper

The area is perfect. The town is just right. And the grand opening during a citywide festival on May 3 was the ideal time to launch a retail business focused on Michigan art and products.
 
"We're just a block away from the river in a nice quaint area of historic Grand Ledge," says Bill Berk of the newly-opened Above the Grand. "We feel that people will enjoy seeing all the items made by a lot of local artists as well as the products from local Michigan growers."
 
Berk and his wife, Amber Warner-Berk, were persuaded by their life-long love of art to open the 1,600-square foot store. It's a way, Berk says, that they can provide a space to support local artists as well as to carry artsy merchandise for customers.
 
Above the Grand will feature items that range from jewelry to paintings to Michigan goods like syrup and honey. The Berks will curate some jewelry and handmade wares through Etsy to build a one-of-a-kind inventory for shoppers seeking personal items or gifts. Crystals, healing wands, simmering chips and candles are also among the mix.
 
"When we go to select items for our store, we think about who might like it, and not necessarily about whether we like it or not," says Berk. "We're trying to be very open to things."
 
Berk says local artists are welcome to visit and to discuss selling their creations through the store. Once the store is up and running, he hopes to spotlight an artist each month.
 
The Berks totally renovated the interior of the shop to give the space a more contemporary feel.
 
"It's a very casual and relaxed atmosphere," says Berk. "We're basically a family business."
 
Source: Bill Berk, Co-Owner, Above the Grand
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Maybelle's Café and Sweets creates a gathering place, four jobs

When Amy Zander told her friends about her recent venture to open a café in Grand Ledge, they smiled and said it was a perfect fit.
 
"They said my house has always been the place where all of us want to gather because I'm a good host and always had good things to eat," says Zander. "That's my goal now."
 
Beginning May 3, Zander will open the doors to Maybelle's Café and Sweets at 214B S. Bridge Street. It's a dream she's had since high school and later reinforced when she and her husband managed a private hunting lodge and full-service kitchen in Northern Michigan.
 
Zander will move into the previous home of Sweet Linda's Café—a beloved bakery and sandwich shop that recently closed when the owner retired. She won't be straying much from the Sweet Linda's premise, Zander says, and will offer sandwiches, soups and salads, homemade baked goods, gourmet coffee and organic loose-leaf tea.
 
"One thing I am doing differently is I am going to be offering a gluten-free line of sandwiches and baked goods," says Zander. "And then there's my bubble bread."
 
Baked from a family recipe, bubble bread is a variation on the cinnamon roll and comes in several flavors. Any customer who can say 'bubble bread' correctly five times in a row will get a free sample.
 
"I'm planning to have a nice balance between some good sweet treats and healthy foods," says Zander. "That's how I like to eat. I like to eat healthy, but I also like to have a great brownie or cookie to balance it."
 
Zander is taking out a back wall to double her capacity, and configuring arrangements of tables and couches for cozy seating. She's also opening up an outdoor patio and garden area that will feature live music when the weather breaks.
 
"After this crazy winter, I'm really looking forward to sitting out there myself," she says.
 
Zander plans to hire up to four staff, and may also get occasional help from the budding chefs in her family, including her two kids and husband.
 
Source: Amy Zander, owner, Maybelle's Café and Sweets
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Aggie Mae's brings artisan baked goods, new jobs to Grand Ledge

Since changing careers in 2009, Neva Austin starts her day in the kitchen at 3 a.m.
 
"I was in sales and wanted to do something I had a passion for," says Austin, the owner of the growing line of Aggie Mae's bakeries in Greater Lansing. "I decided I would make breads and pastries for the farmer's market, and it just exploded from there."
 
Austin opened her newest bakery in Grand Ledge in mid-January after closing her shop at the Lansing City Market. The 2,100-square foot store at 914 Charlevoix Street is her second brick-and-mortar store in addition to her bakery in Lansing's Old Town.
 
Austin uses fresh ingredients for her breads, pastries, cakes and pies. She sources organic flour from Ferris Organic Farms in her hometown of Eaton Rapids, and Lansing's LorAnn Oils for flavorings. Downtown's Paramount Coffee supplies the beans for her frequently requested cups of brew.
 
Austin seems destined to knead the dough. Her grandmother, Elaine Maynard, was a restaurateur in Higgins Lake, and her great grandmother, Bertie Mae, had a bakery in Breckenridge. 
 
"My mother taught me how to bake from a very young age," says Austin of the store's namesake, Aggie Mae. "Some of my fondest memories are baking bread with my mom."
 
Austin makes her baked goods from scratch, including her 12 artisan breads, pastries, specialty cupcakes, pies and cheesecake. She also claims 15 made-to-order sandwiches, a signature granola, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast items.
 
Austin's Grand Ledge bakery employs seven staff. She adapted the space in the newer strip mall by painting, knocking out a wall, and replacing floor tile. She also brought in her own display cabinets, coolers and bakery equipment, and put in seating for up to 15 dine-in customers. She's held off doing a grand opening, but is planning one for late March or April, once the weather turns.
 
"My mother absolutely loves to come in," says Austin. "Her favorite thing, of course, is the 'Aggie Mae,' our signature chicken salad sandwich that is made in-house."
 
Source: Neva Austin, owner, Aggie Mae's Bakery
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Grand Ledge city government makes new home in renovated elementary school

You may not be able to fight city hall but you can certainly move it.
 
Grand Ledge opened the doors on its new location on the corner of Greenwood and Main on Jan. 20. City officials have already held the first city council meeting, and plans are in place for a formal ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 18.
 
So far, the impressions have been positive for the renovation of a shuttered elementary school into Grand Ledge's new seat of city government.
 
Over the course of a year, the former Greenwood Elementary has been transformed into the new City Hall, police station, and 10,500-square feet of community space that includes a gymnasium, meeting rooms and a council chamber.
 
"Everyone is happy to have the police here and out of the basement," says Mayor Kalmin Smith, describing the subterranean blues of the previous police headquarters in a Grand Ledge church. "Now they have plenty of space, a 4,400-square foot garage, and exercise and squad rooms. Plus the chief of police can look out the window and see the public playground we preserved. You can't get any better than that."
 
The city bought the elementary school from the Grand Ledge School District for $1 with a commitment to restore the playground and transform extra rooms into community meeting space. The city invested about $2.2 million to make the building suitable for its new functions.
 
Smith says the city's new home will provide a place for the display of public art and artifacts gathered by the Grand Ledge Historical Society. Photos and artworks will be rotated, including old class pictures that were kept in storage by the school district.
 
"Our new location will reflect the character and history of the building," says Smith. "People will leave with more of a sense of what Grand Ledge is all about when they come to visit."
 
Source: Kalmin Smith, Mayor, City of Grand Ledge
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Sparrow Grand Ledge opens, brings 12 new urgent care jobs

Grand Ledge residents found convenient, quality healthcare closer to home when Sparrow Health System opened their newest health care facility in late January.
 
Sparrow Grand Ledge offers an urgent care, outpatient physical rehabilitation, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy and medical supply in one location at 1015 Charlevoix Drive. The urgent care opened to the public on Jan. 25, with other areas opening Jan. 27.
 
"Our hallmark is convenience for our patients," says Patricia Crowe, M.D. and medical director of Sparrow Urgent Cares. "A patient can have their health care needs taken care of—be it a cold, a sports injury, a prescription, or lab work."
 
Crowe said that before the new facility opened, patients had to visit several facilities for specific health needs. Sparrow Grand Ledge, she says, not only provides multiple services under one roof, it also integrates patient records through Sparrow's electronic medical platform.
 
Sparrow broke ground on the 11,500-square foot facility in August. Crowe said the urgent care alone creates at least 12 new positions, including a department manager, X-ray technician, medical assistant and new physicians.
 
"It's a gorgeous facility that completes the whole package of what Sparrow is about," says Crowe as she mentions two other Sparrow Urgent Cares in East Lansing and Mason. "We're all about going out there to serve the community."
 
The January opening followed a few short months after McLaren opened a new facility right next door. Dr. David Smith, president of Family medicine of Michigan, was key in bringing the  health care giants together to provide convenient, specialized services to residents.
 
"I really appreciate the vision and follow-through of Dr. David Smith in bringing the services of McLaren Orthopedic Hospital and Sparrow Hospital to Grand Ledge," writes Grand Ledge Mayor Kalim Smith his bi-weekly e-news. "It is a blessing to the community to have existing and new health care services brought together in a central location."
  
Source: Patricia Crowe, M.D., Medical Director, Sparrow Urgent Cares
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

McLaren Grand Ledge expands into new, 11,500 sq ft facility

Grand Ledge residents now have more options for staying healthy and getting well closer to home. Beginning in mid-August, McLaren Greater Lansing began offering services from a brand new health center on Charlevoix Drive. Though McLaren has had a presence in the community for some time, the new location has expanded the office's offerings. 
 
The new structure was built by Dr. David Smith, whose office was near McLaren's original Grand Ledge location for some time. When Smith decided to build a medical center, it became the perfect opportunity for McLaren to expand their local offerings. In the new facility, patients will have access to upgraded radiology, cardiology, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, lab draw station and primary care services. 
 
"We've had a close relationship with Dr. Smith and his group," says John Patterson, administrator, McLaren Orthopedic Hospital. "He said he wanted to move into a new space, and asked if we wanted to. We said, 'absolutely.'" 
 
Work on the facility was completed in about ten months, and McLaren celebrated their grand opening in mid-August. The event brought more than 300 visitors to the new office.
 
"We're excited that they're excited we're out here," says Patterson. "They loved the facility. Many of the people were looking for new provider, so we were glad we were there to offer that to them." 
 
Patterson estimates 15 new jobs were created with the opening of the new office.
 

Source: John Patterson, McLaren Greater Lansing
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

87-year-old Apothecary Shop opens new Grand Ledge location

For 87 years, the Apothecary Shop has been serving the Lansing community. When an independent pharmacist in Grand Ledge retired and sold his business to a big box pharmacy, it became an opportunity for the long established business to expand it reach. 
 
"We have seen [Grand Ledge] customers driving all the way up to Lansing to see us because they like the service of the independent pharmacy," says Nag Yeasu, pharmacist with the new Apothecary Shop at Grand Ledge. "We decided we had the opportunity to open our second location." 
 
The new Apothecary Shop opened in April in a 1,400 square foot location on Charlevoix Dr. in Grand Ledge. It's proximity to other, big name pharmacies, says Nag Yeasu will work as a benefit to the new store. 
 
"People have to come to this corner to get their medicine already," says Yeasu. "If they know that this is the best service in the town, they will go to the independent pharmacy."
 
Those exclusive services include home delivery of medications, quick turnaround on prescriptions and personal customer service from a consistent staff. The Apothecary Shop also offers a service that many pharmacies long ago abandoned: mixing custom compounds for patients with special prescription needs. Yeasu adds that clients can always expect a human to answer the phone. 
 
The Apothecary Shop will celebrate its grand opening today. The pharmacy currently employs a staff of four, and Yeasu hopes to grow that number as the business continues to develop. 
 

Source: Nag Yeasu, Apothecary Shop of Grand Ledge
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Jefferson Street Salon opens, creates three Grand Ledge jobs

When her employer closed its doors in September, hairstylist DeAnn DeChelbor wasn't about to walk away from the clients she'd been taking care of for 11 years. 
 
"We have the best the clientele," says DeChelbor. "We're like a family because we've know them for so long. They're like our family, and we didn't want to lose them."
 
The day after leaving Fantastic Sam's, she started looking for a location to start her own shop, and in December, she and partners Jennifer Temple and Andrea Graeber opened the doors of Jefferson Street Salon in Grand Ledge
 
The 1,200 square foot salon supports the three stylists with room to add up to three more in the future. Eventually, DeChelbor says, she would like to hire a massage therapist as well. 
 
According to DeChelbor, the goal of the Jefferson Street Salon is to offer high quality hair services at a lower cost than other area salons. 


Source: DeAnn DeChelbor, Jefferson Street Salon
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Have a development news story? Send Natalie an email here.

Grand Ledge Nana-n-Paws expands to 10 acrea property with eight employees

Patty Lance knows dogs. She’s been training them for 33 years, and after a few negative experiences with boarding facilities, began taking care of other people’s dogs in her home the way she felt they should be cared for. 
 
“I don’t like outdoor runs because dogs can escape. I don’t like leaving them unsupervised, because anything could happen,” says Lance. “I don’t like dogs in cages. I wanted it to be more like a home environment, instead of an institution of steel and cement.” 
 
Her client list outgrew her home, leading Lance to open Nana-n-Paws Doggie Daycare in Grand Ledge in September. The facility includes a 9,300 square foot main building and 5,000 square foot training and rental facility on 10 acres. 
 
“We also have an 11,000 square foot outdoor play area where and they are never unsupervised,” Lance says. “We have a bedroom and a kitchen here for staff to spend the night. Nine times out of ten we fall asleep with dogs in our beds.” 
 
Nana-n-Paws Doggie Daycare offers boarding facilities with separate rooms for older dogs, small dogs, large dogs who love to roughhouse and those with more timid personalities. The facility also has a retail store, grooming services, dog training and some veterinary services. 
 
“I just really love dogs,” says Lance, “and I don’t want them to be scared, I don’t want their feelings hurt. I want them to feel like they’re at home.” 
 
Lance hopes to continue to grow in her new location, with such plans as adding a dog park to her property, coordinating adoption days with area rescue organizations. Eight employees currently work at Nana-n-Paws. 
 

Grand Ledge's Design Rides triples size with new shop, expands staff

It was only by chance that John Williams moved his business Design Rides from Ionia to Grand Ledge in 2008 after his former landlord sold the building that house it. It turned out to be a great move for the auto detailing and customization business, which has doubled in volume since arriving in Grand Ledge. 
 
Design Rides grew so much, in fact, that they recently celebrated the opening of their new, larger location on East Saginaw. 
 
“We have a big clientele now,” says Williams. “I think it’s our dedication to making it right. We always make sure that everything is correct.” 
 
They’ll have a lot more room to exercise their attention to detail. The new, 2,800-square foot location is more than three times the size of the former Design Rides shop. 
 
“We’re going to start offering more services,” says Williams. “We’ll be able to start offering spray-on bed lining, custom fiberglass work, fiberglass tops, and offering lift kits.” 
 
Additionally, he says, Design Rides will be able to start working their way through a waiting list of customers that extends out of state. The growing business now has a staff for four full- and two part-time employees, two of which have been added over that last year. Williams expects to add two more full time staffers in the near future. 
 

Grand Ledge Auto to celebrate ribbon cutting

Grand Ledge drivers have a new option for serving their vehicles. Everett High School grade Hugh McNichol began his career in automotive repair as a mechanic in the army reserves. After attending LCC for automotive technology and serving in Iraq, the local man returned to the Lansing area to continue his career. 
 
McNichol’s Grand Ledge Auto will celebrate their opening earlier this year with a ribbon cutting on December 17. The four-bay auto shop is located at at 854 West Jefferson. 
 
“I do diagnostics, engine repair, brakes, suspension, air conditioning and hybrids,” says McNichol. 
 
The only things McNichol doesn’t do, he says, are tires and bodywork. The ASE certified automotive technician says he plans to continue to develop his skills in his new business. 
 
“I’d like to one day to do electric conversions on gas vehicles,” McNichols says. 
 

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. 
 

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. 
 
57 Grand Ledge Articles | Page: | Show All
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