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Red Fox Comics brings comic books and merchandise to Delta Township

Daniel Rust wants to foster the personal connection people often feel toward comic book characters. And he wants to do so through a retail environment that's bright, casual and fun.
 
In early to mid-August, the lifelong fan of comics will open a 1,600-square foot store in Delta Township that caters to the casual fan as well as the aficionado. And the location at 723 Brookside Mall, Rust says, makes Red Fox Comics an easy stop for people en route to popular restaurants, retailers or home.
 
"A lot of people feel intimidated when they go into comic books stores for fear they might say something wrong or be corrected," says Rust. "My store will be a casual place for people of all ages."
 
Red Fox Comics will carry all new comics from trusted names like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and IDW, as well as graphic novels and trade paper backs from the same or similar publishers. Customers will also find casual apparel like T-shirts, hoodies and caps, and merchandise and memorabilia like key chains, magnets, pins, mugs and other pop novelty items.
 
Rust devised his business plan with the Michigan Small Business Development Center, then worked with his father-in-law to deck-out the store with customized shelves and fixtures. Walls and trim will be decorated with a color scheme of green, black and white, or as Rust calls it "Green Lantern Green." 
 
Rust says he's loved comics since middle school. Like many people, the Haslett native says he was drawn to comics for their storylines, and often sympathized with the strengths or weaknesses of particular characters.
 
"My favorite character is Aquaman," Rust says. "As a kid, I always related to him. I have red hair and was always singled out, and I felt Aquaman was too. I thought, 'Hey, he's a cool guy. So why not?' I was always swimming in the summertime, so that was that."
 
Source: Daniel Rust, Owner, Red Fox Comics
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

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

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

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

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

Buscemis franchise expands to Lansing, creates 10 jobs

Greater Lansing residents will find it's "hip to be square" as a popular Detroit-based party store and pizzeria opens its first Greater Lansing area franchise in Delta Township this June.
 
Known for its square pizza by the slice since 1956, Buscemis Party Shoppe is building a 5,000-square foot store from the ground up on the former site of Udder Creamery and Fannie Mae Candy. The brand new building at 4037 W. Saginaw will include three additional suites at 1,200-feet each.
 
"We're putting our heart and soul into this operation," says Steven Kesto, Buscemis manager of operations and Lansing franchise owner. "Lansing is an up and coming place turning Michigan around and we want to be part of it."
 
Kesto says the building's exterior of brick, stucco and expansive glass windows will make customers stop and say 'wow'—just like the great service and prices they'll find inside.
 
Buscemis will carry beer, wine and liquor as well as a full line of snack foods. About 25 percent of the floor and shelf space will be dedicated to craft beer, with customers being able to mix and match their selections. Made-to-order food is also available, including Buscemis fabled pizza, calzones, subs and salads.
 
"We also deliver," says Kesto. "We've heard that lots of hotels are excited about that."
 
Lansing's Buscemis franchise joins about 40 other Buscemis party shoppes in Michigan. Kesto says the Lansing store will employ 10 people for starters, with more staff added as business takes off.
 
"As they say, you build it and people will come," says Kesto. "We're hoping that to be the case."
  
Source: Steven Kesto, Manager of Operations, Buscemis Party Shoppe
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Perfect Circle Recycling helps put waste to good use

Todd Wilson has never been shy about cleaning up and doing dirty work. In fact, he's building a business that helps haul away trash for a greener world.
 
Perfect Circle Recycling, Wilson says, gives residents an option for recycling food waste, leaves and grass clippings through a personal hauling service that connects with environmentally conscious reuse facilities.
 
"There is a lot of food byproducts that are being landfilled that could be repurposed," says Wilson. "I see it all as a perfect circle."
 
Wilson started his company in 2011 from his home in southwest Lansing with a little bit of ingenuity, a truck, a trailer and bins. Working with a partner in the composting business, he helped Central Michigan University initiate a system to recycle food waste into compost, renewable energy or animal feed.
 
Today, Wilson is focusing on building services back home in Eaton County and Delhi Charter Township. Beginning July 1, he plans to launch a weekly service that involves hauling food waste, leaves and grass clippings from small businesses, restaurants or residents to facilities that can repurpose the debris. Those facilities, he says, include composters, anaerobic digesters, compressed natural gas providers, or qualifying animal feedlots.
 
Customers signing up for Wilson's hauling service receive a three-gallon bucket for in-house use, as well as a 96-gallon roller cart. His service runs $10 a month. Customers who prepay for six months receive a 15-pound bag of premium compost, while those who pay it forward a year receive a 25-pound bag.
 
Wilson's short-term goal is to grow his customers to 100 or more this year and to divert at least 100,000 pounds of food waste from landfills.
 
"It's a way you can become a steward of your community and be involved," says Wilson. "Basically, it's just about being green."
 
Source: Todd Wilson, Owner, Perfect Circle Recycling
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Construction underway for area's first Toby Keith bar and grill

Southern home-cooked fare, a country music atmosphere and live music from area bands set the stage for one of Lansing's newest dining attractions as Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill comes to Delta Township this fall.
 
The Lansing Mall announced March 18th that the venue named for the 2003 hit single "I Love This Bar" will occupy an 18,000-square foot space now under construction near the Regal Cinemas.
 
Vice President of Marketing Melissa Heanue of Rouse Properties, which owns the Lansing Mall, believes the energetic and entertaining blend of music and food will make for a great lunch or night out. She says the Toby Keith's "new home" will add to the already high-profile lineup of Lansing Mall dining options that include the newly opened Longhorn Steakhouse and the upcoming Nestle Toll House Café.
 
"This is a unique destination tenant that enhances both our dining and entertainment offering," says Heanue in a prepared statement. "We believe it will serve as major attraction within the Greater Lansing area."
 
The restaurant will feature an 85-foot full-service bar in the shape of guitar, a stage for live entertainment, a dance floor, a glass-enclosed VIP room, two indoor 'barns" for private parties and corporate events. Notable menu items include pulled-pork sandwiches, meatloaf, fried bologna sandwiches and Southern fried Twinkies.
 
Toby Keith's boasts 15 U.S. locations, with five coming soon. The Lansing location will be the second in Michigan behind Auburn Hills.
 
Source: Melissa Heanue, Vice President of Marketing, Rouse Properties
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Indoor Grow Store opens superstore, hires 14 employees in rapid expansion

For Alex Manuel, business is growing.
 
In July 2013, Manuel opened his first Indoor Grow Store on S. Cedar Street in Lansing. Then, a little more than a half year later, he opened his second Lansing area store at 3800 W. Saginaw Highway—one that is three times as large as the first.
 
"Six months from now, we'll be having this same interview," says Manuel, when asked about his new superstore that plots 6,000 square feet. "We are going to open up a store in every city in Michigan."
 
Manuel is driven to make the process of growing plants indoors simpler and less expensive, and says he discounts everything in his store by 40 to 50 percent. His stores carry most everything an indoor gardening enthusiast needs, including lighting, trays, soils, mediums, nutrients, and specialty tools and accessories.
 
Manuel's most prized retail item is very own magic trimmer—a patented hand-held device that speeds the trimming and harvesting of indoor plants.
 
"I'm a good farmer," says Manuel, who hails from Greece. "I farmed in my old country and here in Michigan and California. My father and grandfather and his father were farmers. I can give you the best things for your garden."
 
Manuel says he gave up farming because of age and because he is working on his stores. He invested about $200,000 to remodel the previous Shop-Rite grocery store on the corner of Waverly and Saginaw streets, and runs the shop with a staff of 14, including his son.
 
Source: Alex Manuel, Owner, The Indoor Grow Store
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Ciena Healthcare Management expands footprint of Delta facility, adds 30 more jobs

Plans for a new rehabilitation facility in Delta Township have grown in scope after an enthusiastic reception prompted the health care company to take a second look.
 
Southfield-based Ciena Healthcare Management is expanding the blueprint of the 78,000-square-foot Regency at Lansing West by several thousand feet to accommodate 120 beds—up 20 from the 100 announced at the December 2013 groundbreaking. The increase, says CEO Mohammad Qazi, adds $1 million to the $9.1 million investment, as well as 30 more full-time jobs.
 
"We're also excited that we're creating construction jobs during the building phase," says Qazi, who estimates the now 150 full-time staff jobs will bring about $6 million in salaries to the local economy. "The community response has been very positive. We're anxious to get open."
 
Regency at Lansing West is the first Ciena facility in mid-Michigan and joins a network of 34 other company-run centers in the state. The facility will be located on Broadbent Road off Interstate 96 and is slated to open in fall 2014.
 
The single story building will feature private and semi-private rooms, common areas, a restaurant with chef-prepared food, and a library, lounge and salon. Regency at Lansing West, Qazi says, is a departure from older health and rehab facilities built in the '60s and '70s, and mirrors the "medical hospitality model" in which customers are regarded as guests, not patients.
 
"Most of the guests we will have will be coming direct from the hospital for a couple weeks of rehabilitation, and will range in age from 60 to 70," he says. "Since we are looking to meet the needs and expectations of a relatively younger population, this will be a very different environment, with lots of amenities."
 
Source: Mohammad Qazi, president, Ciena Healthcare
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Students climb toward new careers at Lansing Community College

The demand for line workers is climbing, and Lansing Community College is poised to help students reach new heights through a growing Electrical Utility Lineworker Program.
 
"I've heard figures from a local utility company that half of their line workers will retire in the next three years," says Matt Dunham, program director for the Utility and Energy Systems Program at LCC.
 
Dunham says about 53,000 jobs are projected to open up nationally for line workers before 2020, with median salaries of more than $63,000. In Michigan, about 100 or more jobs are expected to be available in 2014. The need for skilled line workers has bubbled up even more after record-breaking ice and snowstorms in early winter tested the response times of mid-Michigan utilities.
 
Last summer, LCC doubled the size of its line worker training program by opening the six-acre, $2.1 million Great Lakes Center for Utility Training with support from the Board of Water & Light. Three adjunct instructors were hired in 2013 and one in 2012 to facilitate training.
 
Since 2008, the LCC's line worker program has trained and certified more than 60 people through a school to work partnership with Consumers Energy. About 50 percent of those graduates have gone on to work at the utility, while others have secured employment through contractors associated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The college also partners with the Lansing Board of Water & Light to provide classroom training for 12 occupational apprenticeships at the municipal utility.
 
Students interested in learning more about LCC's selective admissions program for utility line workers should attend one of three information sessions on Feb. 5, Feb. 17 or March 13. Further information is also available on the program website.
 
Source: Matthew Dunham, program director, LCC Utility and Energy Systems Program
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Zaytoon Grill to bring well-known family recipes with an American fusion twist to the Westside

With the long-running Sultan's Restaurant and new Saffron Grill in East Lansing, the local market's love of the Samy Aburashed's family businesses has been tried and tested. This week, fans of Mediterranean cuisine will have another option with Aburashed's Zaytoon Grill opening on Elmwood Rd. near the Lansing Mall. 
 
"I've been looking for the last two years on the west side," says owner Samy Aburashed, who is nephew to the owner of Sultan's Restaurant. "There really isn't anything authentic out there."
 
Zaytoon Grill will begin with a soft opening this Saturday and will be fully open by Monday. Aburashed says the menu will have similar recipes to his family's well- known cuisine, but with a twist. 
 
"There will be a little modern touch to mine," he says. "I'm not scared to use a little more spice. It'll be a little different, with an American fusion to it." 
 
The 2,800 square foot restaurant will open with seating for 50 and about 10 employees. Aburashed says he hopes to expand in the future, looking to increase the size of the restaurant, and perhaps add a banquet facility and bakery to the business. 

 
Source: Samy Aburashed, Zaytoon Grill
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Bordeaux serves up fine wines, local foods at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West

The dining room transformation inside the Crowne Plaza Lansing West was something more than a renovation; it's a whole new restaurant. Serving fine wines and made-from-scratch dishes, Bordeaux is the result of the hotel's desire to give their guests the Michigan experience they were looking for. 
 
"The more we listened, the more we heard the desire for an elevated dining experience on the west side of Lansing," says April Fitzsimmons, marketing coordinator for the Crowne Plaza. "It was also important for us to feature elements unique to our home state, such as Michigan wines and microbrews and the Timeless Timber used in the construction of our bar." 
 
The renovation touched nearly every surface of the hotel's restaurant space, including features by those more than 100-year-old Timeless Timber logs, which were recovered from the Great Lakes. The restaurant includes private dining rooms, named for various wine regions, as well as the Cork Room with more than 70 wine options, including, of course, Bordeaux.
 
While already receiving positive feedback from guests, Fitzsimmons says the menu will continue to evolve with the seasons and tastes of the guests. 
 
"Chef [Bradley] Lineweaver plans to transform the menu from time to time throughout the year, with the goal of keeping it fresh and creative," she says. "As he continues building relationships with in-state vendors, more and more locally sourced ingredients will make their way into his dishes."
 
Bordeaux plans to soon offer pre-order options for guests on the go. The restaurant employs a staff of 30. 
 
Source: April Fitzsimmons, Crowne Plaza Lansing West
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

CASE Credit Union celebrates opening of sixth Lansing location

CASE Credit Union just won't seem to stop growing. The local organization celebrated the opening of its second Delta Twp. location on Oct. 16. The new branch brings the sixth branch to the Capital region.
 
"Our membership is up nearly 2,000 members, and our loan portfolio has grown by over 85 million dollars so far in 2013," says CASE Credit Union's Sara Walker. "We wanted to expand our footprint in Delta Township to better serve our members in that area, as well as all of the great retail businesses in that corridor."
 
The W. Saginaw location across from the Lansing Mall was chosen for its high levels of traffic. The new branch was designed with the assistance of renowned financial institution architects Daniels and Zermack Architects. The approximately 5,500 square foot building was created as a modern take on a credit union branch. Features include exposed steel beams in the lobby, exterior LED lights, vaulted ceilings with clerestory windows and arched canopies. 
 
"The building serves as a highlight of innovative architecture on W. Saginaw Hwy.," Walker says. "The added Community Room, equipped with all of the latest technologies, creates an additional space for Credit Union events and gatherings."
 
The new CASE Credit Union employs a staff of eight and is expected to open for business by the end of Oct.
 

Source: Sara Walker, CASE Credit Union
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
104 Westside Articles | Page: | Show All
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