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Seasoned business owner opens Cork and Bottle in Charlotte, creates 11 jobs

As the owner of three party stores, Sam Shango instantly recognized the need for a specialty adult beverage shop in downtown Charlotte.
 
After a few months of searching, Shango found the right space at the right time. With a little ingenuity, a little marketing, and a lot of applied knowledge, Shango opened the doors to Cork and Bottle in early October and brought an outlet for craft beer, wine and liquor to the town 30 minutes southwest of Lansing.
 
"It's not your average party store," says Shango. "We have 5,200 square feet of micro brews, wines from local regions, and craft liquors. Anything made in Michigan, you'll find here."
 
For Shango, it's all about location, location, location as well as selection, selection, selection. The vacated grocery store a few blocks west of Charlotte's business district provided ample visibility, while the space itself was easily adaptable to products displayed in warehouse style.
 
"When it comes to stores like this it's not so much about the physical store, it's what inside," says Shango. "We're a specialty place, and we're all about the product."
 
Originally from Detroit, Shango settled in Greater Lansing after attending college in the area. He's both a wine sommelier and a beer cicerone, and trains his staff in the finer points of adult beverages.
 
"If you come in here and you're looking for a particular type of wine, we'll find you a bottle that will suit you taste," he says. "We'll do that with beer and liquor, too, and we'll win you in quality and price."
 
Shango loves the regional trends he's seeing in beer, wine and liquors, particularly when it gives him the opportunity to meet the people who make the product.
 
"We actually 'sell' the people along with the beverage," remarks Shango. "It's a good feeling to be able to tell customers about the people who make the beer, wine or liquor, and to help them succeed, too."
 
Cork and Bottle also carries basic pantry staples and convenience foods. The store created 11 jobs and became Shango's fourth operation behind similar stores like the Rainbow Party Store in DeWitt, St. Johns and Detroit. He's currently looking to expand his concept across mid-Michigan.

?Source: Sam Shango, Owner, Cork and Bottle
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Long-time dance studio moves to new South Lansing location

Sixty-three years and three generations later, Patsy Watson is still dancing.
 
She just leaves the management of her dance studio to her daughter.
 
"My mom said that God gave her the gift to dance and teach," says Rhonda Mitchell, owner of Patsy Watson School of Dance. "And she's still doing it at the age of 83."
 
After six decades, the south Lansing dance studio still produces some of the area's finest dancers and provides instruction to people of all skills and abilities, ages 3 to 103. In early October, the studio underwent a major change by opening the doors on a new location just a mile or so from its original home. The 3,980-square-foot building at 3808 S. Cedar Street is about 600 square feet bigger than their old location, and features three rooms, waiting areas, and two-way mirrors so parents can watch their kids during class.
 
Mitchell says the new space allows the studio to continue to flourish and to offer classes like ballet, tap, modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballroom, Zumba and turbo kick. The studio also teaches cheer, acrobatics, mini-gymnastics, and provides after school care for neighborhood kids. About 180 students are enrolled.
 
"I'm investing in my children and grandchildren by purchasing a building for our studio," says Mitchell. "It's a family business, through and through."
 
Mitchell says her mother opened the Patsy Watson School of Dance in Lansing in 1951 with $500 and passion for teaching dance. Her mom, she says, was born in Lansing, but her grandfather moved the family to England when Patsy was just 5. Although her family endured the challenges of living in Europe during World War II, Patsy still received a solid dance education that she brought back to the U.S. when she turned 18.
 
"My mom started all this," says Mitchell. "We're just following in her footsteps."
 
Like her mother, Mitchell grew up dancing. Her daughter Vanessa did too. And now, Mitchell's infant grandchild, Lola, will more than likely dance as soon as she learns to walk.
 
"We're using the gift that God gave us," says Mitchell. "We don't charge a lot because we want children to have the chance to dance."
 
Source: Rhonda Mitchell, Owner, Patsy Watson School of Dance
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

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

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

Homeless Angels sets up home base for coordinating outreach

Jessep Magoon doesn't believe that everyone who holds up a cardboard sign and asks for help is doing so to support a drug or alcohol addiction.
 
That's why Magoon asked a friend to create a sign for his grassroots cause that helps redefine perceptions of the homeless.
 
In mid-April, Magoon's sign for the Homeless Angels found a permanent home in the window of their first brick and mortar office.
 
"It fit perfectly," says Magoon of the portable sign he has used for outreach events. "It was one of those fate things—that this place was meant to be."
 
Magoon co-founded the Homeless Angels with Mike Karl in November 2013. The idea, he says, is to provide a resource that bridges the gap between the homeless and local agencies.
 
Until April, the Homeless Angels was run from the streets. Volunteers met in parks, parking lots, churches or other supportive organizations to coordinate outreach and "street teams" to help Greater Lansing's homeless.
 
"Since the beginning, our big focus has been street outreach and building relationships with people who might otherwise fall through the cracks," says Magoon who is also a student at Lansing Community College. "But since we didn't have a home base it was hard to do client intake. We did everything by laptop and cell phone, and knew as we got more innovative we would need an office."
 
Directly across from the State capitol, the 900-square foot office at 328 W. Ottawa Street is easy-to-access, wired for Internet, has ample storage space for a food pantry and supplies, and is staffed by a core group of about 10 volunteers. There's even a washer and dryer on site to clean cloths or blankets for homeless clients. Rent, Magoon says, is funded by donations made through GoFundMe, with other services supported through community fundraisers and donations.
 
Magoon says his drive to build the volunteer non-profit is fueled by his past struggles with addiction. He finds inspiration, too, in the depth of understanding held by Karl, who previously lived on the streets.
 
"We know there are underlying factors and a story behind why people are homeless," says Magoon. "Our hope is to shed a positive light on a negative situation, and to show the community that the homeless are not just stereotypes, but people needing help to get them back into society."
 
Source: Jessep Magoon, Co-founder, Homeless Angels
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Music lover brings vision from the road with amphitheater development

Bob Jordan spent 20 years on the road in the music business getting his start as a mixer for Fleetwood Mac. Now he's home with a vision to bring bands to mid-Michigan's backyard.
 
Along with business partner Cheryl McCullough, Jordan aspires to break ground this summer on a 15,000-seat outdoor music amphitheater in Windsor Township. Located on 100 acres just a quarter mile off I-69, the $20 million dollar project will be a state-of-the-art theater that gives music fans a local option for high-end musical acts from April through October. Slated to open in 2015, the Mid-Michigan Music Theater will create 250 seasonal and 75 annual jobs.
 
"Lansing needs this," says Jordan, a resident of Williamston Township. "It's hard to get to DTE, Van Andel, FireKeepers or Soaring Eagle during the week. People really want this here."
 
The Mid-Michigan Music Theater will feature national headliners as well as local and regional acts. The layout will feature plenty of big screens, a scalable stage for big or small acts, and ample ceiling height for large or elaborate shows. Opening plans for the inaugural season include a two-day festival showcasing mid-Michigan performers.
 
"We're also looking into the engineering of having a roof that can close over the fixed seating area, similar to a football stadium," says Jordan. "That way we can do events in the winter and not have to depend on the weather."
 
Jordan says the theater will give back to the community through fundraisers, food drives, and ticket giveaways to non-profit organizations. He also envisions awarding percentages of parking fees to groups that serve as attendants during events.
 
Jordan has his sights on building a "green" arena using Michigan contractors. He's also seeking LEED certification. A crowd funding campaign on the arena website is open to community members interested in contributing to or investing in the project.
 
"We're going to do as much to support the community as we can," says Jordan. "That's important to us."
 
Source: Bob Jordan, Mid-Michigan Music Theater
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Veteran pediatrician founds first-of-its-kind ADHD center in Lansing

Now that he has cut back to working part-time, Dr. Lewis D. Resnick has time to devote full attention to serving a population with special needs.
 
In August 2013, the semi-retired pediatrician opened the Great Lakes ADHD Center within Great Lakes Pediatric Associates at 3400 Pine Tree Road in Lansing. It's a center, Resnick says, that focuses solely on diagnostics, care and education related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—a condition that can apply to children and adults who have difficulty paying attention, whether they are hyperactive or not. Resnick's ADHD center is the first resource of its type in Greater Lansing.
 
"There is a drastic shortage across the country for specialists or child psychiatrists, and a waiting list of months even for people with strong insurance," says Resnick. "That's one reason why I didn't retire. I felt there were a lot of people and families out there who need help."
 
Resnick has practiced pediatrics since the 1970s, and has lived in Michigan since 1977. He joined Great Lakes Pediatrics in 2012 after working at Blue Care Network and in private practice in Mason.
 
Throughout his career, Resnick has kept a watchful eye on ADHD treatment and trends. What he's discovered, he says, is how well some kids respond to specific care, and how some go from struggling or failing in school to being very successful.
 
"What that said to me is that these kids were doing better than anyone thought," he says. "Once they got help, they could demonstrate that they had been learning and could learn well."
 
Resnick's goal is to erase misunderstandings about ADHD, and to help families address individual needs within particular situations, particularly school. As part of his practice, Resnick regularly works with Greater Lansing school districts to help educators reorient their techniques for students who exhibit ADHD traits, and to help teachers devise strategies that build on a student's strengths.
 
"Cutting back from practicing general pediatrics has allowed me the time to talk with schools and to correspond with people about their ADHD concerns," Resnick says. "That's something I couldn't do with my regular practice."
 
The Great Lakes ADHD Center is currently taking new patients and is available for consultation.
 
Source: Dr. Lewis D. Resnick, founder, Great Lakes ADHD Center
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


Revive Holistic Health inspires healthy living through products and services

Maryann Lefevre Hancock grew up in Grand Ledge, went to high school in St. Johns, and soon noticed that all her friends were moving other places for jobs. That's when she decided she wanted to stay and be part of helping Lansing become a healthier place.
 
"Lansing is really changing," says Hancock, owner of Revive Holistic Health, a provider of massage and holistic health services in Greater Lansing. "It's refreshing to see all the massage places, yoga, and whole food stores and to see that people are really getting into more natural and healthy ways of living."
 
Hancock started out on her own doing massage about 15 years ago after learning her trade at Douglas J. Her home-based business grew steadily and in late 2013, she decided to officially incorporate and expand her services, particularly after pursing her education and certification through the Naturopathic Institute of Therapies and Education in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
 
Services through Revive Holistic health include therapeutic massage, holistic health consultations and follow-up, as well as doula services for expectant and new mothers. She also also provides chair massage to several area businesses, salons, state government offices and senior centers.
 
Hancock recently teamed up with a second doula as demand surged in the last year. She also expanded her line of herbal and homeopathic products to meet increasing interest in addressing some health symptoms through herbal remedies and diet.
 
While Hancock sees some clientele in a home-based setting, she recently began providing massage and therapeutic services through a shared office at 2583 Delhi Commerce Drive in Holt.
 
"My parents had both ended up with life-threatening illnesses at a young age," says Hancock. "Just watching my mother go through what she did inspired me to live a healthier lifestyle and to do what I do."
 
Source: Maryann Lefevre Hancock, owner, Revive Holistic Health
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Superior Data Strategies opens South Lansing office, adds staff

Aaron Fuller likes to keep business close to home.
 
In Fall 2013, the entrepreneur expanded his IT business from his home-based office to a building close to his South Lansing neighborhood.
 
"I'm broadening my capabilities," says Fuller, founder of Superior Data Strategies. "When you're just one person, you can only do one slice."
 
Fuller says the newly renovated space at 3132 S. Pennsylvania Ave. will enable his information technologies and services company to grow to the next level. Started in 2010, the company provides data modeling, assessment, strategic planning, vendor management, enterprise architecture, data warehousing and business intelligence to local and national clients.
 
"I got to the point where my clients were coming to me and asking for more," says Fuller, who also provides on-site training and education. "I knew I would either have to step back or grow. I went with the option of growth."
 
Fuller recently hired Brian Lund as the company's new senior consultant. The East Lansing resident joins two additional SDS team members who were added to the company roster in the past year.
 
The building's owner, Fuller says, updated the previously foreclosed building by installing new floors, ceiling lighting and other basic renovations. Over time, Fuller hopes to add a few more touches that will bring contemporary ambience to the 1980s structure.
 
Fuller reflects that he could have taken off for work in bigger metro areas, but that his close family ties and belief in Michigan kept him grounded.
 
"I believe that it's going to get better here," says Fuller. "And I want to be a part of that, of making Lansing a place where people want to move because it's a great place to live and work."
 
Source: Aaron Fuller, Founder, Superior Data Strategies
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Indoor Grow Store opens first of two stores, creates 13 jobs

Some people put up with the things that aggravate them; others just change them. Alex Manuel is among the latter, and the result has been a new invention, one new retail store, another in the works and plans to grow his business all over the state. 
 
The Indoor Grow Store opened two months ago on S. Cedar, and it all began with Manuel's desire to make the process of indoor growing better. When growing the indoor plants, he was dissatisfied with the local prices of supplies, as well as the devices available to trim the plants. 
 
"I bought a machine and it was nothing. It was bad," says Manuel. "I invented my own trimmer. It’s the best in the country." 
 
To solve the problem of the steep prices on local growing supplies, he then opened his own store. Manuel says his prices at the 2,000 square foot South Lansing store are lower, not only than other stores, but also most online stores. 
 
Manuel will open second, larger Indoor Grow Store near the Lansing Mall in six to eight weeks. After that, he says, the sky is the limit for expansion.
 
"We are planning to have a store in every city in Michigan," says Manuel. "If I stay healthy, we are going to expand as much as we can."
 
The current Indoor Grow Store employs a staff of five. The forthcoming store will employ seven to eight workers and will be in a 5,800 square foot location.
 

Source: Alex Manuel
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

VOA, Sparrow partner to open medical clinic for homeless with $60M potential impact

The Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI) serviced more than 4,000 unique homeless people in the Lansing area last year. Patrick Patterson, executive vice president of VOAMI has been witnessing up to 400 of those in need resorting to emergency healthcare services because of a lack of access to medical care for years.
 
"It's just been a long to watch the pain and suffering," Patterson says, "and the medical costs."
 
Thanks to a partnership with Sparrow, VOAMI a new medical clinic will soon be available to the homeless in Lansing. The clinic will be located at the VOAMI site on N. Larch St., and is expected to serve serve an estimated 3,400 each year, many of whom are currently unable to access the government health benefits available to them.
 
The better access to healthcare will certainly benefit the area homeless, but Patterson says the economic impact will also benefit all of Lansing. 
 
"We're looking at an opportunity of $60 million a year," he says, "This could bring significant economic stimulus to Lansing."
 
Work on the 6,400 square foot development has begun, and Patterson is hoping for a January or February 2014 opening. The $800,000 project will be funded by a federal grant and Sparrow, and the clinic will be staffed by Sparrow personnel.

Source: Patrick Patterson, Volunteers of America Michigan
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New Dreamcenter to bring job training, opportunities to South Lansing

Eaglevision Ministries has been working to empower people in Lansing to become job-ready for years. Now they'll be able to expand upon that work with the grand opening of their International DreamCenter.
 
"The DreamCenter is a relatively new concept," says Eaglevision Executive Director Dr. LaClaire Bouknight. "It's basically a center that works to have a major impact on the community."
 
The International DreamCenter is located at 2200 S. Cedar, where Eaglevision has had programming in the past, but now is expanding its use through the entire building. It is located near the organization's microenterprises, Dreamworks Detailing and Dreamcones & Deli. 
 
Though its six workforce development programs and these businesses, Eaglevision Ministries gives job training opportunities to job seekers with barriers to employment, such as lack of experience or past incarceration. 
 
"We have people who want to work but have no real, credible work experience," Bouknight says. "It gives us a chance to give them, not just the skills for the job, but the soft skills of the chain of command in a workplace and how to work with customers." 
 

Source: Dr. LaClaire Bouknight, International DreamCenter
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
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