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Entrepreneurship : Development News

629 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

Grand Rapids phone repair business expands into East Lansing

Just two years after the opening of their first retail location in Grand Rapids, Genius Phone Repair is going gangbusters. With five stores now on the west side of the state, the owners decided to expand further out, and East Lansing was the company's first stop. 
 
"We knew that the students were going to be a very good market," says store manager Jayson Vanderstel. "That demographic was one we never really explored before." 
 
Genius Phone Repair opened in a 1,500 sq ft E. Grand River location about six weeks ago. The downtown storefront with plenty of visibility to students was just what the company was looking for. 
 
"We knew it was a good place to look for a high volume of traffic," Vanderstel says. "It's also pretty close to Okemos and some of the carrier stores. It's a plus to have Verizon, Sprint and AT&T fairly close."
 
The store offers iPhone, iPod, iPad and smartphone repair services. According to Vanderstel, Genius Phone Repair prices can often beat the prices offered by phone manufacturers, even for phones with insurance coverage. The East Lansing location is the business' sixth retail store. It employs a staff of five. 
 

Source: Jayson Vanderstel, Genius Phone Repair
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

American Home Fitness celebrates 12th anniversary with new Okemos location

Some people will do anything to put off the start of a new home workout routine, but now accessibility to home workout equipment is no excuse. The American Home Fitness store is celebrating their twelfth year in the Lansing area with the opening of their new store in Meridian Crossing in Okemos. 
 
"We were pretty much just a destination," says Mark Renfer, general manager of the local American Home Fitness store. "It's nice to have neighbors and more traffic moving in and out here. We also get a lot of customers from outside the Lansing area as well, and this location is very easy to find." 
 
The new 3,000 square foot store is a bit smaller than the former location, but is closer in size to American Home Fitness' six other stores throughout Michigan and Ohio. The new store opened in July, and Renfer says he's looking forward to the beginning of their busy season in the new location. 
 
"We're going to keep doing our best to help the Lansing area and surrounding community get better fit and better educated," he says. "All of our staff are well-trained trained, and many are personal trainers."
 
Renfer is already looking to add a new part-time position at American Home Fitness and will add to the staff as needed as business continues to grow in their new location.

Source: Mark Renfer, American Home Fitness 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

New westside Soldan's opens with new name, logo

A local familiar name in local pet supplies is unveiling some big changes. Soldan's Feeds and Pet Supplies is now open in its new W. Saginaw location under the shorter name Soldan's Pet Supplies, which will soon make its way onto all eight Soldan's stores. 
 
"We're changing our logo too," says Nikki Soldan, floor supervisor for the westside Soldan's. "We've done less and less with horse feed, so we're dropping the horse and adding a rabbit."
 
Perhaps the most dramatic change is Soldan's new westside home. Though not far from their former location near Best Buy, the new, larger space at 6201 W. Saginaw gives the pet supply store more visibility and more room for some new features, including a self-serve dog wash and shorter, more customer-friendly shelving. 
 
"With the shelves just five feet high, you can see across the whole store," says Soldan. "It opens everything up more so it's more inviting. Eventually, I think they're going to start doing this in all eight stores. We're sort of a guinea pig." 
 
The new Soldan's Pet Supplies location opened today after several months of preparation at the new site. The new store will offer expanded food and toy lines, and Soldan hopes the increased traffic will lead to an increase in their staff. Now employing eight to ten employees, if the westside location can meets their expectations, Soldan expects two to four more jobs could be created in the new store. 
 

Source: Nikki Soldan, Soldan's Pet Supply
Writer: Natalie Burg

LLB Asian Grocery brings specialty foods to Delta Twp.

Joseph and Vina Nguyen have been small business owners in the Lansing area for more than a decade, and they always knew something was missing from Lansing's west side. 

"We looked around and we saw on this side of town we didn't have any Asian specialty stores," says Joseph Nguyen. "My wife thought it would be conventient for all of the people around here." 

After four to five months of renovations, the Nguyens solves that problem by opening LLB Asian Grocery at 4221 W. Saginaw. Nguyen says the location was perfect for the new market because of its size and the amount of traffic that passes by every day. The store opened on Aug. 25.

"We doing okay," says Nguyen. "We are still getting people who are noticing us for the first time."

LLB Asian Grocery carries a variety of specialty Asian foods not found in other area stores, such as noodles, mainades, sauces, fish and spices. The 3,200 square foot store is staffed by five members of the Nguyen family. In the next five years, they hope to expand the store into a larger space. 

Source: Joseph Nguyen, LLB Asian Grocery
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Grand River Barber Company brings urban cuts, retail to East Lansing

From yoga studios to nightlife, many of the businesses in East Lansing exist to serve the needs of students and other young adults. Until recently, however, there was one market that was being underserved. 
 
"My partner has friends in East Lansing they were all complaining that there were no barbershops here that could do an urban cut," says barber Doug Mrdeza, who began his career in Metro Detroit. "They would have to travel home to get a cut." 
 
Mrdeza and his partner have responded to that demand with the Grand River Barber Company in downtown East Lansing. The business, which opened Aug. 26, offers urban hairstyles for men, as well as a whole new take on the barbershop concept. 
 
"We have four 50-inch LCD screens and an X-Box, so when people are waiting they can play," says Mrdeza. "The whole atmosphere is very different."
 
In addition to the entertaining atmosphere, Grand River Barber Company is the the process of establishing a retail area, where they will carry attire and accessories. 
 
The 1,100 square foot barbershop currently employs Mrdeza, his business partner and one additional barber. Final renovations to the space are still underway, but Mrdeza says the community's response to the new business is already in full swing. He and his partner hope to grow into the business community as the shop grows, sponsoring local organizations such as youth sports leagues. 
 

Source: Doug Mrdeza, Grand River Barber Company
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor


Longtime S. Washington business opens REO Town Gardener retail space

With all that's shiny and new in REO Town these days, it's easy to look at even pre-existing businesses on S. Washington with new eyes. In the case of the more than 20-year-old business, Foliage Design Systems of Mid-Michigan, the double take is warranted. Previously a mostly business-to-business operation, the interior landscaping company has recently unveiled the REO Town Gardener, a new retail department offering patio and container gardening supplies to the public. 
 
"I've always wanted to have a retail outlet," says owner Jean Husby. "The right thing to do seemed to be to use it promote of healthy living in small spaces. Why not promote small gardening for as a hobby or for health purpose? You can use a windowsill to grow herbs or a salad garden." 
 
Husby says she is already experiencing an increase in foot traffic and general activity in REO Town since the completion of the streetscape project, Lansing Board of Water and Light development and entrance of new businesses into the neighborhood. It seemed like the perfect time to broaden her business' focus from just the back door to the storefront. 
 
"It's nice to see new foot traffic. There are ton of people passing by," Husby says. "Why not give them a reason to stop in?"
 
REO Town Gardener is located in a renovated 400 square foot space within the existing 7,000 square foot Foliage Design Systems building. The shop offers supplies for gardening in small containers, including a mix of Dr. Earth-brand products. Over the past year, Husby has increased her existing staff by one part- and one full-time position, and she has also hired a new employee for the new retail operations. 
 

Source: Jean Husby, REO Town Gardener/Foliage Design Systems of Mid-Michigan 
Writer: Natalie Burg, 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

Lothamer Tax Resolution expands into new, 7,000 sq ft headquarters

Lothamer Tax Resolution has been in business for 30 years, but ever since the company began specializing in IRS and Michigan tax problems, their growth has been notable. Now with nine satellite offices and a staff of 18, the business has expanded into a new headquarters on Dunkel in Lansing. 
 
"We choose this location because it was central to the Lansing area and great access the highway," says Lothamer Tax Resolution Vice President Marketing Amy Lothamer of the 7,000 square foot space. "We needed more space to accommodate our growing company."
 
When an individual or business finds itself in an issue with a tax agency, it can be a scary time. Lothamer specializes in resolving these issues, a niche which Lothamer says was much needed. 
 
The firm moved into their new location in early September after completely renovating the interior of the facility and celebrated their grand opening last week. The company has been hiring one to two new professionals a year for the past several years, and anticipates hiring another one to two staff members in the upcoming year. 
 

Source: Amy Lothamer, Lothamer Tax Resolution
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Leopold Bloom and Co. to bring the curated past to Old Town

Tony Sump is more than just a seller of antiques and home décor. 
 
"I'm kind of a curator of the past," Sump says, "finding really great pieces that are solid and long forgotten and up-cycling them into something that is usable." 
 
Sump and business partner Doug Meeks will bring that passion for antiquities to their new Old Town shop, Leopold Bloom & Co. The store will carry antiques, new home décor, as well as a collection of local artisanal goods.
 
Sump and Meeks aren't new to the antiques game. They've had a small presence in Howell for two years, and recently expanded into the Grand Rapids market. It was while looking for a location for a warehouse between the two that the Old Town space presented itself, and their plans quickly changed.
 
"It was reasonable and fit the needs for a store," Sump says. "We thought, maybe we could drop one of the other locations move it here."
 
That's exactly what happened. After about six weeks of renovations, the 1,200 square foot Grand River location is set to open for the first time this Friday during an open house from 5:30 to 9:00pm. The grand opening will take place Oct. 7. Leopold Bloom & Co. will open with two employees in addition to Meeks and Sump. 
 

Source: Tony Sump, Leopold Bloom & Co. 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Four Blank and Ten Design Group grows from home biz to Old Town storefront

Jeremy Mick's Four Blank & Ten Design Group may not be a brand new interior design firm, but its forthcoming move to an Old Town storefront is a big step from its home business roots. 
 
Four Blank & Ten Design Group is opening inside the new Leopold Bloom & Co. when it opens this month. The business, which specializes in a blend of traditional and modern design, has been in operation in one form or another since 2005. Its growth has been based on word-of-mouth referrals, but Mick expects that to change when he's in a highly visible Old Town location.
 
"My main motivation was to get more business," Mick says. "This is easier to find for clients, and if you have a street presence, people wander in."
 
The business will open along with Leopold Bloom & Co. this Friday during an open house from 5:30 to 9pm in the new Grand River location. Mick, who currently also works for the State of Michigan, hopes to see his business continue to grow into a fulltime venture. 
 

Source: Jeremy Mick, Four Blank & Ten
Writer: Natalie Burg, Develoment News Editor

New Leaf Salad Bar offers fast and fresh food to Frandor area diners

Leaf Salad Bar may be the newest addition to the Frandor shopping area, but the restaurant has been a long time coming. In fact, local entrepreneur and owner of East Lansing's Showroom Shine, Mark Sprinkel first came up with the concept in 1991. 
 
"I wanted to do it then," he says. "I never got around to it because the other business kept me pretty busy. When this location presented itself, I knew if I didn't do it now, I'd never do it." 
 
And did he ever. Within a month and a half, Sprinkel grabbed the 1,000 square foot location, partnered with local restaurateur Igor Jurkovic of Restaurant Mediteran and opened the doors of his new food concept: a gourmet salad bar for fast and healthy meals. 
 
In addition to offering 100 gourmet salad toppings for patrons to help themselves, weigh and pay by the pound, Leaf also serves soups, fruits and smoothies. The response, says Sprinkel, has been nearly overwhelming. 
 
"The concept got around fast. We're crazy busy. We've only be open three weeks and we have regular clientele," he says. "We're profitable in our first month."
 
Leaf now has a staff of ten. The restaurant seats 15 inside, six outside, offering take out service. Sprinkel is already thinking of adding an Okemos location next year and hopes to franchise the business. 

Source: Mark Sprinkel, Leaf Salad Bar
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Spherion brings unique staffing services to Old Town

Few things could be more optimistic signs for Lansing's job market than the opening of a new staffing agency. Spherion Staffing opened its doors in Old Town in July, and according to managing partner Brad Back, Lansing was just what the franchise's parent company, Randstad was looking for. 
 
"Lansing's market size is better serviced by an owner-operated store and we really liked what was happening with the Camero line being moved here," says Back. "We thought it was a great place to be in Michigan because of the diversity of industries here." 
 
After he and his wife both worked in corporate environments for some time. Back says he was attracted to Old Town because of the area's small town feel within the larger city. Similarly, the opportunity to own his own franchise allows him to exercise his entrepreneurial inclinations after working for Randstad for two years in Detroit. That small business feel, he says, will also be a benefit to clients. 
 
"We definitely have the service of an owner-occupied business, but the backing of a large corporation," Back syas. "A lot of these companies like the smaller service models, but sometimes you have to have the finances of a large company to staff these large customers." 
 
The 1,500 square foot Ranstad Staffing office is located at 106 E Grand River Ave in Lansing. The office has a staff of three, and Back says business in the first two months has exceeded expectations. 
 

Source: Brad Back, Spherion Staffing
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Velocipede Peddler peddles down Grand River to new East Lansing location

Mark Sanderson is good at keeping a secret. Long before the public learned a Whole Foods store would be coming to the Lansing area, he was in talks to sell his Grand River Ave. property to make way for the popular grocer. Now that the word is out, he has his own big news to share: his 38-year-old business, Velocipede Peddler is moving westward. 
 
"When I was right downtown [in East Lansing], I got lot of students, but I didn't have as many families," says Sanderson. "When I moved here, I lost some students, but gained a lot of families as clients. We felt this was an alternative where we can serve everyone."
 
The new home of the longtime bicycle business will be in a 4,800 square foot Brookfield Plaza space. Though the size will be similar to his current location, the layout will allow for an expansion of inventory and services. The new spot, between Bagger Dave's and Bikram Yoga Capital Area.
 
Though in a new location, Sanderson says customer can expect the same business ethic that has kept Velocipede Peddler in business for nearly four decades.
 
"I just try to give people want they want," he says. "I feel we have a really good service department. We have a friendly staff that is really knowledgeable."
 
Velocipede Peddler will open in its new location in early October. It currently employs a staff of eight to nine workers. Sanderson plans to hire a new mechanic and up to one additional staff member in the new location.
 

Source: Mark Sanderson, Velocipede Peddler
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Limner Press now front and center in Downtown Williamston

Limner Press is no stranger to Williamston, having made the town an artsier place for more than 25 years. The design, letterpress and art studio is now celebrating its new, more prominent location in the community – right in the center of downtown. 
 
"We moved because we had an opportunity to go onto Grand River," says Wendy Shaft, who owns Limner Press with her husband, Don Bixler. "Moving here has already increased our business."
 
Though slightly smaller than their longtime location, the downtown storefront has bolstered business in ways both expected and surprising. For instance, though the shop has always offered copier services, simply adding that to their sign on Grand River has attracted a steady stream of new customers. 
 
"Then they come in and see my art," says Shaft "and they see that I do wedding invitations. It's wonderful." 
 
Offering stellar customer service has always been, and continues to be at the center of Limner Press. – is currently working with her new lobby space to make it a cozy and inviting place for customers to meet and chat about their invitation and stationary needs. 
 
Limner Press moved to their new location in June. Shaft is looking forward to being a part of a growing community of wedding-related businesses in downtown Williamston. A collaboration of these store owners hope to offer a wedding-themed event this fall. 
 

Source: Wendy Shaft, Limner Press
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Capital Prime aims to be to-go steak restaurant in Lansing

With 31 years of restaurant experience that includes Beggar’s Banquet, Rick’s Café’, Harrison Roadhouse and The Nuthouse, Joseph Goodsir knew a gap in the local restaurant market when he saw it. 
 
"If you ask someone what's their favorite sushi place, they'd have an answer," says Goodsir. "If you ask people where their favorite place to get a steak is, it doesn't roll of the tongue."
 
Goodsir plans to change that with Capital Prime Steaks and Seafood in Eastwood Towne Center. The 250-seat restaurant will feature premium Certified Angus beef, free-range chicken, wild-caught fresh fish and seafood, and will have a focus on locally grown produce.
 
Though opening in the former Bar 30 location, Goodsir says Capital Prime will look and feel entirely different.
 
"It has a great feel," he says. "It's warm and inviting. If you were ever in Bar 30, when you walk into the place now, you won't recognize it."
 
Capital Prime is scheduled to have a soft opening at the end of August and a grand opening in September. Goodsir says one of the best features of the restaurant will be a talented and well-trained staff, which will number about 60. 


Source: Joseph Goodsir, Capital Prime
Writer: Natalie Burg
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