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Sparrow and Mary Free Bed to bring advanced inpatient rehab, 70 jobs to Lansing

A joint venture between two hospitals in Lansing and Grand Rapids will provide advanced inpatient rehabilitation care and create employment opportunities in mid-Michigan.
 
Sparrow Hospital and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital will partner to create Mary Free Bed at Sparrow, a dramatic expansion of Sparrow's rehabilitation unit that will be built during the next 18 to 24 months.
 
"Patients in mid-Michigan have not had the kind of access to rehabilitation care that patients in Southeast Michigan or Grand Rapids have had," says Kent Riddle, CEO of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids. "Rather than going it alone, Sparrow approached us in this exciting venture to broaden the base of rehab care available."
 
The two hospitals will co-invest $5 to $7 million to double the size of the existing 20,000 square foot rehabilitation unit at Sparrow's Lansing facility. The new 40,000 square foot wing will span the entire sixth floor, feature all private rooms and two therapy gymnasiums, and will accommodate up to 40 patients day—twice the unit's current capacity. Staff is also expected to double, Riddle says, upping current needs from 70 to 140 employees.
 
"We see a tremendous opportunity to service patients together with quality rehabilitation and through sub-specialty programs," says Riddle. "Serving patients with cancer and stroke care is high on our list, for instance."
 
Established in 1891, Mary Free Bed has grown into the most comprehensive provider of rehabilitation services in the state. Sparrow is the largest provider of inpatient rehabilitation care in mid-Michigan and has the region's only Level 1 Trauma Center.
 
Source: Kent Riddle, CEO, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
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

Michigan Creative moves to new co-working space, adds first full-time staff

This February, Michigan Creative will celebrate three years of business, job creation, and new digs at the Center for New Enterprise Opportunity, 934 Clark Street in Lansing. It's a move, CEO Town says, that reflects his philosophy of always being there to provide expert creative services to Michigan businesses.
 
"It would be silly for us to get a space and be a company all by ourselves," says Town as he reflects on the value of occupying the third floor of co-working space at the NEO Center. "We're around so many people here who have a passion for the local area. It's a perfect fit, and it feels like we've been here forever."
 
Town, his staff of eight part-timers, and his first-ever full-time employee, Melissa Meschke, relocated from East Lansing's Technology and Innovation Center to Clark Street on Dec. 1. A grand opening is in the works for Feb. 20, with a program chock-full of speakers and presentations that celebrate good things happening in Michigan.
 
As a full-service marketing company specializing in web design and video production, Michigan Creative also offers branding, social marketing, and creative strategies for leveraging the often slim- to none-marketing budgets of any Michigan business.  
 
"We want to be unique and not just be 'that marketing company,'" says Town. "Our goal is to be long-time partners with companies we work with. We'd even like to place employees within companies once a week as a resource to help with marketing and business decisions."
 
Town says he envisions Michigan Creative as a 100-person company in as little as five years, with employees who live and raise families in mid-Michigan.
 
"Right now, we're a marketing company, but we hope to become a business development company too," says Town. "We just want to employ a lot of people and help them to stick around."
 
Source: Brian Town, CEO and Owner, Michigan Creative
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Trilogy Health Services invests 14 million, brings 145 jobs to East Lansing

A leading provider of comprehensive healthcare for senior populations will open the door to residents in late February after having showcased the facility in mid-January.
 
Trilogy Health Services newest Michigan facility, The Willows at East Lansing, will bring 127 accommodations and 145 new jobs to Greater Lansing. The Willows will offer residential services that include short-term rehab, long-term care and skilled nursing, assisted living and specialized memory care.
 
"Trilogy is very big when it comes to the customer service side of things," says Nora Luke, community services representative at The Willows. "We pride ourselves on a person-center approach to care, combined with a state-of-the art health campus."
 
Called a "village center," The Willows campus consists of two stand-alone structures. A 60,000-square foot building will provide a mix of private resident and companion suites for assisted living and long-term care, while a second 30,000-square foot building called "The Legacy" will provide accommodations exclusively for residents with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
 
"Our memory care piece sets us apart," says Luke. "The standalone building was built from the ground up to serve the needs of people with Alzheimer's."
 
The Willows also takes a restaurant style approach to dining, with chefs and skilled food and beverage professionals on the soon-to-be-deployed staff. Food is made-to-order, with multiple serving options throughout the day.
 
Trilogy's 14 million dollar investment in East Lansing will bring about 3 million in salaries to the area. A second Trilogy facility will open in Okemos this spring. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Trilogy operates 77 properties across the Midwest, with Michigan viewed as a growth state.
 
Source: Nora Luke, Community Services Representative, The Willows at East Lansing
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

Craft & Mason spills the beans on single-source fresh coffee

Jeremy Mason was never much of a coffee drinker until he came upon an espresso place that sourced beans from local farmers. From then on, he was hooked.
 
"When I find something I like, I look at it from as many angles as I can," says the co-owner of Craft & Mason Roasting Company, a brand new micro roaster in Lansing. "I started visiting coffee shops that used small roasters and checked out direct trade arrangements for ordering green beans."
 
Mason bought his first beans from Sweet Maria's—a home-roasting site that sources beans directly from small farmers. He did his first roasts in a popcorn popper, and when he shared a cup with his friend, Eric Craft, they decided to brew up something bigger.
 
The two friends purchased several hundred pounds of beans, bought a small roaster, and launched Craft & Mason in a 500-square-foot warehouse. Since December 2013, the two have roasted once a week, filling orders for local restaurants, coffee shops and individuals.
 
"We feel coffee tastes best when it's fresh," says Mason, who sells online direct and ships within one to two days. "If you can drink coffee within the first two weeks of its roast, it's the best."
 
Mason believes that enjoying coffee that's fresh roasted from a single origin can be as unique as eating food from a great local farm. His goal, he says, is to honor small coffee farmers by finding the optimal spot in each roast that maximizes the complex flavors of the beans.
 
"It's a little bit like wine," says Mason of the varieties he sources from El Salvador, Columbia and Sumatra. "All the questions you might ask of a cabernet or pinot wine, you could apply to coffee."
 
Source: Jeremy Mason, Co-owner, Craft & Mason Roasting Company
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


East Cafe cooks up home-style meals for lovers of Chinese cuisine

A group of friends from China who met in Michigan are cooking up meals reminiscent of the old country at the newly opened East Cafe in East Lansing.
 
Husband and wife Vicki Wong and Heg Hei Lee joined friends Gin soo Cheung, Sing Yui Cheung and Zi Kang Liu in creating an extensive Asian menu that's appealing to the casual epicurean.
 
"Our food is very unique," says Wong, who envisions the restaurant at 1001 E. Grand River as being a go-to place for the Chinese community and for lovers of Chinese food. "You remember your old country and city and how you ate there. Some of our foods are similar to home-style cooking."
 
The extensive menu written in both English and Chinese includes popular dishes such as General Tsao and sesame chicken, as well as such appetizers as homemade scallion pancakes and beef burrito. Hearty appetites will enjoy selections like sausage claypot rice and country style bucket rice. Freshly made drinks include bubble teas and fruit smoothies, and diners can satisfy their desert cravings with sweet soups, puddings and mini-cakes.
 
"Anyone who doesn't know what to pick can ask one of our staff to help you," says Wong. "Warm, nice great food and service is our main goal."
 
Wong says the owners drew on their decades of experience managing restaurants in both Lansing and metro Detroit, and teamed up to bring a new look to the 2,000 square-foot facility that opened in late 2013. Improvements included installing new chairs, tables, and flooring, and remodeling the kitchen. Fresh paint, signage and a new door put the finishing touches on the restaurant that can seat about 18 dine-in customers.
 
Wong says she and the owners plan to change up the menu from time-to-time. Delivery is also in the works, with orders being taken on-line or by phone. The restaurant currently employs six people.
 
"We also plans to have room for people to eat outside when it gets warmer," Wong says.


Salon Savvy brings relaxing style and new jobs to East Lansing

Keeping her customers relaxed and comfortable is at the top of the list for Shirley Warren.
 
"We're positive. We're caring. And there's absolutely no drama," says Warren of Salon Savvy, one of East Lansing's newest salons. "We've worked hard to create the best possible atmosphere for our clients."
 
Despite being located at a busy intersection on East Lansing's western edge, Salon Savvy evokes a sense of calm through a soothing interior palette of blues, greens and neutrals.
 
A reception area with a beverage bar sets the tone, as do discreetly spaced hair, nail and pedicure stations within the 2,800 square-foot facility. The circular floor plan enables separate climate-controlled areas for most services, including shampooing, waxing and massage.
 
"Wendy and I always wanted to open up a modern and relaxed place where we could build clientele," says Shirley, mentioning that she and her business partner, Wendy Schram, have worked together for more than a dozen years. "This place used to be a salon, so when it became available, it all fell into place."
 
Warren says she, Schram and their husbands invested seven weeks of muscle and sweat to ready the salon at 1429 W. Saginaw St. for a mid-December opening. Renovations included painting, waxing floors and installing equipment for 10 hair styling and two nail stations.
 
"We're looking to expand fast," says Warren. "We're hopeful that we will be able to build loyal clientele."
 
Salon Savvy currently contracts with two stylists and a nail technician. Plans are to add up to six more stylists, a nail technician and a massage therapist in 2014.
 
Source: Shirley Warren, Co-Owner, Salon Savvy
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development Editor


Prime Shine Professionals puts the polish on any ride

James Phifer knows all about bringing a show room shine to every make and model of car.
 
Since high school, Phifer has cleaned, polished, painted and revitalized the exteriors and interiors of thousands of automobiles as a professional car detailer. He's worked at General Motors, car dealerships and detailer shops across Mid-Michigan. Now, after 35 years of professional experience, he's hanging a shingle on his own two-bay garage.
 
"It's been my dream to run my own business someday," says Phifer who officially "cut the ribbon" on Prime Shine Professionals in early January 2014. "I'm very thorough, and I've studied new and old techniques. I've been doing this so long I know the tricks of the trade and know what people are looking for."
 
Phifer's two-bay garage is located directly behind Williamston Car Wash at 1125 W. Grand River Ave. in Williamston. In August of 2013, Phifer signed a lease, moved his equipment into the 700-square foot space, added seating and modern touches in customer waiting areas, and began offering professional auto detailing and reconditioning services to the community.
 
Phifer's services involve full bumper-to-bumper revitalization, with the results being a superior finish and a glossy new car finish inside and out. Services may be purchased as a package or a la carte and include a full carpet extraction, paint and stain removal, headliner cleaning, scratch and scuff removal, headlight restoration and interior leather reconditioning.
 
Phifer welcomed two contractors to his shop and hopes to eventually serve as a training facility for high school students who want to learn the trade.
 
"I've detailed just about every kind of car you can imagine," says Phifer, who is fully licensed and insured. "But I'm still waiting for that Bentley to come through my doors."
 
Source: James Phifer, Owner, Prime Shine Professionals
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


Farm Fresh Seafood makes a splash with new Okemos market

Greater Lansing might be landlocked, but that doesn't keep Russ Allen from bringing farm fresh seafood to Mid-Michigan.
 
As the owner of the 7-year-old Shrimp Farm Market in Meridian Township, Allen has tested the waters for raising shrimp in Michigan's climate. His innovative indoor farm system produces about 400 pounds of shrimp each month, and holds promise for making Michigan the shrimping capital of the Midwest.
 
Now this veteran of the shrimp farming industry is taking his vision to the street with Farm Fresh Seafood—a soon-to-be-open storefront in Okemos for farm fresh seafood.
 
"The customers who came to the Shrimp Farm Market seem to be excited about what we're doing," says Allen. "I'm seeing an opportunity to do the right kind of seafood market by promoting all farmer seafood."
 
Allen will close his previous shrimp market that he ran adjacent to his growing facility and open the 1,200-square foot storefront at 1731 W. Grand River Ave.
 
In addition to Allen's shrimp, Farm Fresh Seafood will sell fresh, farm-raised seafood shipped direct from farms in from Maine, Washington, Texas, Alaska, Hawaii and other parts of the U.S. Some fresh frozen seafood will also be available.
 
"I want to change the dialog and say that U.S. farmer seafood is still the best available," says Allen. "Our goal is to feature different farms and different species from around the country."
 
Allen plans to open as early as February, complete with a commercial kitchen that prepares delicacies such as shrimp cervich, shrimp salad and shrimp burgers.
 
"Right now, this is just a family-run operation," says Allen as he mentions the jobs created for his wife, son and his son's girlfriend. "We hope to expand in the next year and maybe add some staff. Hopefully, this store is just the first of many in Michigan and elsewhere."
 
Source: Russ Allen, Owner, Farm Fresh Seafood
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor


Eye Level Learning Center focuses on after school enrichment

Parents looking to reinforce what their kids learn in school will find an additional resource for unlocking academic potential through the new Eye Level Learning Center in Okemos.
 
"As our motto says, we are the key to supporting the educational needs of your kids," says Dr. Prashanti Boinapally, center director. "Our curriculum is unique and kids enjoy doing it."
 
Eye Level Learning is a leading provider of supplemental educational programs in math and English. The self-directed coursework matches national curriculum standards for students ages 3 through 16, and is completed after school in classrooms with low student-to-instructor ratios. Students progress at their own pace in classes with a mixture of ages and grades.
 
The 1,200-square foot facility includes three brightly colored classrooms, a kitchen, office space and a waiting area for parents. One-hour classes run after school on Tuesday and Thursday, and on Saturday mornings. Most students attend classes once a week and do homework on the days in between.
 
Prashanti and her husband decided to bring the national educational franchise to Okemos to broaden the area's options for challenging, after school programs. Her two children, ages 12 and 6, currently take courses through Eye Level.
 
"Eye Level supplements what kids learn in school," says Prashanti. "The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, so students are taught how to apply what they learn."
 
The Okemos Eye Level Learning Center at 3536 Meridian Crossings, Suite 210,  officially opened in November, with a grand opening scheduled February. The center employs five teachers and looks to add up to five more in 2014.
 
Source: Dr. Prashanti Boinapally, Center Director, Eye Level Learning
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

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