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Cuttin Up Barber Shop to add staff, activities in 2014

Paul Trowbridge's path to business began in his hometown of Battle Creek, wound its way to Lansing, took a detour down south, and cut back to Lansing again.
 
"When I first got back, I noticed this area needed a barber shop," says Trowbridge, owner of Cuttin Up Barber Shop in REO Town. "There was one here years ago and I wanted to bring it back."
 
Since opening in November 2012, Trowbridge's business at 1135 S. Washington has steadily grown from a clientele he nurtured through a decade of Lansing barbering experiences, including his previous shop, Barber Love. And with REO Town's rebirth, Cuttin Up has experienced a mild uptick, allowing Trowbridge to lay plans for new staff and increased civic-engagement.
 
Beginning in 2014, Trowbridge will add at least one licensed barber to his staff of three. He's also looking to sponsor a day-of-service for military veterans, and to continue programs that benefit the Lansing Area AIDS Network.
 
With a modest budget and lots of muscle, Trowbridge transformed the 1,000-square foot space previously occupied by Betty's Buttons by putting in a new floor, liberating brick walls from plaster, updating lighting, and furnishing with refurbished fixtures and chairs.
 
"There's nothing cosmetologist about it," says Trowbridge. "It's truly a man's shop, and a place where guys can come and let their hair down."
 
But then he pauses.
 
"Of course, if a woman comes in with her son for his haircut, we're friendly," he says, adding that he might cut the mom's hair, too, if she asked. "We're building lots of ties with families and businesses in the area. We want to be here for the long haul."
  
Source: Paul Trowbridge, Owner, Cuttin Up Barber Shop
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development Editor


Firehouse Subs brings 30 jobs and fundraising flair to downtown Lansing

Sam Shango took his family on a Florida vacation and came back with more than T-shirts. He came back with a concept for a hot franchise.
 
The first week of January, Shango opened the doors to Firehouse Subs at 200 S. Washington Square in downtown Lansing. Founded by firefighters, the "fast casual" Florida chain gained fame and popularity by serving piping hot meats and cheeses on toasted rolls while raising dollars for first responders.
 
"I've been watching the brand and was taken by their unique business model," says Shango of the eatery that merges food and fundraising. "Not only is the food great, but they have a foundation that benefits local fire stations and the community."
 
Shango laid the groundwork for the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation while preparing to open his first franchise. Now in full operation, Lansing's Firehouse Subs commits a percentage of sub sales to support local first responders and public safety organizations. Other foundation venues include spare change canisters, rounding up sales, and selling empty five-gallon pickets buckets for $2 each.
 
"I've never done anything so complete," says Shango of joining a franchise that boasts 700 units across 38 states. "From the quality of the food to giving back to the community – it just makes you feel good to be part of it, and to eat lunch here."
 
Shango invested about $400,000 to transform the 2,500-square foot state office facility to a sit-down restaurant. Renovations included upgrades to HVAC, water and electrical systems, as well as an extensive corporate makeover to simulate a firehouse interior. Red, white and black dominate the floor plan, while a Lansing-centric mural commands attention.
 
Shango hired 30 people to staff the first of three Firehouse Subs he plans to co-own and manage with his brother Eddy Shango.
 
Source: Sam Shango, Co-Owner and Manager, Firehouse Subs
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor

Teen center double size, adds skatepark in new Mason location

Mason-area teens now have more room to explore their interests in a safe environment now that the non-profit Building Twentyone has expanded to a new location. The teen center includes drop-in space, tutoring, and now, a skate park. 
 
"We have a whole lot more room," says Benjamin Schartow, who founded Building Twentyone a few years ago. "It's just two miles down the street, but it's a great location, right on a lake."
 
The original Building Twentyone shared a 3,000 square foot space with other tenants, but the new, N. Cedar St. location is 7,000 square feet in size and is dedicated just to the teen center. The new skate park inside not only adds a new attraction to the center, but also creates a revenue source for the non-profit. 
 
"The students really love it," Schartow says of the 30 to 40 students who regularly come to the teen center. "We just opened the skatepark in November, and we've had a lot of positive feedback."
 
The new location opened in Sept., and also includes a new computer lab, stocked with computers donated by Delta Dental. Remodeling work was made possible through a grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation. While Building Twentyone is a non-religious organization, they have partnered with Journey Life Church, which is their new landlord.
 
Schartow is looking forward to expanding Building Twentyone's programming in the new location, including arts, poetry and DJ workshops. 
 

Source: Benjamin Schartow, Building Twentyone
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Conrad's owner opens new East Lansing catering company

As the owner of both Conrad's College Town Grill locations in East Lansing, Joe Conrad has a pretty good idea of what's going on in the city's food industry. With all of the university departments and businesses in the area, he saw room in the market for a new caterer. That led to the opening of Grand River Catering Company

"We're not a fine dining, by any means, but it's a better option than some of the corporate places where you have very limited options," says Conrad. "Everything is cooked fresh to order for each catering job, and we can be more flexible with our clientele. Whatever they want, if we can do it, we will."

After opening the second location of Conrad's on E. Grand River in 2012, Conrad realized he had 1,500 extra square feet in the rear of the business. That's where he launched the catering company. While Grand River Catering Company officially opened in Sept., a busy fall at Conrad's has allowed for a gradual ramp up of the new business. Conrad says he's looking forward to having more time to focus on catering during MSU's semester break. 

"We offer more of a personal touch," Conrad says. "Typically, I will be the one delivering the food and making sure that everything goes well."

Grand River Catering Company is currently staffed by Conrad and one other employee. He hopes his focus on servicing the university and local business community will help him grow into  the go-to catering option for East Lansing.


Source: Joe Conrad, Grand River Catering Company
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Niowave to invest $202 million, create up to 120 jobs at Lansing Airport development zone

Big things are happening at Lansing's Niowave, in the form of a new facility that will produce some very small things - in size, anyway. Niowave has recently announced it will invest $202 in a new facility within the Next Michigan Development Zone at the Capital Region Community Airport that will create medical isotopes, as well as up to 120 jobs. 

"The real benefit to being at that site was that location itself," says Niowave COO Jerry Hollister. "As soon as you make a medical isotope, it starts to decay. The sooner you ship them off, the more you can sell. Beign right at the airport is really huge."

The development zone at the airport will also provide incentives from the Port Lansing Next Michigan Development Corporation, a $3 million loan from the Michigan Strategic Fund and support from both DeWitt Township, the City of Lansing and the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. The 50,000 square foot facility will help Niowave join the $3 billion radiopharmaceutical industry, most of which now comes from Canada and Europe. 

"Lansing is pretty unique around the country - the world even - for our workforce," Hollister says. "Not only do we have the scientific brain power, we're also a leader in advanced manufacturing. It gives us a real advantage. That's why we have our headquarters here; that's why we're expanding here."

In addition to producing medical isotopes, Hollister envisions additional applications for the accelerator, including creating lasers capable of acting as military-grade defense weapons, as well as sterilizing heat-sensitive materials. 

Source: Jerry Hollister, Niowave
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale aims to open Eastside distillery

Lansing area craft beer and whiskey fans: 2014 could be a very good year. With small breweries trickling into the region and small-scale distilling just getting its start in Michigan, brewing and distilling afficianados Matt Jason and Jeremy Sprague decided it was the perfect time to establish such a business right at the center of it all. 

"Lansing is the capital of a great beer state, and other than some small breweries, we don't have a lot of beer here yet, not like Grand Rapids," says Jason. "We want to make Lansing a destination for beer." 

Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale is their means to reaching that goal, a brewery and distillery they plan to open on Lansing's Eastside. The production facilty and pub is currently in a fundraising phase. Between seeking out individual investors and a forthcoming Kickstarter campaign, Jason and Sprague plan to raise $150,000 by spring of 2014 to begin buildout on a 3,000 to 4,000 square foot space by summer. 

"There are few places we're looking on the Eastside," says Jason. "The Eastside has the youngest demographic, highest population density, and highest percentate of expenditures on alcohol. With the Red Cedar development hopefully coming on board, the avenue has a lot of promise." 

The distillery and brewery would feature brown and white whiskey, as well as a selection of European and American-inspired beers. Plans for the pub also include a bakery, from which Sleepwalker would serve pizzas, pretzel rolls and other food items. Distribution is also a major part of the plan for Sleepwalker spirits, which Jason plans to expand internationally. 

Though funding and licensing will determine their final timeline, Jason hopes to be opening Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale by late summer or fall of 2014 with six to 10 employees. Within a few years, they hope to triple the size of their staff and become known as a destination for live musch, craft beer and local whiskey.


Source: Matt Jason, Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Science lab incubator coming to 22,000 sq ft East Lansing building

Not unlike food entrepreneurs, early stage biotech and life science entrepreneurs face pretty high startup costs in the equipment and facilities department. In the spirit of niche incubators such as those that serve the food industry, former Arialink CEO Jason Schreiber decided to give area scientists a place where they could affordably get a business off the ground. With the purchase of a 22,000 square foot building on Dawn Ave. in East Lansing, a science laboratory incubator facility is on the way into the market. 
 
"Right now we see companies that are spinning out of MSU and other life science companies going to Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo," says Schreiber. "We're hoping to keep them in Lansing."
 
Schreiber says he's already received several inquiries from potential users of the space, and renovation will depend on the types of users that sign on. He hopes the space will accommodate both single-user labs and larger companies. 
 
"We saw the building, and we recognized the opportunity,'" he said of the two-story building that was once used for research and development. "It's a gem of a building, it just needs some love"
 
Renovations are expected to begin around February of 2014. Schreiber hopes to have the facility up and running by the middle to end of next summer summer. CBRE|Martin facilitated the sale of the property.

Source: Jason Schreiber, Property Owner
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hollow Mountain Comics and Games to open in downtown East Lansing

Aaron Solon is a games guy. Gabe Cooper is a comics guy. So both were disappointed when East Lansing's 21st Century Comics and Games closed last year - enough so that they considered buying it. Though that plan didn't come together, it got Solon and Cooper hooked on the idea of opening their own comics and games shop, and in January, that plan will come to fruition with Hollow Mountain Comics and Games
 
"I actually think it's lucky it turned out that way, since we've been able to do some cool stuff with our inventory and storefront, starting from scratch," says Solon. "Our atmosphere will be a lot more accessible than other game stores in the area as well, so I think we'll be able to appeal to both hardcore gamers and comic fans, as well as people who are new to the hobby, or are simply more casual about it."
 
The 1,000 square foot Grand River storefront will open in early January. Being close to campus was a must for the partners, who anticipate foot traffic and accessibility to be factors in the success of Hollow Mountain Comics and Games. 
 
Solon says he hopes the store will grow into a community hub for gamers and comic book fans, much like a store he grew up with in Ann Arbor, Get Your Game On. 
 
"The staff there was really great, and it provided a place for me to connect to the gaming community and get exposed to some really cool games that I might never have heard of if it wasn't for that store," he says. "My personal goal for Hollow Mountain is for it to be the kind of place that can give someone that kind of experience."
 
Hollow Mountain will initially be staffed by Solon and Cooper, and they hope to add an employee in a few months. Information about the store's grand opening will be posted to their Facebook page

Source: Aaron Solon, Hollow Mountain Comics and Games
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Haslett enrichment center to bring afterschool activites to area families

As anyone with kids active in extra curricular activities knows, weekday evenings can be hectic. In helping with her six grandchildren, Debra Ellis experienced the hustle from school to practices to recitals firsthand, and felt that something should be done to make life easier on parents and to create more opportunities for family time. 

"I thought there has to be a better way," says Ellis. "So we started to write this curriculum for this program a few years ago. It was all to give family time back."

The result was the Children's Enrichment Center in Haslett, a place where children can enroll in classes and activities immediately after school, so parents can pick them up after work with their activities and homework completed. 

The 4,000 square foot facility is accessibly to both local elementary schools and will offer dance, martial arts, music and art classes, as well as rotating activities. Classes will begin in January, and enrollment for up to 50 students has begun. A grand opening will take place for the public this friday. 

Initially, Ellis will work with six contracted instructors and three employees at the Children's Enrichment Center. As the organization, which has applied for non-profit status, take up only two-thirds of the building, Ellis hopes to see their presence there grow. She also plans to add one new Children's Enrichment Center per year in new communities in the future. 

Source: Debra Ellis, The Children's Enrichment Center
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Massage Bliss opening in 3,000 sq ft Okemos location

Mother and daughter team Shannon Sawnick and Karen Smith were looking for a small business idea that would promote healthy and natural living, and upon finding a lack of massage salons in Okemos, they found their opportunity. The forthcoming business, Massage Bliss will open near the end of January on Grand River next to Dusty's Cellar
 
"We're excited tot be opening in Okemos," says Sawnick. "We don't think there is anything like this there. Our prices are going set us apart. We're hoping to appeal to everybody."
 
In addition to affordability, Sawnick plans to attract customers with stunning ambiance. Massage Bliss will offer an infrared sauna, a sitting room with a water fountain and fireplace, as well as a retail area and coffee bar. In addition to massage, the business will offer waxing and facial services. 
 
"We've already had a lot of positive feedback," says Sawnick. "We're already starting to sell gift cards." 
 
Massage Bliss will employ eight massage therapists and three receptionists. The 3,000 square foot storefront is currently under renovation."

Source: Shannon Sawnick, Massage Bliss
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

SIREN Shelter nearly triples space for better client services in Charlotte

It took about a decade, but the SIREN / Eaton Shelter has finally found a new home big enough to support the growing agency and their growing clientele. The shelter for survivors of domestic violence and homeless families in Eaton County serves about 2,000 people each year, and with a staff of 20, their 4,400 square foot office Masonic Temple location was bursting at the seams. 
 
"When SIREN started, we were a small, agency with just two staff," says SIREN Executive Director Jessica Edel-Harrelson. "When we moved out we had the the entire floor and then part of the floor above us."
 
In Oct., SIREN finally got the chance to stretch out its legs in the new 12,000 square foot space on Robinson St. in Charlotte. The agency made the move with the help of volunteers who donated more than $10,000 worth of time and services to the relocation. 
 
"We had an army of volunteer in here every day," Edel-Harrelson says. "We owe a big thank you to the community because the move would not have been possible without the volunteers."
 
The new location allows SIREN's case managers to have separate offices, creating more privacy for interviews with clients. It also includes a new area for clients to shop for donated clothes, and a nicer reception area to welcome them. In addition to creating a better atmosphere for clients, the considerably larger office will also save SIREN $8,000 to $10,000 per year. 
 
Saving money is key for SIREN, an agency which has lost funding over the last few years despite dramatic growth in size and community need. Edel-Harrelson says they are always looking for donations to help out including monetary gifts, gas cards, seasonal clothing, diapers and more. Volunteers are also appreciated. SIREN continues to grow with the needs of the community, adding two new case workers over the past year and half. 

Source: Jessica Edel-Harrelson, SIREN/Eaton Shelter
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

The Institution fitness studio to celebrate downtown grand opening

When Paul Nagel retired from military service, he thought he could leave his exercising day behind him. It didn't take long before he found himself unhappy with the results of that idea, and his change in habits changed the rest of his life. Now a certified trainer and new resident of Lansing, Nagel and he his partner Jennifer Battle own The Institution Fitness Studio, which will celebrate the grand opening of its new location on Dec.13.
 
"We like to have fun, but we want results too," says Nagel. "We take a personal interest in our customers. We're not here to make a million dollars overnight; we're here to give people their lives back."
 
The class-based fitness studio offers a variety of classes, and Nagel and Battle have a particular interest in children's fitness. They offer free weekly classes for kids between six and 12 on Saturdays. 
 
"For the first time in history our children will not outlive us," says Nagel. "We want to be part of the solution. Every single child is invited, and they can come and workout and have fun."
 
The new 1,000 square foot studio is on S. Washington Sq. Nagel says he and Battle hope to continue to grow The Institution to multiple locations and possibly franchise the business in the future. Currently, they're working to grow into their new space, and they plan to work with four to five contract instructors to help teach their courses. 
 

Source: Paul Nagel, The Instution
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

TLC Memory Keepers moves into new Williamston location

When Terie Clover started scrapbooking, it was just a hobby. But when she started to offer to help some of her friends and family who were too busy to finish their own projects, everyone quickly realized she had a knack for the art. After opening TLC Memory Keepers in Williamston two year ago, it became her job. 

"I decided this coul be a way I could share what I do with othe rpoepl. I have why I call a scrapbook club where epeople cn join and come any time during my open hours. 

The business has been growing ever since. Last year, Clover added scrapbooking materials to her shop, and this year, she moved from Keller's Plaza into a new location in the Miller Photography Studio. 

"It was difficult to have craft sessions upstairs and the owner of Miller Studios thought it would be great if we got together, " she says. "It’s a little bit  larger, and I do have more supplies and more space to hold classes."

Clover moved TLC Memory into the new location in Nov. She says she doesn't plan to become a millionaire with her business, but to simply continue to share her skills and supplies with her customers. 

Source: Terie Clover, TLC Memory Keepers
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

Hair & Company on Ash supports stylists' education, community art in Mason

Opening her own salon has been on Tricia Singh's to-do list for years. After nearly two decades in the business, she has reached her goal with the opening of  Hair & Company on Ash in Mason in Oct.  
 
"It has always been a dream of mine to open a full service, upscale salon that caters to the creative soul," she says. "It's difficult to work in an environment with rules and stipulations."
 
Rather than setting restrictions on her team of stylists, Singh infuses her staff with education. As the hair business is always changing, she said continual education is the best way to ensure ongoing quality for her customers and enrichment for her stylist. 
 
The 1,600 square foot salon offers massage therapy, nail services and facials along with hair services, but Singh doesn't stop there. With an eye on supporting all kinds of creatives in the Mason community, she carries locally made honey, soaps, lotions, candles, maple syrup, fine art and more. 
 
"It's about supporting all of our local people," she says.
 
Hair & Company on Ash currently employs a staff of seven. So far, Singh says her chairs have been full, and she couldn't be happier with the community's reception of the new salon.

Source: Tricia Singh, Hair & Company on Ash 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor

A new Asian cuisine option opens on Michigan Ave.

Restauranteur Frank Lin knows an opportunity when he sees one. When he recognized the lack of a neighborhood Chinese restaurant on Lansing's east side, he decided to become the solution. His new Asian Gourmet Chinese Restaurant opened about a month ago on Michigan Ave. 
 
"The response has been good, and we haven't even done any advertising yet," says Lin. "Many people are coming right from this neighborhood. It's a very nice neighborhood here."
 
Location was key in Lin's decision to open Asian Gourmet. With large employers in close proximity, such as Michigan State University and Sparrow, he plans to attract a good lunch crowd. While Chinese fare is at the heart of the restaurant's offerings, Lin says Thai and other Asian cuisine is offered as well.
 
"We don't use MSG, and we mostly use fresh vegetables," says Lin. "It's very healthy with no extra fat or oils." 
 
The 1,500 square foot restaurant currently seats about 15 diners and has relied on carry out for much of their business. In the future Lin hopes to expand his in-house dining. Currently, Asian Gourmet Chinese Restaurant employs a staff of three. 

Source: Frank Lin, Asian Gourmet Chinese Restaurant 
Writer: Natalie Burg, Development News Editor
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