By Victoria Bowles
Old Town Lansing staff writer
Old Town experiences the gains and losses of unique local businesses
OLD TOWN LANSING— Two new businesses are opening their doors in Old Town despite the recent closing announcements of two veteran businesses.
Old Town is home to more art-focused businesses like galleries, design firms and creative boutiques per capita than any other place in Michigan, said Sarah Christensen the owner of Katalyst art gallery and gift boutique.
“Every place here is so unique and creative and having your own niche is important,” Christensen said.
Christensen may have found her niche in Old Town but the owners of Greenfield Collection Antiques and Gallery 1212 have not been as fortunate. Currently both businesses are closing, and offering sales on remaining merchandise.
We have been in business for three years, but we can’t meet costs for electricity and the space, said Mike Scieszka one the owners of Gallery 1212.
“We don’t have a steady amount of costumers in the off months,” Scieszka said.
Scieszka also said the festivals bring in a lot of people, but Old Town needs more business people or state employees wandering through more regularly.
New business ventures
Craig Mitchell Smith recently relocated his glass sculpting business from the Meridian mall, where he was located for four years. A Grand Opening will be held on Sunday at his new location in Old Town, 1120 N. Washington Ave.
“It [Old Town] is the art center and I wanted to be in an art district more than the mall,” said Craig Mitchell Smith owner of Craig Mitchell Smith Glass.
Smith’s business creates large sculptures made of glass for a commercial clients base. Some of the sculptures were recently displayed at Epcot Theme Park in Orlando Fl., Smith said.
“I offer a unique niche and don’t see myself in competition with other galleries,” Smith said, “I have a very established client base.”
Still opportunities in Old Town
Despite the closing many in Old Town believe there is room for growth and new costumers.
Louise Gradwohl, executive director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said they need a destination restaurant and specialty stores and galleries can thrive here if they offer a mix of merchandise.
“The businesses are closing for a mixture of reasons, and art can be hard to sell because it is a luxury item,” Gradwohl said. “There is a lot of opportunity here.”
Alicia Trantum manager of October Moon gift shop and specialty grocery store said her store offers different kinds of merchandise, and they want more costumers who will appreciate the quantity over quality.
“Having business in your own community is a privilege,” said Trantum. “Even people who are more mall oriented can appreciate the unique businesses in Old Town.”
Contact Reporter: Victoria Bowles, (810) 429- 1079, firstname.lastname@example.org