Wake Up Old Town brings together local businesses

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By Juliana Moxley
Old Town Lansing Times staff reporter

Photo: Juliana Moxley. Wake Up Old Town attendees gather around OTCA Executive Director Louise Gradwohl as she talks about Old Town’s upcoming Chocolate Walk. Everyone crowds around in a circle to share what business they are from and what latest event their business is doing.

Photo: Juliana Moxley. Wake Up Old Town attendees gather around OTCA Executive Director Louise Gradwohl as she talks about Old Town’s upcoming Chocolate Walk. Everyone crowds around in a circle to share what business they are from and what latest event their business is doing.

Old Town Lansing — If you’re an early riser, Wake Up Old Town is the perfect opportunity to network and discover new ways to effectively run a business in today’s economy.

Wake up and network

Wake Up Old Town is held at 9 a.m. on the first Friday of every month at an Old Town business and is open to anyone. The location of Wake Up Old Town rotates every month to a new store; this month’s venue was Great Lakes Artworks, located on E. Grand River Avenue.

Great Lakes Artworks board member Richard Lott said Wake Up Old Town is a networking opportunity for people with businesses in Old Town and for those who might have an interest in the Old Town Commercial Association but aren’t currently part of it.

“It’s a chance to meet other owners and you find out how they’re doing and how they’re doing it — then you can apply that to your own business,” Lott said.

Great Lakes Artworks Financial Director Sandi Leister said this is the first time Wake Up Old Town was held at Great Lakes Artworks and the gallery’s board of directors thought it would be a good way to bring in more clientele for the business.

“We were talking about it at our board meeting and we thought it would be a good marketing procedure for us if we had the meeting here,” Leister said. “We’re hoping to familiarize our business with the rest of the people who come to the meeting.”

Photo: Juliana Moxley. Sandi Leister’s jewelry line “Name Your Charm” on display at Great Lakes Artworks. Included in Leister’s jewelry line are wine charms, necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets, earrings, and key chains.

Photo: Juliana Moxley. Sandi Leister’s jewelry line “Name Your Charm” on display at Great Lakes Artworks. Included in Leister’s jewelry line are wine charms, necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets, earrings, and key chains.

Head Start Oral Health Coordinator Brenda Martinez used Wake Up Old Town as a way to increase awareness about Head Start’s Miles for Smiles 5K Walk that is coming up on May 17.

“I like the interaction with other businesses and I like to find out what’s happening in Old Town — it’s very important to me,” Martinez said.

Share news and make friends

Attendees have a chance to mingle with one another over coffee and snacks during the first half hour; later on, everyone forms large circle and shares what business they are from and what latest events their business is hosting.

Old Town’s big event, the Chocolate Walk, was a topic of discussion on Friday. The businesses that are participating in next Wednesday’s Chocolate Walk shared details on what they would be offering — Preuss Pets will have chocolates shaped as insects for sale.

Selina Fish from the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, a non-profit organization that provides programs for the elderly or disabled, was in attendance for the second time at Wake Up Old Town. Fish said she made good networking connections through Wake Up Old Town and she enjoys the familiarity of faces.

“I think it was good for meeting people and networking, especially since I’m just getting started in this non-profit thing,” Fish said. “I think it’s good to stay in touch with local businesses because you want to stick together as much as you can.”

Questions? Contact Juliana Moxley at moxleyju@msu.edu or (586) 819-9750

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