By Kasey Worst
Old Town Lansing staff writer
OLD TOWN LANSING—In two stops, ribbon cutting ceremonies welcomed in three Old Town businesses on February 28, 2014.
The businesses, Four Blank & Ten Design Group, Leopold Bloom & Co., and Chierie International Market, had all been open for business before the ceremony.
Louise Gradwohl, director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said there were multiple factors that postponed the ribbon cuttings, including finding someone to actually cut the ribbons.
“It is sometimes hard to get a ribbon cutting with the mayor,” Gradwohl said.
Originally Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero was scheduled to attend; however he could not. Judi Brown Clarke, vice president of the Lansing City Council, cut the ribbons.
The excitement of the business owners and community members was visible. Laughter and small talk filled the air.
Two businesses in one location
Tony Sump, owner of the antiques shop Leopold Bloom & Co., said his business has been open since October 5, 2013. His business is applying to become a member of the Old Town Commercial Association.
“We moved into the area,” Sump said. “We have a store also in Grand Rapids that we’ve had running for almost two years.”
Sump also said Old Town was a good place for the business.
“We liked the culture of Old Town and the artisanal feel,” Sump said. “And the fact that it’s a kind of up-and-coming artful community that is looking to being able to bring in a more walk–able neighborhood and shopping experience in Lansing.”
Located at the back of Leopold Bloom & Co. is Four Blank & Ten Design Group, an interior design company owned by Jeremy Mick.
Mick said he used to operate the business from his home.
“I like Old Town a lot,” Mick said. “There’s a lot going on there, you know, and there are some similar stores in the area. So it’s nice to be in with those other stores and businesses that do the same thing we do. And it’s a great block that we’re on.”
About 12 people were at the ribbon cutting ceremony for these two businesses.
An international story
Co-owners of Chierie International Market Sam R.E. and Sue-bunch Cecilia Dixon moved to America because of a civil war that took place in their home country of Liberia.
“We decided that–what can we do since America has been so nice and good to us,” Sam Dixon said. “What can we do to sometimes to give back and help?”
Opening Chierie International Market was one of the ways they decided to help.
Cecilia Dixon said the first two things people usually ask her are where she is from and why she came to America.
“The next thing [people ask me is] ‘what do you really miss?’ The food,” Cecilia Dixon said.
Sam and Cecilia Dixon have to drive to Detroit to find some of the authentic foods from the west part of African that they sell in their shop.
The ribbon cutting at Chierie International Market brought out about 30 people to witness the event.
To contact Kasey Worst, please send an email to:
or call 517-227-0129.