Every fall, downtown East Lansing welcomes in new businesses. Usually, because another business couldn’t last the brutal summer in a college town.
“When you’re in a college town market, to be frank, it’s a little bit difficult, it’s a hard market to break into,” said Community Development Specialist for the City of East Lansing Amy Schlusler. “I think it’d be conservatively fair to say that you see at least five to ten businesses every summer probably change over.”
It’s not just your typical mom and pop stores that can’t survive. Just this past summer, businesses such as La Bodega, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Thai 102, Firehouse Subs, and What Up Dawg all locked up their doors for good.
Another business that closed was Grand River Coffee, a very popular spot among the college crowd, and that took many by surprise.
“My understanding of that is that there was no financial situation, that the owners just wanted to move on and not have to own a cafe any longer,” said Schlusler.
While customers can no longer enjoy their past favorites, some other new businesses are opening and creating excitement.
Charles Hoang is the owner of the new Kasutamu sushi restaurant, which moved into the previous Firehouse Subs location and opened just a week ago.
“There’s a lot of sushi restaurants around here, we want to be different, we want to be a place where someone can come and build their own rolls,” said Hoang. “Right now we’re playing everything by ear, and we’re trying to do the things that we think will work, and if it doesn’t work, we’re just going to have to change and adapt.”
While Kasutamu is up and running, Jersey Mike’s is set to open up in about a month, taking the former location of Moe’s Southwest Grill.