Bath & Body Works employee, Abby Ciesalk poses for a photo as she discusses her employment experience in Lansing Township. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

Working women in Lansing Township drive civilian labor force

Three years ago, Abby Ciesalk was entering her sophomore year at Michigan State University. She was on the job hunt like many students always are and went looking around for applications to fill out. “I’d never worked in retail before but I just needed like a simple part time job to do during school,” Ciesalk said. “So I just applied to places around my area, [Eastwood Towne Center] is like 10 minutes from my apartment, so I kind of applied out of convenience at first.”

She found the perfect job at a Bath & Body Works located within Eastwood Towne Center, a shopping mall in Lansing Township. Flash forward, Ciesalk will be graduating this spring and has continued working in the township for so long because of the people.

A rusted sign that used to read, "Video camera watches parking lot," sits outside an abandoned building in Lansing Township. Photo by Hannah Holliday.

Despite vacant buildings, some Lansing Township residents say “this is a good area to move to”

For 58-year-old Lansing Township resident Sherry Ellis, abandoned buildings impact the township’s look but not the resident’s attitudes about where they live. The green and white bricked building located on the corner of Clare Street and West Michigan Avenue isn’t a symbol of the Michigan State Spartans. The windows are boarded up, the paint is peeling, overgrown weeds are starting to take over and the bricked walls hold nothing more than the words “Jokr,” sprawled out in purple spray paint. “I do think that the abandoned buildings affect how the township physically looks,” Ellis said. “But I don’t notice business [vacancies] as being a serious situation for someone not to live here.

The west side, southeast side and east side sections of Lansing Township. Source: Hannah Holliday via: Google Maps.

Where am I? Not everyone is sure in geographically-fractured Lansing Township

Haslett resident Kate Daniels frequently makes a 15-minute trip roughly three times a month to The Eastwood Towne Center for upscale shopping and the outdoor mall atmosphere. But, not even an endless amount of hours spent at the shopping center could prepare Daniels for this geography question. When asked where the shopping mall was located, Daniels replied with, “I guess maybe it is considered to be in Lansing.”

Unbeknownst to some visitors, store employees and even residents from neighboring townships, Daniels is not alone with being confused about where Eastwood is located. Technically, the lifestyle center is located within the boundaries of Lansing Township, according to the Charter Township of Lansing’s website, and not the City of Lansing. “I have never thought about it actually,” Daniels said.

CMU students travel to Eastwood Towne Center to get what they can’t find in Mount Pleasant

Located less than five miles away from Michigan State University, Eastwood Towne Center attracts more shoppers than just Spartans and Lansing natives. Haley Garr, a sophomore at Central Michigan University, said that Eastwood is one of two large-scale shopping centers including Midland Mall that CMU students routinely travel to on the weekends. “The shopping scene in Mount Pleasant is very minimal, we don’t really have any stores and the ones that we do have are all pretty similar,” Garr said. “Mount Pleasant has large scale stores like Meijer, Walmart and Target, but its a lot of the same things everywhere.” According to Garr, CMU students are willing to travel about 60 miles to shop at Eastwood’s trendier clothing stores like Forever 21, American Eagle and Victoria’s Secret.