Category Archives: Business

DeWitt District Library in trouble

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt reporter


Things aren’t looking good for the DeWitt library, as they are in panic mode and on the verge of being closed. They have tried many things such as cutting the staff and hours, but those measures haven’t solved their current state.

“We are underfunded and undersized,” said Jenifer Balcom, the DeWitt Library director. “The average budget for a library is $1.6 million, and ours is at only half of a million.”

More Problems

The size of the library is also a problem. The average size of a library is 26,000 square feet, while the DeWitt library is only 6,400 square feet.

As you can see, the size is much smaller than the average library Photo taken by Mike Moffat

As you can see, the size is much smaller than the average library
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“A lot of people are worried about economic times,” said Helen Davis, the reference manager for the DeWitt Library. “It also doesn’t help when there aren’t a lot of young children in the area.”

Last Chance

The only hope left for this library is a millage proposal later in 2014. This is the third one they have asked for since 2008, with this the second time asking for an increase in mils toward operation.

“We plan on proposing another millage asking for $500,000 this August,” said Paul Perpich, DeWitt Library Board president. “But, if that doesn’t pass, it looks like we’ll be closing by the end of 2014.”

Citizens Contribute

Even though the library is gets funds from taxes, these have decreased, which doesn’t help the library’s case to get more money. But, before this millage proposal happens, the library wants to get input from residents.

Citizens can also visit their website Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Citizens can also visit their website
Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

“The only way the citizens could help us is help answer the survey we gave them so we can figure out what they want out of us,” said Youth Services Librarian Mindy Schafer. “Hopefully they can see this library as more than just a place to go for books.”


For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at


Outstanding Business Recognition Award Given Out

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

An award in DeWitt township that the board members gave to the company Redline Auto Service for the Outstanding Business Recognition award of 2013. The board of members at DeWitt decided to present them this award on January 31, 2014.

Redline Auto Service, located on the corner of E State Road and US Business 27, has been in business since 2002. Scott Rendell, with his son Nicholas run the business.

Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Redline Auto Service on the corner of E State road and US Business 27

“I was very proud of my dad after receiving the award,” said Nicholas Rendell. “He really has worked hard, and he put in the most effort to get this place to where it is at today.”

What is decided on who gets this award is it all starts when the board members nominate a company, and with seven members voting, they decide on who gets the award. The board then bases this decision on contributions to the community is, as well as public services to the competition. But, in the beginning when a board member presents a company, they have to make a case on why they are nominating them.

“We chose Redline because they made a serious commitment, and it wasn’t just one thing,” said Phyllis Daggy, the DeWitt township treasurer. “They improved the whole corner they were located at, as well as addressing the community in a positive way and always guaranteeing customer satisfaction.”

When this business first started in 2002, it was a broken down building. Rendell then made serious renovations, such as installing new tiles in the front desk area, getting new signs, rebuilding the garages, and repairing the parking lot.

“My favorite part about working in this location is it really has a strong community feeling,” said Scott Rendell. “It is very tight knit, and the amount of people and traffic that passes the company really helps me get good business, and everyone that comes in is so respectful.”


For questions, please contact Mike Moffat at


Care-A-Van provides lifts as it uplifts elderly

New Freedom Care-A-Vans (Photo by the New Freedom Care-A-Van)

New Freedom Care-A-Vans (Photo by the New Freedom Care-A-Van)

After seeing frail and disabled residents trying to flag down city buses, Gale Capling decided that enough was enough.

Capling, a former bus driver, formed her business, the New Freedom Care-A-Van, in June 2011 in order to provide transportation to frail, disabled, and elderly citizens of Clinton County.

She took it upon herself to start selling jewelry to raise money so that she could jump start her business.

“I wanted to create a system that cared for aging people,” Capling said.  “When I saw the frail and disabled trying to navigate to a bus, I thought: ‘There’s got to be a better way,’ she said.  “I thought it was a poor way for America to treat aging people; expecting them to navigate by themselves is a travesty.”

The Care-A-Van service has about seven vans that are used daily.  All of the vans are driven by volunteer drivers.

“Volunteers are people with the best heart,” Capling said.
Continue reading


DeWitt golf center business parallels national trend

By Zachary Pena Staff Writer


DeWitt Golf Center Range


The DeWitt Golf Center is enjoying a boost in business, and it correlates with the national trend.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), admission to driving ranges, virtual golf rental and golf ball bucket sales went up 2.1 percent between February 2012 and February 2013.

However, the CPI showed a slight dip of 0.4 percent in the first three months of 2013.

This trend is also consistent across similar expenditure categories like admission to sporting events and group exercise classes. All of these categories experienced an increase between 1.9 and 2.4 percent between February 2012 and February 2013.

DeWitt Golf Center features a driving range as well as year-round virtual golf simulators with over 40 courses to choose from. Assistant Manager David Harmon said the center hasn’t raised any prices over the past year. The center even shelled out some funds for new services this year.

“We raised some rental prices a few years back, but we haven’t changed anything since,” said Harmon.

The center recently added a couple of new virtual golf simulators because of their high demand throughout the year. These high-tech machines were an added cost to the center, but Harmon said patrons shouldn’t have to pay more than $30 for simulated, indoor golf.

DeWitt Golf Center’s virtual golf rooms


“We always do our best to keep costs low for our customers,” he said.

Mitchell Kokx said he’s been coming to the center with his friends for years.

“They have competitive prices, so it’s a good deal,” he said. “Not only do they have the best greens by far, but I can come here in the winter to practice.”

Small, medium and large buckets sell for $5, $7 and $10, respectively, and an hour of virtual golf costs $30.

The DeWitt Golf Center is located at 11890 S. Old US 27 in DeWitt.


DeWitt Millennium Garden Club brings notice to city

The DeWitt Millennium Garden Club was established in 2000. (Photo by Luke Ferris)

The DeWitt Millennium Garden Club was established in 2000. (Photo by Luke Ferris)

By Luke Ferris Staff Reporter

One summer afternoon while working on flower boxes located on the South Bridge St. bridge, Jeanette Ongena, co-president of the DeWitt Millennium Garden Club, had a unique encounter. A man in a pickup truck stopped in the middle of the bridge and asked Ongena who she and the group were.

Ongena defined her group as the DeWitt Millennium Garden Club, a local volunteer group that plants and maintains eight different gardens across the DeWitt area. Then the man pulled out a $50 bill and handed it to Ongena.

“He said, ‘I own the office building just on the other side of the bridge, and I can guarantee that I have more business just because of the way you make the town look,’” Ongena said. “He said, ‘I just want to donate to your club and tell you how much I appreciate what you do for the city.’”

“It was so cool to have someone to do that and to take the time and the money to say ‘wow you really make a difference,’” Ongena said.

Whether recognized or not, the DeWitt Millennium Garden Club’s work in DeWitt makes it a more attractive area for residents and visitors alike. Continue reading


Local Gun and Ammunition Sales Surge on Fear of Control

Mid Michigan Guns and Gear is located in downtown Bath. (Photo by Luke Ferris)

Mid Michigan Guns and Gear is located in downtown Bath. (Photo by Luke Ferris)

By Luke Ferris Staff Reporter

The locally owned Mid Michigan Guns and Gear is experiencing a firearm and ammunition market surge due to shortage that is plaguing the country. Following public shootings and national gun control legislative debates, firearm and ammunition sales rose for Mid Michigan Guns and Gear to the point of struggling to fill their shelves.

“It was kind of like a Black Friday that lasted two months and then it’s over,” said Colt Sutton, sales associate at Mid Michigan Guns and Gear. “People are still trying to buy stuff but we can’t get it to them.”

Since April 2011, Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation, one of the largest gun and ammunition manufacturers in the world, has shown a +144.89 percent share increase.

The IBIS World research company predicts that the gun and ammunition manufacturing industry will have over $12 billion in revenue in 2013, a 4.3 percent growth rate from 2012.

In a January article in the Washington Post, the National Rifle Association claimed to have 500,000 new members in over 18 days.

“If you want to make a shortage, tell them they are not going to be able to get what they need and people are going to start panic,” Sutton said. Continue reading


DeWitt Residents Debate Growth and Identity

Dennel Ballard stands in front of Family Barber Shop II. Ballard is concerned about the vision for the city's future. (Photo: Monica Reida)

Dennel Ballard stands in front of Family Barber Shop II. Ballard is concerned about the vision for the city’s future. (Photo: Monica Reida)

By Monica Reida, Staff Writer

The downtown area of DeWitt could come from a postcard with the Sweetie-licious Pastry shop, multiple barber shops and a pharmacy that is named DeWitt Pharmacy. The sole stop light that sits in the downtown area is at Bridge and Main.

But while the downtown looks ideal, there are storefronts that are sitting empty and very few people who are walking around the area on a relatively nice Saturday afternoon. To some DeWitt residents, the lack of businesses in the heart of their city poses a problem.

Dennel Ballard sits in Family Barber Shop II at 113 W. Main St. as she awaits her next haircut appointment. Ballard works in the barber shop as a hairstylist and has served on the DeWitt City Planning Commission.

Ballard who has lived in DeWitt since 1982, says the people who are moving to DeWitt are failing to remember that it is a small town.

“We have our own identity and I think that sometimes that people forget that,” Ballard said.

The downtown area of DeWitt is the core of its small town identity but Ballard is worried about the state of the downtown area.

Ballard said while there is a Meijer out in DeWitt Township, the store takes away from the identity of the city of DeWitt.

John Coscarelli, owner and founder of Relli’s Italian Restaurant, said the downtown area hasn’t really changed since he opened Relli’s in 1996 other than for a few office buildings and condos by the river.

The DeWitt YMCA sits in the DeWitt Shopping Center, a hub of businesses far from the downtown area. (Photo: Monica Reida)

The DeWitt YMCA sits in the DeWitt Shopping Center, a hub of businesses far from the downtown area. (Photo: Monica Reida)

As far as business to help grow the downtown area, Ballard said complementary businesses–such as another gift shop near Twiggie’s–would help the area. According to Ballard the subject of ways to attract more businesses to Downtown DeWitt has been discussed by the city council in the past but there appears to be little progress in finding solutions.

Daniel Coss, city administrator for DeWitt, said the city and the downtown development authority are a part of Lansing Area Economic Partnership, which is used for attracting and retaining businesses. Additionally the city tries other ways to keep businesses downtown. He said the downtown is beautified “because this is a commercial district and commercial businesses have more of a tendency to come and go.

Relli’s owner Coscarelli said, “It’s never been the most stable of economies over here.”

On the outskirts of town sits the DeWitt Shopping Center which features a Rite Aid Pharmacy, Biggby Coffee and the DeWitt YMCA. There’s also a bakery, named Whipped, and a bicycle shop, Bikeworks. The bicycle shop has been open since March 2010.

Bikeworks owner, Jon Vandecar, had looked at putting his store in Downtown DeWitt, but decided to have his shop located in the shopping center.

“The foot traffic is ridiculously higher than it is downtown,” Vandecar said.

Although Vandecar liked the idea of placing Bikeworks in a storefront downtown, he realized what was more important was selling bicycles. He does not regret placing his store in the DeWitt Shopping Center.

According to Coss, DeWitt has events such as the Farmers Market and Ox Roast Festival to draw visitors to the downtown area.

The city has tried to spruce up the downtown area by installing bike paths and pedestrian walkways in the downtown area. Coss said that the city will be installing 2500 feet of new sidewalk on North Bridge Street in the spring. The city has also been instrumental in acquiring land, including parcels for the new DeWitt Pharmacy building.

Children’s bikes for sale at Bikeworks, a store in the DeWitt Shopping Center. Store owner, Jon Vandecar prefers the business opportunities at this location to a downtown site. (Photo: Monica Reida)

Children’s bikes for sale at Bikeworks, a store in the DeWitt Shopping Center. Store owner, Jon Vandecar prefers the business opportunities at this location to a downtown site. (Photo: Monica Reida)

According to Ballard, the city has been looking into creating an incubator space to encourage new businesses in the city. Coss said this concept isn’t a physical space the city is looking at to help get a business started but a program to kick start a business. The program might involve the DDA funding the start of the business and cover a portion of the monthly rent where the business would locate.

Coss said the “virtual incubator” idea was something that they saw in Kalamzoo. No decisions have been made by the city on what they would do with the incubator, but it is being considered at the city level.

How DeWitt will attract new businesses is something that will unroll slowly, but as more people move to DeWitt there could be tensions about the future growth of the city.