REO Town, a Lansing district located south of downtown, is considered the United States birthplace of the commercial automobile. The district is named after Ransom Eli Olds, an entrepreneur who founded the REO Motor Car Company in 1905. From 1905 to 1975, a major manufacturing plant for the REO Motor Car Company was located in REO Town. The plant gave a significant financial boost to the district, supplying both jobs and outside interest. Since production ceased in 1975, the automotive industry has remained the major employer in REO Town, with more than 2,000 workers employed by the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant.
DETROIT — “Detroit is an ethnic battleground,” Professor in the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University Allan Sherwin says when speaking of Detroit’s various food options. Detroit has many great things to offer, but what seems to be everyone’s favorite is their endless amounts of restaurants. For a city that is constantly being put through hardships and judgement it always has been noted to have two great things: spirit and food. Sherwin, who also has owned award-winning restaurants talks about the restaurant industry, said “it’s a very fluid industry because people eat everyday and they change and the way food’s changed and the people eat. Eighty percent of Americans at 4 o’clock in the afternoon do not know what they are going to have for dinner that night.”
MASON — While data shows less and less people have time to go out shopping these days, family-owned ice cream and candy shops remain flourishing with customers and life. “Until they figure out a way to have a drone deliver a handcrafted chocolate malt, I think we’re going to be all right,” joked Shawn Sodman, owner of The Daily Scoop. Sodman and his wife Kathy have been owning and operating the ice cream parlor for seven years and offer a wide variety of ice cream, milkshakes, malts, sundaes and even grilled cheese. All of the ice cream and cheese is provided courtesy of the MSU Dairy Store. “Me and my softball team try to go to the Daily Scoop after every game,” said 11-year-old Samantha Bennett.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Traverse City in northwestern Michigan is home to many entrepreneurs. The town has a supportive food scene, excellent tourism, a strong Chamber of Commerce, and many citizens with amazing stories to tell. If you walk through Downtown Traverse City, you may come across Ben Phillips, owner and founder of Ben’s Boards, a company that rents paddle boards on Grand Traverse Bay. Scroll through social media and it’s likely you’ll see Sean Murray, founder of Green Light Podcast.
What is Old Town Lansing? The old neighborhood may be stretching beyond its original boundaries. Those who live and work here are really trying to expand what people think of as Old Town. For example, the Golden Harvest and Ozone’s Brewhouse to the north; Scoop’s, Strings n Things and Elderly Instruments to the west; and Preuss Pets and Zoobie’s to the east are all a part of town, according to Matt Hund, Old Town Commercial Association board member. But it’s not as simple as simply extending borders.
The seventh annual event showcasing the students of DeWitt Public Schools was April 13 in the DeWitt High School gymnasium. The showcase provided an opportunity for residents and families of DeWitt to gather in one place and learn more about what DeWitt Public Schools and the surrounding community have to offer. Nicci Lenneman, a parent with three children in the district as well as an alumna of DeWitt Public Schools, planned to attend for the fifth time. “This gets families familiar with the high school at an early age. Each school and grade has projects or live performances on display for everyone to enjoy,” said Lenneman.
For areas like Old Town, it is essential that they keep money within their local community. Many of the businesses are owned and operated by individuals who rely on their business for their livelihood. This is easier said than done. However, the Old Town Commercial Association has devised a program with the hope of keeping money in Old Town. Old Town 4-3-50 is a project within community, and its goals are to support the businesses in the neighborhood and keep money in the community, according to the OTCA’s website.
Folks from around Old Town can tell you all the time that having such a close community and successful small businesses are what makes Old Town so unique, different, and almost complete. However, there is one thing that a few residents wish to see in the nearby future. Andrea Kerbuski, one of the few residents in Old Town believes there is a lack of restaurant options in the area. Sweetielicious is set to open and it is the type of place needed in the area to balance out the existing restaurants and provide residents with more options. “It is hard to get into places like Golden Harvest and we need at least another five more food places to eat at to make it more diverse and more of an attraction to city residents and visitors,” said Kerbuski.