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.
The Old Chicago restaurant chain has been around since 1976 and has catered to families in Michigan from its three different locations: Southgate, Trenton, Portage and Okemos. “The Okemos location has been here since 2004,” said service manager Cassie Sanderson, “I’ve been working here for 12 years and the environment and everything, it feels just like a family.”
Old Chicago features specialty pizzas such as the spaghetti pie. The pizza has spaghetti tossed in Alfredo sauce and baked with Romano and Provolone cheeses then topped with Alfredo sauce. “The Spaghetti Pie is my favorite thing on the menu,” said Sanderson. “It sounds gross
because it’s hard to explain but it’s so good.”
With a welcoming atmosphere the restaurant has a small arcade area, as well as a large bar which allows it to cater to just about everyone in the family.
Two new hotels and a potential apartment complex coming to Eastwood Towne Center could be the foundation of economic growth for the area, as the lifestyle center on the northwest side of Lansing Township continues plans for expansion. Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes said last month that a Holiday Inn and a Hilton Homewood Suites would be constructed behind the NCG Eastwood Cinema. The new plans would already add to the two hotels currently located in the Eastwood complex: a Hyatt Place, which opened last May, and a Fairfield Inn & Suites expected to open later this spring. The Hilton Homewood Suites, part of an Eastwood expansion plan sponsored by the township known as The Heights, has already been under construction since late 2016 will accommodate travelers staying for extended periods of time. According to Hayes, the Holiday Inn will break ground later this spring and will be located west of the Hyatt Place and the Fairfield, kitty-corner to the NCG.
New housing options will be available to Williamston residents as early as March. 304 River Edge, located at 304 W. Grand River Ave., will be mixed-use building with retail space on the first floor and three floors of apartments above. The building is going to be the first four story and one of the tallest edifices in Williamston. The project broke ground in September and is intended to open to tenants earlier than expected, regional property manager at KMG Prestige, the management company for the building, Andy Kneffel said. “We’re hoping it’s been expedited from our original plan,” Kneffel said.
Delhi Charter Township has started an initiative called Realize Cedar and they are looking towards its residents for new ideas on how to improve Holt’s downtown area, specifically the triangle of Cedar Street, Holt Road and Aurelius Road. The study has three ways people can give input; offer a big idea, prioritize goals, and answer poll questions. The former allows people to write the township. Prioritize goals lets residents of the area tell the township what is most important to them. Finally ,the poll lets citizens vote and see the results of important considerations such as retail, bike paths, larger sidewalks and restaurants.
By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — Linda Hundt knew since she was a child that she would love to own a bakery and now that dream has become a reality. Hundt owns Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe, located at 108 N. Bridge St. The bakery has expanded since first opening in DeWitt and now it is one of three locations. There are two other locations in Grand Rapids and all three are owned by Hundt. “I grew up with pies.
Mid-Michiganders still await their first taste of the Southern-based fast-food restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A, on their home front. The company’s plans to open a location on Grand River Avenue in front of Meijer in Okemos were confirmed in November and residents today are anticipating further information on the opening of the store. Meridian Township Director of Community Planning and Development Mark Kieselbach confirms that the special use permits necessary for the addition of the restaurant have been approved by the Planning Commission of Meridian Township. “As soon as they announced they were coming to the township, we had a lot of interest. A lot of people follow them, [have tried] Chick-fil-A in other states and like them,” Kieselbach said.
Lansing offers resources for small businesses development; they just have to be sought out. Dawne Botke-Coe, owner of Triple Goddess book store, said, “The Small Business Development Center at Lansing Community College helped me figure out how to run my business when I first started.”
Regional Director of the SBDC at LCC, Tom Donaldson, said the center has a lot of resources for businesses in the beginning stage that are free of charge. “We offer over 65 workshops and seminars on how to start, get bank loans, how to market, and how to use social media,” said Donaldson. “Experts are brought in to work one-on-one with entrepreneurs on financial projections, business strategies, utilizing the market to their advantage.”
Professor of Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University, Luke Pattaway, said the SBDC is one of the largest resources for businesses all over the country. Botke-Coe said the SBDC offered mentorship programs and workshops that taught her how to manage her money when she was in the process of starting her business.