Economic initiatives shore up East Lansing

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By Marisol Dorantes
Entirely East Lansing staff writer

East Lansing — The United States has experienced a serious economic recession and Michigan is one of the hardest hit, reaching an unemployment rate of 14.2% in August 2009. Currently the unemployment rate is down to 8.5%.

The hardships brought by the economy are evident in East Lansing. Empty storefronts and vacancy signs line Grand River Avenue.

“I feel like businesses are dropping like flies. The other day I went to a vintage store, Scavenger Hunt, and they had closed. I had no idea,” said Celeste Bott, Michigan State University student.

Stores are not the only establishments taking a hit. Government-run organizations like Planned Parenthood have also been shut down. There are entire blocks on Grand River Avenue, without a single operating business.

The city of East Lansing is working to combat the recession and business owners sound hopeful.

“I think we will be fine. Having a business in a college town provides a bubble because most of the students that come here have money to spend on eating out. So far, we have been doing well,” said Brian Kim, co-owner of No Thai!.

Projects among city council, Michigan State University and the citizens of East Lansing to improve business growth and lifespan are being used.

The Technology Innovation center and Hatch are two collaborations geared toward bettering East Lansing’s economy.

“TIC and Hatch help East Lansing citizens and MSU students start up businesses. The goal is to try to keep them here so that the success of the businesses can bring attention and opportunity to Lansing and East Lansing… The relationship is mutually beneficial,” said Jeffery Smith, project manager for TIC.

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