Grand Ledge’s business growth spurt

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By Eric Finkler

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE, MI – A little town grows a bit larger with the addition of five more businesses in the community.

Within the past several weeks, the community of Grand Ledge has gained the new businesses of a Dollar Store, tobacco store, photography studio, day care and a trinket shop. Each business started without any financial help from the local government, and all opened with different inspirations.

Grand Ledge’s government involvement                           

Mayor Kalmin Smith was surprised that these businesses all opened in such close proximity of time.

“A few of them had been working for months to open,” Smith said, “and when they finally had, it was within weeks of each other.”

Though he didn’t help the businesses financially, he helped introduce the proprietors to community members and settle in.

Tate’s Playhouse, not pictured. Created by Eric Finkler

The businesses and their owners

Seven Islands Mercantile opened on Nov. 12, owned by Roxanne Mills and Kathy Fitzpatrick, offers trinkets and vintage decorative items. The shop is a renovated building that was originally built in 1889.

“It’s wild,” Fitzpatrick said, “All these businesses just started shooting up out of nowhere.

I had thought about opening up my own shop for about twenty years and just three weeks ago talking with the co-owners we decided to finally do it. And here we are”

However, other businesses had to put forth more time commitment, like Tate’s Playhouse, the recent day care center. For six months the owners have been working to finally open, they even had to amend a city ordinance to allow a day care center south of the bridge. The owners weren’t available for comment however.

The owner of Smokey Mountain Tobacco simply said that he decided to go into business because he felt that Grand Ledge didn’t have a quality tobacco shop and he wanted to change that.

“The growing community and its jobs are holding up well, there is unemployment here, but you don’t really see it,” he said.

Breathless Expressions owner and photographer, Michelle Crisp, had a knack for photography and decided to make it a business.

“I wanted to work in Grand Ledge because the community is so hands-on,” said Crisp, “it’s really something special.”

Eric Finkler may be reached at finklere@gmail.com


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