By Jennifer Brown Staff Writer
Old Town Lansing is the home to several restaurants, art galleries and antique shops, but some residents wish that it also housed a grocery store.
Residents must travel north to Lake Lansing Road or the Kroger at Frandor Mall to shop at a large supermarket.
“You can’t just go out and pick up that one thing you forgot,” said Alicia Trantum, an employee at October Moon Art Gallery and Boutique in Old Town.
Old Town’s many specialty stores close around 7 p.m., so late-night customers also have to drive out of the neighborhood.
Some citizens want to see a health food store move into the area. It would add the convenience of a nearby store but would still keep out the large discount stores like Meijer and Walmart.
“I would love to see a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods store come in here,” Trantum said.
Old Town prides itself on being a cultural and creative neighborhood in the larger Lansing area.
The Old Town Commercial Association, which strives for continuous improvement and development of the Old Town area, sees eye to eye with the public interest in a local grocery store.
“If you want to have a thriving downtown, you need a thriving residential area,” said Kristin Olson, association member and owner of the antique shop Love, Betti.
She said that more people would live on the main streets of Old Town if they could easily access grocery stores, drug stores, and other shops that sell everyday items.
“Growth will attract more people, which in turn will attract more growth,” Olson said. “There needs to be businesses that support loft living and more amenities.”
One reason why Olson loves owning a business in the Old Town district is the strong feeling of community.
“A thing that I love about Old Town is the tremendous sense of camaraderie,” she said. “You can tell residents care about the area.”
Some streets in Old Town have changed drastically even in a couple of years.
“Two years ago this end of the street was desolate,” Olson said. “Now businesses are expanding up Washington Avenue and Eastward on Grand River.”
The Old Town Commercial Association announced the opening of a market featuring locally grown food near Preuss Pets on Cedar Street in Old Town.
“The Commerical Association is trying to make Old Town a place that’s easy and convenient to live in,” said Olson. “They listen to the citizens and their concerns and suggestions.”
About 1,700 people currently reside within the Old Town neighborhood, according to the U.S. census. The area has been and is expected to continue growing in both population and number of business in the area.