As the winter chill gives way to the warmer air of spring, the neighborhood of Old Town is making plans to gather to help make the transition. Businesses are opening their patios and shops are opening their doors.
Ozone’s Brewhouse founder and brewmaster, Kyle Malone, has observed that warmer temperatures bring out more people. Malone is looking forward to opening the brewery’s patio back up to a consistent basis. The inconsistent weather makes it difficult to keep outdoor space open.
“In addition, we have also noticed that the even the threat of a lot of snow is enough to make it a slower day,” said Malone. “It is also much slower for us whenever it rains, regardless of the temperature.”
According to the U.S. climate data, winter low averages in the Lansing area this year were about 23.8 degrees Fahrenheit, just under seven degrees warmer than the typical low. The average high was only about four degrees warmer.
Jared Field, co-owner of Bloom Coffee Roasters, also agrees that weather can effect the amount of people in the neighborhood. Higher temperatures increase the amount of walking traffic in Old Town.
“In regards to our products, we serve a substantially high amount of iced coffee drinks in the warmer months,” said Field. “We usually have to make a few runs for ice when our ice machine can’t keep up.”
Even with these averages being on the warmer side, there is still much to do to prepare the neighborhood for the hot months ahead. Vanessa Shafer, Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director, said that an annual community-wide spring clean up is in the plans for the month of April.
“A lot of volunteers come down to help us get the sidewalks clean, such as by going around the trees and out in front of Lot 56,” said Shafer. “It’s another good opportunity for volunteers to not necessarily work in a festival, but really have an impact on what people think of what Old Town is; a clean little safe area to be in.”
Another great way to kick-off spring in Old Town is the Taste & Tour event being held Saturday, April 8th. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., businesses and lofts in the neighborhood will open their doors to visitors. At a price of $20 for adults and $10 for children 13 and under, visitors can experience the lofts and commercial space of the neighborhood, as well as the restaurant portion.
“The residents open up their doors and you get to tour what the inside of the lofts look like,” said Shafer. “This gives people the opportunity to see, if something was to come available, what the potential is.”
Each of the businesses involved are offering special opportunities for customers to view what they have to offer. Malone said that Ozone’s Brewhouse will be offering 30 minute brewery tours from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. with each tour starting on the top and middle of the hour.
Malone is anticipating the Taste & Tour for the exposure Ozone’s Brewhouse will receive, as many people do not realize there are businesses north of the main area of Old Town. Having only opened in August of last year, the brewery’s first full summer is right around the corner.
“It should be great for all of Old Town though, this area has so many unique places and opportunities for people to shop, dine, and drink,” said Malone.
Field is also looking forward to the event for Bloom, as it gives them the ability to reach a wider demographic of people visiting the neighborhood. Taste & Tour allows the coffee shop the opportunity to explore different flavors, while educating the public about Bloom Coffee Roasters.
When asked what Bloom will be offering, Field responded by saying that they will keep their standard menu while sampling their Nitro Cold Brew. This is unique to the area as it is a Single-Origin Coffee, meaning it is not a blend which is commonly done to make cold coffee taste more pleasant.
“We’re using our Rwanda Kivu Kigeyo which is a newly added bean to our line-up,” said Field. “It’s sweet and refreshing— well… as refreshing as coffee can be— and ultimately we’re just super pumped to share it with people.”
A final event Shafer touched on with the warmer weather ahead is a refocus back onto Busby gardens. Dedicated to honor Old Town legacy, Robert Busby, the garden sits on the Lansing River Trail just south of Lot 56. Volunteers get together to help weed the garden to make sure the River Trail can be utilized during the spring and summer.
“It’s a really nice way for the neighborhood to get together to say thanks,” said Shafer. “The grass garden is a little different than anything else you see along the River Trail. It’s just great to see the community come together.”
All of the volunteer management and distribution of the OTCA newsletter is done through a website called Wild Apricot. Shafer believes that it makes it easier to get volunteers, as they can sign up for not only the time-shift they want, but the position as well. Keep an eye out for more events happening as Old Town springs into warmer weather!