Despite Obstacles, young entrepreneurs keep pushing

In a new booming market, plant-based restaurant owners were forced to overcome obstacles to provide healthy food to their communities. Making their cities a better place is the gas that fills these entrepreneurs’ tanks. Vegan Taste Catering

Pr’Phec Hamilton, CEO of Vegan Taste Catering

Food isn’t the only thing made from scratch and lots of love at Vegan Taste Catering in Detroit. 

Pr’phec Hamilton, 23, has worn many hats to ensure the vision of her business comes into fruition. She was willing to break all barriers to succeed, especially being as a young African American woman from Detroit’s east side.  

Hamilton is not only the chef and CEO of Vegan Taste Catering, but the entrepreneur who was willing to get her hands dirty and become the contractor. It was a family affair. Hamilton and her cousin, Zachary Crawford, completely renovated the building that’s now home to not only Vegan Taste Catering, but Hypewhore Vintage and Current Art Studio, which is owned by Crawford.

Ice cream service area at The Daily Scoop

Mason restaurants adapt to increased capacity allowances

After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order earlier this month allowing restaurants to operate at up to 50% capacity, Mason restaurants have been trying to make back what they’ve lost due to the pandemic. 

Griffin WilesThe Daily Scoop in Mason was hit hard in the 2020 ice cream season and is trying to make up for lost sales. Rob Hearit, owner of Darb’s Tavern and Eatery, said his restaurant opened at 50% capacity as soon as the governor allowed it. “That was pretty much the driving force,” Hearit said. “We were just gonna do whatever the guidelines were. … We followed all the safety protocols, so we felt good about it.”

Due to another order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, businesses are required to enforce mask wearing. 

Hearit said 95% of customers wear their masks, and those who refuse are not allowed in.

Lawn parties as seen from overhead

St. Patrick’s Day, the pandemic and partying: students balance choices

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and with a second Saint Patrick’s Day in the midst of the crisis, East Lansing partiers weighed plans for the holiday and their worries about the virus. Sheldon KrauseStudents on Albert Avenue walk by El Azteco. The coronavirus pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization March 11 2020. This declaration came days before St. Patrick’s Day, when safety advocates across the country encouraged governors to close or limit public gathering spaces before the holiday.

Grants help keep breweries open and saves jobs, brewers say

MEDC BEER GRANTS: Some West Michigan breweries hit hard by the pandemic are benefiting from Michigan Economic Development Corp. grants. It’s too late for some others, such as two that shut permanently in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. We talk to operators in Grandville, Greenville and Muskegon. By Kristia Potsema. FOR GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, GREENVILLE, IONIA, STURGIS, THREE RIVERS, HOLLAND, LUDINGTON, MANISTEE AND ALL POINTS.

Cugino's Grand Ledge

A small-town restaurant still thrives in Grand Ledge

GRAND LEDGE – Cugino’s is a family run Italian restaurant established in 2001 owned by cousins Mark Naccarato and Patrick DeLuca. Cugino’s is still surviving while making accommodations according to the pandemic. These COVID-19 guidelines include daily temperature checks, COVID-19 questionnaire, face masks, and routinely sanitation.

Restaurants plead patience as they struggle to reopen, recover from COVID-19

For restaurant owners in East Lansing, the Feb. 4 epidemic order issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer poses a new challenge in recovering profits lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the new gathering orders that went into effect Feb. 8, restaurants were able to open for in-person dining along with continuing services such as takeout and delivery. However, the order limits restaurants to 25% of their normal seating capacity, causing them to find ways to increase profits while dealing with fewer customers.

Food hubs, food systems get grant opportunity

AGRICULTURE GRANTS: A grant competition from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for value-added and regional food systems runs until March 18. The goal is to develop and expand food processing in the state. We talk to to the agency and to a past awardee from Lansing. Story mentions several other past grantees from Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Caledonia, and Shelby. By Sophia Lada. FOR MICHIGAN FARM NEWS, TRAVERSE CITY, GRAND RAPIDS BUSINESS, LANSING CITY PULSE XXX AND ALL POINTS.

Watch Focal Point: COVID-19 and the Economy of East Lansing

On this special edition of Focal Point, a look COVID-19’s impact on East Lansing’s economy. We take you to local businesses using new technology and old-fashioned customer service to adapting to stay open. We also meet MSU students out of work because of the pandemic, and some entering the job market in an unprecedented time. Those stories and more on this Focal Point Special Report.