Bustling bars, sandwich shops, and cafés – downtown Lansing is an environment that’s always changing, and always finding new ways to attract more people. Businesses in Lansing are vital to the quality of life of its inhabitants, and numerous organizations in the state of Michigan work to attract and keep businesses in the Lansing area to keep the quality of life of it’s families high. The Lansing Economic Area Partnership or LEAP is one of these organizations and works daily to bring new businesses to Lansing and the tri-county area. “We’re tasked with attracting new businesses to Lansing, and also helping to grow those businesses, so they can provide jobs for families,” LEAP Chief Operating Officer Steve Willobee said. LEAP has helped bring such companies as Niowave Inc., and Farm Bureau Insurance to Michigan and the Lansing area, and continually works with GM to grow customer awareness of new cars being built in Michigan.
A new retail showroom, The Runway, seems to be opening doors of opportunity for Michigan residents. The Runway is a Lansing Economic Area Partnership-funded program for aspiring designers, and is located in the heart of downtown Lansing in The Knapp’s Centre at 300 S. Washington Square. According to the Runway website, designers must first go through the application process in order to get involved. An employee of the retail showroom, Meleena Herring, said that the program is a fashion incubator that is meant to help build the economy, but also provide help to young entrepreneurs by building their business in Michigan. “We do provide the designers opportunities with industry professionals to where they can schedule office hours and get one-on-one business consulting type thing—and we have people from the fashion industry as well as other business professionals in the financial arena, legal help as well,” Herring said.