20th Annual Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo

The 20th annual Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo was a celebration of women, entrepreneurs and bringing people together. There were over 300 businesses with products catered to women, including healthy eating. One of the businesses at the event was Vitamix, a company that manufactures blenders for restaurants and every day consumers. Every booth at the event showcased their products, ranging from cakes, hair styling tools and jewelry, but Vitamix promoted something bigger. 

“Love hearing stories about how we changed people’s lives, that they’ve gotten healthier, they’ve beat their healthy obstacles etc.,” said Nancy Spruiell, a Vitamix demonstrator. Spruiell said the blender also helps parents get their kids to eat fruits and vegetables. 

“Raising healthier kids, that’s a huge thing these days, especially with the way they make our food these days,” Spruiell said.

Building a community with Matt Mulford’s ‘artists of Keller’s upstairs’

Williamston has all the markings of an American small town: historic buildings comprising its downtown section, local family owned restaurants, a bridal shop, a glass blowing studio and the local hardware store. Nestled above the affairs of the main Williamston strip on Grand River is a somewhat unknown plaza that even local Williamston residents may pass by: Keller’s Plaza, home to “Williamston’s hidden gem” as nearly all of the Plaza’s shop owners called their little hideaway. Keller’s Plaza is home to a small candle shop Mud Country Candles, a small party store, a glass engravings shop called the Glass Fox, a dance studio, and Peculiar Perspective’s. Matt Mulford runs Peculiar Perspectives, a studio and art gallery at the top of the landing on the second floor of the plaza, along with Tony Steele. Mulford and Steele’s friendship and passion for art goes back years Mulford says.

The Bunkhouse opens in Williamston

It’s been busy inside the bright teal building at 118 W. Grand River Ave. in downtown Williamston. The building now occupies The Bunkhouse, which opened on Feb. 16 and was founded by 141 Design Company owners Chantelle and Brian Deimling. “The Bunkhouse is where paint classes are held and it’s also a fun little store,” co-owner Chantelle Deimling said.

141 Design Company creates custom furniture and makes people feel welcome

One must bypass a bright red door before they can step inside 141 Design Company in Williamston. Once inside, they will be surrounded by vibrant furniture that has lived a life of its own. Unlike traditional furniture produced by the masses every day, 141 Design Company creates custom furniture from salvaged wood for anyone who desires it. “We’d like to consider them heirloom pieces,” said co-owner Chantelle Deimling. “These aren’t pieces that you sell in a garage sale in two years; these are pieces that become functional in your home—they’re art.”

141 Design Company opened in September 2016.

Craft coffee soon to hit downtown DeWitt

On Feb. 13, downtown DeWitt will be home to a new craft coffee shop owned by 31-year-old Justin Hartig. “My goal is to kind of change the culture of coffee,” said Hartig, “to kind of put a little edge to the coffee shop scene.”

The Crafted Bean will have a modern atmosphere with a 50’s twist to it. Using vinyl records provided by East Lansing’s “The Record Lounge,” Hartig plans to cover the floor with them to add to the shop’s character. “I had notebooks full of different ideas,” said Hartig.

Wake Up Old Town brings businesses together in more ways than one

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Networking and collaboration is vital to the growth of Old Town. To accomplish this, the Old Town Commercial Association has been putting on an event called Wake Up Old Town. “Wake Up Old Town first and foremost is a networking event for people to come together, both Old Town and people that can serve Old Town businesses,” said Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director, Austin Ashley. “It’s a great time for us to collaborate and come together as a community.” During the event that takes place the first Friday of every month, it looks like a family reunion.

In a downtown of mom-and-pops, Hungry Howie’s is a chain outlier in St. Johns

By Nathaniel Bott
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — Strolling down the quaint downtown of St. Johns, visitors will see an abundance of local-owned small businesses and restaurants. There may be a tattoo parlor, a few barber shops, and landmarks such as a courthouse and library, trademarks of a county seat town. The United States Census Bureau puts the population of St.

Small businesses persevere to support downtown district

By Megan Cochrane
The Williamston Post

For decades, the birth and growth of small businesses has kept Williamston’s downtown alive, but they continue to encounter challenges. “I think Williamston now has more small businesses than they ever had,” said Barb Vandenberg, former chamber of commerce president and downtown development authority chair. There are more large chain businesses in town than in the past, but small businesses are a crucial element of Williamston’s economy. A business owner herself and 24-year resident of Williamston, Vandenberg has seen the town go through many changes. Along the rollercoaster track that is the small business sector, Williamston business owners continuously strive to bring the community together and add value to the unique town.

Old Town: Now a thriving community despite a rough past

By Sergio Martínez-Beltrán
Old Town Lansing Times reporter

When Aura Ozbourne decided she was going to open a shop in Old Town, she knew it was a risk. Everyone knew. “When I first opened up, (Old Town) was extremely dilapidated and unloved for the most part,” Ozburn said. “Many people were afraid of the neighborhood.”

When Ozbourne opened her store October Moon in 119 E Grand River Ave. 14 years ago, the situation was not the best one, however, it was not the worst.