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.

Small business survive, thrive in Grand Ledge

DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

As Michigan continues its economic recovery, small businesses still struggle to survive. Grand Ledge offers many businesses that have managed to survive some of the toughest economic times. Some of the local businesses in Grand Ledge such as MacDowell’s, About the Home, Sophia’s House of Pancakes and more have managed to stay in business even after Michigan’s big economic issues back in 2008 and 2009. This upcoming June will be five years in business for the women’s clothing store Big Purple Bloomers. The shop in downtown Grand Ledge is owned by Marilyn Sample.

Is the glass half-empty, or half-full? The business climate in downtown Grand Ledge

By Paige Wester
Living in the Ledge staff reporter

Downtown Grand Ledge is flourishing with successful businesses, but also struggling with vacant buildings. Bridge Street, which is the main street of downtown Grand Ledge, is what holds many of the small and new businesses along the downtown area for people to come down for entertainment, food, and shopping. With that being said, many buildings are vacant and run-down. “There are always empty spaces downtown as businesses come and go,” Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith said. “There is also a vibrant business district on Charlevoix and Saginaw in Grand Ledge.”

A few businesses have been around for years, such as MacDowell’s and About the Home.

Lansing company We Love Kids and Dogs moves to new location in Meridian Mall

By Samantha VanHoef
The Meridian Times

Dog bowls, Strider Bikes and robots line the walls. On the floor, a brightly colored rug sits while four sets of paws scamper through the 900-square-foot space. But by August 2015, We Love Dogs and Kids will move within the Meridian Mall to a location four times larger than its present size within the Meridian Mall. We Love Kids and Dogs started as a way for Melissa and Chris Allen to sell dog bowls designed to keep the long ears of some dog breeds out of the food and water in their bowls. After travelling to sell the “Poochie Bowl,” the couple decided to move to a storefront in the Meridian Mall.

Small businesses help spur state job growth

By ELIZABETH FERGUSON
Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan’s small businesses are expecting to hire more employees and increase wages in the upcoming months, according to the Small Business Association of Michigan. Almost 30 percent of the 600 small businesses surveyed by the association in January said they hired more workers in the past six months, and 33 percent intend to hire more workers in the next six months. Nearly 40 percent of the surveyed businesses said they planned to raise wages. In 2014, there were 216,956 businesses in Michigan with less than 50 employees. Last year these businesses hired 20,526 new employees, according to the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiative.

Rehmann’s Clothing: A 79 Year Journey

By Jacob Herbert
Clinton Country Chatter

In 1936, Al Rehmann realized a dream when he was finally able to open up his very own clothing store. Originally from Austria, Al Rehmann made his way to Chicago with his brothers and began working at a suit factory. Eventually, Al Rehmann decided is was time to open his own store and left Chicago for Michigan. After driving around Michigan for awhile he settled on the town of St. Johns and thus Rehmann’s Clothing was born.