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New downtown Lansing micro market aims to help small businesses

Posted at 7:20 PM, Oct 18, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — A vacant downtown Lansing building is a site of a new micro-market. The space will be used to help local businesses thrive in the community.

"There's been a shift in our foot traffic downtown as it has been for all retail businesses. So it became our focus that the emergency downtown was filling the vacancies," said Julie Reinhardt, downtown community development director for Downtown Lansing Inc.

To help fix this problem, Downtown Lansing Inc. moved their office to the heart of downtown and made the front half a retail innovation center.

They call it Middle Village Micro Market.

"For the holiday season, we have filled it with merchants to allow the people of Lansing to have a fun place to shop, to, you know, bring traffic down to downtown," said Reinhardt.

One of the merchants taking advantage of the holiday opportunity is a bookseller called A Novel Concept.

"The Middle Village space kind of allows us that middle ground to get a lot of mentorship from some really fantastic women, business owners who can kind of mentor us and show us the ropes and kind of provide that community where we can learn before we actually implement all of the things that we need to do to make our own physical space happen," said the co-creator Christine Bennett.

Middle Village will start a yearlong business program in the Spring.

"An entrepreneur can come to us and we will give them business programming," Reinhardt said. "We will give them financial support. We will allow them roughly 10 by 10 foot booth space where we want them to create a permanent storefront for the year."

The program will go from March to December 22 of next year.

If you're interested in the spring program, you can email out to Julie Reinhardt using this link.

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Tianna Jenkins

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