New and exciting things happening in the businesses and nonprofits in West Michigan.
Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters (1111 Godfrey Ave.SW) is known for its Saturday Experience. In business since 2007, the micro-roaster encourages customers to visit the fifth-floor roastery Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can learn about the roasting process, try the coffee and sit and chat with fellow java-heads, while the shop custom roasts your order. Many will pre-order the coffee on Thursday or Friday and come in Saturday to pick it up and have a free cup. Roasters such as Erin Durfey take first timers through the roasting process: how a coffee bean goes from being the pit of a cherry to your kitchen; how decaf coffee becomes decaffeinated; and debunk many coffee myths such as a dark-roasted coffee actually has less caffeine than a lighter-roasted coffee. On select Saturdays, customers can sample the java brewed in a variety of ways: Bunn Brewed, Chemex Drip and French Press or a shot of espresso pulled on the Faema Espresso Machine. Saturday customers receive special discounts for two pounds of freshly roasted Select Single Origin coffees, starting at $21.50.
Across Division Avenue you will find Chasing Vanity Salon and Spa (150 Wealthy St. SE), which has its grand opening this month. Owner Elisabeth Bartrom opened her upscale beauty parlor in the new Tapestry Square development that the Inner City Christian Federation built across from Mary Free Bed. Elisabeth trained under a Redken instructor in Grand Rapids then sought fame and fortune in Las Vegas. She thrived, helping to open the Aria Salon in the Aria Casino and worked in the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Spa. Her next step was to come back home to provide West Michigan with trend-setting styles and superior customer service. Chasing Vanity offers traditional salon and day spa services, along with specialty treatments such as eyelash enhancements and hair extensions. "We want to be that one-stop destination for all your beauty needs," she said.
The Cheese Lady hit Midtown Grand Rapids (315 Fuller NE). Heather Zinn was a customer of the original Cheese Lady in Muskegon. Now she offers 119 cheeses (at last count) from around the world, as well as wine and crackers and other delicacies, in the River City. Heather has been busy from day one, educating current and future cheese lovers. "You can never know enough about cheese," she said. When you walk in, you will immediately be offered a tasty morsel to sample. And then another and another. Our Miss Lourdie was mad for ivory cubes of Canadian Cheddar. Lovers of stinky cheese will grab a funky chunk of Epoisses Berthaut, which is so malodorous that it is banned from hotels and taxis in Paris. Other delicacies include the rich and creamy Fromager d'Affinois and the mildly ruminant Potato Chip Goat Gouda. Stop by often to try new and exciting cheeses, my pets.
Sweet Kreations For You (95 West Michigan Ave.) is a new custom bakery in downtown Battle Creek, near the Kellogg Company headquarters, the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center and downtown schools. "Having been born and raised in Battle Creek, we are looking forward to being on the front end of 'our' downtown revitalization," said Owner Tracy Summers-Miller. She began baking for her daughter's open house party and caught the cupcake bug. Her hobby soon became serious when demand grew beyond friends and family. She took advantage of Michigan's "Cottage Law," which allows bakeries to be run as home businesses. The next logical step was to open her own shop. Sweet KreationsForYou's new shop is homey with antique couches and chairs and renovated hardwood floors. Initial offerings include cupcakes, cakes, cookies and more. Tracy noted, "If you can dream it, we'll Kreate it."
The West Michigan Environmental Action Council wants to help make your shack less drafty. They have already helped a couple thousand homeowners save hundreds of dollars in energy costs per year. Call for a low-cost energy assessment at (616) 451-3051.
Superieur Brand Clothing is a new company hustling Michigan-themed t-shirts for your sunken hipster chests. Kendall grad Todd Truman, who spent years in the rag trade, offers vintage takes on beloved spots like Pine Knob, Thunderbird Raceway and Lee's Chop Suey. Mostly men's styles with women's shirts in the near future. Look for them locally at Landsharks in Saugatuck, Book Nook in Montague and Fitzgerald's in Grand Rapids.
The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce recently launched Netwalking for busy professionals every Monday and Wednesday at the Lakes Mall at 7:30 a.m. and at L.C. Walker Arena at noon. Ask Tru-Fit Comfort Shoe Store for a 10 percent discount for your new kicks.