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Middle Village Micro Market Grows Entrepreneurs

Start small, think big. That’s the idea behind Middle Village Micro Market on South Washington Square in Lansing.

“Middle Village was conceived as an answer to the growing vacancy rate downtown and in response to Downtown Lansing Inc.’s strategic action plan and vision for supporting entrepreneurship and diversifying the business mix downtown,” said Downtown Lansing Inc. Executive Director Cathleen Edgerly.

The space is shared by participants to sell products, and merchants receive training from small-business experts from the Lansing area, Edgerly explained. The goal is to have Middle Village merchants move out of the market and into their own stores downtown.

One graduate is Nikki Thompson Frazier, owner of Sweet Encounter Bakery and Cafe as well as the Sweet Encounter Kids Culinary Academy operating from the Knapp’s Centre.

“I won the Lansing Built to Last competition and am operating for one year rent-free,” she said.

She said her business has increased to the point where it will support a permanent brick-and-mortar business plan.

Edgerly said Middle Village was established during the 2021 holiday season.

“The public was excited to have additional ‘shopportunities’ available downtown for their holiday shopping,” in addition to already-established downtown merchants, she said. A new cohort of merchants were welcomed to the market this spring to participate in the program for a year.

Edgerly said the vendors learn downtown culture and traffic patterns while operating between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Once they graduate, they are expected to maintain those hours. Other graduates of the micro-market are Capital Hippie and A Novel Concept.