“It’s bittersweet, but it’s something I need to do,” Gregware said. “I’m moving forward with different opportunities. Gregware owned Bloomin’dale’s, a north Lansing floral flower and gift shop from 2002-´10. He said he decided to focus on local products, which prompted his move to Old Town. Although he started off with local food items, he said he scaled back on those to focus on the vintage items sales after the Old Town General Store opened last year.
The building was originally a garage, but when Gregware moved in August 2010, he converted the driveway into a courtyard, renovated the pavement and installed a sales desk, flower coolers and windows. He estimates he invested about $10,000 to transform the space.
“When I started, I didn’t have a lot of money to hire contract labor, so this place was built by volunteers, sweat and tears,” Gregware said. “People I didn’t even know helped me build this. Everyone wanted to see everyone succeed. I suddenly had a lot of friends, a lot of love. That’s going to be the part I miss the most.”
“I’d been friends with Old Town people for some time,” Gregware said. “I was very active with the neighborhood and devoted a lot of time to promoting Old Town.”
To spur sales, he’s already started offering 20 percent off on all merchandise, with gradually increasing discounts throughout June.
“For now, I’m living by (the saying) ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” Gregware said. “I think that about sums it up.”
Two local restaurants debuted new outdoor dining areas this week, allowing customers to soak up every last bit of sun.
“We wanted to be able to offer a unique dining experience,” said Lenore Quiroga, executive assistant for the Kellogg Center about the State Room’s new Thursday evening patio. “It’s a really pretty area outside there, so it made sense to maximize use of that space.”
The State Room patio, which can accommodate will only exist for five hours a week, 5-10 p.m. Thursdays.
The new patio at downtown Lansing’s Midtown Brewing Co., however, is open full time and even has a cool name: the Midtown Beer Garden.
“It was a long and arduous process (coordinating the details), but I couldn’t be happier with the result,” said general manager Marc Wolbert. “Plant Professionals did a beautiful job designing and building it. It looks great.”
The patio is about 400 square feet and can seat about 35 people. And after a winter like this last one, who wants to go inside if the day is nice?
Tallulah’s Folly 1220 Turner St., Lansing 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday- Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday (517) 485-4166, facebook. com/tallulahsfolly
Midtown Brewing Co. 402 S. Washington Square, Lansing 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday- Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday (517) 977-1349, midtownbrewingco.com
The State Room 55 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing Patio: 5-10 p.m. Thursdays through fall. Restaurant hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday- Saturday; 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday (517) 432-5049, kelloggcenter. com