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Monday, March 18,2013

Starting fresh

Former Liebermann’s space has a new retail occupant

by Nyssa Rabinowitz
Robinson
Tuesday, Nov. 22 — After months of sitting vacant, a new women’s boutique is setting up shop in the former Liebermann’s building downtown.
My Sista’s, a boutique featuring everything from shoes and handbags to clothing and jewelry, will open for business Friday and hopes to revive retail in the downtown area, said boutique owner Tina Robinson. It targets the “career woman” and the woman “who likes to look good,” she said. The store features original pieces by eight local women, including Robinson.
“I think it will work for a large array of ages and different tastes,” Robinson said of her store. “That’s kind of the goal is to have things for everyone.”
Robinson, 42, had been looking for a space to start a business where she could sell her one-of-a-kind jewelry. She already had a lease drawn up for a space in Lansing Mall when she saw the for lease sign in the window of the former store on 113 S. Washington. Robinson, who studied interior design at Lansing Community College, had always been attracted to the space because of the famous interior design by George Nelson. At first, she dismissed the possibility of leasing it, thinking it would be too expensive, but something convinced her to call.
“There was no way that I ever would have thought that this was where I was meant to be,” Robinson said. “It just worked out.”
In fact, her store was exactly what the Price family, which owns the building, had been waiting for.
“We had a lot of offers to turn it into a restaurant, but we don’t need another restaurant downtown,” said Tom Price, the son of former sales maestro and Liebermann’s owner Betty Price.
“We’re really greatly relieved,” Price said. “We’re hoping that it’s going to lead to a resurgence of retail in the central area.”
Robinson said she hopes her store will have the same success as Betty Price had when she sold items at her father’s store decades ago, but the Liebermann’s connection extends further than just using the same space. One of the women, Denise Davis, worked in Liebermann’s with Price as a window dresser. Now, she sells her hand-made jewelry and cinnamon ornaments in the store, Robinson said.
“It’s hard to do something like this alone so I’m just grateful that I have people in my life that are willing to help out and bring their talents,” Robinson said.
My Sista’s will open on Black Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will kick off its grand opening week on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The store will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a grand opening gala on Friday from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
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