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Wednesday, September 11,2013

NEW IN TOWN

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL/COPPER DINE AND DRINK/THE LIEBERMANNīS BUILDING

by ALLAN I. ROSS
The REO Town renaissance continues next week with the grand re-opening of the renovated St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store, 1020 S. Washington St. After a twoyear move to temporary quarters on South Cedar Street, it’s back in its 23,0000-square-foot home in the bustling historic district.


In December 2011, a fire destroyed most of the building and all of its contents just before Christmas, its busiest time of the year. An outpouring of support from the community and local businesses helped the nonprofit continue to operate.

The store sells secondhand clothing, furniture, toys, housewares and art that have been donated. It also distributes those goods in emergency situations to Lansing-area individuals and families, and provides emergency financial assistance for utility payments. There is a ribbon-cutting scheduled for next week, but details are still developing. Stay tuned for more information.

Country club to gastro-pub Copper Dine and Drink, the fine dining restaurant in the Walnut Hills Country Club, is transforming its dining room into a banquet facility and focusing its service on the bar and patio area, which remain open to the public.

“We found that the space we had was being underutilized,” Isabel Olivito, membership and marketing director for Copper, said. “It was too formal for our guests. They enjoyed the bar area and the patio more. It’s more casual there.”

She said the move will also correlate to a shift in the menu that will focus more on appetizers and sandwiches, which was tweaked based on feedback from regular diners and the club’s members. The menu also consists of salads, burgers and flatbreads.

“(Our diners) just weren’t interested in four different kinds of steaks, so we scaled back to one cut, and added some more small plate aspects to the menu,” Olivito said. “It has more of a gastro-pub feel now.”

The shift was made without any walls being added or any construction done; Olivito said that all changes were made by simply shifting furniture. She said Copper will effectively become the bar area now, and diners have had a positive response to the banquet facility. “Since we made the change two weeks ago, we’ve booked several big parties and have found that area is being used more effectively,” Olivito said. “It’s actually increased the utility of our space.”

Gone to Vegas One of downtown Lansing’s landmark buildings — and preeminent retail spaces — is empty again; after a two-year run in the former Liebermann’s Department Store gift store building, 113 S. Washington Square, women’s clothier My Sistas Boutique closed last month. The building, which housed the Lansing Art Gallery from 2004 to 2011, is still owned by the Price family; Betty Price, who owned and operated

Liebermann’s from 1961 to 1991 (her father opened the store in 1931) moved to Milwaukee to be closer to her family in 2010.

Architect George Nelson redesigned the building in 1966 to Price’s exacting specifications, including the trademark floating steps in the store’s entranceway. It was the only retail space the world-renowned modernist ever designed.

My Sistas Boutique founder Tina Wallace relocated to Las Vegas, where she said she had a promising business opportunity: She will open a My Sistas Boutique there next month. In February will launch a plus-sized clothing line called Delavee, which will be based in Los Angeles.

Wallace started My Sistas Boutique as an online retailer (mysistas.com) four years ago, and moved downtown in 2011. The Milwaukee native spent 17 years in Lansing, moving here when her husband was transferred.

“I want to thank all my customers for the opportunity to serve them,” she said by phone from Vegas. “Lansing is a great place to live and work. I’m going to miss it.”

St. Vincent De Paul Thrift Store 1020 S. Washington Square, Lansing 10 a.m.-5:30 a.m. Monday- Saturday; closed Sunday (517) 272-1273 svdpusa.org

Copper Dine and Drink (inside the Walnut Hills Country Club) 2874 E. Lake Lansing Road, East Lansing 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday- Wednesday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday (517) 332-1080 copperdine.com

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