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Wednesday, November 27,2013

New In Town

Michigan Mart/ Suits

by ALLAN I. ROSS
The term “superstore” sure had a different meaning 75 years ago. That’s what the State Journal called the 10,000-squarefoot building at 1908 E. Michigan intown Ave. in Lansing’s East Side neighborhood when it was built in 1938 as an A&P Store. Today, it’s barely bigger than Meijer’s snack food aisle.

Since 1973, it’s been home to H.C. Berger Co., a copy machine retailer that moved to Okemos this week. And things will come full circle for the building in January: Ed Zeineh said his family’s convenience store, Michigan Mart, will move into the space and expand into a full grocery store early next year.

“We made some inquiries about what the East Side needs, and the word ‘grocer’ kept coming up,” Zeineh said. “We’re looking to expand into a 4,000- or 4,500-square-foot store (inside the new building) that would have a hot and cold deli as well as a grocer selection.”

Michigan Mart is located in a 600-squarefoot building across the street from the potential grocery location. Zeineh said the large space will allow the business to have a stronger focus on Michigan-based brews, wines and food. Michigan Mart would close at its present building, and Zeineh said there are no plans to repurpose it.

“We’ve seen a substantial demand for local products,” Zeineh said. “People want to support the local economy.”

Zeineh said he’s started reaching out to local farmers to see about selling corn, lettuce, onions and seasonal items. He said he’d also like to add a meat counter. He’s not quite sure yet how much space he’ll be able to devote to the grocery, which he thinks will take up a little less than half the building.

“We’ve had other (businesses) interested in sharing the space with us,” Zeineh said. “We’re thinking

of maybe a Coney Island or a sit-down restaurant. And in the spring, we’re going to renovate the entire fašade. It’s going to look great.”

He said the building will “obviously require some infrastructure changes,” but declined to say how much that would cost — he simply called it a “substantial investment.”

“The goal is to find a balance between liquor and convenience store, and still all the necessities,” he said. “We’re expanding (our) horizons to meet needs of neighborhood.”

Suits in the city New signage was spotted going up in downtown Lansing this week at the Bar Formerly Known as Brannigan Brothers. Since last November, the drinking spot has changed names from J’s Pub to Michael’s Downtown Pub. The new name for the bar is (drumroll) … Suits. We wonder how Kositchek’s feels about the “competition.”

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