Lansing Eastside Gateway – Small Business Incubator
Yvonne LeFave started a bicycle delivery service in Lansing a few years ago called 'Go Green Trikes', which until recently was located in a 328 square foot commercial garage bay, adjacent to the Lansing Bike Coop; growing the business to six trikes, five cargo bikes and four trailers, the space became too small!
"This space is right on the border between downtown and Lansing's eastside. I liked the idea of this space functioning as a "gateway" on that border, bringing new life into the eastside. And, I like puns. So, the acronym to the incubator space appealed to me since we're giving new business ventures a LEG up."
"So far, vendors are selling original art, books, hand-crafted soap, jewelry, fused glass, ceramics, leather goods, even local honey. We're running it with a cooperative model. Vendors are asked to work 5 hours per month or pay an additional fee to help support the space. Most are finding that time to be a great time to network with other artists/vendors."
"Compare that to the start up costs of creating a business on your own. There are LOTS of costs involved -- and none of them are little! We're literally talking tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands!) of dollars when adding in the real estate costs and enough product to fill a complete retail space. And you'd probably have to quit your day job to staff the store yourself to help make ends meet in the beginning. Here, we've eliminated most of that cost AND risk. You can have a retail presence here while keeping your day job (we have a store manager to handle sales) or go out and promote your business in any other way that makes sense to you," says LeFave.