After Building Frandor in Lansing, This Man Founded This Florida Town
If you've lived in or around Lansing for any length of time, you've shopped at Frandor.
The shopping center has been active in some iteration or another since 1954, when it debuted as only the second regional shopping center in the state of Michigan. It's now the oldest, since the first one -- the Northland Center in Southfield -- closed down.
Frandor got its name from the couple who founded it -- Francis and Dorothy Corr; combining the first syllable of each of their first names.
About three years after launching Frandor in Lansing, the Corrs found themselves retired and in Florida. In 1957, Francis Corr bought a large plot of land right on Tampa Bay across from St. Petersburg.
The man that Corr purchased the 4000+ acres from had tried for decades to turn it into a waterfront community, but logistics stood in the way. Corr hired a new developer, and within a very short time, "La Vida Beach" was home to more than four dozen homes and a motel.
The name "La Vida Beach" didn't stick. In honor of the "Sunshine State", Francis' wife Dorothy suggested the name "Apollo Beach" (a nod to the Greek and Roman god of the sun). Some local residents say the name was also inspired by the burgeoning space program in Florida around the same time. Apollo Beach is the name the town still has today.
Francis Corr passed away in 1969, and over the next few decades, his son Thomas would ultimately be the member of the family who brought Apollo Beach to life. Today the city boasts a population of more than 26,000, along with hundreds of businesses.