January 2024 Newsletter

Thank you, Old Town!

Thank you Old Town

January Newsletter

From the Desk of the Director

Hello and happy 2024! On behalf of the Old Town Commercial Association, I hope this newsletter finds you happy, healthy, and ready for the upcoming year.

I just want to take a moment to thank all of our supporters in 2023. To everyone who volunteered their time, made a financial contribution, visited any of our wonderful businesses in the neighborhood or even shared information about your beautiful district: you are the reason we are able to continue to do great things in Old Town. As we begin planning this year’s festivals, business support, and community activities, please consider continuing your support by renewing your OTCA membership or committing as a new member.

Looking ahead, the OTCA is working hard on programming for this year and we’re excited to begin announcing dates for some of our favorite events. Be sure to stay connected by reading our monthly newsletter, following us on socials, and checking our website- which will see a very major update in the next month! We’ll kick off all of our activities with the Annual Meeting on February 6 at UrbanBeat from 6PM-9PM. The event is open to the public and you can expect great food, a silent auction filled with Old Town goodies, networking, a review of the last year, and voting for our new board members.

Lastly, the OTCA is accepting applications for the Board of Directors and we welcome friends in/around the Old Town neighborhood as well as those in the surrounding Lansing area. If you’re interested in applying or would like to know more about the commitment, please reach out to me at samantha@oldtownmainstreet.org. We will also be holding an informal board meet & greet at Loyalty Barbershop on Monday, January 15 from 6:30pm-8:30pm for current and upcoming board members as well as anyone in the community that would like to connect with them.

Best wishes from our team!



Holiday Storefront Winners

Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest Winners!

The results are in for our Holiday Storefront Decorating Contest! Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to everyone who voted!

1st Place: Bradly’s HG

2nd Place: Curvaceous Lingerie

3rd Place: Great Lakes Arts & Gifts

4th Place: Bad Annie’s

Campiest: Bad Annie’s

Craftiest: Curvaceous Lingerie

Most Classical: Bradly’s HG

Most Contemporary: Cravings Gourmet Popcorn

Thank you to all of our participating businesses! We’re looking forward to seeing how you decorate this year!



Sales and Events

Unveiling Store Sales and Events for January!

As we step into a new month (and year!), get ready to immerse yourself in a world of fantastic deals, exclusive offers, and vibrant events in Old Town. We’re thrilled to bring you a lineup of exciting happenings that promise to add a touch of sparkle to your January.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store:

  • Mother & Earth: Toys + Baby - Floor Model Gear Sale! Up to 50% off until January 13th.
  • Great Lakes Arts and Gifts - Sales starting at 10% off and going up from there!
  • Cravings Gourmet Popcorn - Chocolate Fest!
  • Curvaceous Lingerie - Month-long semi-annual clearance sale! Up to 75% off, new mark-downs taken each week!



Martin Luther King, Jr.


“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking before the Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968.

In commemorating MLK Day in our vibrant community, we collectively pay homage to the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to justice and equality continue to inspire us, transcending the bounds of time. As we reflect on the profound impact of Dr. King’s advocacy for civil rights, we celebrate the strides our community has made toward fostering a more inclusive and harmonious society. May this day serve as a reminder of our shared responsibility to build a community where every voice is heard, every person is valued, and every dream is attainable.



MLK Day of Service

AmeriCorps Day of Service

As an AmeriCorps member, I will be serving as a volunteer in the community for MLK Day, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and working to bridge divides, heal wounds, and create lasting changes that will benefit our communities for years to come.

Join us this MLK Day as we come together to build a beloved community through unity, service, and transformation. Let’s honor Dr. King’s legacy by working toward a more just and equitable society, where everyone is valued and respected, regardless of their race, ability, religion, or background. By participating in service projects, we can bridge divides, heal wounds, and create lasting change that will benefit our communities for years to come.

MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. During the last quarter-century, the MLK Day of Service has grown, and its impact increased as more Americans embraced the idea that citizenship involves taking an active role in improving communities.



Scrapfest Doc Season 1 Premiere

ScrapFest Documentary Season 1 Premiere

Join us for an exciting time at Struk Studios in Lansing, MI, USA! We are thrilled to announce the release of Season 1 of the ScrapFest Documentary. Come be the first to witness the personal stories of some of the artists who participate in ScrapFest – their ups and downs, happiest moments and toughest obstacles – while following along as they create their sculptures.

Season 1 features artists Ivan Iler, Kelly O’Neill, Angela Larson, and Ken Wesner.

The in-person release party at Struk Studios is free with a $10 suggested donation.

For those who can’t be there in person, the Season 1 Premiere is also being released on their YouTube channel at the same time! (https://youtube.com/@scrapfest)

The ScrapFest Documentary Season 1 has incredible sponsors, and this couldn’t have been achieved without them. Do check out their amazing businesses. Each one of them – Friedland Industries, Lincoln Electric, Rathbun Agency / Auto-Owners Insurance, The Lenick Company, Michigan Creative, and Render Studios – not only do phenomenal work, but give back to their communities in countless ways.



MICA Gallery - Elisa Schmidt

The Artwork of Elisa Schmidt

For this show, Elisa will have 4 groupings of paintings that are themed: Northern Lights, Classic Cars, Local Breweries, and Miscellaneous Map Paintings. Other than the paintings, her friend, Drew Prosch-Jensen, will have some poetry readings at 2:30pm.

Elisa Schmidt is a watercolor and mixed media artist from Lansing, MI. She holds a Bachelors of Art from Sienna Heights University in Adrian, where she studied graphic design. She has illustrated two published books: “The Business of Beans: A Young Entrepreneur’s Story in Tanzania”, written by Lisa Mulka, which won the EIFLE award in 2018 and “The Story that Lives Across the Sea”, written by Charles Calender-Suemnik. Her work has been shown on two billboards in Lansing. She painted two pianos in conjunction with Keys in the Cities, and both pianos have been featured in the City Pulse. Elisa herself has been featured in the City Pulse multiple times for exhibiting at different venues around Lansing. Elisa won 1st place for the Old Town Riverbash Plein Air painting contest in 2018, and was a top 5 finalist for the visual artist category in City Pulse Top of the Town 2017. The majority of work that Elisa does is commissioned. She enjoys bringing a memory or a favorite place of her clients to life through her paintings.

FB Event



Burning Desires 2024

Burning Desires 2024

An afternoon of Love Poetry (Erotic & Otherwise)

If you want to participate in this annual event of love poetry, please fill in this poet submission form.

Work Submission Deadline: Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

Plus Open Mic: Sign Up at the Door

Including a Valentine Cabaret with Sabrina Daahlgren, Max Gage, Clique Vocals & More

Dinner & Show from 3pm - 7pm

FB Event



Old Town Chocolate Walk

Chocolate Walk 2024

One of our very first OTCA fundraisers of the year is fast approaching! Chocolate Walk 2024 will take place on Saturday, February 17th from 12pm - 6pm. Tickets are $25/person, and the event will be limited to 250 tickets.

Come explore some of Old Town’s businesses, shops and restaurants, and pick up some gourmet chocolate along the way! Each ticket for this event will receive a box to fill with chocolate, a punch card and a map of participating businesses. We are excited to bring this event to our community and we can’t wait to see you in Old Town!

Purchase Tickets Here



Volunteer Opportunities

At the Old Town Commercial Association, we believe in the power of collective action to drive positive change. We’re on the lookout for passionate individuals like you to join our dynamic committees and play a pivotal role in shaping the future.

Why Join Our Committees?

  • Impact: Be at the forefront of initiatives that create lasting change.
  • Expertise: Leverage your skills in a specific area that aligns with your passion.
  • Networking: Connect with like-minded individuals and industry experts.
  • Leadership: Take on leadership roles to hone your organizational and decision-making skills.

Committees You Can Join:

  • Design - responsible for shaping the aesthetic and functional aspects of a project, space, or initiative, utilizing creative expertise to ensure visual coherence, usability, and a compelling overall experience.
  • Promotion - focuses on enhancing visibility and engagement within a community or organization by planning and executing marketing, outreach, and promotional activities to spotlight key initiatives, events, and achievements.
  • Organization - ensures the smooth functioning and effectiveness of a group or entity by overseeing internal structures, processes, and policies, facilitating communication, and coordinating activities to promote cohesion and efficiency.
  • Economic Vitality - strategically fosters local economic growth by implementing initiatives to support businesses, attract investments, and create a thriving environment for sustained community prosperity.

How to Get Involved:

Explore Committee Opportunities:

The Design Committee meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 6pm.

The Promotion Committee meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at 6pm.

Organization and Economic Vitality Committee meetings will begin soon!

Submit Your Interest

If you are interested, please fill out this form!

Attend Info Session:

We are looking to plan an information session for all things volunteering with the OTCA. More details on this to come soon!

Let’s collaborate to turn ideas into actions and dreams into reality!

For inquiries, contact Tia Barrera at tia@oldtownmainstreet.org.




Be the Change: Join the OTCA Today!

We believe in the power of unity, and we invite you to stand with us as we strive to make a

lasting impact on our community. Joining the OTCA as a member is not just an invitation;

it’s a call to action, an opportunity to be a part of something greater than ourselves.

Why Become a Member?

  • Amplify Your Voice: Membership gives you a platform to contribute your ideas, opinions, and insights. Together, we can shape the future of our community and beyond.
  • Direct Impact: Your support directly fuels our projects and initiatives. By joining us, you become an essential pillar of positive change, making a tangible difference in the lives of those we aim to serve.
  • Exclusive Benefits: Enjoy special perks such as early access to events, behind-the-scenes updates, and exclusive content. Membership comes with privileges that connect you more deeply with your mission.
  • Connect and Collaborate: Network with like-minded individuals who share your passion for our community. Forge new connections, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects that matter.

How to Answer the Call:

Ready to step up and be the change? It’s simple:

  • Visit our Membership Page: Click here to explore the benefits and sign up for membership.
  • Spread the Word: Share this call to action with friends, family, and colleagues who might resonate with our mission. The more, the merrier!
  • Engage and Participate: Attend our events, join discussions, and actively participate in the activities that align with your interests. Your involvement shapes the narrative of our collective journey.

Every member is a vital thread in the rich tapestry of the OTCA. Your commitment strengthens our fabric, creating a community of changemakers dedicated to making a positive impact.

Don’t wait! Answer the call, join our ranks, and let’s turn aspirations into action! Together, we can build a brighter future for all.

Invoicing Update:

We are currently working on making sure our current membership invoicing is up to date. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this, please reach out to Samantha Benson at samantha@oldtownmainstreet.org



Join the OTCA Board

Join Our Mission: Become a Board Member and Make a Difference!

Attention Lansing Residents!

Are you passionate about creating positive change and shaping the future of the Old Town Commercial Association and our community? We invite you to step into a leadership role and join our dynamic team as we seek dedicated individuals to serve on our Board of Directors.

As a Board Member, you will play a pivotal role in steering the direction of our organization. You will gain valuable leadership experience, enhance your professional skills, and broaden your network. Whether you bring skills in finance, marketing, legal, or other areas, your unique talents will be instrumental in guiding our association towards success.

Our board is the driving force behind our association’s success, and your involvement can be the catalyst for transformative change. Join us in making a lasting impact and building a brighter future for our community.

Ready to take on the challenge? Click here to apply. Applications will be accepted through Friday, January 26th, with voting to take place at our Annual Meeting on Tuesday, February 6th.



Board Meet & Greet

Join Us for a Board Meet & Greet: Connect, Collaborate, and Make a Difference!

We’re thrilled to invite you to an exciting opportunity to get to know the heart and soul of the OTCA – our dedicated Board of Directors. Join us for a lively and informative Board Meet & Greet, where you can connect with current board members, learn about our mission, and explore how you can contribute to the positive impact we’re making in our community.

Event Details:

  • Date: Monday, January 15th, 2024
  • Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
  • Location: Loyalty Barbershop (1219 Turner Rd, Lansing, MI 48906)

Know someone who might be interested in joining our mission or becoming a part of our board? Share this invitation with them and encourage them to attend.

Our Board Meet & Greet is more than an event; it’s a chance for us to connect, collaborate, and work together to create positive change. Your presence is key to making this gathering a success.

We look forward to seeing you there and exploring the opportunities that lie ahead!



Lumberjack Festival

Join the Team: Let’s Make Lumberjack Festival 2024 Unforgettable!

Get ready to be a part of something truly special! We are gearing up for this years Lumberjack Festival, and we are calling on passionate individuals, dedicated volunteers, and talented vendors to join us in creating an unforgettable experience for our community. Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Committee Members: Be a driving force behind the success of Lumberjack Festival by joining our committee. As a committee member, you will play a vital role in planning, organizing, and executing various aspects of the event. Your creativity and commitment will shape the event’s vision.
  • Volunteers: We need enthusiastic volunteers to bring the event to life! Whether you’re interested in assisting with logistics, greeting attendees, or helping with activities, your contribution as a volunteer is invaluable in creating a seamless and enjoyable experience for everyone.
  • Vendors: If you are a vendor looking for an opportunity to showcase your products or services to a vibrant community, we invite you to be a part of Lumberjack Festival. This is a fantastic chance to connect with our audience and support a meaningful cause.

Know someone who would be a perfect fit for our committee, a dedicated volunteer, or a vendor with something unique to offer? Share this opportunity with them and help us build a team that reflects the vibrancy of our community.

The success of Lumberjack Festival relies on the collective effort of passionate individuals, volunteers, and vendors like you. Join us in making a lasting impact and creating memories that will be cherished by our community.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please contact lumberjackinfo@oldtownmainstreet.org.

Thank you for considering this exciting opportunity to contribute to our shared mission!



Community Engagement Session

Your Voice Matters: Follow-Up on Community Engagement Session

On Tuesday, January 9th, the Old Town Commercial Association, co-hosting with the Capital Region Community Foundation, held a Community Engagement Session for the Brenke Fish Ladder & Burchard Park Improvements.

Last year, it was announced that the Brenke Fish Ladder & Burchard Park would be seeing some improvements later this year (more info here), and with construction beginning in the next few months they wanted to gather some input from the Old Town community!

We are very thankful to everyone who participated in this session. Your insights, ideas, and perspectives are invaluable as we work towards implementing these improvements and changes. We truly appreciate the time and effort you dedicated to making our community engagement session a success.

In addition to the session, there is also a quick 10-question survey to capture additional data that will be insightful for the project. The survey is open now and will close after Tuesday, January 16th, so please be sure to complete it before then!



Traffic Study

Traffic Study at Washington/Chavez Concluded

The City of Lansing conducted an investigation to determine traffic control requirements at the intersection of E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and N. Washington Avenue. This study was conducted as part of a post construction review of a modified intersection geometry and implemented two-way traffic control to determine if additional improvements are recommended.

The study concluded that the intersection of E. Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and N. Washington Avenue does not meet crash warrants or minimum volume warrants established by the 2011 MMUTCD for the installation of multi-way stop signs.

See full report here.

Questions can be directed to public.service@lansingmi.gov.



In Memoriam

In Memoriam: Honoring the Life of a Beloved Community Member

Dear Old Town community,

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Matthew Redden. Matthew was a part of the Bradly’s HG/Birch Rak Clothier family and an incredible human being whose impact on our community was profound, his presence will be deeply missed.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Matthew’s family and friends during this difficult period. May they find strength and comfort in the memories we hold dear.



January Events

Bow Down to the CROWN!

Friday, January 12, 2024 at 7pm

Sir Pizza Grand Cafe Old Town

OTCA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 6pm

Urban Beat