July 8 2015 12:00 AM
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In the 1970s, Remington president Victor Kiam waved his company’s signature electric razor around in a series of ridiculous TV commercials, proudly declaring, “I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company.” That entrepreneurial spirit runs strong in Metro Lansing as two businesses recently fell under new ownership of former employees — they believed in the business so much, they decided to make a go of it themselves.

Earlier this year, Keri Young and Andrea Meckstroth partnered up to open Bridge & Main, a bar and grill in downtown Grand Ledge. Over the years, the space went through a multitude of owners and names — including Butch and Hanks, Driver On Inn, Myja’s Gray Wolf Inn and, most recently, Ledges Sports Bar & Grill —before the duo bought the building in January. Young and Meckstroth met there as co-workers four years ago when Young started moonlighting as a server.

“We watched as the place slowly went downhill as new owners (came and went),” Young said. “But we saw its potential. We wanted it to do better. We both have business backgrounds, so we watched from afar, and when it became available, we bought it.”

Young said she and Meckstroth were both raised in Grand Ledge and met their respective spouses at the bar. But before they could take it over, Young said the place needed extensive work.

“We looked at the demographic we wanted to attract — women our age, around 35 or 40 — and we asked, what do we want? The answer is clean bathrooms, clean dishes, a place that smells good and looks nice without a bunch of beer signs on the wall.”

The women fixed all the plumbing in the building, leveled the floors, replaced toilets and vanities and painted. The kitchen got an equipment upgrade, which they now use to crank out the new menu.

They also rebuilt the second floor into a lodge-themed dance bar, adding new wooden tabletops, benches and dance floor that features DJs on weekends and occasional live acts.

“People who have been coming here for years (under previous incarnations) have said how much they like it now,” Young said. “We wanted it to be a fun place to be. This is traditionally a slower time of the year, but we’ve actually started seeing an increase in customers. It seems to be working.

New massage

On the east side, Allyson Green took over her former employer’s massage studio in East Lansing, added some additional equipment and staff members and renamed it. Her new business, Meridian Massage & Bodywork, opened in March. The previous owner had operated in the location since 2009, and although she sold it to Green last September, it took six months before Green was ready to go.

“I had to learn how to build a website, get everything in place,” she said. “I had to learn how to run a business.”

Green had been on track for a career in physical therapy. She earned an undergraduate degree in biomedical science, but before she completed her graduate studies, she realized it wasn’t for her.

“I wanted more freedom,” she said. “I feel like I’m more effective as a massage therapist.”

She said she took “everything they offer” at the Ann Arbor Institute of Massage. She’s also a certified yoga instructor and continues to seek out new skills; she started doula training this year.

“I’m more trained than the average massage therapist,” Green said. “Most people just learn Swedish general relaxation. But (my studies) are very anatomically based. I can use rehabilitative techniques to fix things like frozen shoulders.”

Green employs a team of similarly trained licensed massage therapists to broaden the clinic’s expertise further. Offerings include neuromuscular therapy, headache/migraine release, hot stone massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and prenatal massage.

Meridian Massage also has an infrared sauna, which uses infrared rays to heat your body up without steam or dry heat for a more relaxing detox experience. But Green got it for more than just business reasons.

“It’s something I enjoy myself,” she said. “I try to offer things that I find effective from a personal experience.”

Bridge & Main 219 N. Bridge St., Grand Ledge 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Friday; noon-2 a.m. Saturday; noonmidnight Sunday (517) 925-1485, bridgeandmain.net

Meridian Massage & Bodywork All services by appointment only 5903 E. Brookfield Drive, East Lansing (517) 295-3537, meridiantherapeuticmassage.com

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