May 18 2016 01:07 PM

Matthew Ryan Salon & Spa / Blaze Pizza / Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar

Matthew Ryan Salong & Spa will soon move into its new space on the northern edge of Old Town. The building was constructed in the late 1800s.
Courtesy Photo

Last week, Matthew Ryan Salon & Spa held a ribbon cutting outside its new home, a historic building on Old Town’s northern fringe. Since he opened his salon three years ago, owner/stylist Matthew Ryan Smith has built an ever-growing clientele. The demand for additional services prompted the move into a space more than twice as large as his current salon.

“We weren’t even seriously thinking about moving, but then I saw this building and just fell in love with it,” Smith said. “As soon as I walked inside, I said, ‘Here we are.’”

Originally built to be a train depot in the late 1800s, the building had become home to a fasteners company and was colloquially known as the Fasteners Building. In 2006, Ryan Lowe, a real estate developer and principal at Simplified Accounting and Tax Service, bought the 4,300-squarefoot building and had it developed into a residence.

“It was in reasonable shape, but it needed a fair amount of work to convert into livable space,” Lowe said. “I finally moved in in 2009. I wasn’t in a hurry.”

Lowe, also a commercial real estate agent, listed the building for sale late last year, which is when Smith first saw it. Lowe said he had added commercial finishes during his build-out process, with the intention of turning it back into commercial space.

“I’m not heartbroken at all that he’s turning this back into a business,” Lowe said. “I actually helped coordinate the whole makeover. It looks beautiful.”

Smith’s old digs were just 1,500 square feet, limiting his ability to grow his roster of stylists and offer spa services. The new space will have two spa rooms/treatment areas, a laundry facility and the potential for hiring additional full-time stylists. Smith estimates that he spent about $100,000 on construction, including removing the kitchen and adding new bathrooms, a lounge and lighting and refinishing the hardwood floors. He also added a parking lot in back to bring it up to code.

“We’ve been working day and night for three or four months, and it seems like everything that could go wrong did,” Smith said. “But it was a good challenge for my partner, Mark Clouse, and I. He has the drive and ambition, and we actually enjoyed the process. This wouldn’t have happened without him. This space is wonderful now, and I can’t wait for the customers to start seeing this next month.”

Smith is adding the finishing touches and plans to host a grand opening event on June 4. Matthew Ryan Salon & Spa will continue to specialize in cuts, extensions, coloring and retexturing, and it can now add services such as couples facials, massages, waxing and bioactive treatments.

“I’d love to eventually start offering medical grade services as well, overseen by an M.D.,” Smith said. “I’m looking to really maximize (the business). We’re always going to be doing the latest techniques and services, and that’s encouraging for our clients. They put their trust in us. If we stop growing, things get mediocre and stale and people get bored, so I want to keep moving forward, both individually and as a business. And now I’m in the perfect place to do that.”

The last couple years have been a time of rapid expansion for Old Town. Zoobie’s Old Town Tavern and its conjoined twin, Cosmos, pushed the historic neighborhood east, drawing with it specialty shops Grace Boutique, Curvaceous Lingerie and Leopold Bloom & Co. Traveling west across the Busby Memorial Bridge, new arrival Scoop’s Ice Cream serves as that side’s anchor. And across the street from the salon, Kyle and Dan Malone are putting the finishing touches on Ozone’s Brewhouse, a warehouse that the fatherand-son team has been slowly converting into Old Town’s first microbrewery.

“It’s amazing watching Old Town evolving like this, even in the few years since I’ve been here,” Smith said. “Things are starting to happen that no one could have (predicted). It’s fun to be part of this.”

Master pizzas

Two new eateries appealing to pizza connoisseurs are under construction in Metro Lansing. Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, a North American chain headquartered in Dallas and specializing in pizza and pub fare, is nearing end of its buildout near the Eastwood Towne Center. Over in the Frandor Shopping Center, Blaze Pizza is taking over the slot formerly occupied by Video To Go, which closed last fall. The fast-casual joint prepares pizzas in hot-stone ovens that cook the pies in just three minutes.

“We are very excited to welcome Blaze Pizza,” said Patrick F. Corr, president of Corr Commercial Real Estate, which manages the properties in Frandor. “They are a great addition, offering a new type of use to the Greater Lansing market.”

Construction is under way for an addition to the building, allowing Blaze to take up about 3,300 square feet. This will be the fourth Michigan location for the California-based chain.

Matthew Ryan Salon (opening soon at new location) 1410 Turner St., Lansing 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday (517) 484-9299,