408 E. Grand River Ave. Lansing
Approaching this building from the west, one is immediately captured by Barbara Hranilovich’s colorful mural of an urban forest. The liveliness of the mural is carried to the front of the building, where the header bricks above the main entrance are picked out in matching colors.
Store owner Rhea Van Atta opened the Old Town General Store four years ago in an effort to reestablish the corner stores recalled from her childhood. The store carries a variety of staples, including eggs, pasties and nuts. In-season produce and Michigan-based beer and wine may be found in abundance.
The enterprise answers a collective demand for local grocery stores, which were historically found within walking or biking distance in most neighborhoods. While regional supermarkets can capitalize on volume purchases to keep their costs low, Van Atta is proud that the store provides a place for obscure vendors to offer their wares, without having to deal with lengthy corporate approvals.
Patrons who venture inside to consider the goods should also visit the rear courtyard, which is shaded from the sun under warm-colored tarps. Regular Concerts in the Courtyard feature musical events whose proceeds benefit Music is the Foundation in support of music programs in Mid-Michigan.
“Eye candy of the Week” is our weekly look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates each with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Berl Schwartz at 999-5061.