Welcome to REO Town!
We’re sure you’ll find our wacky mix of business owners and residents to be welcoming and supportive as you establish yourself in our little corner of the world. This packet contains a bunch of useful information that should help to jumpstart that process, including important contact information, the schedule of our board of directors’ meetings, and our annual calendar of events!
But first, a bit of our history...
The REO Town commercial corridor is named after the automobile visionary Ransom Eli Olds, founder of Oldsmobile and the REO Motor Company. REO Town is considered to be the birthplace of the commercial automobile in the United States and R.E. Olds was the first entrepreneur to employ the assembly line in automobile manufacturing, greatly reducing the cost of and expanding the market for automobiles. Going back even further, REO Town was also the birthplace of Lansing (originally known as Biddle City, though the origin of those settlers is widely misrepresented) and was settled as a small community in 1835 before it was designated the state capital and development moved north to our pals in Old Town in 1847.
The REO Town Commercial Association was formed in 2001 (coining the term ‘REO Town’ at that time), in what was then an overlooked and underutilized section of the city, and the association has been hard at work reviving the economic and cultural energy that has established the area ever since. Originally a quasi-city entity, the RTCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and is supported completely by membership dues, grants, event income, and a whole lot of volunteer muscle power (more on that later!).
Meet our 2020 Board of Directors
The RTCA Board meets at 6pm on the third Wednesday of each month to discuss updates from our various subcommittees, upcoming events, finances, development news, any other big picture REO Town stuff. Board meetings are open to anyone. If you would like to be informed of upcoming board meetings (and learn the not-so-secret location that changes monthly), join our mailing list and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram or, for a more inside scoop, join our private REO Town Business Owners group! Want to take things up a notch? Learn more about becoming a member of the Commercial Association (membership is open to anyone with an interest in the area and operates on a sliding scale) or join one of our sub-committees to really get your hands dirty.
The Business Development Committee (Biz Dev) focuses on recruitment and retention. This group welcomes new businesses, celebrates anniversaries, and facilitates communication between business owners. The Biz Dev Committee meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 10 am at Blue Owl Coffee.
The Promotions Committee dedicates time to organizing all events that take place in the REO Town Commercial District. These events include Arts and Craft Beer Festival, The REO Town Thrift Store Gala and Burlesque Extravaganza, Lansing Beer Fest, REO Town Art Attack, Nightmare Off Elm Street, and any other crazy schemes we develop throughout the year. The promotions committee meets on an as-needed basis and the location varies depending on the event being planned.
Jeff Barker: Barkford Legal (President)
Matt Gillett: Saddleback BBQ (Vice-President)
Hillary Walilko: Super Fancy LLC (Treasurer)
Ryne Weber: Riverview Church (Secretary)
Paul Trowbridge: Cuttin’ Up Barbershop
Paul Starr: I’m A Beer Hound
Rebecca Douglas: Riverpoint Neighborhood
Lindsay Gluf-Magar: Moores Park Neighborhood
Breina Pugh: Lansing Board of Water and Light
Dylan Rogers: Robin Theatre
Chaz Carrillo: At Large
Dan Nunez: Wheel House Studio