Lansing’s new addition, ‘Hooked’, has something for everyone, whether you are a bookworm, a wine aficionado or a coffee lover. Located between Lansing’s downtown and Michigan State University’s campus, ‘Hooked’ was designed with the goal of bringing the two communities together.
Matt Grossman and Sarah Reckhow want Hooked to be a hub for all the good things that Michigan businesses have to offer. To do so, they are sourcing their food menu items from bakeries and chocolatiers throughout the state.
Hooked will carry chocolates made at Park Lake Creamery in Bath. The baked goods will be brought in fresh each day from Stone Circle Bakehouse in Holt. The selection of Peruvian salads will be brought in from Tantay in Lansing. They will also carry sweets from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor.
“These are the breads we buy at the farmers markets; these are the places we go into our city,” Grossman said. “These are the places that we wish were in Lansing that are in Ann Arbor. So it's kind of bringing that together.”
The bar itself is also locally sourced, made from wood from MSU’s campus. Nathan Shaver, who works with the MSU Department of Forestry, collaborated with Reckhow and Grossman to repurpose the white wood exactly how they wanted it.
“It was a blend of the three of us, what we thought would work well,” Shaver said. “I’ve been super happy with it.”
All of the cafe’s coffee is from Intelligentsia, which barista and MSU student Alex Miller described as a “step above fair trade”.
“It's called direct trade coffee,” Miller said. “They pay 50% above fair trade prices. All the coffee is really carefully monitored and picked out really well balanced.”
Miller was one of 400 applicants hoping to be a part of Hooked as an employee. Of the employees that they hired, about 40% are MSU students.
Grossman said that he tried to hire people who are interested in different aspects of the store’s specializations, as few people are experts in books, coffee and wine. He wants the shop to be a hands-on experience where customers feel comfortable with asking employees for recommendations or help.
“It’s a space people like, it’s a community that people want to be part of,” Grossman said. “And that only works if people actually feel open to talk to the staff.”
Once customers have secured their sweet treats, they can make their way towards the back of the shop to peruse the bookshelves. Above the children’s books is a mural hand painted by Lansing artist Marissa Thaler, which Grossman said was a design request from his own children.
One shelf showcases books that Reckhow and Grossman have wrote themselves, as they are both political scientists at MSU. Alongside them is a growing collection of university press books from their colleagues, and books written by Michigan authors.
Hooked’s environment will thrive on clients sharing their love for books with each other.
They are trying to get people to participate in monthly book clubs that entail a discussion group at the end of the month, Grossman said. The seating area of the shop is designed for discussion, centering around a large ‘community table’. There will be book clubs for adults, young adults and children, whose subscription will also come with a toy each month.
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