7 shops open in downtown Lansing micro-market. Here’s what’s new at Middle Village.

LANSING – For 22 years, Shebeeka Monique Hughes dreamed of opening a fashion boutique where she could style customers like she always had for friends and family.

Hughes, 45, formally started her store Coco Bella last year, once her children were grown. While scouting locations, she learned about Middle Village, the small business incubator in downtown Lansing that gives shops physical space in hopes of propelling them to permanent storefronts. “I’m in glam-ma stage, and I decided to come up and live my dreams,” she said. “I saw this and I was like, that’s it. That’s my start.”

Coco Bella is one of seven new shops that opened in Middle Village Tuesday, selling everything from handmade soaps to work by local artists. The “micro market” located at 112 S. Washington Square is run by Downtown Lansing Inc., a nonprofit funded in part by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. It opened last October with an inaugural round of businesses. Since then, two have moved into permanent storefronts: Sweet Encounter Bakery & Cafe and bookstore A Novel Concept. A third, clothing boutique Capital Hippie, will move into a physical space next month.

Those stores were in Middle Village from October to Dec. 31 to coincide with the holidays. The new group will stay for an entire year, opening from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

“We want to give them an opportunity to really grow their brand, so when they go out onto Washington Square it’s an easier transition,” said Julie Reinhardt, who leads programming and management of Middle Village for DLI.