Happi's: A C-store with a Twist

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- After realizing the need for a convenience store in the downtown area here, Luke Lindsley built his own c-store, with a twist -- all profits from the store go to the Habitat for Animal and Plant Preservation Inc. (HAPPI), of which Lindsley is an executive director, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported.

"When deciding to open the store, I thought of all the times that it would be convenient for me to have a store downtown, like Kalamazoo -- they have two convenience stores downtown," Lindsley told the paper. "So I sent out a survey to other downtown businesses and their responses showed me that there was a big need."

Lindsley, 54, opened Happi's Downtown Convenience in November, inside the Heritage Tower, which is also home to HAPPI's main office, the report stated. The store is the only convenience store downtown, and sells typical c-store fare, office supplies, birthday cards, fresh-made hot chocolate, pastries and hot dogs, the report stated.

Lindsley, who operates the store with the help of HAPPI volunteer Donnie Jackson, hopes to move the store into a larger location on the ground floor of the Heritage Tower in mid-April. Then he plans to add more inventory and hot lunch items, according to the report.

All profits raised from the store will benefit wildlife education programs for HAPPI, a nonprofit dedicated to wildlife preservation and education. HAPPI is associated with Leila Arboretum and the National Wildlife Federation, the report stated.

"Nature is my passion and everything in this store is to support the protection of local wildlife and educating kids about nature," Lindsley said. "Plus, this store was something that downtown really needed."

The convenience store proceeds will fund the Kids for Karner Butterflies program, which is still being designed, according to the report. Lindsley told the paper he hopes to locally repopulate the Karner Blue butterfly, a severely endangered species native to the Great Lakes region.

Lindsley is currently growing Karner Blue butterflies at The Detroit Zoo, and plans to release them in the Woodland Park and Nature Preserve, where youth preservation classes will begin in 2009, the report stated.
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