About The Eaton Rapids Development Corporation

ERDC Vision

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Eaton Rapids Development Corporation (ERDC) is to revitalize the downtown business district of Eaton Rapids, Michigan through the development of real estate.

Our Vision

The Corporation envisions an Eaton Rapids that retains the character of “small town America” by creating a “sense of place” for the residents of the area and a destination place for area visitors. Eaton Rapids will have a downtown business district with retail, restaurant, entertainment, residential, and office space utilizing the river frontage and the unique character of an Island City.

Goals and Objectives

Goal #1: Develop the river frontage property that exists on the island that is the primary Eaton Rapids business district.

Goal #2: Develop properties on the island business district of Eaton Rapids.

Goal #3: Encourage entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in downtown Eaton Rapids.


Description of Products and Services

Eaton Rapids Development Corporation will purchase and develop commercial and residential rental property in the island business district of Eaton Rapids.

The Eaton Rapids Development Corporation will assist entrepreneurs by providing unique retail, restaurant, entertainment, office, and housing properties with low start-up fees and operating costs.


Eaton Rapids Development Corporation properties will be competitive because its focus will primarily be on underused and neglected properties that will be developed for immediate use at low cost to the entrepreneur. This concept is based on the Corporation’s long-range strategy of investing in a revitalized, vibrant, small town for residents and a destination place for visitors.

The Corporation’s specific competition will be area small towns and districts of larger cities that have a focused campaign in similar property development. Examples would be Lansing’s “Old Town”, Mason’s “Antique District”, and Portland’s and Grand Ledge riverfront development. This long-range strategy has the edge over competitors in property development since they will be focused on short-term gains with higher initial costs for their clients.

Target Market

Business Industry and Outlook

The business of property development in Eaton Rapids could currently be described as being in a “wait and see” period. Investors in property development appear to be hesitant at this time due to the recession, perhaps because of their business needs for immediate reward. In this environment, the outlook for the Eaton Rapids Development Corporation is excellent because its business philosophy places the emphasis on immediate rewards for its clients, with delayed reward for the corporation.

The City of Eaton Rapids is in the beginning stages of a downtown rebirth. Recent private and public improvements have left this small town poised for development. Current projects for the city include, among other things: a renovated Main Street with period lighting and landscaping;  a “walkable community” design with a city-wide trail system that includes riverwalks; a recreational whitewater rapids on the Grand River for kayaks and canoes; the placement of the downtown island district on the National Register of Historic Places.

Critical Needs of Market

Currently, the Eaton Rapids area is underserved in that there is a shortage of restaurants, retail, and entertainment venues. And it could be argued that none of the existing business could be considered a “destination” business for the area “triangle” market identified by Lansing, Jackson, and Battle Creek. The Eaton Rapids Development Corporation sees an immediate need to assist and encourage entrepreneurs to create these “destination” places to serve both residents and visitors alike.

Target Market

The individuals who make up the target market as potential renters for the Corporation’s property are those entrepreneurs who have an immediate need for a place to begin their retail store, restaurant or business. The profile of the Corporation’s client would be the enthusiastic, energetic, idealistic entrepreneur with a new idea who could use help finding property and with low start-up expenses. These entrepreneurs would also recognize the potential in Eaton Rapids’ riverfront and unique island business district.

Anticipated Share of Market

With a finite amount of space on the island business district, and the amount of underutilized buildings and riverfront property, the Corporation anticipates a ten percent share of the rental property in the business district.

Area Market

Market Description

The purpose of ERDC is to purchase and develop property on the island business district of Eaton Rapids for rental to business entrepreneurs, i.e., restaurants, retail, etc.. Therefore, the success of the entrepreneurs who rent the property will depend on the general market of the Eaton Rapids area. The following demographics (2010 Census) describe that market.

The immediate Eaton Rapids area includes the City of Eaton Rapids (pop. 5205), Hamlin Township (pop. 2953), and Eaton Rapids Township (pop. 3821), and encompasses a total of 71.7 square miles. The area market for the restaurant, retail, entertainment services that will make Eaton Rapids a “destination” place also includes three major cities within a thirty mile radius: Lansing (pop. 113,810), Battle Creek (pop. 51,843), and Jackson (pop. 33,315). The two surrounding counties of Eaton (pop. 107,759) and Ingham (pop. 280,895) add to this market base.

The island downtown district of Eaton Rapids is bisected by Main Street, which is also the route of the two state highways of M-50 and M-99 that merge south of the city and split at the northern edge of the business district. This produces an estimated 16,000 cars daily traveling through the island business district daily.

The median income for a household in the City of Eaton Rapids is $48,239. The median income for a household in Hamlin Township is $61,838. The median income for a household in Eaton Rapids Township is $58,947. The median income for a household in Eaton County is $57,898. The median income for a household in Ingham County is $40,774.

The average age of the Area’s population is increasing, as reflected in the increase in median age between 1980 and 2000. Overall levels of education attained have increased among residents over 25. Since 1980, there are lower percentages of people with less than a high school education and higher percentages of individuals who achieved a bachelor’s degree or more.

The highest proportions of employed residents 16 years and older in the Area are employed in management, professional, sales and office occupations. The next largest categories of employment for Area residents include production/transportation and service occupations. Many of the principal employers of the County are located outside of the Eaton Rapids Area. This suggests that the Area continues to be a bedroom community that is reliant on industries and commercial growth that occurs in other urban centers.

While downtown development is slow, industry in Eaton Rapids is growing rapidly. A major magnesium foundry supplies auto parts to numerous U.S and foreign manufacturers. And a locally-owned company is making national news with innovative manufacturing methodology in wind energy and heavy equipment. This has resulted in a major company’s plans to locate a state-of -the-art foundry nearby. This foundry will be the first new foundry in the U.S. since World War II, and is predicted to be the largest in the world. So the future for population growth in the area looks good

Organization and Management


Eaton Rapids Development Corporation is an Equity Company that sells ownership stake in the company to investors through Regulation D Offering. Investors profit as the company profits since they are all equal partial owners based on the number of shares owned. As an Equity Company, the Corporation will have holdings only in cash or real estate equities with no overhead expenses. All of the efforts of its officers, directors and members are on a volunteer basis. The Company will conduct the Offering in such a manner that Shares may be sold only to “Accredited Investors” as that term is defined in Rule 501(a) of Regulation D promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), or to a maximum of 35 Non-Accredited Investors that may be allowed to purchase Shares in this offering. 


The Eaton Rapids Development Corporation began with a small group of civic-minded citizens of the Eaton Rapids area in 2008 that saw the potential of the neglected riverfront areas of the city. Their initial focus was on a small area in the Eaton Rapids island business district that fronted Spring Brook called the Milltown District. The Milltown project was designed to build a niche market of retail, entertainment, and residential facilities, within an upscale environment located on Spring Brook, a tranquil body of water that forms the western boundary of the island business district. As other area citizens joined the group, their vision grew to include the entire island business district that is unique to Eaton Rapids. The informal group incorporated as a “C Corporation” under the laws of the State of Michigan on August 11, 2010.

Legal Structure

The Company’s legal structure was formed as a C Corporation under the laws of the State of Michigan on August 11, 2010. 

Key Company Principals

Gary Wichman, President. Gary is a Vice President with PNC Bank working in the Corporate & Institutional Bank division.  

Marta DiMeglio, Vice President. Marta is the Director of Special Projects at The Tetra Corporation. 

Nikali Luke, Treasurer. Nikali is a partner of Simplified Tax Accounting, a regional tax accounting service.

James Davidson, Secretary. James is a retired Naval Officer and former college administrator.

Roger Cope, Director. Roger is Executive Chairman of the Astraeus Group, a wind energy company located in Eaton Rapids.