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Vitrine Gallery & Gifts opens in downtown Berkley

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Vitrine Gallery & Gifts has opened in downtown Berkley, featuring work by local artists, global artisans, Michigan food products and fair trade products. Susan Rogal is the owner of the 1,500 sq. ft. shop. She also owns ArtWear Detroit, a functional art fashion, accessories and housewares company and has a studio at the shop.

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Owner of Southfield salon to open Detroit studio and launch national brand

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Dana White, the owner of Paralee Boyd Salon of Southfield, recently launched her national brand with the grand opening of her second Paralee Boyd salon. The new salon is at 3939 Woodward Avenue in Midtown, Detroit.

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Popularity of beards has metro Detroiters looking for relief with balm

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It started with an itch and grew into an enterprise that sells products to make beards more bearable.

"When you start growing a beard, you get itchy and irritable," said Steve Henes, who this summer purchased Detroit Grooming, a Ferndale-based company, with a business partner, Victor Simon. "So the founders developed this oil, shared it with other people, and they said, 'You've got something that works!' "

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Ferndale restaurateur and DDA chief not content to rest on laurels: Dean Bach of Dino's, M-Brew

They told him that it couldn't be done. They said he was crazy for building a nice bar in turn-of-the-century downtown Ferndale. And to the naysayers' credit, when Dean Bach opened Dino's Lounge in August 2002, Ferndale didn't anywhere nearly resemble the trendy hub that it's become today. Bach says that downtown was more known for empty storefronts than it was condos, more for busted "massage parlors" than hip nightspots.

But with Dino's, Bach took an if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach. A patron of the nearby Post Bar, he was starting to age out of the "plastic cups and sweaty bodies bumping into each other" phase of his nightlife. As he transitioned out of his early 30s, Bach wanted to build a bar where you could feel like a grown-up but still young, too; a place that was upscale but not uptight.

It's fifteen years later and Bach has been proven right on his gamble on the old Rialto Cafe building on Woodward Avenue. His enthusiasm for the community early on, like appearing on local TV spots and acting as a booster for the city as much as for his restaurant, helped establish Ferndale's downtown as a destination. So it's no wonder he's since become chairperson of the Ferndale Downtown Development Association. 
 
Today, development in Ferndale is going both up and out, with taller buildings being built and downtown's fashionable footprint beginning to stretch east of Woodward and down Nine Mile Road toward I-75.

"There's nothing wrong with putting a nice place somewhere that doesn't have many nice places. I thought, It'll catch up to me. And the next thing you know, people were passing me by and now there's a lot nicer places all around me," says Bach. "That's why we've done all these renovations. Because now I have to go back and catch up to the people that have passed me up while I sat here for fifteen years enjoying the fruits of the original labor."

Bach recently shut down his restaurant for a two-week-long renovation blitza risky move for any business owner. Most of the work was performed by Bach, his wife, family, friends, and employees, determined to re-open as soon as possible.

Garage doors open up to the city sidewalk. The mustard yellow walls have been painted over in shades of grey and white, with most of the posters and knick knacks removed for a cleaner, modern look. Reclaimed wood covers many of the walls and pillars. Bach hired a former employee with her own furniture business to build tables and chairs out of reclaimed wood from a 300 year old Grosse Ile building. The giant mirror has been refurbished, and Edison bulbs punctuate the room.

Rebuilt bathrooms, new kitchen equipment, and more gives Dino's a fresh feel, one Bach contends is necessary after fifteen years in businesswhich is 50 years in restaurant years, he says. Bach even got rid of three of the five TVs and, he says proudly, not a single person has complained.

The menu, too, has been updated. It's smaller with more focus, centering on foods that don't require a fork but lend themselves to creative and easily modifiable recipes, including sandwiches, loaded fries and poutine, mini-shish kabobs, and chicken wings. One thing that has remained, of course, is the famous Dino's brunch.

In 2014, Bach partnered on another bar in town, M-Brew. It's a Michigan-themed bar in an old VFW hall converted to feel like a northern Michigan lake house, complete with a fireplace and wrap-around porch. Bach personally drives around northern Michigan, happily searching out hard-to-find small batch beers to bring back to Ferndale.

Bach's enjoyed that last pursuit so much that he's ready to announce yet another restaurant: the Belle Iron Grill in the northern Michigan town of Gaylord, tentatively scheduled to open in July 2018. Bach is bringing the Dino's "Funday" Brunch concept to Gaylord, a trend they've yet to catch on to, he says. If M-Brew is his chance to bring northern Michigan to Ferndale, than the Belle Iron Grill will be his chance to bring Ferndale to northern Michigan.

"This has become a kind of utopia of friendliness," says Bach. "Ferndale is a very special city. It's become this bright and shiny piece of Woodward where everybody says hello to you when you're walking down the street."

"This is a special town."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

April Wagner's epiphany studios opens downtown Detroit pop-up, plans Pontiac headquarters expansion

April Wagner's epiphany studios, the Pontiac-based hot glass studio and gallery is growing.

Since Sept. 15, Wagner has been selling pieces from her line of functional and decorative glasswork art at the historic Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. It's a perfect fit for a company that's in the business of art and craftsmanship; the Guardian Building is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of Art Deco skyscraper architecture in the world.

"Being in the Guardian has been inspirational. I feel like the role of the craftsperson hasn't changed over the years, even with technology," says Wagner. "Well-crafted things will always be important."

For now, the epiphany studios gallery at the Guardian is a pop-up, though Wagner says that if things go well enough, she'll consider keeping a permanent space there. She'll stay open at least through next year's North American International Auto Show in January.

She currently occupies a 300 sq. ft. gallery-type space in the building's promenade level. The downtown Detroit epiphany studios offer a good representation of Wagner's pieces, from the functional bowls and cups to the more decorative and artistic sculptures. Holiday pieces, too, are a theme, including glass pumpkins for the fall and planned Christmas ornaments for later in the season.

In addition to Wagner's newfound presence in downtown Detroit, the artist is also preparing to expand her Pontiac studio, nearly doubling its size. Wagner's 4,000 sq. ft. Pontiac headquarters serves mainly as a studio, with 3,000 sq. ft. dedicated to machinery, workspace, and shipping. She's planning on building a 3,000 sq. ft. addition on the building, and expects to complete it within the next three years.

One of the things that spurred on the expansion is a current project, a chandelier that is 9.5 ft. tall. Constricted by space, Wagner has to work on the chandelier in pieces. The new expansion will feature a two-story open space that will allow the artist to work on such large projects as one piece.

The epiphany studios gallery at the Guardian Building is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and also by appointment.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

ArborOakland Group celebrates 50 years

1967 was a quite a memorable year in which to start a company. Things were heating up in a little known place called Vietnam with 475,000 troops serving in the remote country. The first Super Bowl was played between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs (Packers won). Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice on the Supreme Court. The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was released. Race riots broke out in a number of cities across the United States. Detroit, being one of the cities, made for a particularly tense summer. Unfazed, brothers, Ralph and Ed Garabedian, started Arbor Press in Detroit on October 1st of 1967.

For an industry so greatly impacted by the digital age, it is instructive to look at a company which has grown during a time when many printing companies have gotten smaller or closed. President of ArborOakand Group, Don Kirkland said "In many ways the company encapsulates the history of an industry through its many acquisitions and mergers. In the past 5 years alone, ArborOakland Group has acquired North American Reproductions, Tri-Color, Nu-Tech Graphics, Muir Print & Marketing and most recently, Utley Brothers Printing which itself brought recently acquired companies, Atlantic Press, Sterling Printing and Graphics Factory. While evolving through acquisitions, we have also grown organically through expanded sales initiatives and capabilities."

ArborOakland Group really is a group. Over the years, with each merger and acquisition, ArborOakland Group has enriched the company's legacy and reach into new markets and capabilities. For example, the acquisition of Tri-Color 5 years ago, catapulted the company into the world of large format printing. The acquisition of North American Reproductions a month later helped round out finishing capabilities for a fast-growing on-demand digital production department. The recent acquisition of Utley Brothers Printing brought ArborOakland into a production world that exceeds 2.5 million business cards per week.

As printing companies have closed over the years, the flexibility and stability that ArborOakland Group has provided has proven to be a place for companies and individuals to safely "land", get their feet under them, and begin again in a competitive industry.  More recently, the company has made additionally investments in new technology and facilities with the build out of its Specialty Print Center and installation of the Oce VarioPrint i300 inkjet press.

"Looking ahead, we remain excited for the future and the opportunities for both our customers and our organization. We will continue to invest in new capabilities, our facilities, and acquisitions as part of our larger goal of being a valuable partner to our growing customer base.  It is our privilege to pause and celebrate the history and legacy of so many different people and companies that got us to our 50th anniversary!" remarked Kirkland. http://arboroakland.com

ArborOakland Group, one of Southeast Michigan's leading printing companies since 1967, is proud to call the Motor City its home, and with wide-ranging print capability help the world Speak Visually!

Restaurant veterans to open southern-inspired Menagerie Lounge in Pontiac

A new restaurant is being planned for downtown Pontiac, and it comes from a few familiar faces in the city's dining scene.

James and April Forbes, the couple responsible for the pop-up kitchen and incubator Menagerie, are planning on opening a restaurant of their own. Dubbed Menagerie Lounge, the restaurant will feature southern-inspired fare, live entertainment, and design work and art from local Pontiac artists. The couple, who won the Food Network's Cupcake Wars in 2012, will also carry their own award-winning desserts.

Scheduled for a February 2018 opening, Menagerie Lounge will be located at 155 N. Saginaw St. in downtown Pontiac.

"When we go out to eat, we've been in the service industry for so long that we have a different lens that we view the experience through. We're more forgiving, but we also know how we want our staff to treat our customers," April says. "The customer service will be top notch because people work hard for their money."

The build-out of the restaurant is being funded, in part, by a recently announced $25,000 grant from Flagstar Bank and a $35,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) loan from Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED). The grant is part of $2.5 million that Flagstar is scheduled to invest in small business development in Pontiac.

"We're super excited about the loan and grant opportunity. It's not often that a small restaurant gets this type of opportunity at all," says James. "We're excited about the direction the city is heading in."

April recommends that businesses interested in applying for the loans and grants be prepared and have their business plans ready. Oakland County's One Stop Shop Business Center, she says, was a big help in preparing Menagerie's business plan.

Menagerie, which got its start as a pop-up kitchen in 2015, moved to Lafayette Market earlier this year, where they facilitate the pop-up kitchen and restaurant incubator programs. The couple says that they will continue to work on the incubator program, even after their own restaurant opens.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Flagstar Bank launches small business development funding in Pontiac

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Flagstar Bank announced the first disbursement—$500,000—of its $2.5 million investment in small business development in Pontiac. This small business initiative is part of Flagstar’s five-year, $10 million commitment to help revitalize the city.

“We’re happy to have partnered with Flagstar to bring this $10 million commitment to Pontiac,” said Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman. “Small businesses are the backbone of any economic revitalization, and this funding from Flagstar gives a welcome boost to our community.”

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Pentastar Aviation collaborates on co-ownership solution for business aircraft owners

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Waterford Township-based Pentastar Aviation and Partners in Aviation (PIA) announced they will offer a comprehensive management program with a cost-effective solution to owning and operating a business aircraft.

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Downtown Pontiac's newest business boasts 100 percent American-made outdoor sports apparel

Bill Ludwig and his business partners, a group of avid fishers, boaters, and golfers, noticed something as they were walking around ICAST, an annual fishing trade show. In terms of apparel, the fishing and resort apparel industry had grown complacent. While there was plenty to choose from, the offerings were leaving the group unimpressed.

"We walked through and started discussing starting our own brand," says Ludwig. "One of my partners lamented that there was no need for another performance brand. But I said, yeah, but look at the labels. There isn't one manufacturer here with a label that says Made in USA."

So they started one.

American Made Performance is a fishing and resort apparel company based in downtown Pontiac. Ludwig, the CEO of the company, says that all of its products are 100 percent made in the United States. The cotton is grown here, and the fabrics are woven and sewn here. He contends that they're the only ones in the fishing and resort apparel industry to be able to make that claim.

The notion that people want 100 percent American-made products seems to have so far worked out for AMP. The company employs two dozen people at its downtown Pontiac manufacturing facility, an old bank at the corner of Saginaw and Huron streets. And Ludwig says that current revenue projections indicate that AMP will double that number within the next twelve months.

The company has partnered with Ryan Keene as its exclusive artist, which is another selling point for the brand, says Ludwig. Absent are the muted browns and greens one might expect to find in fishing apparel, instead replaced with bright colors and lively illustrations.

"It's rare for a company to have unique selling propositions," says Ludwig. "We have two. The United States and Ryan Keene."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Old theater to be transformed into comedy club, music venue

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Residents are curious about the renovation Bill Nannoshi is doing at the old Union Lake Twin Cinemas to transform it into a comedy club, music venue, restaurant and gaming room.

“There are between five to 10 people a day who stop and say they can’t believe how nice the building looks,” he said.

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Ferndale-based barber shop and grooming company expands with new Detroit location

Detroit Barbers, the Ferndale-based barber shop and grooming supplies brand, has expanded. With their first barber shop having opened in Ferndale in 2016, the company has since opened a second location in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. And with it comes plans for even more expansion.

Detroit Barbers is owned by Royal Oak couple Chad and Jami Buchanan. Upon opening their Ferndale location, the company was met with immediate success, eventually leading to the build out of the second floor of their Woodward Avenue storefront to accommodate more customers. A second location seemed inevitable.

Fans of the Ferndale location can expect the same type of services at the Detroit location. Staples like hot shaves, straight razor shaves, beard trims, hot facials, the latest designs, buzz cuts, haircuts, and kid’s cuts are all available at the new location. With a large two-floor footprint in Corktown, the Buchanans are planning for an apothecary and coffee shop to be built on the second floor later this fall or winter.

"We're extremely excited that the support from the community has allowed us to expand," Chad says. "It's a real loyal and giving client base that's embraced us."

It's a natural progression for the company, he says, and one that's followed the historic corridor of Woodward Avenue, the spine of metro Detroit. It's an easy drive for the company's staff, about half of which will split time between barber chairs at the Ferndale and Detroit locations. The other half has a set clientele base that will keep them where they are.

"It makes it more interesting for them," Chad says. "A little change of scenery."

The Buchanans have more big plans for expansion, built around their employees. The company, which also manufactures different pomades, shave oils, and similar grooming products, will begin manufacturing products based on their employees' wants and needs. Each barber will have the chance to develop and formulate their products.

"These are things that the barbers use on a daily basis," Chad says. "This way they'll get to give their own two cents on how a product holds and smells."

Detroit Barbers in Corktown is located at 2000 Michigan Ave. in Detroit. The original location is located at 23236 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Bluewater in Southfield expands to provide exhibition development

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Southfield-based technology experience company Bluewater has announced the formation of Bluewater Studio, the company’s new environments and exhibition arm. Bluewater Studio will provide clients with an integrated approach to their strategy, creative, development, and production of creative cultural experiences and spaces.

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Q&A with Ferndale's food truck park and boozery, Detroit Fleat

On Friday, July 7, a new restaurant and bar concept debuted in metro Detroit. Dubbed Detroit Fleat, the self-described food truck park and boozery bridges the gap between traditional restaurants and food trucks. 
 
An indoor bar and dining area offer craft beers on tap and ample seating, as well as a more traditional day-in-day-out menu. An outdoor patio features a rotating cast of food trucks, each with their own specialties like falafel wraps, mac-and-cheese varieties, coffees, and much more. The food trucks rotate throughout the season, ensuring no lack of variety as the summer months wear on.

We asked co-founder Aaron Tye, himself an owner of the Delectabowl food truck, a few questions about his latest dining venture, Detroit Fleat.

If you were on vacation in a foreign land, how would you describe Detroit Fleat to a stranger at the bar?

Comfortable setting to dine with family and friends. We offer many different types of cuisine, which appeals to a large party. Our large bar selection will appeal to any crowd--young or seasoned.

How'd you get the idea for Detroit Fleat?

We own Delectabowl food truck and knew that to grow our own food truck business, we needed to find a permanent location. These food truck pods are very popular on the east coast, and we knew that this business idea would be welcomed in a supportive community like Ferndale.

Why food trucks?

Offers a variety of options.

What about the location attracted you to the area?

Again, the Ferndale community has been welcoming of food trucks. With Delectabowl we have built many relationships with the city and knew that we would have support. The location in metro Detroit is ideal as well--close to the freeway and a little bit off the beaten path of downtown, which allows free parking. We hope to be the neighborhood stop for our residents.

What makes Detroit Fleat special? How is it different from a parking lot full of food trucks?

We offer indoor and outdoor seating. A full bar which will highlight Michigan-made products, from breweries and distilleries, Faygo, Better made, and, on occasion, live music.

Detroit Fleat is located at 1820 E. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

FED restaurant open to all

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When the FED Community restaurant at 15 S. Main Street opened its doors for a soft opening, July 6, even those who knew the building best barely recognized it.

“I can’t believe it. It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Dawn M. Horner, retail banking executive vice president for Clarkston State Bank, former occupant. “They did an awesome job. It’s hard to envision where all the offices were. The basement is phenomenal. It’s really beautiful.”

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341 entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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