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Located in Southfield, internet service provider grows throughout state

The Southfield-based internet service provider 123Net continues its rapid pace of expansion. Its business-exclusive Fiber Network is expanding throughout the southeastern Michigan communities of Dearborn, Ferndale, Warren, Oak Park, Auburn Hills, Troy, Novi, Wixom, and Milford.

According to the company, its list of "On-Net" buildings has grown to 760 buildings since June of this year. These buildings count at least one tenant utilizing the fiber network.

In just the last two months, the company says it has "turned up" 84 new circuits, averaging three to four new customers a day.

"As speed and reliability become more and more critical to today’s businesses, dedicated internet access is key to achieving company performance metrics," says Heather Garey, Senior Account Executive at 123Net.

"By utilizing an On-Net Fiber provider, not only will you see dramatic cost savings, but a much faster installation time, allowing pivotal project time frames to be met without any unexpected delays."

The fiber network connects to the company’s data center, the largest, private carrier-neutral data center in Michigan.

123Net celebrated the hiring of its 100th employee in December 2017. The company has previously stated that it plans on growing its employee base by 30 percent every year.

The company unrolled its Smart Hands service in April 2018. With its service, 123Net guarantees customers IT support 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year at each of its four Tier 3, carrier-neutral data centers throughout Michigan. Three of the 123Net data centers are located in Southfield, with the fourth being located in Byron Center.

123Net is headquartered at 24700 Northwestern Hwy. in Southfield.

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

Local brewery expands in downtown Pontiac

Exferimentation Brewing Co. recently announced an expansion of its Saginaw Street brewery and tasting room, adding an additional 1,000 sq. ft. to its footprint.

With ten more taps and additional seating options, the second tasting room is ideal for overflow seating on weekends or for customers looking for a more quiet room when open mic or improv nights are scheduled. There is also a balcony attached, which will allow for outdoor seating once the summer months come around.

The room is also available to rent for private events, including weddings, company outings, and more.

"The new room has a different aesthetic, a little lighter and more airy," says Exferimentation co-owner Eric Benton.

"It’s been a great opportunity to create a completely different environment."

It’s not the only change for Exferimentation. The company recently hired a head chef and general manager, improving the food menu while streamlining it at the same time, allowing for faster service times.

The brewery is constantly releasing new varieties of beer, Benton says. An Exferimentation classic, the toasted coconut cream ale Clownpocalypse, one of the brewery’s first beers, will make its return later this month. A number of barrel-aged beers will be released in the first quarter of 2019, as well.

As for 2019, Benton says that there are several exciting announcements on the horizon--though he’s not ready to divulge any specifics, just yet.

It’s been a steady climb for the still-young brewery, which opened in July 2016. Benton, along with co-owners Andy Stamper and Scott Boughton, has been high on downtown Pontiac’s rebound since opening there. He’d like to see the city overtake Grand Rapids as Beer City, USA, one day, as he told us in a March 2017 profile of the company.

"Look out Grand Rapids, here comes Pontiac."

Exferimentation Brewing Co. is located at 7 N. Saginaw St. in downtown Pontiac.

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

English Gardens acquires Plymouth nursery

We're pleased to announce that we are opening a new store March 1, 2019.

English Gardens has acquired Plymouth Nursery, 9900 Ann Arbor Rd W, Plymouth, Michigan. The announcement was made jointly by John Darin, president of English Gardens, and Jeff Jones, owner of Plymouth Nursery.

This marks our sixth location in the Metro Detroit area.  Our family-owned company currently operates retail stores in Clinton Twp., Dearborn Heights, Eastpointe, Royal Oak/Troy and West Bloomfield.

“English Gardens has been looking for a new location in this market since we lost the lease on our Ann Arbor store in January 2018,” explains John. “We are very pleased about this opportunity and look forward to servicing customers who frequented our previous store, and meeting current Plymouth Nursery customers.

“Jeff and his team have built a beautiful operation.  We plan to continue his tradition of offering high-quality products and services, while expanding upon the store’s selection.”

English Gardens will continue to operate the landscaping portion of the business, as well.

“We hope that many of Plymouth Nursery’s current team members will continue on with English Gardens,” says John. “We’re also looking to hire additional people to work in the store and landscaping operation."

Plymouth Nursery will close on December 30, and re-open on March 1, 2019 as English Gardens Plymouth Nursery. After owning the company for 32 years, Jeff Jones will be retiring. 

“It is with mixed emotions that I am selling Plymouth Nursery & Garden Center,” Jeff says. “I am sad that after 55 years this wonderful company will no longer be in the hands of my family. However, it is with great joy that I turn the reins over to English Gardens.

“I am certain that English Gardens will continue to serve the loyal Plymouth Nursery customers with the same high quality products and services for which Plymouth Nursery has become known.”

The Plymouth Nursery name dates back to 1931. Jeff's parents, Wayne and Nancy, purchased Plymouth Nursery in 1963 from Pete Christensen of Christensen’s Plymouth Nursery.  The Nursery was moved to its present location in 1973.  He purchased the company from his parents in 1986 and has grown and diversified the business.

English Gardens Plymouth Nursery is on a 19-acre site at the corner of Ann Arbor Road and Gotfredson Road. The store features a 12,000-square-foot retail space and 12,000-square-foot enclosed greenhouse. The outdoor selling space is approximately nine acres. The store will offer a complete range of top-quality garden products and plants to beautify indoor and outdoor living spaces. The new store will also offer other special services, including: Garden Pharmacy, where associates diagnose plant troubles and provide solutions; as well as a Patio Furniture Design Center for custom orders and design services. 

The Outdoor Living Department includes patio furniture and accessories, and garden décor such as fountains, statues, accessories and garden art.  

During November and December, the store will transition to a Christmas Center with an extensive selection of fresh-cut and life-like Christmas trees, wreaths and greens as well as Christmas lights, decorations and gifts.  English Gardens award-winning Landscape Company will also offer holiday decorating services for lights and decor.

English Gardens Plymouth Nursery will also offer free weekly seminars and host monthly workshops and Kid’s Club events.
English Gardens has been consistently named one of the best places to shop in Metro Detroit. Our family-owned business will celebrate its 65th anniversary in 2019, and employs nearly 200 people on a year-round basis and more than 350 seasonally. 

English Gardens posts information weekly about promotions and events on our website: Additionally, English Gardens sells a selection of Christmas products, gift cards and floral arrangements online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Founded in 1954, English Gardens offers top quality garden products, flowering and tropical plants, fresh-cut and silk flowers, landscape design and installation, holiday decorating services, as well as the area’s largest selection of Christmas trees and decorations.

Lyudviga Couture opens store in Downtown Birmingham


Nearly 20 years ago, Lyudviga Shneyders stepped off the plane from Crimea with nothing but $200 in her pocket.

Today, she’s a fashion maven and owner of Lyudviga Couture in Birmingham, providing only the best fabrics, original styles and singular customer service.

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Barber shop, furniture store open in Oakland County


A hip barber shop in Hazel Park, handmade furniture in Ferndale and El Salvador flavors in Oak Park are among what’s new or coming soon to southeast Oakland County.

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Farmington Hills' Plum Market to open street concept store in Downtown Detroit


Plum Market, a food and beverage company based in Farmington Hills, will open a street concept store inside Bedrock’s Ally Detroit Center at 500 Woodward Ave. in summer 2019, the companies announced.

The location will offer fast casual dining options, grab-and-go items, select groceries, and a full-service bar with an emphasis on locally sourced products. Plum Market will open a similar concept at the Pistons Performance Center in Detroit’s New Center in spring 2019. New locations also were recently opened at Oakland University and Northwestern University.

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Kar's Nuts in Madison Heights completes merger with Sanders in Clinton Township


KNPC Holdco in Madison Heights, a leading manufacturer of nut and trail mix snacks sold under the Kar’s and Second Nature brands, announced the completion of its merger with Morley Candy Makers in Clinton Township, a maker of premium confectionary products sold under the Sanders Fine Chocolatiers brand.

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HomeGrown Brewing Company launches canning line

Family-owned and -run HomeGrown Brewing Company is branching out after a successful start. The micro-brewery in Oxford is launching its new take-out cans from today.

Since opening its doors in April last year, HomeGrown Brewing Company has enjoyed enormous success and support from the community. Over 400 people attended the grand opening, mug-club pre-sales sold out, and the brewery has sold over 93,000 pints to date.

Since opening, the local family behind the business, the Powers, has been busy growing the brewery’s brand, with beer-pairing dinners, beer education classes, live music and participation in Michigan beer festivals. “Now that we have a full year’s experience we wanted to move into canning as well,” says owner John Powers.

Cans will be available at the brewery from October 2 and head brewer Joe Powers says it’s a way to meet the demands of HomeGrown’s customers. “Lots of people make use of our take-home growlers, but these cans will be a welcome addition – they last longer and appeal to people who don’t want to drink a whole growler in one sitting.”

General Manager and artist Jeff Powers designed the unique can artwork and says he’s proud that it will be such an integral part of the brewery’s marketing. “I was inspired by the art nouveau poster designs of the ‘60s and ‘70s, stained-glass imagery and traditional block printing methods,” Jeff Powers said.

Four-packs will range from $12 - $20 and the brewery will rotate selections. They currently have their Whamber (American Amber Ale), Ruck-A-Chuck (American IPA), Zephyros (Hazy IPA), Red Sheeran (Irish Red), DIPA-potomus (Double IPA), Wee Nessie (Scottish Wee Heavy) and Cherry Saison available while stock lasts.

Buddy's Pizza opens at Royal Oak's Detroit Zoo


Buddy’s Pizza opened its newest location inside Royal Oak’s Detroit Zoo. This is the Detroit-style pizza chain’s 13th location in Michigan.

The 5,200-square-foot restaurant’s main dining room features a picturesque view of the historic Horace H. Rackham Memorial Fountain, along with an outdoor patio and a rooftop terrace with the highest vantage point in the zoo.

Read more.

Reiki, Yoga, and community outreach center opens in Waterford

Little Bird Holistic Arts has found a home in Waterford. And though it’s been serving clients since mid-August, the holistic wellness center celebrated with an open house Sunday, Sept. 23.

For Little Bird founder Carrie Mularoni, the open house was an opportunity to familiarize the public with the space itself but also Reiki, the energy-based healing technique that Mularoni teaches.

"The goal on Sunday was to open our doors and answer any questions people might have," Mularoni says. The open house opened and closed with a short meditation. Special vendors including a local soap maker and jeweler were also there for the event.

"This allowed me to reach people in a positive way."

Little Bird Holistic Arts offers a number of services, including Reiki, Yoga, sound therapy, and crystal healing. A retail section includes Himalayan salt lamps, crystals, jewelry, and more.

Mularoni first got involved in Reiki following an unfortunate accident. Eschewing the medications prescribed by her doctor, Mularoni studied Reiki, and she was, as she says, astounded by the results. She studied and became certified to teach the practice, eventually becoming certified to teach yoga, too.

Taking her time to open her own studio, Mularoni found the Waterford space and felt right about setting up shop there.

She wants Little Bird to be more than a studio but instead a community outreach center, one where everyone feels welcome.

"It’s very important for people to feel comfortable here," Mularoni says.

"I wanted a space where I could set people at ease, like if they were walking into a friend’s home."

She plans on hosting pop-up events, including others’ yoga classes, craft classes, and a kombucha-making workshop.

Little Bird Holistic Arts is located at 3792 Elizabeth Lake Rd. in Waterford.

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

The Salt & Sugar Co. has a newly opened restaurant in Clawson, a food truck and catering services


For Alisha and Jesse Nemeth, the Salt & Sugar Co. is a way to balance careers, faith and family.

“Our goals are to have a healthy family life and people don’t always get that,” said Alisha Nemeth, 36. “The goal for us is to prioritize our personal lifestyle and the business is there to support that. It’s about our family and our faith. This is a totally family-friendly environment. That’s what we’re trying to bring in for our customers.”

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Woodward Camera: 50 years and still "developing"


Woodward Camera, celebrating its 50th year in the landmark building that was designed specifically for their business, offers on-site processing – and sales of cameras, equipment and accessories; state-of-the-art video systems; photo gifts; classes; monthly photography contests – and is run by a longtime staff with decades of photography experience.

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Gongos moves 130+ employees to new Royal Oak facility

Gongos, Inc. officially opened the doors to its newly built 20,000 square-foot headquarters in the vibrant, downtown community of Royal Oak on Tuesday, August 28th.  This relocation marks the culmination of the company’s 2020 vision to deliver on “decision intelligence” for Fortune 500 corporations. As an early occupant of Royal Oak’s #RethinkRO initiative, Gongos’ new space was designed in collaboration with local partners to foster the kind of customer-centric culture it aims to help its clients create.
“Our growth and evolution made it clear that we needed to create an environment that fit the company we were rapidly becoming,” said president & CEO, Camille Nicita.  “In early 2018, we recalibrated our people system to adopt a more agile approach to serve our clients’ continuously expanding needs.”
Having integrated the disciplines of data science, information design, customer experience, and change management into its already strong consumer insights heritage, Gongos’ new people system was architected to offer equal footing among all disciplines. The progressive design further fuels collaboration, camaraderie and a people-first philosophy, while offering fresh perspectives on its clients’ consumer-minded business challenges.
Experiencing 13% organic revenue growth in 2017, Gongos ranks #42 among the largest market research organizations in the U.S.  Although its clients span the globe, Gongos is committed to remaining a Metro Detroit-based company. With 144 employees, it was just recognized as a Crain’s2018 “Cool Places to Work” and is among Corp! Magazine’s and the Detroit Free Press’ lists of companies recognized for top cultures and best practices.
As a decision intelligence company, Gongos, Inc. brings a consultative approach in developing growth strategies grounded in operationalizing customer centricity. Partnering with insights, analytics, marketing, strategy and CX groups, Gongos serves as a translator to help cross-functional teams fuel the competency to gain and apply consumer wisdom, transform decisions into action, and navigate organizational change. Coalescing enterprise data with primary research and curating insights for multiple audiences ensures information is designed to influence actions and behaviors from executives to the frontline.
Gongos partners with clients across multiple industries including Mars Wrigley, Kraft Heinz, Kellogg’s, FedEx, U.S. Bank, UnitedHealthcare and GM. In 2007, the company was first named to the Inc. 5000 list of “The Fastest Growing Companies in America” and is among the AMA Gold Top 50 U.S. market research organizations. For further insight into Gongos, visit the newly redesigned gongos.com.  

All-purpose vegan boutique to bring sustainable plant-based living to Oak Park

Nurah Ikpeama wants to revolutionize the way people shop for plant-based foods and products.

On the path to doing so, she’s taken an important next step. This Saturday, Aug. 25, Ikpeama is celebrating the grand opening of Electric Plate Vegan Shop, a multi-purpose space in the Crown Pointe Plaza building in Oak Park.

Electric Plate Vegan Shop is a vegan grocery boutique. The store will feature a mix of prepared foods and groceries--all vegan. Caffeine-free coffee is on the menu. Ikpeama will also host monthly forums on the plant-based lifestyle.

She’s also planning a vegan fest for later in the fall.

"For those of us living the plant-based lifestyle, we usually have to go to stores that aren’t dedicated to being vegan," Ikpeama says.

"Places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s might have vegan sections, but you still have to walk through the meat section. I don’t like that mix."

Ikpeama’s path to Electric Plate Vegan Shop began in 2015, when she transitioned from what she calls being a "dirty vegan" to a "clean vegan," a difference she explains as when she took plant-based cooking more seriously and stopped eating things like mass-produced cookies.

She began sharing her plant-based recipes on social media. Interest was so high that places around Detroit began inviting her to throw pop-up kitchen events. People then began to ask when she would have a permanent place of her own.

Electric Plate Vegan Shop is that place. Located on the third floor of the Crown Pointe building, Ikpeama says she chose the location because Oak Park is equally accessible from both the east and west sides.

Though not a full-service restaurant, Electric Plate will sell Ikpeama’s ready-made dishes. Most items, like her tacos and quinoa burgers, are served raw and don’t require ovens. The shop will also feature a variety of vegan-friendly groceries.

Electric Plate Vegan Shop is located on the third floor of 25900 Greenfield Rd. in Oak Park.

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

Southfield tech company offers better cloud connections for business

In an effort to better connect businesses and their cloud services, the Southfield-based data center, network, and voice infrastructure services provider 123Net is now providing high-speed connections between the parties.

Dubbed Cloud Connect, the service securely connects businesses and cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more. Doing so via Ethernet, the Cloud Connect service avoids the public Internet, not only bolstering security but also improving network performance issues.

"Over the past couple years, hundreds of Michigan businesses have migrated their data to the cloud," Chuck Irvin, director of network development at 123Net, said in release.

"Our Cloud Connect service will give these organizations dependable, high-capacity connectivity to cloud service providers. Proving a private, dedicated pipe assures our customers that they will fully leverage next generation’s cloud-based applications."

Three of the 123Net data centers are located in Southfield, with the fourth being located in Byron Center.

123Net celebrated the hiring of its 100th employee in December 2017. The company has previously stated that it plans on growing its employee base by 30 percent every year.

123Net is headquartered at 24700 Northwestern Hwy. in Southfield.

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

382 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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