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Entrepreneurship : In the News

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Business pitch event comes to Troy, creates investment opportunities for entrepreneurs

Pitch Club is coming to Oakland County.

Kyyba Innovations and Bodman PLC are hosting the event, which takes place at the Automation Alley offices in Troy on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Pitch Clubs are hosted throughout the year in cities across Michigan, including Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Lansing.

The mentoring and funding program intends to connect economic ecosystems and smart zones throughout the state. The event is both an educational and networking opportunity for entrepreneurs.

In addition to an as-yet-to-be-announced keynote speaker, three entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges. Entrepreneurs could then be selected to present to the investment team of Kyyba Innovations during their quarterly Angels meeting. Investment opportunities range from $25,000 to $100,000.

The list of judges include David A. Stone, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer, Professor, Health SciencesProfessor, Philosophy, Oakland University; Chris Stallman, Partner, FONTINALIS PARTNERS, LLC; Damien Rocchi, CEO & Founder, Grand Circus; Jacob Evan Smith, Director of Detroit Venture for America; Tember Shea, Director inGAGE, Inforum; and Kristin Welch, Corporate Strategist, Technology Leader, Relationship Builder.

"Pitch Club provides a tremendous opportunity for cross-pollination and increased deal flow across Michigan, something that currently is not at the level it should be. This program will be very valuable for both the startup entrepreneurs and investors and will hopefully create a meaningful dialogue, as well as a technological and economic impact for the entire region," says Tel Ganesan, Managing Director, Kyyba Innovations.

"In order to make this initiative even more successful, I encourage seasoned entrepreneurs in each of these areas to join us by serving as a mentor."

Visit Pitch Club online to learn about registration opportunities.

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

Maple Lane Florist in Clawson: Serving customers for five generations


Anna Frost, from Clawson, was sending flowers to a funeral home. Her oldest friend’s mother had passed away at the age of 96 after a brief illness.

“I was sad for my friend, of course, but I wanted a flower arrangement that wasn’t ‘funeral-ish,’” Anna says. “I called Maple Lane Florist on Crooks Road in Clawson and was helped by a man that I believe was the owner’s son.”

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Royal Oak's Tania's Pizza celebrates 31 years


Talking to Amos Sheena, his energy is palpable.

“I get enjoyment from so many parts of it. It’s the challenge of seeing the next level,” Sheena said. “I don’t want to be 1,000 stores across the country, at least not today. The vision is there, but I want to focus on a true feeling of accomplishment I get when I can help the youth understand more than they did yesterday.”

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Westborn Markets continues made in Michigan focus with private label wines

Westborn Market, a consistent supporter of all things Michigan-made is adding two new proprietary Michigan-made items to its shelves this month, premium white wines from St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, Michigan. 
The exclusive new Unoaked Chardonnay Pinot Grigio wines, grown in the Lake Michigan Shore appellation, arrived in stores this month and are the latest entrants in Westborn's exclusive private label offerings.
Consistent with Westborn’s constant search for the most innovative, highest quality and tastiest products in Michigan, the grocer has successfully partnered with St. Julian, Michigan’s oldest, largest and most award-winning winery, several times in the past. 
“One of our goals has always been to feature the best of Michigan made products and we’ve had sell-out success whenever we’ve partnered with St. Julian,” says Westborn CEO Bryan Bandyk.  “They produce consistently great products that appeal to Westborn shoppers so we’re always happy to see St. Julian products on our shelves.”
“We share Westborn’s passion for locally made products. In fact, all of our fruits are Michigan grown, so we always have the freshest ingredients,” says Justin Weeks, St. Julian’s Marketing Director.  “Like Westborn, we’re a long-time family-owned and operated business, completely dedicated to delivering only the finest products.”
The new MI Wines are the latest entries to join Westborn Market's growing roster of hand selected private label partnerships and will carry Westborn's "Drink Good Wine" motto and name. The private label program is designed to find high-quality and imaginative local products that Westborn shoppers desire.  Westborn's emphasis on locally sourced products is an important way for the market to identify and stock the newest and most interesting creations.  At the same time, Westborn seeks to help raise the profile of newer items, supporting entrepreneurs and helping to grow and improve the overall Michigan food economy.
“Michigan’s food, beer and wine industries are becoming an increasingly important part of the state’s overall economy, contributing more than $100 billion annually. Anything we can do to help it along is good for everyone, including our customers.” concludes Bandyk.
For more information about Westborn Market, including its new private label wines, please visit www.westbornmarket.com.
About Westborn Market: Westborn Market (www.westbornmarket.com) is a Michigan-based business dedicated to bringing the freshest and finest quality produce, meats, cheeses and specialty groceries to the metropolitan Detroit market. With locations in Berkley, Dearborn, Livonia and Plymouth, Westborn is committed to freshness, variety and uncompromised customer service.

Join one of Zelma's groups and see the world


Zelma Gottlieb is always on call.

“I can always tell how my day is going by how many calls I get at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I rarely let a call go to voicemail.”

Gottlieb is a one-woman show at Zelma Travels. She organizes group tours to places as close as Stratford, Ontario, and Traverse City, to as far as Italy, France and across Europe.

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The Yarn Stop: "Winding up" two years of commerce, classes, community engagement—and fun


Troy resident Susan Hendrie is knitting a sweater for a new baby in her family. A soft, cozy rainbow of muted reds, blues, and yellows, the project is almost completed.

“I needed a little help finishing it,” Hendrie says, “so I came here to a daily “Help Me” session at The Yarn Stop in Clawson, where I can have time, one-on-one, with a yarn project instructor.”

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Ray's Ice Cream, selling happiness for 60 years


Wilma Andrews has never missed an Andrews family reunion. Even after moving from Berkley to Denver, her entire year’s schedule is arranged so that she is free to travel and to spend a week socializing with kids, grandkids, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends and attend a huge reunion picnic at Lake St. Clair Metropark.

But to Andrews, just as important during her yearly visit as that picnic, is at least one visit to Ray’s Ice Cream on Coolidge in Royal Oak.

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Bellagio Hair Studio in Troy celebrates fifth-year anniversary


For Joan Grohar of Clarkston, driving 25 minutes to get her hair done at Bellagio Hair Studio is well worth it.

“It gives you the feeling of space, even though the square footage is not that large. Even when it’s crowded, you still feel like you’re getting personal attention and you get your spa moment,” Grohar stated. “We lived in Bloomfield for years, so I’m adjusting to driving long distances. This is worth it. That receptionist, when she greats you with that smile, it just makes your day.”

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Jax Kar Wash: Shining your machine for 65 years


A lot of crazy things can happen in a car wash. Just ask Bruce Milen or his son Jason Milen, second- and third-generation owners of Jax Kar Wash. 

While they haven’t witnessed anything like the classic “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode — in which Larry David and Cheryl Hines get stuck in the malfunctioning car wash after she has just downed a dose of colon cleanser — the Milens have their own hilarious stories to laugh about.

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Canterbury Village announces weekend pop-up market

Olde World Canterbury Village, located in Lake Orion, Mich., recently announced plans to open a renovated Weekend Pop-Up Market this fall featuring local Michigan vendors and artisans. Opening in September, Canterbury Village Weekend Pop-Up Market will be a free, indoor weekend shopping experience similar to Pop-Up Markets across the country that have grown in popularity.

“It was time to do something new here at Canterbury Village,” said Keith Aldridge. “We have a beautiful setting and facilities, and we want to offer that to local artisans and vendors looking for a space to sell their retail and products. It’s a great partnership with the community and helps us give back to local entrepreneurs.”

The landmark location, once home to the historic Scripps mansion, currently houses Yates Cider Mill at Canterbury Village, as well as Aldridge’s Always Christmas and other boutique shops. The Village also hosts events attended by hundreds throughout the year.

Canterbury Village Weekend Pop-Up Market is currently seeking artisans, vendors, specialty food items and boutiques to be featured in market areas. Vendors will have the option of leasing space for one week or for the entire season. Long term leasing will also have access to storage space.

“The Weekend Pop-Up Market will be perfect for those looking to sell their items for the holiday season,” said Aldridge. “With Yates at Canterbury Village located here, it also makes a great fall family day. We are truly excited about seeing more of the community visit Canterbury Village once again.”

Canterbury Village is located at 2359 Joslyn Court in Lake Orion. For more information, or to become a vendor, call 248-390-3974 or email ka@canterburyvillage.com. For more information on upcoming events at Canterbury Village, visit www.canterburyvillage.com.

UHY Michigan celebrates 50 years; donates 50k

This year marks the 50th anniversary for UHY LLP Michigan (formerly Follmer Rudziewicz). To commemorate this special milestone, the firm has exciting plans, including pledging $50,000 in the form of $1,000 donations to 50 different local charities who need it most. They’re also sponsoring a temporary exhibit filled with 20th century accounting artifacts at the Detroit Historical Society in the Streets of Old Detroit.

What started in 1968 as a two-man operation in Southfield has evolved into one of southeast Michigan’s largest accounting firms. Founder Gordon Follmer, 81, is still largely a part of the business as he was 50 years ago. Client retention is another reason the firm has enjoyed success, and there are several clients who have been with them since day one. In the year 2000, a multi-firm merger formed UHY in the US and today has 18 locations across the country.

“Fifty years in business is a huge accomplishment in itself”, said Tom Callan, CEO of UHY’s Michigan practice. “Being able to enjoy the year-over-year growth and employee involvement and excitement makes this anniversary that much more special”. Callan has been with the firm since 1992, starting off his career as a junior accountant. The average tenure for UHY’s partner/principal group is 20 plus years, of which over half of them came fresh out of college and have stayed their entire career.

To kick off the half-century celebration, the firm held an extravagant birthday party at the Crofoot in Pontiac, buried a time capsule, passed out employee gifts and grand prize giveaways that will continue through the end of the year, displayed several oversized banners in and around their buildings, and sealed every piece of busy season mail with a special anniversary gold logo – to name a few.

In additional to charitable contributions, future plans include more employee and client surprises, billboards and other advertisements, and maybe even a community event collaboration with a very familiar city also celebrating its 50th birthday.

Brewery celebrates first year with Feelgood Tap and ethical clothing launch

HomeGrown Brewing Company is celebrating its first year in business by joining the Michigan Feelgood Tap program and selling T-shirts made from water bottles. Since opening in April last year, the Oxford brewery has been focusing on being socially and environmentally responsible and owners John and Marie Powers said this next step is a way of “putting their money where their mouth is”.

The Feelgood Tap program supports Michigan-based charities, and means that $1 of a selected beer at HomeGrown will go to a nominated cause, starting with their Mexican Lager release this Thursday. The charity program was launched in 2016 by Stephen Roginson of Batch Brewing Company (in Corktown Detroit) and 33 Michigan breweries have joined the program already.

“There are enormous opportunities for breweries to give back to the communities they are in, and that they depend on,” says John Powers.

"We're delighted to add yet another member to the Feelgood Tap family in Oakland County, and our first in Oxford," said Feelgood Tap founder Stephen Roginson. "We're looking forward to doing exciting work with HomeGrown and, along with their patrons, creating a lot of change for important causes both local to Oxford and across the state."

As part of its ethical drive, HomeGrown has also launched a new clothing range, with t-shirts made by Vapor Apparel using recycled materials. The yarn used in the clothing, named Eco Repreve, is made from 100 percent recycled fibers, even from soda pop and water bottles.

“It’s incredible that we can take items like water bottles and recycle them into clothing – and they actually feel really comfortable,” says Marie Powers. “When we heard about it we thought ‘we have to be a part of this’.”

The brewery also looks to its own backyard when sourcing ingredients. HomeGrown sources vegetables from Oxford’s Simple Gift Farms, meats from Oxford’s East River Organic Farm, coffee from Lake Orion’s White Pine Coffee, honey from Oxford’s Golden Apiaries, malt from Motor City Malt House, hops from MI Hops in Traverse City, yeast strains from Craft Cultures in the Upper Peninsula, and wine from Michigan’s Black Star Farms. Completing the cycle, spent grain from the brewing process goes to local farms to be used as feed and the brewery donates surplus food to local food bank.

Head Brewer Joe Powers said the benefits of getting ingredients from local producers are obvious. “To be able to source everything from hops to yeast in our own state is incredible, and makes for a top-quality beer.”

Royal Oak Golf Center: A swingin' time for everyone


It’s a perfect 76 degrees on a stellar blue-sky afternoon at the Royal Oak Golf Center. The air is sweet with the smell of new-mown grass and the constant sound of range balls being whacked, and pals Matt Song of Franklin and John Calso of West Bloomfield are geeked about the new Power Tee system they’re trying out.

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Handmade: Designer has finger on pulse of knitwear


She’s fashionably modern, on the cutting edge for designing up-to-date knitwear, and willing to share her knitting skills with others by instructing classes at local yarn shops and elsewhere.

Meet Cassondra Rizzardi, 30, of Ferndale, who learned to knit and crochet as a young child from her grandmother.

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Birmingham Chocolate bars meet Westborn potato chips in product collaboration


Westborn Market customers can satisfy their Birmingham Chocolate cravings through a new product line called Eat Good Chocolate.

The two businesses have teamed to create a line of chocolate bars in seven different flavors that are sold at Westborn Market under its private label partnership program. 

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184 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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