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Entrepreneurship : In the News

192 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

Clawson's Three Cats Cafe and The Show: Dine, shop, repeat, drink!

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If you’re old enough to remember downtown Detroit’s beloved J.L. Hudson’s store, it was a magical oasis, especially around the holidays. You’d walk inside, dazzled by the displays, shop for gifts until your feet hurt, then head up the escalator to the cafe in the mezzanine for a quick repast of soup, salad, maybe a hotdog or a pastry. Then you’d get back to shopping.

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At The Red Wagon Shoppe in Troy, festive drinks make fabulous gifts

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Nothing says “celebrate” like popping open a fine bottle of champagne, watching the pale effervescence as you pour, toasting with a clink of your flute and feeling the tickle of tiny bubbles as you savor the first sip.

Salut! Let the party begin.

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Sweet treat: Mrs. Mason's Co. premium brittle

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Vonnie Miller has been hooked on Mrs. Mason’s scrumptious brittles nearly 20 years.

“It’s crunchier than other brittles,” says Miller, who is the community development director at Stagecrafters in Royal Oak.

“Hers is so natural.”

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Entrepreneurs collaborate to build up downtown Farmington

When the Azar family opened up Basement Burger Bar in downtown Farmington nine years ago, little did they know they would gain some wonderful friendships and entrepreneurial comradery with fellow downtown Farmington business owners.
 
“We opened 1up Arcade to be kind of a retro 1980s arcade bar with all of the old school games,” says Christina Azar. “We plan on doing a ton of events up there. Eventually, we will try to do a Mario Kart (TM) competition.”
 
“We should all work together and come up with ways to collaborate,” says Azar. “Honestly, Farmington is such a great city. We love it, I mean that’s why we chose to expand in Farmington.”
 
Sharing with skateboarders
 
Rob Woelkers, owner of Plus Skateboarding for the past 15 years and skateboarding enthusiast of 30 years, is one of the downtown business neighbors who has collaborated with Basement Burger Bar.
 
On September 21, the Azars held a soft opening of 1up Arcade, located conveniently upstairs to the bar. Woelkers was instrumental in gaining attention for both businesses from the community.
 
On that same day, Plus Skateboarding’s held its annual skateboard competition and The Volcom national skateboard team was in town for a tour at the Farmington Hills Riley Skatepark.
 
“We like to collaborate, and Rob approached us,” says Azar. “He had a national skateboard event and asked us if he could throw a party here and bring in some celebrity skateboarders. So, they wanted to come to play games and they did.”
 
“We have always had an after party after the competition with the judges and everybody who helps out,” says Woelker. “It worked out that that team was in town so we told them they should come to the after party, and the Azars opened up their new arcade bar for us and the guys. So, it was fun for the guys on the team to do that.”
 
Famous professional skateboarders like Omar Hassan and 14-year-old skateboarders CJ Collins and Louie Lopez were also in attendance, which gave the businesses some nice publicity.
 
It’s a date night!
 
The Azars are also giving away “Farmington Date Nights that capitalize on downtown business collaboration.
 
Azar says the giveaway idea evolved after the Farmington Police asked them for a donation.
 
“We gave them a Basement Burger Bar gift card and a 1up certificate for tokens, and then we gave him some free tickets and popcorn to the Farmington Civic Theater from (general manager) Scott Freeman,” he says.
 
“So, it’s a come in, eat, go play, have a drink, go watch a movie kind of night,” says Azar.
 
And it can all be done in downtown Farmington.

Co-working spaces thrive in Oakland County

As the workforce evolves and more people work remotely, an increasingly diverse array of Metro Detroiters are using co-working spaces to get the job done. Lawyers, marketing agencies, engineers and an acupuncturist are setting up shop in shared work locations throughout Oakland County.

The county boasts several shared or co-working spaces, which usually offer a mixture of desks, private offices, meeting rooms and other office amenities in a collaborative environment for entrepreneurs, remote workers, independent contractors, freelancers and other businesses. The county also is home to several virtual offices that can provide a physical mailing address, phone number, meeting rooms and other business services.

Lisa Schmidt, a lawyer who co-founded PatchWork Collective in Ferndale, said she opened the co-working space this summer to tap into the mobile workforce of people who define themselves by what they do rather than where they work.

PatchWork Collective’s members include a graphic designer, a recreational therapist and an acupuncturist. Schmidt’s law firm also operates out of the space. Members get 24/7 access for $220 per month while the daily drop-in rate is $20. Offices and conference rooms can be rented by the hour for $30 to $50, and there are discounts for students and nonprofits. Some offices are available for rent on a permanent basis.

“Mostly we want to be part of the changing work economy … we want to be there for that next generation of workers that just do work differently than previous generations have,” Schmidt says.

Oakland County has thousands of solo entrepreneurs in professional, knowledge-based industries, so co-working serves the area well, says Greg Doyle, manager of Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center and Tech248 initiative.

Over the years, Doyle said he’s heard from entrepreneurs who long for the vibrant, collaborative environment of areas like Silicon Valley or Boston, where people could walk into a coffee shop and easily find several entrepreneurs chatting and working on new ideas. Co-working is starting to create that environment in Oakland, Doyle says.

“They’re great places just to go and really meet up with people, but also I do believe that there’s a good amount of connectivity that results in business opportunities for folks,” he says.

Sharing more than a workspace

Michael Keith strives to provide a spot where people can bounce ideas off one another and find inspiration and guidance at The Office Coffee Shop in Royal Oak. The business is open to the public as a coffee shop and also offers flexible workspace. People can either grab a table and set up their laptop as they would at a Panera or other café, or they can reserve a table, rent a private office, conference room or larger meeting space.

“We have people that are looking to just get their first start and we help collaborate and help them meet their needs,” he says.

Keith works as a consulting engineer and found that when he travels to client sites, he’s more comfortable talking with his team outside of the office. While he said he doesn’t mind occasionally working from home, it gets tough to stay motivated and engaged that way. There are also benefits to working alongside people from varied backgrounds and industries.

“People pass a lot of work around, and that is natural and organic, and it’s without a cost, per se,” Keith says. “You come in, and it’s a functional space, but it’s not like you have to pay $500 or $600 a month to be a part of the community. To be a part, you just have to participate.”

Incubizo also sees itself as more than a place to just rent a desk. The co-working site in Ferndale has hosted events with business and government leaders to discuss improving the community and assisting entrepreneurs.

It serves a wide range of clients, including the Western Market grocery store, which uses the space for employee meetings and human resources needs. Incubizo also is working with the French American Chamber of Commerce and Oakland County’s economic development team to serve as a landing spot for international or other outside companies that are coming over to do business with local automakers or other companies, but aren’t ready to commit to large, permanent office space.

“There’s a lot of flexibility that they think is going to be very attractive for helping recruit businesses to Oakland County and grow the economy and so we’re really trying to be able to meet those needs as well,” says Incubizo’s Josh Champagne.


Check out these other co-working spaces in Oakland County:

Byte & Mortar
A play off the term brick and mortar, Byte & Mortar offers both virtual office services and physical office space in Troy. The virtual office includes mail and phone services, so people who work remotely can have a physical address and secretary to answer calls. The office offers coworking and private office space.

The Den
The Den, or Downtown Education Nook, operates in a historical log cabin in Auburn Hills and offers students and community members space for studying, coworking, leisure, and meeting with small groups. The Den is funded by tax increment financing.

ShareSpace
Founder Doug Van Slembrouck opened ShareSpace in his hometown of Rochester in 2014 after moving back from Chicago, where he had grown accustomed to taking advantage of the city’s numerous co-working spaces. The site offers shared desk space, reserved desk areas, and permanent semi-suites.

The 25 best distilleries in the U.S.

Royal Oak's Motor City Gas gets some top honors from Travel + Leisure in their latest roundup of the "25 best distilleries in the U.S." Check it out here, and congratulations to the folks at Motor City Gas! 

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 years of food, families, and "Opa!"

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“Opa!” exclaims John Kotsogiannis as he stops by a booth to greet a long-time customer with a warm handshake and a clap on the back. “Where’s your daughter? Still in New York?”

As the two men chat for a moment, John nods his head and smiles at other lunch patrons who are picking up or ordering carry-outs or looking at menus, seated in his restaurant’s newly renovated booths and tables.

“We’ve been in Birmingham for 24 years,” says John. “I’ve seen families grow up here.”

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Profiles in taste: Meet Farmington's farmers and artisans

Back in 1993, a handful of farmers began selling produce from their trucks in the parking lot in the Village Commons Mall in Farmington. Then in 1996, with encouragement from Market Master Walt Gajewski, a planning partnership between the city and Wayne State University was formed.
 
This committee envisioned the farmers’ market as the focal point for downtown Farmington. In October 2005, construction of the pavilion completed and opened as the new 30,000 square foot Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market.
 
This year marks the market’s 25th Anniversary and second year of winning Best Farmers Market award by WDIV’s Best of Detroit awards.
 
Every week, 40 or more vendors, including local 15 farmers, provide fresh products grown within 400 miles of Farmington. From produce to artisan crafts, to children’s activities and weekly live entertainment, to delicious and hot apple cider doughnuts, it is no wonder why Farmington receives 80,000 visitors each year.
 
Cooking demonstrations make the market even more appealing for visitors.
 
“We have a chef’s series called ‘Cooking in the Market,’” says Gajewski. “For example, John Cowley & Sons was at the market with a generations-old family recipe demonstrating Irish potato soup.”
 
“One of the great things about our market is there’s certain solidarity amongst all of the vendors,” adds Gajewski.
 
Metromode visited the market to meet some of the vendors and shoppers in the pavilion. Here’s who we met and what we learned.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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192 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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