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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

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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

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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

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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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Birdie's Something Chocolate makes a ganache with panache

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A treasured recipe that starred at family gatherings for years has turned into a second career for Kathleen “Birdie” Sheridan. It’s for a rich chocolate ganache that her chef son, Andy Sheridan, has developed into a surprisingly versatile treat. In fact, Birdie’s Something Chocolate became a full-time job for the freelance writer and food stylist from Troy, who had been writing articles for local and national publications for 15 years before immersing herself in chocolate.

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The Barber Pole: a step back in time in Downtown Birmingham

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Now in its 70th year, The Barber Pole is Birmingham’s oldest, still-operating business, and it hasn’t changed much at all through seven decades and three generations of owners.

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Amtech sponsors the First Annual Acton Oakland Children's Business Fair

Could a ten-year-old invent the next Über? Attendants will find out at the First Annual Acton Oakland Children’s Business Fair on May 19.

Designed to showcase kids’ entrepreneurial genius, this event is sponsored by Acton Academy of Oakland County, the Acton School of Business, Amtech Electrocircuits and generous support from donors and volunteers. It runs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at 530 Pine St, Rochester, 48307. This event is free and open to the public.

At this event, 30 young entrepreneurs, aged 6-13, will be challenged to create a product or service, develop a brand, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers. The children are responsible for the setup, sales, and interacting with customers.

This event has acted as a springboard to many successful ventures. One previous competitor from 2009, Makaila Ulmer of Bee Sweet Lemonade, is now sold in Whole Foods Market in Texas as a result of her young business savvy.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s business innovators and leaders. The Children’s Business Fair gives students the opportunity to spread their entrepreneurial wings and get a head start on promising business careers,” said Jeff Sandefer, founder of the Acton School of Business, one of the sponsors of the fair.

Both adult sponsors and young entrepreneurs are available for interviews on camera or off.

For more information, please contact Jay Patel at 248-607-0648 or cbf@acton248.org.

Clarkston Food Truck Rally to feature 16 food trucks

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The Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional Network will host the third annual Food Truck Rally on Friday, May 18.

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Chef plans Japanese bakery with traditional, cutting-edge pastries

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Chef Doran Brooks promises his pastries will never bore you. 

Comfort you? Yes. Bring a little fun to your dessert plate? Absolutely. Add an unexpected twist to a traditional tiramisu or chocolate mousse? Expect it.

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Fillmore 13 sets out to manufacture and distribute craft beers from Pontiac with $100,000 grant

Fillmore 13 Brewery was one of several Pontiac businesses receiving funding on March 14 as part of The Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program funded by Flagstar Bank. The grant program aims to offer one award annually to support manufacturing businesses to grow in Pontiac.

 

The brewery, which opened its doors in downtown Pontiac in March of 2017, was awarded $100,000 to launch manufacturing and distribution of its craft beers under the brand Fillmore 13: Brewed in Pontiac, MI.

 

Lee Roumaya, the owner of Fillmore 13, says he plans to use the funds to acquire canning and bottling materials as well as hire two new staff to assist with distribution. Funds will also support marketing and promotion of the product line regionally to bars, restaurants, and retailers.

 

“This will be a huge help for us, and it'll give us the opportunity with the funding to move forward,” says Kourmaya. “It'll help pay for more labor in the brewery, more products, a canning system, and a promotional program to get our name out there, and let people know we exist, and we are making beer in Pontiac.”

 

Kourmaya expects it will take three to six months before Fillmore 13 products will be available in bars, restaurants, and stores.

 

Brewer Bo Holcomb recommends Fillmore 13’s Abricot Belgian Ale. “It’s served right to the line between being a traditional Abbey Pale, and then with the addition of the apricot, opens it up to a lot of other beer drinkers that might sort of stay away from a Belgian style.”

 

This is the second announcement of grants under the Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program. On January 8, 11 grantees were announced in the first round of funding. Today, nine more are being announced in the second round of funding including:
 

  1. Fillmore 13 - $100k

  2. Your World Electric - $10k

  3. Libby International - $10k

  4. K&R Studios - $10k

  5. Plug N Play - $10k

  6. Upholstery with Class - $4k

  7. E&K Arts and More - $5k

  8. Epiphany Studios - $6k

  9. Max Out Fitness - $10k


The Pontiac Big Idea Grant Program is committed to investing $700,000 per year into Pontiac over five years. Of the total $3.5 million overall planned investment, approximately $500,000 will be allocated in the form of grants and $250,000 in the form of business loans, with an average grant size of $10,000 and an average loan size of $5,000 to $25,000. The disbursement is being leveraged through a partnership with CEED Lending, a Small Business Administration lender.

Artisan market coming to downtown Rochester this spring

Work is underway at the former Heller's Jewelry building in downtown Rochester. Pamela Walther and her husband Ryan are currently in the midst of extensive renovations to the building, which will soon become home to their Bizzy Buzz Artisan Market. The Walthers hope for a spring opening.

Bizzy Buzz has already accepted 22 artist vendors and is currently on the hunt for more. Items fashioned from glass, pottery, metal and more will make up their inventory of locally made fashion, jewelry, and home decor items. The Walthers are even carrying records from famous Detroiter Jack White's Third Man Records, complete with a listening station to preview records.

"For local artisans, what makes us different than other markets is that the vendors don't have to be here," Pamela says. "Just keep the shelves stocked. We'll take care of the rest."

The building itself is a piece of locally-made art in its own right. Built in the year 1900, the renovation process has peeled away decades worth of modifications to the building. The drop ceilings have been removed to expose the original tin-tiled ceilings. Even the walls have been removed to expose tin tiles covering the bricks. Pamela says those tiles will be relocated to cover the cinder block-walled addition in the back, leaving the original exposed bricks up front.

Another discovery was a bank vault built in the 1890s. While the previous owner of the building kept his lunch in the vault, the Walthers are planning on using it as the Third Man Records listening booth and display area.

"It's just the perfect spot. As much work as the building needed, we decided to give it a go," says Pamela. "We put the word out to the artisans and got a real good turnout."

"It won't take long to fill up."

Local artisans interested in having Bizzy Buzz carry their products can apply online via the company's website.

Bizzy Buzz is located at 409 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester.

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

Escape adds adventure to a bowling alley

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When Jeff Forman purchased the bowling alley formerly know as Troy Lanes four years ago, he had a few ideas for some updates. As of this month, those updates are now operational under the bowling alley’s new name, Escape, and they added a lot of new amenities.

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Meet 8 tech companies proving there's more to the Midwest

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To those who see the Midwest as just a series of “flyover states” boasting little more than highways and cornfields, it may come as a surprise that this region is experiencing a tech revolution.

All across the heartland of America, tech startups are growing, drawn by gainful advantages like lower salary costs, higher standards of living for employees and less competition. Burnt out on the intensity of Silicon Valley? It seems the Midwest is the place to be.

Here are eight technology companies — all led by members of Forbes Technology Council — that are achieving success in the Midwest, including Ambassador in Royal Oak, Michigan. 

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Oakland County improves IT security assessment tool

Oakland County has launched an updated version of CySAFE, a free information technology security assessment tool to help small and mid-sized organizations assess, understand and prioritize their basic IT security needs, Deputy County Executive and CIO Phil Bertolini announced today. CySAFE 2.0 has five new controls: email and web protections, monitoring and review of third party services, physical and environmental security, penetration tests and red team exercises, and compliance.

“IT security threats are always evolving,” Bertolini said. “We’ve updated CySAFE so businesses and governments will have the latest from three well-known IT security frameworks when evaluating the security status of the apps they use to conduct business internally and externally.”

CySAFE 2.0 condenses and removes redundancies from three well-known IT security frameworks: NIST, CIS 20, and ISO 27001.

“CySAFE combines the 400-plus controls from all three frameworks into one condensed list, removing any redundant controls and assesses the controls against the organization's current IT security capabilities,” said Chris Burrows, Oakland County’s chief information security officer.

After downloading and completing an IT security evaluation form online, which takes 60-90 minutes, CySAFE 2.0 generates a priority list and trending graphs for an organization’s IT security needs. The most critical updates will be in red.

“The data an organization enters is private and only stored in Excel format,” Burrows said.

For more information about CySAFE 2.0, go to G2GMarket.com. CySAFE is a collaborative effort of five Michigan counties – Oakland, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw, and Wayne - and the state of Michigan.
174 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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