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Oakland University bringing Plum Market to campus Fall 2018

Plum Market will become Oakland University’s newest dining partner and will be located in the newly renovated Oakland Center on the university’s Rochester campus.

Plum Market is a privately-owned Michigan-based company operating five full-service grocery stores, a location at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and more than 10 food service operations across Southeast Michigan and Chicago.
 
Plum Market was selected for its variety of healthier and innovative food choices and desire to help build a sense of community around dining. The company specializes in using only the freshest ingredients with an emphasis on organic produce and All Natural meats, and locally-sourced products. Oakland University serves a volume of 23,000 meals a week and just over 350,000 meals each semester.
 
Chris Reed, Director of the Oakland Center, said, “Along with our campus-wide food service vendor Chartwells Higher Education, OU is proud to partner with Plum Market as the flagship dining location in the Oakland Center, which is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion. The Plum Market location will include a CoffeeBar featuring freshly brewed Zingerman’s Coffee, so this opportunity to bring two well-known Michigan-based companies into this highly anticipated facility expansion provides something new and exciting for the OU community.” Plum Market will be the centerpiece on the main level of the new expansion.
 
Students will now have access to Plum Market’s variety of chef crafted options that are made from scratch. Typical menu options will include:
  • A Showcase featuring seasonally fresh composed salads and globally infused recipes
  • All Natural meat and seafood entrées available at our Carving Station
  • Grab & Go artisan sandwiches and Organic snacks
  • All Natural soups with vegetarian choices and meat-based options
  • A CoffeeBar featuring Zingerman’s brewed coffee and freshly baked goods offered daily 
The mission is to recreate how people think about eating.  With the growing attention to food quality and eating healthy, Oakland University and Plum Market’s partnership will focus on quality food, service, and a level of engagement with students and faculty will go beyond to meet the expectations. Plum Market customizes each menu to best fit the specific wants and needs of students and faculty, including accommodating food allergies.

“This is an exciting time for Oakland University, and the relationship with Plum Market will truly enhance the student experience on campus," said Glenn McIntosh, VP for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at OU. "Not only will this help attract new students, but it will also be a destination for the local community to visit campus and become a part of Oakland University.”
 
This program’s goals align directly with Oakland University’s vision to bring healthy, high- quality meals to college dining options.  “We could not be more excited to open this Plum Market location,” said Plum Market CEO and Co-Founder Matt Jonna. “It’s an honor to have our brand complement Oakland University’s newly renovated dining facility. We believe our concept brings fresh and healthy offerings many of the students and staff will appreciate.”
 
About Plum Market: Plum Market is your source for Natural, Organic, and Local food and beverage essentials. The Michigan-based company is privately-owned by Matt and Marc Jonna, and operates five full-service grocery stores across Bloomfield Township, Michigan; West Bloomfield, Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois; and has a location in the McNamara Terminal of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Plum Market’s Food Service division operates more than 10 locations across Southeastern Michigan.  For more information, visit www.plummarket.com, join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/PlumMarket and follow us @PlumMarket on Twitter and Instagram. 
 
About Oakland University: Oakland University is a doctoral, research university located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the cities of Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills in Oakland County, Michigan. The University has 140 bachelor's degree programs and 137 graduate degree and certificate programs. Oakland is a nationally recognized public university with nearly 20,000 students. Academics include programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration, School of Education and Human Services, School of Engineering and Computer Science, School of Health Sciences, School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

Clarkston's Vertical Drop Ski Shop offers U.S.'s first virtual skiing simulator

Excerpt

Vertical Drop Ski Shop, a full-service ski retailer in Clarkston, now offers the SkyTechSport Ski Simulator that combines smart sensor technology and virtual reality to create the effects of an actual ski slope for athletes of all levels.

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Oakland County retailers encouraged to register to win $1,000 in Small Business Saturday promo

Oakland County small businesses that hope to see green during the upcoming holiday shopping season could pocket a little green for themselves - $1,000 – just for registering for Oakland County’s Small Business Saturday to Saturday promotion.

Small Business Saturday to Saturday begins Nov. 25 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving – and runs until Dec. 2. It offers shoppers who make a purchase of any amount at any independently owned small business in Oakland County the chance to win $5,000, courtesy of North American Bancard; $2,000, courtesy of Bank of Ann Arbor; and a $500 voucher toward travel on Southwest Airlines, courtesy of Bishop International Airport in Flint.

“This is a win-win for both the small businesses and the customers,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

“Customers have this singular opportunity to do some holiday shopping, support local businesses and get a chance at an incredible payday. Business owners get the boost of having additional holiday traffic in their stores and the chance to win $1,000, just for registering.”

Shoppers must enter a picture of their receipt from a purchase made from Nov. 25- Dec. 2 at any small brick and mortar business in Oakland County to be eligible to win one of the prizes.

As an incentive to encourage small businesses to register and promote the contest to its customers, CEED Lending is offering a $1,000 American Express gift card to a randomly selected business and an additional $500 to the business employee who waits on the winning customer. There is no cost for a business to register.

Businesses may register online at www.AdvantageOakland.com/ShopSmall and are automatically entered into the $1,000 gift card drawing. Businesses will also be encouraged to remind shoppers not to forget small retailers for their holiday shopping. The program is patterned after the “Shop Small” campaign developed by American Express.

Free promotional materials are available to registered businesses at Oakland County’s One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford. Materials can be picked up Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Flagstar Bank launches small business development funding in Pontiac

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.”

Flagstar’s initial disbursement of $500,000 will be leveraged through a partnership with CEED Lending, a Small Business Administration lender. Although the program will offer direct grants and loans, most of the disbursements are expected to be a combination of SBA loans and Flagstar grants to achieve maximum leverage. By blending grants with loans, Flagstar is able to add collateral and security to loan requests, thus making the loans more creditworthy, providing more capital to borrowers, and lowering the repayment amount.

“This kind of funding can be a lifeline for struggling businesses that need a little help to thrive,” said Beverly Meek, CRA director for Flagstar. “One small business in Pontiac has already been approved for a loan/grant combination in the pilot phase, and another is awaiting CEED loan approval.”

Meek said funding also will be used to support manufacturing in Pontiac, non-SBA loans, and grant opportunities identified by Pontiac Main Street Advisory Council.

“Everything we’re doing, we’re doing with input from the community,” Meek said. “It was the community who told us small businesses—especially micro-businesses—needed grant money to help them qualify for SBA loans. Zero percent loans and grants was what we heard from the community.

“Another thing the community wanted was a one-stop website where small businesses could find everything they needed to start and do business in Pontiac. And Flagstar responded with a $10,000 grant to build a web portal for the city.”

CEED Lending, an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, provides small business loans to start-up and existing enterprises in nine counties in Southeast Michigan. CEED is the lender for the SBA loans associated with the program.

“The partnership with Flagstar is a great opportunity to move the needle on small business lending in Pontiac,” said Michelle Richards, executive director of CEED Lending. “We’re looking for good things to happen in Pontiac with CEED’s expertise in SBA lending enhanced by small business grants from Flagstar.”

Detroit's Guardian Building gets high-end glass store

Excerpt:

Shopping in downtown Detroit just got more intriguing.

Epiphany Studios of Pontiac, which sells fine-art glass, has opened a handsome pop-up store in the Guardian Building that will be around at least through the holiday season.

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Conservation-focused Hemingway Coffee to launch online business

Excerpt: 

A conservation-focused coffee company connected to descendants of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway is set to launch in metro Detroit this week.

Hemingway Coffee, founded by Tom Black in his Bloomfield Hills home, is an e-commerce and distribution company that appeals to outdoor and conservation enthusiasts, according to a news release.

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Budding soap mogul invited to speak at conference

Excerpt

For such a young man, Spencer Kelly is certainly accomplishing a lot in life.

Last year, the Oxford Virtual Academy/homeschooled student unleashed his entrepreneurial spirit and founded his own business.

This year, Spencer, an Orion Township resident, will be a panelist and exhibitor at the US Autism & Asperger Association’s (USAAA) 12th Annual World Conference and Expo to be held in Portland, Oregon Aug. 24-27.

Read more

Board announces business workshop on August 9th

On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, in partnership with the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs and Purchasing, will present a business workshop for local business owners and entrepreneurs. The event is free and will begin at 2:00pm in the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center at 2100 Pontiac Lake Road (Building 41W) in Waterford, Michigan.

The program is designed to provide business owners, entrepreneurs, vendors, suppliers and contractors with information about the many free business services and resources the County offers. Attendees can learn how to become a registered vendor with Oakland County, access the One Stop Shop Business Center’s many resources, explore business financing options and connect with Oakland County Michigan Works! offices. Oakland County Commissioners Janet Jackson, Michael Spisz and Gary R. McGillivray will host the event, which will also feature a Q&A session and tabletop exhibits.

“Oakland County offers many opportunities for business owners to improve their companies, open a new business or expand their reach into a larger market,” said Commissioner Michael Spisz, Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “I hope to see a lot of local businesses participate and take advantage of this event.”

“Small business entrepreneurship is the life blood in communities,” stated Commissioner Janet Jackson. “It is essential, as the Board of Commissioners, to provide information and forums that help educate and foster fledgling businesses. These activities can level the playing field and spur economic development for all of our residents.”

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners created this executive summary event in response to many questions from the local business community, and it is a great opportunity to explore the many services Oakland County offers to help local businesses grow and thrive.

“This will be a great opportunity to learn how your company can bid on projects Oakland County has available,” added Commissioner Gary R. McGillivray. “You will also learn about Oakland County services that will benefit your business free of charge!”

To register, go to www.oakgov.com/boc and click on the “Register Today!” link under the “Oakland is Open for Business!” section on the home page. For more information, please contact Connie Srogi at 248-858-4078 or srogic@oakgov.com.

Free or low-cost business classes offered in July/August at One Stop Shop Business Center

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by the experts at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call 248-858-0783.

July/August Workshops:

Starting a Business
July 6 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 27 | 10 a.m. - noon Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Aug. 3 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. This workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Market Research Basics
July 11 | 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Aug. 31 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Ready to grow your business? Our Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Social Media for Business Growth
July 12 | 9-11:30 a.m.
Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business.
Whether you call it social media, social networking, web 2.0 or internet marketing, the question on every professional’s mind is this: “Is social media a waste of time or an essential power tool for business in a post phonebook world?”

Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into
gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. It covers:
• Three things you MUST do to find success on each platform
• How to use status updates that gain attention
• Ways to manage priorities so you’re not stuck in an endless loop
• How to make posting simpler
• The fastest way to grow your audience
• Which platforms are best for you

Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
July 12 | 9-11 a.m.
Aug. 9 | 9-11 a.m.
Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County?

Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

August Workshops

Five Steps to LinkedIn Mastery
Aug. 3 | 9-11:30 a.m.
While Facebook looks like any number of reality TV shows, LinkedIn is the business documentary you need to watch. You've done the "Google myself" thing, right? Most people are surprised (and excited) to find their LinkedIn profile is the first result. Since Google uses LinkedIn that well, shouldn't you?

When you use LinkedIn right, it's much easier to:
- Be found by prospective clients and/or employers
- Locate and learn about the decision makers you need to meet
- Stay current in your industry
- Stay top of mind with your network
- Check out future employees and partners
- Use all of the bells and whistles you didn't know existed

LinkedIn really is a power tool. It's part SEO monster, part contact manager, part resume, part research tool and it's ALL business. The better we all get at networking, the better all of our networking will be.

Speaker: Terry Bean, Founder of Networked Inc. and Motor City Connect
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

Team SBA Financing Roundtable
Aug. 29 | 9 a.m.-noon
Need the inside scoop on how to obtain a business loan? Attend the Team SBA Financing Roundtable to find out how banks evaluate your application. Learn how to improve your chances for a business loan and how SBA loan guarantee programs can help you get financing. This workshop is best suited to those with good credit, a solid business idea and funds of their own to invest in the business. If you want to improve your chances of obtaining a business loan, then this workshop is for you.

Note: Because the SBA does not provide loan guarantees to real estate investment firms, including purchasing and rehabbing houses for resale, this type of financing is not discussed at the roundtable.
Cost: Free | Registration Required

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi

WalkIn-StartUp Small Business Counseling
July 6 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 3 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi
Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes.

Free or low-cost business classes offered in June/July at the Oakland County One Stop Shop

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for assistance are encouraged to attend high-value, low- or no-cost business workshops offered by experts at Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, west of Telegraph, in Waterford. For pre-registration and a location map, visit www.AdvantageOakland.com/businessworkshops or call (248) 858-0783.

June/July Workshops:

Market Research Basics
June 13 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 11 | 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Ready to grow your business? Our Market Research Basics workshop helps you discover ways to find your ideal customers, identify your competitors, perform competitive analysis, identify new site locations, target direct mail campaigns, reveal untapped markets and expand to new and appropriate markets. If you are ready to grow your business, the Market Research Basics workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required

Starting a Business
June 15 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 6 | 9-11:30 a.m.
July 27 | 10 a.m. - noon

Troy Public Library - 510 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
Thinking about starting a business? This workshop is designed for individuals who are at the beginning stages of starting a business. This workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs assess their abilities to lead and manage a company as well as evaluate market and sales potential for their products and services. Topics like startup costs, financing options and business planning are introduced, along with the necessary steps to getting started. If you are ready to start your business this workshop is for you.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required 
 
Social Media for Business Growth
June 21 | 9-11:30 a.m.

Business Power Tools – An overview for using LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to grow any business.
Whether you call it social media, social networking, web 2.0 or internet marketing, the question on every professional’s mind is this: “Is social media a waste of time or an essential power tool for business in a post phonebook world?”
Amid all of the distractions, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emerging as essential tools for marketing your business. Join Terry Bean from Motor City Connect for this entertaining and educational seminar as he takes you through the tools and rules of social media. You’ll learn what works, what to avoid and how to use LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow your network, engage prospects and generate profit. Get ready to kick your internet marketing presence into gear.

This class is designed to use these tools for profit. It covers:
  • Three Things You MUST do to Find Success on Each Platform
  • How to Use Status Updates That Gain Attention
  • Ways to Manage Priorities So You’re Not Stuck in an Endless Loop
  • How to Make Posting Simpler
  • The Fastest Way to Grow Your Audience
  • Which Platforms Are Best for You
Cost: $40 per person | Registration Required

July Workshops

CEED Lending Small Business Loan Orientation
July 12 | 9-11 a.m.

Have a need for alternative financing for your business? Is your business located in Oakland County? Consider learning more about the CEED Lending Small Business Loan Program. Discover the requirements and processes necessary to apply for and obtain a small business loan. If you are interested in alternative financing for your Oakland County small business, then the CEED Lending Small Business Orientation is for you. CEED Lending is an initiative of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council.
Cost: No charge | Registration Required 

Walk-in Start Up Thursdays in Waterford and Novi

WalkIn-StartUp Small Business CounselingJune 1 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
July 6 | 9:30 a.m. – Noon | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

In Waterford: One Stop Shop Business Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford
In Novi: Novi Civic Center - Community Development Center Room, 45175 Ten Mile Road, Novi

Whether you opened a business or you’re thinking about it, the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center has resources to help you. We can provide you with confidential small business counseling. You receive one-on-one advice from an experienced business consultant – with no appointment necessary. Consultants offer direct answers to your questions about startups, suggest next steps and provide guidance on business planning tools. These high value services are offered at no charge to you. Walk-in sessions are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each session is limited to 15 minutes. 

Valentine Distilling Co. wins double gold awards for Mayor Pingree bourbons

Excerpt: 

Two of Ferndale-based Valentine Distilling Co.’s bourbons ranked in the highest class at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition last month. Forty-three spirits experts participated at the Hotel Nikko from April 20-23, where judges critiqued more than 2,100 entries through blind tasting, awarding the bronze, silver, gold, and double gold medals.

Valentine’s 10-year Mayor Pingree Blue and Black label bourbons received the most prestigious medal awarded, the double gold, which is awarded to the very best among entries that receive a gold medal rating from judges.

Read more

Life is purr-fect for cat adoption cafe in Ferndale

Excerpt

Walk into the Catfé Lounge in Ferndale and you’ll find yourself in the company of kitties looking to share a space with you on any number of red sofas. Part of the Ferndale Cat Shelter, the café is a 1,000-square-foot public space where cats of all ages mingle with that day’s visitors.

The goal? To convince guests that the cat they didn’t know they wanted is ready to come home.

Read more.

Into the lab with Pontiac's Exferimentation Brewing

For co-owners Eric Benton, Andrew Stamper, and Scott Boughton, it's passion that has them brewing beer until 3 a.m..long after their shifts in the automotive industry have ended for the day.

The three friends opened Exferimentation in July 2016, though they started working on their quirky signature beers for several years before that. The co-owners consider themselves the "mad scientists" of the brewing trade, eschewing the traditional ales and lagers for something more unique. Hence the name http://exferimentationbrewing.com/Exferimentation, from"Experimenting with fermentation."

There's Clownpocalypse, a toasted coconut cream ale born out of a conversation co-owner Eric Benton had about a zombie clown apocalypse. There's the Pink Tickler, a hibiscus wheat beer that's also the brewery's most popular. And there's a red ale with rosemary, cayenne pepper, and black pepper, a pineapple-rhubarb wheat beer, and a lemon-coriander sour beer, to name just a few. The trio is always working on other unique flavor combinations, testing them out on their all too willing loyalty program members, the Mad Scientist Club.

It all started out so innocently.

"We started homebrewing on my back porch and progressed from there to a small industrial space in Rochester," says Benton. "We had a club and brewed ten gallons at a time. We had that for 18 months, and by the time we got to the end of the 18 months, we had 30 people showing up and drinking all of our beer. They were drinking more than we could make," says Benton. "We figured that it was time to go pro."

Though it may seem like a current trend, homebrewing has been around for thousands of years. And like the many brewers before them, the Exferimentation crew learned how to brew beer through the trial-and-error process. Come up with an idea, see what works, let people try it, and proceed based on their enthusiasm for the product.

Keeping their focus on the beer, Exferimentation has spent the bulk of their money so far on brewing equipment. Work on the tasting room, a storefront in downtown Pontiac, was done themselves. The trio rehabbed the floors, installed the tile, and built the bar and tables all by hand. And this done in the evenings and weekends, working around their "regular jobs."

In searching for the right space for their bar, Exferimentation looked at a couple of locations before finding downtown Pontiac. The historic storefronts, walkability, and the potential for economic revival made it obvious that it was the city that Exerimentation was about to call home.

"We didn't know that we wanted Pontiac until we went into Pontiac to look. And then we absolutely knew that we wanted Pontiac," says Benton.

Benton's big on the city's future, saying that he thinks it's about two to three businesses away from a development tipping point, leading to it becoming a bustling destination for a night on the town.

The building where Exferimentation is located, 7 N. Saginaw St., is already abuzz. Directly across from the recently renovated Flagstar Strand Theatre, 7 N. Saginaw St. hosts a vintage clothing store and, not one, but two breweries. Five days after Exferimentation signed the lease on their storefront, Fillmore 13 Brewery signed theirs. The two breweries share a hall. But the competition doesn't irk the Exferimentation team one bit. All it means, says Benton, is that there are more people drawn downtown.

Part of that, he says, is that he knows craft beer fans are the type to try as many new beers as possible, and not settle into a single establishment. It's a "the more, the merrier" situation that creates the foot traffic a business desires. 
 
And in talking about beer towns, Benton has his eyes set on a certain city in west Michigan known for its dozens of breweries, which holds the title of Beer City, USA.

"Look out Grand Rapids, here comes Pontiac."

Name and title: Eric Benton, co-owner (other owners are Andy Stamper and Scott Boughton)

Year Exferimentation opened: Opened 7/21/16

One interesting job you had before running Exferimentation: I was the chocolate and frappucino buyer for Starbucks.

What's the best brewery soundtrack: Best soundtrack to me is Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons.

What's your favorite beer flavor of all time: We love citrus around here, especially grapefruit. It's becoming commonplace these days, but grapefruit with its slight bitterness fits just right with an IPA.

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

More meatballs! New meatball diner opens in Birmingham

Excerpt

Sam Abdelfatah looked at the restaurant scene around metro Detroit and realized something was missing.

Nobody was selling meatballs.

"The meatball is a classic dish, and I felt it was kind of overshadowed over the last 15 years," he said. "I wanted to bring it back to the spotlight and take it to a different level."

Read more.

Royal Oak entrepreneur is youngest winner of Oakland County Executive's 2017 Elite 40 Under 40 class

Brooke Wilson Vitale, the owner of specialty bakeries in Royal Oak and Birmingham, was selected by a public online vote as the winner of the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2017.

The announcement was made at Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s State of the County address held at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac at Centerpoint. As the winner, Vitale was given the honor of introducing Patterson to the crowd of more than 600 people.

“It’s a really big honor,” Vitale said. “I was really surprised and very flattered.”

At 29, Vitale is the youngest winner in the six years of the contest. She is the owner of Love & Buttercream, a bakery she opened in 2012 after turning a hobby into her passion. An Oakland County native and Michigan State University graduate, she worked for a time in Chicago but the allure of returning home was too strong to ignore.

“There’s something about this area that I can’t quite put into words,” she said. “It’s a set of values, a culture, a feeling of support and a feeling of home. It’s something magical and unique that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the nation. It was the perfect place to let my dreams fly.”

Patterson was effusive in his praise for Vitale.

“Brooke is an excellent choice,” Patterson said. “She is creative, thoughtful, has an incredible business sense and is precisely the kind of young leader we want to keep in Oakland County.”

The bakery idea was hatched in a kitchen in her parent’s basement and took flight. Her business, which began with three employees, has expanded to 29 women – all under age 35. She credits her team with her success.

“They’re the ones that make me look good,” said Vitale, who is married and has a 1-year-old son. “They are the ones committed to this business. I’ve been lucky beyond what I can comprehend.”

The bakery’s cookies were named HOUR Detroit’s “Best Cookie” in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Love & Buttercream was also named Eater’s “Top 5 Bakeries in Metro Detroit.” The bakery provided wedding cakes and desserts for 600 couples in 2016 and is the exclusive provider for wedding cakes for the Infinity and Ovation Yacht Charters on the Detroit River.

Nearly 400 applications and nominations were reviewed by a panel of judges, looking for the top 40 young professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The 40 honorees have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities. Of that group, the three candidates who scored the highest are placed before the public vote to determine a 2017 winner. This is the sixth year of the Elite 40 program.

"I am continually amazed at the caliber of young leaders we have,” Patterson said. “We think the whole class is superb and the top three are outstanding. The future of our county is very bright.”

More than 2,900 votes were cast for the three finalists. The other finalists were:
  • Richard J. Chalmers, D.O., 36, Director of Family Medicine Residency, McLaren Macomb Hospital
    Chalmers, of Rochester Hills, began his family practice in 2010 with the McLaren Medical Group and was named director of the family medicine residence program at McLaren Macomb Hospital in 2015. He is an assistant clinical professor at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is director of the hospital’s Medical Outreach Clinic, which treats uninsured patients at no cost. Chalmers has been to Guatemala three times as part of a team of doctors, nurses and volunteers through DOCARE International, providing care to more than 3,000 patients. Chalmers is married and has two sons.
  • Carrie Schochet, 37, CEO/Founder, Purple Squirrel Advisors
    Schochet, of Rochester Hills, heads a Troy-based boutique executive search firm that connects unique C-level and senior executives with leadership positions. She is also founder of CFO Next, a group she launched in 2013 when she discovered a lack of resources and networking opportunities for transitioning or unemployed senior financial executives. The group placed 60 people into new career opportunities in the first two years and assisting another 20. She is a passionate philanthropist, raising funds for a number of non-profits, including ALS research, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Power Company Kids Club. In 2016, she co-founded 100 Businesses Who Care to connect executives who want to make an impact in metropolitan Detroit. The group is set to give a $50,000 donation to a local non-profit twice a year starting in 2017. Schochet is married and has three children.
The remaining members of the 2017 Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 class are:
  • Hallie Armstrong, 37, Senior Naturopathic Doctor, Beaumont Health
  • Matthew Baumgarten, 32, Berkley City Manager
  • Andrea Carollo, 37, Realtor, Max Broock Realtors
  • Alicia Chandler, 37, General Counsel – Continuing Care, Trinity Health
  • Nathan Clinton-Barnett, 32, Vice President of Clinical Services, Safe Balance LLC
  • Alex Delavan, 34, Director of Sponsored Programs, Oakland University
  • David DeLind, 30, Marketing Program Manager, 1986
  • Derek Dickow, 37, Founder, Steward Media
  • Matt Einheuser, 31, Watershed Ecologist, Clinton River Watershed Council
  • Joanne Forbes, 34, Department Chair of Art, Design/Humanities, Oakland Community College
  • Sean Forbes, 35, Co-Founder, DPAN.TV The Sign Language Channel
  • Kristin Griffith, 30, 2nd Grade Teacher & Elementary Technology Educator, Auburn Hills Christian School
  • Anthony Grupido, 21, CEO, Handsleight LLC
  • Sherikia Hawkins, 35, City Clerk, City of Pontiac
  • Michael Hohf, 31, Sr. Vice President & Financial Advisor, Advance Capital Management
  • Adam Jahnke, 33, Principal and Co-Founder, Vault Equity Partners
  • Yasser Khan, 37, Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, IBM Miraclesoft
  • Jessica Knapik, 38, Program Analyst, Walsh College
  • Anjan Kumar, 38, Assistant Director of Medical ICU, Pulmonary & Critical Care Associates – St. John Hospital & Medical Center
  • Andrew Kurecka, 29, Manager of Outcomes Research, MedNetOne Health Solutions
  • Samantha Mariuz, 25, Director of Authorities, City of Auburn Hills
  • Sam Marzban, 34, Detective Sergeant, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tylar Masters, 37, President, Tylar & Company
  • Dustin McClellan, 26, Pontiac Director, The Power Company Kids Club
  • Maureen McGinnis, 38, Judge, 52-4 District Court
  • Shaun Moore, 38, Director of e-Learning, Oakland University
  • Tany Nagy, 37, Owner, Pulse Design Studio
  • Jeena Patel, 37, Partner, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
  • Emily Paula, 26, Human Resources Business Partner, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Katya Pruett, 37, Manager Public Relations and Communications, BorgWarner Inc.
  • Katheryn Rohrhoff, 34, Staff Nurse, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital
  • Pratheep Sevanthinathan, 36, Owner, Seva Law Firm
  • Kayla Smith, Executive Director, 26, Hazel Park Promise Zone Authority
  • David Tessler, 34, VP & Co-Owner, Rain Marketing Inc.
  • Leyanna Torres, 32, Principal Product Engineer NAOSS Packaging Manager, ZF TRW
  • Kathryn Tuck, 37, Director of Foundation Giving, Leader Dogs for the Blind
  • Danielle Zuccaro, 34, Director Human Resources, Common Ground
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