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Grand Bakery & Cafe opens in downtown Farmington

The business mix in downtown Farmington is growing with the arrival of Grand Bakery & Cafe.

The newly opened business bakes breads, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies and bars on site and also serves fresh-made soups, sandwiches and salads that can be eaten in or taken away, including to nearby Riley Park. Grand Bakery & Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers catering.

Farmington's newest restaurant option is located at 38321 Grand River Avenue.

Source: Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Pulse Design christens new digs in Pontiac

After several years of running a marketing firm from her Waterford home, Tany Nagy found an eye-catching office in Pontiac to be the the best fit for her expanding Pulse Design Studio.

The office at 2409 Voorheis St. is celebrating completion of one year of renovations that turned the 900-square-foot space into an open, flexible, colorful office "that feels warm and inviting," Nagy says. "The backyard boasts an enclosed patio that has a featured tiered garden and Adirondack chairs for staff and guests to enjoy the outdoors...The exterior of the building has a distinctive modern and asymmetrical zinc clad awning and yellow painted door that catches your attention as you drive by."

Pulse Design Studio has four employees designing presentations, graphics, PowerPoints, sell sheets and other marketing needs for print, online and in-person branding campaigns for companies such as Dannon, Barilla, Bing Maps, Claritin and others. A grand opening is set for June 27.

"After thoroughly searching the surrounding areas to lease an office, we had no luck with spaces that were small enough to fit our needs. The option to purchase our building came at the end of our searching, and ended up being the best option for us -- especially with the vision of what the renovations could do for our needs based on the existing architecture," Nagy says.

"The location on Voorheis St. is also a highly traversed section in the Waterford/Pontiac area, and we get excellent exposure daily. I run into people all the time that ask me where we're at, and I say the modern building off of Voorheis, and they say 'I know that place, I drive past that all the time.' "Overall,this building could not have turned out to be a more perfect space for us, and we look forward to being here for many, many more years ahead."

Source: Tany Nagy, founder and principal designer, Pulse Design Studio
Writer: Kim North Shine

Meghan Marion clothing boutique to open in downtown Royal Oak

A closed wine shop in downtown Royal Oak is reopening as a women's clothing store in mid-July.

Meghan Marion will open July 16 at 405 South Main Street after renovations are complete and the merchandise, a mix of classic and trends in fashion, move in.

Clothing and accessories will be sold from the space and a grand opening party is planned for July 18.

Source: Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Mr. B's in Royal Oak under new ownership

Chef Johnny Prep (nee Prepolec) has taken over management of Mr. B’s Pub in Royal Oak. He is the second owner of the restaurant, which opened 30 years ago on Main Street.

“The B’s brand has been popular for a long time, and we intend to build on that reputation,” says Prep, a former auto exec who has put his entrepreneurial energies into various culinary ventures. “We will enhance the menu by making more dishes, condiments, sauces and soups from scratch, and creating a culinary culture that’s focused on fun.”

All changes will be rolled out in stages over the next several months.

Among other things, Prep has written two cookbooks and snagged awards for his cooking segments on the award-winning Soup & Co. television show.  Prep also is known for his work teaching middle-schoolers nutrition through hands-on cooking. His Quality for Kids brand, which produces an annual Clash of the Cooking Crews involving local middle schools, teaches kids to prepare nutritious, delicious meals and change the way their families eat.

Prep recently finished at the top of his class at Schoolcraft College’s culinary program.

A Bloomfield Hills resident, Prep has big plans for B’s, including a updated menu that retains Mr. B’s’ most popular items, state-of-the-art sports viewing, live blues and jazz music in addition to existing DJ-driven dance nights, and an expanded catering and event business in Mr. B’s banquet facilities.

Mr. B’s was among the first sports bars in metro Detroit. It has expanded over the decades and now occupies 9,000 square feet at Main and Third Streets. In 2012, Mr. B’s added a martini lounge that flanks the main seating room. Prep plans to use the upscale space for craft beer, wine and food tastings.

Initially, the culinary chain included three Mr. B’s locations, including the original restaurant in Rochester. The third location, in Troy, became the Hamlin Pub.

The Johnny Prep brand of culinary media, products and programs is driven by an entrepreneurial chef’s passion for making great food from the freshest products. Johnny Prep’s mission is driven by the understanding that preparing food from scratch is the key to nutrition and health, and getting back to the basics of simple food, prepared with heart, is the only way to be truly healthy.

Learn more at http://www.johnnyprep.net.

ICSC selects six communities in Michigan for the municipal runway

The Cities of Marquette, Ferndale, Westland, Bay City, Brighton and Port Huron have been selected by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) to participate on the Municipal Runway at the 44th Annual Michigan Idea Exchange & Alliance Program on July 24, 2014 from 8:45am - 9:30am at the Suburban Collection Showcase in Novi, MI. These communities were selected following a two month state-wide competition because of their best practices in crafting Public/Private Partnerships that have attracted capital, created jobs and raised the tax base in their communities.   
The Municipal Runway is being held for the second year thanks to ICSC's Alliance Committee. Alliance is a special ICSC initiative that provides forums for the public and private sectors to network, share ideas and explore retail development opportunities.  Alliance Co-Chair Matthew Berke commented recently:  "I couldn't be prouder of the good work our team has done to place an unprecedented spotlight on Michigan communities.  I am anxious for our audience to hear the stories of how 6 leaders have created economic development in spite of significant obstacles."
More than 500 Public Officials, Retailers, Developers and Professional Service Providers will be in attendance July 24, and the Preliminary Program complete with speakers and topics, deal making table registration, retail runway information, sponsors and keynotes is contained in this link: 

Macomb-OU Incubator steers next-level dollars to two start-ups

An advanced technology developer working to improve fuel efficiency and emissions and a biotech start-up that's designed a natural supplement to treat diabetes and pre-diabetes are receiving grants to help bring their products to market.

The awards of $50,000 to Nostrum Energy LLC and $36,635 to Omni One LLC and its DiabetainC supplement come from the Michigan Small Business Development Center's Business Accelerator Program through the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator.

The Sterling Heights-based incubator selected the two recipients based on their success to date and their sound business practice and potential.

"We look forward to watching these two well-positioned companies take it to the next level," says Julie Gustafson, executive director of the Macomb-Oakland University INCubator. "The BAF program, supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is an important catalyst for business growth in the state."

The amount of awards allotted to the Sterling Heights-based business incubator for its clients make it the top recipient statewide of dollars from the Business Accelerator Fund to date. The incubator provides space, expertise and other services to high-tech businesses, academic innovators and research and development start-ups.

Source: Joan Carleton, spokesperson, Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine


B Spot Burgers opens in Rochester, plans Royal Oak location by fall

Michael Symon, known nationally as the bald and colorful Iron Chef in Ohio for his eclectic, buzz-worthy burgers and locally for his Roast restaurant at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit, may also become known here for his B Spot Burgers.

The small but growing burger chain known for unusually topped and tasty burgers since opening in Symon's hometown of Cleveland opened its first Michigan location about two weeks ago in Rochester. Long lines and waits are greeting customers wanting a taste of the famous chef's creations.

Symon & co. are working on the next location for  a B. Spot: downtown Royal Oak. It is expected to open by fall.

Source: Roast and B Spot Burgers
Writer: Kim North Shine

Israel investing in Michigan, creating a stronger business economy

One year ago, in June 2013, Governor Snyder visited Israel with members of MEDC and the Michigan Israel Business Bridge (MIBB), an organization that facilitates business and investment opportunities between Michigan and Israel for their mutual economic benefit. Snyder said at the time, Israel is “a start-up nation and a high-tech nation,” and Michigan is well positioned to build stronger ties in areas such as automotive, water technology, defense and links between universities. Michigan companies exported nearly $117 million in goods and materials to Israel. Transportation equipment was the largest export item, at nearly $70 million, followed by machinery, chemicals and food manufactures.
Now, a year later, funding from the Israel Economic Mission, specifically through the Midwest office allows the Michigan Israel Business Bridge to increase its efforts to connect Israeli and Michigan Businesses. “Israeli businesses operating in Michigan have contributed significantly to the economy there through jobs and investment, revitalizing key components of the state’s economy and helping it to rise,” stated Yariv Becher, who serves as Israel's Consul for Economic & Commercial Affairs to the Midwest. Becher is responsible for maintaining trade relationships between Israel and the 14 states that make up the Mid-western region of the United States. “Our job is to help Israeli start-ups get a ‘soft landing’ in the US, providing them with an instant infrastructure that can save them time, effort, and money.” The Israel Consul for Economic & Commercial Affairs is seeing the benefits to bringing and setting up business relationships in Michigan. The funding will allow for personal attention to setting meetings, tours and conferences for economic development.
According to Lis Ventures CEO and Michigan Israel Business Bridge President, Hannan Lis, “Our natural partnership with the Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest has now grown to the next level as we serve as continue to work together to encourage Michigan-Israel collaborations in business, research and investment.”
Pam Lippitt, MIBB Executive Director, looks forward to the ability to have dedicated staff and opportunities to reach out to companies in the areas of overlap between Michigan and Israel, especially in Automotive, Defense, Water, Life Science, Agri-tech and Cyber-Tech sectors. “There is no question but R&D in Israel effects our everyday life, “ she states. “This funding allows us to share that message in the Michigan business community.”
For more information call the Michigan Israel Business Bridge office at 248-642-1701 or email info@michiganisrael.com.

Community Choice Credit Union begins remodel of Royal Oak branch

Starting today, passersby will witness a transformation at the Community Choice Credit Union branch in Royal Oak. The Royal Oak branch will do away with its teller windows, unveiling an open-concept, high-tech and community-friendly member center this fall. Renovations on the exterior and interior of the member center will be done in multiple phases to ensure the Royal Oak community is served throughout the remodeling process.
With the introduction of this member center concept, Community Choice Credit Union is reinventing the way its members experience financial services. Members can choose to complete tasks at self-serve kiosks, or with side-by-side guidance from a personal advisor. Member centers in Livonia and Milford are also undergoing extensive remodels to mirror this new member experience, and with the recent groundbreaking of a new member center in Northville Township, Community Choice Credit Union will soon offer nine locations to serve financial needs in Metro Detroit.
The new Royal Oak member center will remain in operation throughout the entire remodeling process. It is located at 1709 Crooks Road.
“We believe that our members make the best financial decisions when they are most comfortable,” said Philip Cooper, EVP - Chief Operating Officer of Community Choice Credit Union. “With these changes, we will offer hands-on and engaging support for those who need it, as well as high-tech and self-serving options for those who prefer independence. This is the future of banking.”
About Community Choice Credit Union: Established in 1935, Community Choice Credit Union offers a wide variety of financial products and services for both consumers and businesses. Any individual who lives, works, or worships in the following counties is eligible to become a member of Community Choice Credit Union: Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw or Wayne County, Michigan. Since 2008, Community Choice has invested more than $751,285 and 10,961 volunteer hours into its charitable Give Big efforts throughout Michigan. If you’re looking for an experience that’s different from your current banking relationship, let’s get together. For more information, visit CommunityChoiceCU.com.

Sky Zone indoor trampoline park to expand into Taylor, Novi

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park is expanding in metro Detroit, with new locations in Taylor and Novi, set to open in August and November, respectively.

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ASTI helps brass aluminum forging expand in Ferndale

With ASTI Environmental’s assistance, the City of Ferndale’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority will receive $870,000 from the Tax Increment Financing and Revolving Loan Fund dollars for remediation, site preparation and demolition of a 212,000 square foot former steel pipe and conduit manufacturing facility, a small chemical storage building, a small equipment building and a guard shack on 20 acre site at 965 Wanda in Ferndale and construction of a new 100,000 square foot building.

Among the eligible activities that ASTI secured funding for are environmental assessments, asbestos assessment and abatement, interior and site demolition and industrial cleaning, debris removal, removal of contaminated soils and oil soaked wood blocks, infrastructure and transformer removal, interest, brownfield plan and 381 work plan costs. Reimbursement will occur over 11 years (for local and state capture) and assumes annual appreciation of 1%. 

With a total capital investment of $8.6 million, this industrial renovation and construction project will also spur the creation of 100 full-time jobs, 50 by Brass Aluminum Forging and another 50 jobs by other building tenants. Most of the jobs will be skilled manufacturing. Some of the jobs will be engineering and supervisory positions.

The facility was vacant for 10 years and now is completely leased with a proposed 100,000 square foot new construction on the northern portion of the property.

This was made possible through the support and efforts of the City of Ferndale, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s ability to structure a public/private partnership that provides tax revenue and jobs to an otherwise vacant and blighted property.

For more information of this project or other Incentives inquiries contact Tom Wackerman at 800/395-2784 or twacker@asti-env.com.

Main Street Oakland County honors 11 communities at gala celebration

Farmington and its Downtown Development Authority (DDA) took home five honors Friday at the Main Street Oakland County awards celebration at the Royal Oak Music Theater.

Downtown development groups from Ferndale, Holly, Pontiac and Rochester each picked up three awards during the event, which honors members of the Main Street Oakland County (MSOC) program for their community development efforts. Other Main Street-member communities recognized Friday were Clawson, Franklin, Highland Township, Lake Orion, Ortonville and Oxford.

“Main Street Oakland County continues to be a model for other Main Street programs across the country,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. I applaud these communities and the individual winners for the contributions they make to create desirable and viable downtowns.”

More than 200 people attended the event, which was sponsored by ITC, the Michigan Downtown Association and Future Help Designs.

MSOC created the awards program in 2008. It recognizes excellence in downtown revitalization in five categories: Special, MSOC Spirit, Organization, Promotion, Design and Business Improvement. Since 2001, MSOC downtowns have generated nearly $650 million in new public and private investment, created 6,671 new jobs and established 870 new businesses.

Lon Bone, vice president of Genisys Credit Union and a member of the MSOC board, was honored with the MSOC Spirit Award. Highland Township Supervisor Rick Hamill was honored for outstanding leadership and integrity; and Clawson DDA member Billy Kelly and Pontiac Downtown Business Association Main Street member Glen Konopaskie were named outstanding board members of the year.

The winners were:

• Outstanding Public & Private Partnership
: Lake Orion DDA, Whiskey’s Public Parking Lot • Outstanding Fundraising Project: Farmington DDA, Riley Park Ice Rink Capital Campaign • Outstanding Public Relations Effort: Ferndale DDA, How the West was One
• Outstanding Volunteer of the Year: (two winners) Farmington DDA, Melissa Andrade;
Ortonville DDA, Toni Mariucci
• Outstanding Board Member of the Year: (two winners) Clawson DDA, Billy Kelly; Pontiac
Downtown Business Association Main Street, Glen Konopaskie 

• Outstanding Art Event
: Rochester DDA, Rochester Posed
• Outstanding Retail Event: Ortonville DDA, Christmas Windows • Outstanding Special Event: Pontiac, Holiday Extravaganza

• Outstanding Façade and Building Rehabilitation
: Clawson, Mojave Cantina

• Outstanding Business Development Incentive Program
: Farmington DDA, Façade Incentive
Program – The Groves
• Outstanding Business Retention and Expansion: Ferndale DDA
• Outstanding Business Recruitment: Farmington, Los Tres Amigos
• Outstanding Business of the Year: Ferndale, Modern Natural Baby

• Guts and Determination
: Main Street Franklin Board of Directors
• Outstanding Charity Event: City Lights – Pontiac DBA Main Street
• Outstanding Promotion of the Arts: Life Aquatic Mural – Main Street Franklin Design
Committee and MALTS “aka” Brown Bag in Detroit
• Outstanding Investment: Holly, McDonalds; Oxford, William’s Art Glass Studio, Inc.
• Outstanding Media Partner: Cavalier Pictures, Andy Vance and Peter Watt
• Outstanding Perseverance & Persistence: Holly DDA
• Making the Right Decision: Holly DDA and the Village of Holly: “The Gray Lady”
• Outstanding Aggressive Business & Events Participation: Farmington, Off the Beaten Path
Book & Emporium
• Outstanding Leadership & Integrity: Highland Township – Rick Hamill
• Most Unique & Creative Fundraising Project: Highland DDA, Pickle Sales
• Best Event to Increase Business Sales and Visitors: Rochester DDA, Big Bright Light Show • Outstanding Business outreach Materials: Clawson DDA
• 10 Years MSOC Advisory Board – Thank You: Paul Zelenak
• MSOC Sponsor of the Year: ITC Holdings
• Technical Assistance Sponsor and Partner: Future Help Design, Christian Marcillo
• First MSOC Downtown to use “Kickstarter” for Fundraising: Rochester DDA

Main Street Oakland County Spirit Award: Lon Bone, MSOC Advisory Board

Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center in Chicago. Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac and Rochester are MSOC communities. Birmingham, Clarkston, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Oak Park, Walled Lake, Waterford and Wixom are communities in the associate level program. Oakland County is the first county in the United States to operate a full-service county-wide Main Street program for the 32 distinct, historic downtowns in Oakland County. 

M-Brew gives customers a ride through Michigan's food, drink, vibe

An old VFW hall in downtown Ferndale is on its way to becoming home to a catering biz, event space and storefront and cafe centered around Michigan made goods, from to-go growlers of craft beer to food and drink from dozens of cities around the state.

M-Brew, the brainchild of Dean Bach, owner of Ferndale icon Dino's Lounge, will likely open in early July inside the renovated hall that is part bungalow-style house with a building added to the back.

It's located at 177 Vester Street, next door to nightlife designation and award-winning spirit maker Valentine Distilling. Valentine was started by a like-minded entrepreneur who left New York for a return to Michigan with the dream of building a craft business that could lift up the local economy.

Bach bought the VFW hall two years ago and in that time has come up with a multifaceted business plan that he hopes will fill the Michigan-influenced renovated house.

The building behind the house is a 2,000-square-foot kitchen and home base to Bach's Dino's Catering and Mindful Catering. The latter offers healthy foods to school lunch programs.

The basement of the house will be known simply as The Basement, Bach says, and it's where parties and special events can be held. Dart boards, paneling and all-around basement decor that came with the house will be the party backdrop.

The house is where much of the woodwork and craftsmanship is on display. It will be a "little Michigan market," Bach says. Michigan-made coffee will be brewed and 30 Michigan craft beers will be on draught for takeaway in growlers. There will also be locally- and Michigan-made products -- salsa, chips, pickles, etc. -- for sale, and cold and hot prepared foods will be made in the kitchen or purchased from Michigan entrepreneurs for takeaway or eat-in.

The house was gutted and replaced with pine walls and ceilings, wood floors, a new fireplace and repurposed Douglas fir countertops and tabletops, says Bach.

"The concept is geared around craft beer carryout," Bach says.

However, a large wraparound porch that's been added to the front of the house and gives off a Mackinac Island vibe is the "perfect place to stay and enjoy a pint or a cup of coffee."

Bach expects opening day to come around the Fourth of July. A Ferndale Downtown Development Authority event is planned for June 19.

Bach's head is churning with ideas and things to come at M-Brew, even before opening day. A big one, he says, is former Red Wing Darren McCarty's private-label root beer that will be released at an event.

"This is such an exciting time," Bach says. "It's tiring and so much work, but it's so exciting for me and and my wife."

Source: Dean Bach, owner, Dino's Lounge and M-Brew
Writer: Kim North Shine

Oxford Twp. ought to be in pictures

Searching for the perfect location to shoot a movie?

Look no further than scenic Oxford Township, tucked away in northeastern Oakland County.

Whether it’s a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster or a small, quirky independent film, Oxford offers a diverse assortment of settings.

That assortment includes gravel pits, picturesque horse farms, classic homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a historic downtown, more than 500 acres of park land, crystal-clear lakes in every direction, bountiful wildlife, a variety of nature trails, old churches, modern subdivisions and thousands of acres of open space.

"We’ve got it all," said Jack Curtis, chairman of the township’s Economic Development Subcommittee (EDSC). "Whether a movie is set in the past, present or future, whether it takes place on the moon or in small town USA, we can accommodate it right here. We want to become the film industry’s home away from Hollywood."

Oxford has already served as a movie location on more than one occasion.

Part of the 2011 movie "Real Steel," starring Hugh Jackman, was filmed in one of the American Aggregates gravel pits.
In 2010, part of the Lifetime Television movie "Close Quarters" was shot on the 1,200-acre Koenig Sand & Gravel property located along Lakeville Rd.

"We’re definitely on the hunt to have more movie magic happen here in Oxford," said EDSC Member Todd Bell. "It’s exciting for the town, it’s good for business and it’s fun."

Because Oxford isn’t part of some sprawling urban area, it can offer film production companies two extremely valuable benefits – privacy and security.

"We’re kind of off the beaten path up here," said EDSC Member Ed Hunwick. "It’s a lot easier to keep something under wraps here than in the middle of Detroit. There are plenty of places to film that are shielded from prying eyes."

Actors and film crews certainly won’t starve in Oxford as the community is home to at least 20 restaurants, many of which offer relaxing bars and casual atmospheres.

"We’ve got steaks, barbecue, European bistro fare, Asian dishes, American classics, gourmet sandwiches, bar food – you name it, we’ve got it," Curtis said. "A number of our eateries offer catering services, so it’s absolutely no problem for them to deliver food right to the set."

Oxford is also home to a myriad of licensed builders, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc. who bring a wealth of expertise and experience to every project.

"If something needs to be built for a movie, we have plenty of local talent available," Bell said. "They’re reliable, they’re based in town and they’re eager to get the job done with a high degree of quality and professionalism."

Anyone interested in filming a movie in Oxford is encouraged to contact township Supervisor William Dunn for assistance and guidance.

"If you need information on which properties are available for shooting, the types of permits that might be necessary or how to contract for extra security using our police force, Mr. Dunn is the person to talk to," Curtis said.

Dunn can be reached by calling (248) 628-9787 Ext. 109.


Oxford Township is home to 20,526 residents (including Oxford Village) and experienced the third highest population growth (28.2 percent) in Oakland County based on the 2010 U.S. Census. Its diverse business community ranges from a revitalized downtown district to a healthy manufacturing sector. For two straight years, the village was recognized by a University of Michigan-Dearborn study as one of the top communities in the state when it comes to fostering economic development and entrepreneurial growth.

Oxford is served by a full-time, professional fire department, which currently holds the record for the fastest cardiac care time in the county.

Oxford Community Schools is the first public school district in Michigan to receive PreK-12 authorization from the International Baccalaureate organization.

Birmingham's Palladium readies for mixed-use development

Preliminary site plans for the renovation of Palladium 12 in downtown Birmingham — calling for new stores, office space, residential units, and underground parking — have been unanimously approved by the Birmingham Planning Board.

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