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Up North-based custom bed designers expand to downtown Rochester

A mattress designer who makes beds in any size, shape or form by hand, from scratch has opened a store in downtown Rochester.

Beds by Design, which started in Harbor Springs, Mich. in 2005, has built a mattress manufacturing business on a customer base that wants mattresses made exactly as they ask, whether it's for comfort or for special spaces, say tight cottages, RVs, yachts, you name it.

Downstate interest in the Up North-based Beds by Design prompted owner Rory Karpathian to open a Rochester showroom last month at 111 W. Third St.

Karpathian, a former high-ranking mattress company executive who tired of industry changes focused on making more money by manufacturing shorter-lived products, says mainstream manufacturers can't come close to the careful, detailed and time-consuming process he and his employees use to make mattresses.

"I make hand-crafted, natural, heirloom quality mattresses. My mattresses are made to last a lifetime and are the finest you will find in North America," he says.

Source: Rory Karpathian, owner, Beds by Design
Writer: Kim North Shine

Walsh College breaks ground on expansion of Troy campus

Walsh College's Troy campus is getting a $15 million addition and renovations that will support a more contemporary learning and teaching environment.

The groundbreaking last week at 3838 Livernois Rd. marked the start of construction of a two-story, 27,000-square-foot renovation and addition to the original campus building built in the 1970s. Another 27,000 square feet of interior space will be renovated during the 18-month-long project.

When complete, the campus will offer distinct pavilions for a business-communication focused student success center, a student lounge and a one-stop student services center.

Technological upgrades are part of the renovations, and will fold into programs that focus on the development of business communication skills that are critical to leadership roles in business, says Stephanie Bergeron, president and CEO of Walsh College.

The project is the fifth improvement to the 4,000-student campus since 2007, including the Blackstone Launchpad for Entrepreneurs in 2010, a Barnes & Noble bookstore in 2012, and a Finance Lab in 2013.

Source: Erica Hobbs, Airfoil Group
Writer: Kim North Shine

Twisted Tavern puts twist in Ferndale's nightclub/restaurant scene

After a successful run as a go-to fun spot, Boogie Fever in Ferndale has been reinvented into a nightclub and restaurant that leaves behind a casual, disco feel and takes on a chic, upscale attitude.

Twist Night Club opened several weeks ago in the back of the space on Woodward Avenue, and earlier this month the food side of the business, the Twisted Tavern, opened in the front part of the building at 22901 Woodward.

The dance club is open on weekends. The tavern is open every night for dinner, and the menu created by executive chef Kyle Hanley means to compete with top restaurants by being more than bar- or late-night food.

Small plates such as cheddar cheese, red onion and pickled cabbage flatbread pizza, a salad of candy-striped beets, bibb lettuce, hazelnuts, chevre cheese and lemon vinaigrette, or Spanish chorizo with sherry cream, shiitake crisps, sliders, polenta fries and more are available. Finishes include a twisted ice cream sandwich made with maple ice cream, bacon and bourbon cookies, or a cinnamon snicker doodle sundae.

Source: The Twisted Tavern
Writer: Kim North Shine

Rock N Ride opens Grosse Pointe's first indoor cycling studio

Workout options in Grosse Pointe have grown with the opening of the first indoor cycling studio.

Rock N Ride opened Aug. 25 at 15230 Charlevoix in Grosse Pointe Park after renovations that included the addition of a mural of a downtown skyline under the stars. The studio gives off a rock-out vibe with pumping music, flashing lights and low lighting while more than a dozen stationary cyclists pedal their way to high heart rates.

Rock N Ride joins several new yoga and barre businesses opening across the five Grosse Pointes.

It is located in a part of the Park bordering Detroit and is home to some of the city's oldest bars. The area, like other parts of Grosse Pointe Park, is seeing new entrepreneurs move in next to the steady businesses in the three-block commercial stretch of Charlevoix. The Jungle Juice Bar opened less than a year ago and is attracting health-conscious customers heading to or from workouts.

Source: Rock n Ride
Writer: Kim North Shine

Secreto Cigar Vault opens in downtown Ferndale

Cigar bars may be on a the cusp of a resurgence as another metro Detroit establishment catering to cigar lovers opens for business.

Secreto Cigar Vault opened at 315 W. 9 Mile Road in Ferndale earlier this week.

Besides an extensive selection of cigars and humidors to store them, Secreto will host live entertainment and special events. Tapas will be served and foods, drinks and special menus that complement cigars are planned.

Craft cocktails, a modern lounge atmosphere and an outdoor seating area are part of the renovated space that has become Secreto.

Secreto is one of several cigar bars to open in metro Detroit in recent months, a return from their 1990-2000s heyday. In February, Socialight owned a bistro and cigar lounge in West Bloomfield, and Stray Cat Lounge opened almost a year ago in Clinton Township.

Source: Ferndale Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Pure Barre brings newer style workout to Grosse Pointe Farms

Two lifelong athletes turned barre workout worshippers are business partners behind Pure Barre Grosse Pointe, a barre studio that opened in Grosse Pointe Farms in late August.

Co-owners Renae Lange and Lia Amine renovated a 2,200-square-foot storefront at 75 Kercheval Avenue in The Hill business district into a studio space with room for 22 students. Lange and about seven other instructors teach 5-6 classes each day.

Lange, a high school basketball and softball player, discovered a passion for barre while looking for a workout that felt competitive once her sports days had ended.

"With barre it's like you're competing with yourself to get stronger," she says. "With the music it's fun. It's interesting."

Co-owner Amine grew up playing soccer and found barre after a knee injury. She's a grad student working on a doctoral degree in physical therapy at New York University.

When she returns to teach and help run the studio she will also be able to offer clients advice on ways to strengthen weak or troublesome parts of the body.

The two met while Lange managed Pure Barre in Ann Arbor. Amine taught there while attending the University of Michigan, where she obtained a degree in movement science.

"She is excited to share the amazing Pure Barre technique with the Detroit area," Lange says in her online bio.

Lange has seen both sides of the business: as a franchise owner, and the corporate side after starting Pure Barre Midland in 2009 and then moving to Denver to work as master teacher trainer and director of training at Pure Barre's home office. Lange also managed Pure Barre in Okemos.

Barre is a workout that uses a mix of body positions and movements to strengthen and stretch the body. Many of the movements involve a barre like those in ballet studios.

"It's going very well," Lange says. "The community has responded to it very well. We're having a lot of fun."

Source: Renae Lange, co-owner, Pure Barre Grosse Pointe
Writer: Kim North Shine
 

DFCU Financial breaks ground on Plymouth branch

DFCU Financial, Michigan's largest credit union, is opening a new branch in Plymouth.

Ground was broken in late August on a 4,583-square-foot facility that will open in the first quarter of 2015 at Ann Arbor Road and Main Street.

The branch will be the 25th for the credit union that formed in 1950, started by seven Ford Motor Co. engineering employees. President and CEO Mark Shobe says the Plymouth location will serve more than 4,000 families.

The branch, which will sit on about one acre of land, will have two drive-through teller lanes, a drive up ATM and full services inside.

DFCU currently has branches in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

Source: Peggy Richard, spokesperson, DFCU Financial
Writer: Kim North Shine


New markers tell history of downtown Clawson

Visitors to downtown Clawson can take a glimpse into the past while shopping for the home at Leon & Lulu, dining on Vietnamese at Da Nang or sipping suds at Black Lotus Brewery.

The history lessons come through a series of permanent markers erected in August to tell the story of Clawson's past and add an element of interest to the downtown center that conveys and old meets new appeal.

Seventeen History Walk plaques are spread through four sections of downtown, says Joan Horton, director of the Clawson Downtown Development Authority.

The DDA and the Clawson Historical Museum worked together on the project sponsored by Talmer Bank.

The object, says Horton, is for downtown visitors "to take a stroll to enjoy the downtown of today while learning about the one of the past."

The plaques are installed on posts along sidewalks and on buildings such as the Black Lotus Brewery (formerly the Clawson State Savings Bank), Leon & Lulu (where the Ambassador Roller Rink once operated), and the closed Clawson Theater, which is under renovation.

"Overall, using text and photos, they help to tell the story of Clawson -- the steam powered mill that was in the northeast corner, the interurban train, horses and cars sharing dirt roads downtown and on through to the process of paving in 1928 and glimpses of life into the 1950s," says Horton.

Printed rack cards showing marker locations are available at City Hall, the historical museum, the library, Black Lotus and Leon & Lulu.

Source: Joan Horton, director, Clawson Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Could Macomb County score with $10 million baseball stadium?

Macomb County, the city of Utica, and Rochester-based General Sports & Entertainment are teaming up to bring a minor-league or college-level baseball stadium to Utica.

General Sports & Entertainment, the stadium developer, will spend about $10,000 to construct a 2,500-seat, 500-space parking structure off of Moscone Drive north of Auburn Road.

There are no teams signed to play there, but approximately 80 independent league games are expected to be played at the stadium, which will also host family-centered events. Phase two will add retail and condominiums to the development.

While no teams are signed, either minor league or college level for exhibition, the General Sports chairman and CEO was a senior vice president for the Detroit Pistons and former owner of the Fort Wayne Wizards. He also has connections locally and nationally through General Sports, which brokers sponsorship deals between corporations and sports franchises, including college football bowl games, the Baltimore Grand Prix, and several major league soccer teams.

Utica's Downtown Development Authority donated the property valued at $600,000 to General Sports, the project developer. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and the county's department of planning and economic development, which is under contract with the city to act as planner, brokered the deal.

“Besides the obvious economic development advantages such as job creation, increased property values and increased consumer spending, the new baseball stadium will further enhance the city of Utica as a great destination point for families and people of all ages," says Stephen Cassin, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Source: John Cwikla, spokesperson,  Macomb County Office of the County Executive and Ballpark Digest
Writer: Kim North Shine


 

Shinola bikes for rent in downtown Birmingham



Shinola and The Townsend Hotel, two brands cementing reputations of luxury, are pairing up to offer Shinola bikes to hotel guests and to Birmingham residents.

The Shinola bike rental program at The Townsend launched about a month ago as a new amenity that offers an easy and stylish way to see downtown Birmingham.

The bikes are for rent by the half hour for $15, an hour for $25 and for a day for $125. Bike helmets and locks are also available.

Operators at The Townsend, a Euro-styled hotel in Birmingham, and Shinola, which promotes American- and Detroit-made products and operates a factory and retail store in Detroit, say Shinola's Runwell and Bixby models are a great way to see how walkable -- or rideable -- Birmingham can be.

"We've only had a few rentals so far, but we have a sign at the concierge desk in the main lobby announcing the offering, and we've had many inquiries," says Lynette Zebrowski, The Townsend's chief concierge. "So we are expecting to see this pick up."

Source: Hope Brown, principal PublicCity PR
, and Lynette Zebrowski, chief concierge, The Townsend Hotel
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Shoe Tree women's shoe store to open in Grosse Pointe's Village

The most-watched block in Grosse Pointe's Village business district is getting a new tenant, a shoe store that will sell moderately priced women's shoes and be owned by a local who believes she knows what Grosse Pointers want and are willing to pay.

Hilary Butcher will open the Shoe Tree, likely in late October, at 17121 Kercheval Avenue, next door to the Calico fabric store that opened in June.

The block once housed a Borders bookstore and Ace hardware store, and since they closed in 2011 and 2012 the block sat vacant until a few months ago.

The developer, Kercheval Company, has leased much of the space to St. John Hospital, which will have offices and retail space. Kercheval Dance has opened a dance studio next door and Calico at the opposite end from St. John, which is still renovating its space.

Butcher's store is an alternative to the pricey, designer shoe store, Capricious, which is located on Kercheval Avenue on The Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Source: The Voice of the Village
Writer: Kim North Shine

Olive Vinegar offers gourmet oils, vinegars in downtown Rochester

The stainless steel dispensers that are the centerpiece of the new Olive Vinegar in downtown Rochester add up to an attractive decor, but it's the function of what's inside the shiny containers that is the basis for the business.

Inside the Fusti storage containers are high-quality olive oils and vinegars from around the world. Paired with them is the knowledge of Michael and Nicole Loffredo, owners of Olive Vinegar. They opened the store and tasting room stocked with more than 50 varieties of oils and vinegars last month at 205 S. Main St..

Besides selling tasty oils and vinegars such as Persian lime, mushroom, raspberry, and coconut to enhance food, an integral part of the business is spreading the word about the health benefits of products such as high-phenol olive oils.

Recipes, demonstrations and access to information comes with a visit to the store as do foods that can be paired with liquid product that's imported and fills Olive Vinegar's own bottles. Gluten-free pastas, meatballs, orzo, kitchen supplies, spices and other products are also sold at Olive Vinegar.

Source: Olive Vinegar
Writer: Kim North Shine

Grosse Pointe trolley organizers want riders to heart GP

A new trolley is criss-crossing the Grosse Pointes, taking customers to and from local businesses on weekends.

Last week, the first week of operation, showed interest was high with 115 riders hopping the train Friday night and 550 riding Saturday during its 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. service.

The Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce and two nonprofits, the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation and Paul and Carol Schaap's Urban Renewal Initiative Foundation, are behind a trial run of the trolley that would go through the end of the year.

The old-fashioned trolley runs up and down Kercheval Avenue between Maryland and Moross. It stops in Grosse Pointe Park, where an old business district is seeing several new business openings, goes through the Village in the city of Grosse Pointe's downtown area, and up to The Hill business district in Grosse Pointe Farms. If the trolley is a success it could expand to much busier Mack Avenue.

The free service is part of the larger "I heart GP" initiative, says Grosse Pointe Chamber president Jennifer Boettcher.

"The philosophy behind the trolley service, K-Line, coincides with another chamber initiative called “I heart GP” that's encouraging residents to put their money where their hearts are - Grosse Pointe," she says.

Soon, she says, "I heart GP" banners will hang from light posts throughout the business communities and on Vernier and Lake Shore roads "as a reminder to the residents to think local first."

Promoting business isn't all the trolley service is about.

"The best part was the camaraderie," says Boettcher, who rode the trolley on its maiden voyage weekend. "Everyone was laughing and talking like one big family."

Source: Jennifer Boettcher, president Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce, executive director, Grosse Pointe Foundation
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Cooley Law School's building ranks as one of world's most impressive

A rainwater harvesting system, a green roof, low flow plumbing and other eco-focused features has landed Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills on the list of the most impressive law school buildings in the world.

Best Choice Schools' independent ranking put Cooley, which has undergone major renovation and a 64,000-square-foot addition, at #35 out of 50 law schools. Architects and engineers from Rockford Construction and SHW Group designed the building.

Cooley's building on its Auburn Hills campus at 2630 Featherstone Road is a LEED silver certified facility that was constructed with sustainability at the fore. "Building architects sought to maximize light and air flow throughout the structure with large windows and open spaces," according to Best Choice Schools.

Cooley is the fourth law school in the U.S. to be LEED certified.

Source: Tyler Lecceadone, spokesperson, Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Farmington Road next big downtown development project

A rebuild of Farmington Road is the next big project to make downtown Farmington into an inviting place for businesses and customers alike.

Annette Knowles, executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority, says the new Farmington Road streetscape will spruce up the the city's main thoroughfare, make it easier to travel and reach businesses, whether by car of foot and, ideally, help local businesses grow and attract new clientele.

One goal of the rebuild is to give restaurants more sidewalk space for outdoor seating.

"We've got our work cut out for us," Knowles says, "but next year we hope to be starting construction."

The project is largely funded by federal grants through the state and will require local, state and federal approvals of the construction plan, which is being drawn up by OHM Advisors and Grissim Metz Andriese Associates.

The Farmington Road streetscape comes on the heels of of the rebuild of Groves Street, a major makeover of a tired shopping center there and the redesign of Riley Park, a downtown gathering spot.

"We're not resting on our laurels or closing the book," Knowles says. "There's always something that needs attention. That's kind of challenge for any community.

"We are providing all of these investments into the downtown to keep us positioned to businesses that need to grow or are looking for attractiveness for relocation."

Source: Annette Knowles, executive director, Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine
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