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Oakland U building first fire science lab in Midwest

Oakland University wants to build the first fire-science lab in the Midwest.

Manufacturers have already donated $275,000 of equipment that would go into the Fire Science Lab, which would be a classroom for OU's Occupational Safety & Health students, a training site for employees who work in fire and safety for private manufacturers, the government and a range of workplaces. It would also be a field-trip site for companies wanting to prepare their employees for fire emergencies.

Inside the lab, real fires can be set, sustained and extinguished for an up-close understanding and analysis of the operation and effectiveness of fire suppression equipment, devices and systems.

Fire code enforcement agencies, government agencies, safety consulting firms, insurance companies and a multitude of manufacturers large and small can use the laboratory to provide training, demonstrations and certifications.

While donations for equipment have been given, there is still a need for donations to build the lab, and OU is looking for sponsors. Once the construction costs are covered, the lab could be operational within four to six weeks, says Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director of OU’s Occupational Safety and Health program. For more information on sponsorships, click here.

The lab would be the first of its kind in the Midwest and one of about a dozen nationwide, he says.

“The addition of the new Fire Safety Laboratory will give our graduates the advantage of experiencing first-hand the capabilities of various fire suppression systems and devices," he says.The training will also lead them to jobs that are in short supply in the fire safety industry.

"Today’s safety professionals play an essential role helping companies maintain profitability while ensuring safe, healthy workplaces and environments," he says. "We are driven to continuously improve, keeping pace with ever-changing needs of the market -- the future industries and employers of our graduates," McGlothlin says. "The Fire Safety Laboratory is a tremendous resource which we intend to put to use to benefit the greater community, state and region."

Source: Brian Bierley, spokesperson, Oakland University, and Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director, Occupational Safety & Health program at Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine

Caffe Far Bella moves, doubles space in St. Clair Shores

Caffe Far Bella, a mom-and-pop run coffee shop and cafe that is consistently packed for breakfast and lunch, is making a move to a bigger spot in St. Clair Shores.

The new location at Mack Avenue near 10 Mile is only 185 steps away from the current cafe. The new space along a busy retail road is twice the size of the old cafe, which was voted best coffee shop four years in a row in WDIV's Best Of Detroit polls.

While it may be known more widely for its coffee, the five-year-old cafe has customers lining up daily for fresh baked goods, changing soups, panini, salads and Italian sodas.

While the restaurant will be bigger, the owners, who pride themselves on great food and on their relationship with customers, will maintain the cozy, personal feel of the space that they say is like a home away from home. The new location will open by mid-November.

Source: Caffe Far Bella
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

New Kahve House brewing coffee in downtown Clawson

A stay-at-home mom is running a coffee shop in downtown Clawson that has locals celebrating it half-jokingly as a long-awaited alternative to 7-11.

Kahve House opened over the weekend at 22 South Main Street and has been serving a steady flow of customers since. It is filing the void in businesses that offer fresh roasted beans, specialty coffee drinks, straight quality java and various noshes. A recent enticement: Turkish coffee with baklava.

Ana and Denis Bureau own the shop and wanted to combine their love of good coffee and their hometown of Clawson by starting a business downtown.

They opened during the Great Pubkin Crawl over the weekend, an event of the Clawson Downtown Development Authority, and saw just how much interest there is in a business like theirs.

Source: Clawson Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

City Bark in Grosse Pointe wants to be farmer's market of pet stores

Jamie Judson has tapped into her love of animals and her hometown of Grosse Pointe by opening a new pet store in the Village shopping district on Kercheval Avenue.

City Bark opened Oct. 10 at 17027 Kercheval in a 1,600-square-foot space advertised with a stylized metallic sign that is easily one of the most creative and eye-catching in the area.

Judson says the best way to describe her vision for City Bark is a farmer's market of pet shops, where the selection is always fresh and changing. It is the opposite of big chains and more comfortable than high-end boutiques.

"The difference between City Bark and other pet stores is comparing the situation to a grocery store and a farmer’s market. You go to the grocery store, list in hand, knowing what you’re going to buy. You know what products are there and where to find them. It’s the same thing with a generic pet store. You are going there for something specific. But when you go to a farmer’s market, you go to explore. You go because the items are always changing. It’s about the experience, and that’s exactly what we aim for with City Bark."

Judson, 25, works full-time for a digital marketing company in Ferndale and part-time at the store, which also supports the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society. Judson volunteers there and is fostering a St. Bernard mix. She also owns a German shepherd and a 24-year-old cockatoo that she adopted in the summer. The dogs and the bird, Cleo, are regulars at the store, and shoppers are invited to bring their pets along.

City Bark sells accessories for pets and pet lovers: collars, leashes, toys, fashion accessories, and home décor. Pet food and pet treats are also sold, as are pet beds and clothing for people.

"All of our products are unique, and the majority of them cannot be found at any big-box pet store," Judson says. "I had always talked about opening up a pet boutique with my family since I love animals so much and I am always looking for new, fun items for my dogs. This summer the pieces fell into place and we moved forward with City Bark."

Having a shop in the Village makes becoming a business owner all the more sweet.

"Just like most Grosse Pointers, the Village is part of my every day life. It's great to be able to bring something I'm so passionate about to a place I have such fond memories of."

Source: Jamie Judson, owner, City Bark
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Friendship Factory's blend of social good and retail comes to Rochester

The Friendship Factory has added a second store in downtown Rochester, expanding from its Clinton Township location where crafting, parties and lessons in kindness have combined into a good business idea.

The newest Friendship Factory brought its bracelet makers, beads, stickers lanyards, and oodles of craft supplies to the former Avon Township Library at 210 West University in downtown Rochester. The crafts combine with the owners' wish to help girls weather storms of friendship and socializing.

Both stores, the one at Partridge Creek shopping center in Clinton Township, and the new one host birthday parties, Moms Night Out events, painting parties, holiday gatherings and have rotating themes such as the current Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Whether dropping in to craft or there for a party, the point of the interactive studio is to "connect friends and family and build friendships."

It also offers friendship-building workshops hosted by a licensed therapist. The owners want its target market, 8- to 14-year-old girls, to understand how relationships change and how to manage change with social skills that emphasize support and kindness.

Source: Friendship Factory
Writer: Kim North Shine

Warp 9 comics enters phase 2 with renovated shop in downtown Clawson

Warp 9 Comics and Collectibles has built a loyal customer following after 15 years in business, and now with a new owner and a renovated space it's time to put down the next panel in Warp 9's story.

The new owner, Trey Hunt, hosted a grand opening party Oct. 18. The store is located at 21 W. 14 Mile Road in downtown Clawson and attracts customers from across metro Detroit.

Comic book artists, costumes and comic idol cookies were part of the grand opening party. The store sells toys as well and also is an eBay dealer.

Besides painting, cleaning and re-organizing the store, where Hunt worked before buying it from the previous owner, the plan is to make Warp 9 a family-friendly shop and destination for comic art.

Source: Warp 9
Writer: Kim North Shine

DIY drives Adore Eclectic Interiors home consignment store

An interior decorator who made a business out of re-using what's already in clients' homes and complementing it with affordable accessories has opened her own home consignment store in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Marleen Prater, owner of Remixed Rooms, decided to go into retail after a decade as an interior decorator and striking out too often on quality, affordable home goods stores.

Adore Eclectic Interiors opened Monday at 20725 Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods, and "we had a very good opening day. Things are flying out the door," says Prater.

Besides selling home furnishings and accessories from the shop, she staffs painters, furniture re-purposers to change or customize pieces and experienced designers to lead classes for customers who want to make the changes themselves.

"Number one, we want very unique, cool pieces," she says. "So many times people are re-decorating or moving and things just don't fit. We are here for them when they need a place for those nice things, and we're here for customers who need that special piece or that new arrangement that can change the look and feel of their home. Number two, we want it to be very affordable."

She and the women she works with envision Adore as a place to get advice, talk about their homes, what's good and what's bad about them, how they can make their homes what they want them to be, and to learn how to make the changes they want.

"We see it as an experience. We have fresh coffee, homemade cookies and lots to talk about," says Prater.

Source: Marleen Prater, owner, Adore Eclectic Interiors
Writer: Kim North Shine

Joe's Hamburgers moves to larger space in downtown Wyandotte

An entrepreneur's dream to open a hamburger joint like the one his grandfather took him to as a child is now a thriving business in Wyandotte.

Jeremy Sladovnik's Joe's Hamburgers opened five years ago in a tight spot on Elm Street, just off downtown Wyandotte's main drag. Several weeks ago, Joe's moved to the main street, Biddle Avenue, and took on a larger spot and added a bar.

His old spot was reborn as The Little Pierogi and Crepe Kitchen and is run by one of his former employees.

The new Joe's Hamburger at 3041 Biddle Avenue is double the size of the old place, and has rich wood booths instead of tables and chairs. It also has a bar and is making community events a bigger part of the business plan. It still serves a simple menu of sliders, poutine, pierogi, grilled cheeses, soups and milkshakes, malts and sundaes.

This week a Saturday brunch is planned as is a craft beer party with Shorts Brewing out of Bellaire, Michigan.

Source: Joe's Hamburgers
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Spice Merchants brings world flavors to downtown Northville shop

A downtown Northville storefront is now home to a purveyor of spices, teas and oils from around the world

Spice Merchants of Northville opened about a month ago at 110 N. Center St. after completing renovations of the shop that is part of a 100-year old building. It's the latest franchise of the Saugatuck-based company that started in 2003 and has 17 stores in eight states, eight of them in Michigan.

The shop has a spice for every occasion. Football games? Spices for chili. Halloween? Pumpkin spices. Healthy dinner idea? Roasted vegetables with rosemary olive oil.

Spice Merchants of Northville is lined with stacked-high canisters of fresh teas and spices. Another part of the store is stocked with stainless steel dispensers filled with flavored and unflavored olive oils.

Spices are imported and also made by the owners, Chris and Christine Raymond, as are hot sauces. The shop, like other specialty food stores, thrives on browsing, sampling and educating about how to cook with the ingredients or use them for health benefits.

Source: Spice Merchants of Northville
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Steeped-in-Detroit Eli Tea expands with tea bar in Birmingham

After a year of planting the seeds for a Detroit-based tea company that could lead Detroit -- and America -- to carve out its own distinctive tea culture, the founder of Eli Tea is opening the start-up's first tea bar in downtown Birmingham.

The 25-year-old company founder, Elias Majid, started Eli Tea with the help of a grant and advice from Wayne State University's Blackstone Launchpad. Eli Tea incubated and grew from Eastern Market Corp.'s Detroit Kitchen Connect, which pairs food start-ups with commercial kitchen space.

"I wanted to open up my own store to further the tea culture," he says. "Detroit is behind on the tea trend. There are tea shops on every corner in Chicago, D.C., Boston.

"It's a good market to be in for me…It attracts a health-conscious crowd, cultural creatives and everyone who wants something that's good for you and tastes good too."

The company philosophy is based on selling only natural teas, blended on site and never using syrups or artificial flavors.

During his start-up phase, Eli Teas moved into 20 metro Detroit shops and restaurants while Majid scouted a location of what he hopes will be the first of many Eli Tea's tea bars.

Majid picked a former Cold Stone Creamery on Woodward Avenue in downtown Birmingham for the first location and he expects to be fully open by Nov. 1.

"My competitors try to make English tea rooms or Chinese tea rooms," he says. "I really want to make an American tea room. I don't think that's been done yet."

He is transforming the 1000-square-foot space at 108 S. Old Woodward into a "sophisticated tea bar with an homage to Michigan, but without trying too hard," he says.

There will be a countertop made of pennies, a birch-tree stenciled wall, carved copper ceiling tiles and a tea wall featuring containers of loose leaf teas. The new store goes hand in hand with an overall expansion of Eli Tea products from 30 to 80.

"I'm trying to move past the doily culture," he says. "I want to see education, interaction with customers, and see people appreciating and loving tea the way I do."

Owning a tea company, "is no one's dream as a kid," he says, but he realized while studying and working with plants in a lab that a career in something like tea "was a way for me to interface with the public about plants and health…I'm going from laboratory to retail, and I'm able to give that unique point of view to the customers."

Source: Elias Majid, founder, Eli Tea
Writer: Kim North Shine

Little Pierogi & Crepe Kitchen opens in downtown Wyandotte

After five years of learning the ins and outs of pierogi making, 20-year-old Drew Geer has taken over her former boss's hamburger stand, which also sold homemade pierogi, and opened The Little Pierogi and Crepe Kitchen in downtown Wyandotte.

Drew Geer started working at Joe's Hamburgers when she was 15, and on the job she learned how to make the Polish staple from recipes passed down by her boss's Polish family.

When her boss Jeremy Sladovnik, owner of Joe's Hamburgers, decided to move his restaurant to a bigger space on Biddle Avenue in downtown Wyandotote and add a bar, his old space, the one where Geer grew up learning the food business, opened up. On Oct. 1, Geer opened Little Pierogi & Crepe Kitchen at 125 Elm.

"At the time I was going to Wayne County to learn to be an EMT," Geer says,  "but it just wasn't what I wanted to do."

After a week of running her own business and spending the days selling out of pierogi, experimenting with new and different flavors and learning about restaurant staffing and such, she says, "I am loving it."

She says a Facebook page she launched the day of her opening "went viral. I never imagined it would spread so fast and bring in so many people," she says.

"We are selling out every day," she says.

Favorite pierogi are traditionals such as potato and onion, farmer's cheese and sauerkraut. More unusual varieties are hitting too: homemade mac & cheese, cherry cheesecake and apple pie. Favorite crepes are spinach, feta, and vinaigrette and mulberry, a mix of strawberry, blueberry and cream cheese.

Geer plans to keep the 14 or so flavors a mix of traditional and "crazier" on the menu at all times. An Oreo cream pierogi and breakfast crepes are in development.

She runs the cozy, 850-square-foot spot with seats for 16 from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A cheerful yellow and white awning and pressed tin tiles decorate the eatery. The menu is on a chalkboard.

Source: Drew Geer, owner, Little Pierogi & Crepe Kitchen
Writer: Kim North Shine

La Strovia Health Food Cafe opens in downtown Plymouth

The owners of downtown Plymouth's newest breakfast and lunch spot are setting out to show that healthy, organic food does not equal bland or mean sacrifice.

Bill Fryer and son Steve, along with Chef Ryan McKeon, are already seeing their La Strovia Health Food Cafe catch on with locals who are coming for omelets, crepes, salads, wraps and more.

The food served at La Strovia is made with fresh ingredients and comes from local companies as much as possible. There are vegan and vegetarian items and a juice and smoothie bar. La Strovia opened in mid-September at 581 Forest Ave.

"The hope is to teach consumers that a healthy meal can be just as delicious as traditional meals served by everyday restaurants and grills," says Fryer.

La Strovia, which comes from a Polish expression for To Your Health, has a busy grab-and-go case as well as a dining room and juice bar. The cafe is folding in other healthy approaches by hosting yoga weekly and offering meal specials on yoga nights.

Source: Bill Fryer, co-owner, La Strovia Health Food Cafe
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Ferndale deemed leader in good street design, all-inclusive transportation

A coalition of groups that wants to promote transportation as an economic development tool and way to make towns more livable and equitable for all is touring Michigan cities that may be getting it right. And metro Detroit's Ferndale made the list.

Earlier this week Trans4M led the Michigan Transportation Odyssey 2014 by inviting the public on a tour and discussion of five Michigan cities. With city planners, road engineers and business owners and others the idea was to show the value and challenges of good street design. That is street design that promotes walkability and livability and makes it easy and safe to get from Point A to Point B, especially for commuters without access to cars, or with limited mobility.

Ferndale made the tour for its success at "embracing innovative solutions" such as buffered and green bike lanes, and its currently unfolding comprehensive Complete Streets plan.

Detroit, as it awaits a new light rail trolley that's now under construction, was the starting point of the tour.

Other stops were in Brighton, Lansing, Midland and Sault Ste. Marie.

Source: Laurel Burchfield, Trans4M
Writer: Kim North Shine

$12 million advanced tech education center opens in Warren

Wayne State University has built the Advanced Technology Training Center across from Macomb County Community College's Warren campus on 12 Mile Road.

The $12-million center, which replaces a former Farmer Jack grocery store, opens Oct. 2 at 14601 E. 12 Mile Rd. and is designed to be a pipeline connecting students and potential employees with Macomb County employers in fast-growing industries such as manufacturing, transportation and defense.

The location across from MCC, which has recently added a pedestrian walkway to connect the campuses, makes it easy for students at both schools to transfer or move between campuses as they work toward degrees.

The new 40,000-square-foot training center has classroom and teaching space for 900 students.

Source: Carol Baldwin, spokesperson, Wayne State University
Writer: Kim North Shine

Met 13 - Royal Oak apartments rehabbed into "upscale urban flats"

A 1950's-era apartment building near Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak has been rehabbed into what the developer describes as "upscale urban flats."

Metropolitan 13, or Met13, is located at 4000 W. 13 Mile Road. The 40-unit project offers completely renovated two-bedroom units and services and amenities meant for urban professionals who don't spend much time at home but want a living space that feels fashionable and comfortable and is close to the places they work and play.

Met13 offers free Wi-Fi, an outdoor living room and round-the-clock services. For developer Jeffrey Kaftan, president of Kaftan Communities, the renovation represents a lifestyle- and design-focused way to see the leasing market.

"We really see the Metropolitan brand as a confluence of design and living," he says. "You can find a number of examples in the marketplace where design has been brought to products like cars and watches, but there are not many examples of that in rental housing. We’re trying to bring that to the forefront in the urban flat rental market in the metro Detroit area. Young professionals are asking for a living environment that gives them the opportunity to express their individual sense of style and the Metropolitan brand’s urban flats do that beautifully."

Kaftan is nephew to Sheldon Kaftan, who in 1960 moved into an apartment at what is now Met13. Kaftan Communities invests in and rehabs residential and commercial properties throughout metro Detroit.

Source: Sue Voyles, Logos Communication
Writer: Kim North Shine
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