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Outlet malls planned for Canton and Romulus

Shopping-center developers from Massachusetts and Baltimore are eyeing Romulus and Canton as future locations for massive, upscale, affordable outlet shopping centers.

New England Development of Newton, Mass. is considering building the Outlets of Michigan, an open air shopping center, near Metro Airport. Paragon Properties of Baltimore, Md. wants to open a similar-styled outlet mall on Ford Road near I-75.

Both proposals call for openings in 2016.

Economic development directors in both cities say they would create hundreds of jobs, generate millions of dollars in investment and tax revenue, and also be a draw for out-of-town shoppers.

Source: New England Development, Paragon Properties and Kristin Thomas, economic development director, city of Canton
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

New eatery, salon services coming to Grosse Pointe's Village

Several new businesses opening this summer in Grosse Pointe's Village business district will fill vacancies along Kercheval Avenue, the city's main street and a survivor of a series of national retailer closings.
 
One such space, a former Gap clothing store, will become a nail salon that has two locations in the neighboring suburb of St. Clair Shores. AJ Nail Salon & Spa is opening a Grosse Pointe location to serve Grosse Pointers who are regulars at its other locations.

In the same block of Kercheval another closed national retailer, Blockbuster, will be replaced by a hair salon, My Salon Suites.

Down the street, Jersey Mike's sub shop is opening in the Kercheval Place development, which opened about seven years ago where a Jacobson's department store once operated. Jersey Mike's will open on July 9, across the street from the Which Wich, another sandwich store that opened nearly two months ago.

The hair and nail salons and sub shop openings follow a Calico fabric store that opened about two weeks ago. Next door, construction is nearing completion on Kercheval Dance, a studio moving next door to a former Borders bookstore. The Borders site is owned by St. John Health System, which will lease space to retail tenants and use the space for medical offices.

Source: Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe city manager, and Randy Sanocki, building manager, Kercheval Place
Writer: Kim North Shine


 

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

 

Royal Oak's Citizen Yoga expands to second location in Detroit

Less than a year since opening a yoga practice in a meticulously renovated space in downtown Royal Oak, Citizen Yoga is opening a studio in downtown Detroit.

The Detroit location is part of a Dan Gilbert-backed boost of Detroit. The owner of Bedrock Real Estate, Quicken Loans, the Cleveland Cavs and an all-around doer for Detroit's revitalization is behind the Z, a retail space that opened in January. Citizen Yoga will open in a 2,300-square-foot space at 1234 Library Street, next to NoJo Kicks and 7 Greens. An anchor tenant of the Z, across the street, is 24,000-square-foot Punch Bowl Social.

The 535,000-square-foot Z building covers an area from the corner of Broadway and East Grand River to the corner of Gratiot and Library.

Citizen Yoga Detroit is scheduled to open in the fall.

The Detroit location fits with Citizen Yoga owner Kacee Must's desire to do good for the community. Being a part of a retail return to downtown Detroit fits with her philanthropic side. It was always a part of her plan since opening Citizen Yoga on Washington Ave. in downtown Royal Oak last August.

While the Detroit opening is exciting, Citizen Yoga has also aligned itself with Brian Lively, a local master of "customer cultivation," whose success at Moosejaw, J. Crew, Gap, and other big names has won him many admirers.

Citizen Yoga was opened in honor of Must's late sister, Miya, with the plan to  share with her clients the knowledge she gained while traveling to India.

Her grand opening was a fundraiser for the charity, Born and Raised in Detroit, an organization committed to creating enriching and entertaining events for Detroiters.

She also hopes to use Citizen Yoga to spread the word of suicide prevention in honor of her sister.

Source: Kacee Must, Citizen Yoga
Writer: Kim North Shine

Juvenile offenders tend community garden in Mount Clemens

A community garden in Mount Clemens will offer youth involved in the court system a place to do community service, and ideally, lessons and skills they can take with them.

The garden is located outside the juvenile division building in Mount Clemens, the county seat of Macomb County.

Volunteers from the court staff and juvenile offenders will build and tend to it. An agricultural expert from the Michigan State University Extension will instruct the kids as they plant and care for flowers and vegetables. The harvest will be given to local food pantries.

John Foster, chief judge of the Macomb County Circuit Court, says the garden"offers a restorative justice opportunity for youth who have offended against their community. Investing time and energy into a project that teaches valuable life skills and provides food to community members in need gives youth a pathway to rehabilitation. The Circuit Court is proud to be a part of this exciting project."

Source: Macomb County
Writer: Kim North Shine

Detroit BBQ & ice cream maker Treat Dreams team up in Ferndale

Downtown Ferndale's Treat Dreams is pulling in customers not for its creative and creamy ice creams, but for barbecue from Detroit.

The two small businesses are in a partnership that has Detroit BBQ Company setting up sell-out popups inside Treat Dreams.

Detroit BBQ sets out regularly from its home base on St. Aubin in Detroit to locations around metro Detroit.

Its success at Treat Dreams brought the company back for a return engagement last week and made the barbecue caterer turned pop-up restaurant into yet another metro Detroit food biz to see the benefit of sharing space and fan bases.

Source: Detroit BBQ Company & Treat Dreams
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Brewpub in the works for Michigan Ave. in Dearborn

A plan is brewing to turn a vacant storefront on Michigan Avenue in West Dearborn into a microbrewer.

Dearborn Brewing is starting renovations after months of approvals and paperwork, and after receiving brewing certification using funds from a recent completion of a Kickstarter campaign. It exceeded its fundraising expectation of $25,000 by $243, thanks to supporters, friends, family and strangers.

Founder John Rucinski wants to open the city's first brewpub and to support a city he loves.

"A lot of people have asked 'Why Dearborn?' Well, there are couple of really good reasons for it. I’m from Dearborn. I live here. I went to school here, and I believe it’s a good fit with the area," he says. "Plus, the water here is great for brewing. And that’s a big plus. And so is the huge response we've gotten from local residents who are excited for Dearborn to finally be getting a brewery."

If all goes as planned, Dearborn Brewing will open late summer. The brewing operation will be onsite as will a tap room and growler sales. The larger plan is to distribute Dearborn Brewing beer to local bars and restaurants.

Source: John Rucinski, founder, Dearborn Brewing
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Construction to start this fall on Dearborn's City Hall Artspace Lofts

With most, if not all, approvals, funding sources and other demands squared away, construction on the City Hall Artspace Lofts in Dearborn can begin in the fall. Hopes are, when complete, a live-work-display-sell-perform campus will host an artists' community that has the potential to paint a rosy economic picture for the city -- if not the Metro Detroit region.

The project, which will renovate historic Dearborn City Hall into living spaces, workspaces, retail spaces, galleries and more, recently won a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation's Supporting Diverse Art Spaces initiative. City Hall operations will move down the street near other city offices in September or October, says Melissa Kania, of the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.

The East Dearborn DDA and the city of Dearborn are working with Minnesota-based Artspace to renovate the old city offices into an arts campus that could be an economic stimulant for the city and the region and build on Metro Detroit's history of invention and innovation.

The plan calls for 46 affordable live/work spaces for artists and their families, work studios, co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and artists, a live/work unit for an artist-in-residency program, and galleries spread out on the city hall campus off Michigan Avenue.

In similar partnerships around the country, Artspace has developed 35 affordable artists' communities, and another 12 are in mid-development. The projects add up to about $600,000 in investment in local communities. The Dearborn development is estimated to cost $15.7 million.

Neumann/Smith Architecture and Ghafari Associates have drawn up design plans for Dearborn City Hall Artspace Lofts. They feature high ceilings, tall windows and open floor plans that play off the historic style of the building.

A public meeting to learn more about the Artspace Lofts is planned for Wednesday, June 18, in Dearborn City Council chambers.

Source: East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Seller Nation building on its auction approach to home sales

Since SellerNation's launch in January, its auction style, seller-side-focused approach to home sales has caught on and led to plans to expand beyond its Southfield office.

SellerNation, which is the real estate division of Woodward Asset Capital, uses its own OfferSubmission platform to generate multiple offers in a shorter period of time than traditional real estate sales. And unlike typical home auctions that sell distressed or foreclosed homes, SellerNation works mostly with families needing to move property more quickly due to life-changing situations such as death or divorce.

“Using an auction-style approach, we are finding that our sellers attract multiple bidders, higher prices, faster sales and have an easier process than traditional methods for selling a home,” says Ron Jasgur, president of SellerNation. “Auctions are great for sellers in those situations, but they work even better when it’s a great home. Whenever we hear of an auction that yields a record sale of antiques, artwork, classic autos or comic books, they’re always a result of a well-run auction.”

The success so far has Jasgur adding staff and considering expansion in Metro Detroit and possibly outside the state.

SellerNation reps will be spreading the word about how SellerNation works and giving free home evaluations without the need for an in-person tours this month and next at:

Tonight, May 22, Panera Bread, 6399 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield
Tuesday, June 3, Panera Bread, 37611 Twelve Mile Road, Farmington Hills
Thursday, June 19, Panera Bread, 39450 W. 14 Mile Road, Commerce.
All meetings are 10 - 11 a.m.

Source: Lynne Meredith Golodner, owner, Your People LLC; and Ron Jasgur, president, SellerNation
Writer: Kim North Shine

Northville-based Driver Buddy's technology takes on fleet management

Driver Buddy, a young tech company working to make fleet management easier, seamless, effective, affordable and more productive, has set up its sales and design operation in downtown Northville.

Driver Buddy, 114 E. Main Street, is growing as companies sign on for the service that brings handheld control of company vehicles, orders, sales, service techs and more.

CEO Ray Lark has assembled a team that brings 30 years of experience in automotive, building materials, medical devices and the hospital and transportation industries.

Driver Buddy combines handheld technology, cloud hosting and powerful computing technologies to solve all sorts of fleet and delivery management issues, from dispatch, communications, and shipping solutions to data control and retrieval.

The start-up recently added two new employees and plans to add more.

Source: Ray Lark, CEO, Driver Buddy
Writer: Kim North Shine

Grosse Pointe Park Market Square plants seed for Kercheval Ave re-do

The demolition of a liquor store in Grosse Pointe Park has made way for what will become a more permanent space for a market that attracts crowds looking for farm and hand-made goods each spring, summer and fall.

The West Park Farmers Market that comes seasonally each year to Kercheval Avenue is a success on its own, says market manager Jennifer Meldrum, but the new Market Square, which is being built about two blocks away at Kercheval and Wayburn, will give favorite vendors more permanent spots to do business.

"Our hope is to, along with the popular Saturday Market, have market items available during the week for everyone’s shopping convenience," says Meldrum.

The city's Department of Public Works has begun construction on market stalls that will line the street. Plans call for the widening of Kercheval, new landscaping and the addition of an island in the roadway that will create a roundabout for car and pedestrian traffic.

The demolition of Art's Party Store made room for additional parking in a part of the city that's experiencing a commercial renaissance as new restaurants such as Atwater Brewery and Cabbage Patch Cafe join neighborhood staples such as Belding Cleaners, Sprout House and Pointe Hardware & Lumber Hardware.

"Along with fruit and vegetable stalls, the market will feature organic produce, flower vendors and specialty items including meats, cheeses, flavored olive oils and barbecue dinners made to order," Meldrum says. "While many of our vendors will be using the new market stalls, we still plan on having the market umbrellas set up along Kercheval for gifts and seasonal items."

Market Square is the latest piece in a plan in large part driven by the philanthropic and civic-minded Cotton family to turn Kercheval Avenue at the Detroit border into a walkable promenade and magnet for locals to find quality food and shopping and public gathering spaces.

The 2014 market season runs May 24-Dec. 6.

Source: Jennifer Meldrum, market manager, Grosse Pointe Park
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

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

Mahindra opens new tech center in Troy, will add 112 jobs

A Mumbai, India conglomerate has chosen Troy as the site of a tech center that will tap into engineering talent that the company chairman says is part of  a "perfect ecosystem to step up our U.S. presence."

Mahindra, which has operations in a the aerospace, defense, energy, real estate, logistics, agriculture and financial services and other industries, is expanding its automotive markets worldwide.

Mahindra USA Inc. will open the North American Technical Center on Technology Drive in Troy and hire about 112 employees, most of them engineers who will support the development of the GenZe, a battery-powered scooter that will primarily be marketed to college students. The engineers will also design and develop prototype vehicles in the renovated Troy facility.

Mahindra has an Ann Arbor manufacturing facility where the GenZe is made and where about 34 employees work.

Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, told a group gathered last week for the announcement of the tech center opening that Michigan and metro Detroit are the ideal location for their expansion because of their unmatched talent.
“Michigan provided us the perfect eco-system to step up our U.S. presence. We were able to draw on the terrific automotive engineering and manufacturing talent available in the state to create industry leading initiatives for the United States,” says Mahidra. “The North American Technical Center and GenZe represent important disruptive product incubators for the Mahindra Group. Constant innovation focused on improving the lives of our consumers, employees and the communities they impact is at the core of Mahindra’s ‘Rise’ philosophy and we are delighted to see this come to fruition in the United States.”

Mahindra, a $16.7 billion multinational that employs more than 180,000 people in more than 100 countries, is investing $2 million in the Troy facility. The state of Michigan is pitching a $500,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to Mahindra, and the city of Troy has given the company a nine-year personal property tax abatement.

Source: Kathy Fagan, Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Writer: Kim North Shone

Plymouth Yoga Room expands into loft studio

After five years in the business based on "Namaste," the Plymouth Yoga Room is expanding into a loft studio above the yoga room that has run out of space.

Owners Brent and Sheri Rieli have developed a loyal yoga community that packed the studio at 474 Forest. The expansion doubles the space of Plymouth Yoga Room and lets the Rielis hold multiple classes at once and add to class offerings.

"Our new room is more spacious to accommodate more students, considering our yoga community is constantly growing," says Jen Brown, an instructor at Plymouth Yoga Room.

Source: Jen Brown, Plymouth Yoga Room
Writer: Kim North Shine
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