| Follow Us:

Entrepreneurship : Development News

369 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All

Birmingham Wine retailer opens in downtown Birmingham

Parking, the puzzler for so many downtowns, has sent one Ferndale business owner to downtown Birmingham to run his wine business.

Ed Bosse, the owner of the now-closed Winezilla in downtown Ferndale, has reopened as Birmingham Wine in a downtown he sees as barrier-free when it comes to parking for his customers.

"I feel the meter stations are a great disservice to retailers, landlords and in the end the citizens," Bosse says. "I wasn't fully aware of how quickly and drastically it had affected our business until I looked at sales figures," he says. Winezilla was in business about 18 months.

Bosse's wine business is focused on making wine accessible to all by offering affordable, quality wines and a free wine education to his customers. He prides himself on stocking an eclectic mix of wines and seeks out chemical-free, organic and rare finds. He also sells higher-priced wines for those looking for rare varietals.

Birmingham Wine is located in the city's Market area at 588 North Old Woodward and offers plentiful, easy-to-use parking. He says he hopes Ferndale will rethink the system before other retailers follows in his footsteps.

Source: Ed Bosse, owner, Birmingham Wine
Writer: Kim North Shine

The Rendezvous With Tea opens in Grosse Pointe Woods

Jars and jars of tea leaves and all sorts of tea accoutrements make up the aromatic and colorful decor and merchandise at The Rendezvous With Tea in Grosse Pointe Woods.

The store opened several weeks ago on busy Mack Avenue near Vernier (8 Mile  Raod) and is seeing locals and destination shoppers looking for a taste of teas from around the world and closer to home.

The tea-loving owner, Naszreen Gibson, sells nearly 200 varieties of loose teas mostly from Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and the Far East and more then 50 flavors of tea bags in sachets, pyramids and cloth bags. Tea pots and tea ware made of porcelain, cast iron, stainless steal and ceramic are also available.

One thing not for sale is the owner's signed copy of the New Tea Lovers' Treasury. Author and tea authority James Norwood Pratt visited The Rendezvous With Tea recently and says the shop is "a dream come true brought to Grosse Pointe Woods by a tea visionary to challenge and inspire any seeker of excellence. Be wise and stay healthy: Let Naszreen make you love tea too."

Source: Naszreen Gibson, owner, The Rendezvous With Tea
Writer: Kim North Shine

Kercheval Dance studio to open in Grosse Pointe's Village



East siders will have a new dance studio to add to their repertoire when Kercheval Dance opens in Grosse Pointe's Village business district this summer.

Tracy Halso Gap and her husband, Adam Gap, will own and operate the business, which is being renovated inside a space in the block-long building that previously housed a Borders bookstore and an Ace Hardware. Their 3,500-square-foot space will come with two studios -- one with a stage, high ceilings (The husband-wife dance partners know the pitfalls of dance spaces with low ones). The studio will also be built with special shock-absorbing, bone-protecting sprung floors like the ones used on Dancing With the Stars, professional lighting and sound systems, and a large lobby.

Kercheval Dance will be next door to the offices of St. John Health System, which leased the space for the studio and has plans to bring in other tenants. The studio faces a public parking lot behind the building, which fronts Kercheval Avenue. Its entrance is on the alley for easy drop-off and pick-up, and, if needed, convenient access to nearby businesses, says Tracy Halso Gap.

The couple bring with them years of experience in performance dance, dance instruction and competition dance coaching. They've lived and worked in cities around the country.

After graduating from Oklahoma City University, which specializes in dance and musical theater majors, Gap, a Grosse Pointe native and University Liggett graduate, "bounced around like a gypsy," including years spent in New York studying dance and auditioning. That was followed by work as a dancer at theme parks in Virginia, where she and her husband were dance partners, and in Pennsylvania and at Disney World before moving to Boston. There they led a master's program and directed a competition dance team. Adam Gap also danced for Royal Caribbean International, the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the American Spirit Dance Company. During their time in Boston, he received his business degree.

"After living in so many places we really found out what we wanted to do. It really gave us a taste of what's out there. And we both knew we have a mutual love for children and dance," she says.

They also have a love for Grosse Pointe, she says, and after they moved back from Boston last summer, they started looking for a studio location.

"There were a lot of times we contemplated starting a dance school out there. It could be great. Boston is a big supporter of the arts,"  she says. "But the feel of the community in Grosse Pointe is so special and unique… Parents really research what their kids are involved in, and they want high quality. We hope we produce a high quality dance education and a fun place to study for children and the parents as well."

The Gaps will lead classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and contemporary dance to students as young as age two. Adults will be offered the same courses plus fitness fusion, a workout for dancers or non-dancers, and ballroom dance. Advanced ballerinas will find pointe classes, and there will be special classes in tumbling and stretching and leaps and turns to build on gymnastics' influence on dance.

Initially, the Gaps will teach all classes. As enrollment builds they will hire other instructors and expand courses. She says their dance school will be set apart by the quality of the studio construction and its performance space as well as its syllabus-guided instruction that lets students and parents track progress, milestones, set goals, etc.

"We want children to develop and learn and grow with us," she says. "We are just so excited to be here, in the Village and to be a part of bringing back this part of the Village that has been open and empty for so long. We are so grateful for this opportunity."

Check out this video of O'Mara Sprung Floors, the Flint company that's building the studio floors, and this one of the Gaps dancing.

Source: Tracy Halso Gap
Writer: Kim North Shine
 

Clawson Business Resource Center to open in library downtown

During the cold depths of winter, business was heating up in downtown Clawson.

In that time seven new businesses opened, and now that spring has sprung the city's downtown development authority is coming out to celebrate with a mass ribbon cutting.

The DDA and the Clawson Chamber of Commerce are hoping to stoke the economic flames by opening a business resource center where prospective and current small business owners can come for information and support.

The Clawson Business Resource Center is located in the Blair Memorial Library and "provides easy access to materials and expertise. Although open to everyone, the program targets entrepreneurs and small businesses whether their status is pre-startup, startup or growth and expansion," says Joan Horton, executive director of the Clawson DDA.

The library and the Oakland County Small Business Center are partners as well, and the resource center is opening this week.

The resource center will be stocked with computers, business-related books, magazines, periodicals and other hard copy resources as well as internet-based resources. Business counseling and business seminars will also be offered. Twice a month on Wednesdays, members of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and Michigan Works will offer their expertise and advice. The center will be open day and evening hours.

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

Brass Aluminum Forging embarks on $8.6M rehab of Ferndale brownfield

A vacant industrial site in Ferndale will be cleaned up and returned to the tax rolls after a growing local business renovates the property and brings new jobs to the site.

Brass Aluminum Forging's plan to re-use the building at 965 Wanda will come with an $8.6-million investment. The project got the go-ahead this week when the Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved a local and school tax capture of nearly $718,000, money that will help cover the cost of renovations.

The building will be shared by Brass Aluminum Forging and other tenants that lease space.

The company, which makes valve bodies, weapon components, air and hydraulic fittings, and architectural details and provides items that can be forged as well as other processes and products, expects to hire 50 new employees to work at the new site. Building tenants are expected to hire another 50 employees.

The city of Ferndale's Brownfield Development Authority requested the 965 Wanda site be a recipient of the the MEDC's Michigan Strategic Fund's economic development and community revitalization projects.

Source: Kathy Fagan, spokesperson, MEDC
Writer: Kim North Shine

Yates Cider Mill opening new location in Orion Twp

Yates Cider Mill, a top metro Detroit destination for cider, donuts, jams, other small-batch foods, and the entertainment experience of watching the cider-making process, is taking the family tradition to a new location in Orion Township.

It's not uncommon to see long lines and crowds at the Rochester Hills mill.The new location is expected to follow suit, building on the business based on Michigan apples.

It will be located at Canterbury Village and is expected to open by the fall, the high season for the cider mill outings.

Owner Mike Titus is also expanding the Rochester Hills operation, opening for the first time for a spring pressing. Opening day is April 15.

And by the first of May Yates will open the Ice Cream Shoppe and sell chocolate and vanilla custards.

Yates, a grist mill that dates back to 1863, is said to be one of the longest continuously operating businesses in the state, and the popularity of the mills, which merge agriculture and economics, is at a high.

Source: Mike Titus, owner, Yates Cider Mill
Writer: Kim North Shine

Troy-based Autobike partners with Grand Rapids TerraTrike

Autobike, the young company from Troy that's reworked and refined automatic shifting technology for bicycles, is going into business with TerraTrike, a Grand Rapids manufacturer of recumbent trikes.

The partnership gives Autobike a whole new market for its technology that appeals to both techies who love gadgets and cyclists who just want an easy ride.

Techies get a ride that's constantly being analyzed for when to shift by a tiny little electronic brain along with a smartphone app and bluetooth synching. Easy riders get a ride without ever having to shift a gear themselves.

TerraTrike's product combined with Autobike's technology adds up to the world's first smart trike, the companies say. The new high-tech model, part of the TerraTrike's Rover line, debuts within weeks.

TerraTrike and Autobike, which builds and sells its own bikes with its automatic shifters, have customers around the country, and they  expect sales to increase after the release of the smart trike.

Source: Autobike
Writer: Kim North Shine

Ferndale's Go Comedy! improv artists take stage as workplace consultants

Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale has found another stage for its performers' quick wits, teamwork, and senses of humor in workplace workshops.

It's a sideline to its main business of nightly, rotating shows and one of several ways that the theater's improv artists have added to their repertoire. The workshops, which can last an hour or two or a full day, can "train your group to function as a well-oiled machine," says Go! Comedy Improv Theater's Andy French.

The workshops can go to the workplace or the workers can come to the workshop at the Go! Comedy Improv Theater at 261 E. 9 Mile in downtown Ferndale.

“We use hilarious improv games to teach people how to be a crucial part of the team. Learn to cooperate and create together and have a great time doing it,” French says.

Skills to be learned through comedy, quick thinking, and performing include team building, listening and communication, and leadership skills. French says improvisation teaches listening, agreement, cooperation, supporting the ideas of others, give and take, and conflict resolution.

“We use hilarious improv games to teach people how to be a crucial part of the team, learn to cooperate and create together, and have a great time doing it."

Go Comedy! also teaches improv and other classes related to improvisational skills at its studio and rents its space for weddings and special events.

The team, which consists of 25 improvisers and writers, can also be hired to perform at special events. This week the team headlined the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority's monthly B2B Networking Meeting.

"The Go! experts know that the tenets of improv often parallel the ingredients of being solid in business," says the DDA's Chris Hughes. "By using what they teach to developing improvisers, the Go! team helps businesses owners and employers learn how to be better listeners, cooperate with each other, feel more comfortable on the sales floor and succeed, with a bonus of enjoying life."

Source: Ferndale Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

New and larger Park Grill fires up in Grosse Pointe Park

A look at Park Grill's  Facebook page makes it clear that its absence hasn't gone unnoticed, and since the Grosse Pointe Park Mediterranean eatery reopened Monday, posts of gratitude keep coming.

The family- and friend-run spot in the burgeoning Park business district re-opened this week after an eight-month renovation that enlarged the space and overhauled the aesthetics. The eatery also added to the menu, created an extensive beer list with four on tap, and a specialty cocktail menu with an endless Bloody Mary bar come summer.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are excited to see so many loyal customers and new faces come through our doors during our first couple days," says general manager Brian Czerny.

Park Grill is located in a prominent corner spot at 15102 Kercheval Avenue and is one of several new developments joining solidly established businesses in the stretch of blocks with mostly 1920s-era architecture.

The renovated space is nearly twice the size of the old one and will have an outdoor patio. Park Grill, which is owned by the Kokoshi family, Albanian immigrants who turn out some their favorite recipes, can now seat 62 inside, 17 at an L-shaped bar, and 20-25 outdoors.

To keep up with demand, the restaurant has added staff and is still looking for more.

Source: Brian Czerny, general manager, Park Grill
Writer: Kim North Shine

Gluten- and nut-free pizzeria opens in Troy



A dad frustrated by the challenge of taking his daughter out to eat without her getting sick from meals that came with nut-free and gluten-free claims has opened his own restaurant in Troy, and he's seeing a rush of grateful customers who share his desire to just enjoy a meal out without worry.

The dad, Gabe Hertz, and partner and pizza specialist, Ken Karapici, opened Renee's Gourmet Pizzeria in February in Troy. The word of mouth in the allergy community has attracted customers from across metro Detroit to Ann Arbor.  Renee's is located at 1937 W. Maple Road. There's room for 60 to eat and there's carryout.

Hertz named the restaurant after his daughter who was diagnosed with nut allergies and Celiac's Disease, a wheat intolerance, at age 5.

"My daughter can't have one speck of wheat or it can put her into two weeks of pain, and I love taking her out to eat," Hertz says. Nuts are life-threatening. She and most people with her carry an EpiPen. "Finally, she said, 'Dad, that's it, I'm not going anywhere else to eat with you. It was a month and a half before she walked in here."

Once he decided to open his own restaurant, Renee became the taste-tester for what the pizzeria would sell: a thin New York style pizza, calzones, soups, Hungarian dumplings, soups, cinnamon sticks and more.

"I've waited for a long time for someone to do this. Finally, I thought, you know if no one else is doing it, I'm going to do it. And no one is doing 100 percent gluten-free and nut-free like we are. Unless you are 100 percent free, you will have cross contamination."

He wanted to open a gluten- and nut-free restaurant that served food just as tasty as anywhere.

"I didn't want to build a gluten-free facility. I wanted to build a good gluten-free facility. Anybody can put out cardboard."

The reaction from parents has been as important as the bottom line, he says.

"It's not uncommon for someone to drive and hour, hour and a half to get here. Imagine there are parents who can finally open a menu and say, 'Wow, we can have anything on this menu!' The parents are in tears. I'm in tears. It's amazing to see, in my opinion, the comfort we give families. I know, if I could find one place my daughter could eat and not get sick, I would go three hours just to get that dinner with her."

Source: Gabe Hertz, co-owner, Renee's Gourmet Pizzeria
Writer: Kim North Shine

Dark Room Photography shooting from new Mt. Clemens studio

Photographer Kelly Zatkoff's' skills have developed into such a solid customer base that she's opening a studio in downtown Mount Clemens.

She and partner Angie Schultz are opening The Darkroom Photography Studio on March 22 at 54 New Street.

"All the endless nights have finally paid off," Zatkoff says in her announcement of the studio grand opening.

The studio will allow her to get creative indoors, and she will continue her off-site shoots of babies, weddings, high schoolers and more.

Source: The Darkroom Photography Studio
Writer: Kim North Shine

Valentine Distilling to triple distillery space in Ferndale

Valentine Distilling's gin is taking a similar path as its vodka. It's winning awards, racking up orders in Michigan and several states, and is on the way to putting the Ferndale craft liquor maker on the world map.

Valentine's latest award, and probably the most significant, came last month when its Liberator Old Tom was named the World's Best Cask Gin by the World Gin Awards in London. Valentine makes a traditional gin, cask gin and whiskey, all released last year. Distribution of its original Valentine Vodka began in 2009.

"We've received many awards, many important ones, but this is a really big one…This came out of London, the home of gin," says founder Rifino Valentine. "I always have high expectations for our products. [We're] not just a local distillery, but this blew us away."

The award is one thing. Keeping up with demand is another. Valentine is in the process of renovating a 15,000-square-foot space in Ferndale into a distillery that will quadruple its output capacity. The new facility is expected to be ready for production in the fall of 2014, says Valentine. At about 5,000 square feet, the current distillery space, which is paired with an often-packed tasting room, will become the pilot distillery, the research and development area, he says.

Research and development is a slow and deliberate process and the reason, Valentine believes, for the success of Valentine Distilling's small-batch spirits.

"We were working on that gin for three or four years," he says. "I never just release stuff to get it out. I want to make sure it's competitive internationally and nationally…That's why it took us years…figuring out the botanicals and figuring out how the taste changed as it aged."

Even before the award, it became clear that Valentine needed to step up capacity.

"My distributors on the East Coast and in Chicago are calling, 'How much can we get and how soon?' "

Michigan is likely to follow suit.

"In Michigan vodka is still really big…The craft cocktail and craft spirit movement is just starting to hit Michigan right now and it's already been going on and is at full steam on the coasts and in cities like Chicago," he says. "So we get a large number of orders in Michigan for our vodka now, but the gin will come.

"The Liberator, we call it a new western gin or an American gin, because the flavor profile strays away from London dry or extra dry. It doesn't just smack you in the face with juniper…It's complex with a beginning, middle and end, with spices like cardamom, coriander and cinnamon."

Valentine, who left a successful career on Wall Street to launch a small-batch liquor company about six years ago, chose Michigan over Miami or other big cities, as a way to help the state by adding a small business to the books. He says the growth and the expansion in space and products was always part of the business plan, but the best part is seeing Michigan's distilleries and craft cocktails take off and make a significant contribution to the local and state economy.

"Looking back on it, it's pretty fun.. Probably five other distilleries have opened or are opening within five miles of us. It's funny to think back to 2008 and actually watch this industry grow. I mean just in the last couple of years alone we've generated a couple million dollars in tax revenue for the state," Valentine says. "It's so neat to see the industry thrive. It's so cool to help the state come back. It's one thing to talk about it, but to actually see it come to fruition is deeply meaningful."

Source: Rifino Valentine, owner, Valentine Distilling
Writer: Kim North Shine

Grosse Pointes get new breakfast & lunch option at Jagged Fork

After a major makeover, a former Biggby's coffee shop in Grosse Pointe Farms has reopened as a breakfast, lunch and brunch spot that's attracting east siders with its offbeat menu and fresh, cozy dining room.

The Jagged Fork opened March 3 on busy Mack Avenue, and after a slow build-up the restaurant was packed by the weekend with customers "who have been so wonderful, so supportive," says The Jagged Fork co-owner Francesco Adamopoulos.

"We're anticipating we'll have big crowds this week. So far I've loved the community. The reception has been nothing but warm. I swear after I talk to people, and I'm thinking about them after they leave, I just feel so good about them. They are just so salt of the earth."

Adamopoulos, who was born into the restaurant business as one of three children of Greek parents who spent every summer in Greece for years running a banquet hall, is a partner in the restaurant with his brother, Stavros Adamopoulos, and a business partner, Tom Teknos. The Jagged Fork is their third restaurant venture; the first being Zoe's House of Pancakes, which is in West Bloomfield and owned by Stavros, and the second, The Hudson Cafe in Detroit. The parents have owned The Hercules Family Restaurant in Farmington Hills since the mid-1980s, after having a restaurant and store in South Africa in the 1970s.

The Jagged Fork's menu borrows from its partner restaurants' menus -- including a Latin-influenced breakfast such as huevos rancheros, a popular turkey burger, and homemade corned beef and hash. Adamopoulos and his chefs make the salsa verde and salsa ranchero in house. The creative menu offers four different kinds of eggs benedict, a long list of unusual and classic omelets, skillet breakfast dishes, sweet and savory crepes, pancakes, waffles, and sandwiches and salads for lunch.

"We've always done chores for the restaurants: peeled potatoes, unloaded fish, set and bused tables. We were born into it."

The owners' decision to move into the vacant Biggby's brings back to life a block at 18480 Mack Avenue. It was quieted at the end of 2012 when the Michigan-based coffee shop failed to reach a lease agreement. The Biggby has since reopened at a new location on Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods.

Adamopoulos says the location "kind of found us" when the realtor who leased them The Hudson Cafe spot told them about a "great spot in Grosse Pointe" as the owners were contemplating whether to open their next restaurant in Grosse Pointe or Troy.

While all is going well so far, it's stressful being just 27 years old and responsible for the restaurant's success and the financial well-being of a dozen employees.

"When you open a new business you're stressed out, you're scared. There's a lot on the line. I'm a young guy. It's crazy doing something so big at this age," he says. "But the customers really make it fun. When you have customers like we've had this week, it's so much fun to come to work. I've been overwhelmed by the show of enthusiasm."

Source: Francesco Adamopoulos, owner, The Jagged Fork
Writer: Kim North Shine

Revolver restaurant in Hamtramck thrives on revolving chef concept

The owners of revolver saw promise in melding the concept of table d'hôte -- a set, pre-selected menu at a fixed price - with up-and-coming chefs, a belief in using locally sourced food and a desire to build a community around it all. And in just under six months, they are seeing their vision catch on.

Tunde Wey, who with Peter Dalinowski opened revolver at 9737 Joseph Campau in Hamtramck in September, says revolver will be adding to its list of revolving chefs and opening more days for its reservation-only seatings.

Instead of serving dinner only on Fridays and every other Saturday, revolver will also be open every Saturday and some Sundays.

"We want to grow with demand naturally as opposed to trying to force it,"  says Wey, who describes revolver and the chefs he and Dalinowski select to prepare the day's meal as "artisanal fare, handmade, farm-to-table with attention to detail. Typically the food is new American, he says, but guest chefs have also served Japanese sushi and Indonesian food.

"We're open to all kinds of food genres. But we want food that's approachable and comfortable," says Wey, who like Dalinowski is a self-taught chef and entrepreneur.

The pair wanted to go into the restaurant business and do it in a way that it spoke to things they care about: nurturing the cooking community, bringing people who love different food experiences together and operating in a socially responsible way.

"We've gotten tons of requests from chefs recently and we sell out our dinners," Wey says. "There are so many talented chefs and caterers here waiting to be discovered, and so many people out there who want to try their food first."

The restaurant has room for 36 guests per seating, but can go up to 40. Tables -- the four six-tops and one 12-top -- are seated so that guests often make new acquaintances in their dining companions.

"We have people making friends, getting phone numbers," says Wey. "We're hoping to facilitate a marriage one day."

Want to hear more thoughts from Wey on revolver? Check out his November 2013 blog post on Metromode's sister publication, Model D.

Source: Tunde Wey, revolver
Writer: Kim North Shine

Nom Nom's Cupcake Factory to add third shop & pizzeria in Detroit

After building a successful bakery in Westland and then Northville, Nom Nom's Cupcake Factory & Sweets Shoppe is taking its baked goodies to a third location, this one in Midtown Detroit. It's also building a pizza restaurant next door.

Nom Nom's Midtown is expected to open in late spring or early summer at 15 E. Kirby in Midtown, says Michelle Meador, project manager for LA Wier, which owns Nom Nom's, Rockstarz Karaoke Bar in Garden City and the future Detroit Pizza Co., which has no opening date set as the owners want to go slow with their first pizza restaurant. It will be located next door to Nom Nom's, within walking distance of some of Detroit's largest institutions.

They chose to expand from the suburbs to the city to be a part of the Midtown business boom, Meador says.

"We got a really great opportunity to go into that location and Detroit is just buzzing with entrepreneurship and new small businesses," she says. "We are excited to be a part of it."

Midtown draws customers from two of the city's largest employers: Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University. Wayne State students and employees and visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts are potential customers as well.

Detroit Pizza Co. will not "be just a fast food pizza. We want a slice of pizza that tastes great and is affordable, a good quality product at a great price…There's a little rumor we will have beer to go with your pizza."

"It's going to take us longer to do Detroit Pizza Co. because we've never done it before. The cupcake shop is pretty cookie cutter. We learned how to do it with our first location in Westland. The pizza place is very different and detailed…The amount of good, quality equipment, training a great staff, will be more intensive. We don't want to slap something together to make a quick buck. We want this to succeed just like Nom Nom's."

Nom Nom's is known for its fresh-baked favorites, such as booze cupcakes like Amaretto Sours and Irish Car Bomb, candy sweet treat cupcakes such as Butter Finger, Almond Joy and and Heath Bar, and soda pop and cheesecake flavors. It's a takeaway bakery as well as a thriving special-order business that makes different items, such as edible business cards.

Mother-daughter team Laura Wier and Jennifer Ryan have caught on in a short time with Nom Nom's. The Westland shop opened in April 2011. The Northville location launched in November 2013. In that time, it's also been voted "best cupcakes" for three years by readers of Real Detroit.

Source: Michelle Meador, project manager, LA Wier
Writer: Kim North Shine

369 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
0
Email
Print
Signup for Email Alerts