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Farmington Brewing Co. builds downtown house of suds

Renovations are underway for a brewery that's coming to Grand River Avenue in downtown Farmington.

Farmington Brewing Co. will open, possibly in September, at 33336 Grand River in a space previously occupied by a coffee shop. The renovations of the 1,600-square-foot space will make room for beer-making barrels and a bar that runs the length of half the space.

Four, five-barrel fermenters (a barrel is equal to two kegs) will be just behind be the bar and be the focal point of the room.

"Our equipment will be directly behind our bar. We think it adds to the ambiance of the space to have all the equipment there. We will not be brewing during serving hours, but customers will see where we do the work," says Jason Hendricks, partner in Farmington Brewing Co. with Jason Schlaff and his father Gary Schlaff.

Hendricks and Jason Schlaff started home-brewing beer about five years ago, says Hendricks.

The two are environmental scientists and chemists, while Gary Schlaff works in marketing for a TV station.

"We started out as home brewers and began experimenting more and more and developing the recipes of beer we like to drink," Hendricks says. "As friends and family started to enjoy it along with us we decided to expand our horizons."

"It's something we love to do," he says. "We figure if you do what you love you never work a day in your life."

Farmington Brewing Co. will not serve food. It will instead partner with local restaurants to deliver food to its guests who want a meal to go with their beer. Nearby restaurant menus will be kept on hand and delivery will be made quick and easy by Farmington Brewing Co. employees.

Opening day hinges on regulatory approvals, mostly, says Hendricks, but the target date is mid-September.

The opening is much anticipated by locals, says Annette Knowles, executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority. She hopes the brewers can be a part of the city's annual Harvest Moon Festival.

Facebook posters regularly ask when it's coming and say they can't wait.

It is located across the street from the Grove Street redevelopment that is remaking a tired strip mall into a more attractive retail district for new businesses.

Source: Jason Hendricks, co owner, Farmington Brewing Co.
Writer: Kim North Shine

Rockefeller's to bring oysters and music back to Grosse Pointe Park

The former Tom's Oyster Bar in Grosse Pointe Park is re-opening under new owners as Rockefeller's and bringing back the oysters and music that once made the spot a local favorite.

The owners of Rockefeller's are renovating and hiring as they prepare for opening day. An opening day announcement is pending, says co-owner Rhapsody Dearing.

The corner location at 15042 Mack Avenue has Grosse Pointe Park on one side and Detroit on the other. The interior features a large bar with room for a piano and dining rooms that can seat up to 100.

Source: Rhapsody Dearing, owner, Rockefeller's
Writer: Kim North Shine

Wine-inspired art studio opens in Clarkston

After a career as an accountant, new entrepreneur Leanna Haun decided to let her inner artist out and start a painting party business. Earlier this month she opened Picasso's Grapevine in downtown Clarkston.

Since opening at 12 S. Main St. dozens of customers have walked out with artwork they never thought they'd create.

“My biggest challenge is convincing people they can create beautiful artwork. At the end of the session our guests are really impressed with themselves,” says Haun, who has seen repeat business.

While making art is the focus, there is an emphasis on BYOB as a way to stimulate the fun and get the creative juices flowing. It's not a new concept, but it's a first for Clarkston. Originally the city council rejected the business.

Her staff of artists teach students individually, and they can also host parties in public places and private locations. Picasso's Grapevine (a play on the Spanish artist plus wine grapes) also hosts nonprofits as a way for them to raise funds. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Haun, a 1996 Walsh College Business grad, got the push to start her own business after receiving a postcard from her alma mater just about the time she was thinking of swapping in her accountant's job for self-employment.

Walsh's Blackstone LaunchPad  gave business advice, guided her through business model essentials, space location and leasing, copyrights, search engine optimization and more. It also helped her avoid opening her business in a downtown where three similar businesses were operating or were soon to open.

Source: Leanna Haun, owner, Picasso's Grapevine
Writer: Kim North Shine

La Sultana dishes out Mexican treats in Lincoln Park

A Mexican ice cream, slushy, popsicle and fast food stand has opened in Lincoln Park, the latest of the Mexican-influenced food businesses in the city.

La Sultana Paleteria y Neveria sells traditional Mexican aguas frescas in flavors such as horchata, lemon, strawberry, and melon as well as classics such as stuffed pineapple, mango, strawberries with cream and other Mexican favorites.

While cold and frozen treats are the focus, La Sultana also sells quick foods such as elote en vaso (corn in a cup), and tostilocos, a bag of corn or tortilla chips sliced open and filled with jicama, salsa and other toppings.

The owners opened the small dining room and takeout spot at 1635 Fort Street  earlier this month.

Source: La Sultana Paleteria y Neveria
Writer: Kim North Shine

M-1 Brew in Ferndale is all Michigan, all the time

Longtime Ferndale business owner and activist Dean Bach has turned a vacant VFW hall into a new business he hopes will appeal to lovers and supporters of Michigan-made and grown food, drink and products.

Bach, the owner of Ferndale mainstay Dino's Lounge, renovated the space into his vision of an Up North cottage.

His new M-Brew at 177 Vester St. in downtown Ferndale is cottage on the outside with a wraparound porch and clapboard siding and Up North gas station on the inside, where "guests can stop by for one thing and leave with much more when they discover an array of Michigan-made product to eat, wear or display at home."

The focus of M-Brew is the M, as in Michigan, and on offering only food, drink and products made across the state.

“We live in a great state with great assets and lots of quality products,” says Bach, who is host of the Rib Burn Off fundraiser for the Blues Festival and chairman of the board for the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority.

“From the beginning we decided that M-Brew was going to be entirely Michigan-based -- from the beer that we pour to the food that we serve.” He adds, “With the stuff our state grows and produces, it was kind of a no-brainer.”

M-Brew will serve at least two kinds of brew, its own privately labeled coffee and root beer, and beers from Michigan breweries such as Shorts, Atwater, Founders, MI, Perrin and Liberty Street. Up to 30 craft beer taps are a part of the cozy feel of M-Brew, which has knotty pine paneling and a stone-clad fireplace. To-go beer growlers are a special feature of M-Brew as is stay-in fun in the basement, where there are pinball machines, video games and shuffleboard.

On the food front, M-Brew will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from a grab & go display to entrees and snacks for eating in or carrying out. Pinconning Pizza, Bruce Crossing Pasties, Garden Fresh Salsa and chips, Smokin' Butts BBQ, Sanders hot fudge, chips and snacks from Traverse City, and dried cherries represent food made in cities across Michigan.

A still-to-come outdoor fire pit will give off the kick-up-your-feet Up North vibe.

The official opening day is Aug. 1, but a soft opening began about two weeks ago.

"Michigan has great products year round, whether it is something to eat or something cool to own. We will be bringing in more carefully selected items as we get up and running,” Bach says. “Beyond that, supporting Michigan-made means your dollars stay in Michigan and help support our comeback economy. We’ve supported local all along, but as the economy gets better -- especially as it gets better -- we can’t lose sight of continuing to support local. It needs to be what we do.”

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

Karma Yoga stretches into second studio in W. Bloomfield

When Katherine Austin founded Karma Yoga 11 years ago in Bloomfield Hills, yoga hadn't taken off in metro Detroit.

In the intervening years, as other studios opened and national chains came to town, she built hers into a spiritual-based and customized practice that now has 3,200 clients coming through each month. About 25 teachers lead a variety of yoga, meditation and other classes that start at 4 a.m. A staff of 11 help run the desk and administrative parts of the business.

Austin has done it all from the fairly tight confines of a 1,500-square-foot space on Maple Road and Lahser. The size of the studio was something some clients never let her forget.

"People kept saying, 'You need a bigger space. You need a bigger space,'" she says, laughing.

Those who implored her to go bigger can now say namaste.

Austin is expanding into a second studio on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield. At 3,600 square feet, it's more than twice the size of the original studio and will allow Karma to grow its more specialized client base such as veterans and breast cancer survivors.  It is expected to open in January at 6710 Orchard Lake Road, if all goes well, she says. There will be a formal grand opening in April.

The space will also have room for its regular yoga, which includes bodywork, Ayurvedic and meditation, and will host community events such as concerts, workshops and retreats.

"We will finally have room to do everything we want to do at the same time," says Austin, who's taught yoga for more than 20 years and weaves her knowledge into client field trips to India.

She says the new location, which she had been searching for for two to three years, really is karmic. Finding a place wasn't easy, mainly because her business is "parking intensive" and building managers and owners weren't fond of that. Or places she was offered didn't have the "light and energy" she needed for a yoga studio.

"It all fell into place very auspiciously," she says. "Where we ended up was really where we were meant to be."

For one, the studio is the same one where she and some of her teachers attended and taught. The experience was "like going home," she says.

And when she began visiting and getting to know neighboring business owners, she says, "They were amazing."

One, the owner of Be Free, a yoga and activewear boutique, will open her store, starting in September, to Karma Yoga's pop-up classes until the permanent studio is ready for business. Another, a new Indian grocer and carryout, is "just the kind of place we all want to go."

Most importantly, she says, she is touched by the chance to counsel more people in leading healthy and positive lives.

"This looks like a yoga class. What I'm really doing is training light leaders. What we want to teach people is when you go home to your family, to your job, we want you to elevate the people you're around, to be the light," she says. "This is not stretch class. We're doing a lot more there than you think."

Austin blogged about "Why Yoga Is Flourishing in Metro Detroit" a few years back. Read it here.

Source: Katherine Austin, owner, Karma Yoga
Writer: Kim North Shine

Cornwall Bakery ready to fire up ovens in Grosse Pointe Park

A Grosse Pointe Park bakery that never opened, its beautiful facade and luxe wing back chairs inside beckoning customers it would never serve, is a few weeks away from firing up the ovens and turning on the mixers now that a new owner has taken over.

The opening of chef and baker Freeman Gunnell's vision, Cornwall Bakery, will add to the growing food scene in this lakeside community.

Cornwall is a bakery and restaurant that will bake breads and pastries, serve breakfast, coffee, sandwiches and salads, and an assortment of sweet takeaways. Eventually it will offer packaged to-go dinners and changing dishes as customers dictate.

It is expected to open in three to four weeks, Gunnell says. It's located at 15215 Kercheval Avenue, in the spot that was close to opening about a year ago as Bona Fide Bakery but never did. Bona Fide was the brainchild of restaurateur Mindy Lopus of Tallulah in Birmingham and Red Crown in Grosse Pointe. Lopus, who wanted Bona Fide to be a fine bread baker for Red Crown and other restaurants and stores, as well as a coffee shop, no longer runs the establishments.

Cornwall also expects to build a strong business in cake orders; it is in product development, i.e. taste-testing, at the moment.

Lopus's departure left a shell of a bakery that chef and baker Gunnell inherited after striking a deal with building owners and Grosse Pointe boosters the Cotton family, which is responsible for creating or funding several new businesses and projects to improve Grosse Pointe Park's commercial stretch on Kercheval Avenue near the border of Detroit. They also are working to improve the surrounding neighborhood, and Gunnell says they made becoming the proprietor of Cornwall much easier.

"They're really willing to help us do it," he says. "I'm not saying other landlords haven't been good to deal with, but with the Cottons there are obviously more resources to help." For example, they painted the facade a dark, naval-inspired shade of blue that fits with the Cornwall theme. The name comes from the English town on the water, and it's Gunnell's ancestral homeland.

Gunnell and his wife, who moved from Royal Oak to Grosse Pointe Park to be near the business and support the Cottons' vision of building up The Park business district, are in the process of hiring, renovating and adding equipment to the kitchen to take it beyond a bakery.

Gunnell, a longtime chef who honed his trade at establishments such as Da Eduardo in Grosse Pointe, the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit, Holiday Market in Royal Oak, Chamberlain Bakery and Whole Foods, where he baked bread, has carved out a side career in cooking classes and catering, and as time went on demand for his cakes grew and grew.

The interest in cakes is why the new Cornwall will have a window on the cake decorating room. "You can watch the decorating while it's being done. It adds a bit of theatrics to the bakery, something interesting,"  says Gunnell, who also teaches cooking at the Birmingham Community Center.

He had planned to open a bakery in Birmingham's booming rail district, but the deal fell through, and then Gunnell's equipment provider told him about a great vacant spot in the Park.

Gunnell is also bringing in a display case and has talked with Red Crown about working together. He would also like to partner with the recently opened Atwater Brewery and biergarten across the street.

He believes the bakery will be a nice fit for the community, starting with the British-influenced name that fits in with the Park's street names. He chose the name to honor his heritage and because the seaside theme suited a town known for its love of things nautical.

"My wife and I are so excited to be here," says Gunnell, who has just interviewed a prospective employee for one of several positions he needs filled. "We want to live here and be close to the action."

Source: Freeman Gunnell, owner, Cornwall Bakery
Writer: Kim North Shine

Mimi's Bistro cooks up Euro-inspired eatery in Grosse Pointe Park

A German grandmother's proud heritage and love of German cooking has passed on through the family and into a restaurant opening in about a week in Grosse Pointe Park.

Mimi's Bistro is a 44-seat eatery and bakery, where seasonal, organic, made from scratch sweets and meals will come from the kitchen run by owner Melanie Schridde. Memories and stories of her great-grandmother, Mimi, moved her to create "an elegant dining experience in an easygoing European-inspired atmosphere" and to put a few of Mimi's recipes on the menu.

Schridde also plans to serve American and Euro style foods that have local connections, whether with ingredients sold by farmers or artisans or local small businesses. She will shape the menu around what she finds fresh at farmers' markets.

Mimi's is located at 15318 E. Jefferson Avenue, a few blocks from Grosse Pointe Park's border with Detroit, in a two-story, early 20th-century building with large windows looking out on the nearby muncipal offices, police station and library.

“I want to serve the meals your grandmother used to make, but in an environment that feels polished and playful,” says Schridde.

She plans to serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and a traditional German-style coffee and cake time.

In addition to a restaurant and bakery, Schridde plans to teach cooking classes and stock a "boutique to-go" market that will offer a la carte prepared meals and pre-packaged speciality sauces.

Source: Melanie Schridde, owner, Mimi's Bistro
Writer: Kim North Shine


Peteet's Famous Cheesecakes opens new store in West Bloomfield

Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes has baked its way to a customer following that required the family-run business to open a second location.

The new store at 6548 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield takes Peteet's to another, busier part of Oakland County than the original Oak Park location, which opened in 2010.

Peteet's cakes, which come in 90 flavors, including gluten-free and kosher options, are also sold in restaurants and bakeries in metro Detroit.

The new store is the latest chapter in a family story centered around the use of cheesecake to rebuild the Peteet family's livelihood after the death of a father and loss of the family real estate business. Son Patrick Peteet, founder of Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes, helped the family avoid financial devastation and pull through grief by using his cheesecake recipe to start a business. He envisions selling Peteet's from multiple locations and possibly franchising.

In the meantime, he is celebrating the excitement and warm reception for his new location. Read the Metromode story, "How Cheesecake Saved a Family's Future."

Source: Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes
Writer: Kim North Shine

Musical institution opens new location in downtown Farmington

The 94-year-old Hewitt's Music has packed up its instruments and everything else and opened a new store in downtown Farmington.

It left Dearborn last month and opened at 23330 Farmington Road in mid June. An grand opening party is planned for July 18 and 19.

Hewitt sells and rents musical instruments and supplies. It's also given lessons to generations of music students. It is also in the repair business.

Just a few years shy of being in business nearly a century, the owners decided to add an Oakland County location to its lineup of stores. Hewitt's also has locations in Rochester and South Lyon and in Big Rapids. The original Hewitt's opened in Detroit in 1920.

Source: Hewitt's Music
Writer: Kim North Shine

Pulse Design christens new digs in Pontiac

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meghan Marion clothing boutique to open in downtown Royal Oak

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

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

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

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

Grand Bakery & Cafe opens in downtown Farmington

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

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

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

Source: Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Wurst Bar Ypsi taking its gastro and craft goodness to Livonia

The recipe for success for The Wurst Bar in Ypsilanti is creative brats and burgers and craft beer and whiskey to go with them, and after seeing so many customers drive quite a distance for the fun-generating, taste-bud-tantalizing, community-engaging establishment, owners Jesse Kranyak and Jim Seba have decided to open a second location in Livonia.

The Wurst Bar Livonia is expected to open its second gastropub this fall at 28121 Plymouth Road in the former Penalty Box. When it opens it will likely be a draw for its metro Detroit fans who can't get to Ypsi as often as they'd like. And just like The Wurst Bar Ypsi, which opened in January 2011, The Wurst Bar Livonia will wave its flag of devotion to locally sourced foods. There will be one menu difference: the addition of adult milkshakes.

The new location in the more staid suburb of Livonia will also be a change in feel from the Ypsi location with its small, eclectic downtown bar across from Eastern Michigan University. It pulls in a mix of college students, hipsters and locals who come for Wurst's specialties and 24 regularly rotating taps. The spirit of The Wurst Bar's operators with their food challenges, tap takeovers and out of the box events and nightly specials will carry over to Livonia.

The Livonia location is expected to be the first of at least three other metro Detroit Wurst Bars, if all goes well for the gastropub that has been in the running for top burger in metro Detroit numerous times.

Source: Jesse Kranyak, co-owner, The Wurst Bar
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

426 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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