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Downtown Royal Oak going to the gourmet dogs

The new year will welcome at least one new restaurant to downtown Royal Oak.

Detroit Dogs will serve gourmet hot dogs made with Dearborn franks and buns made in a Hamtramck bakery alongside other Detroit-bred products: Better Made chips and Faygo drinks among them.

Hiring and renovations on the space at 200 W. Fifth Avenue are underway and expected to be completed in early January.

The owners bring with them extensive restaurant experience in Monroe County and were asked by local investors to roll out the gourmet dog concept in metro Detroit.

Source: City of Royal Oak
Writer: Kim North Shine

Abundant Living art gallery adds to downtown Wyandotte's biz line-up

Wyandotte, with its annual art fair that draws thousands, is becoming an art-lovers destination all year long with yet another downtown gallery opening.

Abundant Living Gallery opened last month at 113 Elm Street. It's a place for collectors, gift-givers and home decorators. Owner Pam Riley sells paintings and sculpture in wood, metal and concrete from a West Michigan artists along with photos, jewerly and other creations by local artists and artists in other parts of the world.  All are handmade and have a story to tell, says Riley. One of the best parts of being a gallery owner, besides meeting customers, she says, is getting to know the artists.

"Every chance I get, I go to where they create their work, their studio or their home," she says. I'm don't want to make a pest of myself, but I want to pass on their stories to the people who come to the gallery. I think the story behind the art is what makes it meaningful."

Riley sees downtown Wyandotte, known for its annual art fair that attracts thousands of metro Detroiters, as an ideal place to show and sell works of art.

"I think Wyandotte's is the second largest art fair in the state," she says. "There's a lot of interest here in art and a lot of word of mouth going out."

Hers is at least the fourth gallery in downtown Wyandotte, something she sees as a good for business and the city. Before her came River's Edge, Glowfish Studios and Firehouse.

"The nice thing is there's room for all of us. I don't feel like we compete. I think we complement each other," Riley says. There are so many niches in art, and I'm careful not to sell the same things as they sell. What it does, having all of us here, is make Wyandotte more of a destination."

Source: Pam Riley, owner, Abundant Living Gallery
Writer: Kim North Shine

Blumz growing Ferndale-based flower biz with new Ann Arbor store

Blumz by JRDesigns is expanding its floral and event planning services to Ann Arbor.

The owners, Jerome Raska and Robbin Yelverton, have established the business by becoming known for a knack for locating exotic blooms and for a fun attitude. After cementing sales and a following in downtown Detroit and Ferndale they felt the obvious move was to extend its reach to Ann Arbor.

The new store is located at 540 Avis Drive, and if like the other stores, it will connect it to major university and community events as well as become a go-to for weddings, funerals and special occasions. Blumz is a staple on the charity party scene and is connected to major events in Detroit and Ferndale.

Its Ferndale space is rentable and the floral design studio in Ann Arbor will also be a place for students to learn from the owners who are certified floral educators.

Source: Jerome Raska, co-owner, Blumz by JRDesigns
Writer: Kim North Shine

Skyetique Boutique & Beauty Bar to open in Grosse Pointe Park

Skye Salon & Spa in downtown Grosse Pointe is branching into a blow-dry bar and express service concept with its soon to open Skyetique.

Skyetique Boutique & Beauty Bar is scheduled to open later this month, and a grand opening party is planned for Nov. 29.

Like Skye Salon, a Grosse Pointe staple that's operated from an upstairs space overlooking the Village business district, Skyetique will be located on Kercheval Avenue, but will be about a mile down the road in Grosse Pointe Park in an an old, but re-emerging business district known as The Park.

Besides the blow dry bar, Skyetique will have a tanning area, make-up area, and offer pedicure and manicures and other services that can be ordered via iPads, which will also let customers browse the online store for merchandise they might want to take home.

The new salon is opening in the same neighborhood as Atwater Brewery, which is turning a church into a biergarten and pub and where the Red Crown restaurant opened over a year ago. Several other businesses have opened or are expected to open as the city makes plans to close and redesign the roadway into a pedestrian-centered boulevard. It's all in large part driven by the civic-minded and philanthropic Cotton family of the Grosse Pointes.

Source: Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Kim North Shine

E7 Solutions sets up tech shop in Auburn Hills

E7 Solutions, a software and consulting firm, has opened an office in downtown Auburn Hills.

The five-year-old company has  been steadily hiring since moving to 3344 Auburn Road last month.

The company's founder is Edmond Delude, who is bringing 15 years of experience from Chrysler, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mercedes and Land Rover, managing the development of engineering software applications and development of diagnostic communication protocol specifications.

E7 specializes in software development, data management, project management and in generally finding solutions for businesses. It also has expertise in Atlassian JIRA software for managing product launches.

Source: Darren Darge, city of Auburn Hills
Writer: Kim North Shine

State backs Dearborn Artspace artists' community

Plans for City Hall Artspace Lofts in Dearborn, a community where all kinds of artists could live, work, learn, and sell, took a significant step forward with the approval of housing tax credits from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The proposal, which is a collaboration between the city of Dearborn, the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority and a Minneapolis-based nonprofit real estate developer, Artspace, would renovate Dearborn's historic City Hall, now Plans for City Hall Artspace Lofts in Dearborn, a community where all kinds of artists could live, work, learn, and sell, took a significant step forward with the approval of housing tax credits from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The proposal, which is a collaboration between the city of Dearborn, the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority and a Minneapolis-based nonprofit real estate developer, Artspace, would renovate Dearborn's historic City Hall into 46 affordable housing units for artists and their families. City Hall Artspace Lofts at 13615 Michigan Avenue would also have room for a cafe, working studios, incubator space, galleries and creative businesses.

The project encompasses City Hall, which includes the adjacent West Annex and the concourse. Altogether, it would also provide Dearborn with a community gathering and performance space indoors and out. City Hall was sold to Artspace in August, and city offices will move to a municipal complex west of the current City Hall.

The project comes with a $16 million price tag, and the tax credits from MSHDA, which amount to $7.6 million in upfront equity, are a significant step in chipping away at the capital campaign required to bring a Dearborn Artspace to reality.

With support from the state, the final phase of fundraising can begin with a target date of summer 2014 for construction on a project that Artspace calls one of the most unique of the 33 it's completed around the country in the last 30 years.

Artspace President Kelley Lindquist cited the City Hall Artspace Lofts project as unique in the organization’s portfolio.
“Artspace has a long history of saving and repurposing historic buildings from warehouses to schools to hospitals, but this is our first opportunity to renovate a city hall,” Artspace president Kelley Lindquist said. “I’m thrilled we can help Dearborn preserve this important building, and grateful to the very active and engaged community leaders and artists who are helping make this possible.”

Source: Melissa Kania, executive assistant, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority; and Melodie Bahan, spokesperosn, Artspace
Writer: Kim North Shine

Tasty health food stirs up interest in Berkley's new Republica restaurant

The owners of the new Republica in downtown Berkley are calling their endeavor a food and drink revolution.

The menu is designed for meat lovers, vegetarians, and gluten-free eaters. The idea people behind the menu are a family with a history in restaurants from metro Detroit to Chicago.

The idea is to serve rich, memorable meals that don't leave your stomach feeling rich and fatty afterward and to serve food and drinks grown or made locally, from Michigan farms to nearby bakeries and to focus on healthy, natural food, not processed, not fried.

Craft cocktails and Michigan beers are served from a bar that was one of many major, stylish renovations to the restaurant that was formerly the Berkley Bistro & Cafe. It's located at 1999 Coolidge.

Comments and reviews on Twitter, Facebook and Yelp are showing locals are loving the fresh food like the urban farm sandwich and fresh fruit cocktail drinks from the bar.

Source: City of Berkley
Writer: Kim North Shine

Treat Dreams ice creamery expands into specially-flavored donuts

Treat Dreams, the Ferndale ice creamery that opened three years ago and expanded its space earlier this year, is diving into another sweet endeavor: donuts.
Wicked Donuts will open inside the Treat Dreams store at 22965 Woodward Avenue on Nov. 16. Diners can wash down the creatively flavored dough with Detroit-based Great Lakes Coffee.

Like the ice cream, the donuts will come in unusual flavors -- at least 12 to start with -- and some classics.

Initially customers will have 12 flavors to choose from: Kooky Monster, Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean, Classic Chocolate Frosted, Pumpkin Bourbon Gingersnap, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip. German Chocolate, Chocolate Candy Pieces, Boston Cream Pie, Peanut Butter Cup, Coconut Lemon Curd, Creme Brulee, Maple Bacon and Pumpkin Pie.

Owner Scott Moloney, who calls himself the chief dreamologist, says the donuts have been in the research phase for awhile.

"We have wanted to bring unique donuts to the Detroit market for quite some time, and with our recent expansion and the beginning of fall this seems like the perfect time," Moloney says in announcement of the launch of Wicked Donuts. "Along with the addition of Great Lakes Coffee and espresso drinks, free WiFi and ample guest seating, we hope that Treat Dreams becomes a destination for remote offices and off-site business meetings."

Source: Scott Moloney, owner, Treat Dreams and Wicked Donuts
Writer: Kim North Shine

Throwback barber shop in Wyandotte cuts traditional and urban 'dos

The generous 1950s era barber chairs, antique-styled signs and jars, hot lather shaves, pompadours and other old-school styles speak to Cream Barber and Shop's love for the barber shop of yesterday.

But the hair designs -- shaving and cutting hair close enough to the scalp to leave shapes and pictures -- reveal the modern talents at the new downtown Wyandotte business that opened several weeks ago at 537 Eureka. The opening was celebrated Oct. 10 with a ribbon cutting with dignitaries and a gigantic pair of shears.

Owner Wesley Napier, AKA West, thinks the two worlds can combine for success and he hopes Cream will become a local favorite for regular cuts and a destination for what he calls urban designs.

"Barber shops in the last 20 years have lost their true meaning," he says. "We are setting the standard for metro Detroit of what true barbering should be."

The "shop" in the name refers to merchandise like hair products, clothing and retro Nike Air Jordans.

Source: Wesley Napier, owner Cream Barber & Shop
Writer: Kim North Shine

Former NFL'ers son inspires sporty Kute Kids Boutique

Kute Kids Boutique
, an online store that customizes sports-themed clothes and accessories for kids -- and even dogs -- is carving out an online niche of customers, from Detroit Lions and Detroit Pistons players to the everyday sports fan watching teams at home.

"Lions' players' wives have ordered things," says co-owner and marketer Sherrie Handrinos, who is also the president of Boost One Marketing. "Pistons staff cleared out our gear in like 10 minutes."

Michigan and Michigan State fans are plentiful, as are orders for teams from out-of-state.

The mother-daughter-run online store went live several weeks ago and quickly got a following of people wanting to dress up their kids on game days -- or any day.

Handrinos, a Royal Oak resident, and her mom, Mary Anne Pacheco, a seamstress from Plymouth, have worked together since Handrinos was 19 and "we work together so well," she says. They also collaborate on Boost One Marketing, a marketing and public relations business.

"When I was little my mom would make my clothes…She's the one who knows how to do that stuff," says Handrinos. "I'm the creative one. I come up with the crazy ideas and make it happen…It's not really our main business, it's just something we love so much."

Kute Kids was inspired by Handrinos's godson, Kingston Williams, son of Derrick Williams, a third-round draft pick from Penn State who played for the Detroit Lions before moving to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Over the past two years I would call my mom and say could you make Kingston this…every time he'd change his jersey number…We'd make bibs, blankets, outfits to match."

Kingston is now two and his dad has left football, but the clothes and other kids' stuff he inspired carry on.

Kute Kids will add detail -- names, numbers, etc. -- to items made by Pacheco and to other products: blankets, diaper covers, onesies, bibs, etc.

Social media, especially Instagram, has been a sales driver. After Handrinos posted a photo of her and Pacheco's Maltese dogs dressed as footballs, inquiries from pet owners wanting outfits for their animals "were coming in within five minutes," says Handrinos.

"I can't say enough about the power of social media," she says. "We may some day want a store or to put our merchandise in a store, but for now with people being so comfortable with online shopping...the online store is working out great."

Source: Sherrie Handrinos, co-owner Kute Kids Boutique and president Boost One Marketing
Writer: Kim North Shine

Lark & Co. revives the old general store in new Birmingham spot

The vision for Michael Collins and David Zawicki's new Lark & Co. in downtown Birmingham is modern day general store.

The pair who previously ran Oliver's Trendz, a women's accessories store, in the same storefront at 138 N. Maple.  After shutting down for renovations, they reopened nearly two weeks ago and have stocked the 1,100-square-foot space with products inspired by a 1940s general store.

Variety is the name of the game: handmade candy, furniture, foodstuffs, lighting, purses, speciality soaps, rugs, books.

Collins and Zawicki have lived in Birmingham 17 years and see a general store as a way to round out downtown Birmingham's retail offerings, a way to keep locals from leaving town to shop.

Next door to Lark & Co. is Suhm-thing, a gift store that is also owned and operated by Collins and Zawicki and has a a selection of Michigan goods and unusual items from artists and designers around the world.

Part of the their business plan is also to convey how much good supporting a local merchant can do for the economy and to set them themselves apart by providing a level of service that's harder to find at chains, malls and big box stores, Collins says.

Source: Ed Nakfoor, Birmingham PSD, and Michael Collins, owner, Lark&Co.
Writer: Kim North Shine

Ferndale-based Schramm's meets the need for mead

A decade since Ken Schramm started on the path to becoming one of Michigan's -- if not the country's -- mead authorities, he has opened his own meadery and bar.

Schramm's Mead served its first customers Sept. 26 and celebrated with a grand opening party last Friday. After some unexpected hurdles, there was all the more reason to whoop it up.

Schramm, whose day job is as manager of video services and manager of instructional technologies for Wayne County Schools, withstood delays brought on by the government sequester in April -- delays that caused crucial approvals from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to take several weeks or months longer than usual. Schramm says he's thrilled to see that his financial projections are being met. That's even after paying rent, building costs, salaries and going through refinancing to survive the delays.

Schramm is the author of the Compete Mead Maker, which was published in 2003 and has sold about 60,000 copies. He started making mead a decade ago, knows its history, the many forms it takes, and realizes that turning craft mead into the next craft beer is "somewhat of an uphill battle" even when at least four metro Detroit craft brewers are succeeding at making mead. B. Nektar Meadery, also in Ferndale, is a supporter of Schramm's. The two make different styles of mead and B. Nektar is making mead as fast it can to keep up with demand.

For Schramm the opening of his own establishment and the growing taste for mead is a dream come true.

"I've worked hard to build this industry...I'm working hard to promote this hobby and this industry," he says. "This is such an exciting time for me."

His daughter Allison is managing Schramm's Mead and "doing everything except making the mead," which is Ken Schramm's job. She has the help of several employees. Schramm's Mead will serve its fermented honey-based beverage with cheese plates and charcuterie. Schramm smokes meats too. It's located at 327 W. 9 Mile Road.

So far the customers coming for a glass are about half mead drinkers, half not.

"Some are familiar with it or know it well. They come from craft beer and wine circles," he says. "Some know who I am and were looking forward to the place opening. Others have never tried it, are interested in seeing what mead is."

Source: Ken Schramm, founder and mead-maker, Schramm's Mead
Writer: Kim North Shine

Barre workout & yoga unite in new Grosse Pointe Park studio

In just a few months' time a new yoga and barre studio in Grosse Pointe Park has built a strong following of fitness-focused customers looking for a new place and way to work out.

Above the Barre X at 15229 Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park looks like a dance studio with a ballet barre, mirrors and wood floors in a big open space. Lightburst chandeliers, sliding, floor-to-ceiling doors and glistening floors give the studio a contemporary, upscale feel.

It's where co-owners Suzette Wilson and Christy Wood and a staff of nine instructors teach yoga, Pilates and Barre X, a workout that challenges the muscles, especially the smaller ones, through movements of constant contraction and tension. Movements are made in shorts bursts and holds. Shaking, quivering muscles are the norm. Barre has become go-to workout in larger cities and is gaining popularity locally.

Wood, who for years taught Pilates and yoga, was a partner in a studio in Grosse Pointe Woods and also taught in St. Clair Shores at Wilson's Real Results Training. About two years ago they learned about barre and introduced it to a handful of clients.

"We actually started doing the classes in another location during construction in January or February," Wood says. "We just wanted to get interest up. We started with one barre. We kept adding. I got trained. It took me a year to train the others. We knew people were ready for it."

Wood says barre originated in London and was a workout for the rich and famous. It migrated to the U.S. and by the '70s was an exclusive workout for women living on the Upper East Side of New York. Working on a barre in a nondescript gym, they saw amazing, quick results. Barre began to spread, and now barre studios are opening regularly, especially on the East Coast.

Wood has traveled to many cities learning about barre and was amazed by how it strengthened her body and her mindset, even as a longtime Pilates and yoga instructor.

"After traveling and seeing how happy people were with barre I'm not at all surprised to see the response we've had here," she says. "It's amazing. It's almost like people are on a high after a barre class.

"For me the best part is seeing the results, and people do see the results," she says. "What's beautiful about it is it allows them to look outside themselves and think about others, to think less about how they look or how their body feels."

More classes are being added, including a teen barre class on Thursdays, and special events such as Bring Your Man to the Barre are being planned.

"The more people see what a hard workout this is and how much they get out of it," Wood says, "they are hooked."

Source: Christy Wood, co-owner, Above the Barre X
Writer: Kim North Shine

Wanderlust Boutique brings affordable Euro fashion to Rochester

The women behind the new Wanderlust Boutique in downtown Rochester are bringing their love for European fashion to locals.

Ally and Denise Martin say they've figured out a way to make Euro style affordable by scouring hundreds of vendors, looking not only for good prices but original styles. Besides casual clothing, the store sells accessories such as jewelry, watches, belts and shoes.

Wanderlust opened Oct. 11 in a redone store painted in aqua blue mixed with exposed brick walls.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce is planned for Nov. 1.

Source: Ally Martin, co-owner, Wanderlust Boutique
Writer: Kim North Shine

C.A.Y.A Smokehouse Grill opens in Wolverine Lake

There is a lot to go on about with the C.A.Y.A Smokehouse Grill in Wolverine Lake, and customers are coming, from the nearby lake crowd to destination diners, to see what's it's all about.

There is the food -- a specially smoked and creative menu made up of locally sourced ingredients from farms within 100 miles and never treated with chemicals or artificial ingredients. For example, the pork is pink because it comes from farms that don't pump it up with solutions.

There is the building itself, a mix of rustic and industrial with copper, barn wood, iron, exposed cement-brick walls, exposed ceilings and an eye-catching, sleek black onyx bar. The bar serves specialty drinks and has six Michigan craft beers on tap.

Jeff Rose, co-owner and chef, comes from two of metro Detroit's top restaurants: Michael Symon's Roast in Detroit and Toast in Birmingham. Rose co-owns C.A.Y.A with Rachel Mandell. They have 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Rose has also manned kitchens at Tribute, Big Rock Chophouse and Iridescence.

Rose broke away to introduce his own restaurant concept -- a smokehouse bistro -- a casual restaurant that shows off what can be done with a smoker. Many of C.A.Y.A's meats are smoked for 10-14 hours over hickory, maple, oak, apple and cherry woods until they are tender. They emerge with a caramelized outside and are served by chefs specializing in sides and desserts.

"It's important for us to be able to provide our guests with not only a great dining experience," Rose says,"but also offer the highest quality and freshest food available."

There's room at the grill for 100 to eat inside and 60 on the covered patio. The restaurant is located at 1403 Commerce Road at Pontiac Trail.

Source: Jeff Rose, co-owner, C.A.Y.A. Smokehouse Grill and Jaclyn Robinson, spokesperson
Writer: Kim North Shine
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