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ArborOakland Group honored as one of the 2018 "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch"

ArborOakland Group will be honored at an awards ceremony during the fourteenth annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business gala event, May 3, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

ArborOakland Group, one of Southeast Michigan's leading printing companies since 1967, is proud to call the Motor City its home and with wide-ranging print capability help its clients to Speak Visually!

The company is continuing with a growth and investment strategy that has seen ArborOakland Group invest in the latest print technology, acquire two companies in 2017, and double the company's production square footage when it completed the purchase and build-out of a second location in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Don Kirkland, President of ArborOakland Group said "After completing the most recent pieces of our company's strategic vision, it was humbling to be nominated by one of our valued clients as one of the 2018 'Michigan 50 Companies to Watch'. I can't think of a better way to celebrate this honor as we begin to see the investments paying off for our team and most importantly, our clients."

Companies making it to the "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch" list are a remarkable group of second-stage companies. Defined as having 6 to 99 full-time-equivalent employees and generating $750,000 to $50 million in annual revenue, these companies form the backbone of Michigan's economy. Representing all regions of the state and a diverse range of industries, companies like ArborOakland Group are known for their exceptional entrepreneurial leadership, creation of innovation or use of innovation in creative ways, and their sustainable competitive advantage.

Winners were selected by Michigan-based judges from the banking, economic development, entrepreneurship development, and venture capital communities.

The Michigan Small Business Development Center is the managing partner of Michigan Celebrates Small Business in 2018.  Michigan Celebrates Small Business was founded by the Michigan Small Business Development Center, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Small Business Administration - Michigan, Edward Lowe Foundation, Michigan Business Network, and the Small Business Association of Michigan.

Information about Michigan Celebrates Small Business can be found at www.MichiganCelebrates.biz.

Information about ArborOakland Group can be found at www.ArborOakland.com.

Hazel Park film studio debuts web series with Detroit small business consulting and events company

A partnership between a Hazel Park-based film studio and Detroit entrepreneur Jennyfer Crawford has debuted the first episode of its new online video series highlighting Detroit-area entrepreneurs. The web series "All Things Detroit Conversations" debuted on Wednesday, March 14.

Reel Clever Films produced the series, which features conversations between Crawford and local small business owners. The first episode features Megan Cowan of Finch Finery.

The "Conversations" comes out of Crawford's small business consulting and events company, Ask Jennyfer, which organizes the All Things Detroit events at Eastern Market. It's a natural outgrowth of the original business, as each are meant to showcase and promote the area's small businesses. All Things Detroit events provide vendor space to local entrepreneurs, along with food trucks, performances, and other attractions.

For Reel Clever Films co-founder Eden Sabolboro, the partnership between the two companies is a perfect fit. Eden says that Crawford was one of the first people to respond and support Reel Clever following Eden and co-owner Thaad Sabolboro first moving to Michigan from the Philippines in 2014.

"Whenever I meet someone here, they always have the most interesting stories, stories of people starting from scratch. And Jennyfer's one of them," Eden says. "That resilience and grit, it's a sense of attitude here. That's what I want to highlight in Jennyfer's film series."

There are currently six episodes scheduled for the first season of the web series. Planned conversations include the owners of Delectabowl, Detroit Girls Rock, Tealing & Co., and Zayna Bakes.

"All Things Detroit Conversations" is available on Jennyfer's website and on YouTube.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Israeli manufacturer opens first U.S. office in Troy's Automation Alley

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Eilor Magnetic Cores, an Israeli company that manufactures blocks and tape-wound magnetic cores, has opened its first location in the United States in Troy.

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City Council approves $17 million in new projects

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Four new development projects, totaling $17 million collectively, were approved by the Auburn Hills City Council in late February. The projects include commercial, residential, and mixed-use. 

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Southfield Town Center nears completion of third-phase renovations

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The 2.2 million-square-foot Southfield Town Center is nearing completion of its third phase of renovations. A new entrance to the 3000 building has been completed, along with expanded surface parking. Other updates include upgrading hallways that connect the buildings, renovations to the front lobby and entranceway, and upgrades to the parking structures.

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Ferndale incentivizes environmental sustainability practices in new projects

The city of Ferndale is serious about its environmental sustainability efforts. So much so, in fact, that the city has integrated green infrastructure into its negotiations with developers. They've since further developed those efforts by adding a new position to the planning department. Erin Quetell was hired as the city's first Environmental Sustainability Planner just six months ago.

Ferndale uses incentives to get developers to add green infrastructure features like permeable surfaces to manage stormwater runoff. Should a developer want access to something like Brownfield tax increment financing, they have to work with the city on its environmental sustainability requests.

Jordan Twardy, Community and Economic Development Director for Ferndale, takes part in those negotiations. He's helped green infrastructure become a priority in development talks. Examples include introducing an underground water retention system at the Parkdale Townes townhouse development and permeable surfaces at the new parking structure downtown. Even saving old oak trees is on the table.

"Basically, what I do is lay out what we're trying to accomplish. There's always some back-and-forth, some trade-offs," he says. "It's an extra layer of nuance but worth the effort."

According to Twardy, Quetell's hiring has helped the city better formalize the process, while also improving Ferndale's own green infrastructure.

Lately, Quetell has been focusing on improving waste management and recycling rates in the city. She's been studying the implementation of an anaerobic digester to improve on city compost practices. The anaerobic digester uses a closed system to deprive compost of oxygen, breaking organic materials down while capturing methane emissions to provide energy to power facilities or gain energy credits.

"We're looking at making small efficiency updates like street lights and interior lighting, and then go bigger from there," says Quetell. "We're working toward a sustainability master plan."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Rochester develops data-driven tool to help inform development decisions

The city of Rochester might have an indoor, year-round farmers market coming its way. But then again, it might not. Rochester might be in line for 1,500 to 2,000 brand new residential housing units. But again, maybe not. Office, commercial, residential--the city of Rochester has its pick of the litter. But the city has decided it best not to rush into any big new developments just yet.

Area developers and construction companies have been waiting on bated breath as the city has decided to take a step back from developing the seven to eight of its remaining big sites to consider just what it is that will benefit Rochester the most. And not solely in an economic sense, but taking into account quality of life issues, as well.

It's called the Sustainable Rochester tool, and its results were debuted Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Royal Park Hotel at 7 p.m.

The city's planning department tapped planning firm McKenna Associates to develop Sustainable Rochester, which takes into account a range of datasets that have been fashioned into an informative matrix, helping the city decide just which development projects to approve.

While a new farmers market or mixed-use development might seem exciting at first blush, Nik Banda, Rochester's Economic & Community Development Director and Deputy City Manager, says that each potential development could significantly alter the city and its quality of life.

There are no more roads to be built, he says, so how much more traffic can the city accommodate. Same goes with sewers and other questions of infrastructure. The information gleaned from Sustainable Rochester will help city planners inform their decisions. Development will occur, it's just a matter of what kind.

"Development can mean change, and change is hard for some people to accept. This is about finding a balance," says Banda. "Not everyone is going to be happy, but we do our best."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Cantoro Italian Trattoria to open in May in former Tre Monti space in Troy

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Cantoro Italian Market and Trattoria in Plymouth Township announced it will open a new trattoria at 1695 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy, behind the San Marino Club in the space formerly occupied by Tre Monti. The announcement was made by Cantoro Italian Market and Trattoria owners and brothers John and Michael Fallone.

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Local coffee roastery, bakery, and cafe to expand to downtown Royal Oak with third location

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters is expanding to a third location — this time in downtown Royal Oak. It's a town that Nathan Hamood, President and Director of Coffee Roasting Operations at Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters, has been eyeing for a while. So when Hamood saw the 3,200-square-foot former home of La Dulce restaurant, he jumped on it.

Hamood hopes for a grand opening in downtown Royal Oak in May.

He expects a pretty easy build out this time around, at least as compared to the other two Dessert Oasis locations. The Hamood family opened Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters in Rochester in 2009, relocated to a more central downtown Rochester location in 2010, and opened a second location in downtown Detroit's Capitol Park neighborhood in 2015.

Given the building's former role as a restaurant, the infrastructure for a coffee shop and bakery is already there. Hamood will relocate the business baking operations to the Royal Oak location, and also move a coffee roaster to the front of the building, allowing customers and passers-by the opportunity to see—and smell—the coffee roasting process first-hand.

The Detroit location features an industrial, minimalist design aesthetic, and Hamood says he is working with design firm Ideology to maintain a minimalist approach but add some warmth to Royal Oak. Nightingale Company is tasked with the build-out.

"I'm excited about what the growth of our company does for our team," Hamood says. "Over the years, I've learned to delegate tasks to people's strengths. It creates an opportunity for others."

"We're operating like a real company."

Hamood also has his own line of hair pomade, Ace High, as mentioned in a profile that appeared in Metromode in 2016. He says that the business is growing as well, with the addition of hair clay and beard balm products and the hiring of a few employees. Ace High has picked up more local accounts, and even some distributors overseas.

Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters will be located at 115 S. Main St. in downtown Royal Oak.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Valentine Distilling announces expansion

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After 10 successful years, Rifino Valentine of Valentine Distilling Co. in Ferndale has announced plans to expand with a $1 million investment in its production operation. 

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RedLine Athletics set to open multiple youth athletic training centers in Michigan

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RedLine Athletics, which operates youth athletic training centers that includes coaching from former professional athletes, announced it will open 12 locations in Michigan, with the first opening next month in Farmington Hills.

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Vinotecca re-emerges in downtown Birmingham, focuses on eclectic entrees, live music


Vinotecca has opened in the former The Bird and The Bread restaurant space. Wine fans may recognize the name; Vinotecca used to be located in downtown Royal Oak. That location closed in 2017 to make way for that town's new Jolly Pumpkin outpost. The brand has been re-energized just a few miles north up Woodward Avenue in Birmingham.

Fans of the Vinotecca experience should feel welcome at the bar and restaurant's new digs. There remains an emphasis on great wine and food. The food menu, however, has been re-designed. While there are still the familiar small plates, the new Vinotecca returns with a more prominent entree menu.

Chef Adam Galloway, who has spent the past eight years at the Jonna Family of Restaurants' other wine bar and restaurant bar, Vinology in Ann Arbor, says that the new Vinotecca is more of a hybrid between the old Royal Oak location and Vinology. He characterizes the menu as wine-friendly world cuisine, and not just the predictable Italian and French dishes.

"We have small plates that represent a wide variety from around the world. There's an eclectic feel to the menu -- even on the entree side," says Galloway. "We're putting a twist on the classics, but in modern, fun, and interesting ways."

Entrees include the Cowboy Steak, Curried Scallops and Pork Belly, and Ponzu Glazed Fjord Trout, among others. Like the small plates, entrees are made available to share, with customers having the option to order full and half size plates of the main dishes.

In addition to wining and dining, Vinotecca offers wine education classes, weekend brunch service, and live jazz and blues concerts. One holdover from The Bird and The Bread days is the Elm Room, the 300 person-capacity private events space that remains in the back of the building.

Vinotecca is located at 210 S. Old Woodward Ave. in downtown Birmingham.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

LTU gets $100,000 state grant for business incubation

The Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has approved a one-year, $100,000 extension to fund the Lawrence Technological University Collaboratory Gatekeeper Business Incubator.

The grant runs from April 1 through March 31, 2019, and was part of $1.7 million in state grants to support entrepreneurial resources. 

This is the third year LTU has received the grant to assist entrepreneurs and innovators in Southfield and throughout Southeast Michigan with a variety of programs, services, and events. 

The mission of the LTU Collaboratory is to help small manufacturers and hardware enterprises scale up for success. More about the programs and events available through the Collaboratory at www.ltucollaboratory.com

LTU has partnered with the City of Southfield to foster economic development through the city’s SmartZone. Based on the results from the Gatekeeper Grant, Southfield has provided the LTU Collaboratory additional support over the past year to help foster small business success.

Through the Gatekeeper Grant, the LTU Collaboratory has also strengthened its collaboration and working relationships with agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Centers, Automation Alley, Pure Michigan Small Business Connect, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and other organizations.

The new Gatekeeper grant will continue the momentum established from the first two years’ awards to assist the growth of early stage technology companies, especially in those companies focused on product design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing.

For further information on the programs, contact, Mark Brucki, executive director of the LTU Collaboratory, at mbrucki@ltu.edu.

“Collaboration resources such as those available through Automation Alley, TechTown and SmartZones across Michigan are essential in providing our state’s entrepreneurs the necessary support needed to spark innovation and spur the business economy,” said Fred Molnar, vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the state’s chief marketing and business attraction agency. “The continued funding of these programs demonstrates their impact in not only building and growing startups in Michigan, but in attracting out-of-state talent.”  

Gatekeeper business incubators assist early-stage companies in accessing various services and programs administered by Michigan SmartZones, including mentoring, incubator and wet lab space, technology assessments, market analysis, product development and entrepreneurial training. Under the grants they’ve previously received, Michigan SmartZones have helped 231 companies form, served 1,695 companies, created 730 jobs, retained 4,223 jobs, and assisted companies in raising over $286 million with an additional $125 million in sales.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.
 

Beaumont moving forward on $160 million Farmington Hills expansion

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As a member of the Beaumont, Farmington Hills advisory committee and from his position as mayor of Farmington Hills, Ken Massey can see both the business and the community sides of the massive hospital renovation Beaumont is doing.

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ER docs run new urgent care in Milford

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A new urgent care facility capable of treating everything from the sniffles to broken bones opened this month in Milford. 

The practice is co-owned by physicians specializing in emergency medicine.  

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