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Rochester : Development News

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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

Revival in the making for historic Hills Theatre in downtown Rochester

Local history lovers and civic boosters in Rochester are pushing a plan to bring back the 1940s-era Hills Theatre downtown, and the idea got a boost recently when a feasibility study showed it could well be economically viable.

If the idea moves forward, after a major fundraising campaign and renovation Rochester would join several Michigan cities who are turning to "theater-nomics" to add life and dollars to their downtown.

The 820-seat Hills Theatre is located in the heart of downtown at 412-416 S. Main Street, and a renovation could cost between $3-4 million.

The Rochester-Avon Historical Society started exploring the idea about two years ago, and along with the city's Historical Commission worked with a consultant, paying $15,000 to advise on the best use of the theater and how to proceed with a campaign and building plan.

While the crux of the project will rely on private donations, Mayor Jeffrey Cuthbertson has said the city could provide services, engineering and other professionals in the interest of building a downtown entertainment destination.

The supporters of theater revival also expect to ask the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to chip in on Rochester's project as it has in other cities.

Source: Rochester Avon Historical Society and city of Rochester
Writer: Kim North Shine

Automation Alley and Oakland U launch training center

A training center designed to improve the talent pool for small- to medium-sized manufacturers in Michigan is opening at Oakland University's business incubator.

The Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center is a partnership between Automation Alley, Michigan's largest technology business association; Siemens;  the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Geometric Solutions; solidThinking Inc.; and Oakland U's School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Center will offer affordable training and PLM certification and training using traditional, mainstream and new technologies in computer aided design, engineering, manufacturing and other PLM skills such as digital factory simulation and 3-D scanning and printing.

Product Lifecycle Management is the process of seeing a product through from concept and design to manufacture, service and disposal. Knowledge and technologies in PLM can bring a company's processes up to date and prepare them for the future as well as increase efficiency, quality and profits by bringing products to market faster.

Besides training and certification, the new management center will help companies move from traditional design and manufacturing methods to the latest digital processes.

The center is located at One Golfview Lane in Rochester.

"In recent years, we've received a lot of feedback from the local manufacturing industry that they are desperately in need of employees trained in PLM. In many cases, they've had to look outside of Michigan to find these employees. Now, with the creation of this center, they will be able to find these employees right here in Southeast Michigan. So what we are creating is a talent pipeline that will ultimately lead to the creation of new jobs, but we can't say exactly how many jobs will be created or at what time," says Erin Sommerville, spokesperson for Automation Alley. "Ultimately, our hope is that Southeast Michigan will become known as a center of excellence for PLM, which would attract both companies and talent."

Source: Erin Sommerville, spokesperson, Automation Alley
Writer: Kim North Shine

GearBox Rx opens in Rochester to serve Crossfit athletes

GearBox RX, a soon-to-open store in downtown Rochester, wants to make it easier to buy Crossfit gear -- shoes, clothing, food, supplements, etc. -- by stocking only products that are tested and trusted and used by the owners themselves.

The owners, three casual CrossFit enthusiasts, know the frustration of ordering CrossFit supplies online and winding up with things that don't work or are no good. Figuring there are other CrossFitters in the same situation, they decided to open GearBox RX at 416 S. Main Street. Opening day is Jan. 24.

The owners are not "professional athletes or boutique wannabes," they say on their website "About Us" page.

"GearBox Rx mission is to be a community house for all things CrossFit and functional fitness. We are a retail store that sells shoes, clothing, accessories and nutrition to functional fitness athletes," according to the website. "We are also a place where that community can gather and talk shop, watch competitions or just share and learn about stuff that's important to us."

They chose Rochester because of its midway location for much of metro Detroit, its proximity to more than 40 CrossFit boxes, and hundreds of miles of running and biking trails and parks.

The store has a mini box where gear can be tried before you buy, and a market where natual and paleo products are sold.

Source: Rochester Downtown Development Authority and GearBox RX
Writer: Kim North Shine

Crittenton Hospital adds high-tech tower to Rochester campus

Crittenton Hospital has expanded its hospital campus in Rochester Hills by adding a six-story tower where patient care will come with the latest in medical technology, treatment and education wrapped in a building that took a non-traditional, money-saving approach to construction.

The 165,000-square-foot South Tower on University Drive near Oakland University opened Wednesday, Jan. 8. It has 87 private patient rooms outfitted with smart beds that monitor patients' vital signs and activity without being hooked to electrodes.

The pharmacy in the new tower is operated by an automation system with bar code technologies that can help eliminate prescription errors.

The tower houses a cardiac center for medicine, where Crittenton doctors work in an open heart program partnership with the University of Michigan. Other floors are dedicated to family and primary care medicine as well as orthopaedic, joint and spine medicine and musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

Education is incorporated in the new tower with innovative nursing stations that support training and clinical instruction to nursing students. Crittenton South Tower is also a learning center for Wayne State University School of Medicine's graduate residents.

A sanctuary for all religions and an outdoor garden meant to support emotional and spiritual well-being round out the new facility.

The $65-million tower also comes with an energy-efficient design that includes recycled materials. The construction project used an approach called Integrated Project Delivery. Hospital leaders and construction company reps from Barton Malow Company and Frank Rewold & Son say the approach, which re-evaluates and reworks traditional, costly construction not only saves health care costs but should be a model for other construction projects. They also say it is the largest such IDP project in Michigan.

Source: Brian Birney, director of marketing and communications, Crittenton Hospital and Adela Piper, Push22
Writer: Kim North Shine

Closed metro Detroit Caribou Coffees come back as Peet's Coffee & Tea

Six closed metro Detroit Caribou coffee shops are re-opening this week and next week as Peet's Coffee & Tea.

After months of renovations and employee training, Peet's Coffee & Teas opened Nov. 11 in Royal Oak, Novi, Shelby and Commerce townships and Rochester Hills.

A shop in Grosse Pointe's Village business district is opening Nov. 18, as is a store in Ann Arbor.

The new Peet's are retaining and retraining many Caribou employees and also hiring new ones as well as investing in upgrades and decor at the new shops.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based company began selling the rarity of small-batch, high-quality roasted and brewed coffee from its first store in Berkeley, Calif. in 1966. The company is in the midst of an eastward expansion. It recently opened 18 stores in Ohio and four in the Pittsburgh area.

Many of its new stores are just doors away from Starbucks, which opened in 1971, five years after Peet's first shop. Friends of Alfred Peet, the founder of Peet's Coffee & Tea, opened Starbucks after being taught by Peet, a Dutch immigrant who, as the story goes, was appalled by the coffee Americans drank. He wanted to enlighten them and teach them how to find the best beans and make a better cup.

Starbucks initially sold only roasted beans, not brewed coffee, but has since far surpassed Peet's in size.

Source: Peet's Coffee & Tea
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

Holy Cannoli's expands to OU campus

The reach of Holy Cannoli's family recipe for sweet-filled Italian pastry is expanding once again.

The downtown Rochester bakery that opened in 2010 first expanded to a second store in Berkley in April, then started selling its goods last week on the campus of Oakland University.

Traditional cannoli and cannoli chips will be sold at the coffee shop inside OU's Human Health Building on Squirrel and Walton roads.

Holy Cannoli's, which come in several flavors, are also on the menu at D'Amato's in downtown Royal Oak, and can be found at Eastern Market on Saturdays and the Bank of Antiques store in Washington Township.

Source: Nicole Franey, co-owner, Holy Cannoli's
Writer: Kim North Shine

The Clem joins other Metro Detroit cities for summer festival season

With metro Detroit downtowns seeing economic opportunity in festivals, concerts, art shows and other special summer events, a calendar can fill up fast in no time with places to go all summer long.

There aren't many cities without a show to put on.

Mount Clemens is capitalizing on its success as a big party host with the All American Jam this weekend.

The county seat of Macomb County draws thousands to its festivals, carnivals, music shows and fireworks each year, bringing customers to downtown businesses and fun to the streets. The All American Jam, hosted by Powers Distributing, the Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority and Watts Up, Inc - is a massive combination of them all.

It starts Thursday, June 20, and runs through Sunday, June 23, with a carnival, live music, food, beer, art and special exhibits, including a demonstration by the roller derby team, Bath City Roller Girls, fitness instructors and Cinderella, all with Main Street and Macomb Place in the center of downtown as the main drag. A fireworks show over the river happens on Friday.

There will be stages with live entertainment, musical and other artists. The event is billed as a family-friendly festival and will run from late afternoon to 11 p.m. each day.

Downtown Rochester packs in the crowds all year long with festivals and shows celebrating every season. This summers there's Music in the Park on Thursdays, the Big Bright Ball Aug. 4 and Movies in the Moonlight on Friday nights.

In Grosse Pointe Village district there's Thursday is the day for Music on the Plaza, and on July 26 the annual Sidewalk Sale and Street Festival pulls in deal-seekers and wanderers for the sales, music and food.

Royal Oak has a summer concert series on the lawn of the library every Thursday in July 11-Aug. 15. Each concert features multiple performers, either musicians or other artists. The city's Ford Arts, Beats & Eats is a metro-wide draw, taking over Main Street.

Dearborn’s Homecoming is 33-year-old, three-day festival that runs Aug. 2-4 and ends with fireworks and attracts about 150,000 visitors to the carnival, shows, picnics and other events.

Art fairs in Wyandotte and Plymouth are so popular that downtown Trenton moved the date of its 38-year-old annual summer festival to June 28, 29, 30.

The Wyandotte Street Art Fair is July 10-13. Art in the Park in downtown Plymouth is the July 12-14.

Writer: Kim North Shine

Deck Art celebrates skateboards as art in downtown Rochester

Skateboarders and downtown shops have had a rocky relationship through the years, but downtown Rochester is celebrating skateboarding -- and art -- with Deck Art 2013.

Deck Art invites anyone to buy a blank board -- the canvas -- for $20, decorate it and have it displayed in local businesses for special public exhibitions.

Deck Art is May 16 and 17 and starts with an art crawl beginning at the South Street Skateshop. It takes visitors in and out of businesses, which will offer special promotions. They can see more than 200 pieces of skateboard art spread throughout downtown.

The South Street Skateshop is the host. The city and the Rochester Downtown Development Authority supports and helps promote it as Deck Art nights are a way to fill downtown, bring in business and give the community something to do just as the weather turns nice. There will be food trucks each day, and entertainment.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Rochester Downtown Development Authority

New dance school goes back to basics in downtown Rochester



A former professional dancer and classically-trained dance teacher is opening a studio this month in downtown Rochester with hopes of replacing the competitive, reality TV twist of some dance studios with one that's focused on classical education and performance.

Cindy Raffel, 27, will bring her experience as a dancer and choreographer with companies around the country and as a certified K-12 dance instructor to her 2nd Street Studio of Dance. It will open with a ribbon-cutting on May 17th, with three days of free classes that day through the 19th. By July, classes for ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance and hip hop and other forms of dance will begins.

The studio at 100 E. 2nd Street is 5,600 square feet of space with three dance studios and classes for children and adults.

She plans to keep prices low, partly by eliminating the competitive dance aspect that can come with so many costs. Classes themselves will be affordable, she says.

Raffel, who's danced with ballet and theater companies in places such as Virginia, where she is from, and Florida, where she was with the Tampa Ballet, moved to Michigan in September after her husband, Tom, received a tenure-track position at Oakland University. They bought their home in Rochester and really dug downtown, she says. They loved Rochester and after hearing about the vacant RARA building -- Rochester Avon Recreation Authority -- she decided to open the studio she's dreamed about for years.

"Obviously with dance I started as a kid and I always wanted to have a dance studio…As an elementary schooler I was making up a show, picking out a costumes and showing my parents my choreography," she says. "It was always in the back of mind because I didn't know how far my professional career would go. When we decided to move here, we bought a house really quickly. I thought, this is going to be where we're settling down. I should for it. Lo and behold there was this vacant building waiting for me.

The studio "is literally steps away from Main Street," she says. "For me it's a great location only because it is a great area…but for all that's going on. You can walk out the door and be at a parade. Amazingly enough the house that we bought in August is exactly halfway between the university and the studio."

Before finding a place to open, she had been researching what was missing in the local dance scene.

"It's kind of hard as an outsider looking in…The dance world is so much word of mouth," she says, "But I think people are looking for something kind of different. something that's not competitive…I want dance to be a fun, happy experience. I want it to be enjoyable for everyone, including the parents."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Cindy Raffel, owner/instructor, 2nd Street Studio of Dance

Oakland County opens business center for entrepreneurs

Oakland County is trying to make starting a business or taking it to the next level easier for entrepreneurs by offering free, walk-in business counseling.

The One Stop Shop Business Center at the Oakland County Executive Office building, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, in Waterford will open May 9 and offer regular walk-in hours after that. The hours for May 9 are 9:30-noon and 1:30-4:30. The business center is on the first floor of Building 41W.

“We usually operate on an appointment-only basis but many entrepreneurs walk into our One Stop Shop with questions on how to get started with their business idea,” says Greg Doyle, supervisor of the One Stop Shop Business Center. “By designating special walk-in days, we hope to reach more entrepreneurs and help them understand their next steps as well as present the resources we can make available to them. Our aim is to get them started quickly in a way that makes the most sense to their unique situation.”

Counselors at the business center can answer specific questions, suggest planning tools and give direction on where to go to solve problems or achieve goals. All sessions are confidential. The counselors have expertise in business development, community planning, financing and market research.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Greg Doyle, supervisor, One Stop Shop Business Center

Downtown Rochester wins 2013 National Main Street award

Downtown Rochester is one of three cities in America to be named a Great American Main Street.

The 2013 Great American Main Street Award given by the National Trust For Historic Preservation recognized the Oakland County city for its success at preserving history while promoting economic revitalization and a strong relationship with the community. The announcement of the award, which was given in New Orleans April 11, described the Trust's reasoning for picking Rochester out of hundreds of historic Main Streets across the country.

"The Rochester DDA has succeeded in transforming a mill town that had fallen on hard times into a thriving suburb of Detroit built around a strong sense of place and community. A robust mix of public events, creative use of social media and a broad spectrum of volunteer involvement has attracted a loyal following to downtown Rochester," it says. "The DDA's Big Bright Light Show, for example draws 1 million visitors each holiday season to enjoy 1.5 million lights-lighting up merchants' cash registers in the process"

Other winners were H Street Main Street in Washington, D.C. and Ocean Springs Main Street in Mississippi.

In picking Rochester, Valecia Crisafulli, acting director at the National Main Street Center, says, "The Rochester DDA is a true innovator in marketing and small business assistance, and has the vibrant downtown to prove it. At a time when many municipalities are losing population, Rochester has experienced a 20-percent increase in population. With a 4-percent vacancy rate downtown and 132 new businesses since adopting the Main Street Approach, the DDA can take great pride in creating an inviting place for people to live, shop and open businesses."

Kristi Trevarrow, executive director of the Rochester Downtown Development Authority, says it goes without saying that it's an honor and recognition of much hard work and devotion from volunteers, business owners and city and county officials.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kristi Trevarrow, executive director, Rochester Downtown Development Authority and Erica Steward, spokesperson, National Trust For Historic Preservation

Holy expansion: Rochester-based Holy Cannoli's adds Berkley shop

The fifth-generation recipe for Holy Cannoli's cream-filled pastries has caught on so much that the downtown Rochester business has opened a second location in Berkley.

The new store is at 2752 Coolidge Highway. The first, which opened about a year ago, is at 415 South Main St. in Rochester. The business has been in the making since at least 2010, when owners Nicole Franey, her mother Cathy Schulte and grandmother Sharon Beheler decided to sell to friends, to their friends' friends, and at festivals and farmers markets, and then make the jump from family service to anonymous consumers.

Franey calls the expansion "an anniversary gift to ouselves."

Holy Cannoli's cannolis come filled with traditional creams and specialties such as key lime, pistachio, Michigan cherry, cookies and cream, and revolving choices. The creams are piped in after customers order.

Holy Cannoli's is also known for baked goods like its cassata cake.

Although it's moved into retail spaces, Holy Cannoli's hasn't abandoned farmer's markets. Every Saturday, Eastern Market shoppers will find Holy Cannoli's at Shed #5 in Eastern Market.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Nicole Franey, co-owner, Holy Cannoli's

Rochester's historic Chapman House to be converted into a restaurant

The nearly 100-year-old Chapman House in Rochester is in the process of a renovation that will make the former family home turned longtime home furnishings store into a restaurant and elegant event site.

For now the renovation is overshadowing what the Chapman House as a restaurant will be. Besides the painstaking daily details of preserving the historic structure itself, all sorts of historic keepsakes and fun finds are being uncovered.

A decades old Hershey's candy bar wrapper. A 1917 newspaper. Photographs. Original tile. A 200-plus-year-old gas light fixture.

The grand home was built in 1917 by William Clark Chapman, a prominent business owner and politiican, and remained in the Chapman family until 1973, according to the Rochester-Avon Historical Society. Several businesses operated there, most recently a furniture and interior design store. The home also survived two fires.

The renovation could be complete by spring, but developer Geoff Dancik can't yet announce a date. Historic renovation is an uncertain, windy road.

What is known is that a French-inspired restaurant will take up much of the first floor and most of the second floor of the Italian Renaissance-style mansion.

A terrace overlooking Walnut Street, just a few blocks from downtown Rochester, will offer outdoor seating as will part of the grounds behind the home.

The grounds and formal gardens will be available for private events.

As the renovations inside and outside continue, parts of the home such as the iron balconies have been sent away for proper restoration. A centerpiece of one patio, a five-burner gas fixture that dates back to the reign of King George IV during the mid to early 1830s, is also being restored.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Geoff and Brenden Dancik, Chapman House
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