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Detroit Dogs serves specialty hot dogs in Royal Oak

Detroit Dogs, a new hot dog restaurant in downtown Royal Oak, pays homage to the Motor City while tipping a hat to other locales with its Virginia Dog, Chicago Dog, American Dog, Russian Dog and several other specially topped and sauced dogs.

Detroit Dogs opened in March at 200 W. Fifth Avenue and is hiring to keep up with the demand for its specialties and more straightforward classics.

The Detroit emphasis is tied to the owners' decision to sell Detroit-made products from the dogs down to chips and drinks, all from a simple menu that's drawing families for lunch and dinner and late-night post-bar and restaurant crowds.

Source: Detroit Dogs
Writer: Kim North Shine

The Bird & The Bread offers Euro-style, family-friendly eats in Birmingham



It was always a part of the plan for The Bird & The Bread to be a welcoming restaurant for families.

What was not as planned was the extent to which family would play into the charmingly-named, stunningly designed and decorated space where food described as modern Euro casual with an American twist is being brought to Birmingham by the owners and creators of Vinology in Ann Arbor and and Vinotecca in Royal Oak. The Bird & The Bread at 210 South Old Woodward opened for dinner Feb. 22 and will open for lunch March 25. It is connected to The ELM, a banquet room for about 150 guests that is under construction and will open March 18. Brunch will be served at The Bird & The Bread before Easter.

But back to the family ties. First, the restaurant name. It comes from the nicknames given to the twin 3-1/2-year-old children of the owners by their grandfather. One, the smaller girl with a cry more like a squawk, was dubbed The Bird. The heftier son was more like a dense loaf of bread and took his nickname from that.

Later, as the family thought up the name of their future restaurant that would serve more as a comfort food place than their wine-focused previous endeavors, the inclusion of bread, as in fresh-baked loaves, and bird, as in chicken, made sense. The whimsical nature of the name fit the family attitude and restaurant design, which includes an emphasis on environmentally sustainable construction and has a stave -- a room that feels like being inside a wine barrel.

"We agonized and agonized about the name of this restaurant because it's the first time for us not to do a vino concept," says co-owner Kristin Jonna, who grew up around good food and wine as the daughter of John Jonna, one of the founders of Merchant of Vino and former owner of Merchant's Fine Wine. She has traveled the world honing her craft -- wine and food -- and is known as one of Michigan's wine experts. The Jonnas also created Vinotecca inside the Bastone complex in downtown Royal Oak, and own and operate the successful Vinology in downtown Ann Arbor.

The departure from a fine-wine restaurant -- though the Bird & Bread will have a good selection -- was a response to something missing in Birmingham.

"Birmingham has done high end well. It didn't necessarily need more of that," Kristin Jonna says. "We felt what was untapped was a more a casual concept, more of an everyday family restaurant."

That should not imply that hot dogs and chicken fingers are on the menu, though executive chef Jim Leonardo, who is splitting his time between the new restaurant and Vinology, "is loving getting the chance to cook food he serves to his family," she says.

Further tying in the family connection, the grandfather's 30-year-old collection of cookbooks decorates The Bird & The Bread's walls and light fixtures in the space that's broken into comfy, homey rooms such as the nook and the stave and a restaurant entrance that welcomes diners with the warmth of a pizza oven and rotisserie.

The ELM banquet space, which has a simpler, elegant decor and a completely different food selection, is named after nephews Enzo and Luke and niece Maya, the children of Vincent Jonna, who's also in the family restaurant and wine business.

"We are just so excited and ready to go," says Jonna. "We want people to know, the families to know, we're here and want to share The Bird & The Bread with them."

Source: Kristin Jonna, co-owner, The Bird & The Bread
Writer: Kim North Shine

Ale Mary's to serve up craft suds in Royal Oak this spring

Tom's Oyster Bar in downtown Royal Oak is spinning off a new concept in Ale Mary's, which will give props to craft beer through a wide selection of brews and beer-influenced food.

Ale Mary's Craft Beer Hall will open in a renovated space formerly used as an extra dining area and party room by Tom's. Ale Mary's will take up about half the restaurant space, which covers two storefronts and will seat about 50-60 indoors and out, says general manager Justin Pries.

Remodeling is expected to be completed within a few weeks, in time for a spring opening, he says. Tom's and Ale Mary's will operate separately, including staffs and kitchens. Ale Mary's is in the heart of downtown Royal Oak, at 316 South Main St.

This Thursday, a master brewer from Grand Rapids' Perrin Brewing will host a beer-themed meal at Ale Mary's communal table, the first of several special craft beer knowledge dinners that will be a feature at Ale Mary's. The intimate dinner is for Ale Mary's founding members, investors who will be entitled to special privileges such as first dibs on limited-seating special events. A handful of founding memberships are still available, Pries says.

In addition, Ale Mary's has 20-30 craft beers on tap and about 100 bottled beers from around the world, Pries says.

Owners Nick and Heather Ritts are fans of craft beer -- the drink and the industry -- and want to be a part of it, says Pries. They, Pries and staff have been educating themselves through tastings, brewery visits and certification training. Heather is working on one of the highest certifications in craft beer service, and the Ale Mary's staff must be certified as at least Level 1 certified beer servers, he says.

"People know so much about the craft beers now or they're learning," says Pries. "It's now very similar to wine, the different styles and different flavors. My background is mostly in wine. It's fascinating learning about craft beer. I have a whole new level of respect."

Besides serving beer to drink, Ale Mary's will serve food cooked with beer or influenced by beer, Pries says. Executive Chef Geoff Woodman is creating the menu.

"We'll be doing things with food and beer that you can't really find; not on the scale we'll be doing it," says Pries.

Source: Justin Pries, general manager, Tom's Oyster Bar and Ale Mary's
Writer: Kim North Shine

Big space, big chefs, big design behind Bistro 82 and Sabrage lounge



One of metro Detroit's most anticipated restaurants, Bistro 82, opened this week in downtown Royal Oak, and besides serving unforgettable food the plan is to "change the dining scene in this area."

Scott Sadoff, director of operations for the AFB Hospitality Group, is overseeing Bistro 82, which opened Feb. 11 at 4th Street and South Lafayette in the former Sangria tapas bar and salsa dance club.

The renovation transformed the two-story, 10,000-square-foot building into a contemporary and luxurious space with clean lines and an open floor plan that has Bistro 82 on the main floor. Upstairs is Sabrage, a high-end lounge and night club where a DJ will play above a fish tank while champagne is served from a tap behind an onyx bar. Sabrage's first day of business is Valentine's Day. It will be open on Friday and Saturday nights. The overall vision for the new business belongs to Aaron Fenkell Belen, the developer of the property and president of AFB Hospitality Group.

"What we're doing is trying to make our place a one-stop shop and capture our guests for their nights out," says Sadoff, who says guests may want a pre-dinner cocktail or a reserved table upstairs at Sabrage for post-dinner time.

The bigger picture of Bistro 82 and Sabrage is "to change the dining scene in this area. Dining should be for the guests, not just to go out to eat, but to have an experience," he says.

"Every establishment around us is here for a reason, and many of them are very good at what they do," he says. "What we never want to become or never will become is stagnant. We don't want to get complacent. We want to try and up our game every single day."

Bistro 82 is French-inspired except for the intentionally roomy interior design.

"It's not a bistro setting that normally has tables closer together. We wanted our bistro to be easily maneuverable, with generous walkways and to be luxurious," he says. "We want our guests to be comfortable and well taken care of."

An important part of the customer care-taking, he says, is hiring a large staff -- sauciers, dishwashers, security staff, drink runners, managers, bartenders, etc.  who are known for their high performance and experience at top restaurants. Sadoff most recently worked for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants as manager of Ocean Prime and before that as manager of  P.F. Chang's.

Derik Watson is the leader of Bistro 82's kitchen and the designer of the menu, which includes a West and East Coast selection of oysters, pork belly and ratatouille and several other appetizers, Waygu hanger steak, beef short rib, sea scallops, Scottish Salmon, chicken Paillard and other entrees, and dessert choices such as yogurt panna cotta, dark chocolate tart and cinnamon sugar beignets. Watson brings with him experience from restaurants around the country, many in metro Detroit such as Rugby Grill in Birmingham and Tribute in Farmington Hills, where he worked under the tutelage of iconic chef Takashi Yagihashi at Tribute and in Chicago.

Running Bistro 82 and Sabrage will require more than 100 employees, nearly half full-time. The restaurant can seat 162 guests. Sabrage has room for about 225 guests.

Source: Scott Sadoff, director of operations, AFB Hospitality Group, and Justin Near, president, Near Perfect Media
Writer: Kim North Shine

Momentum builds for $50M multi-use development in downtown Royal Oak

A project dubbed Gateway for its location at the most prominent entry into Royal Oak is gathering steam since a group of real estate developers, architects and consultants presented a proposal for a residential-retail-medical-office development on Main Street near I-696.

The proposal, which still requires approvals of the Downtown Development Authority and other city commissions, calls for a massive project that would transform a section of Main Street at I-696 into a multistory building that will house nearly 10,000 square feet each of retail space, medical space, office space with a parking deck and a 160 apartments as the centerpiece.

The Gateway project would take up a city block and be bordered by I-696, Main Street and Woodward Avenue and also fill a void in apartment living options in the area, the developers say in their proposal.

The project could come in with a price tag of $50 million, according to the Royal Oak DDA. Assuming approvals are given to the project without extensive delays, ground could be broken in summer 2014. The same developers are proposing an eight-story, 114-room hotel project that will be part of a complex of apartment, retail and offices at the former Fresard car dealership at 400 N.Main Street.

Source: City of Royal Oak
Writer: Kim North Shine

Woodward Ave. transformation revealed

Plans to redesign Woodward Avenue between Detroit and Pontiac into a thoroughfare that will be prepared for mass transit as well as welcoming to bikers and walkers are being aired on public access cable channels in Oakland County.

Some of the organizations behind the plan, the Woodward Avenue Action Association, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the municipalities that line the avenue, are looking for public feedback as local, county and state officials get behind the Complete Streets plan.

Steven Huber, a spokesperson for Oakland County, says the plan could transform Woodward into a scenic thoroughfare in ways to promote business and usability.

Engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff came up with a redesign of the 27-mile stretch of road in a master plan that's believed to be one of the largest of its kind in the nation.

The planning and public feedback are moving at a faster pace as Oakland County and several municipalities work to prepare for the arrival of light rail on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

The idea is to unite metro Detroit through a major corridor that's easy to travel, to stimulate transit-oriented development, and to create jobs.

Source: Steve Huber, marketing and communications officer, Oakland County
Writer: Kim North Shine

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

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

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

Build your own pie at Royal Oak's Blaze Pizza

A California pizza chain known for its quick-fired, watch your pizza being made concept opened its first Michigan location in Royal Oak last week.

Blaze Pizza, a fast casual restaurant concept that's in heated expansion mode, franchised a 3,900-square-foot, 80-seat store with an outside patio at 112 Main Street. The eatery introduced locals to its concept of an assembly-line system that lets customers choose from more than 40 toppings -- many gourmet or unusual -- and watch as a ball of dough made from scratch and left to ferment and develop flavor for 24 hours is pressed and topped before going into a high-heat oven that bakes the thin-crust pizzas in 120 seconds.

The franchise is owned by Blaze Midwest out of Houghton Lake, which plans to open 10 Blaze Pizzas in Michigan.

Source: Blaze Pizza
Writer: Kim North Shine

Ink Detroit's new online store promotes Michigan-made goods

  

Ink Detroit
 started out as a company focused solely on making shirts and such that express Detroit love, and now the eight-year-old company is spreading its love to the whole of Michigan by turning out a new line of products that  show statewide pride.

The I Love Michigan line can be found at the newly launched I Love Michigan Shop, the newest addition to www.thegreatlakesstate.com, which was started several years ago by Ink Detroit co-founder Paul Marcial as a marketplace for Michigan businesses.

Marcial and Steven Mansour formed Ink Detroit in 2005 with the mission of creating hip and fun graphics for quality t-shirts and other garments and accessories that Motor City natives "can wear proudly like a badge of honor."

"It kind of started as a hobby. We were just doing shirts on the side for years. We weren't really pushing it. Then it started growing little by littler and it got to the point where one of us had to leave our job," Marcial recalls.

Mansour, who has a background in the garment industry, left his job and is full-time with the ventures. Marcial, a graphic designer and landscape architect, spends countless hours on the start-up. The company's offices and product development are handled from Marcial and Mansour's Royal Oak homes. They have a warehouse in Southfield.

After Ink Detroit got rolling, the Michigan pride vibe got stronger, Marcial says. It became clear the buyers were very different.

"We did a few Michigan designs before, and they did OK," Marcial says. "When we started a whole separate division that's where it took off."

He says a large number of sales are coming from Instagram posts, simple pics like one of his son in a I Love Michigan shirt at the apple orchard last weekend.

The next big step for Mansour and Marcial is the launch of a catalog, which is being printed and bound as the pair prepares to approach retailers about stocking their products. Currently about 10 stores sell their goods.

Source: Paul Marcial, co-founder Ink Detroit and I Love Michigan Shop
Writer: Kim North Shine

Citizen Yoga in downtown Royal Oak blends yoga with good citizenship


The opening of Citizen Yoga in downtown Royal Oak is so much more than an entrepreneurial endeavor for owner Kacee Must.

From a 3,000-square-foot space at 500 S. Washington, an unusually large and prominent spot for a yoga studio, Must wants to tie together a near-lifetime of experience in yoga and the knowledge gained studying philosophy in India for three years with her love for entrepreneurial artists, fashion and, most profoundly, the memory of a sister lost to suicide five years ago.

Citizen Yoga will open Sunday and for the first two weeks all yoga is free -- part of Must's push to attract beginners and also to be a good citizen.

Citizen Yoga will be body alignment-based so that instructors can gently guide students through poses.

"We view taking care of yourself as being easy on yourself…learning how to move into discomfort to ease in to the breath and use your own mental coping skills," says Must, 29, and a Cranbrook Academy and Northwestern University graduate who was introduced to yoga by her mom at age 12, "before yoga was hip or cool, before most people knew what yoga was."

Her yoga experience through the years, locally and around the world has shaped the approach her studio will take.

"I saw this untapped not just yoga market, but also cohesive community here in Royal Oak that I believe would want to hear the message and learn the proper way to use yoga to take care of yourself physically and spiritually, " she says. "You can't even compare us to somebody else. We're offering something that our community has moved so far away from," she says. "I really promote authenticity and ethics and being very encouraging to my teachers and students."

If visitors during the first two weeks care to make a donation it will go to the charity Born and Raised in Detroit, which is run by Must's friends and offers fun, happy events and programs to enrich the lives of Detroiters.

Charity and a personal philosophy of good citizenship is also behind Citizen Yoga.

Philosophically, Must, who spent three years in India studying philosophy, wants to explore her yearning for community togetherness by "promoting how we can all be better citizens in every aspect of our lives," she says.

The studio will also honor Must's sister, Miya. She committed suicide in 2007 and since then her family has strived to help others by working in suicide prevention and support of women living with bipolar disorder.

"I want to do a lot of suicide prevention, awareness type stuff," Must says. "Without her and that memory of her and that drive of hers, I don't know if I could have done this. I was really afraid to do this on my own. Being an entrepreneur in its essence is all about self-belief, and I feel like she's been here with me pushing me to believe in myself."

Also in her sister's honor, Citizen Yoga will offer Yoga Medics, a medically designed yoga program. Her sister and a friend ran a Yoga Medics in their Colorado yoga studio. Must has received a $50,000 grant to use Yoga Medics to give yoga rehabilitation therapy to veterans.

There will also be two massage rooms at Citizen Yoga. Spa Mariana from Birmingham will run the massage therapy.

It's her wanting to build a community that has her inviting in other metro Detroit entrepreneurs like the spa to share the space, which is next door to the Fifth Avenue apartments. It underwent an 18-month renovation of re-used materials -- the old jewelry store floor is the ceiling -- rustic woods, and brick mixed with touches of industrial.

Jewelry by Leah Rose Damour, organic nail polish by AKAYStyle and a Jesse Fenton's I Use Yoga clothing line will go into the retail space at Citizen Yoga.

"From an owner perspective," she says, "my theory is the more you collaborate and the more you work together, the more you're going to actually succeed."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kacee Must, owner, Citizen Yoga

6 Salon moves, expands in downtown Birmingham







6 Salon
opened in downtown Royal Oak 10 years ago with four stylists, a hip and stylish decor and the unorthodox practice of operating from early morning 'til midnight.

Within two years 18 stylists were styling in Royal Oak at 306 W. Sixth St., and by the third year a second 6 Salon had opened in downtown Birmingham.

As the 10th anniversary approaches, the business, which focuses on hiring for personality, personally trains stylists and functions based on customer demands such as longer hours, is employing a staff of 65 and making another move by opening a much larger salon in downtown Birmingham.

The newest 6 Salon opened July 5 at 180 S. Old Woodward, the prominent corner of Old Woodward and Merrill. The 4,400-square-foot space decorated in rich woods and warm colors, a move away from the white, black and stainless steel tableau of its predecessors, replaces a 1,500-square-food shop on West Maple.

The new salon has 21 stylists' stations and adds a lash bar to its list of services.

"We were completely busting out of the other location," says George Nikollaj, who co-owns the salon with brother Johnny Nikollaj and cousin Tomy Lulgjuraj.

"It's unbelievable, the response we've gotten. People stop in and ask if they can see it, have a tour," he says. "We say, 'Of course.' It's great being where people want to come in and get to know us and see what we've done. It's great to be here."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: George Nikollaj, co-owner 6 Salon

Bistro 82 and Sabrage Lounge heating up downtown Royal Oak






The buzz about a two-story restaurant and lounge under renovation in downtown Royal Oak is that it will be the next "it" place to eat and hang out in metro Detroit

Bistro 82 and Sabrage will be opening in the space formerly occupied by Spanish tapas restaurant Sangria at the corner of 4th & S. Lafayette.

An impressive lineup will staff Bistro 82, which will occupy the bottom floor of the nearly 10,000 square-foot corner spot. Sabrage, which is French for the technique of using a saber to open a champagne bottle, will take over the top floor with a garden terrace, a stage for live music and booth seating along with a white onyx bar for post-dinner drinks.

The staff's resumes will bring experience from top restaurants around metro Detroit, Michigan and California under one roof when Bistro 82 and Sabrage open by fall.

Besides fresh and often locally-sourced dishes and a wine selection that is expected to rival top-seeded restaurants around the country, owner Aaron F. Belen of AFB Hospitality Group wants the two-story restaurant and lounge's interior design and atmosphere to also be a standout.

A large shark tank built into a DJ booth along with a floor-to-ceiling wine cellar, extensive champagne list, private dining room, a specialized sound system designed by Harman Co. and Euro-bistro influenced meals served in courses are part of owner Aaron F. Belen's vision for Bistro 82 and Sabrage.

The establishment will seat at least 159 people and 226 in the lounge, make a major investment to Royal Oak and create 75 full- and part-time jobs.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Justin Near, publicist for Aaron F. Belen and Bistro 82/Sabrage/AFB Hospitality Group

Organic nail polish co. sprouts in metro Detroit

Cindis Naturals is a new nail polish company started by families from Grosse Pointe and Clarkston. The business plan is twofold: to develop a polish without harmful chemicals and to give nail professionals a product that their clients can only get from them.

The polish, which has been in salons in metro Detroit salons for about two months and will soon be sold in six locations of Windsor Beauty Supply, grew out of a relationship between husband and wife John and Melodie Scherer of Grosse Pointe Farms and brother and sister Cindy and Rick Lieder from Clarkston.

Cindy Lieder, a longtime manicurist who decided she wanted to create a safer artificial nail, one without chemicals linked to pulmonary, neurological and gynecological side effects, started her company CindiNails in 2005.

In the meantime, the Scherers, veterans of the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, saw an opportunity to sell nail polish exclusively to nail professionals who had lost their go-to brands, OPI and Esse, after they became available to all consumers, not just professionals. In doing research and interviews the Scherers also heard that manicurists wanted a product that was more organic, less chemical, John Scherer says.

The Scherers had been successful in nail polish in the 1990s but left the business when stores became too difficult to work with. It was a call from an industry consultant in California several months ago, telling them about a void in polishes sold only to nail pros that got the ball rolling on forming a new product.

During the research and development process they learned about the Liebers' low-chemical system for artificial nails and the top coats and base coats that came with it. The Scherers decided to approach them about their new polish formula that could be made minus five dangerous chemicals, including formaldehyde and toluene, and with an organic not synthetic plasticizer (hardener). They asked if the Lieders wanted to combine products. They did and the foursome formed Colors Cindi Nails Naturals LLC.

"We had our polish colors. The thing we didn't have was our top coat or base coat," says John Scherer.

"We thought we would find someone doing it in California, and it turned out we found someone doing it right here in Clarkston, Michigan. We wanted it to buy it in gallon cans from them initially, but they wanted to buy colors and it was perfect. It was a marriage made in heaven."

New salons and independent nail professionals are ordering Cindis Naturals every week, he says, salons in Grosse Pointe, West Bloomfield, St. Clair Shores.

While the business side is looking promising what's been most rewarding, he adds, is how the product has helped nail professionals not only avoid smelly, potentially harmful fumes but also boost their bottom line. The polishes are sold in full size bottles for manicures and pedicures and come with a Skinny Mini that can be sold to clients for touch-ups, etc. and in a bottle size that won't dry up before it's used up. It gives consumers a way to keep their nails fresh and the nail pro a small source of income.

"It's working like a charm," he says. "The pros are happy. Their clients are happy. A safer product is out there. It's working out just beautifully."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: John Scherer, co-founder Cindis Naturals
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