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Birmingham eatery Luxe Bar & Grill adds Grosse Pointe Farms location

Luxe Bar & Grill in Birmingham has opened a new restaurant in Grosse Pointe Farms, bringing its neighborhood bar meets upscale feel to the east side.

Luxe, known for its burgers and favorites like onion rings and Luxe garlic wings, moved into the space that was formerly Lucy's, once a local go-to until it was sold and quality declined.

The newest Luxe moves into the toniest of the Grosse Pointes, down the street from the former Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year, The Hill Seafood & Chop House, and the prior Hour Detroit Restaurant of the Year, Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe.

According to Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Boettcher, Luxe describes itself like this:

"Luxe Bar & Grill is the neighborhood spot that serves quality food, drink and atmosphere - without pretense. At every crossroad, quality and taste are the priority. We believe the character of a bar is its patrons and we welcome all seeking good company and friendly conversation to enjoy our charmed local bar."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Jennifer Palms Boettcher, president/executive director, Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce

Hot Mama expands make-mom-look-good-feel-good retail to Birmingham

Hot Mama, a Minnesota-based clothing store started by a mom who experienced the indignities and difficulties of shopping as a mom with kids in a new body, is coming to downtown Birmingham next spring. The styles are meant to keep moms from feeling too mom-ish.

The 2,400 square-foot store will open at 128 South Old Woodward and will add to Birmingham's selection of national retailers sought out by downtown planners.

A spokeswoman for Hot Mama says Birmingham was chosen because of its similarities to Edina, where Hot Mama opened the first store in 2004.

"We were attracted to the walkable area and energy of downtown," she told Ed Nakfoor, a spokesman for the Birmingham Principal Shopping District. "It reminded us of our first store in Edina, Minnesota, at 50th & France. We also loved the co-tenants in downtown Birmingham."

The stores are family-friendly so moms can shop. The also stock snacks for kids and beer for dad. They are spacious, with room for strollers.

When the store opens a full time director and a full time manager will be hired, as will 10 part-time stylists.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Edward Nakfoor, spokesman, Birmingham Principal Shopping District

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

Ferndale-based Chazzano Coffee filling cups in four states

When Frank Lanzkron-Tamarazo started Chazzano Coffee in 2009, roasting beans from a hole-in-the-wall office in Farmington Hills and then moving as he grew into a larger light industrial park, he expected to land maybe 20 wholesale accounts.

He's far exceeded that number, reaching 170 wholesale outlets for the coffee he roasts himself and distributes only in small batches to keep it fresh, but he's built a business that is 70-percent retail based. He sells in Michigan and three other states.

"It's amazing. I had about three accounts before we opened the cafe coffee roastery in Ferndale. Those accounts led to more and more, and right now the 170 whole accounts…restaurants, cafes, speciality markets like Whole Foods, Randazzo's, Plum Market, Holiday Market," Lanzkron-Tamarazo says.

Dozens of offices order his coffee, as do coffee club members who receive deliveries of special roasts on the 1st and 15th of each month.

During the last year, the former synagogue cantor's coffee began filling the cups in Illinois, Iowa and Kentucky, and unexpectedly the roastery in a not so attractive part of Ferndale drew more customers than it had room for. So within a year Chazzano will be moving into a much larger space, likely in Ferndale, with a bigger cafe and roasting area, more parking and more space for retail.

"We're kind of special because I roast all the coffee fresh to order when I get the order," he says. "We call each of our 170 wholesale accounts each week. We keep the orders small so that the coffee doesn't get a chance to lose its freshness."

Any coffee around more than 2 - 2 1/2 weeks old is ground and donated to a homeless shelter. His wife, Lisa, made a delivery of fresh roasted beans and a brewing part to a Bowling Green, Ohio cafe yesterday.

"My whole goal in the beginning was getting better coffee when you go out. I can't stand going to an awesome restaurant, where the food is fantastic and the service is great and the coffee is lousy. It makes no sense. 

"Once they start serving my coffee, then they become retail customers…then at home, then at a favorite restaurant, then to the office," he says.

As grateful as he is for the growth and business expansion he knows he wants to limit it.

"We're really a boutique roastery. We're different than any other roaster around. We're always going to make sure we're small enough so that there's quality."

Source: Frank Lanzkron-Tamarazo, owner, Chazzano Coffee Roasters
Writer: Kim North-Shine

UHY accounting firm moving to larger Mount Clemens location

Macomb County's largest accounting firm is keeping up with growth by expanding its office in Sterling Heights and adding signage to signify the renaming of the office on Hall Road to the UHY Building.

UHY, a licensed CPA firm that provides audit and tax services and various speciality accounting consultants, hired 39 employees in Sterling Heights in the last two quarters of 2012 and the first two quarters of 2013 to keep up with demand. Another 23 employees were hired in other Michigan offices.

To make room for the new employees, UHY is expanding, renovating and modernizing the office at 12900 Hall Road. Renovations began in June and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The changes will increase the office size from 26,000 to 38,000 square feet and add technological upgrades, including conference rooms, new lighting, wall coverings, additional windows and open workspaces with workstations that accommodate three computer monitors and a new UHY Cafe.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Shannon Gnesda, Marketing Coordinator, UHY LLP

Michigan Dog Trainer ready to tame pooches from new Plymouth digs

Michael Burkey, a former K9 police officer, federal officer, social worker and canine expert, has opened a dog training center in downtown Plymouth.

Burkey, who also is an expert witness in court cases involving dogs, has hired five trainers and a customer service rep into a 7,000 square-foot space at 1031 Cherry St. to staff Michigan Dog Trainer.

Inside MDT's building are two large training rooms and "Michigan's only 20 1/2-inch long Nose Work wall," says Burkey. He is also a competitive handler and volunteer behaviorist for the Humane Society of Huron Valley, the location of his first training center.

The Nose Work wall is fitted with 13 scent detection tubes for training police dogs and and such to sniff for narcotics, explosives and other illegal substances. Birch oil is also one of the scents and is used to train dogs in the sport of nose work, a sport that will soon be sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, Burkey says.

The space, a former photography studio, also has a professional white photo wall for dog pictures and videos and four offices. MDT opened July 20 and held a grand opening celebration with dogs and people on Aug. 1. It might be the only business able to claim a blind Dachshund, which performed a Nose Work demo, as part of the festivities.

Burkey says he'll use Kellogg Park and nearby "dog friendly" stores as well as Maybury Park and Proud Lake Recreational Area as an extension of the training center. While the dogs are the focus, “many times," he says, "it is also the people that need help in understanding the dog and its behavior. Families are often split on how best to train the dog and that’s where my social work background becomes very helpful.  I am very effective at helping families work together for the best interest of their dog, as well as adjusting my teaching style for the individual client for optimum learning.”

Michigan Dog Trainer will offer two or four-week K9 camps, training day camps, private and group classes that include Puppy Socialization, Basic Manners, Remote Manners, Circus Class, Canine Good Citizen and Feisty Fido.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Dog Behaviorist and President Michigan Dog Training LLC

In hocus-pocus move, ABC Magic Shop reappears in new Mt. Clemens space

The magicians, princesses and super heroes in residence at the ABC Magic Shop in Mount Clemens are moving into a bigger home and building on a reputation of entertaining and enchanting children -- and adults -- across metro Detroit.

ABC Magic Shop's new store at 69 N. Walnut Street is twice the size of the old one, giving it more space to cater to the metro Detroit magic community with its larger collection of magic supplies that make it "one of the largest in the Midwest," says Dave Schneider, who co-owns the business with wife Terri. ABC Magic Shop hosts a magic convention each year.

The retailer also rents costumed characters, moonwalks and other activities and entertainment for family parties and corporate events. It stocks science toys, gag gifts, puppets and other fun stuff.

On Aug. 10 the Schneiders and staff magicians Marc Arthur, Ryan Nemeth, and Charlie Laube, who also hold other jobs for the business, will host a grand opening party with "tons of free events all afternoon," Schneider says.

The party is one time, but ABC's usual magic classes -- one at noon for beginners and one at 3 for advanced magicians, will continue every Saturday.

Writer Kim North Shine
Source: Dave and Terri Schneider, owners, ABC Magic Shop

Detroit Sandwich Co. to open take-out shop in Farmington Hills

Mark Friday - great name, huh? - has a family history in the restaurant business and a love for Detroit. That has brought him to the place of opening the Detroit Sandwich Co. next week in Farmington Hills.

The Detroit Sandwich Co. at 29801 W. 9 Mile Road will add to the takeout options for the Farmington-Farmington Hills area with a menu that includes a turkey chipotle sandwich, chicken sliders, pasta and meatballs, a signature meatball sandwich, lobster ravioli and a chicken bacon salad.

"I'm always tempted to add more things, things I love, but we don't want to do too much. We want to put out quality food. If you do too much it can bring down quality," Friday says.

The Italian side of the menu comes from Friday's Italian heritage - he's part Italian and African-American with a 100 percent Italian grandmother. He and his wife have been dreaming of restaurant ownership for a while. They looked into a Subway franchise, but "it's like being a manager while you raise the money. There's no creative freedom."

"My wife and I have prayed on it and it kept growing and growing," Friday says.

He almost signed a deal for his business to be located in a spot near downtown Farmington. It would have required a loan and a major renovation. When the deal fell through, he happened to spot the perfect space down the road, no loan required, minimal renovations and with a feel that matched his vision.

"It's a really good space for us to start and learn and grow and open up locations," says Friday, who is training four employees this week in preparation for opening day.

Initially the Detroit Sandwich Co. will be take-out only and then add delivery, he says. The cozy spot with a 20 by 19-foot kitchen, an 8 by 9-foot walk-in kitchen and a 14 by 9-foot counter has fresh colors of paint on the walls. It will have digital menus on TVs and and be decorated with vinyl wall coverings showing downtown Detroit's skyline.

"I used to live in Detroit. I love the city. I go downtown when I can," says Friday, who sees the city and the burbs as one Detroit.  "I chose the name because I want to support the city even though i can't open up in the city yet."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Mark Friday, owner, Detroit Sandwich Co.

New bistro and retail coming to Grosse Pointe's Village

In any downtown, the business scene is always changing, some businesses coming, some going, some expanding.

And in Grosse Pointe, where locals joke about things always staying the same, the Village business district is no exception.

It can be, however, a confusing one with business plans that seem certain not being that way at all. Such is the case with two of the largest vacancies in Grosse Pointe's Village downtown business district.

One space, a former Ace Hardware on Kercheval at St. Clair, was supposed to be taken over by another hardware store, but those plans are off, and the building owners are looking for two retailers to move into the large spot, which has been divided into 18,000 and 11,000 square-foot spaces.

"The building can facilitate two big-box users or divide one or both buildings into smaller units. Current demand for retail is 750 to 2,000 square feet, with not much demand for 2,000," says Jennifer Boettcher, director of the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce. "The landlords want to make sure they make they have the right tenants for the community because the tenants will most likely be there for the next 20 years."

Next door to the former is the vacant Borders bookstore, which closed three years ago. A plan for St. John to open a medical office in the back half and rent the front for retail is postponed after the city rejected the project for not having the amount of retail space called for by zoning laws.

While that city block sits empty, an opposite corner on Kercheval is taking shape as a new French bistro and lounge called Marais will take over two storefronts. Marais is scheduled to open in September, Boettcher says. And across the street, a few blocks down the long-awaited expanded bar area at City Kitchen will also open in September. 

Across Kercheval Avenue, the nearly 30-year-old Village Toy Store, a local and metro Detroit "Best Of" winner numerous times, is leaving the toy business and moving next door to start El's, which will stock room decor, clothing, jewelry, accessories and speciality items for teen and tween girls, a desirable retail demographic.

It will swap spots with ultra preppy clothier - mostly Lilly Pulitzer designs - the Village Palm.

Down the street, two new and very different hair salons, the chain Great Clips and Euro-inspired Chez Lou Lou, are co-existing while the Grosse Pointe Downtown Development Authority has hired two marketing pros to figure out how to lure retailers and also visitors with special events and other projects and changes to the Village.

In preparation for positive changes that might come, the city is re-doing the largest parking lot in the downtown. It will become a gated lot instead of metered parking.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Jennifer Boettcher, Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce

Computing Source legal evidence business hires 20, makes acquisition

Theresa Webster, a former legal assistant turned litigation graphics expert, is merging her company, Evidence Express, with Computing Source, a full service legal support firm in Southfield.

Computing Source's acquisition of Evidence Express in Detroit is the latest in a series of expansions and investments that CEO Mark St. Peter says will serve attorneys and their clients arguing legal cases in "today's visually-intensive world."

Computing Source has hired 20 employees this year as part of a plan to provide more and higher-tech visual aids, specialized presentations and forensic and other forms of evidence as well as documents and other communications to attorneys.

Merging with Evidence Express's team will add allow Computing Source to offer more services, including 2D and 3D animation to help attorneys successfully tell their stories.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Andrea Trapani, spokesperson and Identity PR and Mark St. Peter, CEO and managing director, Computing Source

Detroit Regional Aerotropolis takes off again with new name and new leader

Goodbye, Detroit Regional Aerotropolis. Hello, VantagePort.

The economic development effort to attract transportation-centered companies and industries to developable land between Detroit Metropolitan and Willow Run airports is taking off with the naming of its first CEO and the launches of a new rebranding strategy and marketing plan.

The new name, VantagePort, and the new CEO, Tim Keyes, will carry on the work -- and successes -- of what was the Detroit Regional Aerotropolis, which formed in 2006 and in the nearly seven years since claims to have facilitated nearly 2,500 new jobs and more than $300,000 million in investment by small and large businesses.  While economic development has materialized, much of the work by the Aerotropolis board, including Wayne and Washtenaw County and state officials, has focused on information gathering, planning and preparation to achieve the goal of creating as many as 60,000 jobs and $10 billion in investment in 25 years. 

The goal is to shape 100,000-plus acres of land in, around and between the two airports into a global logistics hub by spreading the word about the area's convenient, potentially money-saving access to air, water, rail and highway and to make clear the benefits that might be reaped by companies needing these things to move their products, people and information all over the world.

Keyes,the new CEO and former director of economic development for the city of Romulus, has been a part of Detroit Regional Aerotropolis since the beginning and is charged with executing a new strategic and marketing plan that was written by Greyhill Advisors, a global site selection and and economic development consultant from New York, and the rebranding that was the work of Applied Storytelling, which has offices in Detroit and Oakland, Calif.

Metromode took a look at the plans and the concept of airport-centered economic development, in this 2011 story.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kelly Chesney, Business Leaders for Michigan

Nightclub and private party space comin' to life at Stayin' Alive Novi

DJs, bartenders, security staff and servers are being lined up for a new nightclub and private party space that's opening in Novi in an era when dance clubs are borderline novel.

Stayin' Alive, billed as a '70s, '80s, '90s and more nightclub and a place "where real people have fun," is scheduled to open in mid-to-late August in the Fountain Walk of Novi, 44325 Twelve Mile Road, on top of the Lucky Strike Entertainment complex.

Renovations for Stayin' Alive a la John Travolta and the Bee Gees are turning the space that was formerly occupied by MBarGo into a weekend dance club with one of the biggest disco balls in the USA spinning over a huge lighted dance floor, say the owners and promoters, Vladimir Mirkovich, J. Kyle Hagerty and Brian DJ Godfather Jeffries, all metro Detroiters. They are teaming up with Lucky Strike Entertainment, a national chain of bowling lounges with 21 locations in the U.S.

The club wil include a rooftop bar, VIP room and be available for conferences, private parties, bachelorette and divorce parties.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: J. Kyle Hagerty, developer, Stayin' Alive Novi

FoodTruck Cafe's trucks under one roof concept takes off

The idea of re-creating faux food trucks inside a cafe is taking off in Berkley, where locals are walking and biking to the newest restaurant based on an off-beat idea.

The FoodTruck Cafe, with its three food trucks without wheels, is also drawing destination diners, says Kerry Johnson, who co-owns the business with Jon Glab.

Wherever they come from, they're looking for good food, creative food that's fast and in a fun setting, they say.

The trucks inside the space at 28557 Woodward Ave., which previously was a Coffee Beanery, serve sandwiches, salads, Mexican, coffee, and smoothies.

The Sideshow Sandwich Emporium, Air Stream Espresso and Nacho Ordinary Nacho are the creations of the pair with a background in restaurants and hospitality. Johnson founded the Cupcake Station and Glab owned the Strawberry Moon in Ferndale.

They combined sit-down restaurants with the outdoor feel of food trucks by decorating the cafe with picnic tables inside and outside and plastering the main wall with photographs that look like an outdoor scene of Detroit from the early 1900s.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Kerry Johnson, co-owner, FoodTruck Cafe

Yoga + Therapy = Zen business plan in Plymouth

Balance Yoga Therapy, a business that combines the physical and mental effects of yoga with emotional well-being through counseling, is moving into a larger space in downtown Plymouth to keep up with a growing number of clients and services.

Owner Patricia Kozlowski, a licensed professional counselor and certified yoga therapist, is a believer in the positive effects of yoga and physical fitness on relationships and mental health. She designed her business around that connection.

After 20-plus years as a counselor and six years as a yoga therapist at various studios and fitness facilities and for youth hockey teams and health system employees, she has also seen how yoga therapy can end chronic pain. It was yoga that finally cured her severe back pain following a car accident. Through yoga she began to see the parallels between yoga and physical and mental health.

"I started realizing that the things I had learned in medical school I was learning in yoga," she says.

After several years of counseling and teaching yoga around Southeast Michigan, she decided to open her own studio and counseling center in February 2012. She still counsels at a separate center in Northville, but was not able to incorporate yoga therapy so she decided to open Balance Yoga Therapy in February 2012.

In just over two years she outgrew the 12-mat, 500-square-foot space in downtown Plymouth. On Aug. 1 she moves into a much larger spot with room for 60 yoga mats, a separate pilates studio, and counseling rooms.

The interior will be calming, painted in colors of the sea, decorated with Spanish tile and bamboo and come with "revolutionary, state of the art flooring that you can't find within a five-state area from here," Kozlowski says.

The new, larger studio opens at 589 South Main Street a few few blocks from the original location at 292 South Main. Kozlowski will celebrate the opening with a day of free yoga on Aug. 10. Go to Balance Therapy Yoga to register.

The success of her practice, she says, is "the authenticity of the message I send to people. I genuinely live what I speak…It's absolutely addictive…never yelling..always encouraging, loving them through the process…very physically demanding…And it's so rewarding to work with a family with a child who no longer wants to commit suicide or to get a person through anxiety that's keeping them in bed all day and missing life. I feel so fortunate to meet and work with so many amazing people, and even though the days are long it never feels like work."

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Patricia Kozlowski, owner, Balance Yoga Therapy

Tennis anyone? Lawn tennis club coming to Pontiac

The city of Pontiac's waterworks building and grounds are springing back to life as the future home of a members-only lawn tennis club that's being designed by Cranbrook Academy's architect in residence.

Architect and developer Bill Massie is behind the the Wessen Lawn Tennis Club at 235 Wessen Street, also the site of a closed recreation center.

The grounds are are being transformed into an English-style layout of 24 grass courts, four hard courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The project includes the renovation of the 1929 Waterworks building.

The club was inspired by the tennis-loving Massie family's visit about five years ago to the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, Mass.

Massie is the head of the architecture department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills. Founding memberships to the club, which is exptected to be open mid-2014, are now being accepted at the club's website.

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Wessen Lawn Tennis Club
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