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More parks and recreation coming to Novi

The city of Novi will receive $50,000 a year for five years to develop city parks and recreation programs and take steps toward building Oakland County's first system of greenways trails connecting parks.

The $250,000 comes from Novi-based ITC Holdings, which has previously committed other funds to enhance services in the city where its world headquarters are located. ITC, International Transmission Company, is the nation's largest independent electricity transmission provider.

The donation to the city and the Novi Parks Foundation also comes with an approval to extend ITC's naming rights to the ITC Community Sports Park until 2018.

With the latest $250,000 commitment, ITC's commitments to the city add up to $750,000.

Part of the donation will cover signage at the sports park and at a trailhead that will follow ITC's transmission corridor, which will become open to the public.

In addition, the donation may help cover the cost of a dog park, spray park, playgrounds, sports turf and other projects as well as carry out the foundation's vision to become the first Oakland County community to connect all of its parks to a system of trails.

Source: David Landry, Novi Parks Foundation
Writer: Kim North Shine


 

Karma Yoga stretches into second studio in W. Bloomfield

When Katherine Austin founded Karma Yoga 11 years ago in Bloomfield Hills, yoga hadn't taken off in metro Detroit.

In the intervening years, as other studios opened and national chains came to town, she built hers into a spiritual-based and customized practice that now has 3,200 clients coming through each month. About 25 teachers lead a variety of yoga, meditation and other classes that start at 4 a.m. A staff of 11 help run the desk and administrative parts of the business.

Austin has done it all from the fairly tight confines of a 1,500-square-foot space on Maple Road and Lahser. The size of the studio was something some clients never let her forget.

"People kept saying, 'You need a bigger space. You need a bigger space,'" she says, laughing.

Those who implored her to go bigger can now say namaste.

Austin is expanding into a second studio on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield. At 3,600 square feet, it's more than twice the size of the original studio and will allow Karma to grow its more specialized client base such as veterans and breast cancer survivors.  It is expected to open in January at 6710 Orchard Lake Road, if all goes well, she says. There will be a formal grand opening in April.

The space will also have room for its regular yoga, which includes bodywork, Ayurvedic and meditation, and will host community events such as concerts, workshops and retreats.

"We will finally have room to do everything we want to do at the same time," says Austin, who's taught yoga for more than 20 years and weaves her knowledge into client field trips to India.

She says the new location, which she had been searching for for two to three years, really is karmic. Finding a place wasn't easy, mainly because her business is "parking intensive" and building managers and owners weren't fond of that. Or places she was offered didn't have the "light and energy" she needed for a yoga studio.

"It all fell into place very auspiciously," she says. "Where we ended up was really where we were meant to be."

For one, the studio is the same one where she and some of her teachers attended and taught. The experience was "like going home," she says.

And when she began visiting and getting to know neighboring business owners, she says, "They were amazing."

One, the owner of Be Free, a yoga and activewear boutique, will open her store, starting in September, to Karma Yoga's pop-up classes until the permanent studio is ready for business. Another, a new Indian grocer and carryout, is "just the kind of place we all want to go."

Most importantly, she says, she is touched by the chance to counsel more people in leading healthy and positive lives.

"This looks like a yoga class. What I'm really doing is training light leaders. What we want to teach people is when you go home to your family, to your job, we want you to elevate the people you're around, to be the light," she says. "This is not stretch class. We're doing a lot more there than you think."

Austin blogged about "Why Yoga Is Flourishing in Metro Detroit" a few years back. Read it here.

Source: Katherine Austin, owner, Karma Yoga
Writer: Kim North Shine

Cornwall Bakery ready to fire up ovens in Grosse Pointe Park

A Grosse Pointe Park bakery that never opened, its beautiful facade and luxe wing back chairs inside beckoning customers it would never serve, is a few weeks away from firing up the ovens and turning on the mixers now that a new owner has taken over.

The opening of chef and baker Freeman Gunnell's vision, Cornwall Bakery, will add to the growing food scene in this lakeside community.

Cornwall is a bakery and restaurant that will bake breads and pastries, serve breakfast, coffee, sandwiches and salads, and an assortment of sweet takeaways. Eventually it will offer packaged to-go dinners and changing dishes as customers dictate.

It is expected to open in three to four weeks, Gunnell says. It's located at 15215 Kercheval Avenue, in the spot that was close to opening about a year ago as Bona Fide Bakery but never did. Bona Fide was the brainchild of restaurateur Mindy Lopus of Tallulah in Birmingham and Red Crown in Grosse Pointe. Lopus, who wanted Bona Fide to be a fine bread baker for Red Crown and other restaurants and stores, as well as a coffee shop, no longer runs the establishments.

Cornwall also expects to build a strong business in cake orders; it is in product development, i.e. taste-testing, at the moment.

Lopus's departure left a shell of a bakery that chef and baker Gunnell inherited after striking a deal with building owners and Grosse Pointe boosters the Cotton family, which is responsible for creating or funding several new businesses and projects to improve Grosse Pointe Park's commercial stretch on Kercheval Avenue near the border of Detroit. They also are working to improve the surrounding neighborhood, and Gunnell says they made becoming the proprietor of Cornwall much easier.

"They're really willing to help us do it," he says. "I'm not saying other landlords haven't been good to deal with, but with the Cottons there are obviously more resources to help." For example, they painted the facade a dark, naval-inspired shade of blue that fits with the Cornwall theme. The name comes from the English town on the water, and it's Gunnell's ancestral homeland.

Gunnell and his wife, who moved from Royal Oak to Grosse Pointe Park to be near the business and support the Cottons' vision of building up The Park business district, are in the process of hiring, renovating and adding equipment to the kitchen to take it beyond a bakery.

Gunnell, a longtime chef who honed his trade at establishments such as Da Eduardo in Grosse Pointe, the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit, Holiday Market in Royal Oak, Chamberlain Bakery and Whole Foods, where he baked bread, has carved out a side career in cooking classes and catering, and as time went on demand for his cakes grew and grew.

The interest in cakes is why the new Cornwall will have a window on the cake decorating room. "You can watch the decorating while it's being done. It adds a bit of theatrics to the bakery, something interesting,"  says Gunnell, who also teaches cooking at the Birmingham Community Center.

He had planned to open a bakery in Birmingham's booming rail district, but the deal fell through, and then Gunnell's equipment provider told him about a great vacant spot in the Park.

Gunnell is also bringing in a display case and has talked with Red Crown about working together. He would also like to partner with the recently opened Atwater Brewery and biergarten across the street.

He believes the bakery will be a nice fit for the community, starting with the British-influenced name that fits in with the Park's street names. He chose the name to honor his heritage and because the seaside theme suited a town known for its love of things nautical.

"My wife and I are so excited to be here," says Gunnell, who has just interviewed a prospective employee for one of several positions he needs filled. "We want to live here and be close to the action."

Source: Freeman Gunnell, owner, Cornwall Bakery
Writer: Kim North Shine

Shelby Lanes offers bowling under LED lights

The owner of a bowling center in Shelby Township has put a new age twist on an old-school sport with LED lighting.

Shelby Lanes owner Pat Kline worked with Smart Lighting Solutions and Straits Lighting to outfit the bowling center with a new energy-efficient lighting system that costs 50 percent less a year to operate.

It is believed to be the first 100-percent LED-lit bowling center in Michigan, according to Ralph Pety, spokesperson for Smart Lighting Solutions.

"These projects allow a company to lower its lighting energy consumption by 50 to 80%, while at the same time improving the quality of light, resulting in reduced incidence of eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue among the occupants of the facilities, actually improving productivity,” says Spencer Silk of Smart Lighting's business improvement team.

And Straits Lighting products, he says, offer lighting technology that not only reduces energy consumption but provides great light.

Source: Ralph Pety, spokesperson, Smart Lighting Solutions
Writer: Kim North Shine

Mimi's Bistro cooks up Euro-inspired eatery in Grosse Pointe Park

A German grandmother's proud heritage and love of German cooking has passed on through the family and into a restaurant opening in about a week in Grosse Pointe Park.

Mimi's Bistro is a 44-seat eatery and bakery, where seasonal, organic, made from scratch sweets and meals will come from the kitchen run by owner Melanie Schridde. Memories and stories of her great-grandmother, Mimi, moved her to create "an elegant dining experience in an easygoing European-inspired atmosphere" and to put a few of Mimi's recipes on the menu.

Schridde also plans to serve American and Euro style foods that have local connections, whether with ingredients sold by farmers or artisans or local small businesses. She will shape the menu around what she finds fresh at farmers' markets.

Mimi's is located at 15318 E. Jefferson Avenue, a few blocks from Grosse Pointe Park's border with Detroit, in a two-story, early 20th-century building with large windows looking out on the nearby muncipal offices, police station and library.

“I want to serve the meals your grandmother used to make, but in an environment that feels polished and playful,” says Schridde.

She plans to serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and a traditional German-style coffee and cake time.

In addition to a restaurant and bakery, Schridde plans to teach cooking classes and stock a "boutique to-go" market that will offer a la carte prepared meals and pre-packaged speciality sauces.

Source: Melanie Schridde, owner, Mimi's Bistro
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Play-Place for Autistic Children builds fun escape for children and families

At 25,000 square feet, the size of the Play-Place for Autistic Children is sprawling, but its purpose is close to the heart: "To provide provide a fun-filled, judgment-free haven of hope for families affected by autism."

The facility at 41105 Technology Park Drive in Sterling Heights is "a unique play-powered environment" and is the brainchild of Shell Jones, mother of a son living with autism.

"We combine recreation and education with a variety of social, occupational and physical therapeutic overtones. Our one-of-a-kind destination focuses on development, life skills, independence, respite relief, resource management and vocational rehabilitation to assist families with the everyday nuances of living with autism. Play-Place for Autistic Children’s bottom line is inclusion, acceptance and support."

The building housing Play-Place for Autistic Children is planning an opening day in August after completing more than $1 million in renovations at its facility near 18 Mile and Dodge Park roads.

Inside, the features packed into Play-Place are part amusement park, part daily necessity, part education, and all are about being happy and getting strong.

There's a merry-go-round for fun and for sensory integration, the birthday bunker for parties, calming centers to manage meltdowns, movie theater Cinema City, a Haircut Hut to take the stress out of a trim, a massive playscape that helps with all sorts of motor, mental, and social functions and Swing Central, where a variety of swings await rides that can aid in treating special needs and just be fun.

Many other services and programs will be offered at Play-Place for Autistic Children, and a bistro and coffee shop, along with a computer cafe, will up the hang-out atmosphere.

Source: Play-Place for Autistic Children
Writer: Kim North Shine

Peteet's Famous Cheesecakes opens new store in West Bloomfield

Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes has baked its way to a customer following that required the family-run business to open a second location.

The new store at 6548 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield takes Peteet's to another, busier part of Oakland County than the original Oak Park location, which opened in 2010.

Peteet's cakes, which come in 90 flavors, including gluten-free and kosher options, are also sold in restaurants and bakeries in metro Detroit.

The new store is the latest chapter in a family story centered around the use of cheesecake to rebuild the Peteet family's livelihood after the death of a father and loss of the family real estate business. Son Patrick Peteet, founder of Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes, helped the family avoid financial devastation and pull through grief by using his cheesecake recipe to start a business. He envisions selling Peteet's from multiple locations and possibly franchising.

In the meantime, he is celebrating the excitement and warm reception for his new location. Read the Metromode story, "How Cheesecake Saved a Family's Future."

Source: Peteet's Famous Cheese Cakes
Writer: Kim North Shine

Treasure Trove expands high-end resale biz to Ferndale

A successful run at upscale resale in Grosse Pointe has led the owners of Treasure Trove to open a second location in downtown Ferndale.

Like the Grosse Pointe store, the new store at 222 W. 9 Mile will sell antiques, gently used furniture, home decor, jewelry, and in Ferndale only, an unusual collection of wooden bow ties.

Art, rugs, dishes and a variety of other goods are acquired by the owners or brought in on consignment, creating a place that attracts collectors and designers as well as budget decorators.

The downtown Ferndale store opened on July 10.

Source: Treasure Trove
Writer: Kim North Shine

Transformative downtown Ferndale development under consideration

What could be the largest single downtown development project in Ferndale's history is unfolding as business owners and residents share their views on the transformative Ferndale 3-60 proposal.

The real estate developers behind the project are proposing a private-public partnership with the city. Ferndale 3-60 would encompass one lot for the 1-60 phase on Troy Street and a larger lot for 2-60 and 3-60 phases on Withington Street.

Altogether they would become the site of residential lofts, retail and commercial spaces and multi-level parking structures, a jobs creator and alleviator of downtown parking challenges.

The Troy Street development calls for an approximately 275-space parking deck and 60,000 square feet covering two spaces. Withington would become the home of the West End Lofts, an 8-10-story residence with 100-120 studio and two-bedroom apartments on top of 60,000 square feet over three spaces and 75,000 square feet split between six spaces. An approximately 600-space parking deck would provide parking for residence and downtown visitors.

As the city and the Downtown Development Authority consider the proposal, there will be opportunities for the public to share input. Go here for meeting notices and other information. To see the developer's proposal, click here.

Source: City of Ferndale
Writer: Kim North Shine

Musical institution opens new location in downtown Farmington

The 94-year-old Hewitt's Music has packed up its instruments and everything else and opened a new store in downtown Farmington.

It left Dearborn last month and opened at 23330 Farmington Road in mid June. An grand opening party is planned for July 18 and 19.

Hewitt sells and rents musical instruments and supplies. It's also given lessons to generations of music students. It is also in the repair business.

Just a few years shy of being in business nearly a century, the owners decided to add an Oakland County location to its lineup of stores. Hewitt's also has locations in Rochester and South Lyon and in Big Rapids. The original Hewitt's opened in Detroit in 1920.

Source: Hewitt's Music
Writer: Kim North Shine

Pulse Design christens new digs in Pontiac


After several years of running a marketing firm from her Waterford home, Tany Nagy found an eye-catching office in Pontiac to be the the best fit for her expanding Pulse Design Studio.

The office at 2409 Voorheis St.  is celebrating completion of one year of renovations that turned the 900-square-foot space into an open, flexible, colorful office "that feels warm and inviting," Nagy says. "The backyard boasts an enclosed patio that has a featured tiered garden and Adirondack chairs for staff and guests to enjoy the outdoors...The exterior of the building has a distinctive modern and asymmetrical zinc clad awning and yellow painted door that catches your attention as you drive by."

Pulse Design Studio has four employees designing presentations, graphics, PowerPoints, sell sheets and other marketing needs for print, online and in-person branding campaigns for companies such as Dannon, Barilla, Bing Maps, Claritin and others. A grand opening is set for June 27.

"After thoroughly searching the surrounding areas to lease an office, we had no luck with spaces that were small enough to fit our needs. The option to purchase our building came at the end of our searching, and ended up being the best option for us -- especially with the vision of what the renovations could do for our needs based on the existing architecture," Nagy says.

"The location on Voorheis St. is also a highly traversed section in the Waterford/Pontiac area, and we get excellent exposure daily. I run into people all the time that ask me where we're at, and I say the modern building off of Voorheis, and they say 'I know that place, I drive past that all the time.' "Overall,this building could not have turned out to be a more perfect space for us, and we look forward to being here for many, many more years ahead."

Source: Tany Nagy, founder and principal designer, Pulse Design Studio
Writer: Kim North Shine

Meghan Marion clothing boutique to open in downtown Royal Oak

A closed wine shop in downtown Royal Oak is reopening as a women's clothing store in mid-July.

Meghan Marion will open July 16 at 405 South Main Street after renovations are complete and the merchandise, a mix of classic and trends in fashion, move in.

Clothing and accessories will be sold from the space and a grand opening party is planned for July 18.

Source: Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Grand Bakery & Cafe opens in downtown Farmington

The business mix in downtown Farmington is growing with the arrival of Grand Bakery & Cafe.

The newly opened business bakes breads, muffins, cakes, pies, cookies and bars on site and also serves fresh-made soups, sandwiches and salads that can be eaten in or taken away, including to nearby Riley Park. Grand Bakery & Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also offers catering.

Farmington's newest restaurant option is located at 38321 Grand River Avenue.

Source: Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

Wurst Bar Ypsi taking its gastro and craft goodness to Livonia

The recipe for success for The Wurst Bar in Ypsilanti is creative brats and burgers and craft beer and whiskey to go with them, and after seeing so many customers drive quite a distance for the fun-generating, taste-bud-tantalizing, community-engaging establishment, owners Jesse Kranyak and Jim Seba have decided to open a second location in Livonia.

The Wurst Bar Livonia is expected to open its second gastropub this fall at 28121 Plymouth Road in the former Penalty Box. When it opens it will likely be a draw for its metro Detroit fans who can't get to Ypsi as often as they'd like. And just like The Wurst Bar Ypsi, which opened in January 2011, The Wurst Bar Livonia will wave its flag of devotion to locally sourced foods. There will be one menu difference: the addition of adult milkshakes.

The new location in the more staid suburb of Livonia will also be a change in feel from the Ypsi location with its small, eclectic downtown bar across from Eastern Michigan University. It pulls in a mix of college students, hipsters and locals who come for Wurst's specialties and 24 regularly rotating taps. The spirit of The Wurst Bar's operators with their food challenges, tap takeovers and out of the box events and nightly specials will carry over to Livonia.

The Livonia location is expected to be the first of at least three other metro Detroit Wurst Bars, if all goes well for the gastropub that has been in the running for top burger in metro Detroit numerous times.

Source: Jesse Kranyak, co-owner, The Wurst Bar
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Outlet malls planned for Canton and Romulus

Shopping-center developers from Massachusetts and Baltimore are eyeing Romulus and Canton as future locations for massive, upscale, affordable outlet shopping centers.

New England Development of Newton, Mass. is considering building the Outlets of Michigan, an open air shopping center, near Metro Airport. Paragon Properties of Baltimore, Md. wants to open a similar-styled outlet mall on Ford Road near I-75.

Both proposals call for openings in 2016.

Economic development directors in both cities say they would create hundreds of jobs, generate millions of dollars in investment and tax revenue, and also be a draw for out-of-town shoppers.

Source: New England Development, Paragon Properties and Kristin Thomas, economic development director, city of Canton
Writer: Kim North Shine

 
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