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High fashion Birmingham boutique opens second studio in Grosse Pointe

A former stockbroker who swapped a career in finance for one in fashion is expanding from one store and studio in Birmingham to a second in Grosse Pointe.

Bonnie Foley will bring her Christane Larue boutique with designer clothing, including resort wear, casual day wear and formal evening wear, to a spot being renovated at 17114  Kercheval Avenue. The store is scheduled to open in October.

It will be the latest business arrival for The Village in Grosse Pointe, where the main street, Kercheval Avenue, was spotted with several vacant storefronts until of late, when a series of restaurants, a dance studio, a hair salon, a fabric store and other businesses moved in.

The Birmingham studio is located at 2243 Cole St. It opened in 2008.

Source: Christiane Larue
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Up North-based custom bed designers expand to downtown Rochester

A mattress designer who makes beds in any size, shape or form by hand, from scratch has opened a store in downtown Rochester.

Beds by Design, which started in Harbor Springs, Mich. in 2005, has built a mattress manufacturing business on a customer base that wants mattresses made exactly as they ask, whether it's for comfort or for special spaces, say tight cottages, RVs, yachts, you name it.

Downstate interest in the Up North-based Beds by Design prompted owner Rory Karpathian to open a Rochester showroom last month at 111 W. Third St.

Karpathian, a former high-ranking mattress company executive who tired of industry changes focused on making more money by manufacturing shorter-lived products, says mainstream manufacturers can't come close to the careful, detailed and time-consuming process he and his employees use to make mattresses.

"I make hand-crafted, natural, heirloom quality mattresses. My mattresses are made to last a lifetime and are the finest you will find in North America," he says.

Source: Rory Karpathian, owner, Beds by Design
Writer: Kim North Shine

Rock N Ride opens Grosse Pointe's first indoor cycling studio

Workout options in Grosse Pointe have grown with the opening of the first indoor cycling studio.

Rock N Ride opened Aug. 25 at 15230 Charlevoix in Grosse Pointe Park after renovations that included the addition of a mural of a downtown skyline under the stars. The studio gives off a rock-out vibe with pumping music, flashing lights and low lighting while more than a dozen stationary cyclists pedal their way to high heart rates.

Rock N Ride joins several new yoga and barre businesses opening across the five Grosse Pointes.

It is located in a part of the Park bordering Detroit and is home to some of the city's oldest bars. The area, like other parts of Grosse Pointe Park, is seeing new entrepreneurs move in next to the steady businesses in the three-block commercial stretch of Charlevoix. The Jungle Juice Bar opened less than a year ago and is attracting health-conscious customers heading to or from workouts.

Source: Rock n Ride
Writer: Kim North Shine

Could Macomb County score with $10 million baseball stadium?

Macomb County, the city of Utica, and Rochester-based General Sports & Entertainment are teaming up to bring a minor-league or college-level baseball stadium to Utica.

General Sports & Entertainment, the stadium developer, will spend about $10,000 to construct a 2,500-seat, 500-space parking structure off of Moscone Drive north of Auburn Road.

There are no teams signed to play there, but approximately 80 independent league games are expected to be played at the stadium, which will also host family-centered events. Phase two will add retail and condominiums to the development.

While no teams are signed, either minor league or college level for exhibition, the General Sports chairman and CEO was a senior vice president for the Detroit Pistons and former owner of the Fort Wayne Wizards. He also has connections locally and nationally through General Sports, which brokers sponsorship deals between corporations and sports franchises, including college football bowl games, the Baltimore Grand Prix, and several major league soccer teams.

Utica's Downtown Development Authority donated the property valued at $600,000 to General Sports, the project developer. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and the county's department of planning and economic development, which is under contract with the city to act as planner, brokered the deal.

“Besides the obvious economic development advantages such as job creation, increased property values and increased consumer spending, the new baseball stadium will further enhance the city of Utica as a great destination point for families and people of all ages," says Stephen Cassin, director of the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Source: John Cwikla, spokesperson,  Macomb County Office of the County Executive and Ballpark Digest
Writer: Kim North Shine


 

Shoe Tree women's shoe store to open in Grosse Pointe's Village

The most-watched block in Grosse Pointe's Village business district is getting a new tenant, a shoe store that will sell moderately priced women's shoes and be owned by a local who believes she knows what Grosse Pointers want and are willing to pay.

Hilary Butcher will open the Shoe Tree, likely in late October, at 17121 Kercheval Avenue, next door to the Calico fabric store that opened in June.

The block once housed a Borders bookstore and Ace hardware store, and since they closed in 2011 and 2012 the block sat vacant until a few months ago.

The developer, Kercheval Company, has leased much of the space to St. John Hospital, which will have offices and retail space. Kercheval Dance has opened a dance studio next door and Calico at the opposite end from St. John, which is still renovating its space.

Butcher's store is an alternative to the pricey, designer shoe store, Capricious, which is located on Kercheval Avenue on The Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Source: The Voice of the Village
Writer: Kim North Shine

Olive Vinegar offers gourmet oils, vinegars in downtown Rochester

The stainless steel dispensers that are the centerpiece of the new Olive Vinegar in downtown Rochester add up to an attractive decor, but it's the function of what's inside the shiny containers that is the basis for the business.

Inside the Fusti storage containers are high-quality olive oils and vinegars from around the world. Paired with them is the knowledge of Michael and Nicole Loffredo, owners of Olive Vinegar. They opened the store and tasting room stocked with more than 50 varieties of oils and vinegars last month at 205 S. Main St..

Besides selling tasty oils and vinegars such as Persian lime, mushroom, raspberry, and coconut to enhance food, an integral part of the business is spreading the word about the health benefits of products such as high-phenol olive oils.

Recipes, demonstrations and access to information comes with a visit to the store as do foods that can be paired with liquid product that's imported and fills Olive Vinegar's own bottles. Gluten-free pastas, meatballs, orzo, kitchen supplies, spices and other products are also sold at Olive Vinegar.

Source: Olive Vinegar
Writer: Kim North Shine

Stray Cat Lounge gets second life in Clinton Twp.

After a 12-year-run in Grosse Pointe Woods, Robusto's Martini Lounge has reopened as the Stray Cat Lounge in Clinton Township.

The Stray Cat Lounge still serves martinis and sells cigars and features local bands, but is bigger and redesigned with an emphasis on modern and swanky.

The move to 40813 Garfield Road puts the business in a more central location and lets it offer private party space and catering.

The new business, bigger with a refocused beer and drink menu, carries on the owners' love of local music, cigars and luxury.
There are still humidors and cigar lockers, specialty cocktails, big screen TVs and a stage for changing local music and the addition of more Michigan-made beers and liquors.

Source: Stray Cat Lounge
Writer: Kim North Shine

Farmington Brewing Co. builds downtown house of suds

Renovations are underway for a brewery that's coming to Grand River Avenue in downtown Farmington.

Farmington Brewing Co. will open, possibly in September, at 33336 Grand River in a space previously occupied by a coffee shop. The renovations of the 1,600-square-foot space will make room for beer-making barrels and a bar that runs the length of half the space.

Four, five-barrel fermenters (a barrel is equal to two kegs) will be just behind be the bar and be the focal point of the room.

"Our equipment will be directly behind our bar. We think it adds to the ambiance of the space to have all the equipment there. We will not be brewing during serving hours, but customers will see where we do the work," says Jason Hendricks, partner in Farmington Brewing Co. with Jason Schlaff and his father Gary Schlaff.

Hendricks and Jason Schlaff started home-brewing beer about five years ago, says Hendricks.

The two are environmental scientists and chemists, while Gary Schlaff works in marketing for a TV station.

"We started out as home brewers and began experimenting more and more and developing the recipes of beer we like to drink," Hendricks says. "As friends and family started to enjoy it along with us we decided to expand our horizons."

"It's something we love to do," he says. "We figure if you do what you love you never work a day in your life."

Farmington Brewing Co. will not serve food. It will instead partner with local restaurants to deliver food to its guests who want a meal to go with their beer. Nearby restaurant menus will be kept on hand and delivery will be made quick and easy by Farmington Brewing Co. employees.

Opening day hinges on regulatory approvals, mostly, says Hendricks, but the target date is mid-September.

The opening is much anticipated by locals, says Annette Knowles, executive director of the Farmington Downtown Development Authority. She hopes the brewers can be a part of the city's annual Harvest Moon Festival.

Facebook posters regularly ask when it's coming and say they can't wait.

It is located across the street from the Grove Street redevelopment that is remaking a tired strip mall into a more attractive retail district for new businesses.

Source: Jason Hendricks, co owner, Farmington Brewing Co.
Writer: Kim North Shine

Rockefeller's to bring oysters and music back to Grosse Pointe Park

The former Tom's Oyster Bar in Grosse Pointe Park is re-opening under new owners as Rockefeller's and bringing back the oysters and music that once made the spot a local favorite.

The owners of Rockefeller's are renovating and hiring as they prepare for opening day. An opening day announcement is pending, says co-owner Rhapsody Dearing.

The corner location at 15042 Mack Avenue has Grosse Pointe Park on one side and Detroit on the other. The interior features a large bar with room for a piano and dining rooms that can seat up to 100.

Source: Rhapsody Dearing, owner, Rockefeller's
Writer: Kim North Shine

Wine-inspired art studio opens in Clarkston

After a career as an accountant, new entrepreneur Leanna Haun decided to let her inner artist out and start a painting party business. Earlier this month she opened Picasso's Grapevine in downtown Clarkston.

Since opening at 12 S. Main St. dozens of customers have walked out with artwork they never thought they'd create.

“My biggest challenge is convincing people they can create beautiful artwork. At the end of the session our guests are really impressed with themselves,” says Haun, who has seen repeat business.

While making art is the focus, there is an emphasis on BYOB as a way to stimulate the fun and get the creative juices flowing. It's not a new concept, but it's a first for Clarkston. Originally the city council rejected the business.

Her staff of artists teach students individually, and they can also host parties in public places and private locations. Picasso's Grapevine (a play on the Spanish artist plus wine grapes) also hosts nonprofits as a way for them to raise funds. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Haun, a 1996 Walsh College Business grad, got the push to start her own business after receiving a postcard from her alma mater just about the time she was thinking of swapping in her accountant's job for self-employment.

Walsh's Blackstone LaunchPad  gave business advice, guided her through business model essentials, space location and leasing, copyrights, search engine optimization and more. It also helped her avoid opening her business in a downtown where three similar businesses were operating or were soon to open.

Source: Leanna Haun, owner, Picasso's Grapevine
Writer: Kim North Shine

La Sultana dishes out Mexican treats in Lincoln Park

A Mexican ice cream, slushy, popsicle and fast food stand has opened in Lincoln Park, the latest of the Mexican-influenced food businesses in the city.

La Sultana Paleteria y Neveria sells traditional Mexican aguas frescas in flavors such as horchata, lemon, strawberry, and melon as well as classics such as stuffed pineapple, mango, strawberries with cream and other Mexican favorites.

While cold and frozen treats are the focus, La Sultana also sells quick foods such as elote en vaso (corn in a cup), and tostilocos, a bag of corn or tortilla chips sliced open and filled with jicama, salsa and other toppings.

The owners opened the small dining room and takeout spot at 1635 Fort Street  earlier this month.

Source: La Sultana Paleteria y Neveria
Writer: Kim North Shine

M-1 Brew in Ferndale is all Michigan, all the time

Longtime Ferndale business owner and activist Dean Bach has turned a vacant VFW hall into a new business he hopes will appeal to lovers and supporters of Michigan-made and grown food, drink and products.

Bach, the owner of Ferndale mainstay Dino's Lounge, renovated the space into his vision of an Up North cottage.

His new M-Brew at 177 Vester St. in downtown Ferndale is cottage on the outside with a wraparound porch and clapboard siding and Up North gas station on the inside, where "guests can stop by for one thing and leave with much more when they discover an array of Michigan-made product to eat, wear or display at home."

The focus of M-Brew is the M, as in Michigan, and on offering only food, drink and products made across the state.

“We live in a great state with great assets and lots of quality products,” says Bach, who is host of the Rib Burn Off fundraiser for the Blues Festival and chairman of the board for the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority.

“From the beginning we decided that M-Brew was going to be entirely Michigan-based -- from the beer that we pour to the food that we serve.” He adds, “With the stuff our state grows and produces, it was kind of a no-brainer.”

M-Brew will serve at least two kinds of brew, its own privately labeled coffee and root beer, and beers from Michigan breweries such as Shorts, Atwater, Founders, MI, Perrin and Liberty Street. Up to 30 craft beer taps are a part of the cozy feel of M-Brew, which has knotty pine paneling and a stone-clad fireplace. To-go beer growlers are a special feature of M-Brew as is stay-in fun in the basement, where there are pinball machines, video games and shuffleboard.

On the food front, M-Brew will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from a grab & go display to entrees and snacks for eating in or carrying out. Pinconning Pizza, Bruce Crossing Pasties, Garden Fresh Salsa and chips, Smokin' Butts BBQ, Sanders hot fudge, chips and snacks from Traverse City, and dried cherries represent food made in cities across Michigan.

A still-to-come outdoor fire pit will give off the kick-up-your-feet Up North vibe.

The official opening day is Aug. 1, but a soft opening began about two weeks ago.

"Michigan has great products year round, whether it is something to eat or something cool to own. We will be bringing in more carefully selected items as we get up and running,” Bach says. “Beyond that, supporting Michigan-made means your dollars stay in Michigan and help support our comeback economy. We’ve supported local all along, but as the economy gets better -- especially as it gets better -- we can’t lose sight of continuing to support local. It needs to be what we do.”

Source: Dean Bach, owner M-Brew and Dino's Lounge
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

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

 
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