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Ypsi fave Rocket Candy bringing sweets & fun to downtown Ferndale

After eight years of selling candy -- and fun, really -- from its downtown Ypsilanti store, The Rocket is expanding to Ferndale and opening a second location.

The Rocket Candy & Novelties opens at 23147 Woodward Ave. this Friday, and the store will be stocked with confections, packaged and bulk, and colorful, crazy, funky and retro toys, cards, t-shirts and other novelties like Archie McFee collection from Seattle and Lip Shit lip balm.

The locally-made t-shirts, like the Ypsi store, will include designs that give a shout out to Ferndale, Detroit and Michigan.

The 2,600-square-foot store is located in a new building near 9 Mile and the owners, Eli Morrissey and Paul Balcom, see Ferndale's fun and eclectic mix of businesses as a good fit for their bacon toys, wasabi gum balls, popsicle and Sharknado ornaments.

There's an eddy entrepreneurial mix here," he says. "We feel it's very similar to Ypsi, and this is just a good place for us to be."

They opened the Ypsi store in 2006 as a way to "bring life to downtown. We wanted to open a store that would draw people in," says Morrissey.

"I guess it started off as an idealistic notion, and it's worked out," he says. "The nice thing about expanding is it creates new jobs here and at our Ypsi store."

Source: Eli Morrissey, co-owner, The Rocket
Writer: Kim North Shine

Birmingham's Griffin Claw Brewing adds bottle spirit sales

Griffin Claw Brewing Company is now in the business of selling bottled vodka, gin and rum from its taproom in Birmingham.

Earlier this year the brewery, which has made its name in craft beer, added liquors to the menu. Bottled sales were the next step.

The lineup: Griffin Claw Grain Vodka, Griffin Claw Potato Vodka, Griffin Claw Botanical Gin and Griffin Claw Black Strap Rum sell for $20 each and can be purchased inside the taproom. The brewery will also be releasing KRUPNIK, a polish style honey liqueur in a 750ml bottle, for $20, for the holiday season as well as its popular Oblivious Wheat Wine in a 22-oz. wax-dipped bomber bottle for $17.

Griffin Claw biergarten and taproom are at 575 S. Eton St. The 12,000-square-foot operation in the city's Rail District includes a brewing system, distillery, and distribution operation.

Source, Jaclyn Robinson, JT Marketing Group
Writer: Kim North Shine

Construction starts in Dearborn for state's first Artspace community

AConstruction on City Hall Artspace Lofts, a live, work & sell artists community in Dearborn, will begin this month. The sale of the property, the former Dearborn City Hall, will be complete this week after closing.

Artspace is a national organization that builds residential-retail community, art-based developments around the country. The Dearborn Artspace is the first in Michigan. Supporters of the project, from city officials to private developers, see it as a positive economic development locally. And they see it potentially as a regional draw for art-seekers and artists from any artistic genre to hone and sell the things they make or services they offer.

The nearly $17 million development at 13615 Michigan Ave. will include about 45 residential lofts with commercial spaces and public spaces -- indoors and out.

Painters, dancers, and furniture makers could set up shop or home at City Hall Artspace Lofts. Artspace's motto is "Building better communities through the arts."

The Monahan Company is the general contractor on the project and the first phase of construction will include the demolition this month of the parking garage behind the old City Hall. Dearborn's city offices have been consolidated in a building down the street from the older, more historic city hall. Construction will be fully underway in January, says Heidi Kurtze, vice president of property development for the Minneapolis-based Artspace. During construction there will be information sessions and meetings to inform artists and commercial retailers about the project, she says.

"Artspace is thrilled to be working in Dearborn and converting the iconic City Hall into a thriving creative center for the arts," says Kurtze.

Source: Heidi Kurtze, vice president of property development, Artspace
Writer: Kim North Shine

Small Favors opening specialty shop in Grosse Pointe's Village

Grosse Pointe's Village business district is getting another tenant in a specialty gift shop, Small Favors, an arrival that will almost completely fill the three-block area along Kercheval Avenue.

A year ago the stretch that is considered the Grosse Pointes's downtown area was pocked by numerous vacant storefronts.

"The Village is on the cusp of a rebirth, and it's so exciting to be a part of it," says Kasey Malley, who co-owns Small Favors with Betsy Enders. Small Favors started in the basement of Malley's home in 2003, mostly selling specialty party favors. Within a few years the business had moved into a warehouse-type building with room to assemble party supplies and corporate gift baskets and such. Five years ago they opened a retail gift shop on Mack Avenue.

Earlier this year, they decided to move from their approximately 500-square-foot square foot store to a 1,500-square-foot space in the same block of Kercheval where a Borders bookstore and Ace Hardware once operated. Now there is a recently opened massage business, a dance studio, a Calico Corners fabric store and a shoe store, The Shoe Tree. St.John Medical center offices and a Scott Shuptrine furniture store are on the way.

"We didn't do as well as we could have on Mack. We had limited parking on the street and no parking lot," Malley says. "People would go out of their way to come to us. They're loyal, but there just was not enough traffic."

A build-out of the new Small Favors space is underway and will have "a great look with an industrial feel" with an open ceiling, exposed duct work and polished concrete floors, says Malley.

Opening day is expected to come in February. The current location remains open with holiday merchandise already out. While the new store, which is near the city's Santa's Village, is under construction there will be holiday pop-up shops selling Small Favors favorites. Other local Grosse Pointe business owners such as Ethel's Edibles's Jill Bommarito, and belt, belt buckle and specialty monogrammed item designer Kristen Henchel will join the pop-ups.

Small Favors is stocked with carefully selected merchandise found mostly by Enders and Malley on their annual trips to America's Mart in Atlanta. There they seek out new businesses and products that are unique. "We don't want anything you'll find in Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond…We don't want mass market.We're trying to keep that boutique-y small town, smaller feel," Malley says.

Small Favors regulars also come for the selection of favorite preppy brands such as Scout, high-quality candles and body products and unusual toys.

The move to the Village takes Malley back to the days "of what the Village used to be. It was small, independent businesses. That's what we've been missing. People want to go to the Village and shop around, get a coffee and stroll in and out. I think we're getting back to that and it's an exciting time."

Sports fans cheer for new downtown Rochester biz

Autographed baseballs, collectible sports cards, jerseys, helmets and all manner of sports gear and paraphernalia make up the stock of a new shop in downtown Rochester.

Rochester Sports Cards & Memorabilia opened earlier this month at 407 South Main Street.

Customers are kid collectors and serious purveyors of athletes' autographs.

All sports are represented in the merchandise, and the owner has years of experience in the world of memorabilia collecting, authenticating and dealing.

Source: Rochester Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine


 

Six businesses open in Grosse Pointe's Village

At least six new businesses opened in October in and around Grosse Pointe's downtown Village district.

All replaced vacant shops or filled in available office space and are mixing up the variety of businesses in the three-block retail area that often was the butt of jokes for its overabundance of coffee and bagel shops.

New businesses along Kercheval Avenue and on St. Clair, just off of the main street that runs through the Village, include:

* Shoe Tree, a women's shoe and accessories store. 17121 Kercheval Ave.
* Massage Green, the first Grosse Pointe franchise of the national brand built on affordable massage and spa services. 664 St. Clair
* Christiane Larue, the second location of the successful Birmingham boutique that sells and styles customers in ready to wear and formal attire from designers rarely found in metro Detroit or Michigan. 17114 Kercheval Ave.
*City Bark, a pet boutique with always changing merchandise for pets and and people who love pets. 17027 Kercheval Ave.
* Grosse Pointe Fine Homes is opening as the local real estate market improves. The office is the first Southeast Michigan location for the national brokerage Weichert Realty. 648 St. Clair.
* Creative Design has an office above Einstein Bagels at 16828 Kercheval Ave. and designs cancer-, Alzheimer's- and autism- awareness items such as apparel, jewelry and gifts.

Source: Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Kim North Shine

City Bark in Grosse Pointe wants to be farmer's market of pet stores

Jamie Judson has tapped into her love of animals and her hometown of Grosse Pointe by opening a new pet store in the Village shopping district on Kercheval Avenue.

City Bark opened Oct. 10 at 17027 Kercheval in a 1,600-square-foot space advertised with a stylized metallic sign that is easily one of the most creative and eye-catching in the area.

Judson says the best way to describe her vision for City Bark is a farmer's market of pet shops, where the selection is always fresh and changing. It is the opposite of big chains and more comfortable than high-end boutiques.

"The difference between City Bark and other pet stores is comparing the situation to a grocery store and a farmer’s market. You go to the grocery store, list in hand, knowing what you’re going to buy. You know what products are there and where to find them. It’s the same thing with a generic pet store. You are going there for something specific. But when you go to a farmer’s market, you go to explore. You go because the items are always changing. It’s about the experience, and that’s exactly what we aim for with City Bark."

Judson, 25, works full-time for a digital marketing company in Ferndale and part-time at the store, which also supports the Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society. Judson volunteers there and is fostering a St. Bernard mix. She also owns a German shepherd and a 24-year-old cockatoo that she adopted in the summer. The dogs and the bird, Cleo, are regulars at the store, and shoppers are invited to bring their pets along.

City Bark sells accessories for pets and pet lovers: collars, leashes, toys, fashion accessories, and home décor. Pet food and pet treats are also sold, as are pet beds and clothing for people.

"All of our products are unique, and the majority of them cannot be found at any big-box pet store," Judson says. "I had always talked about opening up a pet boutique with my family since I love animals so much and I am always looking for new, fun items for my dogs. This summer the pieces fell into place and we moved forward with City Bark."

Having a shop in the Village makes becoming a business owner all the more sweet.

"Just like most Grosse Pointers, the Village is part of my every day life. It's great to be able to bring something I'm so passionate about to a place I have such fond memories of."

Source: Jamie Judson, owner, City Bark
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Friendship Factory's blend of social good and retail comes to Rochester

The Friendship Factory has added a second store in downtown Rochester, expanding from its Clinton Township location where crafting, parties and lessons in kindness have combined into a good business idea.

The newest Friendship Factory brought its bracelet makers, beads, stickers lanyards, and oodles of craft supplies to the former Avon Township Library at 210 West University in downtown Rochester. The crafts combine with the owners' wish to help girls weather storms of friendship and socializing.

Both stores, the one at Partridge Creek shopping center in Clinton Township, and the new one host birthday parties, Moms Night Out events, painting parties, holiday gatherings and have rotating themes such as the current Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Whether dropping in to craft or there for a party, the point of the interactive studio is to "connect friends and family and build friendships."

It also offers friendship-building workshops hosted by a licensed therapist. The owners want its target market, 8- to 14-year-old girls, to understand how relationships change and how to manage change with social skills that emphasize support and kindness.

Source: Friendship Factory
Writer: Kim North Shine

Warp 9 comics enters phase 2 with renovated shop in downtown Clawson

Warp 9 Comics and Collectibles has built a loyal customer following after 15 years in business, and now with a new owner and a renovated space it's time to put down the next panel in Warp 9's story.

The new owner, Trey Hunt, hosted a grand opening party Oct. 18. The store is located at 21 W. 14 Mile Road in downtown Clawson and attracts customers from across metro Detroit.

Comic book artists, costumes and comic idol cookies were part of the grand opening party. The store sells toys as well and also is an eBay dealer.

Besides painting, cleaning and re-organizing the store, where Hunt worked before buying it from the previous owner, the plan is to make Warp 9 a family-friendly shop and destination for comic art.

Source: Warp 9
Writer: Kim North Shine

Spice Merchants brings world flavors to downtown Northville shop

A downtown Northville storefront is now home to a purveyor of spices, teas and oils from around the world

Spice Merchants of Northville opened about a month ago at 110 N. Center St. after completing renovations of the shop that is part of a 100-year old building. It's the latest franchise of the Saugatuck-based company that started in 2003 and has 17 stores in eight states, eight of them in Michigan.

The shop has a spice for every occasion. Football games? Spices for chili. Halloween? Pumpkin spices. Healthy dinner idea? Roasted vegetables with rosemary olive oil.

Spice Merchants of Northville is lined with stacked-high canisters of fresh teas and spices. Another part of the store is stocked with stainless steel dispensers filled with flavored and unflavored olive oils.

Spices are imported and also made by the owners, Chris and Christine Raymond, as are hot sauces. The shop, like other specialty food stores, thrives on browsing, sampling and educating about how to cook with the ingredients or use them for health benefits.

Source: Spice Merchants of Northville
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Scott Shuptrine Interiors adds Grosse Pointe store

Grosse Pointe's most noticeably empty storefront, the former Borders bookstore in the Village shopping district, is coming back as a Scott Shuptrine Interiors and St. John Health System medical center.

The St. John Medical Center Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Campus opened this week, and Royal Oak-based Scott Shuptrine will open in March inside the nearly 20,000-square-foot property, 7,600 of it for Shuptrine's store and design center. 

Grosse Pointe is the birthplace of Scott Shuptrine, and the new Grosse Pointe store will emphasize community education in art and design. It will be the company's only freestanding location. Other Scott Shuptrines are adjacent to Art Van Furniture stores. Scott Shuptrine is in the midst of an expansion that will add a Novi store, which will pilot a design lab, and the first out-of-state location with a 10,000-square-foot store in Downers Grove, IL.

St. John Health System spearheaded the $5-million renovation of the building at 17141 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe, and it found the major retail tenant to occupy the front side of the building along Kercheval. That portion of the building goes to Scott Shuptrine. The back portion, with an alley entrance and new parking lot, is for St. John's.

Until this week, St. John had not released information on the retailer that would occupy the property, which city officials required be mixed use rather than completely medical.

Both tenants of the building have deep Grosse Pointe connections. Wilson, the medical center's namesake, was a longtime Grosse Pointer and former owner of the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise. He died in March, and the foundation named after him donated $1 million to St. John to build a medical center that combines doctors' offices and other medical services in one spot in the center of the community.

Besides opening its first store in Grosse Pointe, Scott Shuptrine, which was acquired by Art Van Furniture in 1987, is owned by Art Van Elslander. He raised his family locally and built one of the largest homes in the Pointes.

The rebirth of the former Borders is the largest piece in an overall revitalization of the Village, a three-block-long area where at least seven new businesses have opened in the last year and at least three more are soon to open.

Source: St. John Health System & Scott Shuptrine Interiors
Writer: Kim North Shine

West Elm opens first Michigan store in downtown Birmingham

Michigan's first West Elm home and furniture store will open in downtown Birmingham Oct. 2.

The 15,000-square-foot store at 215 W. Maple will sell Michigan-made products in support of the Brooklyn, New York-based retailer's LOCAL initiative to support entrepreneurs working in or near the cities where West Elm has stores.

Among the 10 entrepreneurs whose goods will be sold are Marcy Davy's handmade prints from Ypsilanti, soaps and balms from Ferndale-based Babylon Soap Company and Cellar Door Soap from Plymouth, Warpaint Studio's prints and posters, also from Ypsilanti, Detroit-based Jody Lynn Burton's whimsical doodle art, and more.

The renovated store is designed to reflect the environment, culture and heritage of Oakland County, Detroit, and Michigan. A mosaic made of industrial molds in different shapes and colors and previously used in metal fabrications hangs on a feature wall that is an homage to Michigan's manufacturing heritage.

The store will have a design center, where home stylists guide customers through room designs at no charge. The opening builds on a series of national retailers to open locations in Birmingham in the last two years.

Source: Sophie Zunz, partner at The Moxie Agency, and spokesperson, West Elm
Writer: Kim North Shine

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

 

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

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
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