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Business-friendly Ferndale experiences boom in new enterprise

New businesses are flocking to Ferndale, and existing ones are expanding. This boomlet is in no small part because of the city's treatment of businesses as customers, according to Ferndale Mayor David Coulter.

Excerpt:

"Three years after Michelle Lewis opened her first  Painting with a Twist  franchise in downtown Ferndale, business was so good that she needed to double the studio's size to 5,000 square feet on West Nine Mile Road. 

Lewis' story isn't an aberration downtown, where 14 businesses have expanded into larger space during the last two years or are opening this year, according to Cristina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of theFerndale Downtown Development Authority.

In 2000, vacancy in downtown Ferndale was well over 30 percent, she said. Today, the core downtown is just 2 percent vacant, and the outskirts of the downtown are just 4 percent vacant."

More here.

X-Games champion snowboarder praises Metro Detroit's outdoors

From good snowboarding drops to fishing lakes, the region's got a mix of everything, and that's the way Danny Davis likes it.

Excerpt:

"Michigan is a beautiful place, it raised me well," says snowboarder  Danny Davis, who won the snowboard superpipe at this year's Winter X Games. Davis hails from Highland Township (population 19,202), less than an hour from Detroit. "It's a funny place," he says. "Classic  Midwest: lots of Detroit Red Wings fans, dirt bikes, pond hockey, and a lot of horses and lakes."

More here.

Local school districts rank as best communities for music education

Several southeast Michigan districts – Ann Arbor, Oak Park, Bloomfield Hills, Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Fraser, and Rochester – are attuned to excellence in musical education.

Excerpt:

"This year, the NAMM Foundation designates 376  districts  as Best Communities for Music Education and 96 individual  schools  as SupportMusic Merit Award winners. These districts and schools set the bar in offering students access to comprehensive music education...

More than 2,000 schools and school districts participated in this year's survey, resulting in a 21% increase in designations."

More here.

Three Metro Detroit breweries medal at World Beer Cup

When you're looking to grab a cold one in the warm months ahead, try award-winning Bastone Brewery, 51 North, and Atwater Brewery.

Excerpt:

"Last weekend three Metro Detroit breweries were given gold and bronze medals at the  World Beer Cup  in Denver, which included 1,403 breweries from 58 countries."

More here.

German 3-D printing company chooses Canton for first U.S. facility

3-D printing, a fast-growing technology, has expanded what's possible in a wide range of fields from art to medicine to automotive. And now a 3-D printing company from overseas is now opening a Canton location.

Excerpt:

"A German 3-D printing company has announced it will locate its first U.S. facility in Michigan after representatives met with Gov. Rick Snyder in Germany.

Friedberg-based Voxeljet uses large-format 3-D printers to create automotive parts and molds. Snyder met with Voxeljet's chief executive during the governor's second trade trip to Europe this week."

More here

Old home restoration enjoys a revival

The city of Detroit and its older metros are full of 19th- and early 20th-century homes waiting for the right set of hands to fix them up. And as the housing market recovers, the demand for old-growth wood and period fixtures is returning.

Excerpt:

"Some owners don't start out as preservationists. Joseph C. MacLean, an attorney, picked out an 1873 Victorian in a historic district of Northville, Mich., because he and his wife, Margie, liked its simple style and location near downtown. After buying the house in December for $460,000, Mr. MacLean became interested in the home's history and started researching it, eventually hiring an architect who lived across the street to restore it...

The project isn't extensive—mostly adding bathrooms and a back porch, and opening up the rooms. But staying faithful to the authentic materials, including recovering original floors, window trims and framing boards from 400-year-old trees, will cost about $200,000. "It takes more craftsmanship," says the architect, Greg Presley, who does about 10 such projects a year."

More here.

Calling all tinkerers: Entries open for Maker Faire Detroit

Apply now if you want to get your invention / pet project into the hands of visitors at the next annual Maker Faire at The Henry Ford Museum, July 26-27.

Excerpt:

"We particularly encourage exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things. Here are just a few of things we'd like to see at Maker Faire Detroit:
  • Student projects
  • Robotics
  • Arduino projects
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Space projects
  • Conductive materials projects
  • Kit makers
  • Interactive art projects
  • Textile Arts and Crafts
  • Rockets and RC Toys
  • Green Tech
  • Radios, Vintage Computers and Game Systems
  • Electronics
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Puppets
  • Bicycles
  • Shelter (Tents, Domes, etc.)
  • Unusual Tools or Machines"
More here.

DREAMJOB job summit coming to Ford Field in June

If you're in the professional job market, Ford Field is the place to be on June 13. After the interview, tour downtown workspaces, take part in a networking event, and even go to a Tigers game.

Excerpt:

"More than 80 Michigan employers from across the state will seek to fill more than 800 positions through an innovative matchmaking format that pairs qualified candidates with available job openings. Each employer will be stationed in its own booth for walk-ups and will have private space for interviews with candidates who have been pre-screened for the invitation-only matchup.

A comprehensive national advertising campaign, along with coordinated efforts with universities, associations and other talent resources will be mounted to attract resumes from qualified candidates. Jobs will be posted to an event-specific web portal – to be announced in coming weeks -- where candidates will be able to view and apply for one or more positions...

Participating companies include Quicken Loans, Whirlpool, Bosch, Lear, Delphi, Nissan, McCann Erickson, Roush, and Microsoft. These and other companies are seeking candidates for positions in a wide range of fields, including but not limited to: engineering, design, project management, supply chain management, finance, operations, sales, marketing and software development."

More here

Southeast Michigan population, business investment on the rise

Southeast Michigan's economy is trending upward, as shown by the most recent population and business investment increases.

Excerpt:

"Southeast Michigan's population grew in 2013, while investment in Oakland County small business tripled, according to statistics released by regional leaders Monday.

Banks approved $22,719,100 in traditional loans for established small businesses last year, according to Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's office. That's more than three times the amount loaned in 2012: $7,050,195.

And the Oakland County Business Center helped 19 startups gather $39,159,531 in capital in 2013, an increase of more than 286 percent from 2012 when 12 new businesses accessed $13,669,878 in capital formation."

More here.

Detroit is one of nation's top 7 most underrated food cities

There's no better way to make the foodie radar list than having "underrated" next to your name.

Excerpt:

"Being in Detroit puts you in ridiculously close proximity to some of the most authentic, best-tasting food you'd normally need a passport to enjoy. With the proper research/guidance, it's totally possible to travel the culinary world in 20mi, leaving you with a TON of leftover cash to blow on the important things... like even more food."

More here.

Metro Detroit experiences surge in hotel room occupancy rates

If you want a hotel room in Metro Detroit, you may not wait until the last minute to book. Thanks to a rebound in business travel, hotel occupancy is the highest it's been in the last 12 years, and is on par with Chicago, according to a story in Crain's.

Excerpt:

"When we look at the increase in the occupancy, ... we were one of the top (markets) in the country" with 6 percent growth last year, said Larry Alexander, chairman of the  Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority  and president of the  Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau...

Occupancy rates for hotels and motels in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties reached 63.1 percent in 2013, up from 61.9 percent the year before, according to the Convention & Visitors Bureau. That compares with 47.5 percent in 2009 and 55.3 percent in 2008, before the recession.

More here.

Moontrap: Target Earth, Crash Course films to begin shooting in Metro Detroit

Another pair of films has just been approved for incentives from the Michigan Film Office. Look for these projects to begin rolling in the warmer months ahead.

Excerpt:

"In Moontrap: Target Earth, a 14,000 year old spacecraft is discovered at an excavation site. Created by a previously unknown human civilization, it becomes re-activated, taking the film’s heroes to the moon to encounter robotic intelligence standing guard over ancient secrets.

The project will film on location in Troy, Detroit and the metro-Detroit area...

Crash Course is a documentary based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner and longtime Wall Street Journal Detroit Bureau Chief Paul Ingrassia. The film will tell the remarkable story of the rise and fall – and rise again of the United States automobile industry. The documentary will include interviews and other scenes filmed in Detroit, Auburn Hills, Highland Park, Dearborn and Flint."

More here.


Detroit companies get brand exposure at SXSW festival

It's too early to say yet, but the brand exposure for Metro Detroit companies, plus the MEDC's booth at SXSW, could pay big dividends in terms of sales and attracting more young professionals to Michigan.

Excerpt:

"The crush of people, brands and bands at the  South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, creates brand exposure, and this year Detroit companies, musicians, attorneys and advertising agencies were there to capitalize on the opportunity...

Joe McClure, co-owner of Detroit-based  McClure's Pickles, said he was asked by San Francisco-based Internet lodging site  Airbnb  to provide a palette, 60 cases, of its Bloody Mary mix to serve during SXSW for free....

Leslie Hornung, senior vice president of marketing, communications  and public relations for the  Michigan Economic Development Corp., said the MEDC spent about $200,000 from its business attraction campaign to have a booth on the conference floor during the technology-focused days at SXSW. 

Hornung said more than 1,000 young professionals visited the MEDC exhibit, many of whom were interested in learning about working in Detroit."

More here.

Atlantic Cities catches wind of Detroit Drone's new technology

Much more than a fly-by-night operation, Detroit Drone has some neat new technology that could become a powerful force in public service.

Excerpt:

"When government officials in Detroit gathered to celebrate the demolition of the  Brewster-Douglass housing projects  downtown last week, they were joined by a few drones.

One belonged to Harry Arnold, a local drone enthusiast who's turned his long-held interests in videography and radio-controlled helicopters  into a marketable service  (he runs the company Detroit Drone now)....

He wants drones to become part of the typical fire-fighting experience, capturing images humans can't get near and providing ground commanders an aerial view they otherwise wouldn't have. Just last week, Arnold was invited out to  film a hazmat training session  in the city, showing response crews what it would be like to have an extra layer of technology in the case of something like a chemical fire.

Arnold is optimistic his vision will become reality soon. "It's a technology that can have a public service," he says. "It has a chance to save lives."

More here.


Detroit-filmed movie, "Misled," to premiere at Florida film festival

A new Metro Detroit-made flick will be under the marquee lights at a Florida film fest this weekend.

Excerpt:

"Misled" is to screen Saturday at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa.

"Misled" is the debut feature of Detroit-based film company J Squared Productions.

The movie stars Detroit native Jonathan Stanley, who also is its co-writer and producer. It's a story about growing up on the streets of Detroit, based largely on Stanley's life, including him dropping out of high school and working as a stripper.

More here.
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