| Follow Us:

Ferndale : In the News

121 Ferndale Articles | Page: | Show All

Local communities make it easier for moviemakers

It hasn't all been soda pop and cotton candy for the film industry here. Michigan wasn't exactly set up for the film production tsunami of '08. Still, the incentive is less than a year old and some growing pains are expected. Luckily, local governments have been greasing the wheels for projects, making it easier to get things done. The hope is that the area will then become more enticing to a yet more moviemakers.


Cities like Rochester Hills, Royal Oak and Ferndale have simplified or created new processes for getting permits to close streets, erect temporary structures and move forward with filmmaking.

In some cases, officials estimate these changes could shave up to a month off the time it takes to get certain permits by allowing administrators to issue them instead of making movie companies first go before a city council or commission.

Ferndale, Rochester and Rochester Hills are building Web sites to help market their communities to movie moguls while Redford Township is creating a promotional packet.

Read the entire article here.

Redford charter school is turning cooking oil into cheap biodiesel

If the future is biodiesel, might as well get the future involved. Students at Michigan Technical Academy, a charter school in Redford, are turning cooking oil from a tortilla factory into biodiesel to fully power two school buses at a mere 80 cents a gallon.


The program is the brainchild of Depowski, a master certified automotive technician who manned the technical hotline at Ford Motor Co. before becoming a teacher. Depowski recruited Garden Fresh Foods, the Ferndale-based maker of salsa and tortilla chips, which agreed to donate the oil left over from producing its chips.

The students are working on solving a problem with the fuel: how to keep the biodiesel warm. Right now, two of the district's five buses are running on 100 percent biodiesel; warranty rules limit the other three to no more than 10 percent. Once the temperature drops down to about 40 degrees, they'll have to switch to about 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent regular diesel, because the biodiesel will start to congeal.

Read the entire article here.

Ferndale to use signs to highlight identity

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Ferndale plans to unroll a signage program by 2010 that will help guide visitors to historic markers and create a visual identity for the city.


"Visually it might help to better guide and identify what are the assets (in the city) and how to get there," said Cristina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of the Ferndale DDA. "The more that we educate not only our residents, but our visitors, the more they will value our community."

Read the entire article here.

Videos planned to promote Ferndale

Most people would rather watch a movie than read a book. And that is what Ferndale has in mind with their new marketing campaign. The city will be releasing videos available on the city's web site that will promote its virtues in a way that print can't.


"These videos will give people a better sense of what Ferndale is all about," said City Manager Robert Bruner, Jr. "This should really help promote the community. After all, you can only get so much of an impression of the city from reading text and looking at still pictures."

Read the entire article here.

Ferndale unveils master plan for future

Ferndale has a master plan. It calls for the transformation of the Livernois Corridor into a hub for art and design. They want more public transit, as well as more environmentally friendly redevelopment. The plan also looks to curb population loss, bring in bike racks, and develop the Hilton Corridor.


Outlined in the plan that residents may see soon will be more public transportation amenities like bike racks and shelters around the city. Also, officials will be looking at tweaking zoning ordinances that could affect the distance buildings sit back from major roads.

The plan also contains current and future demographic information, the most notable of which is that Ferndale is expected to lose fewer than 1,000 residents from 2007, when the population was estimated to be 20,114 to 2025, when it's expected to be 19,143.

"Ferndale can help offset this projected population by increasing density in select areas and by preserving its attributes that residents enjoy, such as its traditional downtown and established neighborhood," reads an excerpt from the plan.

Read the entire article here.

Organic grocer's outgrows its space

Organic foodies and health nuts are growing Ferndale's Natural Food Patch faster than the space can keep up. Staying in Ferndale is the grocer's goal and moving to a bigger place is the dream.


Retailing fresh veggies, organic cereals and green teas have proved healthy for Joel Fisher's business, Natural Food Patch. He outgrew his 5,200 square foot store in downtown Ferndale and needs a larger space to cultivate more customers.

"We have a wonderful, mixed clientele who come for good prices, real customer service. We couldn't get this demographic anywhere but Ferndale," Fisher said as he begins his 10th year in business.

Any time he introduces a new product to his 30,000 stock items, he has to cancel another, otherwise the shopping carts won't fit in the aisles. He adds 15 to 20 new customers a day.

Read the entire article here.

Local salsa makers keep getting bigger

Remember those Pace Picante salsa ads where the Texans said, "NEW YORK CITY?!?" Then they strung someone up because only the best salsa was made in Texas. Well, Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet might give all other salsas a run for their money - both in taste and business scope. They're growing, and fast. Now, think about the Pace commercial but instead of Texans it's a group of bike-riding hipsters in cut-off jean shorts saying, "NEW YORK CITY?!?" Then they proceed to string someone up for not eating Ferndale salsa.


Annual revenue for the company is quickly approaching $100 million, thanks to the acceptance of the company’s products by such chains as Meijer, Costco, Kroger, Wegmans, A&P and distribution that now reaches 40 states. From manufacturing and distribution facilities in Ferndale, Detroit, and Inkster, the company produces 115,000 pounds of salsa each day with the help of nearly 315 statewide employees

“We’ve really spend a lot of time the past four to five years putting together a line no one else can top in meeting the needs of deli buyers within retail chains,” said Dave Zilko, vice president of Garden Fresh Gourmet and owner of Monkey Duck Mustard. “Salsa will always be the lead dog in our product offering but we have as comprehensive of a product line as any of our competitors.”

Read the entire article here.

Lights, camera... Ferndale!

A few months ago not many people had a Hollywood star sighting story. But now, with Michigan's film incentive packages, it seems as if the entire state has seen stars. "Guess who I saw yesterday," is becoming a widely used phrase. The entertainment industry is moving in and places like Ferndale are becoming a hotbed of stars - a supernova, if you will.


A Los Angeles based entertainment company, who now has a home in Ferndale, Mich., is gearing up for Michigan to become the next Hollywood.

Taking advantage of the state's film industry's incentives and tax breaks, S3 Entertainment Group executives felt Michigan would be the perfect place to open another office and help the state to compete effectively to bring film and television production here.

Read the entire article here.

Jimmy Buffett's comin' to Ferndale

You know, that Jimmy Buffett really loves life. Those songs, man, they are all about partying and the sun and havin' a good time. When you think of it, nothin' says party like chips, salsa, and guacamole. And Buffett is bringin' his party to town. Well, at least to Ferndale, where his Margaritaville line of salsa, guacamole, hummus, tortilla chips, and various dips is hooking up with Ferndale-based Garden Fresh Gourmet, which also specializes in salsa, for distribution.


The products can be found at Meijer and area specialty stores, said Dave Zilko, vice chairman of Garden Fresh Gourmet.

The Margaritaville line, while produced by the nation’s top seller of fresh salsa, was designed to complement not compete with Garden Fresh Gourmet, he said.

The company will produce 17 Margaritaville products including four varieties of salsa. It makes 22 types of Garden Fresh salsa.

“We’re just getting going right now. Within two years it wouldn’t surprise me if Margaritaville is in the top 5 of salsas in the U.S.,” Zilko said. “This could increase the size of our company by about 50%.”

Read the entire article here.

Ferndale-based Paxahau emerging as local promoting powerhouse

Paxahau was the first independent promoter to produce a stage at the 2005 Detroit Electronic Music Festival. In 2006 they were given full management responsibilities of the festival. Now they have become a significant player in promoting Detroit's worldly famous electronic music scene.


In the past decade, Huvaere's firm has grown to include a Web archive, booking agency, record label and an event production company which produces an average of 20 events a year.

"We're more of communications than anything," Huvaere said during an interview with The Oakland Press. "We registered the Web site in the fall of 1998 and from that date which we actually celebrate our anniversary."

"We'll be celebrating our 10th anniversary this fall," Huvaere said.

Read the entire article here.

Wayfinding signage in Ferndale for the wayfaring stranger

Not sure where some of Ferndale's historical sights are? Well, just wait until next summer. Ferndale was granted $120,000 to improve signage pointing to historical buildings and cultural attractions.

The grant will be applied toward expanding the historical plaque program, erecting interpretive and directional signs to attraction and parking, and creating a self-guided tour and map to be included in the DDA's next Downtown business Guide.


"Our goal is to improve the economy of our downtown and create a vibrant atmosphere, and one of those ways to do that is through historic preservation, tourism and marketing," she said.

The historical buildings featured will likely include the four corner buildings at Nine Mile Road and Woodward and the Elks building, she said. Cultural attractions featured will probably include the crow's nest statue and Magic Bag Theater. A sign telling the story of the Woodward Dream Cruise is also a possibility.

Read the entire article here.

Berkley jumps on board green boat

Going green probably had a different meaning 20 years ago. But these days it's an effort, and not an allusion to getting sick. Berkley has joined 21 cities statewide, and an even larger number across the nation, in making steps toward going green. In addition to that, Berkley is hoping to make their community more "walkable" and less dependent on vehicles.


Like other communities, Berkley has joined the Sierra Club's "Cool Cities" effort aimed at reducing pollution from carbon-based fuels and other sources.

Cities such as Warren, Flint, Ann Arbor, Ferndale and Royal Oak are also part of the green effort.

Read the entire article here.

Friendly Ferndale

Ferndale is developing a city-wide initiative to make sure businesses are being nice. It's a customer service thing. They want to offer tips and tricks on how to work with a smile to everyone from store clerks to city employees. The hope is that the niceties will bring, and retain, visitors, shoppers and eaters.


The idea, Bruner explained, is to develop a set of standards for good customer service and offer seminars that highlight those standards in various professions. The hope is that Ferndale's effort at congeniality will not only boost business and retail traffic, but serve as a model for other communities as well.

It's "so we can promote Ferndale as a good place to shop, dine and hang out," he said.
Read the entire article here.

It's good salsa, y'all

Ferndale's Garden Fresh Gourmet Inc. has been the metro area's best-kept non-secret for some time now, but the company's about to kick it up a notch. (Like that Scotch Bonnet salsa needs any kicking. Whew!) The company recently inked a deal with Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Foods that could take Garden Fresh into the salsa stratosphere. And look, we made it through the blurb without one "Cheeseburger In Paradise" crack. You can thank us later.


The Ferndale-based fresh salsa-, hummus- and tortilla-chip-maker has experienced tremendous success over the past 11 years, with annual sales increasing from $6 million in 2002 to $46 million in 2007. But now, Garden Fresh is preparing for the possibility that its revenue will balloon over the next two years to more than $90 million.

Read the entire article here.

Metro Times releases annual 'Best of Detroit'

As they wont to do each year, the Metro Times has released its annual "Best of Detroit" awards.

Check them out here.
121 Ferndale Articles | Page: | Show All
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts