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Emagine Entertainment to open luxury movie theater in Macomb Co.

Troy-based Emagine Entertainment is opening its first movie theater in Macomb County in December, bringing movie-goers a new upscale and luxurious experience that comes with amenities galore.

The opening of a theater on 23 Mile Road near Hayes in Macomb Township will bring to eight the company's number of metro Detroit theaters. A theater is also in the works for downtown Birmingham.

The new Emagine Macomb is being built inside a closed Kroger grocery store that will be transformed into nine theaters, a restaurant and bar with onyx countertop and seating areas with sofas, high-top tables, chairs and stone fireplaces for a living-room feel.

When it opens Dec. 19, visitors will find full-service and comfort amenities not found in older theaters.

There will be 100-percent reserved seating in power recliners and service by a chef from the Ironwood Grill in Plymouth. A full-service bar, a self-serve soda fountain and dessert bar, and gourmet popcorn healthy snacks for kids will be part of the theater. It will have nine auditoriums with floor-to-ceiling screens and seating that provides a good view from any spot.

Source: Dawn Kelly, spokesperson, Emagine Entertainment
Writer: Kim North Shine

Royal Oak food scene adds reopened creperie and celeb chef burgers

A steady flow of restaurant openings is continuing in Royal Oak with the re-opening of a creperie and the arrival of Iron Chef Michael Symon's B Spot Burgers last week.

The Royal B Spot, which advertises Burgers Brats Beer on its black awning at 310 S. Main Street, is the second metro Detroit location in the string of restaurants Symon originally started in Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Symon was perhaps the first big name to gamble on a restaurant and Detroit's comeback when he opened his high-end restaurant, Roast, at the Book Cadillac Hotel in 2008.

The Royal Oak B Spot joins a Rochester Hills location that opened in May at the Village of Rochester Hills, and Symon, a Food Network chef, plans another B Spot at Partridge Creek shopping center in Clinton Township.

B Spot Burgers are known for creative and unusual burger toppings and combos or just regular cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

On the less meaty side of the restaurant scene in downtown Royal Oak is the re-opening of a creperie.

The Crepe Bistro Lounge opened last week at 317 South Washington in the spot where What Crepe once operated. The partners in What Crepe stayed on. Customers looking for the crepes that come in sweet and savory varieties and a daily special with fresh ingredient combos are coming back.

Source: The Crepe, Michael Symon Restaurants and Royal Oak DDA
Writer: Kim North Shine

Small Favors opens 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."

Blaze-Thru comic book store opens in downtown Plymouth

Downtown Plymouth will be attracting a new kind of customer with the opening of Blaze-Thru Comics.

The store at 470 Forest Ave. opens Nov. 21 and with it will come fans who see the owner, Josh Bonno, as one of the state's most knowledgeable comic book purveyors and the store, as one Facebook fan put it, as "a cathedral of comics."

Blaze-Thru gives comic book lovers, whether seeking work of national artist or independents, another option in metro Detroit, Michigan and even the Midwest region.

Warp 9 opened in downtown Clawson earlier this month and Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, a thriving business known across the state, moved to a larger location at 13936 Michigan Avenue in downtown Dearborn, along with its building neighbor, Stormy Records.

The comic book stores are more than places to buy comic books and related paraphernalia. They're also the site of comic festivals, book signings, classes and general celebration of the art of comics.

Source: Blaze-Thru
Writer: Kim North Shine

Fraser Bicycle opening new store in Canton

Hopes of opening a second Fraser Bicycle store have percolated for at least two years. But because the business is so much more than a showroom for bikes, finding the right staffing was crucial.

With that detail squared away -- mainly a manager who is a cycling pro and enthusiastic about the sport and anyone who wants to ride -- the 47-year-old business is opening its second store, this one in Canton. Owner Paul Rogers purchased the business in 1987.

The Canton location of Fraser Bicycle will be in a freestanding building at 6111 North Canton Center Road, north of Ford Road, a couple of miles away from IKEA. It will be closer to customers who come from the west. Fraser Bicycle draws cyclists from across the state and from surrounding Midwestern states and Canada.

No exact opening date has been set, but the manager of the Fraser location, Ron Schmid, says the target is December.

A major renovation of the 10,777-square-foot store is underway. Like the location in Fraser, a cycling lab will be part of the layout. The lab has training bikes, software, monitors and more that simulate riding conditions and provide important information.

The service side of the business will also play a big role in the Canton store.

"More and more the survival of independent bike shops depends on service," Schmid says. "The big box stores were killing us when it came to sales. So we have to differentiate ourselves with our service."

The new store, as does the Fraser location, will also be the site of clinics, workshops and seminars, such as one with a cardiologist next week.

There will be a showroom offering most brands found in Fraser. The Canton store will have a new feature that's being kept secret.

"It's gonna be really cool," says Schmid. "We are so excited."

Source: Ron Schmid, writer, Fraser Bicycle
Writer: Kim North Shine

Stella's Black Dog Tavern in Plymouth adding to winter patio dining

The heaters came first. Then the thick, warm chair cushions. The glass door walls that went in earlier this year gave Stella's Black Dog Tavern in downtown Plymouth a true year-round patio, something more and more restaurants are seeing as  a necessity as customers seek an al fresco meal whether the weather is optimal or not.

Next up for Stella's Black Dog is an outdoor fireplace. It goes in this week and will be a focal point of a sold-out seating celebration Nov. 20. The date coincides with the one-year anniversary of owner Bob Ostendorf purchasing the restaurant and bar.

"The patio just keeps evolving. The first thing we did was make the patio bigger. We added the cover, and the heaters were great, but not enough for temperatures under 30, " says general manager Rose Drys. "With the glass door walls and the fireplace, the lights that will be up for Christmas and the snowfall, it will be so beautiful. It will be like you're sitting out in the snowfall."

The restaurant was the first, or among the first, in downtown Plymouth to have a winter patio, she says, and the only one to have a cover for rain.

"It's crazy not to use the space. It is an extension of our dining room," she says. "It more than doubles our occupancy. It's imperative we make it part of our dining room."

Source: Rose Drys, general manager, Stella's Black Dog Tavern
Writer: Kim North Shine

The Cheese Lady cheese shop opens in downtown Farmington

It started after a couple found a cheese store they loved in Grand Rapids. After it became a regular stop during their visits to the city, they decided they wanted to bring The Cheese Lady to metro Detroit.

At first it didn't look like it was going to happen, says Joe Mantey, co-owner of The Cheese Lady that's opening today in downtown Farmington at 33041 Grand River Avenue.

The business owners, who had started the first of three stores in Muskegon many years ago, were ready to put the cheese slicer down and cut out a life as retirees.

"But after they heard about my involvement with Farmington Main Street and downtown re-development, they decided to do one more store," says Mantey.

"They had opened their store in Muskegon for the same reason we want to: to help bring the downtown back," says Mantey.

The Cheese Lady's founders came to town, saw that there were vacancies to be filled in downtown Farmington, and said OK to a franchise.

In the meantime, Mantey, his wife Kendra, and family and friends began marketing the business that's known in western Michigan by selling at the Farmington farmers market, which is across the street from the new shop.

The new store will open with 70 varieties of cheese, with samples set out on stainless steel work tables. Eventually 150 varieties will be sold as well. Wheels of cheese can be pulled from the shelves while a cheesemonger "will directly interact with customers," Mantey says.

"There are no deli cases between the customers and the cheesemonger," he says. "And no one has to be embarrassed about asking to sample, it's all out."

Eventually The Cheese Lady in Farmington plans to sell Michigan craft beer and wines that pair well with cheese. Crackers, preserves, and cutting boards are also for sale, most made in Detroit or Michigan.

Source: Joe Mantey, co-owner, The Cheese Lady in Farmington
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

Harman Industries building $45 million complex in Novi

Novi will be home to a new $45 million complex that will consolidate several facilities operated by Harman International Industries.

Harman manufacturers audio and infotainment systems for consumer, professional and automotive uses.   

The company will invest $45 million in the Novi facility will and hire 150 new employees to work there.

Source: city of Novi
Writer: Kim North Shine

Downtown Dearborn says hello to free parking

The city of Dearborn is testing the common thinking that paid parking deters business.

Starting in early 2015, user-paid parking systems in public lots and parking decks will be phased out and replaced with free time-limited parking spaces.

New spaces will be designated for 2-, 3-, 8- or 12-hour timeframes, and vehicles exceeding those time frames will be ticketed. Parking spots closest to businesses will have the most limited times to encourage turnover. Employees in the west downtown district can use longer timed spots.

The same system will eventually spread to east downtown Dearborn.

Mayor John B. O'Reilly Jr. and a city parking commission proposed the change and the city council approved it nearly two weeks ago to "encourage greater interest from real estate developers and to boost customer activity." and also to "address the perception that paid parking is an obstacle to redevelopment."

“This is a very positive step that will help us achieve our goal of promoting more investment and activity in the west downtown," O'Reilly says. "To get the best results for our local economy, we need to be realistic and remove anything that is perceived as an impediment to recreating a robust and vibrant business district.”

Source: city of Dearborn and East Downtown Dearborn Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

House-made, small-batch brews on tap at Farmington Brewing Co.

The fermenters are fermenting and the taps that will serve what the owners jokingly refer to as happiness are in and operating at the soon-to-open Farmington Brewing Company.

Opening day, however, comes Nov. 15, after renovations to the 1,600-square-foot space at 33336 Grand River in downtown Farmington are complete.

The bar arrived recently. Not long after, the taps were installed. Several suds varieties, IPAs, Blood Orange Wheat and Raspberry Stout among them, are brewing.

The owners, Jason Schlaff, Jason Hendricks and partner Gary Schlaff, plan to open in mid-November, several weeks behind schedule, but with beer the former home brewers expect to be proud to serve.

Schlaff and Hendricks are environmental engineers and chemists and hobby brewers who decided to combine their knowledge of chemistry and beer into a business.

The brewery will not serve food, but is working with local Farmington restaurants on delivery service agreements.

Source: Jason Hendricks, brewer and partner Farmington Brewing Company and Farmington Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine

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

Oakland U building first fire science lab in Midwest

Oakland University wants to build the first fire-science lab in the Midwest.

Manufacturers have already donated $275,000 of equipment that would go into the Fire Science Lab, which would be a classroom for OU's Occupational Safety & Health students, a training site for employees who work in fire and safety for private manufacturers, the government and a range of workplaces. It would also be a field-trip site for companies wanting to prepare their employees for fire emergencies.

Inside the lab, real fires can be set, sustained and extinguished for an up-close understanding and analysis of the operation and effectiveness of fire suppression equipment, devices and systems.

Fire code enforcement agencies, government agencies, safety consulting firms, insurance companies and a multitude of manufacturers large and small can use the laboratory to provide training, demonstrations and certifications.

While donations for equipment have been given, there is still a need for donations to build the lab, and OU is looking for sponsors. Once the construction costs are covered, the lab could be operational within four to six weeks, says Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director of OU’s Occupational Safety and Health program. For more information on sponsorships, click here.

The lab would be the first of its kind in the Midwest and one of about a dozen nationwide, he says.

“The addition of the new Fire Safety Laboratory will give our graduates the advantage of experiencing first-hand the capabilities of various fire suppression systems and devices," he says.The training will also lead them to jobs that are in short supply in the fire safety industry.

"Today’s safety professionals play an essential role helping companies maintain profitability while ensuring safe, healthy workplaces and environments," he says. "We are driven to continuously improve, keeping pace with ever-changing needs of the market -- the future industries and employers of our graduates," McGlothlin says. "The Fire Safety Laboratory is a tremendous resource which we intend to put to use to benefit the greater community, state and region."

Source: Brian Bierley, spokesperson, Oakland University, and Dr. Charles McGlothlin, special instructor and director, Occupational Safety & Health program at Oakland University
Writer: Kim North Shine

Caffe Far Bella moves, doubles space in St. Clair Shores

Caffe Far Bella, a mom-and-pop run coffee shop and cafe that is consistently packed for breakfast and lunch, is making a move to a bigger spot in St. Clair Shores.

The new location at Mack Avenue near 10 Mile is only 185 steps away from the current cafe. The new space along a busy retail road is twice the size of the old cafe, which was voted best coffee shop four years in a row in WDIV's Best Of Detroit polls.

While it may be known more widely for its coffee, the five-year-old cafe has customers lining up daily for fresh baked goods, changing soups, panini, salads and Italian sodas.

While the restaurant will be bigger, the owners, who pride themselves on great food and on their relationship with customers, will maintain the cozy, personal feel of the space that they say is like a home away from home. The new location will open by mid-November.

Source: Caffe Far Bella
Writer: Kim North Shine

 

New Kahve House brewing coffee in downtown Clawson

A stay-at-home mom is running a coffee shop in downtown Clawson that has locals celebrating it half-jokingly as a long-awaited alternative to 7-11.

Kahve House opened over the weekend at 22 South Main Street and has been serving a steady flow of customers since. It is filing the void in businesses that offer fresh roasted beans, specialty coffee drinks, straight quality java and various noshes. A recent enticement: Turkish coffee with baklava.

Ana and Denis Bureau own the shop and wanted to combine their love of good coffee and their hometown of Clawson by starting a business downtown.

They opened during the Great Pubkin Crawl over the weekend, an event of the Clawson Downtown Development Authority, and saw just how much interest there is in a business like theirs.

Source: Clawson Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine
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