Nostalgic candy and more at Roger’s Bulk Candy Shop

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For many of us, Valentine’s Day is a time to indulge our sweet side. We go out of our way to be kind to our friends, families, neighbors, coworkers and significant others, and this usually includes plying them with sugary candy. If you’re looking for some really unique sweets this Valentine’s Day, shop at Roger’s Bulk Candy Shop on 9 Mile Road in Eastpointe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a modest exterior, Roger’s takes on a Wonka-like atmosphere when you walk through the door. The walls are lined with glass jars, bins and barrels overflowing with bright pieces of candy. They carry every kind of confectionary you can think of, but what is especially impressive is their selection of nostalgic candy.

Some of the memorable brands Roger’s carries date back more than 100 years, like Taffy Town. Other candies like Squirrels, Bit-O-Honey and Black Jacks were developed in the 1920s. And there are plenty more candies that have stood the test of time such as Mary Janes, Candy Buttons, Turkish Taffy, Slo Pokes, Astro Pops and ZotZ.

Roger’s also carries all of today’s kids’ favorite treats like gummy bears, lollipops, Swedish Fish, Runts, Jolly Ranchers, Skittles and Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. With malt balls, chocolate-covered almonds, pecan turtles and classic name-brand candy bars, there is plenty of chocolate to choose from as well.

I spoke with owner Roger Berro who said he opened the business eight years ago because there was a need in the area for a specialty candy shop. Generations of his family have been in the retail business, and he said business is their passion. As he showed me around the shop, Berro was like a candy librarian, pointing out different popular candies and giving me a little history about each of them.

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The shop originally only sold candy and later expanded to ice cream. Now they also carry Mediterranean food like grape leaves, tabouli and spinach and meat pies. Additionally, they offer habanero pistachios, Jordan almonds, jumbo salted cashews and other specialty nuts. Their freshly made smoothies and 52 flavors of Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream are extremely popular in the summer.

While I was there, a woman was buying candy for her daughter’s shower. Berro said they are a popular destination for people putting together candy tables for graduation parties, showers and weddings. Customers can purchase anything from one piece of candy up to 20 pounds!

“People come in happy, and we make sure they leave happy,” said Berro.

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15020 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe, MI 48021 ~ (586) 772-1076

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Nine new reasons to shop on 9 Mile

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  1. Granma’s House of Pancakes – 17271 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe

1-granmas-house-of-pancakesGranma’s House of Pancakes is sporting a new look with fresh paint and a purple awning. This local diner made Detroit Metro Times’ “A smorgasbord of better breakfast joints in metro Detroit” list and was also featured in Macomb Now Magazine. This small diner packs a big menu with crepes, blintzes, omelets and, of course, pancakes as well as many sandwiches, burgers and lunch items.

 

  1. Detroit Wing Company – 17535 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe

2-detroit-wing-company2According to their Facebook page, Detroit Wing Company (DWC) served nearly 500,000 wings to more than 42,000 customers in their first six months – not a bad start! This new restaurant has completely remodeled their building, installing a kitchen, front counter, small dining area and modern window overhangs as well as trimming the interior with warm wood walls. DWC specializes in wings slathered in your choice of 16 original sauces made from scratch. Mac and cheese, poutine and cornbread muffins are just some of their mouth-watering sides. In the past few months, owner and chef Gus Malliaras shared cooking tips and recipes on Local 4 News, Fox 2 and WXYZ Detroit.

 

  1. Audio Café Recording Studio – 17954 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe

3-audio-cafeThe unassuming exterior of Audio Café Recording Studio makes the state-of-the-art interior even more impressive. Designed from the ground up, many improvements have been made over the years, the latest of which is brand-new flooring to improve the acoustics for better sound quality while recording. Audio Café features a control room, live room where instruments are recorded, isolation booth for vocals and lounge area with amenities to keep you and your bandmates comfortable for hours of recording. They also record a significant amount of voice-over work. Did you know Catelynn Lowell from MTV’s Teen Mom has recorded here?

 

  1. Stingray Bay – 17800 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe

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Stingray Bay is a treat for any aquatic hobbyist. With new stock arriving weekly, they boast an impressive selection of saltwater and freshwater creatures including star fish, crabs, frogs, sea urchins, sea anemone, coral, fish of every kind and even stingrays! They also carry tanks, filters, pet food and everything you need to set up and maintain your aquarium. They renovated the building this past winter, replacing windows, adding new flooring and building out a new nautical-themed counter.

 

  1. Milestone Grill – 17831 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe

5-milestone-grillIn 2011, Legends was destroyed by a fire, and after several years of anticipation and curiosity, Milestone Grill finally emerged. This brand-new building is beautiful inside and out. It features stone columns, large windows with chic black awnings, rich wood paneling and an impressive bar. Whether you’re dining out with the family, enjoying a craft beer and game with friends or ordering signature cocktails for a fun night out, Milestone Grill is worth stopping in! And if you do, you’ll be in good company. Former President Bill Clinton stopped for a visit last March while on his wife’s campaign trail.

 

  1. DeRonne True Value Hardware – 18561 E. 9 Mile Rd., Eastpointe

6-deronneAfter a retail space adjoining DeRonne True Value Hardware became available, it didn’t take long for the business to expand. Not only does DeRonne carry something for all of your home project needs, this locally-owned small business is also renowned for their excellent service and knowledgeable staff. If you have a question, they know where to point you!

 

  1. Syphus Training – 20012 E. 9 Mile Rd., St. Clair Shores

7-syphus-trainingSt. Clair Shores is home to a new Syphus Training facility. This special type of fitness regimen keeps you on your toes with new workout challenges every time you go. As physical tasks are achieved, they are tracked and tabulated so you can follow your progress and compete against others for top scores. Group classes go at each individual’s own pace, creating a team atmosphere perfect for beginners and professional athletes alike.

 

  1. Roy O’Brien Ford – 22201 9 Mile Rd., St. Clair Shores

8-roy-obrien-fordRoy O’Brien Ford is celebrating 70 years in the community with substantial renovations. According to a C&G News article, updates to the building will be completed in phases and include a partial demolition, service department expansion, more parking, adding a second story to the façade, bike racks to accommodate Nautical Ride participants and a historical marker. Lighting upgrades have already been made, saving the company in energy consumption and utilities while simultaneously giving the cars a beautiful sparkle.

 

  1. Kroger Gas Station – 23717 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores

9-kroger-gas-stationThe next time you’re in the area and find your car on empty, check out the new Kroger gas station. The site was completely redeveloped, resurfaced and features brand-new pumps, convenience store and kiosk. With entrances off of 9 Mile and Jefferson, it’s a clean and convenient option for filling up your tank.

How to support National Black Business Month

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In 2004, August was established as National Black Business Month. It is a time for policy makers, venture capitalists and residents to focus on fostering a hospitable environment where black-owned businesses can prosper. It is also a call to action for those within the black business community to support one another.

In an effort to create a welcoming community for all people, Macomb County established OneMacomb. One of this initiative’s key objectives is to strengthen the county’s economy through supporting entrepreneurs of varied ethnicities.

The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development also specializes in helping all types of businesses grow. Their staff has extensive knowledge about available incentives and alternative financing programs that may be able to assist eligible businesses gain access to capital and take advantage of new opportunities such as job training, energy efficiency and façade improvement programs.

One way you and I can help black-owned businesses succeed is through our patronage. The Black Business Month website created a helpful list of various types of black-owned businesses you can support each day of the month, such as a restaurant on Aug. 6, a retail establishment on Aug. 11 and a dentist on Aug. 15.

MerollisThere are 677 minority-owned businesses in Macomb County. According to Crain’s Detroit Business 2014 Book of Lists, the top black-owned businesses in the county are St. Clair Shores-based Prestige Automotive LLC and Eastpointe-based Bill Perkins Automotive Group (either automotive dealership would be perfect to visit on Aug. 3) and metal processing corporation SET Enterprises Inc. in Warren (Aug. 4).

This month, challenge yourself to shop small, shop local and discover a new business. By redirecting a small portion of your spending, it could be a beneficial boost to the black entrepreneurial system.

Dig into music this summer

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Take a break from spring cleaning and yard work to indulge in your musical side. Explore your local music store, splurge on an instrument upgrade or invest in yourself by developing new talents through music lessons. To give you an idea of what’s out there, here is a brief look at three independently-owned music stores.

ArdisOwned by Mark Kunnert, Ardis Music in Mount Clemens has been open since 1972. Located in the county seat, a notable portion of their customers include judges, attorneys and sheriff officers. Kunnert says when kids take music lessons at his shop, often parents do too as a way to become involved. When asked what instrument Kunnert recommends for a beginner, he said to go with the child’s choice, or you’ll never win.

“Make them stick to it,” said Kunnert. “Practice is the key.”

A full-line music store, some of the most popular items at Ardis Music are guitars, books and reeds, but they also carry unique items such as bagpipes and gongs. They also pride themselves on providing personalized service.

Huber BreeseLast month, Huber Breese Music on Groesbeck in Fraser celebrated 44 years in business. Some of their most popular products include guitars, drums, keyboards and amplifiers. Their guitars start at $99 and top out at $50,000 – a limited edition Epiphone Texan signed by Paul McCartney. In addition to unique and collectible guitars, Huber Breese Music also carries all the major brands such as Fender, Gibson, Martin and Taylor. When asked what makes his store unique, owner Paul Huber says longevity.

“We offer sales, service and lessons. Many employees have been here for 40 years and are extremely knowledgeable.”

And Huber’s favorite part of owning a music store? Teaching people to play. Originally started as a teaching studio, Huber Breese Music has helped thousands of students learn to play over the years.

Joe's Music BJoe Pistorio owns Joe’s Music which has been on Gratiot in Eastpointe since 1980. While they sell everything from keyboards to drums and horns, their specialty lies in carrying guitar brands you can’t find everywhere else, such as Reverend, Heritage and CMG. Joe’s Music also offers a variety of music lessons and has a large repair shop.

“We can fix pretty much anything and can answer any question as well,” said Pistorio, crediting his experienced staff who have been with him for many years. “I’m fortunate to get to do this every day and make a living talking to people who play instruments and showing them how to be better players. It’s very rewarding.”

There are many great music stores located throughout metro Detroit, packed with shiny new instruments, durable gear for rent and passionate staff who want to guide you to achieve your musical ambitions. And each store owner I talked with said the same thing – they offer music lessons to a wide spectrum of students. It’s never too early or too late to learn!

Ardis Music
49 North Walnut St., Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 468-0282
Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Huber Breese Music
33540 Groesbeck Hwy., Fraser, MI 48026
(586) 294-3950
Monday – Friday noon to 8 p.m.
Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed Sunday

Joe’s Music
24525 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe, MI 48021
(586) 777-2333
Monday – Tuesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed Sunday

A version of this article was posted on The Make Macomb Your Home Blog.

Melodies & Memories: A Macomb County must for Record Store Day

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Melodies & Memories is an independent record store that opened on Gratiot in Eastpointe in 1988. It is a sprawling labyrinth of records, CDs and memorabilia with a plethora of iconic items on display.

“Music-lovers look low and collectors look high,” explains shop owner Dan Zieja.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd there is a lot to look at. Concert posters illustrated by Gary Grimshaw and Carl Lundgren are for sale, as well as photographs by famed Detroit photographer Leni Sinclair. Other memorabilia, however, is for display only. It’s part of Zieja’s personal collection that has accrued over the years and includes interesting items such as Beatles-autographed baseballs and 3,500 vintage lunchboxes. No matter what decade you were born in, you are bound to find something of interest at Melodies & Memories.

“We’re like a pop culture museum. People find things here that they had as a child or remember from their youth,” said Zieja.

Lining the walls are albums autographed by such music legends as Prince, Michael Jackson, Queen and the White Stripes – and it doesn’t stop there. The walls themselves are scrawled with celebrity signatures. Eminem, Egyptian Lover (the hip hop/electro-funk DJ who played at the store earlier this month), Martha Reeves and Kanye West (who drew a teddy bear) are just some of the many musicians who have autographed the building. Aretha Franklin has also been known to stop in to shop.

“We have people from all over the world come here,” said Zieja. “If you see a limo out front, it might be the Temptations.”

Melodies & Memories boasts an impressive stock of new and used vinyl and CDs ranging from jazz and blues to rock and dance music. Several sound systems are always playing different music at the same time, but due to the unique structure of the building, they seamlessly transition genres as you work your way across the store.

Melodies & Memories is ready for Record Store Day this Saturday with boxes of limited-edition vinyl, free promotional giveaways and for the first time, they will be selling record players. Last year, a few customers eager to secure a specific LP camped out at 2:30 a.m.! Stop by the store at 3 p.m. for a special performance by Frijid Pink, a Detroit rock band that formed in 1967.

Even if you’re not quite ready to camp out for Record Store Day this weekend, Melodies & Memories is a musical destination worth checking out any time of the year.

23013 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 774-8480

23013 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe, MI 48021
(586) 774-8480

Hours
Monday – Saturday noon to 7 p.m.ish
Sunday Noon to 5 p.m.

How to keep metro Detroit kids happy at the tail end of winter

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With the weather hovering between icy wind and mild temperatures, kids are getting antsy for spring. Until you can simply send your little one outside for hours of amusement, here are some ideas to keep them happy and occupied.

Make a special occasion out of going to the theater. The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township is showing the children’s classic “Charolotte’s Web” March 23 and 24. Your adolescent might enjoy “Rock of Ages” put on by the Clintondale Community Theatre the first two weekends in May.

The Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens offers youth art classes. March’s classes are 3-D Map, Illuminated Monogram and Impressions. April’s classes follow an upcycling theme. No appointment is needed to create your own art at Plaster Playhouse in Shelby Township. Simply choose your piece of plaster or pottery and start painting!

Boost your baby’s brain power through programs offered at your local library. Throughout the year, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library offers storytime sessions including Baby Time, Tot Time, Little Listeners, Preschool, Music & Movement and Pajamarama. My daughter loves Pajama Storytime at the Eastpointe Memorial Library, where kids dress in their pajamas, bring their favorite stuffed animal to hold and listen to the youth librarian read stories.

Check with your local Parks and Recreation Department to see what seasonal offerings are scheduled. The Warren Community Center boasts an indoor waterpark comprised of a lap pool, pool basketball, waterslide, lazy river and play structure complete with a water cannon and waterfall. Other nice amenities for adults include a sauna, steam room and fitness room.

Get hands-on and join your kid for a skate around the rink. The St. Clair Shores Ice Arena has public skating from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It is $3 per person, and children under 6 are free when accompanied by an adult. Admission to the Mount Clemens Ice Arena is $5 for adults and $4.50 for students, seniors and youth. Skate rental is $3.

Pack on the layers and head out to one of Macomb County’s Metroparks. Weather permitting, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing and outdoor ice skating. Snowshoe or cross-country ski across marked trails at Stony Creek Metropark, or head over to the winter sports area with hills to snowboard, sled or toboggan. Eastpointe’s Spindler Park recently revamped its new sledding hill. Open dawn to dusk, it includes a hay bale safety barrier and seating area. The Macomb Orchard Trail isn’t just for running or biking; it’s also open to cross-country skiers.

Just Delicious SconesJust Delicious Scones on Utica in Roseville is a quaint tea room, bakery and coffee shop with … well, delicious scones. Get big-girl dressed up for this fancy excursion. Sip tea or cider from beautiful china and delicately nibble on scones – a memory your child will remember. If your little one isn’t likely to sit still for long, try Chuck E. Cheese in Roseville or Sterling Heights. Jungle Java in Clinton Township is an indoor play center with a sports court and laser maze. It includes a separate toddler play area and a full menu.

Let the kids burn off energy at the Bounce House in New Baltimore, St. Clair Shores or Sterling Heights. It consists of giant inflatable slides, moon walks and an obstacle course along with arcade games that might even entertain mom and dad. Try Airtime in Sterling Heights or Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Shelby Township for open jumping on wall-to-wall trampolines, foam pits, dodgeball and basketball. Jumpers are sorted by age to make sure the intensity level is a good match, though there are waivers that must be signed before participating in the fun. Play miniature golf any day of the week at Jawor’s on Gratiot in Roseville. It has an 18-hole course for kids of all ages and is open year-round.

It doesn’t matter what you decide to do as long as you make the time you spend together count. Unplug and give your kids your full attention – that’s all they want!

Historic Eastpointe church celebrates 170 years

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WeddingIn 1845, there were 28 states in the Union, James K. Polk was inaugurated as the 11th U.S. president, Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” was published and St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded. This year, St. Peter’s is celebrating their 170th anniversary.

While I’m writing this, I can hear sweet melodies from my bedroom window chimed by St. Peter’s church bells that date back to 1876. I was married in this church; it’s where my parents were married. My daughter was baptized there last month, the same place I was.

Eastpointe in 1845 was known as Erin Township and was dominated by oak forests and swamps. The Fort Gratiot Turnpike, made of logs, was the only main road, and Nine Mile was simply a bridle path. Henry Ford wouldn’t open his first automobile factory for another 58 years.

The area was settled by German immigrants who left Germany due to religious oppression. For a while, there was only one Lutheran pastor in Michigan, traveling to preach and perform baptisms. A small congregation formed in Erin Township and met in each other’s homes until 1845 when they Called Johann Friedrich Winkler to be their pastor. They built a log church on the Fort Gratiot Turnpike south of Eight Mile, and this is when St. Peter’s began.

DeedA year later, the congregation split, and land was bought for a new church on the northwest corner of Nine Mile and Gratiot for $10. A new log church was built, and in 1850, a school was established. Additional land was purchased for $40, and a brick church was built in 1859. The bricks for the building were handmade on a farm near Ten Mile and transported by wagon. The school moved into the vacated log building, and many additions and expansions occurred to both church and school until St. Peter’s moved to its current location at 23000 Gratiot Avenue in 1950.

My grandmother Carol Middeldorf remembers this occasion. She taught first and second grade along with my grandfather Carl Middeldorf who taught fifth and sixth grade the last year the school was located on Nine Mile. There were only four teachers, each had about 50 students. She and Carl lived in a small loft next to the school, and since the current building was being constructed just across Gratiot, she recalls walking up there to check on the progress. Carol went on to teach first grade and Sunday school in the current building, and for 43 years, Carl served in many capacities including as teacher, coach, youth director and principal.

Over time, pastors came and went and members split to form new congregations. Several prominent Lutheran churches in this area can trace their roots back to St. Peter’s. For example, St. Mark in Roseville is an offshoot of St. Peter’s, and St. John Fraser fragmented from St. Mark.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday, St. Peter’s has grown to include an Early Childhood Center, providing daycare for children as young as 6 weeks; a grade school ranging from preschool to eighth grade; and a beautiful Neo-Gothic-style brick church with stained glass windows, vaulted ceiling, slate floor and bell tower with original bells from the Nine Mile location. The grounds also include a peaceful cemetery, playground, gymnasium and pristine baseball fields for school and adult league use. Adjacent is the Lutheran Fraternities of America No. 57 banquet hall where members from many different Lutheran congregations meet once a month to socialize. They are presently accepting new members, and the hall is available to the public for rental.

Early Childhood CenterSt. Peter’s continues to provide many programs for children and adults. In addition to the daycare and school, they also offer summer camp, Vacation Bible School and an active youth group. They reach out to the community through their food pantry and mission donations, and they offer fellowship through coffee hour and Bible study.

All year, St. Peter’s has been celebrating its rich history. This past March, they held their First Annual Gala which included a silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. Last month, they held a historical church service. Though not in German, the service followed an order of worship from the past, performed baptisms in the restored original baptismal font and administered communion from a vintage chalice. Afterward, they celebrated with a well-attended outdoor pig roast (a 198-pound pig was purchased and transported from Tennessee!), pie-eating contest and children’s games.

Pig RoastMore activities are planned for this momentous year, such as an ice cream social at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 23 and an anniversary service and banquet at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27. St. Peter’s is inviting all current, prospective and former church members and students and anyone who was baptized, confirmed or married there to participate in the celebration. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids if purchased before September. It will be a time to remember the past, reconnect with one another and look toward the future, all while praising God.

St. Peter’s is calling to its flock, saying, “No matter where you may be in your life or in the world, we are still your home.”

For more information on the history of St. Peter’s, check out “How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place” and “Come Unto Me” available at the Eastpointe Memorial Library and the Mount Clemens Public Library. For current happenings, like St. Peter’s on Facebook.

23000 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe 48021 (586) 777-6300

23000 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe 48021
(586) 777-6300

Office Hours
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Worship Services
Sundays 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and Wednesdays 7 p.m.

School Enrollment
Now open for the August 2015 – June 2016 school year

Early Childhood Center Hours
Open year-round, Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

16140 Aurora, Eastpointe 48021 (586) 779-2810

LFA Hall
16140 Aurora, Eastpointe 48021
(586) 779-2810