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.

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.

The gift of reading

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs an expecting mother-to-be, some aspects of my baby shower were easier to figure out than others. Venue: Fishbone’s – check. Cake: Giuseppe’s Bakery – check. Favors: Midwest Suds Soap Co. products made by my sisters and me – check. But when it came to registering, that was a different story.

There are thousands of items with limitless variations to sort through. The aisles of bedding, toys, car seats, diapers, nursery pieces, strollers, bath essentials, clothes, bottles and safety gear were a little overwhelming. However, armed with a scanner gun, my husband and I were determined to find everything the baby will need.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter fruitlessly wandering the store for a while, we naturally gravitated over to the book area. Paging through our old favorites from when we were young, the scanner gun quickly snapped into action. We scanned every Dr. Seuss book we saw as well as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and other Eric Carle books, “The Monster at the End of this Book,” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and more.

As I examined the familiar covers, I remembered my parents and grandparents reading to me, and I look forward to reading to my child. And as he or she grows, I can’t wait to share with them “The Giving Tree,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Secret Garden.”

We didn’t register for very many things on our first try. We weren’t sure how many footie pajamas we would need or what brand of diapers to choose, but we did know our baby will need books.

caterpillarMarch is National Reading Month, and it’s a great time to remember the huge impact reading has on our lives. Literacy is not something to be taken for granted. It needs to be initiated, nurtured, developed and maintained. The fundamental reading skills we acquire in our youth translate into academic and career assets in the future.

Illiteracy is not something that only affects children. Reading Works is an organization that helps metro Detroit adults learn to read or raise their literacy level. Find out more on their website readingworksdetroit.org.

This month is the perfect time to read to your toddler, take a child to the library or set aside time to discover a new book for yourself.

A version of this article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on March 13, 2015.

Get weird in Mount Clemens this weekend

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We have a lot to look forward to over the next few days: spending time with the family on Thanksgiving, getting the latest special releases on Record Store Day Black Friday and buying gifts with local flair on Small Business Saturday.

It’s an especially big weekend for record store and small business Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books in Mount Clemens as they promise to offer great deals and exciting new releases ranging from classics like the Doors and Miles Davis to heavy metal and punk rock like Metallica and the Dead Milkmen and even, oddly enough, “Guardians of the Galaxy” cassettes – which have been making a comeback in the last couple of years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWeirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books opened in May 2011. They are two stores under one roof run by husband and wife Dave and Lisa Taylor. Customers can find new and used records, record players, action figures, “oddball” items, used books and new books by local authors.

With giant bookstore chains going out of business and record stores shuttering their doors, what made Dave and Lisa think opening their own shop would be a good idea? There are a slew of reasons ranging from the idealist –they both love music and have been collecting records all their lives, to the sentimental – Dave and Lisa’s first date was at a record store, to the logical – Lisa knows books.

After losing her job of 17 years at Borders, Lisa and Dave thought it was the perfect time to branch out on their own. “We said we would try and see what happens,” Lisa said. They originally carried books and oddities and eventually expanded into records, where they have certainly found their niche, winning Best Independent Record Store in Macomb County from Metro Times in 2013 and 2014.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAcknowledging it might be naïveté, Dave said, “I’d like to think that other record shops didn’t close because they weren’t doing well, but because the owners had been doing it for a long time and were ready to move on to do different things.” No matter the reason, as record stores were closing, the market continued to grow as the next generation discovered vinyl records. Most Weirdsville customers are between 14 and 30 years old.

Founded on New Street, the store recently moved a block over to a new spot on Macomb Place. The move doubled their size, and they enjoy being on a more prominent street. The couple lives in Mount Clemens and values its historical legacy, so they jumped at the chance to remain in their community and obtain a larger space.

Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books offer several community events including B movies (not all bad, but definitely all B) and book signings. They recently had Tom Daldin from Under the Radar Michigan, which featured their shop on the show and mentions them in his book “Under the Radar Michigan: The First 50.” On Friday, Dec. 12, singer, song writer and poet Emily Rose will perform and sign her poetry book “Cemetery Tea Party.”

A member of the local music scene in his own right as a member of the band The Amino Acids, Dave is looking forward to once again offering local band listening parties. Recently on hiatus, look for those to start up again on the last Tuesday of every month. It’s a great opportunity to introduce new fans to local music. Next spring, they also intend to offer board games and magnetic poetry nights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t miss out on the great deals that are waiting for you all weekend long. The shop will be offering 20 percent off used items storewide. They have lengthened their hours, opening from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and will offer hot coffee to customers to combat the chilly weather. The first five customers through the door on Friday will receive $5 in Weir-dough to be used on anything in the store after next weekend – great to use for Christmas gifts or to treat yourself!

Whether you are looking for the perfect quirky gift, a good read or something you never knew you couldn’t live without, Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books are definitely worth stopping by.

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61 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 468-2665

http://www.weirdsvilledetroit.com/
http://www.usedonnewbooks.com/

Hours
Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday – Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Nov. 26, 2014.

Great Fresh Foods new product ready to hit shelves

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Gourmet stuffed chicken patties, fire-roasted chicken breast, Jamaican-style chicken, stuffed meatballs, stuffed beef patties, stuffed chicken meatballs—is your stomach growling yet? This is the product line for the emerging company Great Fresh Foods. If you have not heard of them yet, you will.

Empty plateGreat Fresh Foods is the brand-new sister company of the well-established Garden Fresh Gourmet—the salsa sensation out of Ferndale that has taken the industry by storm. In a few short years, Garden Fresh Gourmet has grown from its humble beginnings to become the largest fresh salsa company in North America. It carries several gourmet lines including hummus, tortilla chips, guacamole, dips and salad dressings.

Co-founders Jack and Annette Aronson have expanded into new territory with their line of gourmet stuffed burgers and meatballs. Having already mastered a state-of-the-art, high-pressure process that enables them to provide fresh products that are preservative-free, they have applied the process to their new company’s products as well. The result is a delicious, never-frozen entrée that is ready to eat after one minute in the microwave.

Empty plate“We are about to launch a new company that offers a breakthrough in the fresh burger and meatball category: chicken and beef burgers that are truly stuffed, not mixed, with premium fillings that both in terms of visuals and flavor profile are unlike anything else on the market,” said Vice Chairman of Garden Fresh Gourmet Dave Zilko.

Zilko added, “To be featured under our new Jack’s Special Grilled brand, the initial line will feature four varieties of fully cooked, all natural, gluten-free stuffed chicken burgers: Spinach & 3 Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon & Cheddar, Roasted Red Pepper & Mozzarella, and PepperJack.”

In April of 2014, Great Fresh Foods acquired a 12,000-square-foot facility located at 44696 Morley Drive in Clinton Township. Choosing to locate Great Fresh Foods within Macomb County put the up-and-coming company on the Department of Planning and Economic Development’s (MCPED) radar. Senior Economic Development Specialists Camille Silda and Jack Johns reached out to the company to offer assistance.

GreatFreshCamille and Jack were able to refer valuable resources to the business and put them in touch with development partners at Michigan Works and Macomb Community College. MCPED also worked as a liaison between Great Fresh Foods and Consumers Energy to get the Clinton Township facility up and running. Preparing an Industrial Facilities Exemption tax abatement was another service MCPED provided.

So where can you find these delicious new products? Look for Jack’s Special Grilled brand in the meat department at Meijer.

A version of this article was also published in eMacomb Spring 2014.

Have you had your Coffee Break?

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Did you know you can buy coffee from Congo in Eastpointe? Tucked away in a strip mall, Coffee Break is a cozy and chic coffee house that offers big-chain quality with small business appeal. Dim pendant lights, custom-laid floor tiles and charming bistro tables create a comfortable environment for any coffee lover. The rear alcove also features a sleek leather couch facing a flat screen TV mounted above a functioning fireplace. Additionally, in warm weather, the wide walkway out front accommodates outdoor seating. Free Wi-Fi is another amenity available year-round. Coffee Break is the ideal location to collect your thoughts, catch up with friends or network with colleagues over a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Specializing in beans from around the world, Coffee Break boasts an impressive array of in-house-roasted coffee grounds. They sell one-pound packages of whole beans (which they will grind for you upon purchase) from countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Congo, Indonesia, Sumatra, Ethiopia and Kenya – and the list continues to grow. Drinks are moderately priced and cover all of the coffee aficionado’s favorites and then some—my favorite is the marshmallow latte. Cappuccino, espresso, latte and coffee flavors, sizes and prices are fetchingly scrawled on an oversized chalkboard behind the counter. Coffee Break also serves tea and a limited menu consisting of sandwiches, baklava, handmade shortbread, pastries, ice cream and more.

Conveniently located on Ten Mile between Kelly Road and I-94 (just a mile from where I-696 meets I-94), Coffee Break is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. This established business has been operating in Eastpointe for almost four years. Just a stone’s throw away from Sugarbush Tavern, a prominent sidewalk promotes walkability among other neighboring businesses including Mario’s Meats, Little Italy Pizzeria and Fairway Drugs.

Vastly versatile, Coffee Break can accommodate just about any coffee enthusiast’s whim, whether looking for a meeting spot, to refill your coffee supply at home, to explore a new taste from across the world, to work on your laptop, to catch the game, to perfect your tan or to simply obtain your caffeine fix.

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19156 E. Ten Mile Road, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 362-8683

Hours
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.