Nine new reasons to shop on 9 Mile

Standard
  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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Advertisements

How to support National Black Business Month

Standard

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.

Summer amusements for the urbanite

Standard

Growing up in Southeast Michigan, I am accustomed to going Up North during the summer months. Landlocked seas of pavement give way to green fields, tall pines and beautiful bodies of water. I drop my bags off in the cabin and head out to the beach with a book and a raft, and I’m set for the week.

As I grow older and my immediate family grows, it has become harder to vacation as a family. The last time I went fishing with my dad and sisters was probably 10 years ago. But I don’t have to wait for the next chaotic vacation or drive hundreds of miles to spend some quality time fishing with family. Fish Headz Sport Fishing Charters and Mr. Muskie Charters of St. Clair Shores offer fishing charters on Lake St. Clair where bass, muskie, perch, sturgeon and walleye are abundant.

paddleThere are other watersport opportunities nearby, like taking standup paddleboard lessons with St. Clair Shores-based Great Lakes Surf Shop. Lessons are on Thursday evenings at Lake St. Clair Metropark. They make it easy for you, providing the board, equipment and experienced instructors.

You can also rent paddleboards, Jet Skis and kayaks at Simple Adventures. They have a location on 9 Mile Road but will deliver anywhere in Macomb County. Rentals include delivery and pickup, life jacket, paddle and safety kit. You can even book a kayak and be on the Clinton River in downtown Mount Clemens for the fireworks tomorrow night!

Detroit River Sports is another kayaking or paddleboard option. In addition to rentals, they offer kayak tours on the Eastside Canal, Detroit River and to Belle Isle. Being in the water with the Detroit skyline as a backdrop can be just as peaceful and inspiring as a view of the pines.

With so many options, and babysitters, close to home, there’s no reason not to get out on the water and enjoy nature in an urban setting.

DRS+kayaker+downtown

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

Standard

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!

Bagels on the eastside

Standard

This past weekend, I went to Baffin Brewing Company to meet up with Shannon Parent of Eastside Bagel to drink some micro-brewed beer and talk about bagels. I savored a Heffenwolf hefeweizen while she sipped a Crossroads cream ale and told me about the origin of Eastside Bagel – a St. Clair Shores instituation for the past 21 years.

When Shannon’s mom and dad Liz and Joe Parent moved into the area in 1987, they had a tough time finding a bagel shop anywhere on the eastside. With career backgrounds in office and industrial work, these entrepreneurs took matters into their own hands to remedy the situation. Liz started working at a bagel shop to learn how to bake. From there, they opened their own business and perfected their bagel recipes. A family business, Shannon and her sister have worked at the shop most of their adult lives.

“Over the years, I fell in love with every aspect that it takes to be part of this business,” Shannon explained. “It’s a craft and a process, and it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.”

Eastside Bagel produces thousands of bagels a week. They make the dough, kettle boil the bagels, lay them out on canvas boards, bake one side, and flip onto stone to bake the other side until shiny. And all of this usually takes place around 3 a.m.

Shannon compared the bagel process to brewing at Baffin, another small business in St. Clair Shores. Brewer Evan Feringa often brews all night and into the early morning hours, crafting a unique product from scratch. When you put that much effort into your work, you’re bound to be passionate about it.

Eastside Bagel offers an extensive variety of bagels, the most popular being Jalapeno Cheddar, Everything and Spinach Asiago. The bagels are soft and fresh. One of my favorites is the Cinnamon and Sugar bagel, but I also really enjoy their nutritious Breakfast Cookie, which is packed with dates, raisins and almonds.

While bagels are the star, Eastside Bagel also offers sandwiches, soups and salads made to order. The vinaigrette they use is Shannon’s great-aunt’s recipe. They make their own cream cheese that comes in delicious flavors like cherry almond, garlic and chive and feta. Lox sandwiches are also popular, and they sell lox by the pound at a competitive price. Beverages include coffee, chai tea, cappuccino, fresh-squeezed juice, fruit smoothies and more.

When you walk into one of their stores, you’ll order at the counter. The line moves fast, so it’s helpful to have an idea of what you want. There are a lot of interesting options to choose from though, so don’t be afraid to try something new! Pay at the counter, and if you’re dining in, just have a seat and they will bring you your food. The friendly staff may chat with you while you wait.

Eastside Bagel is a great place to enjoy a hot breakfast and a cup of coffee, to pick up a dozen bagels for the office, or to cater your next business meeting. So now that you’ve heard all about these delicious, one-of-a-kind, preservative-free bagels made locally, go try one!

Bagel A

21601 Harper, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080
(586) 775-8820

Hours
Monday – Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The gift of reading

Standard

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.

The perfect twist

Standard

I had the opportunity to speak with St. Clair Shores resident and small business owner Ann Bobek about her burgeoning decadent gourmet pretzel business, The Twisted Pretzel, which combines the perfect twist of salty pretzels with drizzled chocolate and gooey caramel.

The Twisted Pretzel officially launched in February 2013, but its inspiration started many years earlier. Ann has always loved to cook and bake, something passed down to her by her grandmothers and great aunts who often baked pies and cookies. But it wasn’t until her son started kindergarten that she discovered her passion for chocolate-covered pretzels.

peppermint in cello bagOnce introduced to the technique, she quickly began bringing tasty pretzel rod treats to school parties and holidays, where she started to hear, “You should start your own business” – a lot. But with young kids, the timing wasn’t right.

Flash forward to the present day, and Ann’s youngest child is a senior in high school and The Twisted Pretzel is open for business. But it didn’t happen overnight. Ann did what every new business owner should, she put in the work.

Ann attended classes at the Small Business Development Center, took classes at the Michigan State Product Center and scheduled meetings with Small Business Counselor Wendy Richardson, Innovation Counselor Micah Loucks and our Senior Economic Development Specialist Jack Johns.

“Jack’s proactive and pushes me forward, connecting me to other people,” said Ann. Connecting and networking with peers and mentors has been a source of knowledge and insight.

At the Michigan State Product Center, Ann soaked up all she could from the “food people” there. She first showed her product to Micah who saw it as a unique item not currently on the market in this area. He gave his initial stamp of approval and continues to counsel and work with Ann regularly. “Not only has he helped me out and guided me, but there is also a friendship that develops when you go through this process,” Ann said of Micah.

Cinnamon crunchThe Twisted Pretzel specializes in gourmet pretzels that come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Their most popular product is Funky Chunky Bark. Not wanting to let broken pretzels go to waste, Ann came up with the idea to incorporate pretzel pieces, dark chocolate, peanut butter chocolate and handmade marshmallow made from scratch. Other products include Caramel Twisters, Twisted Turtles and Pretzel Twists that can be embellished with Cinnamon Crunch, Cookies and Cream, Java, M&Ms, Razz Berry, Toffee or Peppermint Twist.

Ann refers to her product as “edible art” because it looks as beautiful as it is delicious, and I can vouch for that. These gourmet desserts are perfect for holidays, graduations, showers and even corporate events. Each product is handmade with care, and Ann supports other Michigan businesses whenever possible, including in her printing and packaging, which she does through the Detroit-based Michigan Box Company.

A lot of changes occur during the first stages of a new business. There is a lot to learn and an evolution that occurs as you iron out your product, identity and key market. But Ann is up for the challenge, saying, “Whatever fabulous journey awaits, it’s sure to be exciting.”

Macomb County locations carrying The Twisted Pretzel products are Viviano Flower Shop branches in Chesterfield Township, Shelby Township and St. Clair Shores and Urban Attic also in St. Clair Shores. You can also catch Ann (and some free samples!) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 23 at the St. Clair Shores Viviano Open House. For more information on The Twisted Pretzel, visit their website at www.twstdprtzl.com/.
Twisted turtle with rck card

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Nov. 20, 2014.