COVID-19 Update: Bedrock and Emagine to Open Drive-in Theater in Downtown Detroit, 2021 North American Car, Truck, and SUV of Year Announced, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
graph of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Bedrock and Emagine to Open Drive-in Theater in Downtown Detroit
Detroit-based real estate company Bedrock and Emagine Entertainment are teaming up to open the Monroe Street Drive-In Powered by Emagine in the heart of downtown Detroit on Jan. 22.

Beginning with an opening night screening of “Jurassic Park,” the state-of-the-art outdoor screen will show family-friendly feature films, just steps from Campus Martius Park and downtown’s Woodward shopping district. “Shrek” will be shown Jan. 23 and “Back to the Future” on Jan. 24.

The Monroe Street Drive-In Powered by Emagine will have a 60-by-32-foot digital projection screen on the site of the future Monroe Blocks development at 32 Monroe St. in Detroit. It is a continuation of Bedrock’s multi-million dollar “Decked Out Detroit” initiative in partnership with the Rocket Community Fund.

“Movies have always offered us a couple of hours to unplug and escape, and that has never seemed more important than now,” says Ivy Greaner, COO at Bedrock. “The drive-in theater is our way of offering the community a way to get out of the house and safely enjoy a night out for the whole family.”

Monroe Street Drive-In Powered by Emagine will operate in partnership with Emagine Entertainment, with showtimes every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7 p.m., beginning Jan. 22. The drive-in will feature all of the amenities of an Emagine showing, including interactive lighting, leading AV technology, and a modular concessions pavilion serving traditional movie theater concessions. There also will be warming areas, plantings, and public restroom trailers.

Paul Glantz, co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment, says, “It is an absolute honor to be working with the world-class team of professionals at Bedrock Detroit. Being part of the team to showcase movies once again in this historic theater district of Detroit represents a great opportunity for all involved. Providing guests with an exemplary out-of-home movie-going experience has always been our objective at Emagine and now we can further that mission at the Monroe Street Drive-In.”

The theater will enforce all of the latest COVID-19 health and safety regulations, including social distancing and mask wearing guidelines while guests are outside of their vehicles.

All showtimes and programming will be managed by Emagine Entertainment and the site will offer parking for up to 65 vehicles including outdoor seating, pedestrian paths, concession pavilions and lighting, and warming areas.

Showtimes will begin at 7 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning January 22, 2021 with:

  • Friday, January 22: Jurassic Park – 1993
  • Saturday, January 23: Shrek ­– 2001
  • Sunday, January 24: Back to the Future – 1985

Tickets will cost $20 per vehicle and will be available in the coming days here and in person when the gates open at 6 p.m.

Decked out Detroit is part of Bedrock’s ongoing effort to support Detroit small businesses and the community at large as they grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting government lockdowns.

For additional information visit here.

Hyundai Elantra, Ford F-150, Ford Mustang Mach-E are 2021 North American Vehicles of the Year
The Hyundai Elantra, Ford F-150, and Ford Mustang Mach-E have been named the North American car, truck and utility vehicles of the year.

The winners were revealed Monday during a virtual event hosted by the 2021 North American Car, Truck, and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY) Awards organizers.

Jurors began the 2021 evaluation process with 43 eligible vehicles before narrowing them down to 27 semifinalists and then nine finalists through two rounds of voting.

“The automotive industry launched an unusually strong field of impressive new vehicles, including many with significant technological advances, which made our job as jurors even harder than usual this year,” says Gary Witzenburg, president of the NACTOY. “We applaud these 2021 winners and congratulate the industry for continuing to serve its customers with highly desirable new products year after year.”

To determine the three winners, jurors voted on the nine finalists based on segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction, and value for the dollar. The votes were tallied confidentially by Deloitte LLP and remained secret until envelopes were unsealed during yesterday’s event.

“It is refreshing to see an automaker so committed to the sedan segment that at launch they offer such a wide variety of models as is in the Hyundai Elantra family,” says NACTOY juror John David, host of “MotorWeek,” about the Hyundai Elantra. “Hyundai did not do the drip-drip of the model variants over a longer term as is typical for the class.”

Freelance journalist and NACTOY juror John Voelcker says of the Ford F-150, “The F-Series is Ford’s crown jewel, not to mention the highest-selling vehicle lineup in the U.S. for 40 years. The latest version refines the package, keeping what’s good, updating as needed, and delivering the right mix of features, capabilities, comfort, and style—with the added benefit of the first hybrid powertrain in almost a decade to debut in a full-size pickup truck.”

Detroit News auto critic and NACTOY juror Henry Payne, commented on the Mustang Mach E, “The Mustang Mach-E leapfrogs European EVs as the Tesla Model Y’s most formidable challenger yet. Like Tesla, Mach-E understands that the premium EV market is as much about interior tech as it is about torque.”

Amatrol Expands Partnership with LIFT
LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, announced today that Amatrol, a provider of advanced manufacturing training equipment and interactive, multimedia e-learning courses, has joined LIFT as a Silver Member, expanding its long-term relationship with the institute.

Amatrol, based in Jeffersonville, Ind., designs, develops and manufactures technical training systems, highly interactive eLearning, hands-on simulators and more to train tomorrow’s global manufacturing workforce.

Since 2016, Amatrol has partnered with LIFT to provide virtual and hands-on training capabilities as part of the institute’s “IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing” curriculum hosted in the LIFT Learning Lab in Detroit, as well as Operation Next, the innovative training and credentialing program that provides a blended learning curriculum to active-duty soldiers within their last six months of service — now expanding across the country.

“We are proud of the LIFT programs we are supporting, like Operation Next and IGNITE, which are truly having an impact on manufacturing in the U.S.,” says Paul Perkins, president of Amatrol. “Becoming a LIFT member will help us continue to grow our relationship with the institute and help both of us ‘move the needle’ in advanced manufacturing talent development.”

Kevin Kerrigan, vice president of business development at LIFT, says, “As we are rolling out nationally relevant and impactful talent programs, we need to partner with other leaders in that field, and Amatrol is just that. Amatrol has been leading the way in both virtual and hands-on training in manufacturing for decades, which is why they have been with us to launch Operation Next and IGNITE and are now a full-fledged LIFT member.”

New Capital Investment Helps Tespo Grow into a Top Digital Health Company
Health care and natural vitamin provider Tespo in Plymouth Township completed its largest capital investment round, which will further springboard the digital health company into new markets, including pharmacy, according to co-founder and CEO Ted Mills. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

This particular investment is the latest to have occurred over the last couple of years, supported by investment groups or individuals. It has helped to fund the buildout of a digital health technology platform that supports the pharmacy market and other condition specified supplemental health categories, including pre-diabetes, liver disease, and more.

The round also is intended to complete Tespo’s technology platform that opens the door for entry into new chronic conditions and paves the way for pharmaceutical products.

“This new platform enables caregivers to monitor real-time, in-home medication adherence through a dashboard that we feel is really unique in the market,” says Mills. Platform enhancements will include digital health data that is overlaid against medical adherence to provide a more complete picture of an individual’s overall well-being.

The financing has helped to support technology acquisitions to support the use of this platform and for hiring several key professionals to manage it. Those professionals include software, chemical and electrical engineers, and delivery leads. Part of the financing proceeds also have funded the acquisition of a top 100 health care app in the Apple Store.

The investment also will support strategic rollout of additional products and R&D investments throughout 2021 while providing clarity to the Tespo brand as a focused, comprehensive medication tool supported by a range of features, including automated phone calls to patients, caregivers and physicians, text messaging, reminders, and alerts. Tespo’s development team is now working on correlating biometric data from other devices to provide caregivers with a complete wellness picture of their patient.

“This is a very robust platform that will position us well for the ongoing growth stages of our company,” Mills says.

Restaurant Association to Open Assistance Grant Application Process Jan. 15.
The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation announced that it will administer the application process for the Employee Assistance Grants under Senate Public Act 257 of 2020 and that the application period is Jan. 15-25.

Employees impacted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Gathering and Face Mask Order that took effect on Nov. 18, 2020 are eligible to apply for one-time grants up to $1,650.

The grants are not first come, first serve, meaning the application will be open for submissions throughout the 10-day period. Applicants must be Michigan residents, demonstrate proof of employment in one of the industries noted below on Nov. 18, 2020 when the MDHHS Gathering and Face Mask Order that took effect, and proof of being negatively impacted financially as a result of furlough/layoff/job loss or a reduction in hours worked.

All Employee Assistance Grant applicants will receive an email no later than Feb. 26, 2021 confirming whether the grant was approved or denied. Grant awards are taxable but will not count against unemployment as income.

The state Department of Treasury will process Employee Assistance Grants to approved recipients from the $45 million fund authorized under PA 257 for employees in the hospitality, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services sectors.

“Michigan’s restaurant and hotel employees are suffering right now, and they need help,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “We are honored to be selected to administer these much-needed grants and take very seriously our responsibility to process them efficiently and effectively.”

For more information, visit here.

ProsperUs Detroit Spring Entrepreneurship Training Applications Open
Applications are open for the ProsperUs Detroit Entrepreneur Training program, a 15-week program that helps participants realize their potential, develop a business plan, and get their business off the ground. Applications close January 31 at midnight.

The program consists of six different training sites across Detroit. All classes will be conducted virtually with 10-12 participants and weekly two-hour virtual sessions from 6-8 p.m. Participants also will be able to schedule one-on-one consultations with a trainer. The training costs a total of $75.

ProsperUs Detroit supports participants as they legally register their business, create budgets and systems of bookkeeping, and write a business plan.

“ProsperUs Entrepreneur Training Program offers custom support for participants’ specific goals,” says Andrew Kaplowitz, program manager at ProsperUs Detroit. “Trainers meet with participants one on one to make a plan and help participants follow through on that plan. Plus virtual group classes teach business fundamentals and allow for participants to build community and support each other making the program perfect for first time entrepreneurs and experienced business owners alike.”

For more information, visit here.

New TechTown Detroit Program Supports Small Business Owners
TechTown Detroit has introduced a new business program — TechTown Training Series —to provide education for entrepreneurs that further accelerates inclusive economic development across Detroit.

Made possible through the financial support of the Walters Family Foundation, the TechTown Training Series is a 12-month program that provides technical assistance for TechTown alumni, as well as small business owners in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck. The series is designed to help business owners sustain, grow, or transition their business with free, public entrepreneurial education via peer-to-peer and small group assistance.

“By meaningfully reconnecting with TechTown’s alumni, as well as a broader audience of entrepreneurs newly connected to our organization, our TechTown Training Series will be able to achieve the goal of providing expert-level entrepreneurial education,” says Amy Rencher, managing director of entrepreneurial programs and services at TechTown Detroit. “The funding provided by the Walters Family Foundation allows us to respond to shifting market conditions and reflect customer demand. It also paves the way for us to reconnect with alumni and support them during these uncertain times while promoting TechTown’s goal of an inclusive economic recovery for metro Detroit entrepreneurs.”

Offered in an online library, the TechTown Training Series focuses on topics ranging from marketing to customer development, financial planning, and human resources. The workshops are designed for entrepreneurs to view the monthly webinar at a time most convenient for them during a three-week span, while also allowing an opportunity for questions and answers in a live peer-to-peer session the last week of each month.

Registration is required to attend the TechTown Training Series.  For more information visit here.

Corvette Stingray Coming to Forza Horizon 4 Video Game
Forza announced it will release the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette Stingray — one of the world’s most sought-after supercars — on the Forza Horizon 4 gaming platform on Jan. 14.

With its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 LT2 engine, the mid-engine Corvette Stingray produces 495 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque when equipped with performance exhaust, making it the most-powerful Corvette ever.

Bloomfield Hills’ ARCH Cutting Tools Launches New Master Catalog
ARCH® Cutting Tools in Bloomfield Hills has launched its first fully integrated master catalog titled “The Collection,” featuring the company’s complete standard cutting tool portfolio.

“We listened to our customers,” says Jeff Cederstrom, president of ARCH Cutting Tools. “They called for ease of doing business and for a broader tooling portfolio with new and innovative stocked standards.”

The launch of the new master catalog coincides with the company’s start-up of its new state-of-the-art Centralized Distribution Center in late 2020. It is a comprehensive compilation of the complete ARCH Cutting Tools standard cutting tool product collection showcasing the company’s expanded standard solid round tool offerings under the KEO® brand name and its full indexable portfolio under the Ultra-Dex brand. The catalog integrates all heritage KEO products, a full line of micro tools, and a new offering of Patriot High Performance milling and drilling tools in a format designed with the end-user in-mind.

For more information, visit here.

Pączki Day Vodka by Detroit City Distillery to Return
Detroit City Distillery’s limited-edition Pączki Day Vodka returns with sales starting online here starting Feb. 1.

Bottles of the craft polish potato vodka distilled with dozens of raspberry pączki from the New Palace Bakery of Hamtramck are $30 each. Customers can collect spirits curbside outside DCD’s Tasting Room at 2462 Riopelle St. in Detroit’s Eastern Market. Customers also may purchase the spirit at select liquor stores while supplies last.

Pączki are rich, filled donuts in various flavors enjoyed on Fat Tuesday before Lent. They resemble donuts but are made with an enriched dough that often incorporates eggs, butter, and milk, as well as vodka, which limits the absorption of fats during frying, keeping the exterior crust crisp. Pączki are coated in powdered sugar or glaze and come in traditional flavors like raspberry, strawberry, lemon, plum, apple and custard.

“I made Pączki Day Vodka because I wanted to capture the essence of the Hamtramck Pączki Day party in a bottle. I thought it’d be a fun way to honor my Polish heritage and create a small-batch spirit we shared with our closest friends and family,” says Steve Orzechowski, distiller at Detroit City Distillery. “But, as more and more people tried it and loved it, and the requests came pouring in, we realized we’d created something very unique. It’s a real honor to create something that the community has made part of the celebration and the comradery of the day.”