DBusiness Daily Update: Consumers Energy Program Expands Home EV Charging Options, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
All Consumers Energy residential electric customers with EVs will be eligible for the Bring Your Own Charger program, no matter whether owners buy their own charger or receive it with their vehicle. // Courtesy of Consumers Energy
All Consumers Energy residential electric customers with EVs will be eligible for the Bring Your Own Charger program, no matter whether owners buy their own charger or receive it with their vehicle. // Courtesy of Consumers Energy

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Consumers Energy Program Expands Home EV Charging Options

Consumers Energy in Jackson has announced an expansion of its effort to help Michigan’s current and future EV owners save money. The announcement was made in recognition of National Drive Electric Week.

Consumers Energy’s Bring Your Own Charger program rewards electric vehicle owners financially for charging their vehicles overnight at home. And as automakers are rolling out dozens of new EV models, all Consumers Energy residential electric customers with EVs will be eligible, no matter whether owners buy their own charger or receive it with their vehicle.

Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, most EVs are fully charged at home and can power most drivers’ daily travels without stopping to fill up. For more information, visit here.

GreenPath Financial Wellness Receives Grant from Wells Fargo to Aid Consumers

GreenPath Financial Wellness in Farmington Hills has received a grant from Wells Fargo to assist households though the 995Hope Hotline, a source of housing counseling. The grant expands access to renters and homeowners looking to avoid foreclosure or eviction in the face of uncertainties about extensions of COVID-related mortgage and renters’ relief programs.

“Having a safe, healthy and affordable place to call home is essential, and this grant is part of our commitment to help nonprofits like GreenPath provide urgent housing services to vulnerable populations,” says Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “The economic fallout of COVID-19 has caused housing instability for far too many people, and Wells Fargo believes that supporting housing counseling is an important step in keeping people housed.”

Research shows that low-to-moderate income homeowners and Black and Hispanic households are disproportionately likely to face greater hardship. A significant portion of these funds will be dedicated to support communities of color and low-income people’s access to trusted guidance that addresses a household’s entire financial situation, including the importance of balancing housing costs with debt and managing unanticipated hardships. HUD-certified counselors are ready to assist callers with forbearance guidance, loan modification support, and other housing counseling focused on keeping people in their homes.

“Vulnerable households facing housing concerns may get confused by fluctuating mortgage and rent protection deadlines,” says Kristen Holt, president and CEO of GreenPath Financial Wellness. “We’re here to help them understand their options to stay in their homes. The Wells Fargo grant strengthens our ability to meet increased demand, especially among underserved communities, where these services are needed the most.”

ShineWater in Bay City and Anheuser-Busch Distributors Deliver Sunshine in a Bottle

Bay City-based ShineWater has reached an agreement with Anheuser-Busch’s network of wholly owned distributors (AB ONE) to distribute the brand of ready-to-drink hydration beverages.

AB ONE will expand ShineWater’s availability throughout its geographic network on the West Coast, in the Northeast, and in Oklahoma, bringing Sunshine in a Bottle to more consumers across America.

Founded by a former FDA physician, ShineWater was created to solve the widespread issue of Vitamin D deficiency in the American diet without sacrificing flavor, quality, or convenience. In early 2020, ShineWater relocated its headquarters to Bay City, and underwent several updates to its branding and distribution strategy. Over the last year, ShineWater has seen a 10-fold increase in sales across the country, illustrating the rampant consumer demand for this problem-solving beverage.

“Partnering with AB ONE is the result of a long and sustained growth campaign coming to fruition, a testament to the determination of a brand with very humble beginnings and very big dreams,” says Larry Long, COO at ShineWater. “ShineWater’s expansion is far from an overnight success. Each business decision has been strategically curated to promote viable growth and increase velocity by meeting evolving consumer needs with an ingredient-first focused product, and this is the next step in that ongoing journey.”

Ryan Coon, CMO at ShineWater, says, “When we reformulated, rebranded, and relocated last year, it was our goal to set an industry-wide example for delivering what consumers are looking for in a ready-to-drink hydration beverage. ShineWater’s new partnership with AB ONE will allow us to deliver Sunshine in a Bottle to people in more markets, making a positive impact on many lives.”

Pepsi Continues ‘Full of Detroit Soul’ Platform

Pepsi is continuing its Full of Detroit Soul initiative in the Motor City, focusing on the city’s local music scene with the help of artists Jonah and Queen Naija.

Full of Detroit Soul is a multi-year platform and creative campaign that builds on years of ongoing support of the local community. Pepsi is releasing new content to announce its music enrichment program aimed at investing in and empowering local creators.

“From Aretha Franklin’s hit 1990 commercial to years at the helm of the Super Bowl halftime show, Pepsi’s history in music runs deep,” says Jazmine Robinson, of PepsiCo’s North Division Brand Marketing. “With the Full of Detroit Soul initiative, we saw the perfect opportunity to uplift local talent using our brand’s footprint in music. Each of these artists brings an energy and drive to their work that speaks to the unique voice of the city.”

Content featuring Jonah, grandson of Aretha Franklin, pays homage to his late-grandmother and her reign over music with archived footage and his own rendition of her hit “Day Dreaming.” Tapping into the city’s connection to the Queen of Soul herself — who famously recorded one of Pepsi’s iconic ‘90s jingles — the brand shares Jonah’s journey to pave the way for future musicians just as Franklin did.

From now until Oct. 12, consumers can listen and vote on iam.fullofdetroitsoul.com for the favorite local artist they want to see on the livestream stage with Queen Naija on Oct. 26. Fans can vote for the winning performance from artists including Lvrboy, Syeed Ali, Tiny Jag, Nappi Devi, Supercoolwicked, Kulture, Jahz Watts, Shayne Shalome, and Johdi.

This program ladders up to PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey, which in 2020 saw the company announce commitments of more than $570 million over the next five years to elevate diverse voices within our company, our supply chain partners, and communities, while helping to address issues of inequality and create opportunity. This includes increasing Black and Hispanic representation at PepsiCo, supporting Black-owned and Hispanic-owned businesses, and uplifting communities through a range of initiatives.

For more information on the campaign and Pepsi’s past initiatives in Detroit, visit here.

Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day Winners Announced

Winners of the fifth annual Rocket Mortgage Detroit Demo Day have been announced from the 15 finalists competing for their share of more than $15 million in funding.

In addition to the funds they won, each finalist will be awarded a $25,000 grant, ensuring everyone receives funding and can use funds to continue supporting their business.

The winner in the Start Category was Athlytic, a company that brings athletes and brands together. It won a grant of $125,000.

The winner in the Pivot Category was Soft Goods, an ethical clothing manufacturer. It took home a $200,000 grant.

Winners in the Youth Category included Global Kid Media ($10,000), Carter’s Concessions and Ice Cream ($7,500), and Anansee ($5,000).

People’s Choice winners in the various categories include.

  • Start: Athlytic ($25,000)
  • Pivot: House of Pure Vin ($25,000)
  • Scale: Black Girl MATHgic ($25,000)
  • Youth: Carter’s Concessions and Ice Cream ($750) and Anansee ($750)

Priority Health launches PriorityAllowance for Small Groups

Priority Health in Grand Rapids has launched PriorityAllowance, a product is designed for employers who want to empower their employees to better manage their health.

PriorityAllowance offers an upfront allowance to cover commonly used services such as PCP and specialist visits, labs, virtual care services, urgent care and retail health. PriorityAllowance will be available to small groups effective January 1, 2022.

PriorityAllowance is ideal for employers who want to lower health care premiums, provide more value to attract and retain employees, or remove upfront cost barriers for routine care. Like an HRA, PriorityAllowance offers an annual dollar “allowance” that employees can use toward their health care services. With PriorityAllowance, the annual funds can be used on copays for limited in-network health care services (both in and out of state). Rather than the employer funding the account as with an HRA, the allowance is funded by Priority Health.

The allowance balances can be tracked in the member’s online account. Each dependent listed on an employee’s insurance will receive their own allowance.

“Priority Health continually looks at ways to help our members get access to care,”
says Megan Schmidt, Senior Vice President of Employer Solutions at Priority Health.By providing an upfront allowance for routine services, we remove cost barriers for members seeking care,” said “PriorityAllowance is yet another way we can demonstrate our commitment to making our member’s health a priority.”

For more information, visit priorityhealth.com.

Park West Gallery 50-year History Book Available

A book by art writer Jeffrey Cyphers Wright chronicling the 50-year evolution of Park West Gallery in Southfield is available.

The volume — “The Book of Albert: How Park West Became the World’s Largest Art Dealer” —tells the story Albert Scaglione, a former engineer for NASA’s space program who decided to embrace his love of art and start his own art gallery.

More than 50 years later, his creation — Park West Gallery — has grown to become one of the most successful art enterprises of the past century. The book is the only authorized account of how Scaglione and Park West “completely revolutionized the art world,” in the author’s words. It’s a tale of one man bringing his dream to life through hard work and know-how.

For more information and to purchase the book, visit here.

Berkley Launches Inaugural BOO!KLEY Nights for Halloween

The Berkley Downtown Development Authority’s (DDA) is hosting its inaugural BOO!KLEY Nights throughout October. It is designed to offer opportunities for ghoulish fun, shopping, dining, and Halloween-themed festivities.

The month of fall fun kicks off with a Restaurant Weekend and Night Market Oct. 1-2 with Halloween specials and seasonal wares.

Other special events include a Ladies’ Night Out Oct. 14 and a Trick or Treat Stroll and Monster Mash on Oct. 30.

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Detroit to Take Place Oct. 2

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization’s signature annual fundraising event in Detroit will take place in-person Oct. 2 at Milliken State Park at the Detroit Riverfront.  This is the 30th anniversary for Michigan’s largest breast cancer event.

While the event will be hosted in-person, there will continue to be a virtual option to participate in the program. Visit here for details.

The event brings together a community of hope and compassion to raise funds to save lives from breast cancer. Funds raised support Komen’s advocacy, research investments and support of people facing breast cancer today, ensuring everyone can get the care they need to live.

“While we’re excited to see our breast cancer community again, it’s not just about physically being together, it’s about the impact every one of us can make when we walk one more step and raise one more dollar,” says Jaye Sciullo, executive director of Susan G. Komen Detroit. “Every one of us, no matter who we are or where we live, deserves a chance at living a long and healthy life. Together, we will make certain that no one faces breast cancer alone.”

The venue will open at 7 a.m., opening ceremonies at 8 a.m., the race/walk starts at 9 a.m., and the closing ceremonies and awards will be presented at 10:30 a.m.

While masks or proof of vaccinations will not be required, out of respect for the more vulnerable members of our community, we recommend that those who are unvaccinated wear masks and social distance as possible. You can find the most up-to-date guidelines for the race here.