DBusiness Daily Update: Decked Out Detroit to Make Downtown Detroit a Winter Wonderland, 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.
The Vintage Wick is one of the many retailers participating in Downtown Detroit Markets this holiday season. // Courtesy of Bedrock
The Vintage Wick is one of the many retailers participating in Downtown Detroit Markets this holiday season. // Courtesy of Bedrock

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.

Decked Out Detroit to Make Downtown Detroit a Winter Wonderland

Bedrock and the Rocket Community Fund are teaming up to make downtown Detroit a winter wonderland with Decked Out Detroit, Downtown Detroit Markets, and a host of other wintry family activities starting Nov. 10 with the return of the Cadillac Lodge by Bea’s in Cadillac Square.

Bea’s will provide shoppers and travelers respite from the cold with beverages and seasonal décor.

“We could not be more thrilled to take over the Cadillac Lodge concessions this year,” says Beatrice Wolnerman, owner of Bea’s Detroit and Bea’s Squeeze. “We’ll be bringing our unique ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ concept from our Eastern Market location while adding some holiday twists to make every drink festive and fun. We are honored to have been chosen for this opportunity and truly can’t wait for the Downtown Detroit Markets to open.”

Located beside the Monroe Street Drive-In, the Downtown Detroit Markets will feature 18 local businesses, the majority of which are BIPOC or female-owned and Detroit-based.

“Owning a small business is a powerful tool for individual and community growth, and the Rocket Community Fund is proud to support our local entrepreneurs through the Downtown Detroit Markets,” says Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund. “These markets are about more than space — this is a platform for our small business owners to test new products, connect with new customers, and convert them into long-term supporters.”

New this year is Decked Out Shopping Days, which will bring holiday programming events to downtown retailers. Running from Nov. 17 through Dec. 24, more than 25 retailers will host holiday activations including deals, giveaways, live music, and more.

The perennial market activation is supported by a $2.3 million overall investment by the Rocket Community Fund, the nonprofit arm of Rocket Cos. and the organization that administers Bedrock’s philanthropic initiatives. Now in its fifth year, the Downtown Detroit Markets have supported 119 small businesses, who generated nearly $5 million in overall sales. The Downtown Detroit Markets have seen 13 small businesses return for multiple seasons, and many have used the opportunity as a launching pad toward a brick-and-mortar storefront.

“Entrepreneurship is a key part of Detroit’s history and it’s future,” says Nadia Sesay, chief community growth and development officer at Bedrock. “Our community prides itself on celebrating our own talent and at Bedrock we are honored to work alongside innovative individuals and brands to bring Detroit families memorable experiences to their downtown.

“The holiday shopping season is right around the corner and we want to make sure Detroit shoppers have ample opportunity to buy local and have some fun downtown this winter.”

Also new this season is 1001 Winter Wonders (at 1001 Woodward Ave.), a trip through downtown’s version of the North Pole. Visitors will enjoy a free indoor, winter-themed pathway that takes you from ice paths to igloos, complete with a life-sized gingerbread house. Perfect for a family adventure, guests can wave to Santa and check out his secret cabin before dropping a postcard into his mailbox. 1001 Winter Wonders opens Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 30, 2022, 4-8 p.m. on Fridays and noon-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Another initiative is Text the Halls, which offers deals, discounts, and giveaways from an assortment of downtown businesses. These exclusive offers are only available to those who sign up for the free XO Detroit text push. To subscribe, text “DETROIT” to 313-000 to opt in. Participants will receive reminders on Decked Out Shopping Days and alerts all year long about the best Detroit deals and discounts.

Ford to Provide Custom Transit Vans to Two Minority-led Dental Providers

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn will provide custom Transit vans converted into mobile dental offices to Hygiene on Wheels Inc. and My Community Dental Centers, minority-led dental practices that serve residents in southwest Detroit.

The $500,000 investment is being facilitated by the Motor City Kares initiative aimed at uplifting minority businesses and bringing high-quality, mobile oral health care services to communities and residents in the area.

The mobile units will be equipped with technology — including digital x-rays, intraoral cameras, tele-dentistry capabilities and more — that allow the businesses to provide preventative dental care, emergency procedures, and dental hygiene education to insured, uninsured, and underinsured patients alike.

Over the course of a two-year agreement, both businesses will be required to spend at least 50 percent of their mobile unit’s time in operation serving residents in southwest Detroit’s Corktown and Mexicantown neighborhoods. After successfully operating the mobile units for two years and building a stable mobile dental practice, the business and mobile clinic is theirs to keep.

Motor City Kares is a collaboration between Ford, Delta Dental of Michigan, and Kare Mobile, with support from Lightship Foundation.

“The Motor City Kares initiative allows us to combine Ford’s expertise in transportation with Ford Fund’s commitment to strengthening communities,” says Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Co. Fund. “We are proud to support this innovative mobility program that brings essential dental services directly to Detroit residents and will benefit these neighborhoods for years to come.”

Commonwealth Care Alliance Expanding into Michigan

Boston-based Commonwealth Care Alliance (CCA) is expanding into Michigan with the acquisition of a majority stake in Reliance Healthcare in Farmington Hills. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed.

The transaction includes Reliance’s Medicare health plan and ACO assets, and 600-doctor physician organization, which serves individuals across seven counties in the southeast Michigan.

CCA is mission-based and person-centered, and a fully integrated payer and provider singularly focused on sustainable and evidence-based health care breakthroughs that fill gaps in care and improve the health and well-being of people with significant needs, the company says.

Harness Dickey Law Firm to Become Harness IP

Troy-based intellectual property law firm Harness Dickey on Tuesday became Harness IP.

In May, the firm commemorated its 100th anniversary. Now, the firm will start its next century with a brand refresh designed to clearly convey the firm’s purpose: To protect and advance client innovations through cutting-edge intellectual property strategies.

“Harness IP is not just our name, it is our mission,” says Ray Millen, the firm’s CEO. “It is a meaningful endeavor to refresh the firm’s brand during this milestone year. We are fortunate to be able to continue honoring one of our founders, J. King Harness — who led the first patent department at Ford Motor Co. — while focusing our identity on how we serve our clients around the world.”

The firm was founded in 1921 in downtown Detroit and grew steadily throughout the twentieth century, adding new clients in different industries and handling IP matters ranging from patent and trademark preparation and prosecution, trade secret and copyright counseling, IP litigation, and licensing.

Harness IP now has nearly 100 lawyers and serves clients worldwide from four offices in Metropolitan Dallas, Detroit, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

The brand refresh is among Millien’s first projects as the firm’s chief executive. He was selected to head the firm in August 2021 after serving as chief IP officer at Volvo Car Corp. and CEO of Volvo Cars Ventures in Sweden. This experience as a prospective client of IP legal services provided the perspective for the positive impact that the Harness IP rebranding would have on the firm’s evolution, Millien says.

“We represent the innovators in society — engineers, scientists, designers, authors, artists, and musicians. Their ideas are their livelihood and their legacy,” he says. “Our success will stem from our ability to earn their trust to safeguard their IP. That starts with clarity of purpose, and what’s behind our new identity. Now our name is simply what we have done for over a century.”

MRLA Extends SCRUB Club Food Safety Education Course for Additional Year

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association in Lansing has extended the SCRUB Club curriculum through Sept. 30, 2022.

The free online food safety education course, which was developed for middle school-aged children and their families, was launched in April and previously slated to end Sept. 30, 2021. The collection of resources encompasses core food safety principles: time and temperature, cross-contamination, basic sanitation, and most important, proper handwashing.

“Youth are spending more time in the kitchen cooking, and they need to know basic food safety for their health and well-being,” says Amanda Smith, executive vice president of education for MRLA. “We want to share our extensive resources with the public in an informative, accessible way. The SCRUB Club will help ensure children and their families are consuming food that was properly prepared and stored, promoting good health.”

The MRLA regularly hosts ServSafe training for industry professionals in addition to producing food safety training aids for the foodservice industry and adult consumer. Designed for use in the classroom or as a family, the SCRUB Club was created by the MRLA and iTacit, and made possible with funds from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Food Law of 2000, Act No 92, Food Safety Education Fund.

There are four courses online at www.MichiganFoodSafety.com: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. When creating a free login, families are encouraged to register for the student course and educators should sign up for the teacher course. Prior to taking the first course, a brief questionnaire tests basic food safety knowledge. A similar test is provided at the conclusion of the four SCRUB Club courses. There is no cost to participate in SCRUB Club’s online food safety education course.

Teachers are encouraged to enter the MRLA’s Michigan Food Safety Video Contest. The video should address one of the four core food safety principles: clean, separate, cook or chill. Videos must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Dec. 10. The first-place video will be added to the association’s food safety video collection and will be viewable by the public. Teachers of classrooms submitting the top three videos will receive a gift card to use for their classroom. The teacher of the class awarded first-place will receive $500, followed by $300, and $200 awards for second and third place, respectively. Winners will be announced on Jan. 10, 2022.

Any Michigan classroom that has 60 percent of the students complete the SCRUB Club course can submit a video. It is the responsibility of the teacher submitting the video to secure permission for the students to participate per their local school district’s standards.

For more information and to register for the SCRUB Club course, visit here.

Southfield’s Road Ready Announces LogIQ Integration Partnership with Air-Weigh

Road Ready, an advanced telematics and smart fleet technology provider from Clarience Technologies in Southfield, has introduced Air-Weigh as its newest LogIQ integrated data platform integration partner.

This partnership with Air-Weigh, an electronic on-board scale manufacturer in Oregon, connects data between the trailer and tractor through the cloud, which represents a new milestone for Road Ready and the LogIQ platform.

“Adding Air-Weigh to the LogIQ integrated data platform underscores our commitment to deliver more seamless solutions to customers,” says Nada Jiddou, executive vice president of Clarience Technologies and general manager of Road Ready. “Our new partnership with Air-Weigh provides fleet managers better visibility to asset utilization while also providing a tool to ensure safe, legal loading.”

In September, Road Ready introduced its LogIQ integrated data platform, a first in trailer telematics. This announcement represents a step for the brand — incorporating combined tractor and trailer weight when the vehicle is tethered and in operation.

Air-Weigh scales work seamlessly between the tractor and trailer providing a complete weighing solution, the company says. Fleets now will be able to receive gross weight data right in Road Ready’s FleetViz user interface, providing the ability to stay compliant while maximizing cargo capabilities across assets.

“As the need for actionable data increases, integration with Road Ready’s advanced telematics solution is increasingly important to fleet management,” says Dennis DeMeyere, vice president of sales and marketing at Air-Weigh. “Knowing weight data is integral to maximizing efficiency of commercial fleets. The LogIQ platform provides this data instantaneously so fleet executives can make real-time decisions that impact their profitability.”

For more information, visit here.

Scribe Publishing Co. Commits to Downtown Pontiac

After sharing office space in downtown Pontiac, Scribe Publishing Co. has signed a lease at 91 N. Saginaw and is committed to the area’s business community.

“Pontiac was appealing because it was central to me and my employee, and the rent was cheap,” says Jennifer Baum, owner of Scribe Publishing. “But once we spent some time downtown, it became a very magical place for me.

“I love the creative vibe in Pontiac. There is art all over the city, and the sense of community is strong as well. I didn’t know it when I chose to locate here, but there are so many resources that local businesses can tap into to grow. I hear about new opportunities for business development and access to capital every day.”

One such resource comes from Main Street Pontiac, a nonprofit that supports urban development while preserving the historic character of downtown Pontiac. It also conducts regular community meetings about strengthening the downtown business community.

“Pontiac feels to me like midtown Detroit did in the early 2000s,” she says. “There’s a lot of potential.”

Scribe is largely a boutique press, publishing on average one to two titles per year. Now, more than 10 years in, Scribe plans to release five new titles next year: a third “Under The Radar Michigan” companion guide, a guide by local celebrity chef Kelli Lewton, and three works of fiction, one from the “Legacy in Legend” young adult urban fantasy series by Barbara Pietron and two from the new middle grade fantasy series, “Folktellers Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook,” which concurrently is being produced for TV.

Bakehouse46 Opens Third Location in Ann Arbor Oct. 22

Bakehouse46, the collaboration between Ferndale’s Cupcake Station and Blake Farms in Armada, will open to customers at its new location at 116 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor on Oct. 22.

Located in the former Cupcake Station, Bakehouse46 will offer a variety of sweet treats including Cupcake Station cupcakes and Blake’s goods such as its signature cider mill and gourmet donuts baked onsite daily, sweet apple cider, gourmet apples, and fudge, as well as coffee, bagels, and sandwiches.

The first 46 customers daily between Oct. 22 and Dec. 7 will receive a free cup of coffee and cider donut.

The Ann Arbor location joins Bakehouse46 shops in Birmingham and Rochester. The remaining Cupcake Station stores in Ferndale and Plymouth will be re-branded as Bakehouse46 soon.

Visit bakehouse46.com for more information.

Great Lakes Water Authority Expands Apprenticeship Program

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), in collaboration with Focus: HOPE and its educational partner Macomb Community College, has developed a new three-year apprenticeship to train and hire water technicians for GLWA. The new apprenticeship is the fourth created within the authority’s first five years of operation.

“GLWA is deeply committed to growing its apprenticeship program, as our apprentices’ work and our team members are critical to our role in protecting public health through the delivery of water of unquestionable quality to southeast Michigan,” says Suzanne Coffey, interim CEO at GLWA. “I am so proud of the team’s dedication to building the workforce of the future.

“The training it provides continues to set up more people for these essential jobs that are vital to the stability and future of the water sector. The program will continue to drive a diverse pipeline of highly skilled operations-focused workers into GLWA and the community, now and into the future.”

Developed in partnership with Focus: HOPE and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), GLWA’s apprenticeship program successfully demonstrates a “learn-while-you-earn” model with on-the-job training and education at no cost to the participants. In a continued effort to provide employment opportunities to those across the communities it serves, GLWA selected Macomb Community College as its educational partner for the Water Technician Apprenticeship.

The new program is designed for 25 water technician apprentices to support GLWA’s five  water treatment facilities located in and around Detroit, including a small group that will be located at the authority’s Lake Huron water treatment facility.

It can take a new employee two to three years to learn the competencies needed to successfully fulfill the daily tasks required of a skilled water sector position, so on-the-job training is an essential part of the program.

“With the support and championship of the Great Lakes Water Authority, we’ll train workers, place workers in registered apprenticeships, and expand and deepen the regional talent pipeline to strengthen the manufacturing cluster,” says Portia L. Roberson, CEO of Focus: HOPE.

All interested candidates must successfully complete a pre-apprenticeship program, conducted by Focus: HOPE, to be eligible for the water technician apprenticeship. Upon completion of the pre-apprenticeship program, GLWA will schedule interviews with eligible candidates for admission to the program. The program is open to internal and external candidates.

Interested external candidates should contact Focus: HOPE for application information and reach out to GLWA for direct career opportunity inquiries.

WCCCD Launches New Civil Technician Bootcamp Program

The new Horizontal Infrastructure Training Center Collaborative, an effort between Wayne County Community College District and other entities is launching a civil technician bootcamp program to train hundreds of individuals who wish to enter careers in infrastructure construction, maintenance, logistics, and more.

The Michigan Department of Transportation, Wayne County Department of Public Services, the American Council of Engineering Companies, and the American infrastructure design firm HNTB are the bootcamp’s other collaborators.

The new public/private partnership provides students with the comprehensive and real-world insights, instruction, skills, and resources to better align them with in-demand careers in a wide range of construction, logistics, and skilled trades careers — many of which are reporting shortages in skilled worker availability.

“WCCCD’s mission has always been to help people create pathways to better lives through higher education,” says Curtis L. Ivery, chancellor of WCCCD. “We are proud to come together with an amazing list of partners to provide multiple pathways towards high-paying, in-demand careers that are so essential to our region’s future — critical infrastructure.

“We are excited to see our inaugural cohort thrive, and to grow this program to support the dreams and goals of our students, and of southeast Michigan,” Ivery says.

The HITC collaborative’s first Civil Testing and Inspection Bootcamp Training is taking place this week at WCCCD’s Outdoor Careers Training Center, a 22-acre outdoor campus located at Greenfield and Joy roads in Detroit. The 40-hour instructional model, developed by the collaborative, trains students in a comprehensive set of foundational skills they will need before entering a specific infrastructure-related academic program.

In addition to capital investments from WCCCD, the HITC is supported by partner contributions and foundation funding through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and U.S. Department of Education Predominantly Black Institutions grants.

Great Lakes-Seaway Ports Report Strong Cargo Volumes in September

Cargo volumes through the St. Lawrence Seaway and U.S. Great Lakes ports remained robust in September as ships delivered commodities and products without the delays or supply chain disruption seen in other trade gateways.

According to figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, cargo volumes from March 22 to Sept. 30 totaled 24.1 million metric tons, up 2.6 percent from the same time period in 2020.

Through September, stone (55.7 percent), cement (7 percent), and gypsum (18 pecent) continued to increase, flowing between Canada and the U.S. via the seaway to support building projects. Iron ore volumes also continued to increase, up 26 percent, partly due to Minnesota iron ore pellets heading to overseas markets. General cargo shipments, including steel, containers, aluminum, and oversized project cargo, also were up nearly 60 percent.

“Our member ports and ship operators continued to transport a diverse mix of materials and products in September that are critical to the recovery of the American economy,” says Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “In an era of global supply chain uncertainty, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system remains a reliable, congestion-free gateway for North American trade.”

The Port of Monroe’s facilities were busy handling steel coils in September. The port’s Turning Basin area has become a transshipment point, as an increased number of rail cars have been offloaded with coils on the port’s Turning Basin rail spur. The spur was built in 2019 and extends along the Turning Basin dock. The M/V Harvest Spirit called on the port’s Riverfront Dock at the end of the month to discharge 654 steel coils.

The Port of Toledo also posted strong tonnage numbers through September with more than 7.5 million tons already on the books. The port is ahead in coal, dry bulk, general cargo, and iron ore, while grain and liquid bulk are down slightly.

“Toledo is a very diverse port handling many different commodities, and, fortunately for us, most of those cargoes are outperforming 2020 levels so far this year,” says Joseph Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “While ports on the Great Lakes certainly have our challenges with labor shortages in the transportation sector, the impact of COVID, and other issues, the reliable Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System and the associated multi-modal supply chains that serve our ports appear to be faring relatively well, allowing our tonnage in Toledo to grow by more than 25 percent this year.”

Detroit Pistons Release 2021-22 Brand Campaign Video

The Detroit Pistons have released their 2021-22 brand campaign video, “We Hustle Different.” The video features a collection of Michigan and Detroit talent, including voice artist and Flint native Mama Sol, rapper Babyface Ray, boxer Tony Harrison, and more.

This brand campaign is built on showcasing the hard work and hustle of the City of Detroit. That same hard work was displayed by Pistons players this offseason.

The Detroit Pistons tipoff their 2021-22 season tonight at 7 p.m. against the Chicago Bulls. The video link can found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSLMxacSE54