DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit Crowned Best Pizza City in America, 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.
Detroit has been named the best pizza city in America. // Courtesy of Buddy’s Pizza
Detroit has been named the best pizza city in America. // Courtesy of Buddy’s Pizza

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.

Detroit Crowned Best Pizza City in America

Detroit is the best pizza city in the United States, according to research from anytimeestimate.com, a real estate financial website.

The Motor City boasts the most independent pizza restaurants per capita (6 per 100,000 residents) out of any city on the company’s list. Detroit also ranks No. 1 in “pizza passion” — in other words, locals are searching Google for a variety of pizza styles.

Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Boston; and Pittsburgh round out the nation’s top five pizza cities.

To create its list, anytimeestimate.com researchers analyzed publicly available U.S. business data, Census data, economic and labor statistics, and Google Trends data, as well as findings from Thrillist, Pizza Today, Expensivity, and Menu with Price.

Detroit Wing Co. Opens First Commissary to Support Expansion Plans

Detroit Wing Co. in Eastpointe has opened the first of two full-service commissaries, assisting in the large-scale, daily production and delivery of DWC’s signature sauces, spices, and other products to its restaurants across the state and franchise system.

The first commissary, internally coined as “the mini-commissary,” spans 400 square feet and has been built as an extension of the original DWC location at 17535 E. 9 Mile Road in Eastpointe. Upon opening the commissary in November 2021, production began at 5,000 gallons of sauce per month. Twenty-four-hour production now has commenced, increasing sauce output to 12,000 gallons per month to supply every DWC location.

A second commissary, which is currently in the design phase, will encompass approximately 50,000 square feet and be located in Oakland County. DWC anticipates that this larger commissary will be operational by late 2023, with opening production of 30,000 gallons of sauce per month and a maximum capacity of 240,000 gallons per month.

Both commissaries utilize a highly specialized kettle system that cooks the sauces and rapidly chills them. This combination allows DWC to produce sauces naturally without using preservatives or stabilizers. In fact, there are only six similar systems in use in Michigan. When the second commissary is complete, DWC will control 50 percent of the systems in Michigan.

In keeping with its commitment to the community, DWC plans to partner with a Michigan-based culinary school to allow staff and students to tour and use the larger commissary facility as an opportunity to learn the production side of the business and get rare hands-on training.

“With our expansion plans growing every week, there was a need to have facilities that could produce and supply our sauces to all of our stores, helping to ensure consistency in each customer order,” says Gus Malliaras, founder of Detroit Wing Co. “These commissary locations will allow us to focus on what we do best as our footprint continues to grow — giving our customers an excellent and consistent experience.”

The announcement comes as part of Detroit Wing Co.’s expansion across Michigan and other states. Since opening its first location in Eastpointe in 2015, DWC has nearly 20 new restaurants across Michigan, with more than 20 additional stores in development in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida.

For more information, visit here.

Rally House Opens 11th Michigan Store in Woodhaven

Rally House, the Detroit-based sports and merchandise retailer, has opened its 11th store in Michigan in Woodhaven at West and Allen roads.

The retailer not only carries the most popular and latest sports apparel styles from well-known brands like Nike, Adidas, and New Era, but also offers merchandise with exclusive designs from vendors from all over the country. Rally House’s local selection is filled with homegrown products as it embraces Michigan retailers such as The Mitten State, Peninsulas, and Made In Detroit. The company’s in-house private label, Rally Brand, completes the local section with exclusive, Michigan-inspired designs only available at Rally House.

“The people of Michigan are some of the most passionate sports fans in the world,” says Monika Ross, district manager for Rally House. “Between the variety of teams to choose from and range of designs, there’s something for everyone at Rally House Woodhaven.”

Along with Michigan-inspired apparel and gifts, the new location provides merchandise for the Tigers, Pistons, Lions, and Red Wings. It also haa a wide assortment of college gear for Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Central Michigan Chippewas, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Grand Valley State Lakers, Wayne State Warriors and others.

Rally House also offers a full online shopping experience at www.rallyhouse.com featuring a complete selection of merchandise found in more than 100 store locations across the U.S. All online orders are packed and fulfilled by local Rally House locations and can be shipped to all 50 states.

Behavioral Health Providers Hegira Health, Community Care Services Merge

The planned merger between nonprofit community behavioral health care providers Hegira Health Inc. (HHI) in Livonia and Community Care Services (CCS) in Lincoln Park was finalized on March 20. Terms of the merger were not disclosed.

The merged companies, which will operate at Hegira Health, create Wayne County’s most comprehensive behavioral health system, offering a broad network of clinic and community-based, crisis, residential and outpatient mental health and substance abuse services, including 12 treatment locations in western Wayne County and the downriver areas, with a total staff of nearly 500.

“The timing and resulting impact on current and potential clients by joining our organizations comes at a critical time when funding sources for public behavioral health sector are uncertain and need has become more widespread,” says Carol Zuniga, CEO of HHI. “This merger represents the new direction for mental health providers, one that paves the way for efficiencies and a proactive solution to the increasing demand for behavioral health services, during a period with fewer community mental health clinicians and providers.”

Susan Kozak, previously executive director of CCS, has been appointed COO of the merged company.

“A key component of Hegira Health offering more comprehensive and integrated mental health and substance abuse services is it will improve access to care and allow for easier referral and transition to the appropriate level of services,” says Kozak. “Combining our resources, knowledge, and experience through a shared vision, we are able to offer a continuum of care and greater array of treatment options and services to people of all ages, from infants to seniors.”

Shinola Introduces Luxury Women’s Watch Inspired by Detroit’s Book Tower

Detroit-based Shinola will debut a new, luxury women’s timepiece today inspired by Detroit’s historic Book Tower. It is the Shinola watch designed to capture the personality and beauty of the manufacturer’s hometown.

The Book Watch features “a sophisticated and feminine shape,” reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance-style skyscraper. The Book Watch’s signature ovalene shape takes a nod from the Book Tower’s third-floor skylight, a feat of glass and iron work that embodies Detroit design, history, and craft.

The first edition of the Shinola Book Watch features a polished Petoskey stone dial, a natural gemstone native to the beaches of northern Michigan. Surrounding the open face, a halo of diamond bezel that harkens to the glasswork of the Book skylight. It is finished with micron gold plating and has a premium alligator leather strap.

Michigan Jobless Rate Declines Slightly in February

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Michigan unemployment rate moved down in February by two-10s of a percentage point to 4.7 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

Over the month, the number of employed persons increased by 14,000, while Michigan’s number of unemployed declined by 6,000 in February, leading to a total workforce advancement of 9,000 or 0.2 percent.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators showed continued signs of improvement in February,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The state’s labor force increased, and the number of unemployed declined, while payroll jobs rose for the tenth consecutive month.”

The February unemployment rate in Michigan was 0.9 percentage points higher than the nationwide rate of 3.8 percent. Nationally, the jobless rate decreased by 2.4 percentage points over the year, more than the Michigan annual rate cut of 1.6 percentage points.

Monthly and annual labor force trends and highlights:

  • The Michigan unemployment rate has dropped by a full percentage point since September 2021.
  • The statewide February jobless rate remained nearly a full percentage point above Michigan’s February 2020 pre-pandemic rate of 3.8 percent.
  • Over the year, Michigan’s labor force advanced by 1.1 percent due to an increase in the total number of employed (+124,000) and a decline in the number of unemployed residents (-72,000).

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was little changed over the month, edging down by 0.1 percentage point to 5.0 percent in February. The metro area workforce moved up by 8,000, or 0.4 percent, over the month due to a gain in the number of employed (+9,000) and a small decline in the number of unemployed (-2,000).

The Detroit region unemployment rate decreased notably since February 2021 (-1.8 percentage points). Over the year, total employment increased significantly by 83,000, or 4.3 percent. Despite these improvements over the past year, regional labor force (-1.0 percent) and employment (-2.0 percent) continued to remain below February 2020 pre-pandemic levels.

Total Michigan payroll jobs moved up by 9,000, or 0.2 percent, during February. This resulted in a statewide job count of 4,312,000.

Over the month, job additions occurred in several major industries but were concentrated within trade, transportation, and utilities (+6,000) and professional and business services (+5,000).

Job losses during February were primarily in the auto sector, as transportation equipment manufacturing jobs fell by 7,000. These temporary layoffs were related to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductors.

AT&T Hiring for 100+ Jobs in Detroit area

AT&T has more than 100 job openings around the Detroit area for a wide variety of full- and part-time positions that offer a competitive salary and benefits including, if eligible, medical/dental coverage, 401(k) plan, tuition reimbursement, and paid time off. Many positions offer a $3,000 signing bonus to those hired.

The openings include:

  • Customer Service Technicians
  • Retail Sales
  • In-home Sales
  • Premises Technicians
  • Sales Management

All interested job seekers can visit here and enter DETROIT at the top.

Motown Museum Hosting Job Fair March 29

The Motown Museum in Detroit is hosting a job fair at its Greektown retail store location (580 Monroe St.) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 29 to fill several open positions.

“We have several open positions to fill, and we’re looking to find great talent to drive Motown Museum forward as we plan to reopen this summer and focus on welcoming back guests once the first two phases of our expansion construction is complete,” says Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of Motown Museum. “We want to meet Motown fans from around the region who are proud to call the birthplace of Motown home and want to work at a place that is iconic, inspiring and recognized around the world.”

Open positions include:

  • Tour guide
  • Senior archivist
  • Sales associate
  • Facility manager
  • Creative director
  • Development officer
  • Assistant general manager
  • Education program manager

Visit here for more information.

Autism’s Got Talent Michigan Looking for Competitors Statewide

Hope Network’s Center for Autism and the Hope Network Foundation are looking for talented individuals with autism 25 and under to participate in the first Autism’s Got Talent in Michigan.

Performers are encouraged to submit their entry with parental consent now through the end of the first round on April 21. They can submit their entries here.

Public voting begins April 11, with a final round for the top 10 entries starting April 22. Voting concludes at the end of the month with three People’s Choice winners and one Judges’ Choice recipient.

Performances viewed online at www.agtmi.org.

During April, which is Autism Acceptance Month, the Hope Network Foundation invites autistic children and young adults throughout Michigan to showcase their talents and take a chance at several prizes. Individuals with autism, supported by their families, will be recording their performances and loading them on the competition website. Once that is done, these performances can be viewed by anyone.

Anyone can vote once per day on their favorite performance, but anyone who donates to the Center for Autism will have the opportunity to vote multiple times daily.

“We encourage learners that they have the same opportunities that their family members and friends do, and this is a wonderful event to encourage that,” says Maggie Moore, executive director of the Center for Autism Executive.