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 Wing Co. Expands into Livingston County with Brighton Store
Eastpointe-based Detroit Wing Co. has opened its newest location in Brighton, the franchise’s first outlet in Livingston County.
Operated by first-time franchise owner Ricky Hurd, the Detroit Wing. Co. Brighton store is located at 8593 Grand River Ave. and is the sixth Detroit Wing Co. outlet to open this year, bringing the total number in Michigan to 18.
“We continue to receive strong interest from customers and franchisees alike to open more stores, and the Brighton community has been asking for a Detroit Wing Co. location of their own for years,” says Gus Malliaras, founder of Detroit Wing Co. “The people in and around Brighton have welcomed us with great enthusiasm, and we look forward to being a staple in the local dining scene for years to come.”
Hurd says, “Looking at Detroit Wing Co.’s expansion plans and overall success, I immediately identified DWC as a brand I wanted to partner with. We look forward to introducing Livingston County to the best wings, sauces and sides in the state.”
For more information, visit here.
New GMC Canyon to Bolster Off-road Performance with AT4X Trim Package
The GMC brand of General Motors Co. in Detroit today teased the next-generation Canyon mid-size truck and confirmed the introduction of the AT4X trim to the Canyon lineup. The Canyon will become the second vehicle in GMC’s lineup to adopt the AT4X trim — GMC’s off-road optimized performance trim that offers capability and uncompromising refinements.
The current generation Canyon debuted in 2014. Since then, GMC has upgraded the mid-size truck over the years to include the AT4 trim and an off-road performance package that adds a 1-inch suspension leveling kit, off-road rocker panel protection, and front and mid skid plates. Most recently, GMC revealed the Canyon AT4 concept last year, which included a number of off-roading and overlanding accessories.
The next-generation Canyon AT4X signals the next chapter for GMC’s mid-size truck with the teaser previewing the Canyon AT4X’s badging, rocker protectors and 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels.
GMC will reveal the next-generation Canyon including Canyon AT4X this summer.
Priority Health and Accolade Announce Strategic Partnership
Grand Rapids-based Priority Health today announced a strategic partnership with Accolade, a Pennsylvania-based personalized health care service, to bring a differentiated health care experience to Michigan employers in the commercial group market.
Through this partnership, Priority Health and Accolade will bring together virtual care services and personalized navigation capabilities to enable innovative plan designs and a comprehensive support model for Priority Health members.
“Accolade is a strategic partner that can help us deliver new ways to drive employee engagement and lower health care spending,” says Megan Schmidt, senior vice president of employer solutions at Priority Health. “Our mission and vision at Priority Health aligns with Accolade’s proven capabilities to make personalized health care simple, affordable and exceptional.”
Accolade says it provides millions with personalized health care services that include advocacy, care delivery, and virtual expert medical opinions. According to Accolade, its approach is personal, data driven, and value based to provide an “exceptional” health care experience. By simplifying the care journey, Accolade empowers people and their families to make the best decisions for their health and well-being.
The companies will develop a set of personalized health care offerings they say are unique to the market that provides quality, value-based health care with a single, seamless consumer experience.
“We are excited to collaborate with Priority Health to offer a unique solution in Michigan to meet the needs of employers throughout the state,” says Kristin Herrera, senior vice president and general manager for health plan and enterprise channel at Accolade. “Our partnership and innovative approach to health care delivery goes beyond delivering transactional care to caring for the whole person, leveraging deep relationships and access to a comprehensive data platform with insights that allow us to improve health care access and outcomes for Michigan employers and their employees.”
Traverse City Whiskey Co. Awarded Pair of Double Gold Medals at World Spirits Competition
Traverse City Whiskey Co.’s Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey and Barrel Proof Straight Wheat Whiskey were awarded Double Gold medals at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey contains a mashbill of 95 percent rye and 5 percent malted barley (sourced) that’s bottled at 117.6 proof (58.8 percent ABV). The whiskey showcases a classic rye spice, notes of allspice, black peppercorns and sage and a warm buttery finish. The expression was aged a minimum of six years and retails for $79.99 per 750ml bottle.
The Barrel Proof Straight Wheat Whiskey, which TCWC will allocate to approximately 200 leading U.S. retailers for the first time this Fall, features a mashbill of 95 percent wheat and 5 percent malted barley (sourced) that will be bottled at barrel proof (typically 55-59 percent ABV). The whiskey exemplifies a more delicate palette of most TCWC expressions, presenting notes of honey and caramel that give way to a light bready spice with an early, sweet finish. It has a minimum age statement of five years and retails for $89.99 per 750ml bottle.
“We’re absolutely psyched to not only take home two Double Gold medals but to also consistently be recognized by one of the most prestigious competitions in the world,” says Chris Fredrickson, co-founder of Traverse City Whiskey Co. “We’re thrilled at the response to our various barrel proof offerings and are incredibly proud of our barrel selection and blending team.”
Michigan Unemployment Rate Falls Again in March
Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped by three-tenths of a percentage point during March to 4.4 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget. The total number of employed advanced by 29,000 over the month, while the number of unemployed fell by 14,000, resulting in a statewide monthly labor force gain of 15,000.
“The Michigan labor market has been positive this year,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Michigan’s jobless rate has averaged 4.7 percent so far in 2022, and the state has only recorded a lower annual rate twice in recent decades, the periods from 1997 to 2000 and 2017 to 2019.”
Michigan’s jobless rate fell by nearly two full percentage points since June 2021 and by 0.5 percentage points in just the last two months.
Labor force trends and highlights include:
- Total employment in Michigan increased by 62,000 over the last three months, and the gain in March of 0.6 percent was comparable to the advance nationally.
- The U.S. labor force gain of 2.4 percent over the year was a full percentage point larger than Michigan’s workforce increase during the same period (+1.4 percent).
- Michigan’s first quarter 2022 jobless rate of 4.7 percent was down by half a percentage point from the prior quarter.
- The March 2022 statewide unemployment rate of 4.4 percent remained 0.6 percentage points above the February 2020 pre-pandemic rate of 3.8 percent.
The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by three-tenths of a percentage point in March to 4.7 percent. Employment advanced in the metro area by 11,000, while the number of unemployed decreased by 5,000. The Detroit MSA registered a net workforce gain for the third consecutive month.
Over the year, the Detroit jobless rate fell by 2 percentage points, similar to the rate drop statewide. Employment rose by 87,000 or 4.4 percent, which was faster than the statewide rate of gain.
According to the monthly survey of employers, Michigan’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs rose by 15,000, or 0.3 percent, over the month, resulting in a statewide total of 4.33 million in March.
Job change was minimal in several statewide industries in March. However, a significant job increase occurred in Michigan’s manufacturing sector (+8,000) due to the recall of auto workers from temporary layoffs.
Blackford Capital in Grand Rapids Completes Sale of Hall Technologies
Blackford Capital in Grand Rapids has sold its portfolio company Hall Technologies to investment partner Gun Lake Investments, a Grand Rapids-based economic development corporation.
Blackford is a private equity firm that acquires and builds founder and family-owned companies in the lower middle market with a focus on manufacturing, industrial and distribution companies.
Hall Technologies, previously known as Hall Research, is based in Dallas and is a leader in the Pro AV industry in the design and manufacturing of high-end, customized audio/visual systems for corporate conferencing and collaboration spaces. Hall’s end-to-end solutions serve a broad array of end markets including health care, corporate IT, education, gaming, hospitality, and houses of worship.
“Blackford and GLI have been excellent partners who shared our vision for rebranding the company,” says Jason Schwartz, CEO of Hall. “With Blackford’s support we appointed industry veterans Ken Eagle as VP of Technology, Matt Kingsley as CFO, Hal Truax as VP of Sales and added executives in domestic and global sales, marketing, as well as increased R&D and operations capabilities.
“Blackford and GLI backed our move from California to a much more central location close to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport that has allowed us to bring together our engineers, assembly operations and executive offices and provides a great new space for our customer HIVE Experience Center.”
Michigan Women Forward, ISAIC Partner to Propel Local Fashion Brands
Michigan Women Forward (MWF) and the Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC), are partnering to elevate opportunities for local emerging fashion entrepreneurs with the introduction of the Fashion Forward: Advancing Entrepreneurs pilot program.
This new entrepreneur-focused initiative will cultivate women-owned businesses in Detroit’s growing fashion industry.
“Michigan Women Forward sees the barriers for entrepreneurs who want to develop new skills for their business,” says Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of MWF. “Women often struggle to break into the fashion industry due to a lack of access to financing and expertise. We’re combining our expertise in starting and growing a business with ISAIC’s industry knowledge to support women-owned fashion businesses in Detroit.”
In support of Detroit’s emerging position as a fashion-hub force, 10 entrepreneurs will be set on a path toward launching, re-establishing, or building their brand. A three-pronged approach will prepare designers and entrepreneurs with skills to successfully manufacture their product; coaching on the business of fashion; and access to low-rate financing to support business growth.
“There are so many gifted individuals who excel in the creativity of their visual designing but are unprepared for how to design for manufacturing or with business principles in mind,” says Jan Guarino, president and CEO of ISAIC. “What we’re seeing is they’re unable to secure quality manufacturing partners when they are unfamiliar with technical parameters and the protocols of fashion systems. This program is going to provide them with an important foundation for changing that, better preparing them to succeed.”
MWF will provide grants to selected individuals that will pay for tuition in ISAIC’s training program, plus provide a stipend that allows them to take the six-week course without the burden of lost wages. After successfully completing the course, MWF will work with fashion industry entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their business by providing them a loan.
The pilot program is made possible through grant support from the William Davidson Foundation.
MWF and ISAIC will select the 10 individuals who will join one of four upcoming FISP cohorts:
- May 2-June 17
- June 27-Aug. 12
- 22-Oct. 7
- 17-Dec. 2
To apply to participate in the program, visit here.
In Related News: Friday, April 15, is the last day Michigan Women Forward will accept nominations for 2022 inductees to the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.
Local Adventure Parks Offer Workforce Teambuilding Activities
TreeRunner Adventure Parks in West Bloomfield Township and Rochester are offering organized teambuilding activities to businesses whose employees have been working from home for the last two years due to COVID-19.
“Organizing team-building exercises is one of our specialties,” says Jeremy Fishman, president of TreeRunner Adventure Parks. “We have specialized training for our staff to work with corporate groups. These team members work with the company liaison to set goals for the group and design a program that will accomplish those objectives. We work with groups as small as seven all the way up to large groups of 80.”
In these three-hour sessions, employees complete exercises together and can be broken up by department to help them break down barriers.
“Team building is a great way to reintegrate staff into the office,” Fishman says. “Just last year we had an engineering team come out who had only worked remotely and had never met each other face to face. The difference in their camaraderie from the beginning of their session to the end was remarkable. We have found that weekdays are the best days for corporate events because it provides the employees a day of escape and a time to have fun.”
TreeRunner Adventure Parks offer a variety of different, color-coded aerial climbing trails in the trees, from beginner through expert, that climbers choose from depending on their age or climbing experience. These trails consist of platforms installed in the trees and connected by various configurations of cable, wood, and rope obstacles to form crossings of different kinds including the ever-popular zip lines. Climbers wear harnesses that are doubly secured to safety cables using the park’s “always locked on” system of interlocking safety clips. Before venturing onto the trails, climbers receive an interactive orientation and practice session.
The park’s team facilitator conducts ground activities and debrief for attendees prior to the climb. One hour will be devoted to ground activities, the rest of the time is spent free climbing. Groups that are 20 people or larger will be split into smaller groups to get more out of the experience. The facilitator does not actively climb in the treetops with groups. The facilitator will be directly involved to ensure that all goals are being met as a group.
Oakland County to Host Virtual Job Fair April 19
Oakland County is hosting a virtual job fair from 1-4 p.m. April 19 to fill more than 75 positions in county departments. Opportunities range from entry- to senior-level jobs in Parks and Recreation, Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center, Workforce Development, Sheriff’s Office, Human Resources, and other departments.
“Oakland County is a great place to work with good pay and excellent benefits,” says Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “This virtual job fair provides a great opportunity to take the next step on your successful career path.”
The virtual job fair features full- and part-time, student, and intern positions. Pre-registration is required. To view available jobs and register, go to www.oakgov.com/jobs. There is no fee to register.
Some of the available jobs include campground worker, concession worker, construction inspector, corrections deputy, sheriff’s deputy, custodial worker, human resources analyst, office support clerk, and veterinary technician.
In Related News: Oakland County is hosting a workshop for employers at 1 p.m. on April 26 titled Busting Employee Burnout, a free, virtual workshop about fostering a productive workplace culture. Janet Tyler, president of True Depth, will host the program. She is one of the region’s leading executive coaching and management consulting firms.
Buddy’s Pizza, Capuchin Soup Kitchen to Host Slice for Life Fundraiser April 25
Buddy’s Pizza and Capuchin Soup Kitchen are joining together to help those in need by hosting the 46th annual Slice for Life fundraiser — April 25 at any of Buddy’s full-service locations — which helps provide financial support for the soup kitchen’s many community outreach services.
Tickets for Slice For Life are $18 for adults and $8 for children (ages 3-9) and can be purchased online or by calling 313-579-2100. A carry-out option also is available at all 21 Buddy’s Pizza locations for $18 and includes either a four-square two-topping pizza or a medium antipasto, Greek, or house salad.
“Buddy’s is synonymous with Detroit style, but Detroit style is about much more than pizza — it’s about our community’s core value of looking out for one another,” says Br. Gary Wegner, OFM Cap., executive director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. “We are grateful for the long-standing partnership with Buddy’s, as well as the support of the metro Detroit community, in sustaining our mission of attending to basic needs and addressing root causes of poverty and social injustice.”
Since the first Slice for Life event, Buddy’s Pizza has raised more than $3 million to support Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s programs.
Those unable to dine-in or order carry-out during the fundraiser but who still want to donate to Capuchin Soup Kitchen can donate online.
Birmingham’s Community House to Host Bates Street Society Dinner April 30
The Community House in Birmingham will conduct its sixth annual Bates Street Society Dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.
The dinner also recognizes The Community House’s annual Pillars of Vibrancy honorees for their work and contributions in the areas of education, culture, wellness, business, and philanthropy.
The 2022 Pillars of Vibrancy honorees include:
Dave Bing — Business and Culture
Dominic DiMarco — Education
Jessie Beld Elliott — Business and Philanthropy
Barry Franklin — Wellness
Lila Lazarus — Wellness and Education
Dr. Duane Mezwa — Education & Wellness
Rabbi Daniel B. Syme — Culture
Linda Schlesinger-Wagner — Business and Philanthropy
Evan Weiner — Business and Philanthropy
PNC Wealth Management is the presenting founding sponsor of this year’s event. Beaumont Health is the Title Sponsor and TCF Bank is the Private VIP Champagne Reception Sponsor.
FAN’s Women Honoring Women Gala to Feature ESPN Reporter
Clinton Township-based Families Against Narcotics (FAN) will present its second Women Honoring Women Gala at 5 p.m. on May 4 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe Shores.
This year’s keynote speaker is ESPN and SEC Network sportscaster Lauren Sisler, who — while a freshman away at college — lost both of her parents to drug overdoses within hours of each other. She now works to raise awareness of addiction and the devastating effects it can have.
FAN’s special guest honoree will be Lisa Daniels-Goldman, co-founder and trustee of the Jamie Daniels Foundation, which grants funds to support community partners that provide programs, resources, and solutions that address the ongoing drug epidemic in our country.
This evening, which includes dinner, raffles, and vendors of women-oriented products and services, is open to both men and women. It will benefit FAN’s ongoing efforts to assist individuals and families impacted by the disease of addiction.
The money raised will be used to help fund the many programs FAN offers to the public free of charge. These programs include Hope Not Handcuffs, community naloxone training, the Stronger Together family and friends support group, the COMEBACK Quick Response Team, peer and family recovery coaching, sober living scholarships, and more.
To purchase tickets, sponsorships, or for information on how to be a vendor at the Women Honoring Women Gala, visit here.