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.
Eitel Dahm Motor Group Acquired by Canadian Dealer Organization
Windsor, Ontario-based Rafih Auto Group has acquired the Eitel Dahm Motor Group Ltd. for an undisclosed amount.
The Dahm group consists of BMW of Rochester Hills, Audi of Rochester Hills, Porsche of The Motor City in Eastpointe, and Motor City Mini in Southfield.
The news was first reported in Automotive News.
Rafih Auto Group has several dealerships in Canada, Cleveland, and Michigan.
Owner Offers Tour of Renovated Historic Corktown Home
Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk is offering tours of her renovated historic home at 1321 Labrosse St. in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood on May 15 from noon to 4 p.m. The event will benefit Greening of Detroit.
Yaremchuk, a board member at Greening of Detroit, purchased the property — “Corky, Lady of Labrosse” — two years ago. It had not been taken care of for several years. She has revitalized it and is preparing to sell the house now that it has been renovated.
Greening of Detroit is working to improve the backyard of the property.
Those who purchase tickets here will receive a 10 percent discount at Mudgie’s Deli & Wine Shop and Batch Brewery, and a 15 percent discount at George Gregory.
Detroit Grand Prix to Allow Limited Fan Attendance
The 2021 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear will allow a limited number of race fans, following state health and safety guidelines, when it returns to Belle Isle Park, June 11-13.
Including race participants, workers, partners, vendors, media, and fans, the Grand Prix is expected to host between 6,000-9,000 people each day on Belle Isle.
“We look forward to bringing world-class racing back to the Motor City next month,” says Bud Denker, chairman of the event. “We are excited to welcome race fans to Belle Isle Park for three days of excitement in a safe and healthy manner. We will showcase the Park, our City and it’s beautiful waterfront to the nation and the world as NBC will provide over six hours of network TV coverage. And, once again, the biggest benefactor will be Belle Isle.”
This year’s race will feature spacing between groups of attendees in reserved grandstand seating, limited general admission viewing areas, and reduced capacity in hospitality areas. General admission tickets also will be available for purchase, while displays and fan activities away from the track will be reduced or removed this year to adhere to current protocols.
All attendees will be required to wear a face covering at the Grand Prix, except when actively eating or drinking. Hand sanitizing stations will be present around the venue and there will be cleaning and sanitizing services employed throughout each day, especially in high-contact areas. Each entry gate will include contactless ticket scanning and contactless security/bag screening for attendees.
For fans attending the Grand Prix, the free shuttles to and from Belle Isle will be available and riders will be required to wear a face covering and seating will include spacing between groups in each shuttle. The Grand Prix encourages anyone that plans to attend the event to fully vaccinated before visiting Belle Isle.
Following the cancelation of the 2020 Grand Prix due to the pandemic, some fans elected to transfer their tickets from last year’s event to the 2021 Grand Prix. As the Grand Prix honors those commitments from its loyal fans, the event is reaching out to those ticket buyers this week to review their options for the 2021 Grand Prix. Ticket purchasers that opted for a refund as a result of the cancelation in 2020, along with fans that registered for a pre-sale period in 2021, will also have the opportunity in the coming days to buy tickets for this year’s race. The remaining available tickets for June 12-13 will then be placed on sale on Thursday, May 20.
The Grand Prix will continue its tradition of Comerica Bank Free Prix Day on Friday, June 11 with a limited number of free passes available upon request. Fans will be able to visit DetroitGP.com to reserve their free passes for Comerica Bank Free Prix Day beginning May 17.
Eastern Market Brewing Co. Expanding into Former ROAK Brewing Space
Detroit-based Eastern Market Brewing Co. is expanding into the space once occupied by the former ROAK Brewing Co. at 330 E. Lincoln in Royal Oak.
The 17,000-square-foot warehouse facility near the heart of downtown Royal Oak, within 15 minutes of the company’s Eastern Market and Ferndale Project taprooms, has the space and coolers needed, as well as a full kitchen with a pizza oven. It also has the existing infrastructure to scale up Eastern Market Brewing Co.’s brewing operations over the next several years.
The company will use the space for its Peddler delivery service and other ventures immediately and open to the public by the end of the year.
“Our goal this year is to get our house in order,” says Shalyn Getz, president of Eastern Market Brewing Co. “Once we found the time to take a deep breath and plan for the future, we came to the realization that we needed more dedicated space for our new ventures. While it may seem contradictory, we needed to expand once again to begin controlling the chaos.
“Ultimately, just as we approached Ferndale Project, 330 E. Lincoln will become a new brewery concept,” continues Getz. “We will always be taproom-focused and it’s important to us that each location reflects the neighborhood. I’m proud that both our Eastern Market and Ferndale locations share our mission of fostering human connection through craft, but the spaces and products are uniquely their own. We’re still building the strategy for what that looks like in Royal Oak. But I’ll give a hint: lots of barrel-aging.”
Eastern Market Brewing Co. has recently begun releasing barrel-aged beers at both Eastern Market and Ferndale Project taprooms. With more space in the new Royal Oak location, the possibilities are endless to launch barrel-aging and blending programs, according to Getz. Plus, the new 30-barrel brewhouse will ensure demand is met in a post-pandemic world and beyond.
“Like many throughout our industry, 2020 was a whirlwind,” says Dayne Bartscht, founder and managing partner of Eastern Market Brewing Co. “We had to get creative to survive. From home beer delivery to coffee to donuts to Detroit-style pizza, the team has been busy.”
Earlier this year, Bartscht began looking at local warehouses to house the company’s Peddler delivery service, a venture that was originally launched to bring craft beer directly to consumers’ doors in light of COVID-19. It has since grown to include partnerships with dozens of local craftspeople looking for new avenues to sell their products directly to consumers, in lieu of brick-and-mortar stores. Peddler quickly ran out of space in its Ferndale Project location needing its own warehousing facility for their partner’s products.
“Having opened two breweries, we know that it takes time to develop and execute a concept,” Bartscht says. “In the best-case scenario, we could open the new location to the public by the end of the year. In the meantime, we’re going to use the space to further expand our Peddler delivery service, scale the production of our vegan donut company, Dooped Donuts, and soon, we’ll announce a new pizza company based on the Detroit-style pizzas our Ferndale Project customers grew to love.”
Troy’s PK Contracting Acquired by Frontline Road Safety
Texas-based Frontline Road Safety has acquired PK Contracting, which is headquartered in Troy. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
PK Contracting is a safety marking service provider with seven locations in Michigan and three locations in Florida. Frontline’s companies provide pavement marking and ancillary services to a variety of end markets and customers.
“PK Contracting is an exciting addition to the Frontline family,” says Tony Plut, CEO of Frontline Road Safety. “This partnership will establish a new road striping presence for the Frontline platform in Michigan and Florida, further diversifying our operating subsidiaries and increasing our scale.”
Chris Shea, CEO of PK Contracting, says, “A partnership with Frontline will benefit our employees and customers alike, as we will continue to execute exceptional local service while leveraging the benefits of the broader platform.”
Utz Brands to Acquire Festida Foods in Grand Rapids for $41M
Pennsylvania snack maker Utz Brands Inc. has agreed to purchase Festida Foods in Grand Rapids for $41 million.
Festida Foods is a leading manufacturer of tortilla chips, corn chips, and pellet snacks, and the largest manufacturer of tortilla chips for Utz’s On the Border tortilla chip brand.
“We expect that this strategic acquisition will enable strong supply chain synergies for our On the Border brand and enhance our ability to expand both On the Border and other Utz Power Brands geographically in the Midwest,” says Dylan Lissette, CEO of Utz. “Over time, we intend to expand production capabilities in the manufacturing plant to support growth in adjacent sub-categories and better serve current and future retail customers in an important area of geographic growth for the company.”
Kyle Curtiss, CEO of Festida Foods, says, “The Festida Foods team is thrilled to be joining the Utz family. Utz shares a belief in a strong company culture that both supports and encourages member development. They are truly an ideal long-term partner for Festida Foods.”
Travelocity Selects Southfield’s Doner as Agency of Record
Doner Co., an advertising agency based in Southfield, has been selected by the Dallas-based online travel agency Travelocity as its agency of record following a competitive review.
“Through our creativity we’ve shown how we are dialed in to how people think and feel during COVID,” says David DeMuth, CEO of Doner. “We committed our time and resources to gather the insights that today’s brands need to connect with consumers coming out of the pandemic. As interest in travel increases dramatically, our agency will equip Travelocity with strategic, creative, and production advantages that will drive transformational business results across the brand’s key targets.”
Doner’s work is set to launch in late spring, reinvigorating the Travelocity brand’s equities, including its Roaming Gnome character.
“In Doner, we’ve found a partner that has experience in our category, and has exceptional understanding of what is driving our country culturally,” says Laura Molnar, director of brand marketing at Travelocity. “Their work achieves business objectives and inspires cultural conversation. This proven track record of driving conversion across all media channels is exactly what the Travelocity brand needs as we enter a truly unique summer travel season in 2021.”
Beginning immediately, Doner will manage brand creative duties, including online advertising, experiential, social, national TV, pre-roll, and digital audio, from its Southfield headquarters.
Shinola Designing Amenity Kit Bags, Clocks for American Airlines
Detroit’s Shinola is designing new amenity kit bags for American Airlines’ premium cabin passengers and creating new desk clocks for the airline from repurposed aircraft metal.
The new onboard amenity kits were done in partnership with Brooklyn, N.Y.’s D.S. & Durga fragrance company. The kits, which are pouches of personal care items wrapped in sustainable packaging that American provides for premium customers on long-haul international and transcontinental flights.
“American often seeks brands that are rooted in creativity, especially those that celebrate travel before, during, and after the actual journey,” says Clarissa Sebastian, managing director of premium customer experience and onboard products at American Airlines. “D.S. & Durga and Shinola underscore what we value in our partners at American — the ability to inspire connection with people or places that matter and experiences that enrich us.”
Shinola also is creating a desk clock featuring a dial made entirely from the original metal of American Airlines’ retired fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft. The MD-80s were the long-time backbone of American’s fleet, carrying customers for more than 35 years before it was retired in 2019. Each dial is unique and bears small markings from the aircraft’s decades of service. Clock dials are hand-cut and repolished by Moto Art in California, with final assembly in Shinola’s Detroit factory.
Shinola is producing 1,000 desk clocks, and there are two ways to acquire one. Customers can purchase an MD-80 desk clock with a vintage American Airlines logo here or without the logo here. Additionally, later this summer, Shinola wall clocks will be featured in select Admirals Club lounges.
Hanley Investment Group Arranges Sale of New Olive Garden Restaurant in Chesterfield Township
Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors, a national real estate brokerage and advisory firm, has arranged the sale of an absolute triple-net ground lease for an Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Chesterfield Township for $2.36 million.
The buyer is based in southern California.
The 7,757-square-foot restaurant, which opened in the fall of 2020, is one of Olive Garden’s latest prototypes. It’s located on 1.88 acres at 27169 23 Mile Road.
“Despite the many operational challenges that sit-down restaurants like Olive Garden have had to overcome due to COVID-19 capacity limitation requirements, the ground lease nature of the property created below-market rent that will provide long-term stability to the buyer,” says Jeff Lefko, executive vice president of Hanley Investment Group.
“Certain sit-down restaurant cap rates have increased by as much as 75 to 100 basis points due to the pandemic and smart buyers are taking advantage of this increase especially in locations with below-market or replaceable rents. In this case, the buyer recognized the opportunity to acquire a high-quality, net lease asset located on an outparcel to a Mejier supermarket-anchored shopping center surrounded by strong retail tenants and attractive household income and population density.”
Wayne State and Molina Healthcare Host Free Event May 15
Wayne Health, the health care division of Detroit’s Wayne State University, and Molina Healthcare are hosting a free health care event at the Detroit Mack Health Center (400 Mack Ave.) on May 15 between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. as part of the 2021 Metro Detroit Heart and Stroke Walk/Run.
At the event, community organizations across metro Detroit are coming together to offer free COVID-19 testing and vaccines; heart health, diabetes, and other screenings; free face masks, food, backpacks, light bulbs, and community resources.
Free services include:
- COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines for age 12 and up (drive-through or walk-up, ages 12-15 pending Emergency Use Authorization by the CDC)
- COVID-19 testing (drive-through or walk-up)
- Blood pressure screening
- HIV testing
- Blood lead level testing
- Diabetes, cholesterol, and kidney function screenings
- Community resources for behavioral health, substance abuse, moms and babies, and domestic and sexual violence survivors will be available at the event
Available free products include:
- Fresh produce bags
- Boxed lunches
- Activity bags for children
- Face masks
- 50 Backpacks with school supplies
- 50 free DTE light bulb kits
Village of Rochester Hills Hosting Drive-by Donation Event May 21
The Village of Rochester Hills will be hosting a drive-by donation event on Friday, May 21 from 4-7 p.m. to help support the Gleaners Community Food Bank BackPack Program.
The BackPack Program works with more than 70 participating schools and helps to provide backpacks filled with nutritious food for children who rely on free or reduced priced meals during the school week. Those who make a donation will receive a free sweet treat courtesy of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Rochester Hills, while supplies last.
The Village of Rochester Hills is located at 104 S. Adams Road at the corner of Adams and Walton Road in Rochester Hills. Volunteers from the Gleaners Community Food Bank will be onsite collecting items.
“Children are facing many challenges as a result of the pandemic crisis and we are grateful for the community effort brought forth by of The Village of Rochester Hills,” says Philip Garofalo, marketing manager for Gleaners Community Food Bank. “It is truly great working with an organization that demonstrates a willingness to step up and provide healthy, nutritious food for children in our surrounding neighborhoods.”
For more information about Gleaners Community Food Bank and additional school and children focused programs, visit here.
Comerica Park to Host Lung Association Stair Climb May 23
Hundreds of individuals, families, firefighters, first responders, and corporate teams from throughout Michigan are expected to converge on Comerica Park from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on May 23 for the American Lunch Association’s first outdoor stair climb fundraiser.
The Detroit Fight for Air Climb typically takes place in the stairwells of the Ally Detroit Center and One Woodward but was reimagined as an outdoor climb challenge for the safety of participants, volunteers, and staff. Participants will participate in one of three distances:
- Stadium Climbers and Elite Stadium Climbers (1,076 stairs)
- Firefighters and First Responders (2,103 stairs)
- Ultimate Challenge Climbers (2,626 stairs)
All to raise awareness and money to fight lung disease and end COVID-19.
Masks will be required at the event and social distancing will be practiced. For more information, and to register, visit here.