DBusiness Daily Update: Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac Opens Sept. 23, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Alien Attack: The 2nd Wave is one of the new features at the Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac. // Courtesy of Erebus
Alien Attack: The 2nd Wave is one of the new features at the Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac. // Courtesy of Erebus

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

Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac Opens Sept. 23 with Alien Attack Feature

The Erebus Haunted Attraction in downtown Pontiac kicks off its 23rd Halloween Season Sept. 23 “electrifying, skin-crawling, sensory assaults” for those who dare to enter the half-mile labyrinth.

New this year is Alien Attack: The 2nd Wave, Torched Earth, and the Open Portals.

Alien Attack: The 2nd Wave — The brutal war with the aliens has completely fallen apart. Containment has been breached. Humans are no longer winning this battle.

Torched Earth — The Aliens have waged destruction and war on Erebus and all who dare pass through its doors.

Open Portals — The time portals are open, but the portals work both ways. Recent reports talk about telekinetic beings crossing over into our world, and their mind control powers are wreaking havoc.

An Actual Haunted House — Erebus is an actual haunted house, with supporting evidence from multiple investigative paranormal teams.

Special Promotions and opportunities to win tickets and swag include:

  • One-Chip Challenge – Erebus is hosting the one-chip challenge for the chance for all participants to win VIP tickets and T-shirts.
  • Top 200 – Erebus is offering free T-shirts for the first 200 customers or the first hour, whichever comes first. No other coupon or discount can be applied.
  • Erebus Around Town – Team Erebus is watching over metro Detroit. Get caught wearing Erebus gear for a chance to win Erebus tickets for this season.
  • Screamer of the Week – Erebus will be secretly filming throughout the haunted attraction. Every week, best scream out of that footage will be picked and will posted it on social media on Wednesday. The winning screamer will have 48 hours to claim their prize package. A $592 value, the prize package includes four Erebus escape tickets, four sweatshirts, four t-shirts, four shot glasses, four pairs of theatrical contacts, and a personalized Erebus photo and frame.

For tickets and more information about Erebus Haunted Attraction, visit HauntedPontiac.com.

MEDC Announces $1.4M in Export Assistance Available for Michigan Small Businesses

Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced that the state has received the top award in the nation — $1.4 million — from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program for the upcoming fiscal year. The grant is to help Michigan small businesses grow in the state through increased access to global markets.

This year marks the 10th year of STEP funding, which has awarded more than $13 million to the state of Michigan since its inception. Since 95 percent of the world’s consumers and two-thirds of all purchasing power are located outside the United States, this grant program plays a critical role in providing access to capital, markets, and buyers.

Administered by the MEDC’s International Trade program, this year’s SBA award supports export development for small and medium-sized businesses through financial assistance grants for virtual and in-person trade missions, international sales trips, and trade shows along with website translation, search engine optimization, international certifications, and more.

Newly offered this year is an expansion of export credit insurance premium coverage. MI-STEP is designed to spur job creation by empowering Michigan small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to export their products, providing financial assistance awards for eligible export development-related expenses.

The Michigan Strategic Fund is providing an additional $466,666 as the state match to support the Michigan STEP grant initiative (MI-STEP). To date, MEDC’s International Trade program has facilitated more than $4.7 billion in export sales through federal and non-federally funded programs. In fiscal year 2021, export sales generated a total of $558 million for Michigan businesses working with the MEDC.

“This year’s STEP grant is once again the largest award in the nation, reflecting the Small Business Administration’s strong confidence in Michigan’s successful execution of export promotion to increase international sales for our local businesses,” says Quentin L. Messer Jr., CEO of MEDC and president and chair of the MSF Board. “These funds allow our International Trade program to support more businesses, especially growing small businesses, and accelerate our efforts to create a more equitable, internationally competitive and resilient economy for all Michiganders.”

Applications are accepted Oct. 1-Sept. 15 for MI-STEP grants to small and medium-sized businesses. For complete details on how companies can apply for assistance, including eligibility requirements and the application process, visit here or complete the online intake form to start a conversation with an international trade manager.

Priority Health Fitness Courts Opens Today on Belle Isle

Priority Health and the National Fitness Campaign (NFC) announce the opening of a free outdoor Priority Health Fitness Court at the HYPE Athletics Belle Isle Athletic Complex.

The Fitness Court, featuring a custom art piece by Detroit artist Phillip Simpson, was unveiled this morning.

The launch was made possible by HYPE Athletics and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in conjunction with the statewide partnership between Priority Health and NFC. The Michigan statewide campaign was established in 2020 with the intent to expand free access to high-quality workouts and create equitable access to exercise for communities.

The new Fitness Court is an open-air wellness center that allows users to leverage their own body weight to get a complete workout. Created with adults of all ages in mind, the Fitness Court is adaptable for all fitness levels. The courts also can be used in group or solo settings with local volunteer ambassadors leading classes for groups.

Users also can download the free Fitness Court App — a coach-in-your-pocket style platform — that transforms the outdoor gym into a digitally supported wellness ecosystem. The Fitness Court App is available for iOS and Android.

“Belle Isle holds so much history for the city of Detroit and its residents,” says Praveen Thadani, president of Priority Health. “Priority Health is pleased to partner with the National Fitness Campaign and HYPE Athletics to bring a new Fitness Court to the island. Our hope is that this outdoor Fitness Court will not only support free access to fitness but will also serve as a community gathering place.”

For more information, visit here.

Taste of Black Spirits Celebrates the Legacy of Black Distillers Sept. 29-30

Black Spirits Legacy presents the Liquid Forum and the Taste of Black Spirits (TBS) to highlight Black-owned brands and industry leaders, Sept. 29-30.

The Liquid Forum and TBS are designed to create more awareness and access of Black-owned spirit companies and their products.

The Liquid Forum will gather a national panel of Black spirits business leaders. Panelists will reflect on their professional journeys and provide expert mentorship for entrepreneurs interested in the spirit industry. Tickets are $25 and will take place at 5 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

The Taste of Black Spirits: The Evolution returns at 5 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Garden Theatre.

Tickets for this curated experience start at $55.

“Underrepresentation and a lack of diversity has long been an issue in the spirits industry,” says Lazar Favors, chief executive curator of Black Spirits Legacy. “The Taste of Black Spirits continues to build on the remarkable legacy of African American master distillers and industry leaders to generate equity for Black entrepreneurs. I am motivated to give our audience a unique, high quality, experience and create access to capital for Black owned spirit brands.”

For tickets to the Liquid Forum, visit here.  Click here for tickets to Taste of Black Spirits: The Evolution.

American Advantage Home Care in Dearborn Wins National Marketing Awards

American Advantage Home Care, a full-service home health care agency based in Dearborn, has won two national awards in the 39th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards competition.

The agency earned a Gold award in the television advertising category for four ads, “Home Care Through the Seasons,” and a Bronze award in the podcasts category for the agency-sponsored and produced podcast, “The Home Health Care Today Show.” Co-producer of both entries is Afro Productions in Northville.

The winning commercials can be viewed here.

“It’s important that our advertising reflects the high quality of home care that American Advantage provides,” says Cleamon Moorer Jr., president of American Advantage. “These awards are validation that we’ve met that goal.”

Moorer and his wife, Nicole Willis-Moorer, own and operate the agency.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Announces Details for Detroit Harvest Fest

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has released details for its second Detroit Harvest Fest & Food Truck Rally that includes more than 50 food trucks and six stages of entertainment featuring local musicians and entertainers.

Detroit Harvest Fest & Food Truck Rally will take place from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 1-2 along the Dequindre Cut Greenway.

Admission to the event is $5 per person.  Children younger than 3 years of age, seniors (65+), active-duty military, and veterans are admitted free.

The Dequindre Cut is located between Orleans Street and St. Aubin Street and runs from Mack Avenue to Atwater Street. The event footprint runs from Woodbridge Street to Wilkins Street on the Dequindre Cut.  Entrances to the Cut are located at Mack, Wilkins, Gratiot, Lafayette, Woodbridge, Franklin, and Atwater.

In addition to the food trucks and six stages of music and performances, the event promises something for everyone, including trick or treating, a free pumpkin patch, inflatable bounce houses, hands on activities for the kids, and the “Cirque de Freightyard” carnival experience.

Detroit Harvest Fest & Food Truck Rally made its debut last fall and drew more than 50,000 people over two days.

“Fall is one of the great seasons that we have in Michigan, and we are excited to invite everyone down again to the riverfront to enjoy a family-friendly weekend of entertainment, fun activities and a full mile of food trucks,” says Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. “Kids really enjoy the trick-or-treating on the Dequindre Cut while also being able to find that perfect pumpkin to take home from our free pumpkin patch.”

For more information, visit detroitharvestfest.com.

For those who would like to beat the Harvest Fest & Food Truck Rally crowds, Soirée on the Greenway will provide an exclusive preview to the festival. The conservancy’s fundraiser returns for a masquerade under the stars from 6-10 p.m Sept. 30., featuring a lineup of the top food trucks from Harvest Fest 2021.

Centered around the Freight Yard along the Dequindre Cut, Soirée will feature a mysterious circus theme, food and refreshments, surprise live performances, interactive fall experiences, carnival games, and the unveiling of artist Ivan Montoya’s brand-new mural on the greenway.

Main Event tickets are $75 and include three meal and drink tickets, live musical entertainment, fall activities and more.  Each Soirée contribution supports the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s mission to create a world-class gathering place for all. For more info, visit here.

Swing to Cure Diabetes Golf Fundraiser Surpasses $1M for Diabetes Research

The Swing to Cure Diabetes golf fundraiser, a spring tradition at the University of Michigan Golf Course for more than 10 years, has reached a milestone, surpassing the $1 million mark following the event on June 13.

“With everyone’s help and generosity, we raised over $132,000 to jointly benefit JDRF and the University of Michigan Diabetes Center,” says Rich Hewlett, a partner at Varnum and the event’s founder, a letter to event supporters. “Together with our prior outings, you have helped raise over $1 million in the effort to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.”

The 12th annual event sold out with 147 golfers, as well others who attended in support of the fundraising for research effort. As in past years, there was a strong showing by Michigan football including alumni John and Jared Wangler, Jeff Cohen and Joe Hewlett, and current players Jake Moody, Mazi Smith, Blake Corum, Andrel Anthony, and Erick All.

The event also included a dinner and auction, with items focused on University of Michigan football.

“Financial contributions to Swing to Cure Diabetes support vital research projects in our state, particularly at the University of Michigan,” says Hewlet. “There has never been a time when JDRF and U-M have made such incredible strides in research in an effort to cure Type 1 diabetes.”

Swing to Cure was founded by Hewlett and his late wife, Chris, in 2008. The couple began raising money for juvenile diabetes research after their son, Jeffrey, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a youngster. Hewlett, a former U-M football player, has been supported by former teammates and coaches, colleagues, and friends throughout the event’s history.

Grand Valley Sees Increase in First-year Students

Enrollment numbers are in for the fall semester, and Grand Valley State University in Allendale, near Grand Rapids, reported across the board increases in students new to the university.

Nearly 4,000 first-year students enrolled, a 3 percent increase over last year. The university reported an 8 percent increase in transfer students and a 2 percent increase in graduate students. There also is a 9 percent increase in first-year students from southeast Michigan.

GVSU also is seeing increases in first-generation college students and students of color, welcoming the most diverse first-year class in the university’s 62-year history with a 23.4 percent increase (4,462) in students of color.

For students who are just entering college, Grand Valley reported a 28.4 percent increase (351) in students who are the first in their families to attend college and a 24.4 percent increase (243) in low-income or Pell-eligible students, a 69.7 percent increase (152) in Black students and a 9 percent increase (27) in Hispanic or Latino students.

While total enrollment at 21,648 is down slightly more than 3 percent compared to last year, B. Donta Truss, vice president for enrollment development and educational outreach, says that mirrors national pandemic enrollment and retention challenges. He is confident enrollment will return to pre-pandemic levels given the positive experience students have at GVSU.

“Grand Valley delivers a high-value education that is accessible and affordable,” Truss says. “When students get on campus, they find out quickly that our professors and advisors truly care about them and their progress. Students can take part in quality experiences with support systems in place to help them be successful. We are excited to welcome all students to GVSU.”

Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella says: “Throughout the pandemic, we continued to move our university forward with great energy and conviction. We are absolutely committed to empowering every student.”

Grand Valley students come from nearly every county in the state of Michigan, 44 states, and 83 countries.