DBusiness Daily Update: Flowers for Dreams Opens New Studio in Eastern Market Friday, Michigan Unemployment Rate Unchanged in June, 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.
Flowers for Dreams is opening a new floral design studio and walk-up flower shop in Detroit’s Eastern Market on Friday. // Photo courtesy of Flowers for Dreams

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.

Flowers for Dreams Opens New Studio in Eastern Market Friday

Flowers for Dreams, a Midwest floral company, is opening a new floral design studio and walk-up flower shop in Detroit’s Eastern Market on Friday.

The new location at 1490 Gratiot Ave. will serve as its local headquarters for flower and plant delivery, weddings, and events, as well as complement its storefront in Shinola Hotel’s Parker’s Alley at 1435 W. Farmer St. The space features a planted green courtyard for community events and local artist collaborations.

Founded by Steven Dyme and Joseph Dickstein in 2012 in Chicago, Flowers for Dreams has created a following of more than 100,000 followers on social media with their promise to fund local charities with every bouquet sold. Through this mission, they’ve been able to contribute $794,000 to more than 100 small nonprofits across Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit, including local charities Alternative for Girls and The Detroit Justice Center.

“We launched in Detroit last year for many reasons,” says Dyme. “Among them, the resilient character of its residents, the commitment to giving, community, and collaboration among its artists and designers, and our ability to expand support for local flower farmers that we’d been working with across Michigan.”

Flowers for Dreams says it has grown since it opened in Detroit last March. Even amid the pandemic, the company expanded its team from two employees to nine including part-time staff. The company plans to expand its workforce to nearly 20 by spring 2022, an indicator of the company’s recent success and plans to come.

“We have big aspirations for Flowers for Dreams in Detroit,” says Alex Mayo, the company’s Detroit sales and marketing lead. “Providing beautifully designed and locally crafted flowers for weddings, events, and bouquets is important, but more importantly we want to have a positive impact on the communities and non-profits we serve.

“Conveniently, with Flowers for Dreams, those two things go hand-in-hand. Our move to Eastern Market and being connected to that community is an exciting step to reach those goals.”

Michigan Unemployment Rate Unchanged in June

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 5 percent was unchanged in June, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Employment in the state edged up by 9,000 over the month, while the number of unemployed was unchanged. The statewide workforce rose slightly by 9,000 in June.

The national jobless rate edged up by a 10th of a percentage point in June to 5.9 percent. Michigan’s June unemployment rate was 0.9 percentage points below the U.S. rate. Unemployment rates were very elevated a year ago due to the pandemic, but since June 2020, the U.S. rate decreased by 5.2 percentage points, while Michigan’s rate fell by 9.1 percentage points.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators were little changed in June,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The Michigan unemployment rate has been near 5 percent for five consecutive months. Payroll job counts in June were similar to March levels.”

Labor force trends and highlights:

  • Michigan’s workforce rose for the second consecutive month in June, advancing by 19,000 since April 2021.
  • Michigan’s employment level edged up slightly by 0.2 percent in June, while employment nationally remained essentially unchanged.
  • Over the year, statewide employment rose by 6.2 percent, comparable to the gain nationally (+6.7 percent).
  • Unemployment in Michigan fell significantly by 66.2 percent over the year, while the U.S. unemployment level declined by 46.4 percent since June 2020.

Despite significant improvements in labor market conditions in Michigan over the last year, labor market indicators in June had not recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Michigan employment in June remained 258,000, or 5.4 percent, below the February 2020 level.

The unemployment in the state was 50,000, or about 27 percent, higher than the February 2020 level. The June 2021 jobless rate of 5.0 percent was 1.3 percentage points above the February 2020 level.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged in June at 4.4 percent. Employment advanced by 7,000, while unemployment exhibited no change over the month, resulting in a minor monthly labor force increase of 7,000.

Over the past year, the Detroit metro area jobless rate declined by 14.3 percentage points, reflecting recalls of workers to jobs following pandemic-related layoffs. Employment rose by 229,000 and total unemployment plunged by 304,000, resulting in a net workforce decrease of 75,000 since June 2020.

The monthly survey of employers indicated that total payroll employment rose modestly in June, inching up by 14,000, or 0.3 percent. The total number of nonfarm jobs in Michigan was 4,131,000 during June.

Over the past year, all major industry sectors have recalled workers from pandemic-related job cuts.

Penske Automotive Announces Record 2Q 2021 Results

Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Automotive Group Inc. today announced that it expects to report second-quarter 2021 before-tax earnings of more than $450 million, operating income of more than $325 million, and related earnings per share of more than $4, each representing an increase of more than 600 percent when compared to year-ago figures.

These results include a net charge of approximately $13 million ($0.16 per share) relating to the previously completed refinancing of the company’s $500 million 5.50 percent senior subordinated notes due 2026 with $500 million 3.75 percent senior subordinated notes due 2029.

Additionally, when compared to the three months ended June 30, 2019, earnings before taxes, income from operations and related earnings per share is expected to increase by more than 175 percent.

“Our business produced a record second quarter driven by strength across all areas of our business,” says Roger Penske, chairman and CEO of Penske Automotive. “Strong volume and vehicle margins, a reopening of the U.K. market, a growing Class 8 commercial truck market, record performance at Penske Transportation Solutions, and continuing cost controls all contributed to the record performance.

“Despite the ongoing disruption to new vehicle supply, our performance in the quarter demonstrates the strength of the auto and commercial truck retail model and the benefit from our diversification.”

These estimated results are based on preliminary information and are subject to change following completion of the quarter-end review process and other developments arising between now and the time financial results are finalized.

C3 Industries to Open its First Kalamazoo Dispensary

Ann Arbor-based C3 Industries is opening its first dispensary in Kalamazoo and its fifth in Michigan on Friday.

The new outlet, called High Profile Kalamazoo, is located at 823 W. Michigan Ave. and will be open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

High Profile Kalamazoo offers a wide range of premium cannabis flower and other products in-store, including an assortment of products from C3’s in-house brand, Cloud Cover Cannabis. High Profile’s staff says it is focused on providing adult cannabis consumers with products that meet their specific needs and “helping to ensure they have the best possible experience with cannabis every time.”

In addition to the Kalamazoo store, High Profile currently operates seven other locations across Michigan, Missouri, and Oregon.

For more information, visit here.

Duggan Dedicates Revamped Zussman Park in Russell Woods

 Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit residents gathered Wednesday to dedicate $850,000 in renovations to Zussman Park on the city’s west side in the Russell Woods neighborhood.

The project’s completion is the latest milestone in the mayor’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund initiative, which focuses on improving the quality of life for residents through better parks, commercial corridors, and neighborhood stabilization.

 The City of Detroit Parks & Recreation Department and Planning & Development Department led community engagement meetings to ensure that the park, located at Davison and Dexter, reflected its neighborhood.

Residents wanted not only more beautiful open spaces but also a park that encouraged active play. The upgrades include a walking loop, new playground, state-of-the-art outdoor fitness zone, drinking fountain, new picnic area with shelters and outdoor grills, six-hoop basketball court, newly planted trees, and public art.

Funding for the renovation was supported in part by $600,000 from the Strategic Neighborhood Fund and $250,000 from city bond funds.

“This is an incredible transformation, and Zussman Park is once again a place of pride in this neighborhood,” says Duggan. “The Strategic Neighborhood Fund is part of a citywide effort that is making our neighborhoods better places to call home and to raise a family, and quality parks for our children are a key piece of that goal.”

The Russell Woods-Nardin Park plan has a number of key initiatives:

  • A streetscape overhaul along Dexter between Fullerton and Davison will start next spring.
  • A large piece of vacant land at Dexter and Tyler Street will be activated with a retail pop-up center constructed from shipping containers for small businesses to set up shop.
  • Demolish or stabilize some 400 homes in Nardin Park.
  • Saving and rehabbing homes in the Russell Woods historic district through the city’s Rehabbed & Ready program.
  • Invested $250,000 in upgrades at Nardin Park.
  • Five murals created – two of which already are completed.
  • The former site of Birney Elementary School will be put out for requests for proposals (RFP) this fall.

Bank of America Selects Five Student Leaders for Focus: HOPE

Bank of America has announced that the five Detroit-area high school students it selected as student leaders have started their summer job experience of leadership, civic engagement, and workforce skills-building with Detroit nonprofit Focus: HOPE.

The program has been adapted this year to be mostly virtual. The opportunity to earn a paycheck is essential to many young people whether they are helping to support their families or planning for the future. This year, student leaders will be paid $17 per hour for 35 hours per week for eight weeks.

The Class of 2021 Bank of America Student Leaders, all Detroit residents, are:

  • Nayeli Amoles, a graduate of Cesar Chavez Academy High School
  • Guadalupe Avalos, a graduate of Cass Technical High School
  • Tiera Barnett, a graduate of Cass Technical High School.
  • Luke Graham, a senior at Renaissance High School
  • Lamont Satchel Jr., a graduate of Cass Technical High School

“The past year has proven especially challenging for young adults, but they have shown resilience, resourcefulness, and like our Student Leaders, many have remained committed to serving their communities,” says Matt Elliott, president of Bank of America Michigan. “It is our privilege and commitment to support programs like Student Leaders by providing paid opportunities for students to gain job experience while developing a diverse pipeline of talent as they enter the local workforce.”

The Student Leaders program, which started in 2004, recognizes 300 community-focused juniors and seniors from across the U.S. annually.

Forgotten Harvest Program to Provide 150K Free Lunches for Metro Detroit Children

 The Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids program of Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park will provide 150,000 free lunches to children across metro Detroit during summer recess from school.

Families experiencing food insecurity with the added expense of additional meals for out-of-school children are able to receive up to three meals per child (18 or under) per week through Forgotten Harvest’s mobile food pantries.

“We are honored to provide support to the many hard-working parents of the metro Detroit area through our Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids program,” says Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest. “As we transition from a pandemic that has impacted millions, this initiative will help meet the needs of families still recovering from the economic challenges of this past year.”

Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids will provide meals to metro Detroit children for 10 weeks during the summer at its local mobile pantry locations. Pre-packaged lunch sacks will be loaded into families’ vehicles, along with a box of food staples, fresh produce and other supplemental items.

With the help of local partnerships, Forgotten Harvest has increased the lunch distribution 50 percent from 2019, distributing approximately 150,000 lunches through its mobile pantry network.

Forgotten Harvest receives support from Feeding America – Shipt Summer Feeding, The Lear Foundation, Robert F. Beard Foundation, Plastipak Holdings, PNC Bank, The Detroit Tigers, and Kroger Co. of Michigan. The meals will be provided in partnership with National Food Group and Revolution Foods.

For more information on Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids, visit here.

Art & Apples Festival Returns to Rochester Sept. 10-12

 After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Paint Creek Center for the Arts in Rochester is bringing back its Art & Apples Festival, Sept. 10-12 at Rochester Memorial Park.

The event, PCCA’s largest fundraiser, is a nationally acclaimed art festival attracting tens of thousands of guests and hundreds of artists to Rochester. The festival also features culinary delights and includes diverse, family-friendly entertainment such as continuous glassblowing and pottery-making demonstrations, live music and dance, and more.

Conducted on 30 rolling green 30 acres of Rochester Municipal Park (400 Sixth St.), Art & Apples is one of the nation’s top juried fine art fairs. This year, more than 200 exhibiting artists from across the country — in 18 unique media — were selected by jury to display their works.

“After last year’s cancellation, there is a huge appetite for art festivals this year that seems to grow every day,” says Elizabeth Chilton, executive director of the PCCA. “Paint Creek Center for the Arts is thrilled to bring back the Art & Apples Festival. “The absolute joy of viewing art in person and meeting the creators of each piece as you stroll the beautiful park grounds is a tradition we all dearly missed last year. This year, we invite everyone back to create new lasting memories as they explore fabulous art, enjoy art-making demonstrations and activities, and experience a wide range of food and music.”

Presenting sponsor for this year’s festival is Genisys Credit Union.

Admission is free, but PCCA requests a $5 per person tax-deductible donation. Donations support Paint Creek Center for the Arts’ ability to work year-round promoting the arts in the region including art exhibitions, an art market, outreach programs, and more than 300 classes, workshops, and camp sessions every year. Donations also go to other local nonprofit groups, including Macomb Humane Society, Music Shapes, Meadow Brook Theatre Guild, and Neighborhood House.

Sponsorships, including festival booths, are available. For more information, call PCCA at 248-651-4110 or email sponsorships@pccart.org. PCCA is also seeking up to 300 volunteers to support the festival.  For information on how you can help, please call or visit here.