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.
Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Makes Top 25 Historic Film Hotels List
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island has landed on the list of the Top 25 Historic Hotels of America in Film and Television History, released by Historic Hotels of America, an official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Opened in 1887, the Grand Hotel has been a movie icon since 1980 when Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer starred in “Somewhere in Time” set at the hotel.
The filmmakers not only took advantage of the hotel’s sweeping views and Victorian exteriors, they shot much of “Somewhere in Time” inside the Grand Hotel itself. The movie became a cult classic over the subsequent decades and still claims a following. The movie’s fans meet annually at the Grand Hotel in late October.
The Grand Hotel has two bookable suites dedicated to the film: the “Somewhere in Time” Suite and the Jane Seymour Suite. Both rooms are decorated with memorabilia from the movie. The resort also offers a special Somewhere in Time Weekend event package. Visitors to the island also can visit the “Somewhere in Time” Gazebo, a romantic Queen Anne-style gazebo featured in the film, located at the state park west of Fort Mackinac.
Guy Fieri to Open Chicken Guy! Restaurant in Livonia April 1
Chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Guy Fieri and Farmington Hills-based The Tomey Group will open a Chicken Guy! restaurant in Livonia on April 1. This will be the brand’s first location in Michigan.
Hatched from the minds of chef Guy Fieri and renowned restaurateur, Robert Earl, the new Chicken Guy! will be the chain’s eighth location and strengthen Fieri’s commitment to introducing his fast-casual and quick-service offerings for guests. Another 19 locations are scheduled to be opening in southeast Michigan within a couple of ears, under the partnership of The Tomey Group. This partnership makes The Tomey Group the largest franchise partner in the country.
“The people of The Motor City have spoken,” Fieri says. “I’m bringin’ my real deal chicken tenders, sandwiches, and shakes to Livonia. From shooting DDD to taking part in the Woodward Dream Cruise, the Detroit area has always been a go-to for me, so I’m stoked for everyone to give us a try. See ya there.”
Anthony Tomey, CEO of The Tomey Group, says: “We are excited to announce the opening of the first Chicken Guy! in Michigan and partner with one of our favorite chefs and TV personalities. The food and variety of sauces are made with the expertise from Guy, that you can only imagine how delicious the food is. This is just the first location of many, as we have plans to expand to all over southeast Michigan.”
Guests will see an array of Fieri’s fan favorites, including signature sandwiches, chicken tender combos, salad bowls, and all the special sauces. The menu at Chicken Guy! will feature all-natural fresh chicken tenders, hand-pounded to maximize crunch and paired with a wide selection of delicious sauces. Brined in fresh lemon juice, pickle brine, buttermilk, and infused with fresh herbs, these tenders deliver on flavor and texture.
Chicken Guy! also offers 22 signature sauces to complement any menu item. Guests can also enjoy flavorful sides such as Chicken Guy! Fries with Guy’s special fry seasoning, Mac Daddy Mac ‘n Cheese, fried pickles, and fresh slaw to perfectly complete their meal.
For people who have a sweet tooth, desserts such as Triple Double Ice Cream Treat — triple chocolate and double-mint, or the Cinnamon Apple — a heaping cup of vanilla soft serve ice cream smothered in Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Apple Jacks cereal.
For additional information, visit chickenguy.com.
Mi Bank Earns 5-Star Rating for Strength and Stability
Mi Bank, a business bank based in Bloomfield Hills, was awarded a 5-star rating from BauerFinancial,Inc., the nation’s premier bank rating firm. The 5-star rating acknowledges Mi Bank for its financial strength and stability.
“At Mi Bank, we have always valued our bankers who work with customers to achieve their desired financial goals,” says Rob Farr, chairman and CEO of Mi Bank. “The convenience we provide through our state-of-the-art technology and superior personal services is tailored to each client. We are proud to have been awarded the highest rating from BauerFinancial.”
Earning Bauer’s coveted 5-Star superior rating indicates that Mi Bank is one of the strongest banks in the country, excelling in such areas as capital adequacy, delinquent loan levels, and profitability.
In 2019, Mi Bank was the first bank in the Midwest to establish itself in 10 years. The financial institution focuses on businesses with revenue from $5 million to $50 million, as well as real estate investors who require financing of $500,000 to $5 million.
“We filled an unmet need in the business lending community by ensuring each customer has a personal banker assigned to their relationship,” Farr says. “This model has changed business lending and provided a guidepost for how entrepreneurs and business owners can simplify their banking experience. We look forward to providing an exceptional banking experience to our customers through 2023 and beyond.”
Michigan’s Statewide Housing Plan Spurs Regional Partnership Meetings
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is conducting 15 Regional Housing Partnership (RHP) meetings to discuss the implementation of the Statewide Housing Plan (SHP). A mix of partners with a hand in housing — including land banks, developers, and nonprofits—have been invited to attend and share their respective priorities based on regional needs.
The first RHP meeting took place March 13 in Traverse City. Meetings will continue in 14 more regions, ending with an April 6 meeting in Gaylord. During all events, organizations will discover ways to get involved in localized work with the RHP closest to them and receive an overview of Michigan’s first Statewide Housing Plan, which they will leverage to identify priority areas and issues relevant to their communities.
“The RHP kickoff meetings will bring community leaders together to outline what must be done to address the local housing needs of their area,” says Amy Hovey, executive director of MSHDA. “The Statewide Housing Plan set the foundation for this work. Now we’re ready to act alongside our partners and fellow Michiganders to improve the housing landscape for the people we serve.”
To see the full schedule of regional meetings, visit here.
Toast Joins with 42 Degrees Processing in Kalkaska to Manufacture Cannabis Products
Toast, a Colorado-based cannabis brand, is partnering with 42 Degrees Processing in Kalkaska to bring a selection of Toast pre-rolls to the Michigan market.
Toast is a premium cannabis brand that has been crafting pre-rolls since 2017. It sets itself apart in the market by its commitment to genetics, high-quality flower, craftsmanship, and beautifully designed packaging. This partnership with 42 Degrees Processing allows Toast to expand its reach and provide “innovative, superior-quality” cannabis products to Michigan-based consumers.
“We are excited to be partnering with 42 Degrees Processing,” says Punit Seth, co-founder and CEO of Toast. “We selected 42 Degrees Processing due to their strong belief in the Toast vision, their exceptional manufacturing capability, and their successful track record in launching multiple brands in Michigan. Brands produced by 42 Degrees Processing have distribution that span over 70 percent of the state providing Toast with the perfect launchpad for success.”
In Related News: Birmingham-based cannabis-infused seltzer brand Happi is pioneering a new path in the cannabis beverage space with Happi Glow and Happi Nightcap. These beverages are designed to be perfect for day and night, respectively. Created with a blend of minor cannabinoids and non-psychedelic lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms, these formulas are the first of their kind, with Happi filing a patent application covering the formulation for the products.
Happi Glow is available in a citrusy, bright Blood Orange Ginger flavor. Each can has 5mg of THC, 5mg of CBD, 3mg of CBG, and 2mg of CBN. Each formula is vegan, gluten-free, and made with simple, all-natural ingredients. In addition to Glow and Nightcap, the brand also features two original flavors: Lemon Elderflower and Raspberry Honeysuckle.
For more information, visit here.
Clarience Technologies’ DAVCO Plans Expansion into Off-highway Diesel Market
DAVCO Technology, owned by Clarience Technologies in Southfield, is expanding its brand into the North American off-highway market this year by introducing DAVCO-branded diesel fuel/water separators for off-highway as well as strengthening its off-highway customer support.
“DAVCO is committed to providing customers with quality-built performance innovations that are supported by the deep and focused technical expertise of our dedicated field sales team,” says Scott Montesi, president of DAVCO Technology. “With this announcement, we believe our experience in off-highway applications over the last several decades — mostly invisible to customers until now — only stands to benefit customers in those industries in the years to come.”
Bankjoy’s Michael Duncan to Present the Latest Digital Banking Innovations
Michael Duncan, founder and CEO of Bankjoy, a Detroit-based digital banking provider, will present at Fintech Meetup during the Solutions Spotlight session at 9:15 a.m. March 21 in Las Vegas.
The Fintech Meetup Solutions Spotlight track is designed to highlight the most innovative fintechs in the market and showcase how their technologies are helping address the needs of financial institutions and their account holders across the U.S.
Duncan will present the latest enhancements to Bankjoy’s digital banking platform, including its new, standalone online account opening solution and its new business banking platform, both of which have seen rapid adoption among Bankjoy’s clients and their members.
Engineered by credit union executives, Bankjoy delivers modern banking technology, including mobile and online banking, e-statements, online account opening, online loan origination, and conversational AI to financial institutions of all sizes. Additionally, the company integrates with hundreds of third-party vendors and core banking platforms. As a result, Bankjoy makes it easier and more cost-effective for community banks and credit unions to deliver truly feature-rich digital banking technology to customers and members, whether they have a retail or business bank account.
“Adoption of digital tools — both by consumers and businesses — continues to rise,” says Duncan. “A recent study found that 85 percent of Americans plan to keep using digital tools to conduct their finances online or through mobile devices. The number of digital banking users in the country is forecasted to reach almost 217 million by 2025, according to Bankrate.
“At Bankjoy, our mission is to empower digital transformation at community banks and credit unions, and help these institutions offer a digital banking experience that rivals what larger banks, neobanks, and tech companies are able to deliver.”
To view the full agenda of the event, visit here.
Pontiac Regional Chamber to Honor GM’s Rosana G. Hull with the Spirit of Pontiac Award
The Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce will honor General Motors Co.’s Rosana G.
Hull’s contributions to the city of Pontiac at its Prosperity Pontiac event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the CenterPoint Marriott on March 29.
Hull will be presented with the Spirit of Pontiac Award for her work as campus management and community relations manager at the GM Pontiac Engineering Center. In that role, Hull influences GM’s community impact grants of $100,000 annually for the Pontiac and Orion region including the following programs: Pontiac READS!, Center for Success, and Kids First Initiative.
Hull also played a significant role in the GM-sponsored SAE International A World in Motion program that focuses on delivering a multi-week STEM program to students attending Pontiac School District elementary and middle schools. More than 700 students are participating in this STEM-based program this year alone, which is powered by GM volunteers, and has impacted up
to 10,000 students since 2012. In 2023, more than 60 volunteers, including 10 from the community, are in all 3rd to 5th grade classrooms in the district.
At the high school level, Hull also implements the Pontiac Schools Summer Internship program for the GM Pontiac Engineering Center. Since 2018, GM employs students each summer from International Technology Academy and Pontiac High School as pre-engineering interns. These programs have aided to create a viable school to career pipeline that successfully transitioned Pontiac students into full-time GM employees.
“Rosana Hull is an amazing force within the community.” says Damany Head, president and board chair of the Pontiac Chamber. “We are thrilled to acknowledge her vast contributions to the city of Pontiac. Her commitment to the city and dedication to service is inspirational. She has gone above and beyond and has set a high standard for others to follow.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
School Districts Group Launching School Infrastructure Study Across Michigan
A coalition of 12 Michigan Intermediate School Districts announced plans to launch a comprehensive statewide school infrastructure study. The review will provide lawmakers, school administrators, and parents with a better understanding of the long-term costs associated with building upkeep, necessary health and safety upgrades, and opportunities to support students’ needs for generations to come.
“We are excited that the Michigan Legislature has approved funding to support this critical study,” says Wanda Cook-Robinson, superintendent of Oakland Schools. “Our priority will always be the health and well-being of our students and staff. We anticipate the findings in the study will afford us the opportunity to proactively address the challenges caused by aging infrastructure. This is great news for our school community.”
The coalition will work with intermediate school districts and regional education service agencies across the state, as well as Michigan-based construction, engineering, and accounting firms to conduct the comprehensive study. The auditing process will be led by an engineering team that will visit every school building in Michigan to identify aging or unsafe infrastructure, needed safety or security upgrades and unused space that could be repurposed.
“Michigan is last in the nation when it comes to supporting school districts with their capital construction needs,” says Ron Koehler, superintendent of Kent ISD. “As a result, students in low-income communities struggle to learn in aged and outdated facilities. This study will help us set a common standard for learning environments to support all students, regardless of their zip code.”
The well-being and overall safety of students and staff will be a major focus, with the audit assessing buildings statewide to provide an aggregated look into the needs schools have throughout the state.
The study aligns with the recommendations included in the release of School Finance Research Collaborative’s initial groundbreaking study of Michigan’s school finances in 2018, along with its subsequent 2021 update, which remains the gold-standard review of Michigan’s school funding formula. The study left open three key areas for review that could not be completed due to time and resource constraints: transportation, high poverty, and facilities. Work on a transportation study began in 2021 and was released publicly in September 2022. This latest phase is being conducted through the School Finance Research Foundation (SFRF), a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and will be released by the SFRC upon its completion.
For more information, visit fundmischools.org.
Detroit’s Karriem Riggins to Serve as Detroit Jazz Festival Artist-in-residence
The Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation has named Karriem Riggins as its artist-in-residence for the 2023 Detroit Jazz Festival. Riggins is a renowned jazz musician, producer, DJ, and Emmy Award winner from Detroit.
As the 2023 artist-in-residence, Riggins will support Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation educational initiatives for students and community engagement activities across the region throughout the year. In addition, he will lead multiple diverse performances during the festival on Labor Day weekend and be on the campus of Wayne State University to host a master class for university and high school students on April 11. Riggins also will perform during the April 12 Preview Event, which will be livestreamed for free on detroitjazzfest.org.
“The selection of Karriem Riggins as the 2023 artist-in-residence represents our mission to embrace the next generation of jazz leadership, and jazz’s continuous evolution that makes this genre of music so special and eternal,” says Chris Collins, president and artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation. “His artistry, energy, transcending jazz style and presence will create an exciting showcase of talent and diverse tapestry coming from the festival stages.”
The Detroit Jazz Festival will take place in downtown Detroit on Sept. 1-4.