DBusiness Daily Update: Lexus Velodrome in Detroit to Host Track Racing Championships, 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.
The fastest bike racers from around the world will be competing this weekend at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit. // File Photo
The fastest bike racers from around the world will be competing this weekend at the Lexus Velodrome in Detroit. // File Photo

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.

Lexus Velodrome in Detroit to Host Track Racing Championships

The fastest bike racers from around the world will be competing on the fastest track in the country this weekend, March 18-19, at the Lexus Velodrome Track Racing Championships.

Racers from Venezuela and the Czech Republic, national title holders from the U.S. and high caliber Detroit-trained athletes will be competing for cash and the 2021-22 Champion title.

The two-day matchup is promoted by the American Cycling League, permitted by USA Cycling and culminates a racing program that began in September but was interrupted by COVID and the collapse of the Lexus Velodrome in December. (It was re- inflated in time for racing in February.)

Contested will be the Elimination – a game where the last rider to cross the line is “eliminated” from the field until two racers are left to compete for the final sprint; the Chase – an a race demanding endurance and high end speed from start to finish; and the Madison, a two-person team, relay-style race where partners literally “throw” each other into the race and rack up points in series of mid-race sprints. Racers hit speeds up to 40 mph on bikes without brakes. The team with the most points wins.

Competition takes place on the state-of-the-art Lexus Velodrome Cycling Track, a 1/10th Mile/166 Meter oval banked 50 degrees in the turns and 15 degrees in the straights.

Racing starts 7:30 pm each night. Tickets are $15 in advance here or at the door. The Lexus Velodrome is located at 601 Mack Ave, northwest corner of Mack and I-75. Free parking is available in adjacent lot.

Auxo Investment Partners Acquires California Wire Harness and Cable Company

Grand Rapids Private investment firm Auxo Investment Partners has acquired Golden State Assembly (GSA), a vertically integrated, complete lifecycle wire/cable assembly and harness manufacturer headquartered in Fremont, Calif. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

GSA founders Cesar and Yesenia Madrueno will retain a significant interest in the company and will remain in their operating roles.

Founded in 2007, GSA primarily designs and assembles wire harnesses and cable assemblies for a variety of customers in the automotive, aerospace, industrial equipment, medical device, electronics, specialty vehicle, and energy industries that range from Fortune 50 companies to small and medium-sized organizations.

GSA also provides value-add manufacturing services such as kitting, electromechanical assemblies, and outsourced quality control processes, and has in-house machine shop and PCB assembly capabilities.

“Working with Auxo will enable us to affirm our customer-first mindset within our existing customer base while introducing us to manufacturing partners who increasingly demand the types of highly responsive, complex, and quality-sensitive solutions that we are accustomed to providing,” says Cesar Madrueno. “The Auxo team understands how important hands-on collaboration and customer loyalty have been to our continued growth and success. We are exceptionally proud of our team and culture of excellence, and we are excited to bolster our market position by expanding our sales infrastructure and leveraging new opportunities.”

Jeff Helminski, co-founder and managing partner of Auxo Investment Partners, says, “We are thrilled to partner with Cesar and Yesenia to further solidify GSA’s strong position serving some of the world’s fastest growing industries. By drawing on Auxo’s playbook for developing growth-focused infrastructure and maximizing both organic and acquisitive growth opportunities, we can strengthen GSA’s preexisting relationships with renowned tech companies and foster new partnerships in a variety of sectors. GSA has a deep commitment to customer and employee relationships that make for a passionate workforce and a satisfied clientele –– and we can’t wait to carry that spirit forward.”

Coulter Delivers State of the County Address, Unveils 5-year Plan

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter revealed his roadmap for Oakland County’s future during his State of the County speech Tuesday night at the M1 Concourse Event Center in Pontiac.

The five-year strategic framework commits Oakland County to “All ways, moving forward,” by making a real and measurable impact in three primary areas: a strong economy, healthy and safe communities, and opportunities for residents to live their best lives.

“Our mission is simple, but powerful: To serve through collaborative leadership and to help support communities where residents flourish and businesses thrive,” says Coulter, who set the tone for the evening by driving a Chevrolet Bolt EUV, produced at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Oakland County, into the event space to recognize GM’s recent announcement of a $4 billion investment in the plant to produce the Chevrolet Silverado EV and electric GMC Sierra, adding 2,300 new jobs.

Prior to the speech, Coulter met with residents and several community organizations to hear firsthand what people want most from the county.

“Residents want a strong economy and training programs to help prepare workers for high-paying, in demand jobs,” Coulter says. “They’ve asked for accessible health care — including mental health — and affordable housing. They’ve told me that we need to help our kids catch up in school. And they want Oakland County to be a place where people feel safe, heard and welcomed.”

Coulter outlined his administration’s plans for a strong economy including Business Forward, designed to help entrepreneurs successfully emerge from the pandemic and grow their small businesses. With a team of nine business consultant. this program will bring resources straight to Oakland County’s 36,000 small business owners right in their own communities; and Project Diamond, a grant program created in collaboration with Automation Alley to help small manufacturers gain access to advanced manufacturing tools.

Next, Coulter highlighted the county’s progress toward connecting residents with health care and wraparound services through Health360, an initiative announced in his 2020 State of the County speech. Oakland County also has invested nearly $13 million in mental health services, including $2 million for the Oakland Together Mental Health and Wellbeing School Partnership. Through this grant program, health navigators are working directly with Oakland County schools to increase access to mental health services and support for students.

Coulter also announced how Oakland County is fostering new opportunities for residents to live their best lives, including the expansion of Oakland80, the county’s program to help 80 percent of adults secure a college education or training certificate by 2030.

Coulter also acknowledged that Oakland County is always Oxford Strong, remembering Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin, and Justin Shilling, the victims of the Oxford High School tragedy. One of their classmates, senior Ava Swiss, opened the State of the County speech by signing the National Anthem.

Coulter ended his remarks recognizing Oakland County’s Oakland Together 40 Under 40 Class of 2022, the 10th year of honoring young professionals who live or work in Oakland County who exemplify the best of Oakland County and what many aspire to be.

Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest Returns with $100K Donation from Comerica Bank

Comerica Bank and Hatch Detroit announce the return of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest and $100,000 donation from Comerica Bank to this year’s winner. The contest, which is returning for the first time since 2019, aims to promote small business economic development in Detroit.

Entrepreneurs with a retail concept looking to open a brick-and-mortar location in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck can now submit their business plans via the Hatch Detroit website through May 12.

“Hatch Detroit has become a vital resource for entrepreneurs and small business incubation over the past decade,” says Mike Richie, president of Comerica Bank Michigan Market. “The impact Hatch Detroit has made on growing and developing opportunities throughout Detroit is leaving an indelible mark on the economic revitalization of the city. Entrepreneurs need access to both capital and technical assistance to succeed, and we believe our partnership can continue delivering a proven platform that helps launch new opportunities for business owners.”

The four-month contest includes two rounds of public voting — Top 10 and Top 4 — allowing the community to vote for their favorite businesses to win the $100,000 grand prize from Comerica Bank as well as a package of accounting, legal, IT, and public relations support from Hatch Detroit and its partners.

“Our focus from the very beginning of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest was not only to launch one business, but to create an entire ecosystem of support that stimulates opportunities for entrepreneurs and generate a network of businesses who are prepared to navigate the challenges of launching a new venture in Detroit,” says Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. “The past two years have added to those challenges, and we worked closely with our alumni keep their doors open. With the tremendous support of our partners, now is the time to present this contest once again to entrepreneurs and support new business growth in our city and neighborhoods.”

Key contest dates include:

March 15: Submissions begin
May 12: Submission period ends
June 16: Top 10 announced
June 17: Voting begins
June 23: Top 10 voting ends
June 24: Top 4 announced and voting begins
June 30: Top 4 voting ends
July 21: Winner announced at Hatch Off

Florida Firm Acquires Cloverdale Equipment Co. of Detroit, Grand Rapids

Cloverdale Equipment Co., which has core operations in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, is being acquired by Herc Holdings Inc. of Bonita Springs, Fla. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Cloverdale is a full-service general equipment rental company comprising approximately 120 employees and four locations serving construction and industrial customers. The addition expands Herc Rentals’ presence to 14 physical locations, which provide general and specialty equipment rental solutions and related services.

“I look forward to welcoming Cloverdale Equipment to Team Herc,” says Larry Silber, president and CEO of Herc. “With nearly 60 years of history, Cloverdale’s team brings substantial equipment rental experience and a strong reputation for exceptional customer service, top-quality equipment and operational excellence.”

New York Lighting, Furniture Company to Open Second Location in West Michigan

High-end lighting and furniture company Roll & Hill will be opening a second location in Wyoming, south of Grand Rapids.

The $1.5 million capital investment will add 50 jobs and was done in collaboration with The Right Place Inc. and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Roll & Hill is a design-minded furniture and lighting company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Each Roll & Hill piece is made one at a time by hand. The company worked with The Right Place and city of Wyoming to open its first production facility in Wyoming in 2020 and has steadily increased its presence in the region since the initial expansion. The new location will house production of the company’s lighting.

“As Roll & Hill continues to expand, Wyoming remains an excellent location for our growth,” says Jason Miller, creative director and CEO of Roll & Hill. “Our experience opening our first location in Wyoming was exceptional, and we’re looking forward to establishing our second. We’re thankful to the team at The Right Place and their partners at the City of Wyoming and MEDC for their partnership and collaborative support as we invest in our local production facilities.”

The Right Place worked closely with the MEDC to ensure the company continued its growth in the region rather than out-of-state locations. With the approval of a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant, the MEDC is supporting the expansion through the Michigan Strategic Fund. West Michigan Works! and Grand Rapids Community College also will be supporting the project with a workforce training package.