DBusiness Daily Update: Livonia-based Wag N’ Wash Opens Flagship Store in Ann Arbor, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies.
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Car wash
The Wag N’ Wash store in Ann Arbor will serve as a template for all future stores. // Photo courtesy of Wag N’ Wash

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.

Livonia-based Wag N’ Wash Opens Flagship Store in Ann Arbor

Wag N’ Wash, the Livonia-based self-wash, grooming, and natural pet food franchise, makes brand history with its first corporate store in Michigan, located in Ann Arbor.

This store serves as the flagship store for the franchise brand and will serve as the template for all future stores.

In February of 2022, Wag N’ Wash was acquired by PSP Group, which also is the parent company of Pet Supplies Plus, the largest independent pet franchise in North America with more than 700 stores across the U.S.

Since then, Wag N’ Wash has doubled in store count with 25 locations currently open and 40 more in various stages of development. Although separate entities, the brands are rooted in and operate from the same proven business model and have the billion-dollar backing of more than 30 years of franchise and industry experience.

“We are on a positive trajectory at Wag N’ Wash with no intentions of slowing down,” says Chris Rowland, CEO of Wag N’ Wash and Pet Supplies Plus. “Pet Supplies Plus is a proven brand, and we’re proud to be backing Wag N’ Wash as it marches forward in its next era of success.”

Wag N’ Wash will celebrate with a formal grand opening event at the end of September, complete with weekend discounts, thousands of event giveaways, free pet washes and more.

Both Pet Supplies Plus and Wag N’ Wash are actively seeking single and multi-unit owners to join their growing families. To learn more about the Pet Supplies Plus franchise opportunity, visit petsuppliesplusfranchising.com. To learn more about the Wag N’ Wash franchise opportunity, visit wagnwashfranchising.com.

AM General Features Mission Ready and Future Driven Technology at DSEI 2023

AM General, which has a facility in Auburn Hills, is displaying its next generation light tactical vehicle, HUMVEE Saber, this week at the Defense Security and Equipment International (DSEI) tradeshow at the ExCel London Exhibition Centre in the U.S. Pavilion.

Collaborating with top defense industry partners, AM General will highlight the vehicle’s adaptability as a platform that intuitively accommodates advanced weapons systems. Additionally, the company will mark the global premiere of its refreshed brand identity.

“We are excited to be a part of DSEI 2023 and look forward to discussing with our international customers how we best serve them in our mutual mission to support the warfighter,” says John Chadbourne, executive vice president and chief development officer at AM General. “We couldn’t be prouder of our teammates who work hard to develop industry-leading improvements and technologies that are featured across our product portfolio, and in the HUMVEE Saber in particular.”

Ypsilanti’s Underground Printing Announces New Location in West Virginia

Underground Printing (UGP), an Ypsilanti-based provider of custom printed apparel, accessories, and promotional items, announces a move to a new storefront in Morgantown, W.V., near downtown Morgantown’s Historic District.

The new location will be able to support the entire Morgantown area community, including West Virginia University, with all of their custom printing needs.

“We’re thrilled to relocate to this new storefront, minutes from campus, in downtown Morgantown,” says Rishi Narayan, co-founder of UGP. “We’re rapidly expanding our retail footprint to meet the demands of our ever-growing custom printing business. Our new location is larger, allowing us to accommodate more custom orders than ever while remaining close enough to support our WVU family.”

G2 Consulting Group Secures As-needed Contracts with Michigan Municipalities

G2 Consulting Group, a Troy-based geotechnical, environmental and construction engineering services firm, has contracted with the City of Novi as the latest Michigan municipality to join its growing portfolio of “as-needed” engineering contracts. As-needed contracts speed services and cut costs for communities.

G2 Consulting works with dozens of Michigan cities, townships, counties, and state agencies under as-needed engineering contracts that typically have multi-year terms. G2’s services are wide ranging, however, are centered on infrastructure where the firm provides environmental and geotechnical engineering and materials testing services on projects including storm water and sewer, roadways, bridges, utilities, dams, and more to their municipal partners.

Without an as-needed contract, municipalities are left to create unique proposal packages for each project, then review the bids, determine if the supplier is up to the challenge, negotiate price, then educate the supplier on the existing systems and issues — all before the work begins.

The company says G2’s scope of work differs for each locale. Although G2’s individual profit margins are typically lower on as-needed contracts compared to a one-off project, the firm benefits from the certainty of work. The efficiencies go both-ways. The client doesn’t have to navigate a cumbersome bid process with unknown suppliers. Their as-needed contractor enters projects with a clear understanding of goals and challenges both on the site itself and in the broader municipal infrastructure ecosystem.

For more information, visit g2consultinggroup.com.

Washington, D.C.’s BMH Acquires Myers Forklift in Dowagiac

Washington, D.C.-based has acquired Myers Forklift in Dowagiac. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“BMH has a strong vision for the future. The Myers Forklift acquisition fits with our strategic vision to continue to grow BMH by offering high-quality equipment and professional maintenance in our service areas,” says James Wiese, president of BMH. “As a one-stop-shop for all warehouse equipment, I am eager to see our business evolve in Indiana and Illinois. We look forward to serving our growing Midwest customer base and Myers existing customers in the Dowagiac area.”

With the recent acquisition comes the rights for BMH to sell and service Heli forklifts, a respected industry brand.

Indianapolis Company Opens New Network Health Center in Kalamazoo

Marathon Health, a provider of direct primary care for employers based in Indianapolis, announced its expansion into Kalamazoo with the opening of its newest Network health center.

Kalamazoo is now the eighth U.S. market where Marathon operates its Network model, offering accessible, independent, and personalized primary care to employers of all sizes.

 

Marathon Health works with employers to build and operate onsite, Network and virtual health centers. With more than 300 health centers in 43 states and over 1.2 million members, the health centers share the same focus: providing high-touch care for employees and their families, while reducing the overall cost of healthcare for both the employee and employer.

Kalamazoo County Government is the first organization to partner with the new Marathon Health Network in the city. The health center provides more than 850 county employees and their families with fast, convenient, and free access to primary care, sick care, screenings, blood work, medication management, behavioral health, physical therapy, and health coaching, among several other services.

New York Community Bank, Flagstar Bank Merger Results in New Brand Identity

The acquisition of Flagstar Bank by New York Community Bank was complete on Dec. 1, 2022, and now Flagstar a new brand identity.

The new Flagstar brand will seamlessly merge the best of both companies into a fresh, differentiated concept delivering a new energy in banking, according to the company.

The new logo features a large outer star — Flagstar’s North Star — designed to create a sense of power, responsibility, aspiration, and purpose with its points signaling strength and stability. The lowercase “flagstar,” combined with clean, crisp edges, communicates a less formal, more approachable financial institution. The inner star symbolizes Flagstar’s relationship with customers and clients — who are at the center of everything the bank does.

Work is ongoing to integrate the two banks’ systems, processes, and people to form one unified bank operating under the Flagstar name. Systems conversion between Flagstar and NYCB will occur Presidents’ Day Weekend 2024.

PulteGroup Receives New $300K Commitment to Support Built to Honor Program

PulteGroup has received a new three-year, $300,000 commitment from the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic organization directed by the family of PulteGroup founder William J. Pulte, to support the Built to Honor program.

Now in its 10th year, Built to Honor has provided 76 new mortgage-free homes worth a combined $35 million to wounded military veterans across the country. The Pulte Family Charitable Foundation has supported Built to Honor since 2021.

“We are grateful for the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation’s continued support for Built to Honor and for our shared commitment to honoring the legacy of our founder, Bill Pulte, in all that we do,” says Ryan Marshall, president and CEO of PulteGroup. “Among his lasting impacts is a strong set of values for how we serve our customers, our communities and each other to make lives better through homeownership. Thanks to the generosity of the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation, our trade partners and other donors, even more veterans and their families will have a home to call their own as they transition to life after military service.”

With the support of partners such as the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation, this year PulteGroup is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Built to Honor. Launched in 2013, the program so far has built and donated 76 homes across the country. Recently, PulteGroup employees surprised U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Liby and U.S. Army Sergeant Keysia Calmese with the news that they will receive homes through Built to Honor.

Veterans selected for the Built to Honor program must have demonstrated financial need, do not currently own a home or land, and meet other eligibility requirements. Consistent with PulteGroup’s beliefs regarding the value of diversity and inclusion, the company works with veteran organizations to identify veteran candidates and ensure that recipients of Built to Honor homes reflect the diversity present within our country and the United States military.

8 Mile Vodka Wins Top Award at Vodka Masters 2023

Detroit-based 8 Mile Vodka, produced by Detroiters Liquor, has been awarded the Masters medal in the Super Premium flight at the Vodka Masters 2023 in London, England.

8 Mile Vodka beat out competitors from around the world, in the Super Premium flight category. Panelist, Herchelle Perez Terrado, founder of Drinks Partnership, praised the brand’s, “clean, grapefruit aroma, great body and mouthfeel around the tongue, followed by delightful peppery heat balance with light bitter astringency.”

This is the latest in a string of awards and recognition for 8 Mile Vodka. Last year, it won two of the highest recognitions in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for Best in Class: Vodka and Best of Class: Overall Vodka along with the Double Gold Medal Award for Taste and was also the 2022 MicroSpirits Liquor Association Triple Gold Winner. The year prior, 8 Mile Vodka brought home a Gold Medal from the 2021 Sip Awards International Spirits Competition for a “strong recommendation” judged in a double-blind tasting.

“We are honored to receive this medal and winning top awards and major recognition consistently for the past few years is surreal and further showcases to the world that 8 Mile Vodka is one of the best vodkas around,” says Anthony Tomey, co-owner of 8 Mile Vodka.

For more information, visit 8milevodka.com.

Empower Loyola Campaign to Drive Student Development, Make Campus Improvements

This morning, Loyola High School in northwest Detroit started its 30th anniversary year by announcing a $9 million campaign entitled “Empower Loyola:  A Campaign for Exceptional Sons.”

Highlights of the campaign include:

  • A new welcome center along Fenkell Road near Wyoming with prominent Loyola signage and safe ease of entry and exit for students, parents, staff, and visitors alike.
  • A student courtyard that will provide a great outdoor gathering place for students and a beautiful place for quiet reflection.
  • A new 200-seat chapel that will be the first all-new Catholic place of worship to be built in the city of Detroit since the mid-1960s.
  • A scholarship fund to bridge the gap between the cost to serve a Loyola student and the tuition received.
  • A Faculty Retention Fund to recruit and retain the dedicated teachers of Loyola.

“This is a momentous day in the proud history of Loyola High School,” says Dave Smith, president of Loyola. “I’d like to thank the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as our co-sponsor The Midwest Jesuits, for their ongoing and unwavering support, along with that of our community and civic leaders.

Over the past two years, $6.5 million already has been raised by the high school – all of it coming from private donors. Wednesday’s event marks the public launch of the Empower Loyola campaign during which Loyola High School hopes to raise an additional $2.5 million to fund the entire project.

Kettering University to Host First Hackathon on Saturday

Kettering University in Flint is hosting its inaugural Hackathon for high school students from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center.

The event brings together 50 juniors and seniors to test their skills and showcase their problem-solving abilities in a programming competition.

“We want to bring more awareness to Computer Science at Kettering,” says Michael Farmer, head of Kettinging’s Computer Science Department. “With the boom of AI, it’s accelerating the interest. There’s really cool work being done in all kinds of industrial sectors, and that’s driven by Computer Science.”

In this Hackathon, participants are given a series of programming challenges that start simple and get increasingly difficult. The top finishers will receive prizes. First prize is a PlayStation 5; second prize is a Nintendo Switch; and third prize is a high-quality gaming headset.

Students from the Computer Science Department and Computer Science alumni and students participating on the Kettering Esports team will be available to mentor the participants too.

Farmer says the competition is just the beginning. He hopes to schedule more Hackathons in the future.

He also hopes the competition will debunk some misconceptions about Computer Science.

“It’s not being alone in your basement; it’s team-based,” says Farmer, noting he worked on teams from 25 to 200 in various industries. “… It’s more than programming. It’s thinking through constructing a system that’s compelling to use and easy to understand. The coding is cool because you can implement it, but it’s also very creative. You’re basically teaching a machine to do something.”

He said a career in Computer Science could take students to any industry, including automotive, aerospace, insurance, finance, health care, and government.

New Heart Heroes Get Hearts Pumping in Elementary Schools Across Michigan 

The American Heart Association has introduced a new collection of characters that will serve as this year’s Heart Heroes for the Kids Heart Challenge campaign. These eight heroes encourage students to get active and learn more about how to impact their health as well as that of their families and communities.

Each hero represents a positive trait that aligns with the school-based initiative aimed at improving students’ health while raising life-saving donations for the American Heart Association.

This year’s Heart Heroes are:

  • Buster, who loves to cheer on and celebrate others. Buster is the one throwing a party to celebrate all the kids and grown-ups who are pitching in to raise funds to help kids with special hearts as part of Kids Heart Challenge.
  • Skip, who knows that when it comes to vaping and tobacco, the best choice is to just SKIP it!
  • Bolt, who knows being active is a real boost to mood, muscle strength and brain power.
  • Beat, who encourages everyone to learn Hands-Only CPR because calling 9-1-1 and performing CPR could save a life.
  • Star, who knows a good night’s sleep not only helps you feel good, it also keeps your heart and brain healthy over time.
  • Splash, who loves creating fun and healthy things to eat and drink to support a strong and healthy heart.
  • Tru, who began a Kids Heart Challenge Kindness Club that looks for acts of service they can do to help others.
  • Spark, who loves science, technology, engineering, and math.

These heroes will be intertwined into the Kids Heart Challenge campaign that engages 690 elementary schools and 185,728 students in Michigan. Through the challenge, students learn healthy habits including staying active, drinking water, getting plenty of sleep, being kind to themselves, reducing screen time, and saying no to vaping and tobacco.

To get a school involved with the Kids Heart Challenge, visit here.

SamRose Entertainment Presents the Funny Women of a Certain Age Tour Oct. 17-20

SamRose Entertainment has partnered with Funny Women of a Certain Age to bring the show to Michigan audiences Oct. 17-20.

The tour will feature creator Carole Montgomery, Julia Scotti, Leighann Lord, and Michigan’s Ann Duke. Special guests at select venues will include some of Michigan’s top Funny Women of a Certain Age including Coco, Connie Ettinger, and Marti Johnson.

The upcoming Michigan tour dates include:

  • 17 – The Dow Event Center, Saginaw
  • 18 – The Flagstar Strand Theatre, Pontiac
  • 19 – Kellogg Arena, Battle Creek
  • 20 – City Opera House, Traverse City

Doors open at 7 p.m. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. for all shows. Ticket prices range from $26.50-$75 and can be found at samroseent.com.

A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Pink Fund.