DBusiness Daily Update: Livonia’s Bill Brown Ford Becomes World’s No. 1 Ford Dealer, 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.
Focusing on customer service helped Bill Brown Ford in Livonia become the world’s No. 1 volume Ford dealership. // Courtesy of Bill Brown Ford
Focusing on customer service helped Bill Brown Ford in Livonia become the world’s No. 1 volume Ford dealership. // Courtesy of Bill Brown Ford

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.

Livonia’s Bill Brown Ford Becomes World’s No. 1 Ford Dealer

Bill Brown Ford in Livonia has been named the No. 1 Ford dealership in the world based on sales volume.

The region has not been home to the globe’s top Ford dealer for more than three decades. That honor had been traded between larger dealer groups in Florida and California for the last 31 years.

“We do things differently at Bill Brown,” says Tom Brown, grandson of Bill Brown. “We’re focused on delivering a seamless automotive experience that ensures our customers can move forward on their terms. That’s what drives us. Being named the No. 1 Ford dealership in the world is a huge step forward in our effort to reinvent the auto-buying process.”

Bill Brown Ford has a 100-year history of anticipating and understanding its customers’ automotive needs, say officials. Some of the dealership’s staff has been working there for more than 40 years.

“This is a historic win that finally brings this title back to the Detroit region where it belongs,” says Dave Tashman, general manager of Bill Brown Ford. “This win proves that a dealership can put their customers, community, and employees first, and still succeed at the highest level.”

Owners of Birmingham Restaurant Shorten Name to Hazel’s

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown co-owners Beth Hussey and Emmele Herrold have changed the name of their restaurant to Hazel’s.

When Hussey and Herrold originally opened the restaurant in October 2018, they intended to create a place the whole community could embrace. And they named it after the three neighborhoods that converged right where the restaurant stands. Over time, the owners, staff, and guests came to call it simply Hazel’s.

Working with Detroit’s Skidmore Studio in 2021, they chose to refresh the look and feel of Hazel’s and stick with its shorter name. Designers created a look that reflects the dedication to a rotating seasonal seafood menu that evokes visits to the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Shores.

Jan. 6-April 4 marks the return of Hazel’s Crab Trap, Hazel’s winter seasonal menu inspired by spring break getaways to the Gulf and Florida coast.

Hazel’s Crab Trap will be available daily at lunch and dinner. Each weekend guests can choose from the seafood menu or a diner-style brunch with long-standing favorites like crab cake and eggs and pancakes.

For more information, visit EatatHazels.com.

Priority Health is First Michigan Insurer to Use Epic’s Payer Platform

Priority Health in Grand Rapids is partnering with Epic, the most widely used and comprehensive health record system, to implement Payer Platform with its delivery system, Spectrum Health, and other contracted providers already using Epic.

The technology will allow for bidirectional real-time exchange of patient health information at the point of care between Priority Health and providers. Through Epic’s Payer Platform, Priority Health aims to reduce administrative burden for providers, lower the cost of care for members, and improve quality of care.

Priority Health, the first insurer in Michigan to implement Epic’s Payer Platform, notes that the investment is a major component of its long-term strategy to accelerate value-based care. The platform will drive higher quality care and outcomes by:

  • Streamlining data flows, resulting in enhanced transparency and actionability.
  • Equipping providers with a broader view of patients’ health, meaning providers can make more informed decisions at the point of care.
  • Improving care coordination, with an enhanced focus on evidence-based medicine.
  • Reducing administrative burden for providers and speeding up the prior authorization process.

“We understand that data from a health plan needs to be actionable at the point of care to drive effective engagement from our provider partners,” says Praveen Thadani, president of Priority Health. “Because Priority Health is part of an integrated delivery system, we are uniquely positioned to excel in this space, and have the needed tools and resources for successfully implementing an advanced information sharing tool.”

Payer Platform analyzes information surrounding patients’ medication history, overdue medical services or exams, and chronic condition management strategies, to give providers a more holistic view of a patient’s health, which is essential for value-based models of care.

“The way the industry shares information today can be complex and inefficient,” says Dr. Alejandro Quiroga, senior vice president and chief medical officer of ambulatory and population health at Spectrum Health. “Payer Platform allows for a more collaborative relationship between payers and providers, which is key for delivering quality care.”

Priority Health will launch Payer Platform with contracted providers already using Epic, including all Spectrum Health providers, in 2022.

Birmingham Restaurant Week Returns for 17th Year

Birmingham’s Restaurant Week, presented by Bank of Ann Arbor – Birmingham, returns for its 17th year Jan. 24-28, and Jan. 31-Feb. 4.

“Downtown Birmingham is known regionally as a premier dining destination, offering a variety of restaurants and cuisines,” says Sean Kammer, executive director of the Birmingham Shopping District. “Restaurant Week is a great time to try something new, or visit your local favorites for special menus and pricing.

“The atmosphere remains festive this time of year, with thousands of lights lining the downtown streetscape. Plus, in the last few months, several new retailers have opened, so you may want to plan some extra time to walk around and see the shops while you’re here.”

Visit here for event details but contact restaurants directly for reservations.

APACC Unveils 2022 Networking Events Schedule

The Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APACC) based in Farmington Hills has released its schedule of events for 2022 that include networking and business connection gatherings as well as its annual gala.

The first event is Neighborly Networking 2022 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Jan. 13 at the Sherator Detroit Novi Hotel. The cost if $5 for members and $10 for future members. Click here for registration information.

The 19th annual APACC East-West Business Connection — “Rules of Change – Adaptability and Sustainability” — will take place from 9:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m. on March 3 at the Detroit Marriott Troy. Visit here to register.

The 21st annual APACC Gala is slated to take place from 5:30-10 p.m. on May 7 at the MGM Grand Detroit. Visit here for more information and to register.

Gage Growth Corp. to Add Ann Arbor Retail Location

Gage Growth Corp., a Detroit-based cannabis premium brand and operator, will open a provisioning center in Ann Arbor at 2460 West Stadium Blvd. in the first quarter of this year.

The company will operate its newest location, its first in Ann Arbor, as a Cookies branded store.

This will be the 18th provisioning center in the Gage portfolio.

Since announcing its partnership with the international cannabis lifestyle brand in 2019, Gage has opened Cookies dispensaries in Detroit and Kalamazoo. In August 2021, Gage extended its existing agreement as Cookies’ exclusive cultivator, manufacturer, and distributor in Michigan until 2026.

“Ann Arbor paved the way for Michigan’s first adult-use retail experience, and we are proud to introduce Cookies’ highly coveted retail experiences to the residents and visitors of this vibrant community,” says Fabian Monaco, CEO of Gage. “We look forward to bringing our portfolio of nationally recognized brands to Ann Arbor while continuously strengthening Michigan’s position as a leading cannabis market in the U.S.”

Grown Rogue Reports $2.14M in Q4 Michigan Revenue

Oregon-based Grown Rogue International Inc., a multi-state cannabis company with operations and assets in its home state and Michigan, reports revenue of $3.76 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, $2.14 million from its business in Michigan.

The company’s results represent an overall increase of 24 percent from the previous quarter and a Michigan increase of 22 percent.

Grown Rogue says it expects its Michigan market share to increase in fiscal 2022 as additional cultivation capacity comes online and the company enters new product categories.

MedCerts in Livonia and New York College Open the Door to Career Success

MedCerts, a provider of online health care and IT certification training, and Excelsior College in Albany, N.Y. are providing a path to higher education and career advancement for thousands of students nationwide.

Through the first academic partnership of its kind for MedCerts, students and alumni can apply their completed courses to up to nine transferable credit hours in a number of Excelsior College’s degree programs, including associate in science in liberal arts or health sciences and bachelor of sciences in health sciences or health care management.

“By partnering with Excelsior College, MedCerts will lower the barriers to entry for our graduates into continuing education and career growth,” says Jason Aubrey, CEO of MedCerts. “This partnership will build on our legacy of transforming the career trajectories of our students and alumni with an increasingly comprehensive career success platform.”

MedCerts has helped more than 35,000 students earn credentials for careers in health care and IT fields. MedCerts students engage in online, hands-on career training courses to prepare for one of more than 20 national certifications. More than 1,000 organizations have hired MedCerts students or are offering training and employment opportunities for employees, including CVS Pharmacy, DaVita Dialysis, Walmart, and the American Red Cross.

For more information about which programs and certifications of MedCerts are applicable for degree credit at Excelsior, visit medcerts.com.

Oak Park Approves Recreation Master Plan Update Study

The Oak Park City Council unanimously approved SmithGroup to lead the community’s Recreation Master Plan Update and Comprehensive Asset Study over the next nine months.

This project is expected to transform Oak Park’s quality of life amenities by developing an implementation-ready plan, based on public input, that will improve existing amenities and create new recreational opportunities.

“Oak Park is in the midst of a metamorphosis and the SmithGroup has the experience, vision, and toolkit necessary to bring our community into the next phase,” says Erik Tungate, Oak Park city manager. “Oak Park is becoming a destination, and the results of this study will allow our ideas to converge and come to fruition, making Oak Park the destination. I can’t wait to embark on this transformative project with the Oak Park community.”

The SmithGroup was one of six consulting groups that submitted proposals to lead the comprehensive update to the city’s Recreation Master Plan and conduct the Recreation Asset Study. SmithGroup’s experience in updating recreation facilities, efficiently utilizing space in smaller parks, and its community engagement toolbox made it the design company best suited for the project, according to the city. The approved contract amount is $119,235.

In the coming weeks, city officials will begin working closely with the SmithGroup team to create a 10-year vision for Oak Park’s parks, recreation, open space, and trails. This vision will be based around thorough and authentic community input, a study of the city’s current recreation assets, and a comprehensive assessment of the city’s future recreation services, programs, and facilities needs.

“Our team at SmithGroup is excited about this opportunity to serve the city of Oak Park, and partner with the community to develop a visionary parks and recreation plan,” says Bob Doyle,  principal landscape architect at SmithGroup. “We look forward to learning more about Oak Park and creatively exploring opportunities for improving their park facilities. We are motivated by the value that the community places on quality of life, and on their parks and recreation system.”

Soon, Oak Park residents, business owners, and stakeholders will be encouraged to check the city’s website, social media sites, and facility lobbies to learn how they can provide input throughout this process.

Metro Seniors with Dementia to Be Welcomed Back to Southfield Day Program

The Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program reopened its Southfield location today at the main campus of JVS Human Services (29699 Southfield Road) after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Brown Program also has a location in West Bloomfield Township that was able to reopen slowly beginning in June 2021, with some previous Southfield attendees able to get transportation to the location.

Through in person and virtual offerings, the Brown Program provided services to 67 people living with dementia and 103 care partners received in person, virtual and/or telephonic supports from October through December 2021. The Brown Program is a joint initiative of Jewish Senior Life and JVS Human Services which has been offering innovative and stimulating programs for more than 20 years for those living with dementia, as well as providing support to their families.

“We have families and participants who have been waiting very eagerly to return in person to Southfield and we are so excited to welcome them back,” says Debi Banooni, director of the program. “We have kept in contact and have offered outreach to our families but there is a big difference between virtual programming being offered for an hour compared to a full day of programming being offered in person. Now family members can get on with their schedule knowing that their loved one is having a meaningful and engaging experience.”

The Southfield location initially will be offering services from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday, ramping up to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are strict COVID-19 precautions in place. For example, the program is only open to people who are fully vaccinated and who are from fully vaccinated households; participants must wear a mask; participants require a negative PCR test on the first day of attendance; social distancing is practiced (which affects the number of people who can be served); and all participants have a health screen at the start of the day. Family members are not permitted inside the program.

For more information, call 248-233-4000 (Southfield) or 248-661-6390 (West Bloomfield Township) or email info@brownadultday.org.