DBusiness Daily Update: Owners of Taylor’s Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn Compete in Online Competition, and More

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.
Antonio and Stacey Spano, owners of Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn in Taylor, competed in “The Blox” online entrepreneur competition. // Courtesy of Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn
Antonio and Stacey Spano, owners of Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn in Taylor, competed in “The Blox” online entrepreneur competition. // Courtesy of Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn

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.

Owners of Taylor’s Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn Compete in Online Competition

The owners of Poppin’ & Mixin’ Kettle Corn in Taylor recently participated in the fourth season of an online competition “docuseries” for entrepreneurs that will be available to view starting today on Facebook and YouTube.

Called “The Blox,” the program pits entrepreneurs against each other in a series of pitches, consults, and exercises that are judged by established entrepreneurs.

According to Poppin’ & Mixin’ co-owner Antonio Spano, he and his wife, Stacey, finished in the top 10 out of 50,000 companies who applied to participate. Sixty companies were selected to travel to Kansas City to be on the show.

“It was the most intense, stressful, grueling thing we’ve ever done, but it was also extremely rewarding because of the knowledge we gained from the concepts learned that are going to help grow and scale our business,” Spano says. “That is also the benefit to the viewers of the show, the information they learn as they watch.”

“The Blox” was created by Wes Bergmann, who was on MTV’s “Real World” in 2005 and competed in many of the network’s televised challenges over the last 25 years. Bergmann started an incubator company called Beta Blox that helps start-ups and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow and succeed. “The Blox” combines his reality TV and business life together.

“The concepts and exercises we learned and competed against in the show are basically a boot camp to the full Beta Blox program,” Spano says.

To view a trailer for “The Blox,” visit here.

Detroit’s Two18 Boutique Unveils Detroit-branded Air Jordans

Two18, a streetwear boutique adjacent to Detroit’s Eastern Market, was selected by Jordan Brand to release an exclusive Detroit-themed low-top Air Jordan 2 sneaker, as well as an apparel collection.

The designer says the collaboration is inspired by Detroit’s resilience. The launch will take place be at Two18 (1400 E Fisher Service Drive) in Detroit at 10 a.m. Oct. 14. The collection will launch globally on Oct. 21.

“The goal was to create a shoe for the streets, to honor Detroit’s entrenched sneaker culture,” says Roland Coit, owner of Two18. “We also want to appeal to those outside our borders who just love the city’s vibe. That’s why the insole’s graphics also include cities around the area, shouting out Pontiac, Southfield, Oak Park, Inkster, Highland Park, and Flint.”

The shoe, which retails for $200, will be accompanied by matching apparel, including two unisex tee’s, a men’s hoodie and shorts, and a women’s jogging suit.

For more information, visit here.

US Centre for Advanced Manufacturing Launches in Troy

The US Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, a partnership between Automation Alley and the World Economic Forum with economic support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Oakland County, hosted a launch event Oct. 4 at its headquarters.

The day attracted leading CEOs from across the nation in a variety of industries actively engaged in digital transformation on the factory floor, along with politicians who advocate for advanced manufacturing dominance in the U.S. through policy change.

The US Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, the only Centre in North America, is part of the World Economic Forum’s global community of 16 Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) and is the first Centre focused solely on advanced manufacturing and its value chains.

Collectively, the network of Centres help shape new strategies and policies in technology governance and work closely with the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains.

“The presence of the CEOs here today reflects the willingness of manufacturing leaders to extend beyond their own industry to create a collaborative approach to advanced manufacturing,” says Cynthia Hutchison, president and CEO of the Centre. “The US Centre for Advanced Manufacturing is committed to being a conduit to support cross-industry initiatives and build a coordinated, national ecosystem to accelerate innovation in the manufacturing sector.”

The day’s events included CEO roundtable discussions and a tour of Fanuc’s manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills. Aggressively pursuing partnerships in a variety of manufacturing environments, Hutchison also announced two Centre pilot projects at the event: Upskilling the US Manufacturing Workforce with Flex and Fanuc executives lending corporate support; and Accelerating Technology Adoption to build a more competitive manufacturing sector in the U.S., with GE Healthcare and Accenture’s Industry X experts lending corporate support.

Lansing’s Clark Construction Co. Expands Operations in West Michigan

Lansing-based Clark Construction Co. is expanding its regional footprint with a new office in Grand Rapids located at 146 Monroe Center St. in the historic McKay Tower.

The Grand Rapids office will be led by Clark vice president and West Michigan-native Dan Korte and staffed by nearly 30 current employees, all from the west Michigan area, with plans to hire additional personnel.

“Establishing our Grand Rapids office is part of Clark Construction’s growth strategy to support our clients and operations throughout Michigan,” says Sam Clark, president of Clark Construction Co. “We believe it’s important to work where we live and support our employees by building their communities and we look forward to being part of and contributing to the west Michigan region.”

StradVision Reveals New Company Identity to Accelerate Global Business

StradVision, a South Korean AI-based video perception technology company with its North American headquarters in Sterling Heights, has unveiled a new company identity as it continues to accelerate global business and pursue opportunities for its Vision AI software.

As part of this updated company identity, StradVision also has revealed a new rebranding, company logo, and video that symbolizes the company’s ambition to empower everything to perceive intelligently.

Since 2014, StradVision’s perception technology for ADAS and autonomous vehicles from autonomous level 0 to 5 has been innovating for vision and safety in the automotive space, powered by its SVNet software that allows accurate detection and identification of objects. The company’s new mission will aim to take the innovative SVNet software and expand its capabilities.

StradVision already has started mass production of infotainment software other than ADAS and AV. Starting in 2023, the company will mass-produce, together with a German OEM, for infotainment and augmented reality.

As customer needs change along with market changes, StradVision has reorganized its product lineup from the standpoint of applications rather than technology itself. This gives customers direct control over the final performance level for each product. The redesigned product lineup is ProDriver (deliver performance for safety), ParkAgent (the most advanced and complete parking solution), ImmersiView (perfect vision positioning to show real world) and CompliKit (complete suite to achieve final performance under your control).

“As our internal innovations and capabilities have continued to evolve, so has our mission to continue advancing the user experience and ultimately become the leading AI-inspired perception company,” says Sunny Lee, CEO of StradVsion USA. “Vision AI is a moving perspective that has widespread capabilities that impact everyday existence, from products to life solutions. We will expand our business by utilizing Vision AI capabilities in the future. In the short term, the company plans to maximize the business opportunities of Vision AI technology by expanding its products to infotainment in the automobile industry and in the long term to related industries including aviation, logistics, and mobility.”

KeyBank Secures $51.3M of Refinancing for North Carolina Senior Housing Property

KeyBank Real Estate Capital has secured a $53.1 million permanent loan from Fannie Mae for Singh Development, a West Bloomfield Township real estate developer for its Waltonwood Lake Boone retirement community located in Raleigh, N.C.

Originally built in 2018, the Waltonwood Lake Boone community is a newly constructed Class A seniors housing community comprised of 181 total independent living, assisted living, and memory care units.

KeyBank Real Estate Capital’s Healthcare Group originally provided a bridge loan for the Waltonwood Lake Boone community in 2019. The new Fannie Mae financing allows Waltonwood to recapitalize the community with a 10-year fixed rate loan and provides additional capital for future growth within their portfolio.

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with KeyBank and this financing represents one of various transactions we’ve completed over the years,” says Mony Malhotra, head of finance for Singh Development. “KeyBank worked with us to deliver interim financing while the community stabilized occupancy and operations throughout the pandemic.”

Condé Nast Traveler Names Detroit Foundation Hotel No. 5 Best Hotel in the Midwest

The Detroit Foundation Hotel in downtown Detroit, has been named the No. 5 Best Hotel in the Midwest by Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

Originally built in 1929, Detroit Foundation Hotel opened in 2017, combining the former fire department headquarters and the neighboring Pontchartrain Wine Cellars into a 100-room boutique hotel, featuring the ground-level restaurant, The Apparatus Room.

With spaces designed for socializing, creating, eating, drinking, and relaxing, “the hotel brings together world travelers and neighbors alike while showcasing Detroit’s legacy and knack for innovation through thoughtful touches from Detroit businesses and artisans,” according to the magazine.

This marks the hotel’s third consecutive year on the list.

Apple Continues Community Education Initiative in Detroit

Apple is continuing its Community Education Initiative, which includes Henry Ford College in Detroit and Wayne State University’s College of Engineering as local partners.

Apple’s Community Education Initiative works with schools and community-based organizations to bring coding, creativity, and career opportunities to learners of all ages and to communities that are traditionally underrepresented in technology. The program provides Apple hardware, scholarships, financial support, and access to teams of Apple experts who work side-by-side with educators to enhance student learning with technology.

Henry Ford College is offering iOS courses, using Apple’s Develop in Swift curriculum, that are a part of a Mobile App Certification and associate’s degree. In addition, Apple has donated scholarship funding to offset and support out-of-district costs for students who are in the city of Detroit. Henry Ford College also is offering iOS courses in conjunction with its Trade School to allow dual enrollment for high school students at Dearborn School District.

The Wayne State University College of Engineering Preparatory Excellence Academy is a K-12 educational outreach program that provides academic experiences to students in the metro Detroit region who are from under-resourced communities, are first-generation students, and/or are underrepresented in STEM education.

Through its Community Education Initiative, Apple provides Apple technology, Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curriculum, and professional learning support so WSU College of Engineering can provide programming year-round as a part of the WSU Pre-College Engineering.

This work is part of the expansion of Apple’s educational partnerships, now with 150 partners, with programs that reach learners in nearly 600 locations, across 99 countries, and all 50 states.

“We believe education is a powerful force for equity, helping learners discover the tools they need to lift up their communities and shape the future,” says Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives at Apple. “We’re thrilled to continue to expand our Community Education Initiative so that students of all ages have access to world-class learning opportunities, regardless of their zip code.”

New Aerie Store at Village of Rochester Hills Opens Oct. 6

Aerie, one of the fastest growing brands in the apparel industry, will open its doors at 10 a.m. at The Village of Rochester Hills on Oct. 6.

The new 4,028-square-foot Aerie location features an open, welcoming entrance, comfortable areas to relax, take selfies in, and engage in fun experiences while shopping, according to the retailer. The first 50 customers through the door will receive $20 off their entire purchase in-store.

Aerie says it’s committed to creating exceptional merchandise collections while positively influencing the way women see themselves and treat others. The store offers intimates, apparel, activewear, and swimwear with every piece designed for comfort. The Aerie brand promotes body positivity, empowerment, and confidence.

“This has been an exciting year for the Village,” says Margaux Keusch, senior director of leasing for Robert B. Aikens and Associates, the developers of The Village of Rochester Hills. “In addition to American Eagle, Soma, Lenscrafters, and Pandora, we are thrilled to bring another key brand to our tenant roster. Aerie promotes self-love and positivity, along with their great merchandise. Village shoppers will enjoy shopping the new store.”

Dickinson Wright Ranked in Benchmark Litigation United States 2023 Edition

The Benchmark Litigation United States 2023 Edition has recognized the litigation practice of Troy’s Dickinson Wright law firm.

Benchmark Litigation recognized Dickinson Wright’s litigation practice as “Highly Recommended.”

Individual attorneys recognized include:

Phillip DeRosier — U.S. and Local Litigation Star
Brandon Hubbard — U.S. and Local Litigation Star
Thomas McNeill — U.S. and Local Litigation Star
Scott Petz — Future Star

Benchmark Litigation’s rankings are based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews with litigators and their clients to identify the leading litigators and firms.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Announces Fall Programming

The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House kicks off the fall season with a series of events featuring fun and educational activities for the whole family. Special events include Harvest Day, Little Goblins Night Out, and the sold out Big Goblins Night Out.

“This season always kicks off with Harvest Day — a family-friendly afternoon filled with exciting experiences at every turn,” says Mary Ann Bauman, event coordinator at Ford House. “From face painting and pony rides to exploring the historic Ford home, it’s never a dull moment.

“Then comes Little Goblins, which is a blast because it’s a great way for children (big and small) to enjoy Halloween without the scares and frights — but with all the same candies and goodies up for grabs! Costumes are highly encouraged, and the entire family can participate.”

Tickets are on sale here for October events Including:

• Harvest Day, Oct. 8, noon-5 p.m. An afternoon of outdoor fun with cider and doughnuts, activities such as a bounce-slide, lawn games, a petting zoo, face-painting, and photo ops.

• Little Goblin’s Night Out, Oct. 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This annual day of Halloween entertainment is filled with spooky yet kid-friendly fun, including trick-or-treating stops, photo ops, a straw maze, and a haunt-free wagon ride.

Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Class LOXXXII Donates $12K to iDentify Your Dream

Pontiac-based Leadership Oakland Cornerstone Class LOXXXII has selected to partner with, raise funds for, and give back to local nonprofit iDentify Your Dream (IDYD), culminating with a $12,000 donation.

IDYD provides grief support, case management, and victim advocacy to families and children that have faced or are facing trauma through violence.

“When we learned about iDentify Your Dream and their mission to provide care and mentorship of children who are facing or have faced trauma, there was no question that this was the cause we wanted to support,” says Pastor Aaron J. Robinson, chief operations officer for The Power Company Kids Club and a LOXXXII fellow. “IDYD founder Deleah Sharp was named among the leaders to address local gun violence after the recent shooting and death of a 7-year-old girl in the city of Pontiac. Our class is honored to ‘fund the front line’ by rallying behind Deleah and the iDYD team, helping to ensure that our children who are in desperate need of healing and support in the wake of trauma, get the care that they need.”

In addition to raising $12,000 to present to the organization, Cornerstone Class LOXXXII partnered with IDYD on the annual Stomp Out Violence March, its mentoring program, and the Sweet Dreams toy givaway.

Mootz Pizzeria + Bar to Donate $1 for Every Pizza Sold in October to Forgotten Harvest

Mootz Pizzeria + Bar in Detroit (1230 Library St.), known for its authentic New York pizza, is celebrating National Pizza Month throughout October.

It is donating $1 for every 14-inch pie sold this month to Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park to relieve hunger and fight food insecurity in metro Detroit.

For more information, visit here.