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.
Pure Michigan Unveils Winter Tourism Campaign
Pure Michigan is officially welcoming winter with the launch of its regional Still Pure Michigan winter season advertising campaign, now running in key regional and instate markets through the end of February 2022.
The campaign will utilize broadcast and connected TV, online video and digital ads, and social media. Two TV spots — Loud and Still Pure — showcase the many winter outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in Michigan while also encouraging safe travel.
This year’s total winter advertising budget is $3.03 million. The spots will be seen in instate markets including Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Traverse City, Cadillac, Marquette, and Alpena. Out-of-state markets include Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, South Bend, and Toledo.
“As winter approaches, adventure awaits us in the form of downhill skiing, fat-tire biking, or snowshoeing epic backcountry landscapes,” says Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “Whether you are an enthusiast seeking a new adventure or a family looking for the perfect winter getaway, we encourage everyone to head out and experience the season the way it’s supposed to be experienced.”
The launch of the Pure Michigan campaign comes just ahead of the opening of many of Michigan’s ski resorts for the year. Travelers can check ahead to learn how to ski and snowboard while also traveling safely to resorts and ski areas across the state by visiting the Michigan Snowsports Industries’ COVID-19 policies page.
Travelers also are encouraged to check their favorite ski areas’ websites for information about opening day, safety protocol such as mask requirements, purchasing tickets in advance, and more.
“We are so pleased to have the Pure Michigan campaign kick in again this winter,” says Mickey MacWilliams, president and executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association. “Michigan is tied with New York for the most ski areas in the country and right now all of our 50 areas are working in high gear to prepare for our season. Travel Michigan’s winter campaign has helped spread the word about the great snow sports in our state, reaching travelers from surrounding states and beyond. Having the Pure Michigan campaign kick in now, just as the ski season begins, is a real boost for our industry.”
In addition to the advertising campaign, the Pure Michigan Winter landing page is available to provide visitors with the information to plan a winter getaway. In 2020, winter tourism generated $3.6 billion in traveler spending in Michigan, according to TravelUSA.
Pure Michigan continues to encourage residents to shop local and support local businesses during the upcoming holidays and throughout the winter season. This landing page offers resources that help residents shop and eat local, including links to downtowns that are filled with local shops specializing in décor, fashion, pet toys, hardware, and more.
Detroit’s Rebel Nell to Open at Twelve Oaks Mall Nov. 24
Rebel Nell, the Detroit-based social enterprise, will open its first stand-alone and second retail location, inside Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, on Nov. 24. It will remain open until at least March 1, 2022.
“We are thrilled to bring the experience of Rebel Nell to the suburbs,” says Amy Peterson, CEO of Rebel Nell. “It is exciting to expand our reach to Twelve Oaks, and share our story of impact and jewelry with new customers, in addition to those who have supported our growth over the past eight plus years.”
The new location will be retail-only, with the company keeping all of its manufacturing at its Detroit Headquarters. Available for sale will be Rebel Nell staple collections including the Motown Museum Album Collection, Big Heads Parade Collection, Comerica Park Dugout Collection, and Ouizi Collection. Mainstay Collections made from fallen Detroit graffiti including Everyday, Strong, Unique, and more also will be available at the store.
Rebel Nell began in 2013 with one mission: to employ women facing barriers to employment in Detroit, provide equitable opportunity, and wraparound support to help them transition to a life of independence.
October Job Growth Solid in Michigan
Data released for October 2021 shows that Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched down over the month by two-10ths of a percentage point to 6.1 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.
Total employment in the state edged up by 6,000, while unemployment moved down by 7,000. Michigan’s workforce was unchanged over the month.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identified a distortion in its statistical estimates and has revised Michigan’s September unemployment rate upward by 1.7 percentage points to 6.3 percent. Additional revisions to the unemployment rate for January-August 2021 will need to be made and will occur during the normal review process at the end of the year. The revisions are also expected to increase the unemployment rates for each month.
“Despite the upward revision in September’s unemployment rate, the new data shows that Michigan’s jobless rate has fallen substantially over the past year from 8.1 percent to 6.1 percent,” says Scott Powell, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The unemployment rate revisions by the BLS are a necessary part of the statistical estimation process to ensure accuracy.”
The national unemployment rate also declined by two-10ths of a percentage point in October to 4.6 percent. Over the past year, the U.S. jobless rate decreased by 2.3 percentage points, while Michigan’s jobless rate moved down by 2.0 percentage points.
Additionally, Michigan’s October payroll job advance was the second highest monthly total in 2021, as payroll jobs rose by 38,000.
The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted jobless rate declined over the month by two-10ths of a percentage point to 5.8 percent. The Detroit MSA employment total edged up by 5,000, while unemployment was reduced by 4,000.
The metro area unemployment rate for September 2021 was also revised up significantly by BLS to 6.0 percent.
According to the monthly survey of employers, Michigan in October recorded the second highest monthly job advance during 2021, as payroll jobs rose by 38,000 or 0.9 percent. This was the largest monthly job gain since February.
All major industry job sectors added payroll jobs over the month. On a numerical basis, the largest Michigan job gains occurred in the state’s manufacturing and professional and business services sectors.
Michigan Sportsbooks Log Nearly $500M in October Bets
Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks took in nearly $500 million in wagers during October thanks to a “perfect storm” of events during the month, according to PlayMichigan, which tracks gaming developments in the state.
“Michigan-Michigan State, five full weekends of the NFL and college football, the opening of the NBA season, and baseball’s postseason all coalesced in October to create an unusually robust sports calendar,” says Matt Schoch, lead analyst for PlayMichigan.com. “Michigan bettors are increasingly comfortable with online sports betting. And with a game like Michigan-Michigan State that carries intense local interest, sportsbooks were presented a rare opportunity to expand their customer bases. The events of this month will continue to pay dividends even after the schedule slows.”
Michigan’s online sportsbooks accepted a record $463.6 million in bets in October, up 30.8 percent from $354.3 million in September, according to Michigan Gaming Control Board data. That total topped the previous online high of $359.5 million set in March. Combined with $34.2 million in retail wagering at Detroit-area casinos announced last week, Michigan’s online and retail sportsbooks set a record with $497.6 million in wagering, up 28.6 percent from $386.8 million in September.
Online sportsbooks won $24.3 million in gross revenue from October’s wagers, up 2.7 percent from $23.7 million in September. Combined with $2.6 million in retail revenue, sportsbooks won a total of $26.9 million for the month, down 0.7% from $27.1 million in September. Heavy promotion whittled taxable revenue to $7.3 million, which yielded $1.1 million in state and local taxes.
With October’s results, Michigan joined New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, and Pennsylvania as the only states to generate $500 million online and retail wagering on sports over a single month.
“After an explosive first few months earlier this year, the growth in the Michigan online market had really tapered off a bit,” says Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayMichigan.com. “The results this fall have mostly erased that lull. The state’s online sportsbooks are again at a level we’d expect for a market with so much promise.”
FanDuel retook the online market lead with $124 million in wagers, up from $82.1 million in September. Those bets yielded $10.3 million in gross sports betting revenue, up from $7.2 million in September. DraftKings, which had topped the market for two consecutive months, was second with $120.4 million in wagers, up from $106.9 million in September. Those bets produced $2.9 million in gross gaming revenue, down from $3.0 million in September.
BetMGM was third in Michigan with a $102.2 million handle, up from $81.8 million in September. Those bets led to $7.5 million in gross gaming revenue, down from $8.8 million in September.
Michigan’s online casinos and poker rooms reached a new high in October with $109.7 million in gross gaming revenue. That total is up 7.1% from $102.4 million in September, and marked the third consecutive month that online gaming has set a revenue record.
Revenue per-day grew to $3.5 million per day over the 31 days of October from $3.4 million per day in September.
October’s revenue produced $20.3 million in state taxes and $7.8 million in local taxes. Online gaming has now injected $220.8 million in state and local taxes since launching in January, nearly 20 times more than the taxes generated by online and retail sports betting.
“Sports betting ebbs and flows depending on what sports are in season, but the growth in online gaming continues month after month,” Ramsey says. “Online gambling has proven to be a remarkably consistent and valuable revenue generator for the state, accomplishing one of the state’s primary goals when it was legalized and regulated.”
Girl Boss Fashions to Feed 1,000 Souls on Thanksgiving
Detroit-based Girl Boss Fashions is planning to feed 1,000 people in the community on Thanksgiving Day.
Individuals and families in need can stop by any Girl Boss Fashions to pick up a meal voucher. Vouchers will be redeemed on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m.-noon at 16392 Harper Ave. in Detroit.
Girl Boss Fashions’ mission is to provide women of all sizes quality pieces that are fashion-forward, figure-flattering, and stylish. The brand caters to a wide range of ages and sells apparel for every occasion.
Marathon’s Detroit Refinery Foundation Supports STEAM Lab at Mark Twain School
Marathon Petroleum’s Detroit Refinery presented a check for $150,000 to the Detroit Public Schools Community District to fund a new, state-of-the-art STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) lab at Mark Twain School for Scholars in southwest Detroit.
The Innovative STEAM Lab Fueled by Marathon will provide students with opportunities to experience science and discovery, encouraging them to pursue STEAM classes.
The lab includes new lab tables and furniture, a 3-D printer, and a flexible and adaptable floor plan that will accommodate many learning projects.
Half of the room will be a collaboration area where a large screen LED smart television will be used to project videos, webcasts, and recordings. This area also will be used for collaboration on projects, demonstrations, worksheets, and interactive lessons. The other half of the room will be used for investigations. Students will use this space to safely conduct hands-on experiments that further their understanding of scientific concepts.
The STEAM lab also will allow students at Mark Twain to increase their participation in district programs and compete in district events such as FIRST Robotics.
“We have been a part of the southwest Detroit community for more than 60 years, and we’re thrilled to make this investment in Mark Twain and STEAM education to make a difference to families in our neighborhood,” says Dave Leaver, general manager of Marathon Petroleum’s Detroit Refinery.
The lab will benefit up to 200 students annually and is targeted to be complete in the 2022 school year.
Google Gives $100K to Forgotten Harvest, Launches Three Food Security Features
To combat food insecurity in Michigan, Google’s Food for Good is donating $50,000 in unrestricted sponsorship dollars and $50,000 in Google Ads Grants to Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park.
Google also is using its technology to make it easier for Americans to find food and give back this holiday season with the launch of three new features.
One is the Food Bank Locator on Google Search and Maps. Google is verifying 24,000 food bank and pantry listings in Google Maps and Search. With the update, food banks and pantries will be able to add to their Google Business Profiles to highlight hours of operation, services, types of donations accepted and appointment availability where applicable.
Another is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Information Panels. Users can search for the SNAP program and receive locally relevant, direct resources to help determine eligibility and info on how to apply.
With the third, the EBT Payment Option users can search for “stores that accept EBT near me” and find a list of grocery, convenience stores, and farmers markets nearby that accept EBT as a payment method.
Since the pandemic started, Google users have contributed millions of their own dollars to food security causes and Google has matched donations, bringing the total contribution to $22.7 million.
Pontiac’s HAVEN Kicking Off Holiday Season with Gift Giveaway
HAVEN in Pontiac is organizing its annual Gift Giveaway for survivors of intimate partner abuse and sexual assault and is in need of donations and volunteers.
Last year, more than 700 survivors and their children had signed up to be a part of Gift Giveaway. This year, HAVEN expects to see this many or more survivors and children at the event. In addition, close to 300 volunteers supported Gift Giveaway during the seven-day event, which included four days of donation drop off and three days of client shopping and pick-ups for their families.
“Unlike any other holiday giveaway or adopt-a-family program, Gift Giveaway empowers survivors who have utilized HAVEN’s services in the last 12 months to shop for free through hundreds of items donated by the community,” says Aimee Nimeh, president and CEO of HAVEN. “Volunteers accompany survivors and help them pick out gifts for their children and themselves. It is a truly rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
Donated gifts can be dropped off at HAVEN throughout the day on Dec. 3-5. All gifts must be new, unused, and unwrapped. The top priority items requested are:
- $20 and $50 gift cards from Target, Meijer, or Kroger.
- Winter coats in sizes L, XL, XXL, 1X, 2X, 3X.
- Full and queen-size blankets and comforters.
- Teen items, especially traditionally male items.
- Kitchen appliances such as toasters, crock pots, plates, and silverware.
- Pajamas of all sizes, ages, and genders.
Volunteers are needed to help accept donations, set up the gift giveaway room, assist clients shopping, carrying gifts to cars, restocking tables, and cleaning up after the event.
Holiday Gift Giveaway will take place at HAVEN (801 Vanguard Drive in Pontiac) Dec. 6-8. For more information, visit here.