DBusiness Daily Update: Renovated Belle Isle Nature Center Reopens Today, 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.
The Belle Isle Nature Center has undergone extensive renovations since shutting down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. // Courtesy of the Detroit Zoological Society
The Belle Isle Nature Center has undergone extensive renovations since shutting down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. // Courtesy of the Detroit Zoological Society

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.

Renovated Belle Isle Nature Center Reopens Today

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is reopening the Belle Isle Nature Center (BINC) today after having been closed since March 2020.

The state-of-the-art facility, nestled on five acres on the northeastern tip of Belle Isle State Park, has undergone extensive renovations since shutting down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new experiences give visitors the opportunity to connect with nature while also learning how to celebrate and save wildlife as well as wild places found in their own backyards and communities.

New and improved additions to the BINC include:

  • A major renovation of the entrance lobby, featuring reclaimed materials from the old Belle Isle Zoo.
  • A Sewer Tunnel Walk-through allowing visitors to learn about and explore the areas where city infrastructure and wildlife intersect.
  • Expansive habitats for animals, including turtles, mudpuppies, bullfrogs, snakes, and urban woodland reptiles.
  • Expanded and upgraded Nature Play Area, including Nature Tots programming.

While entrance to the BINC is free of charge, a Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicles to enter Belle Isle State Park.

J.D. Power Survey: Brand Loyalty Strong Among New-vehicle Owners

The majority of new-vehicle owners this past year navigated the low-vehicle-inventory crunch by purchasing the same brand of vehicle which in turn, kept loyalty high in both premium and mass market segments, according to the redesigned J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study.

The study has been expanded this year to report on brand loyalty insights by segment categories: premium car; premium SUV; mass market car; mass market SUV; and truck.

“The issue of tight supply chain and lower-than-normal production could have been quite disruptive to loyalty, but the highest-ranking brands excelled by staying focused on keeping owners in the brand,” says Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power in Troy. “There are multiple paths to keeping owners loyal, but every winning brand showed a commitment to launching fresh products, excellent processes focused on the vehicle owner, high residual values and offering vehicles with great appeal. And, for the most part, they’re all winning with market share.

“However, once the industry gets past the supply chain disruptions, another challenge—the EV race—is about to emerge and is likely shake up the brand loyalty status quo. There is an element of risk to brand loyalty that could erode for those sitting on the sidelines or not moving quickly enough.”

Highest ranking brands:

  • Porsche ranks highest among premium car brands with a 57.4 percent loyalty rate. Genesis (54.6 percent) ranks second.
  • BMW ranks highest among premium SUV brands with a 58.6 percent loyalty rate. Lexus (56.4 percent) ranks second.
  • Toyota ranks highest among mass market car brands with a 62.2 percent loyalty rate. Kia (54.1 percent) ranks second.
  • Toyota ranks highest among mass market SUV brands with a 63.6 percent loyalty rate. Subaru (62.6 percent) ranks second.
  • Ford ranks highest among truck brands with a 63.8% loyalty rate, the highest loyalty rate in the study. Toyota (58.7 percent) ranks second.

The 2022 study calculations are based on transaction data from September 2021 through August 2022 and include all model years traded in.

Detroit-based Benzinga Brings Real Time Stock News to South America

Detroit-based financial information provider Benzinga is partnering with tyba to share “Real Time Stock News, Why is it Moving and Corporate Logos” with retail investors in South America.

Started in Columbia, tyba is a fintech company whose purpose is to help people achieve their goals through access to simple, digital, and trusted investments. In 2019 it started operations in Colombia, then in Peru and Chile.

“Tyba’s ability to innovate and grow is great to see,” says Andrew Lebbos, vice president of licensing at Benzinga. “The addition of real time stock information will help their users make actionable, profitable decisions. We are excited to partner with such an exciting Latin American company.”

MGM Grand Detroit Debuts New Football Season Offerings at BetMGM Sports Lounge

The BetMGM Sports Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit says it’s set for another season of football in 2022 with the opening of the Barry Sanders Booth, a game day viewing option filled with memorabilia signed by the Hall of Fame running back.

Fans who reserve the Barry Sanders Booth at the BetMGM Sports Lounge will receive the following perks on NFL Sundays:

  • Barry Sanders VIP Booth for eight hours on Sunday
  • $500 food and beverage credit
  • Barry Sanders signed mini helmet
  • $100 BetMGM Online free wager
  • BetMGM swag bag
  • Sunday night hotel room stay

“We pride ourselves on providing our guests with unique offerings and are honored to have a legend like Barry Sanders as a part of this elevated experience,” says Carter Bair, vice president of marketing at MGM Grand Detroit. “This addition complements our other amenities and gaming offerings to make a memorable day out of watching the game.”

Also debuting this season is Beat the Book, a promotion that gives fans the opportunity to win their share of a $15,000 property slot free play, by entering their NFL picks and selecting more winning teams than the Sportsbook. Winners also will be entered to receive BetMGM and MGM Grand Detroit gift cards, or the grand prize trip to Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend. This promotion will run through Jan. 10, 2023.

On Saturdays and Sundays, BetMGM Sports Lounge and TAP at MGM Grand Detroit will feature a live stadium-style DJ, giveaways for retail and online wagers, football tickets and more, plus weekly food and drink specials during Take A Seat Live events. These events will take place on Saturdays through Nov. 26, and on Sundays through Jan. 8, 2023.

Visit here for more details.

Foundation Hotel’s Apparatus Room Now Open for Lunch Service

The Detroit Foundation Hotel’s restaurant The Apparatus Room is now open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m.

The Apparatus Room features a new menu that includes dishes like Harissa BLT Deviled Eggs, Summer Squash and Saffron Risotto, and Bumpy Cake.

To make a reservation, visit here.

GroupeSTAHL HR Team Thrives Despite Industry Turmoil

With high employee burnout, record levels of turnover, and the challenge of keeping staff engaged in hybrid work environments, many HR professionals and teams are facing the greatest challenges of their careers.

The team at GroupeSTAHL, a St. Clair Shores-based 90-year-old business and a global leader in the garment decoration and equipment industry, has persevered and innovated to lead their people and organization to new levels of success.

Erin Ascher took on the role of vice president of human relations at GroupeSTAHL in mid-2021, and was immediately faced with challenges lingering from the pandemic. Ascher was determined to help GroupeSTAHL recover from the pandemic while also moving the decades-old business toward a more contemporary environment.

Under her leadership, the HR team implemented new staff trainings, updated wellness programs, revised performance review processes, the first ever employee engagement survey and much more. Results of the employee engagement survey found that 90 percent of GroupeSTAHL’s 1,164 employees said they would endorse the organization.

Folktellers Adds Another Gold Medal to Guidebook Series

Scribe Publishing Co. in Pontiac and Folktellers Studios in Detroit have won a Mom’s Choice Gold Medal for Excellence in Young Adult Fantasy Fiction for “Shadows on the Silver Strings,” the third book in the “Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook Series.”

Having been evaluated by a panel of MCA evaluators, the fantasy series was deemed to be among the best transmedia entertainment properties for families. The MCA evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal, and cost.

“This gold medal is great momentum for this series, which continues to be identified as quality material for children,” says Jennifer Baum, founder and publisher of Scribe Publishing Co.

Author Josef Bastian adds: “This is the sixth award we’ve received for the series thus far, validating that our audience is growing with each new book release. It is heartening to know that both children and adults are enjoying this journey right along with Aaron, Wendy, Jake, Eddie and the entire ensemble cast of characters.”

Hillsdale College Launches Center for Military History and Grand Strategy

Hillsdale College, southwest of Jackson, opened its new Center for Military History and Grand Strategy with a two-day launch event on Sept. 9-10. The event featured talks by historians Victor Davis Hanson, Ian Johnson, and Sean McMeekin.

“Preparedness,” says Edward Gutiérrez, an assistant professor of history and director of the new center. “That’s really what we’re striving to do here. That’s the vision of the center to continue to try to grow and be that kind of beacon and bastion for a serious study and learning about war and how to best prepare for it. I think that’s really the key.”

After a reception, and dinner, Hanson, the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History at Hillsdale College, spoke on the importance of studying military history and grand strategy.

The following day featured talks by McMeekin of Bard College and Johnson of the University of Notre Dame on the Soviet Union, its strategies in World War II, and the consequences of those strategies today.

“British historian Max Hastings concluded in a recent op-ed that the best way to avoid conflict is to study it, and that clearly we’re not studying it, at least in the United States,” says Johnson “That’s why I want to conclude just by noting again how thrilled I am that Hillsdale has set up the Center for Military History and Grand Strategy, and I really look forward to many more conversations here in years to come.”

The center is “committed to the study and teaching of military history and the principal themes of strategy and national security” so that it might “bolster sound historical scholarship, engaged citizenship, and prudent leadership” across the country. It will do so through its undergraduate curriculum, scholarly publications, and public events.

Alzheimer Association’s Livingston Walk Raises $225K

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Livingston County-area residents showed up to Main Street in Brighton to take part in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Although it rained, the showers didn’t stop the participants from showing up and raising more than $225,000.

The event, emceed by longtime Detroit media personality Chuck Gaidica, included performances, shared stories, hugs, and walking for a cause. Proceeds go toward Alzheimer’s and dementia care, support, and research.

The association is hosting 25 walks across Michigan during September and October.

For more information, visit here.