DBusiness Daily Update: Volunteers of America Seeking Car Donations for Veterans, 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.
Volunteers of America Michigan is seeking car donations for its Veterans Day Car Giveaway Program. // Stock photo
Volunteers of America Michigan is seeking car donations for its Veterans Day Car Giveaway Program. // Stock photo

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.

Volunteers of America Seeking Car Donations for Veterans

Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI) is seeking car donations for its Veterans Day Car Giveaway Program. VOAMI is encouraging the community to donate used vehicles to its Cars Helping People donation program.

Those who are looking to make a difference in the lives of veterans in need can do so by donating their used car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or RV. VOAMI will accept vehicles of any condition, even it’s not running, and repair them to a good working condition. Supporters can call 855-VOA-DONATE to schedule a pickup and receive the best tax benefits available.

“Transportation is one of the main barriers that our heroes face,” says Alex Brodrick, president and CEO of VOAMI. “Without a car, you can’t work and without work there is no place to call home. We must come together as a community to take care of our heroes, just as they once took care of us. Your support can make a real difference for a veteran today, and I am hoping you will help us get our heroes back on the road this Veterans Day.”

The nonprofit plans to give away donated cars Nov. 11 to pre-selected veterans across the state of Michigan.

For more information or to donate a car, please visit here or call 855-862-3662.

DuraVent in Detroit Acquires Grand Rapids’ Hart & Cooley

Detroit-based HVAC company DuraVent has acquired Hart & Cooley, a Grand Rapids HVAC enterprise. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Both companies have a long history in the hearth and HVAC industries with legacy brands and innovative products.

“Our immediate objective is to build one unified company, with one team, focused on world-class manufacturing and distribution,” says Simon Davis, president and CEO of DuraVent. “We are guided by our passion for innovation and commitment to creating the benchmark for responsive customer service.”

Together, DuraVent and Hart & Cooley products will ensure the highest standards of HVAC products in the marketplace enhancing quality of life for customers, Davis says.

DuraVent also owns Security Chimneys in Montreal, Canada. Hart & Cooley is a leading provider of HVAC products, manufacturing and distributing a portfolio of some of the most recognized and trusted brands in the industr, including Selkirk, AMPCO, AmeriVent, Heatfab, and MILCOR.

For more information, visit here.

Marathon Launches Next Phase of Voluntary Property Purchase Program

Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Detroit Refinery has committed to additional property purchases in southwest Detroit’s Boynton neighborhood after the program’s successful initial phase, which offered homeowners along Edsel and Patricia streets the opportunity to sell their homes.

Almost 60 percent of eligible homeowners signed up for the initial phase of the purchase program. The next section of the neighborhood to be included in the voluntary program will include 54 properties on the north side of S. Liebold Street. Marathon plans to demolish all purchased homes with the objective of creating a green space in the area and providing residents a buffer from I-75 and the area’s industrial neighbors.

“At the refinery, we are proud residents of southwest Detroit and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to a better Boynton,” says David Leaver, general manager of Marathon’s Detroit Refinery. “Overall community response for the first phase was very positive. We’re excited about the next phase of the purchase program, and if we see an acceptance rate similar to the first phase, we’ll be buying 35 to 40 properties next year.”

Residents interested in selling their homes will work with Community Interaction Consulting (CIC), which has established an office near the neighborhood and is sending notification letters to eligible residents. Residents are being notified today, and the sign-up period will run through Feb. 1, 2022.

Building on its $5 million commitment in the initial phase of the purchase program, the company has allocated a similar amount in the next phase. Information on the program is available here.

Phase one demolition could begin as soon as the end of this year. Gayanga Co., a Detroit-based, minority-owned demolition contractor, has been engaged to conduct the project. All demolition work will adhere to regulations that cover safety, noise, dust control, and removal of debris to minimize disruption to neighbors who are remaining in the area.

MPC is partnering with the Wildlife Habitat Council to develop a tree planting program after demolitions have been completed. Marathon has committed to maintaining the land it purchases, just as it does currently with property it purchased in the Oakwood Heights neighborhood several years ago.

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop Opens in Troy, Third Location in Michigan

The doors of the most recent Floyd’s 99 Barbershop expansion opened Sept. 27 at 283 Big Beaver Rd. in Troy. It is the third Floyd’s location in Michigan.

“After trials and tribulations that last year brought, we are thrilled to expand the Floyd’s footprint in the Michigan market,” says Bill O’Brien, co-founder of Floyd’s Barbershops.

Each Floyd’s has its own decor showcased by their exclusive hand-curated poster wall highlighting musical greats throughout the decades with special emphasis on local artists. The 1,524-square-foot shop in Troy features 12 chair stations, retro industrial funk finishes, stainless steel countertops, black subway tile, and Edison bulbs.

Floyd’s offers a full range of services including haircuts, shaving, color, waxing, deep conditioning treatments and styling as well as its own retail line of grooming products. In addition to traditional hair services, Floyd’s is known for its iconic barbershop straight-razor neck shave with hot lather and steamed towels and a complimentary shoulder massage after each service.

Some of these services are on a temporary hiatus as Floyd’s adheres to local requirements and incorporates additional strict safety rules based on the recommendations of health officials. Clients and employees are required to wear face masks at all times. Government restrictions on capacity are strictly enforced at each shop. Employees and clients have temperature checks prior to a shift and their service. Barbers and stylists sanitize hands and tools, disinfect barber chairs, and provide clients with fresh capes and towels. Every night and each hour while open, surfaces and high-traffic areas throughout the shops are cleaned and sanitized.

Clients are asked to call ahead or make a reservation online; those not getting a service will be asked to wait outside the store to ensure optimal social distancing.

Reservations can be made at floydsbarbershop.com  or by calling 248-275-1210.

Oct. 15 is Deadline to Join Erie Hack 3.0 Water Quality Tech Competition

Erie Hack, a multi-month innovation challenge that seeks technology solutions for Lake Erie’s greatest challenges such as water quality, infrastructure, and social awareness, is calling for entrepreneurs and others to participate in the third year of the program.

People from all backgrounds are invited to participate: techies, designers, urban planners, students, engineers, entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and neighborhood residents.

Since its inception in 2017, Erie Hack has been a collaboration between Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) and partners from Buffalo, Detroit, Windsor, and Toledo. This hackathon spans several months of pitch competition events, culminating in the final pitch event in Cleveland. Winning innovators earn cash prizes and support services, with more than $250,000 awarded to date.

To register and see more event details, visit here. Informational videos can be viewed here and here.

The deadline to form the Greater Detroit Team is 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15. The regional quarter finals will take place 2-6 p.m. on Oct. 19. TechTown Detroit will host the semifinals Nov. 4 and the finals will be hosted by the Cleveland Water Alliance Nov. 18.

Ann Arbor’s Clinc and Wisconsin Credit Union Launch AI Customer Support

Ann Arbor-based Clinc, which provides conversational artificial intelligence technology for banking, announced that Landmark Credit Union in Wisconsin has launched Clinc’s Virtual Banking Agent.

The new voice- and text-enabled chatbot is designed to enhance the experience of Landmark’s more than 370,000 members seeking convenient, 24/7 access to information and support resources via the credit union’s website.

Landmark’s virtual assistant provides members with a seamless and modern method for quickly accessing and locating information. Clinc’s technology allows members to interact with the assistant in a natural, free-flowing conversation, using either spoken or typed queries. The virtual assistant maintains context, allowing the customer to go different directions during the conversation, change information, and handle multiple requests in a single interaction.

Members can inquire about product offerings, branch/ATM locations, refinancing, credit cards, opening accounts, and dozens of other subjects that would previously result in a call to the contact center or branch visit. The technology results in more than 85 percent of customer inquiries handled without waiting for a live agent.

“We’re beyond excited to be partnering with Landmark Credit Union,” says Jon Newhard, CEO of Clinc. “We have been impressed with Landmark’s commitment to using technology to engage customers and provide superior service regardless of channel or time of day.”

Farmington Hills’ H.W. Kaufman Acquires Canadian Marketing Company

H.W. Kaufman Financial Group, a specialty insurance company in Farmington Hills, has acquired Noremac Marketing Group Inc. of Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Noremac, founded 28 years ago, produces marketing promotional products and corporate apparel. It primarily serves a Canadian client base but has plans to expand its U.S. operations.

“Noremac’s strong supplier relationships will further enable H.W. Kaufman Group to expand our promotional use of branded apparel and products and provide us access to innovative and first-to-market products,” says Jamie Davis, corporate vice president at H.W. Kaufman. “In addition, we look forward to utilizing our resources to ignite Noremac’s continued growth as part of Team Kaufman.”

Noremac is H.W. Kaufman’s 10th international acquisition in the past nine years. Following the closure of the deal, Davis will lead operations for Noremac, while its president, Glen Cameron and the rest of the Noremac team will remain in their current roles.

“Like Noremac, H.W. Kaufman Group is a family-run organization that shares our vision, culture, high operating standards, and commitment to outstanding service,” says Cameron. “Kaufman’s investment will allow us to continue delivering industry-leading promotional solutions and offer strategic growth opportunities.”

American Advantage Home Care to Host Job Fair Oct. 8

American Advantage Home Care, a Dearborn-based, full-service home health care agency, is opening its Trenton office (1545 Kingsway Court, Suite 102) Oct. 8 and conducting a job fair from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Applicants may be hired on the spot at the job fair for full- and part-time positions, working in the Trenton and Detroit areas, Dearborn, and Oakland and Macomb counties.

“The new office and need for additional staffing are results of significant patient growth and indicators that growth is continuing,” says Cleamon Moorer Jr., president of DBA. “Job fairs are an important recruiting tool as they attract talent of which we may not otherwise be aware. We are fortunate to be in an industry that can offer meaningful work with flexible schedules.”

Moorer says he is looking for registered and licensed practical nurses, home health aides, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, executive assistant, intake coordinator and billing specialist. Arabic-speaking clinicians are needed in Dearborn.

Those attending the job fair should bring their resume and an ID card. Masks are required for entry. Those unable to attend can find more information here or by calling 844-469-2242. Interested candidates can apply online here.

Oakland County Launches Annual Flu Vaccine Program

Oakland County’s annual flu vaccination program gets underway this week at the North Oakland Health Center in Pontiac and South Oakland Health Center in Southfield. Getting the flu vaccine is even more urgent during the pandemic, says Oakland County Health Division Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust.

“Those who get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time double their risk of dying from complications of either respiratory illness,” Faust says. “If you get the flu vaccine, you can reduce the risk of you, your loved ones, and others in the community from getting seriously ill or dying from the flu.”

Flu shots for ages six months to 64 years are available for $24 at both Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield. Individuals 65 years and older qualify for a high-dose flu shot, which costs $59. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Pre-payment and registration are not needed at these indoor clinics. Bring a photo ID and insurance card, if available. Masks are required inside Health Division offices.

Oakland County also will host community clinics to administer the flu vaccine this month in the following locations:

Older Persons’ Commission, 650 Letica Dr., Rochester, Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Costick Activities Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, Oct. 19, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois Rd., Troy, Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Call at 800-848-5533 to schedule an appointment. Please bring a photo identification and if available, an insurance card, to the community clinic.