DBusiness Daily Update: Walmart Looking for New Local Products, Butzel Long Webinar Series to Address Digital Currency, 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.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of March 27

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.

Walmart Looking for New Local Products
The application process for Walmart’s eighth annual Open Call is now open, and the company invites Michigan companies to apply for the opportunity to meet with Walmart buyers on June 30 via virtual pitch meetings.

The deadline to apply for participation in this year’s Open Call for products made, grown, or assembled in the United States is April 30. The application and additional information about the event are available here.

The June 30 virtual event will include one-on-one pitch meetings with Walmart merchants and participants will have an opportunity to hear directly from Walmart executives at the hour-long kickoff of the event. Smaller breakout sessions will be available throughout the day where suppliers can learn more on valuable topics and about resources available to them.

“Open Call is like watching the American dream play out in real time,” says Laura Phillips, senior vice president for global sourcing and U.S. manufacturing for Walmart. “You see on full display the spirit and energy of new ideas and the hope of what could be — founded on creativity, hard work, and self-belief.

The retail outlet firm recently announced it would spend an additional $350 billion on products made, grown, or assembled in America. This year’s Open Call attendees could secure opportunities that range from promoting products in a handful of stores in local markets to supplying products to hundreds, even thousands, of Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs, and online.

Butzel Long Blockchain Webinar Series to Address Bitcoin, Digital Assets, the Law
The Butzel Long law firm in Detroit is offering a Blockchain webinar series, the first of which starts March 30 at noon and will address legal and regulatory issues related to Bitcoin.

The complimentary webinar will be led by attorney William Kraus, who specializes in legal issues relating to this technology. For more information or to register online, visit here.

The schedule of seminars and their topics include:

March 30 – Is Bitcoin Illegal? What is a Bitcoin? An Introduction to Digital Assets (Introductory Level)

This webinar will provide an easy-to-understand introduction to digital assets and how they work. The discussion will focus on general legal and regulatory issues surrounding this area, framed against the possibilities and pitfalls (e.g., the dark web and ransomware) of this technology. Kraus also will field common questions about blockchain and digital assets.

April 6 – From Orange Groves to Blockchain; Financial Regulation of Digital Assets (Intermediate Level)

Bitcoin revolutionized how we think about finance by offering a truly decentralized currency outside the control of any central bank or government. As Bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity, however, so too has their regulation as a financial instrument. This webinar will examine the fundamental arguments for and against regulation, while providing an overview of the current treatment of digital assets under U.S. law.

April 13 – Blockchain Take the Wheel: Potential Applications for Blockchain in the Automotive Industry (Advanced Level)

While Bitcoin continues to make headlines, in many ways, the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin may end up having a larger impact on our lives. No longer just for sending money, blockchain is being adopted by everyone from Fortune 500 companies to local governments. Here in Michigan, blockchain also offers exciting possibilities for increasing efficiency, managing data, and improving supply chains within the automotive industry. This webinar will discuss some of the business cases for blockchain technology, and examine relevant legal considerations.

Cryospa Detroit Opens Second Location in Rochester Hills
Cryospa Detroit has opened its second location, at 2607 S. Rochester Road in Rochester Hills.

The facility offers a full suite of services designed to aid weight loss, reduce inflammation, increase metabolism, boost immune system, support lymphatic drainage, burn calories, and elevate endorphins through a modern-day approach to being proactive about health and longevity.

The Rochester Hills facility offers a range of cryotherapy solutions to address pain and overall wellness for all individuals.

Friendship Circle Re-opens Soul Cafe with New Menu
Friendship Circle, a West Bloomfield Township nonprofit that supports individuals with special needs, is re-opening its Soul Cafe on April 12.

The cafe temporarily closed amid the pandemic and now has an all-new kosher menu featuring house-made lox, Dakota Bread cinnamon swirl French toast, avocado toast with smoked salmon and many other delicious vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options. Also new to the cafe are options for outdoor dining and greenhouses.

Located at 5586 Drake Road, the cafe will be open Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner hours will begin in May on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Friendship Circle’s Soul Cafe was founded to provide vocational opportunities to adults with special needs. The Cafe staff teach trainees the skills of food prep, cooking, hosting, and serving.

“The Soul Cafe is an incredible gathering place for the community, and we’re so excited to re-open and continue our vocational program,” says Bassie Shemtov, co-founder of the Friendship Circle. “In 2015, we recognized many of the children we served for years had grown into adults and began to experience loneliness and isolation — they yearned for a sense of purpose and community. The most important thing you can do for individuals with special needs is fill their day with purpose, and we realized an effective solution was to provide employment opportunities to help adults with special needs be productive community members. We’re proud that the Soul Cafe has touched so many lives over five years.”

For more information, visit here.

Firehouse Subs Plan Recruitment Event April 6-8
Firehouse Subs, which has 11 outlets in metro Detroit, is conducting a recruitment event, April 6-8 from 2-5 p.m., during which on-site interviews will be conducted to fill numerous positions.

To find a location, visit here.

A portion of every Firehouse Subs purchase benefits the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which has donated more than $799,000 to first responders in greater Detroit.

State Treasury: Priority Consideration FAFSA Deadline Extended to May 1
Students who want to be given priority consideration for state of Michigan financial aid programs now have extra time to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Commonly known as the FAFSA, this application is a critical step when applying for grants, scholarships and other forms of financial assistance. Academic year 2021-22 FAFSA submissions now received at the federal processor on or before May 1 — rather than the original March 1 deadline — are given priority consideration for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship and Michigan Tuition Grant.

“Completing the FAFSA should be on top of everyone’s list when applying for college financial aid,” says Robin Lott, executive director of Treasury’s Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning. “We are hopeful that this deadline change will help families who have been faced with challenges during the pandemic. Please do not delay and complete this free application today.”

Students who wait to complete their FAFSA after the new May 1 deadline may not receive all the financial aid they could have been entitled to receive.

Prior to completing the FAFSA online, the student and at least one parent or guardian must obtain a Federal Student Aid ID at www.fafsa.gov. This ID serves as a legal signature and confirms an applicant’s identity when accessing financial aid information through certain U.S. Department of Education websites.

To get started with the FAFSA, visit here. To learn more about state of Michigan scholarships and grant programs, visit here.

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