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(revolver) co-founder to open new restaurant in Southwest

Goldfinch American, the new restaurant concept from Tunde Wey, will have its first pop-up dinner Monday March 24 at a yet-to-be disclosed location. Wey, who has contributed to Model D in the past, is also the co-owner of the Hamtramck restaurant (revolver).

As he searches for Goldfinch American's permanent home in southwest Detroit, Wey will hold a series of Monday night dinners. Wey says that he has been talking to a number of restaurants in Southwest about hosting his weekly dinner. Goldfinch American will transition from pop-up to permanent once an ideal space for the bar and restaurant is found.

Like (revolver), much of the emphasis of Goldfinch American is placed on the chef. Unlike (revolver), Goldfinch American will feature the work of just one person, James Hayes. Wey says that the new restaurant will be completely chef-driven, giving Hayes the leeway to do whatever he wants with the menu. The two met after Hayes requested to create a course for (revolver).

"I had this faith in his ability and it was validated when I tried his food. It was good," says Wey. "It wasn't just good. It was amazing. He made some bacon dust. He makes bacon and puts it in a coffee grinder, grinds it, and sprinkles it on wedges of apples. Beet gnocchi. Tiny little pieces of--I don't even know how he did it. It melted in my mouth. It was amazing."

While a permanent location has yet to be identified, Wey is certain he wants Goldfinch American to be located in Southwest. He's excited by the juxtaposition of placing a fine dining restaurant in a somewhat rugged neighborhood that is culturally vibrant and diverse.

In the meantime, it will be pop-up city for Wey and Hayes, something that has worked for many a small business owner lately.

Source: Tunde Wey, owner of Goldfinch American
Writer: MJ Galbraith

Highway Media transitions to more web video work

Video production has made a dramatic change in recent years and Highway Media has been there to reap some of those rewards.

The Canton-based video-production firm has enjoyed a 10-percent bump in its revenue over the last two years as it transitions from doing video work for DVDs to online videos. Mark Salloum, producer/director for Highway Media points out that online videos play a significant role in helping websites reach the top of Internet searches and keeping surfers engaged for longer.

"The power of video has become the most impactful medium in the world," Salloum says.

Most of Highway Media’s clients fall into two categories, Salloum explains. A lot of industrial shops are looking for short videos explaining what sets them apart. There are also many medical professionals in need of videos that explain the niche of their practices, such as fertilization clinics. He adds that they want a professional look that tells a compelling story.

"That's why they're hiring us," Salloum says.

The increase in business has allowed Highway Media to add two employees to its core team of 12. The firm is also planning to bring on an intern this spring. 

"We're projecting a dramatic growth, 30-40 percent, in the next two years," Salloum says.

Source: Mark Salloum, producer/director of Highway Media
Writer: Jon Zemke

Tanner Friedman PR firm grows on recurring client work

Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications is one of those companies that doesn't measure its success by the number of new clients it attracts, but by the clients it keeps in its fold.

The Farmington Hills-based public relations agency has enjoyed double-digit revenue growth over the last year thanks primarily to increased work from existing clients.

"That's where we prefer growth to come from." says Matt Friedman, partner at Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications. "We like new clients and are happy to add them. But it’s the best testament to our work and our growth when a client says, 'We want you to do more work for us.'"

The agency enjoyed a small spike in its crisis communications work in the fourth quarter of last year, but its bread and butter came down to three core industries: privately owned businesses, professional services and non-profits. Those three areas have allowed the firm to triple in size since its launch seven years ago.

"These are the types of clients that really need us," Friedman says. "We are closer to a need-to-have than a nice-to-have with them."

Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications has added another person to its staff, rounding it out to eight employees. The hire, a former intern, is an account coordinator. The firm also has six independent contractors and plans to bring on two interns this summer.

"We grow when it makes sense," Friedman says. "We want to add people when we have the work to justify it."

Source: Matt Friedman, partner at Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
Writer: Jon Zemke

Carcode SMS helps create conversation at car dealerships

A new tech startup is helping automotive dealerships spark more conversations with potential customers.

Carcode SMS has come up with a website plugin that allows consumers to text automotive dealership staff and inquire about a specific car. The software assigns local cell phone numbers to dealerships so mobile shoppers can text them and provides the dealership with an app that allows staff to respond and manage conversations in a compliant environment.

"We can keep track of all of the text conversations with that app," says Steve Schwartz, co-founder of Carcode SMS.

Carcode SMS also has a feature enabling the consumer to end the conversation whenever he or she wants to and not have to worry about follow-ups from salesmen. The Ann Arbor-based startup that calls Tech Brewery home recently won the 2014 Edmund Hackomotive contest last month.

The three-person Carcode SMS team has completed the initial development of the software and is testing it out at an automotive dealership. "We are currently talking to other dealerships," Schwartz says.

Source: Steve Schwartz, co-founder of Carcode SMS
Writer: Jon Zemke

Runn aims to bring comprehensive delivery to Detroit

A pair of Wayne State University students and one from Central Michigan University are so sick of poor experiences in getting anything delivered in downtown Detroit they are starting their own company, Runn.

"We wanted to get something to eat but didn’t have a car, and delivery fees are pretty outrageous around downtown Detroit," Rodney Gainous, co-founder & CPO of Runn, "That is what inspired us. It was a hassle to get what we wanted at a reasonable price."

The downtown Detroit-based company focuses on delivering a broad range of items while leveraging mobile technology to streamline the experience. Runn is aiming to deliver things college students want in an hour or less by connecting the users smartphone with local merchants and its delivery team. You can check out a video about its software platform here.

"It has a much bigger range than just food," Gainous says. "We are basically a one-stop shop for merchandise and food. We have everything."

The 6-month-old business and its team of three people aims to launch in the Wayne State University area this fall.

Source: Rodney Gainous, co-founder & CPO of Runn
Writer: Jon Zemke

Ann Arbor-based Underground Printing makes Inc. "Build 100" list

Just out: Inc. magazine's list of companies that have consistently upped their headcounts every year, recession or not. Custom T-shirt and apparel maker Underground Printing is one of a tiny percentage of U.S. mid-market companies that consistently hired.


"We began the Build 100 project by collecting  data  on more than 100,000 U.S. mid-market companies (those with 85 to 999 employees). We then looked at how many increased head count in every year from 2007 to 2012. Remarkably, fewer than 1.5 percent of the companies met that standard...We focused on head count rather than revenue because we found that increased hiring is more predictive of future sustained growth, and that’s what this project is all about."

More here.

Get Up and Go expands caffeinated food sales

Get Up and Go is on the move in Michigan, carving out space for its caffeinated goodies on store shelves across the Great Lakes State.

The Ann Arbor-based company makes a variety of baked goods infused with natural caffeine. The goodies include muffins, cookies, brownies and granola. Consumers can find Get Up and Go's wares in about a dozen stores in Ann Arbor, Lansing and a few supermarkets.

"We're just getting off the ground," says Chris Bogdan, CEO of Get Up and Go.

The one-year-old company started selling its baked goods in stores six months ago. Bogdan is currently a one-man-show, baking the goods in his home. He is working to move production to a food manufacturer so he can scale the concept into as many as 1,000 stores across Michigan this year.

"I am focusing on Michigan first, building it out and getting into specialty food stores," Bogdan says. "Specialty stores support a lot of Michigan-made products."

Source: Chris Bogdan, CEO of Get Up and Go
Writer: Jon Zemke

U-M students make fashion statement with OverTheFly belts

Andrew Jacob and Andre Najmolhoda went to high school in West Bloomfield and college in Ann Arbor together, so it’s not a surprise the two friend are starting their own company together.

The University of Michigan students launched a custom belt company called OverTheFly a year ago and are starting to make a fashion statement or two with it.

"We noticed there is always a trend in shoes, shirts and hats but never belts," says Andrew Jacob, co-founder of OverTheFly. "We want to start trends with belts."

OverTheFly offers plastic belts and buckles of different colors and styles, allowing buyers to customize their own belt with a few clicks of a computer mouse. The company describes its belts as "waterproof, durable, 100% recyclable, animal-friendly, and one size fits all."

"You can pretty much create your own belt," Jacob says. He adds, "We are also the first company we know of that created a belt with Detroit’s skyline on it."

OverTheFly's products can be bought online or at 17 stores in Michigan and Florida. Jacob and Najmolholda plan to continue finding more retail outlets for its belts and hope to scale across the U.S.

Source: Andrew Jacob, co-founder of OverTheFly
Writer: Jon Zemke

U-M Credit Union merges with EMU Credit Union

The credit unions at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University are now one institution after consummating a merger earlier this year.

Eastern Michigan University Credit Union officially became a part of University of Michigan Credit Union in January. EMU’s Credit Union will now be known as Eastern Michigan University Financial. U-M Credit Union will keep its branding. Members of both will now have full access to all of the newly combined credit union's branches in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Dearborn.

"It's not a growth strategy," says Jeff Schillag, vice president of marketing at University of Michigan Credit Union. "It's truly a collaboration."

The newly merged credit union will have $545 million in assets and 59,342 members. All of those members will have equal access to affordable financial services, mobile banking, and instant issue debit and credit cards.

Eastern Michigan University Financial will maintain its branch at 761 Jenness St. in Ypsilanti with its current staff. It will continue to employ its namesake university's brand in its name as a point of pride for the EMU community.

"We intend to keep the branding there to better serve that community," Schillag says.

Source: Jeff Schillag, vice president of marketing at University of Michigan Credit Union
Writer: Jon Zemke

CoFoundersLab helps co-founders find each other in Detroit

CoFoundersLab is launching a Metro Detroit version of its online matching portal for entrepreneurs from downtown Detroit next week.

The Maryland-based firm specializes in making online portals that help entrepreneurs connect with a variety of people that can help them build their startup. Each portal specializes in a specific metropolitan area or a university community.

It is opening the Detroit hub because of the area’s emerging tech sector. CoFoundersLab has also found a local ambassador from Detroit Venture Partners to help generate usage of the platform.

"A lot of pieces just fell together," says Michael Hughes, vice president of community development for CoFoundersLab.

CoFoundersLab is hosting a match party at Grand Circus in downtown Detroit at 6:30 p.m. on Mar 19. Grand Circus is based in the Broderick Tower overlooking Grand Circus Park. For information, click here.

Source: Michael Hughes, vice president of community development for CoFoundersLab
Writer: Jon Zemke

DASI Solutions adds 8 jobs, moves into new downtown Pontiac HQ

DASI Solutions underwent some big changes in the last year, expanding its staff with a number of hires, moving into a new home in downtown Pontiac, and preparing to offer some new cutting-edge services.

The engineering/tech firm executed its move to a newly renovated building in downtown Pontiac last summer. The company also hired eight people over the last year, expanding its headcount to 45. The new employees are primarily engineering and business development professionals. It also has two openings for application engineers and is planning on adding a couple of summer interns this year.

DASI Solutions is also getting ready to launch a 3-D printing-on-demand service later this month. The company plans to make 3-D printing much more affordable and accessible.

"We will be accepting models from our customers online," says David Darbyshire, co-owner of DASI Solutions. "We will give them an instant quote."

The 18-year-old company has also been expanding its market share geographically. It recently entered into the Cleveland market. The new Cleveland office joins a handful of the firm’s offices across the Midwest.

DASI Solutions has also been doing a lot of work with the state of Michigan's MAT2 (Michigan Advanced Technician Training) program, which helps steer high school students or recent graduates toward tech careers. Think of it as helping guide kids in high school robotics programs who might not be cut out for engineering degrees toward careers in robotics through an apprenticeship program.

"The best way to describe it is an internship on steroids," Darbyshire says.

DASI Solutions will be participating in a MAT2 company fair for careers in mechatronics and design visualization on March 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fair will take place at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills campus in Building F, 2900 Featherstone Road.

Source: David Darbyshire, co-owner of DASI Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

CareEvolution aims to hire 40 on strength of healthcare software sales

Change is the one consistent thing in healthcare today, and it's a trend that is playing into CareEvolution's favor.

The downtown Ann Arbor-based company has hired about 20 people over the last year to keep up with the demand for its software platform. Most of those new hires were software developers and clinical analysts. The firm currently employs 60 people. It plans to add three interns this summer, along with a consistent stream of hires along the way.

"This year we intend to add 40 people," says Vik Kheterpal, principal of CareEvolution. "We're looking at 10 people per quarter." He adds that the company currently has 35 open positions, primarily for software developers, that it would fill right now if it could find the right candidates.

CareEvolution's software specializes in breaking down information silos in healthcare systems primarily by sharing of electronic medical records and information. The idea is to streamline patient care. As the healthcare industry has transitioned to put a bigger focus on efficiency, technology like CareEvolution’s software climbs.

"As that need is growing the demand for our product is growing," Kheterpal says. "We can't keep up."

CareEvolution's growth has been organic. It is projecting 80-percent revenue growth in 2014 based just on the business it has today. Kheterpal expects that number to climb as the year goes on.

"We have very robust growth," Kheterpal says. "We will be almost double our growth this year."

Source: Vik Kheterpal, principal of CareEvolution
Writer: Jon Zemke

Canine To Five looks for larger Ferndale space

Canine To Five is starting its second year at its new location in Ferndale and is looking for a bigger space to help accommodate its success.

The dog daycare business, which got its start in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood, opened its second location in Ferndale last year. It now takes care of 60 dogs a day there. It took the company several years to reach that number at its Detroit location.

Canine To Five currently employs 15 people at its Ferndale digs and is looking for a bigger location to accommodate its growing pack of customers. "When I find the perfect building, I'll know," says Liz Blondy, owner of Canine To Five.

The business got its start on Cass Avenue just south of Martin Luther King Boulevard in Detroit in 2005. Back then the rebranding of the old Cass Corridor as Midtown was just beginning and dog boarding was a relatively new idea to the market. Today it employs 45 people, mostly in Detroit, and expects to hire another four or five this year.

Blondy says her business has proven popular in the suburbs, especially with people who don't often frequent the inner city. She is considering opening another location in the suburbs in the not-too-distant future to take advantage of that demand but isn’t actively moving toward doing that this year.

"At this time it's not a serious consideration but if a great opportunity comes up I will consider it," Blondy says.

Source: Liz Blondy, owner of Canine To Five
Writer: Jon Zemke

Expetec Technology Services eyes adding new locations

IT firm Expetec Technology Services suffered a hit to its bottom line when businesses put off technology upgrades during the down economy.

Now that it's back up, the Troy-based firm is experiencing a spike in sales. Expetect Technology Services has watched its sales increase 27.5 percent in the last year thanks to organic growth from companies looking to upgrade their IT systems. Think everyday businesses looking to upgrade from a Windows XP platform.

"We're getting a lot of calls for that," says Michael St. John, vice president of sales & marketing for Expetec Technology Services.

The 19-year-old firm has hired three people in tech support and sales in the last year. It now has a staff of nine employees. The firm is also looking at adding another location in the Livonia/Ann Arbor area so it can be closer to its customers when their IT infrastructure starts to go down. It is also considering an expansion into Grand Rapids and Lansing to be closer to its clientele.

"It gives us a quicker response time for our customers," St. John says.

Source: Michael St. John, vice president of sales & marketing for Expetec Technology Services
Writer: Jon Zemke

Canine To Five expands staff to 45 in Midtown, Ferndale

Canine To Five is filling out its dog-care operations with new hires a little more than a year after opening a new location in Ferndale, and it has its eyes on a possible expansion in Midtown.

The dog-daycare/grooming business has hired five people at its original home on Cass Avenue just south of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. It also has built up the staff at its Ferndale location to 15 employees in its first year. The company now employs 45 people between its Ferndale location and its original home in Midtown just to keep up with rising demand.

"It took us six years to get to 60 dogs a day (for daycare services at the original location)," says Liz Blondy, owner of Canine To Five. "It took us one year to get to 60 dogs a day in Ferndale."

Blondy explains that it took longer to build up the Detroit location because rebranding the area as Midtown was just starting when she opened in 2005 and the last recession hit just as her business was starting to gain traction. She adds her business in Ferndale is popular with people who are more comfortable in the suburbs than Detroit.

That hasn't stopped the Detroit branch from growing. The Midtown location now handles 80-100 dogs a day, which has helped the business spike its revenue by 20 percent over the last year. It is also hosting popular events, such as the Drinking With Dogs series, which kicks off this May.

Blondy is looking to further expand her business in both locations this year. She expects to hire another 4-5 people this year. She is also looking at adding more daycare and boarding space to her Midtown location and upgrading her location her Ferndale.

"We'd love to move into a new building in Ferndale," Blondy says.

Source: Liz Blondy, owner of Canine To Five
Writer: Jon Zemke
2445 Articles | Page: | Show All
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