By Sara E. Teller
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

My father opened the business originally as a trading post and sold guns, gun licenses, fishing equipment, fishing licenses,and traded-in ice skates,” Martin’s daughter Carol said.

She now co-owns the hardware store with Paul Krupkins. “It was like a Play It Again store. People could trade-in their used and broken items, such as ice skates, broken shovels, and my dad would offer them ten per cent off a replacement.”

Although they were first located in Ferndale, the company quickly transitioned over to Oak Park. “The individual we were leasing from chose not to renew the lease, so we relocated to Oak Park. At the time, we were already building a second location here, so we just moved everything over. We have been here for 72 years, one year prior to Oak Park becoming a city.” The original Oak Park location was across the street from their current site.

Carol grew up in Oak Park. She remembers walking to the present location when she was in high school. She said fondly, “I grew up in Oak Park and Paul did, too. We re-member walking here after school. And, I remember dusting the shelves when I was really young with my sisters. I went on the payroll at 15. I’m 63 now.”

Scheer’s is unique in that its employees are skilled in the particular area of home improvement they are assigned to represent in the store. Carol said, “We hire people who are knowledgeable in their particular departments and in their specialties, unlike some hardware stores where employees cover the whole store. Some staff have been here for 30 years. They’ve stuck around. We are always looking to hire new people, too, though. The right people with the right skills.” She added that Scheer’s offers a wide range of specialty services, explaining, “We do pipe cutting, paint mix-ing, knife sharpening, and we cut keys.”

Scheer’s donates regularly to the Children’s Miracle Net-work. The company hosts an annual Ladies’ Night at which they have food and drink samplings from other Oak Park companies they partner with, as well as silent and Chinese auctions. Attendees are offered goodie bags at the door filled with food merchandise. “There’s easily 300 people who come out every year. It’s held right here at the store.” Information for the event is posted on the community board at 9 Mile and Woodward and loyalty card holders will receive details over email.

“There is just so much history in this place,” Carol said. “We’ve grown from a one aisle store. We have many great regular and repeat customers. We’ve been very lucky.”

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

INSIDE THE GREENFIELD PLAZA, visitors will find a variety of unique, stand-out shops and services. Co-owner Catia Khalife said, “We have a church, fitness center, tax preparation businesses, restaurants, tattoo parlors, hair salons, nail salons, law offices, print shops and, of course, the jewelry stores.” The Plaza is also home to medical and educational services, as well as an entertainment studio. “We offer clean, affordable, and secure locations. We strive to help your business to be successful,” according to management advertisements.

It’s not uncommon for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to inquire about setting up their business inside the Plaza, and the Khalife family welcomes them. “We have a policy of giving everyone a chance,” Catia said. We welcome everyone. We have had tenants come in with a dream and just enough to pay their security deposit…some have become established businesses in the building for a decade or longer. We are most proud of creating a diverse community of businesses and people in a centrally-located city.”

For info, visit the Plaza’s social media pages or call 248.968.1241.

Special Feature by Mary Meldrum

WITH AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF BARS and restaurants and a heavier volume of foot traffic, Ferndale has become a destination city. And, like many destinations, there is a need for parking. While this seems like a good problem to have, change doesn’t come easy to any established city’s infrastructure, and this subject has created angst for many in Ferndale. The growing pains experienced in Ferndale are being felt by many communities in the Detroit area, and even nationwide.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a push to move out away from downtown areas, like Detroit. That movement has recently reversed, and there is a shift in lots of communities to embrace downtown density again. There is a struggle in community development to navigate, accept and accommodate that change in cities across America.

After a lengthy development phase and input from businesses and residents, the City of Ferndale finally approved plans for a mixed-use parking structure on West Troy near Allen at its October 23 Council meeting. Dubbed “The Dot” (‘Development On Troy’), the project features 397 much-needed off-street parking spaces. It will also house over 14,500 square feet of ground floor retail and commercial space, over 39,800 square feet of office space, and a stand-alone residential development capable of supporting 14 to 25 units.

With the approval in place, the city will now finalize engineering, put out bids for contractors, and start construction on the parking deck by April of 2018. Many are relieved to know there will be more parking coming soon. But, while the debates regarding most of the details of this project have been put to rest with this approval, there are still some unhappy business owners and residents who have questions and concerns regarding loading zones, crosswalks, environmental impacts, as well as who will – and more importantly who will not – benefit.

For one thing, there are questions about the City devoting 100 per cent of the $200 thousand dollars allotted for parking mitigation towards providing free valet service.

Assistant City Manager Joe Gacioch provided me with an update on the progress since the October approval of the DOT.

“Right now, the architects are going through the schematic design process,” he reports. “They are finalizing calculations for engineering elements.” He expects schematic designs to be completed within the next four weeks and, once the final design happens, they proceed to competitive bids for construction. The City will then review bids for construction and select a general contractor.

They are looking to break ground in the spring of 2018, concluding an 18-month approval process that included research and public engagement.

“For the long-term view, I think this project is efficient in terms of addressing adequate parking, walk-ability, and density in terms of the daytime and nighttime activity,” explains Gacioch. “Mixed-use helps address the daytime activity because we want to increase foot traffic with the office space. These are all goals that line up with the city’s plan. One of the great things about office space is that they leave at 5:00 P.M., and we have a vibrant downtown economy during the evening, so those spaces become available to accommodate the evening traffic.”

“For the short-term, we recognize there will be discomfort for downtown. We want to minimize the disruption. We have been working with the DDA and businesses to come up with strategies to provide temporary parking solutions.” Gacioch shares, “This inward movement to downtown density is very difficult, and we have to be sensitive to that.” He admits that “nothing is perfect,” but they are working to ease the burden of the construction as much as possible.

They will be testing valet services downtown. A free valet service will be provided downtown during the testing periods (Small Business Saturday weekend, November 24-26, and during the DDA Holiday Lights Festival, December 8-10). The City is also looking to rent a parking lot close to downtown to add more parking spaces during the construction period.

There are grave concerns having to do with the survival of some of the small downtown businesses. They will feel the pain, more than anyone else, of the expected 15-month long construction project which will, of course, put even more pressure on the existing limited parking. Will their customers endure the difficulties of circling for a space or parking further away? Or will they just go somewhere else?

Pat Doran, Professional Guitars
Professional Guitar shop owner, Patrick Doran has been a small business owner in the city since 1990.

“There wasn’t always a robust nightlife here,” Doran says. Where Doran and others really feel the pain right now is on days of a big football game or St. Patrick’s Day. The bars patrons take up all the parking, and that becomes a problem for businesses like Professional Guitars or the Candle Wick Shoppe where somebody just wants to come and buy a guitar string or a candle. If somebody just wants to pop into a shop to buy an item, they will be put off by the lack of parking. Pat points out that it is also unlikely that his customers will circle the block multiple times to find parking.

“I think everyone in Ferndale realizes something needs to be done about the parking,” Pat admits. Most understand the need for additional parking, but they don’t all understand the City’s drive to make it a mixed-use project rather than just throw up a barn for cars. “I think it is going to be more of a hardship for retail businesses to survive when they start the construction.” In addition, night life brings its own flavor of change. “My store is adjacent to an alley, and I can’t count the discarded liquor bottles and beer cans that were not there in 1990,” he reports. “The place next to me has had problems with alcohol and fights.”

Prasad Venogopal, Ferndale Resident
Prasad Venogopal is one of many parents whose children attend the Mejishi Martial Arts Studio on Nine Mile, a business that backs up to Troy Street and is very close to the planned structure.

Venugopal and other parents drop their children off on Troy Street, and many of those kids cross that busy street to get to Mejishi’s. “Children as young as four and five are crossing, and I have personally seen numerous instances where cars have not stopped for the crosswalk and children have come close to being run over,” explains Venugopal. “With that kind of traffic and the dozens of kids who attend Mejishi, I am concerned about what impact the parking deck is going to have on this situation. I haven’t seen the architectural drawings, but if the crosswalk is not part of it, I think crossing the street will be more dangerous.”

Like others, Venugopal is not a fan of the mixed-use aspect of the parking deck. “I think if they need more parking, they should put in more parking. That’s all it should have been. That is how the conversation began,” he opines.

Chris Best, The Rust Belt
“This is very necessary. We are overdue for a parking solution in downtown Ferndale,” declares Chris Best, co-owner of the Rust Belt. Referring to the economic boom that the city has been experiencing, “There are no signs of slowing down as far as development; new businesses, lofts, condos and it is all adding density for businesses, which is great.”

Indeed, Ferndale has become a bustling town with several new businesses, more people and, as Chris adds, “Unfortunately, that is the path for most downtowns, in order to grow. You need people to patronize the downtown; you need density and walkable downtowns, which are very coveted by quality retailers.”

Density creates a rich diversity. Parking is a problem because the mass transit system in the area is anemic. “While it will be a disruption during the building time – which is a big bummer – it is very much needed as part of the evolution of downtown Ferndale.”

Martha Sempliner, Owner Library Bookstore
A landlord and business owner in Ferndale for over 30 years, Martha Sempliner has been following the progress of the city’s parking solution.

“I think this is going to be detrimental to every business. If they close the street for 15 months, where are the workers going to park? Where are the people who use the businesses going to park?”

With regard to the city providing valet or bus service to move shoppers, she doesn’t believe patrons will wait for that. In this day of instant access and convenience, she thinks shoppers just won’t come and will choose to go someplace else.

Referring to all the other more convenient choices available to customers, “Why would they wait to take a bus across the street?”

“What everyone here needs is parking. They don’t need the rest of that. We don’t need apartments or businesses,” She insists.

With clientele that routinely travels from areas like Detroit, downriver, and Ann Arbor, Martha is wary that the construction of the parking deck will disrupt their visits to her store.

As a landlord, the parking lot she owns already experiences people parking there who are not her customers. With regard to illegal parking in her lot, she says, “This project is going to exacerbate the problem we already have.”

Story By : Sara E. Teller

DURING A MEETING HELD NOVEMBER 3RD TO consider a proposal to develop a regional mass transit system, the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation’s (SMART) Board of Directors
approved a budget amendment designed to fund the new initiative, which includes stops along Michigan
Avenue, Woodward Avenue and Gratiot Avenue.

The service would specifically connect downtown Detroit with Metro Airport, Pontiac, Troy and Chesterfield Twp. Washtenew County has been excluded from the plan thus far, and details regarding specific stops along the route have yet to be determined. Some of the current destinations will be eliminated, but only those that cross new points along the grid.

“One of SMART’s most important objectives is to provide reliable transportation to get people to work,” said the company’s Marketing and Communications Director, Beth Gibbons. “By improving service throughout the region’s major corridors our ability to connect jobs with workers is enhanced, which could serve to attract businesses across the spectrum to locate or expand in South-East Michigan.” One of these prospects, a valuable consideration for the new transit system, is Amazon. The well-known marketplace has been scouting a location for its second headquarters, and SMART’s proposal may help to entice it and other big names to establish in the Detroit area.

Amazon has been undergoing a competitive site selection process, asking leaders of population-dense areas to submit their cities as headquarter candidates. In choosing the location, Amazon has specified a preference for metropolitan areas with more than one million people, a stable and business-friendly environment, urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent, and communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options.

Wherever the marketplace decides to set up shop, the site is projected to create as many as 50 thousand new full-time positions for residents, with an average annual compensation exceeding $100 thousand dollars per employee. “Amazon has not released any feedback for submitted proposals that would provide any concrete information on the likelihood of selecting Detroit for the HQ2,” said Beth. Of SMART’s plan, she said, “We have received a variety of responses from the public regarding the proposed service changes. SMART has reviewed the comments, and made adjustments to better meet the needs of our riders.” Additional meetings to solicit feedback are scheduled.

Riders are especially looking forward to being able to connect to the Internetwhile in route. “Wi-Fi service will be available to rediers…on the new express starting January 1st” of this coming year, Beth explained. “SMART is planning to add additional amenities to a number of the stop locations along these corridors.” She added, “SMART’s current fares will still apply to the new service, at $2 dollars one way.”

Regional transit service will begin on January 1, 2018, with a projected annual cost of $14 million, which will fund all expenses related to operating the new system. “This includes wages and benefits for additional drivers, maintenance and IT staff, fuel and maintenance on the buses, and all other operational costs associated with the service running on the road,” Beth explained, adding, “When SMART successfully increased our millage from 0.59 to 1.0 mils in 2014, we committed to balancing our budget, signing new union contracts, and replacing our entire fixed route fleet of buses. Now that those objectives have been accomplished, we have a small amount of funding to reinvest sustainably in improving service. Using the funding to leverage additional federal and state grant funding, we are able to fund about $14 million in continuing, additional service into the future.”

Robert Cramer, Deputy General Manager and EEO/DBE Compliance Officer of SMART, said, “The design of the new service carefully balances the desire to limit the number of stops with the need to connect to as many mobility options as possible. More specifically, the stop locations are selected to connect to other SMART and DDOT routes, park and ride locations, the airport, the QLine, the People Mover, Amtrak Train Stations in Pontiac, Dearborn and Detroit, MOGO Bike Share downtown and Dearborn’s Bike Share along Michigan Avenue. Using only the very limited number of stops on these three routes, you can directly connect to over 92 per cent of all SMART and DDOT routes. The seven-day frequent nature of these routes and this emphasis on connectivity improves a person’s ability to get around the region significantly.” Dan Dirks, Director of Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) believes SMART’s plan will complement its current services. “This complements DDOT service, which is a benefit to DDOT customers and city residents,” he said.

Public hearings began on November 15th for anyone who wants to attend. Comments regarding the new initiative are also being accepted through November 20th at the SMART Administrative Offices, via phone at (313) 223-2100 or email at

A message from the station organizers.

THANK YOU, FERNDALE! If you’re a Ferndale resident, a Ferndale Friends supporter, a Rust Belt Market patron or you’re just giving this article a quick look, you’re part of making our dream come true. Ferndale Radio has live programming on the air, and you made it happen.

We’ve been over the moon since we turned the mics on for the first time on Black Friday. A dedicated group of volunteers has been happily filling our live schedule, and we’re delivering music that’s rarely — if ever —heard anywhere else on the FM dial.

We appreciate everyone who has stopped by the station to give us a thumbs up or a word of encouragement. We are thankful for all of you who follow us on social media and spread the word to your friends and family. And we are forever grateful for those who donated to us when this was nothing more than a crazy idea. Your faith in us was inspiring.

The best part about all this is it’s only going to get better. We plan to broadcast hyperlocal news, high school sporting events and talk shows just as soon as we get our sea legs, and we hope to have a variety of specialty programming and a livestream up and running sometime in 2018.

We love this community, and we know that Ferndale is the best possible place to put a station like ours. Thanks for being part of this journey with us and believing in us. We truly could not have done it without you. We hope to make you proud.
Michelle Mirowski, Dave Phillips, Jeremy Olstyn, Keith Fraley, Dave Kim, Paul Schmalenberg

photos © Bernie Laframboise
photo © David McNair

Story By Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

KIMBERLY MARRONE ENJOYS HER ROLE as Oak Park’s Community & Economic Development Director, a position she’s held for over three years now. “I am committed to improving the economic outlook for the city by providing information to promote Oak Park as an appealing place to live, conduct business, and to visit,” she said.

“I work together with all stakeholders, including businesses, property owners, residents and neighboring communities to provide necessary staffing and resources to achieve continuous growth toward a thriving and sustainable community.

Marrone has also been charged with working with Oak Park’s Planning Commission to achieve continual improvement of the city’s zoning ordinance and site plan approvals, and updating the master plan. “We recently updated our city master plan this year, which had not been updated since 1996,” she explained. “Economic development can result in a stronger tax base, and I am focused on the implementation of key items recognized in the Strategic Economic Development Plan to increase the vitality of the city through the planning and implementation of initiatives.”

One of Oak Park’s goals is to ensure information is distributed to the community in a timely manner. “In my role I ensure that the city communications to residents and businesses are continuous, accurate, and timely. Our community engagement department is responsible for the city calendar, city magazine, event promotions, social media, website, and all videography.”

Marrone came from Imlay City, where she was the Downtown Development Authority Executive Director for over three years. “My prior position as a DDA Director was similar to the one I hold now, but with less responsibility and at a smaller scale. In my career, I have usually held positions related to sales, and this is true in my role here at Oak Park. The only difference is that the product now is the city.”

She added of her prior position, “As DDA Director I had to wear many hats. I was in charge of economic development, event-planning, communications, the website, working with businesses, applying for grants, and creating a business-friendly atmosphere. I created many strong relationships with businesses and the residents of Imlay City, and leaving there was difficult. I still keep in touch with many people in the community, though.”

Marrone said she found her niche in city development after leaving the workforce briefly. “I sort of stumbled upon it when I re-entered the workforce, after taking a few years off to raise my children,” she explained. “I initially began working for Imlay City as the Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, and within one-and-a-half, years, when the DDA Director position became available, they offered it to me. I graduated from Oakland University with a degree in marketing, and I created all the marketing materials for Imlay City when I worked there.”

She said Oak Park has many exciting plans in the works, especially the Nine Mile Redesign. “We are currently finalizing our plans for the Nine Mile Redesign. Streets and street networks provide a template for a rich combination of housing, shopping, and transportation choice. Nine Mile Road is the principal roadway through the center of Oak Park. Right now, it serves mostly motor vehicles, and neither creates an attractive environment for pedestrians to walk or take transit nor a safe environment for cycling or other modes of transportation. Together, this reduces the economic development potential along Nine Mile Road and makes Nine Mile Road an unattractive route for anyone not using a car.

“Streets and street networks should support a robust mix of culture and commerce. Street networks should integrate all modes of transportation. Aligning the goals set forth by the residents of Oak Park in the Strategic Economic Development Plan, and the Center For New Urbanism Nine Mile Redesign Plan, this project can play a catalytic role by better connecting people to the types of places they increasingly seek and providing them with choices for how to get to them.”

Kimberly noted her position can be challenging. “Balancing the needs and wants of a diverse group of residents and business owners” is one of the major challenges she faces. “In my role, change is a key component, which most people are adverse to. We try to communicate as effectively as possible and engage all stakeholders while planning any projects within the city.”

Of Oak Park, Kimberly says, “I love the diversity and working with all the residents and business owners. It is a great community with a great location, near many highways and within close proximity to downtown Detroit.” She enjoys spending time in Ferndale as well. “I love the vibrancy of Ferndale, and this is something I want to bring to the city of Oak Park. The Nine Mile Road Redesign project is one thing that will help us attain that in Oak Park.”

By: Jill Lorie Hurst

HEATHER HOPKINS’ COOL LITTLE SHOP, 3 WINKS, is a terrific addition to the rapidly growing retail neighborhood on 9 Mile just east of Woodward. I was delighted to have an excuse to visit the store and chat with the owner. She is proud and excited to share her new venture. Opening a store like this is something she’s wanted to do for a long time. When Heather’s mom died a year ago, she started to reevaluate and think about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. A Western Michigan University graduate, with a degree in interior design and a background in business and marketing, she’s worked in retail for over 20 years. She enjoyed her most recent job at Harold Wholesale, but decided it was time to take a risk.

“It took me over 20 years to be okay with failing if it doesn’t work out.” she smiles. “No matter what happens, I’ve already learned so much. If there’s a next time, I’ll be smarter.” She also has the full support of her husband Jesse, a guitar technician at the Guitar Center in Farmington Hills, who also designs and builds guitars. The couple, who’ve been married for a little over two years, lives in Hazel Park, “right around the corner” from the store. “I couldn’t do this without Jesse.” says Heather. Their dog Austin has a stake in the business too and if you visit their website, you’ll find “Austin’s Pick of the Month.”

Heather has gifts geared toward dog and cat lovers of course, but what is amazing as you look around is she truly has something for everyone. “Gifts,” as opposed to “presents”; presents are something someone needs or has requested, while a gift is something I think you’ll enjoy based on things I know about you, shared the business owner.

There are cards, soaps, candles, scarves, holiday ornaments. Practical things with a frivolous twist, like the “Glammer Hammer,” an emergency escape hammer for the car. Cake mugs with recipes on the cup. A fun, rainy, Saturday treat for the kids. Need a last-minute gift? There are gift baskets in the $55-60 range, and cute secret-Santa give-ables for about $20. Michigan crafts are represented, and she also displays products that benefit a number of nonprofits.

Heather speaks of each product with knowledge and enthusiasm. She shares a particular favorite, strands of beautiful, handmade fabric birds: “Birds of Joy and Happiness.” No two are the same but they are said to bring joy, good luck and prosperity to their owner. Heather: “I love the message, and supporting a local artist.”

I see things at 3Winks I’ve never seen in another gift shop. “Growing up, I never wanted to be like everybody else.” She brings a unique eye and a big heart to her little store. “I enjoy helping people find the perfect gift. To think outside the box. Hopefully a store like this encourages thoughtfulness.”

203 East 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale
Tues.-Sat. 11-8, Sun. 12-5

By Jennifer Goeddeke

SINCE OPENING IN 1985, THE OM CAFÉ has developed a pioneering status in the local realm of vegetarianism. Located north of 9 Mile on Woodward in the heart of Ferndale, The Om has a welcoming and cozy interior, including a range of beautiful artwork on the walls from local artist, Sumi Lee. Colleen Smiley was the original owner of The Om for over 20 years, and she helped forge a path ahead for those who favor a meat-free diet. While the meatless market is widely accepted as a healthy lifestyle in modern times, public perception was not always so favorable. The emphasis at The Om has been consistently on meatless cuisine, with menu options focusing on homegrown and organic fruits & vegetables, plus GMO-free/pesticide-free grains (macrobiotic and gluten-free menu options included). The Om formerly served fish, but these days the only non-vegan foods served are cheese (with certain dishes), and eggs are available on the brunch menu at least for the near future.

Since 2014, Om Café has been under the co-ownership of two Ferndale residents: Bill Blondy and Jessica Norwood. Both Blondy and Norwood were long-time customers and devoted fans of The Om. Norwood is currently handling the majority of the café operations, along with her husband, Matthew Helsel, and a team of 12 other staff. Norwood was introduced to The Om Café at age three, through her mom, and worked her way up over the past five years, from waitressing to management, then into ownership. She fondly describes The Om as, “a child of mine since I was little…I used to empty my piggy bank for a nori roll! This is absolutely my dream job. I can’t imagine being away from this space and this environment.”

Norwood’s main goal with the menu, as she explained, is to: “Stay fresh to the times while still respecting the tradition of everything The Om stands for. I am basically creating a niche within a niche, by focusing on ‘vegan comfort foods’! On a daily basis, I am asking myself, ‘what are people excited about eating?’”

Being the head chef comes with considerable responsibility to her customers. “There are so many different forms of vegan cuisine, and being a chef is generally an egocentric profession. But I continuously learn and grow. Food is life. It’s a gift to enjoy. Every member of staff here plays a pivotal role.”

Customers gravitate to The Om Café for a variety of reasons. Some are influenced by advice from a doctor, to eat less meat in order to lose weight for example. Others may be drawn to try vegetarian or vegan cuisine due to a girlfriend or boyfriend eating that way.  Many times, a macrobiotic diet is suggested for those fighting different types of cancer.

Norwood has an abundant passion for The Om, where she believes that even her personal attitude and energy level will be conveyed through the food she cooks, “I feel like I am home when I am here! I met my husband here, was proposed to here, and have had friends’ and family birthdays here. It can be humbling to think that my positive or negative energy translates into the quality of food that I serve.”

The Om Café has received several awards over the years. Most recently, the ‘Click on Detroit’ Channel 4 News award for ‘Best Vegetarian Cuisine, 2017.’ Norwood likes to give back to the community also; there is a donation box inside the café and the proceeds go to a local shelter. Recently, she hosted a “Nom Week,” where The Om joined forces with the nosh pit food truck, and together they raised money for Ferndale’s Catfe Cat Shelter.

Norwood is not just creating delicious vegan dishes, she is creating an overall vibe of enthusiasm and positivity, which is transferring to staff and customers alike. We look forward to seeing more of what she has in store for us soon!

23136 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 248.548.1941
M/W/Th/Fri: 4-9pm.
Sat: 11a-3pm; 4-9pm.
Tues, Sun: Closed.

By Jennifer Goeddeke

NOW AT THEIR PERMANENT LOCATION IN OAK PARK (9 mile & Scotia), Knight Light Candle is certainly a mind-expanding store! With an abundance of light streaming in from the multiple high-set windows and an eclectic selection of items, Knight Light is a relaxing treat to browse around. The store is a family-run business, previously situated for two decades in Detroit (at Mt. Elliott & Gratiot). Customers come from all over to shop – including many from out-of-state locations and Canada.

Owner Ron Hammer started out in the candle business over 30 years ago, at a company called Skippy Candles. In 1990, he moved on to work at Goodwill Candles. Soon after, in 1992, he decided to open his own store and Knight Light Candle was born!

I recently met with Ron, Jon, Ben and Nancy Hammer for a guided tour and interview. It was immediately clear the Hammers love what they do. Immediately upon entering the building, customers are given individual attention. And Ron pointed out, “our customers always come back!”

As the name would suggest, the candle inventory is impressive. There are candles to represent almost any possible occasion, and to enable wishes or prayers to come true.

Some are even designed with humor in mind, such as the “Shut Your Mouth!” or “Obey Me!” candles. Certain candles have specific messages attached for customers to read; all candles sold can be individually blessed or ‘dressed’ with special oil. Other stores, and some churches, buy candles from Knight Light in a wholesale manner because of the high quality and variety available.

There is a diverse inventory of other unique and in-expensive items to choose from, including incense, pure oils, jewelry, crystals, beads, shells and more. The products sold cover a broad spectrum, from new age and metaphysical to various different cultures/religions.

The Hammers are always open to specific questions, and encourage customers to ask for advice. Knight Light Candle offers a great experience, and one well worth repeating!

10332 West 9 Mile, Oak Park MI 48237
Monday-Thursday 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Friday and Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M.
Closed Sunday

By Ann Heler, Board of Directors

HELP WANTED: Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners. We can use a little help. We like each session to have at least three practitioners. We ask that you volunteer with us once monthly. You can be retired but you need to have a current practicing license. Think about it……please.

Upcoming clinic sessions:
Saturday mornings 9:00 AM to Noon:
12/16/17, 1/6/18, 1/20/18, 2/3/18, and 2/27/18.
Thursday evenings 6:00 – 8:30 PM:
11/30/17, 12/7/17, 12/21/17, 1/11/18, 1/25/18, 2/8/18, and 2/22/18

Please call me at 248-677-2273, ext. 23 or e-mail our Head Nurse, Diane Dengate at or go to our website and pull down the Volunteers tab. I need to say a big thank you to the RNs that sent in the applications or e-mailed Diane. You are just wonderful…..thank you.

We have another very critical need for a Clinic Manager. This is a paid position – $22,000/year. Work load is 15 hours per week with some of that time by phone or e-mail. The person needs to be a Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner or RN with some administrative experience. Once again as above, call me at 248-677-2273 ext. 23 or e-mail Diane Dengate Head Nurse for more information.