Business

By David Wesley
Photos by Bernie Lamframboise

Seven years ago, Michelle Mirowski was struck by proverbial lightning on her front porch when she and her friends came up with the idea for a community radio project in Ferndale. Following the passage of an important communications law during the Obama administration, a tiny crack opened up in the local radio spectrum, allowing for the creation of a Low-Power FM (LPFM) radio station right here in our home town of Ferndale.

With the help of The Rust Belt and tons of local donations, Michelle and her team are only a few thousand dollars away from making the fresh and impactful change in radio that will nourish local talent and influence Ferndale life through the years to come.

Michelle sat down with me for an interview about Ferndale Community Radio: Its inception, its current state and its shining future.

DW: How and why did you start the Ferndale Community radio and how has it evolved since its inception?
MM: It was started from a passion for local radio! Local, community-based stations represent the creativity of the region they are based in, as well as helping bring communities together. The further along we got into FCR, the more we realized how perfect a community-based station is for Ferndale. Seven years ago, we just had a great idea. Now, we have an FCC permit for an FM station (100.7 FM), a secure location for our tower and studio (Rust Belt), we have a structured plan for running the station and a number of local folks who want to be volunteer DJs. The support has been overwhelming. We are also less than $5,000 from reaching our goal to get everything going. If you go to ferndaleradio.com, you can donate to help us reach the finish line.

DW: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of FCR for you, and how has it affected the city?
MM: Seeing people’s faces light up when we mention our project is one of the most rewarding parts of the station. Folks want a place where they can share their creative projects and learn about new music and ideas.
This will give the Ferndale residents another tool to communicate with each other. FCR has given the city something extremely unique to look forward to. It is extremely rare that a city has their own community station!

DW: What do you plan the future of FCR to be?
MM: Once we are up-and-running, we hope to partner with lots of organizations in Ferndale. For example, we want to partner with the schools and air local football games, and work with students who might be interested in radio. This will also be a great place for local musicians from all genres to play their music. In year two or three we want to start streaming. This will be an avenue for the creative projects that make Ferndale, Ferndale. The station is here to enrich the already vibrant and talented community.

●    We are only a few thousand dollars away from succeeding with this project.
●    Local businesses that want to sponsor the station in return for on-air mentions should reach out to us at ferndaleradio@gmail.com.
●    T-shirts and hoodies, as well as guest DJ spots, can be found at ferndaleradio.com.
It’s the best way individuals can help.
●    Weds. April 19: Special Fundraiser at Zeke’s Rock ‘n Roll BBQ, all day, mention Ferndale Community Radio and 15% of your receipt will be donated to FCR.

By Jennifer Goeddeke

With a spacious, brightly-painted new location at 23440 Woodward Ave (previously the TV Fitness building), it’s clear owner Tammy Crenshaw and her dedicated team are doing things right!

Previously located for several years at 703 Livernois, at a smaller locale, an expansion of services offered and enhanced class space has literally just opened up for Fido’s canine clients. When I recently had an opportunity to stop by and meet with Crenshaw, I was also introduced to Sarah Maki, who wears several Fido ‘hats’ as head trainer, groomer and office manager.

Together, Maki and Crenshaw have formed an effective and lively partnership, with a shared ‘no-force’ approach when dealing with all dogs. Positive-reinforcement is the name of the game and, although this may sound simple or even obvious, not all dog training or dog grooming facilities are created equal! Both Maki and Crenshaw have many years of experience and education in training and grooming, which allows them to understand our dogs’ unique signals.

Crenshaw has worked with dogs for 17 years, initially focusing on pet-sitting and dog-walking. She then started training at Bubble & Bark in Ferndale, back in 2006, after graduating with honors from Animal Behavior College. She went on to receive her certification from the Council For Professional Dog Trainers in 2011. Originally, she met with Maki as a client. Soon after she began to realize Maki already had notable skills with dogs, and invited her to sit in on some classes. “I was smart enough to grab onto her!” Crenshaw explained, smiling: “We are now basically business partners, where Sarah takes on most of the staff and office managerial role.”

Maki gained her Honors Degree in 2009, at the same Animal Behavior College as Crenshaw, and proudly completed her grooming qualifications at the Bingo Institute of Grooming last year. Maki added that the bad grooming experiences she had with her own dogs at various places inspired her to create ‘Fido’s Gray Dog Grooming’, so that all dogs’ boundaries could be respected.

The main goal is for each dog to associate a visit to Fido with enjoyment. Traditionally, grooming can be a stressful time for dogs, and so dogs may be reluctant to enter the facility — but not at Fido! Various methods have been implemented by Crenshaw, Maki and staff, to ensure your dog is comfortable and happy during each phase of care. Ideally, they want to see enthusiastic tail-wagging from all dogs coming in! Appointments are set so that ‘overbooking’ does not occur, and pets are not waiting around.

Your dog sets his or her own pace during the appointment, and can take a break if the groomer sees signs of anxiety. For example, your dog may be fed during nail clipping, by way of distraction. Other tried-and-tested approaches involve the use of toys, treats, potty-breaks and offering water. Further low-stress grooming methods include rubber mats being placed in tubs, to minimize noise echo. Aromatics such as essential oils are often used to soothe the dogs. Additionally, a soft cloth ‘Happy Hoody’ is used to put over a dog’s sensitive ears, and greatly mutes the blow-drying noise which most dogs dislike. For older or larger pets, there is an extra tub available which is lower to the floor, which makes it easier for your dog to maneuver.

Had to ask : What are some of the anxiety cues to look out for in our own dogs, at home? Tammy informs us: Yawning (signaling stress) and different types of tail wags — in fact, all kinds of body language is used; we miss a lot of their signals, apparently, just by being human! Crenshaw explained further, “….more studies are now available on dogs and cats, leading to better understandings. We are primates, they are canines and felines…so although we can feel a great deal of connection and understanding toward our
pet…many signals and even emotions are different from ours…often with regards to  their moral com-pass. Corrections for ‘bad behavior’ may not always be what it seems…often, dogs are reacting to our tone and body language when ‘acting guilty’…they develop appeasement postures and faces to appear submissive and create a better response from us…a stressed-out dog may be giving many communicative signals before finally snapping or biting!”

Regarding classes at Fido, there are plenty to choose from, from various phases of puppy obedience to ‘canine good citizen,’ ‘leash reactivity’ and ‘advance field trip,’ just to name a few. All staff members at Fido are carefully chosen for their combination of education and experience. Currently there are five lead trainers, three assistant trainers and a team of eight dog walkers. Both Crenshaw and Maki agree that seeing a dog change from being conflicted or unhappy to being more content and relaxed is hugely rewarding. Maki commented, “… it really seems to come down to an ‘aha’ or ‘lightbulb’ moment for the dog, where he or she realizes that his or her communication is finally being understood.”

Clearly, there is so much to learn about our loyal and beloved canine companions. It is certainly re-assuring to know there are gentle and fun approaches, such as those used by Fido staff, to help train and groom these amazing family pets!

23440 Woodward Ave, Ferndale
www.fidodogtraining.com or
www.facebook.com/fidopersonaldogtraining. Tammy Crenshaw or Sarah Maki may be reached at 248.607.9350 or fidofetch@sbcglobal.net.

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos by Ed Abeska

Marty O’Neill spent most of his early career life working in the automotive industry. “I worked primarily in account management for component manufacturers supplying the Big Three,” he says. However, his State Farm Agent, Dave Arce, would eventually change all that. “Dave talked to me about the opportunity to open my own agency. He said State Farm was looking for entrepreneurs with sales experience who wanted to be their own business owner.”

Marty was married with four kids and needed to be able to put food on the table. He also had no prior experience in the insurance industry. The decision to change careers was risky, but he was up for the challenge. “I was in my mid-30s, and felt if I was going to make a bold career move, now was the time. Dave introduced me to the area manager and set the process in motion.”

Each State Farm Agency is owned by the agent, who then employs a team he or she determines to be the best for the agency. Since State Farm follows strict policies and specific criteria for the agency role, the process of becoming certified and proving he had what it takes would prove cumbersome. “The process was long and difficult. State Farm is very serious and protective of the Agency Role and takes careful measures when selecting agents,” Marty explains. “After numerous evaluations and interviews, however, I was selected and was asked to open a ‘new market agency’ in Ferndale.” A new market agent is an agent who starts scratch, without an established location and without any customers. “I had to grow my agency from the ground up,” he says.

Marty opened the Ferndale location in December 2006, and by the end of the first day the branch had their first client. “Since then we have helped thousands of clients and have been recognized by State Farm for our work and commitment to Ferndale.” Marty appreciates the opportunity to work with the Ferndale community specifically. “I couldn’t ask for a better place for my business than Ferndale,” he says. “Every time I’m around anyone who will listen I brag about Ferndale.” He claims the insurance business is strong in the area and everyone on his team is driven to succeed. Ferndale’s diverse customer base also keeps the day-to-day interesting and exciting. “My favorite thing about Ferndale is the diversity,” Marty says, adding it gives him “great options as a businessperson.” His team is afforded the unique experience of being able to work with all kinds of people, building long-lasting relationships with residents and a repeat customer base.

This year marks the Ferndale location’s ten-year business anniversary. Marty discusses some of the high and lows his team has experienced over the past ten years. “When we opened, it was rough. Starting a business is difficult. You make so many mistakes. Those mistakes are great learning tools but they are expensive. They cost time and money,” he explains. “We also opened just before the economic slide of 2008 and 2009. Our clients were moving away, losing jobs, having their houses foreclosed. It was hard. But we found that helping people during these times helped us get closer to our customers and helped us make long lasting relationships that we still have today.”

The Ferndale location has grown and evolved since the early days. The team has learned from the tough years, and has had many uplifting experiences as well. There will always be challenges in the insurance industry, which by its very definition is unpredictable. “We have seen people go through some major challenges. We have had clients hurt in car accidents. I’ve been called several times at night because a house caught on fire. Our clients have passed away,” Marty says. “However, the satisfaction of helping someone who has lost their home, or handing a check to some whose spouse has passed away, makes doing what we do worth it.”

Marty is also thankful for Ferndale’s office manager, Julie Toggweiler. “The highlight of the past ten years was finding Julie,” he says. “Julie is the heart and soul of the agency.
We would have never had made it this far without her.”

Future goals for the Ferndale branch include continuing to offer the best prices possible to patrons and keeping pace with a fast-moving industry. “Every two minutes there is a commercial telling people they can save money in fifteen minutes. Our job is to make sure that our clients are not only getting the best price possible, but also getting the service they need,” Marty explains, adding, “An insurance policy is only a piece of paper with a promise written on it. The promise we make is that if something bad happens we will be there to help.”

I’m writing to share the current real estate market conditions in the Metro Detroit area. Our inventory of available homes is at a critical low right now; and with the threat of interest rates continuing to rise, this is a big problem for buyers. It should also be a clear message to homeowners considering selling their homes.

I listed a home last week on Wednesday at 9:00 A.M. It was a typical 1200 sq. ft, bungalow located in the Woodward corridor. By 12:00 P.M., there were over 50 confirmed showings. I called for “highest and best” after receiving two offers. On Friday at 5:00 P.M., I had 19 offers for my client to review and 17 were over asking price. Great news for the seller, but bad news for the 18 buyers who did not get the home.

I want everyone in the Metro Detroit area to know this is the time to sell!! If interest rates continue to rise, the pool of buyers will shrink, and home sales will be affected. As inventory rises, this will change the market to benefit buyers, and home values will drop. If you’re thinking of selling, waiting could be devastating to your bottom line. It could also be damaging to the market as a whole. If inventories rise at the same time as interest rates, it could create the atmosphere for another real estate “bubble,” and we all know how damaging that can be to the housing market.

For those who think waiting until summer to sell will help your bottom line, I’d ask you to reconsider your rationale. Do you think you will profit from waiting until the time when others are more likely to put their homes on the market? Not likely! The time to put your home on the market is now, while supply is low. Cash in now!

Sincerely, Eric Blaine
Real Estate One, 26236 Woodward Ave Royal Oak, MI 48067
Cell: 248-808-4758.

Story by Maggie Boleyn
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

Hazel Park is poised to become the first city in the state of Michigan to require microchips for dogs in place of a regular license. In 2015, San Antonio, Texas, became the largest US city replacing standard pet licenses with the implanted chip.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of dogs found in Hazel Park,” Bethany (Beth) Holland said. “We know they’ve got people, and we want to increase the number of reunions with owners.” She noted that without identification, “It’s a miracle they get back home.”

Holland has served as Volunteer Team Leader at the Hazel Park Animal Control Shelter, and was recently named as a Councilperson for Hazel Park.

Holland said that the idea for the microchip requirement has been discussed since 2015. City ordinances will have to be changed to reflect the microchip mandate for dogs, but the rollout is planned for April 2017. Currently, there are no plans to require cats to have the rice-grain sized microchip device implanted. Holland promised that there will be ample advance notice given to residents regarding the new regulations.
Supporters of the implanted devices say that registered microchips increase the odds of your pet returning home. Microchips have unique numbers that function as your pet’s ID. If your pet becomes lost, most veterinarians and all animal shelters have special scanners that can “read” the microchip. Universal scanners provide the best chance of reading microchips.

The risk of an animal shelter or vet not being able to detect a microchip is very low. Rarely, microchips, which are designed to last for 25 years, can fail and become undetectable. Human error can also lead to a chip not being read as can faulty scanners, or struggling, aggressive or obese animals. According to the Humane Society, while universal scanners can detect a competing company’s chip, they may not be able to correctly read the data.

Collars with ID tags can fall off, thereby losing your contact information. “My dog loses them all the time,” Holland confided.

Holland said microchips can be obtained at vaccine clinics, veterinary offices and at Hazel Park Animal Control. The chips are inserted with a large needle between the shoulder blades, and the animal does not need to be anesthetized for the procedure.

Prices for implanting the device vary and generally range from $10-$20 dollars. Depending on the microchip model chosen, there may be an annual fee charged by the microchip company to maintain current registration information. These fees also vary; and some companies may charge a one-time fee, while others require annual maintenance fees. Some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip. The American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

Holland acknowledged that potential fees of around $30 dollars per dog would hit some Hazel Park residents hard.

“We are expecting growing pains,” she said “We’re trying to figure it out. We’re basically creating the wheel.”

She said that plans are in the works to possibly vary the fee, depending on factors such as whether the dog has been altered, has lived in Hazel Park for more than six years, or already has a microchip device implanted.  Holland said that the City of Hazel Park has purchased 100 microchips, and is actively seeking corporate sponsorships to help defray additional costs.

The Humane Society says that microchips do provide an extra level of protection if your pet loses his collar and tags, and are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the only identification method used.

The Humane Society recommends that owners who are concerned about pets having negative reactions to microchipping, or if you have questions about microchips in general, to check with your pet’s veterinarian.

Story by Sara Teller
Photo by David McNair

Frontier Promotions is an up-and-coming full service sales and marketing firm that established in downtown Ferndale in June 2014. The company works with Fortune 100 and 500 companies, and was named one of the Detroit Free Press’ Top Work Places in 2015 as well as one of 2015’s Best Businesses of Ferndale.

“We love that our office is located in a progressive city like Ferndale, and the community and environment is one of the main reasons that we initially decided to look for offices spaces here,” explains Frontier’s Human Resources Manager, Sarah McCarty. The company thrives in a highly team oriented atmosphere.” She says Frontier prides itself on its fun, interconnect-ed culture. “We focus on creating a positive environment. We empower our team members to take a hands on approach in their professional responsibilities and are constantly improving the morale of the entire crew. We have a very ‘work-hard, play-hard’ style of doing business.”

Frontier Promotions is also focused on giving back to the community, and hosts many charity events throughout the year. “We make it a priority to be involved with the community and philanthropic work,” Sarah explains. “We have provided community meals and Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless. We also have a tradition of adopting a family for Christmas to make sure that we are taking care of our local community and giving back.”

The team particularly enjoys working with Ferndale’s First United Methodist Church, located at 22331 Woodward Ave, at 9 Mile Rd. “We have done some volunteer work with First United Methodist Church and particularly like helping them because they have been so kind and welcoming to us since first moving into our Woodward location. Our office space is directly across from First United Methodist, and when we first moved into our space we struggled with parking since the lot here is shared by multiple businesses.” The church immediately stepped in to help. “Initially, we became involved with the church when they offered to let us use their parking lot. In exchange we did some volunteer work, including a Thanksgiving dinner.”

For the Thanksgiving event, Frontier Promotions had five of its team members take the day to prepare, cook, and serve a Thanksgiving meal at the church. “We prepared all of your traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole, rolls, etc. And, were able to service over 100 members of the local community that did not have the means to buy or cook their own dinner,” Sarah says. “It was really rewarding to see the appreciation of everyone involved, from the church staff, to the recipients of the dinner. Everyone came together, and for us it really made us feel thankful to be part of the Ferndale community.”

Frontier Promotions hosts a number of activities usually around the latter portion of the year and during the holidays, including providing a family with gifts during the Christmas season. “That is sort of a tradition for us now,” Sarah says, adding that “We pride ourselves on our work environment and office culture, so every Thursday we do some sort of team-building exercise.” Last year in December, Frontier also decided to attend the Be-a-Kid-for-a-Kid event at Dino’s Lounge. Proceeds from the event went to Blessings in Backpack, which Sarah says is “a really great organization that provides low-income students with meals for the weekend that they otherwise would not have.” The Frontier team has also planned local food drives, with the latest also held at the end of 2016.

Story by Andrea Grimaldi
Photos by Bernie LaFramboise

We are open to the public. We invite anyone to visit and walk around, walk their dogs,” Machpelah groundskeeper Paul Saville explained, looking around the park in his backyard. On this quiet fall day, the grounds crew worked on blowing away leaves and tending to the flowerbeds, as the sun came through the branches of the countless trees. And, had we been anywhere besides one of the oldest cemeteries in Metro Detroit, I would have wondered how no one took him up on his offer.

To Paul, a calming walk around the cemetery is nothing new. He has worked maintaining the cemetery since 1978 in what started as a summer job. By the mid-‘80s, he had worked his way to head groundskeeper and moved into the house on the property, hidden behind a garage of maintenance machines. Machpelah is one of the last cemeteries in America that has a groundskeeper living on the property, and the Saville family treats it with the care and pride of home.

Machpelah Cemetery is a gorgeous park, regardless if tombstones scare you or not. The history and depth in Machpelah Cemetery is worth a long, winding walk. The Jewish cemetery is located on Woodward, just south of Marshall road, across from a car dealership and surrounded by businesses. Despite the busy area, the cemetery is a very peaceful place, 24 acres of immaculate landscaping backed by the David Oppenheim Memorial park. The cemetery has 9000 garden beds and circling walking trails. Machpelah has won an America in Bloom award, as well as a Ferndale Beautification award, with good reason. There is a year-round crew that keeps Machpelah beautiful. Weeding and garden maintenance is a nonstop task, starting at one end of the park and restarting as soon as they reach the other. The crew also must level out between 300 and 500 graves and tombstones a year. Along with the tradition of having a groundskeeper on the property, Machpelah is also one of few cemeteries that hand digs each grave.

The Machpelah cemetery is integral to Detroit history. The first house on Woodward Avenue stood where the cemetery is now, when Woodward was a dirt trail. The two-bedroom house was on the Granger farm property, and the occupants paid $7 dollars per month for rent.

Machpelah has a very large veterans section. Alfred Levitt, a member of the Flying Tigers in World War II, is in internment here. A Congressional Medal of Honor awardee is also buried here. Members of the Purple Gang, Detroit’s Jewish mafia and Al Capone’s liquor supplier during the prohibition, rest here as well. According to rumors, one of Al Capone’s girlfriends is here, as well as a previous mayor of Las Vegas. Gilda Radner’s parents are here in a family plot. “Babeland” – a section of early 1900’s children – is the eeriest of them all.

While all internment records are available on the Machpelah website, the staff is also available to help with genealogy questions. The employees of the cemetery are very well-educated on the history of the cemetery and are happy to show guests around the graves. The main administration building has a chapel and a family room for guests. The guest gathering room has shelves of the interesting things found while digging; old medicine bottles, beer and soda bottles, broken glasses, rusted out horse shoes. A Congressional Medal of Honor from the Civil War was also found on the grounds.

The staff is accommodating to guests of Machpelah there out of both necessity and curiosity. Walk a mile somewhere you never thought you would, and walk away more intrigued because of it.

Story by Mary Meldrum
Photo David McNair

She walks in to meet with me, and immediately the room is lit. Bright and peppy, with a smile a mile wide, Teri Griffin Williams is glowing. She reminds me of a young girl, perhaps 14-years-old, with her curly hair, her immaculate complexion, and the bubbly personality to match. However, it is clear when we talk that she is an old soul with some pretty incredible wisdom. I am mesmerized.

Many know Teri as the Bliss Lady. Indeed, an apt description for this nymph of happiness, but before she became the Bliss Lady, Teri’s life was very different. It is hard to imagine that she began her professional career as the assistant to a bank president, but she did. She crunched numbers, which is about as far away from her professional reality now as the Earth is from Mars. She is good at math and numbers are predictable, so she put these talents to good use early on, and now occasionally has clients who hire her as their business consultant.

Through a series of tragedies, life challenges and revelations, Teri discovered her less tangible and powerful talents with energy work.

Born the youngest of six children in a traditional Catholic family, Teri was on a traditional religious path with her family as a young child. At a certain point, she realized that the traditional path didn’t satisfy her. Now, Teri openly talks about spirituality, but not from a religious perspective. Spirituality for her is about raising your higher self; connecting with something that sustains you in the name of love and compassion.

“My own quest for personal success, contentment and peace of mind led me down many paths, having taken more seminars, workshops and classes than I can possibly begin to list. Each of which has led me to believe that what we focus on multiplies.”
– Teri Griffin Williams

An avid practitioner of meditation for the last 25 years, Teri meditates every day. Weather permitting; her practice is done outside in nature to give her the full benefit of the sunshine and fresh air. Bringing her meditative knowledge to her clients, Teri is also a co-founder of the guided meditation series: I Meditation Project (iMeditationProject.com). This series of guided meditations has been created in the first person. Instead of hearing the guide’s voice say “You are…” in typical guided meditation vernacular, I Meditation Project has recorded its series to say “I am.” In a deep meditative state, this simple change is fluid and transformative because the brain does not need to translate the “you” to “I.”

Creator of the LEARN REIKI FROM HOME study program which is on the web page  (LearnReikifromHome.com), Teri reveals that her Certified Home Study Course is founded on the original Reiki Masters’ concepts from over 100 years ago. This course fits the needs of novice Reiki practitioners as well as more experienced practitioners or Reiki Masters.

For the last six years, Teri has hosted her Soulful Living radio show that features interviews with inspiring and some well-known guests. You can listen to Teri on Empower Radio every Monday at noon, or listen to her radio content via podcast. Teri’s busy professional career also now includes being a Certified Intuitive Practitioner, a Reiki Master, and a Shamanic Practitioner. With these skills, Teri practices Soul Retrieval and Soul Work.

There is a clear warning on her website, www.SoulPractices.com, that Teri Griffin Williams makes to her clients up front: Possible side effects of following her methods may include feelings of: joy, peace, calm, connection, flow, happiness, sexiness (yes, sexiness!), enthusiasm, creativity, etc.  Whatever she does, it is clearly working for her as she effortlessly maintains her bubbly conversation and her glow. She is walking testimony to the success of her work.

 “Teaching others how to expand their potential for living life to the fullest through creating a practice of impeccable soul care is my passion.”
– Teri Griffin Williams

Teri promotes the idea that ultimately everyone is their own healer. For those who are interested in experiencing more harmony, abundance, relaxation and rejuvenation in their lives, she can help guide you to discover those and more.

We could all use that glow!

Story by Sarah E. Teller
Photo By Bernie LaFramboise

George and Cecilia Grego purchased Como’s restaurant, on the corner of Nine Mile Rd and Woodward, on April 1, 1961, and since then the restaurant has been a staple in the Ferndale community. The Italian hot spot is best known for its pizza. “We have the best pizza anywhere around,” says Como’s manager, George Grego Jr.

Como’s has a full bar and regular entertainment, combining dining and drinks, great for any sized party. It will offer a fun-filled lineup for the upcoming Blues Festival, January 27th through February 4th. “We’ll have entertainment each night,” George says.

There is a banquet area that can accommodate up to 100 people, as well as a private dining room seating up to 40. In warmer months, the outside patio seats several hundred people. “It’s a simple phone call,” George says of how quickly a reservation for a special event can be made. Como’s also hosts birthday parties, wedding and baby showers and other celebratory events.

Como’s reopened in October 2016, after having been cited for several violations related to cleanliness and the safety of its food, including citations for its kitchen area and ultimately closed by the health department the previous month. A lot of it had to do with “noncompliance of staff,” according to George. “We have a lot of new staff now and have remodeled.” Of the original 20-plus employees, only six have been retained. “No money had been put into the restaurant in nearly 20 years,” George adds.

“We’ve taken this opportunity to put the funds in that were needed.” Most of the building has been gutted and the space has been completely transformed, with all violations properly addressed and eradicated.

“We’ve made some fantastic changes and additions, and have thoroughly addressed and resolved any outstanding issues with the Oakland County Health Division,” George also indicated in a press release following the restaurant’s reopening. “All current staff are ServSafe certified.” ServSafe is a program that uses FDA Food Code guidelines to provide safety education and training to anyone employed at a restaurant who handles food.

George credits much of the positive change to Como’s new award winning chef, Pete Lech, a graduate of Schoolcraft College who served as an executive chef at Andiamo Italian Restaurant for a number of years. “Pete is just great,” he says. “He comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

The restaurant has instituted some great specials to make sure members of the community stop by and check out the changes. “We have the best specials earlier in the week,” George says. On Monday’s Como’s has half-off all pizzas. On Tuesdays, pasta is buy-one, get-one free. And, on Wednesdays, patrons can enjoy a strip steak dinner for just $20.  “It’s a little-known fact that Como’s delivers, too,” George says. “And we even deliver beer and wine.

Como’s Restaurant is located at 22812 Woodward Avenue.
Staff can be reached at 248-548-5005.

By: Christina Bournias, Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce

THE FERNDALE AREA CHAMBER (FAC) of Commerce’s mission is to champion the growth of business and community through leadership and collaboration. The Chamber serves as a guide by providing businesses the opportunities to collaborate with each other to improve the business climate in the Ferndale area.

By joining the Chamber, organizations are investing into a thriving business community. Members help establish the Ferndale community—and its surrounding boundary areas; Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge—as an economic leader within the Metro Detroit region. The Chamber’s vision is to make the region the community of choice to work, live, learn, and grow. FAC members receive tools to increase visibility and stay connected within the community; aiming to improve business practices. One of the most important tools is the community support 300+ active members give each other from referrals.

The FAC is now tucked inside of the Credit Union One (CUO) building at 400 E. 9 Mile. Positioned almost directly across the street from our previous facility, FAC can be found on the main floor, to the immediate right of the front lobby.

Professionalism and strong leadership are at the forefront of the FAC. The Chamber recently announced our new Executive Board of Director: Jerome Raska, owner of Blumz…by JRDesigns; Vice Chair, Lisa Schmidt of Schmidt & Long, PLLC; Treasurer, Blake Prewitt of Ferndale Schools; Sherry Kless of Oakland County Michigan Works! Oak Park. Our new elected Directors to our Board include Heather Coleman-Voss of Oakland County Michigan Works! Ferndale; Benjamin Long of Schimdt & Long, PLLC; Aaron Stone of STONE+TEAM Consulting; and Dale Vigliarolo of Lake-Pointe Construction. Attending programs and sharing terrific ideas, every Board Director provides valuable in-sight to the organization. Be sure to introduce yourself to them at our next Coffee Connection, Chamber Lunch Club, and/or Business After Five program.

The FAC hosts several programs and targeted events each year, including “Artist In You”, “Rainbow Run”, and the festive Annual “Gala.” With over ninety (90)+ donated silent auction items, and hundreds of people in the audience, the 2016 “Our Local Flavor” Gala evening was a night to remember.  As the ‘Biggest Event of the Year’, this event helps maintain the member-funded Chamber as a vital organization for its Members and for their businesses. Delightful and delicious, the Gala celebration is certainly flavorful. In addition, the tasty “Sip. Stroll. Roll!” event was added to the 2016 calendar and was also well received. Philanthropic FAC events are a fun way to highlight the community establishments and to give back to deserving organizations. The Chamber provides these events for the good of its community and looks forward to another successful 2017.
Email Kim Hart, Executive Director at director@ferndalechamber.com or call 248-542-6120 for detailed information.  Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce 400 E 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale MI 48220 http://ferndalechamber.com,
FB: @FerndaleAC