BY: Ingrid Sjostrand

HONEY IS A SWEET, DELICIOUS ADDITION TO ANY KITCHEN, but your generic grocery store jar isn’t giving you all the benefits that honey has to offer and, chances are,
it’s not best for the bees either.

That’s where Alison John comes in. Her company, Honey Help, delivers pure, fresh honey products to homes through parts of Metro Detroit, all of which have been harvested from her hives in Richmond, Ferndale and Northville.

John’s love for honey began growing up in Richmond, Michigan, despite a fear of being stung. After learning the difference between aggressive yellow jacket wasp and the less sting-hungry honey bee, she decided to start beekeeping and wanted to take the most humane approach.

Many beekeepers feed their bees sugar and water mixtures, but John learned bees can’t metabolize sucrose and it causes the bees to get sick. She came up with a better solution.

“My process of beekeeping is to preserve the integrity of my bees first and foremost,” she says.

“I only feed my bee’s their own honey. I figure they work so hard for it, they deserve it back! This is something I am proud of that sets me aside from others in this industry. I also use lavender or sage and dried leaves to smoke my bees when I harvest the frames. This is a natural and chemical-free way to harvest without causing the bees any distress.”

FROM HER HARVEST, John creates her sellable jars starting at $13 in sizes from 10 oz. and up. She also creates lip balms, natural sunscreens and healing balms out of the remaining wax from her honeycombs.

On top of running Honey Help, John is a local emergency department nurse – embodying the classic “busy-as-a-bee” adage. She uses her medical background to increase the power of her honeys, making and selling holistic-infused varieties like French blue lavender honey, which can reduce anxiety, and pomegranate-infused honey, that has hormone balancing qualities for the thyroid and estrogen.

“In starting my business, I wanted to combine my love of honey bees with my background in Nursing and Holistic Medicine,” John says. “By preserving one of nature’s finest ‘medicines’ and being able to offer it to the public through farmers markets, various events and even free local delivery, I am proud to say that Honey Help is quickly becoming a household name.”

JOHN HAS NO PLANS OF SLOWING DOWN And hopes to turn Honey Help into a Ferndale storefront where she can sell her Bee Friendly Goods and offer classes teaching children and adults about beekeeping and how to make your own lip balms and infused honeys.

“Lastly, for all of the work our bees do to help improve our ecosystem I find it only fair to help improve them as well. That is why I donate a portion of all delivery orders to,” John says. “They are an established group with the mission of preserving our honey bees, and teaching children and adults the importance of and need to preserve our endangered honey bee, and that is what Honey Help is all about!”

For more information about Honey Help and their local delivery schedule, follow them on Facebook or check out the Etsy shop:

Story by Sara E. Teller

HEATHER ZARA LAUNCHED ZARA CREATIVE, a Ferndale-based full-service video production house, in January 2012. “I wanted to create a place that brought out the best in people. A place where people can use their skills and impact the world in a positive way,” she said. “We do business differently here, putting values before politics and creativity before profits.”

Zara said arts programs are typically the first to be cut from schools.

“Creatives are often turned away from doing what they love as children and young adults. Yet, content development and the creative industry and -community drives so much of what moves business forward. At Zara Creative, we put culture first. We treat people with respect and show them they are valued, so they’re able to use their skills to do something good and impact the world in a positive way. By doing so, we’re giving people a reason to show up to work and are making the world a better place.”

Prior to launching her business, Zara had spent nearly a decade in broadcast media. “I had been a sports reporter and anchor for almost nine years,” she said. “I loved being a journalist because I’ve always believed in the power of stories – their ability to inspire and inform people, stay with people and help them evolve or even just make their day.”

SHE HAD SUCCESS VERY EARLY ON, winning an Emmy award while still a student at Michigan State University for her work on the student-run “MSU and You” show. “My friend was the creator of the show,” she said. He spotted Zara on campus and brought her on board. However, Zara added, “The industry became a little bit unfulfilling for me. I wanted to make the workplace a better experience for people. I wanted to create a place for people.”

Zara Creative works with “like-minded, values-driven brands that think big, leave a positive impact, and develop inspiring and meaningful content,” Zara said. “Our customers are those brands who put people first. They’re the ones you catch yourself telling your friend about because they’re just that good.”

These are the brands that “spark joy,” and are focused on sports and entertainment, food and beverage, travel and experience, and fun and philosophy. Zara Creative works with a wide variety of clients, including big names such as Google and Pulte Homes as well as small to mid-sized boutiques. Zara is also devoted to philanthropic efforts and has worked with charitable companies such as the Kresge Foundation, The Empowerment Plan, Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Boy Scouts of America, Forgotten Harvest, and many more. Just this year, Zara Creative has taken home three Communicator awards for Best in Branded Content.

“We specialize in video content,” she explained, “And, we also do photo content, helping companies with their marketing, advertising, and storytelling.”

Zara is currently developing a creative summer program for children that she hopes to launch in 2020. “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” she said. The program is designed to expose kids to programming that they may not otherwise be exposed to and to encourage creative development.

Recently, Zara Creative was also certified a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council Certification Committee. “We’re so grateful,” Zara said. “We’ve never done traditional business development or employed traditional business strategies. We’ve grown organically up to this point. So, to have this certification, I’m just excited to see how much more we can grow with it. Again, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. It’s important for me to represent women who are starting businesses and taking risks, especially those who are choosing industries that are largely male dominated. I’m proud to be able to show women and young girls that anything is possible.”

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photo by David McNair

EACH YEAR, CITIZENS FOR A FAIR FERNDALE (CFF) SELECTS NOMINEES FOR ITS GOOD NEIGHBOR AWARDS, which recognize the ongoing efforts of those who live, work, or attend school in Ferndale and who value the fair and equal treatment of others, building an equal and strong community. Cheryl Salinas-Tucker and Jeny Bulatovic, sisters and founders of Rouge MakeUp & Nail Studio, were honored with a 2018 award.

“It was definitely a surprise to us,” said Bulatovic. “To us, it just means we are doing our jobs. When we started Rouge, we wanted to take people in, treat them with kindness, and take care of their needs. We welcome all kinds of people in every age and stage of life, and the goal is for them to feel better when they leave. You never know how you’re affecting someone else’s life.”

Rouge was started in 2010, and the vision came about after the sisters and their families were impacted by the recession. “My husband worked in the auto industry, and I had been a preschool teacher for fourteen years and had just started doing nails at the time,” said Bulatovic. “Cheryl had been on the corporate side of the industry. She helped start Douglas J. Aveda Institute in Royal Oak and had been an Aveda regional director. We decided to pool together our resources.”

The sisters didn’t want to start just any salon, though. They decided to focus on those services that typically get put on the back-burner, and that they would work with plant-based products only. “Most salons don’t have makeup and nails at the forefront, so we decided to go this route. I had worked with acrylics, shellac, gels, and there’s a price to pay for that,” Bulatovic said. “As someone who is more a caregiver than anything, I felt bad putting that stuff on people’s nails. What goes on our bodies goes into our bodies.”

SO ROUGE USES VEGAN AND ORGANIC, PLANT-BASED NAIL PRODUCTS rather than chemical-based. “We started working with a small, Michigan-based company, Eve Organics. Her products work and are good for you,” explained Bulatovic. “We want to offer our clients only the best ingredients – we call it their ‘personal eco-system.’ And, we’ve introduced Spa Ritual and Zoya, which perform really well. Our products are better for you, but they still need to perform and be competitive.”

Rouge has regulars who have been coming to the salon since its inception, as well as new customers who stop in all the time. “We have clients who have come to us since we opened and new people coming from all over,” Bulatovic said. “Word-of-mouth advertising has been key. When you’re a small business, it’s all about building relationships and trust, and we strive to bring that to our people every day.

They seek us out for a number of reasons. We have cancer survivors who are now more aware of ingredient lists, those with allergies, and those who just tell us, ‘I don’t like the way it smells in the nail salon.’”

Rouge offers a variety of other, unique services as well. “A year ago last May, we opened our sauna lounge,” Bulatovic said, adding, “We also built a pedicure platform at that time. The lounge consists of two infrared dry heat saunas with ambient heat. We tell our customers ‘this is time for you.’ We never book you with strangers, it’s always quiet and private. You can go back and forth, in and out. The sauna helps with muscle tension and with releasing toxins. It helps with insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain, and is good for your cardiovascular health, too, because it gets your heart rate up.”

Microblading is performed by Myranda Jennings who has been with the salon for seven years. “She is our brow expert, and she does threading, waxing, and body work. She’s also a makeup artist who’s worked for the Detroit Opera House. People who have over-plucked for too long and their brows never grew back, those who’ve lost brow hair due to age, and blondes love the microblading option. We are fully certified with a body art license.”

Rouge’s service room also offers facials, massage, reflexology, and Reiki. Bulatovic is certified in Reiki, and says, “I always love when I can take a short break from doing nails and work with a Reiki client. It’s rejuvenating.”

By Mary MedrumB

MANY PEOPLE KNOW ANDY DIDOROSI AS THE PERSON WHO FOUNDED THE DETROIT BUS COMPANY, AFTER THE M-1 LIGHT RAIL PROJECT WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD IN 2012. About six months later, the Detroit Bus Company was borne out of a collection of used buses, a lot of spare parts and tinkering.

The Detroit Bus Company is available for tours, rentals, and people can purchase rides for school children and youth programs.

Although he has sparked quite a few small businesses, the Detroit Bus Company was Andy’s first well­ known entrepreneurial venture in Detroit. He has conceived of many dozens since, and executed several of those concepts.

These days you can catch Andy on social media hunting down electric “bird” scooters. His adventures with this technology and the citizens of Detroit led to some interesting revelations. The scooter businesses were not really addressing the population in Detroit that needed the scooters the most. So, he decided to obtain, assemble, charge and deliver at least 100 scooters with helmets lo neighborhood kids in Detroit at no cost to them. You can help. Go to his web site, to find out how lo help with this project.

ANDY’S NEWEST VENTURE IS CALLED POOL. THE NAME DESCRIBES THE SHARING OF RESOURCES, CAPITAL, AND PHYSICAL REAL ESTA TE SPACES FOR THE BENEFIT OF EVERYONE INVOLVED. The particulars of the project can be found at He will be launching an experiment in real community development where anybody in Michigan can invest small amounts of money and receive a real return back on their investment throughout the year. When you buy into a project, you own a real share in a house or building and gel your portion of the rent. If they ever decide lo sell the house as a group, investors/shareholders receive a portion of the sale. It’s true wealth-building.

Pool is a project where investors gel actual equity in the real estate project that they choose. Investors own shares in a house the way you would own shares in a company. Each piece of real estate is a different project with different shareholders, based on their interest in the project.

It’s a simple concept that is growing. Traditionally, if you want to invest in real estate, you need lo have the ability to buy a whole house. If you are lucky enough lo have a rich friend or family willing to invest with you, that’s great. Real estate is one of those things that people use to build generational wealth.

For most of us, the realization of wealth through property ownership is impossible or a long shot at best. So, if we can band together and make the projects work in the long term, everyone can benefit. This is radical wealth building. Pool is a way for anyone lo participate in the real estate market; it is a structural system that can result in large return.

This investment is in your own backyard. You can see the house and meet the renters. Unlike a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), which is a fund that investors put money into and hope that the fund manager chooses profitable properties, investors in Pool have full control over the direction of the funds they contribute and can choose the real estate in which they want to participate. As part of a REIT, you might own part of a strip mall in Vegas or a coffee shop in Lexington, Kentucky. Pool invests locally only, and you know intimately what your portfolio holdings are. Individuals in Pool only invest in distinct projects.

The first house was purchased by Didorosi and will be renovated by him. This iteration of the process will help him organize the entire enterprise.

‘We haven’t formally launched it yet because we are wailing for approval from the state,” explains Didorosi. They can’t share in financial arrangements or promise any kind of a return because of the rules of security law.

Pool believes investors should be able to see where every dollar goes, so Andy has taken care of that. Investors will get a dashboard where they can see every dollar in and out of the organization.

‘We’re proud of what we’re building and aren’t shy about showing off.”

DIDOROSI CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF POOL WHEN LOOKING AT PROPERTIES that he was interested in buying. He tried to get buildings and ii was difficult. If you don’t have enough money or a bank or investors to help you secure the property, you have no access to the incredible wealth-building opportunity that is right in your own back yard.

Didorosi believes that the reason this hasn’t been accomplished by anyone up lo this point is because people might be afraid of running up against securities law, which is daunting. He is hoping he can reduce some of that friction and level the playing field so everyone can participate.

The dream is to be able to invest in commercial property and the businesses within it. The businesses within those commercial properties might also have the chance lo become partial owners in that project. As partial owners, they can help make decisions about the property and capture some of the value created, instead of just getting booted out when the owners decide to sell.

There is a lot of interest in the small amount of information that Didorosi has been able to share so far. ‘We are very strictly not soliciting or asking people lo invest yet. I personally know someone who has gotten in trouble with those laws, and it cost him $30,000.”

“I would love to see a large number of people invest into the real estate in their own communities directly. I think that will have a huge number of ripple effects. If people are the investors in the properties around them, ii will ensure that the businesses will thrive.”

He has a point. Investment in one’s own neighborhood is an investment in the outcome of those properties. There is elevation of human capital and social capital that follows in the wake of renovated property and infrastructure that is cared for and maintained. Public parks, schools, recreation centers, businesses, and cultural centers all prosper under the care of local ownership; good neighborhoods attracts good neighbors.

“We are in a crisis of ownership right now.”

Hong Kong owns a lot of property in Detroit. Large investment groups that don’t have any footprint in the city own much of the city.

“Local ownership will change the fabric of the city forever. We, as the people, have to be the next billionaire at the table. We have to make this a choice. We are a system of capitalism, which means that those with the capital get to make all the decisions. Until we assemble capital into an efficient structure that can go out and do the work, we’re not going to have any power in our own communities.”

Story by: Sara Teller
Photos by: Bernie Laframboise

THE SOFE DISTRICT – A CATCHY NAME FOR ‘SOUTH FERNDALE’ – is made up of various Ferndale businesses, including Green Daffodil, The Dana Keaton Collection, 700 Livernois Fashion House, Olive’s Bloombox, Christopher George Creations, The Kulick Center, Schramm’s Mead, The Anand Center, Purple Door Tea House, DK Dental, Imax Printing, Joe’s Party Store, Axle Brewery and Margaux & Max. Green Daffodil, a bath-and-body shop, coined the name eight years ago, and it officially took off during the beginning of the construction stage on Livernois earlier this year.

“We wanted to give this area its own identity because of the rebirth of the Avenue of Fashion in Detroit,” said Dana Keaton. “It is another enclave for eclectic business in keeping with the Ferndale vibe. It’s funky, eclectic, and diverse. We want the SoFe District to be the new hot thing!”

Keaton’s business, The Dana Keaton Collection, was established in 2000 and operates as a retail space, an education center, and a place to hold events. Keaton has been in the fashion business all her life. “I sell one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories,” she said. “No two items are alike.”

Keaton is well-known for her award-winning youth fashion programs, and has taught al various schools and centers all over the Detroit metropolitan area. She started The Fashion Atelier, which provides a wide variety of classes to residents. Current classes include Sewing 101, Fashion Illustration, Alterations, Jewelry Design, Modeling, Painting, Drawing, and others. ”You can learn how to design your own skirts, handbags, or yoga pants,” she said. “And yes, men can take the classes, also!”

RECENTLY, A MEETING WAS HELD REGARDING THE SOFE DISTRICT AT FERNDALE’S CITY HALL. ‘This meeting was with the County of Oakland and Ferndale. There were representatives from the County, Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, The DDA, and myself who represented the SoFe District,” Dana explained. She said its purpose ·was to spearhead the annual upcoming Small Business Saturday events. I wanted to be there to make sure the SoFe District was included.”

The group discussed what will take place on Small Business Saturday in November and how the SoFe District will be involved, plans for marketing and promotion, and what can be done to help generate business for the District. Those who were present on behalf of SoFe wanted to ensure this area of Ferndale received just as much attention as any other. “Our concerns were well-received, and they assured us they will include us in all upcoming events held in Ferndale,” Keaton said. ‘We are going to hold them to this!”

The City of Ferndale has also rolled out a series of “SoFe Strolls” in an effort to generate some publicity for the area. During these strolls, customers can stop by the places of business to receive special offers and participate in activities. “The City provided advertising materials for the first event,” Keaton explained. “The businesses of the SoFe District also use the Strolls as a way to help promote our other businesses in the area.”

According to Keaton, internal changes within the City offices have caused the owners lo take up the initiative themselves. ·we do plan to promote the dates ourselves to continue to drive business to our area,” she said, adding, ‘The Livernois businesses are hoping everyone will come to the new SoFe District and ‘Shop Small.'”

The final Strolls will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and on Small Business Saturday, November 24, 2018, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Green Daffodil will be having a Holiday Artist Markel, Saturday, November 3, 2018 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM, and Keaton will be hosting the Tres Chic Runway Fashion Show from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Small Business Saturday at 700 Livernois Ave.

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By Maggie Boleyn

RECENTLY, SHOPPING EVENTS HAVE BEGUN POPPING UP IN SUPPORT OF LOCAL BUSINESSES: “Small Business Saturday,” which encourages shoppers to buy local at  small shops, is celebrated on the  Saturday after Thanksgiving, and “Buy Nearby,” held the first weekend  in October, is devoted to finding,  celebrating, and shopping at  businesses in your own city.

Shoppers familiar with Western Market on West Nine Mile Road practice “Buy Nearby” all year round.

Tony Selvaggio, his brother Steve Selvaggio, and Steve’s wife Virginia Selvaggio opened the market back in 1983. Ferndale residents, as well as shoppers from north Detroit, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Pleasant Ridge have been coming to Western Market forever including some of Southeast Michigan’s premier chefs. While Western Market’s appeal transcends the borders of Ferndale, the owners remain dedicated to the neighborhood.

“Western Market is a true community business that serves its neighbors by meeting an essential need – to eat well – 362 days of the year,” said Steve. “We work hard every day to enrich the lives of our customers and the producers who make and grow the products we offer.”

Shopping at nearby small markets spurs the local economy. According to the National Grocers Association, independent supermarkets in Michigan generate $3.11 billion in annual revenue statewide, and employ nearly 30,000 people. Shoppers at Western Market can consistently expect to find unique local and artisan foods, carefully selected wines, craft beer and cheeses. Western Market is also a very reliable source for fresh flowers, potted herbs, and seasonal plants.

CUSTOMERS CREDIT WESTERN MARKET’S STAFF with providing a superior shopping experience. “While I love going to Western Market for the amazing high-quality selections, the people that work there are the reason I keep coming back,” said Paul Fradeneck, bar manager at Mabel Gray in Hazel Park and a Ferndale resident.

Employees come from the surrounding cities, and you might find a student from Ferndale High School working in the store.

“We work with a program at Ferndale High School that brings high school students here to work at the market,” Tony explains. “We have participated for the last three year, and once hired a student who first came to us through this program.”

Western Market also has longtime employees. Fahdel Alameer has worked at Western Market for 21 years, ever since he came to the United States. “This was my first job,” he said. “I try to always make everything beautiful and nice for our customers here in the produce department.” One thing he remembers from his early days is the price of produce. “Oranges used to be ten for a dollar, now they are a dollar or more,” he noted.

Albert Garcia, Western Market’s nut and candy buyer, is in his first year with Western Market. “First, I was a customer here, and I became an employee,” he said. “My first day happened to be my birthday. Tony took the time to come over and talk to me, wish me a happy birthday. I thought it was such a good indication of what it would be like to work here.”

Executive Chef Keri Winne oversees all in-house food preparation and catering offered at Western Market. Over the past decade, the addition of beverage experts like Jarred Gild, product development director, and Putnam Weekley, wine director, further expanded this footprint for the market.

“We’ve changed as the community and its needs have changed,” said Steven. “We’re proud to have great employees and they make up a big part of our success as a business.”

Western Market is located in Ferndale at 447 W. Nine Mile Road. Learn more by connecting with Western Market online at @westernmkt on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

By Sara Teller

MEGH HOLLOWELL IS LIVING PROOF THAT SUCCESS IS BORN OUT OF STRUGGLE. In April of this year, she received a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. “I’ve been working in the nonprofit sector for over ten years and had been trying to climb the ladder,” she says of her decision to go to graduate school, although a job title far from defines her. While proud of her achievement, she adds, “I don’t worry so much anymore about climbing the professional ladder. I go at my own pace and hope that I evoke change along the way.” After all, it’s the fact that she’s persevered through life’s ebbs and flows that really matters.

In looking back on her life, Hollowell recalls, “I dropped out of high school my junior year to work full time. I had left my dysfunctional relationship with my mother and started a journey I called, ‘Who am I without my mother?’ I moved around a lot – playing music, writing poetry, womanizing, and living in complete manic highs and lows.”

She eventually decided to enroll at a local community college. “It wasn’t until an instructor told me I should apply to undergrad that I ever felt I would get an education,” she says. “I applied to the one college she recommended and finished my undergrad in two years, receiving a BA in Journalism and English.”

But she didn’t stop there. “I decided to go to grad school in 2009 after I did some campaign work in Arizona,” she explains. “Working towards my MPA degree meant that I could accomplish something. That I could fit in a normal world; a box. I had been living life so hard outside of the box I just wanted to fit in.”

And, she did it at her own pace. “After nine years in-and-out of school, I’ve come to realize that I received my education through my experiences, not a textbook or lectures,” Hollowell says. “I’m grateful I was able to start and finish something.”

HOLLOWELL EXPERIENCED FOUR TRAUMATIC LOSSES in less than two years while struggling to complete her degree – the passing of her grandfather, nana, and mom, and her beloved dog. She said, “Graduating with my MPA degree was very much for my grandpa, my nana, and my mom. I felt I needed to honor them by taking the last few steps towards completion.”

She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2013 shortly after her first marriage had just ended. “I remember feeling like I had failed at life. I couldn’t function – at work or at home. I was stuck inside myself. And I just wanted it to end,” she says. Now, she adds, “Medication has helped manage my psychosis and mood disorder. But I’m still in survival mode. I’m learning how I can be in the now and move from surviving to thriving.”

Hollowell’s mom took her own life. “As I sorted through her things, it became clear to me how hard she tried to live. To love and be loved. She wanted to find the joy of living. I fight for my own life every day. I fight it in honor of my mom, because I know she lived for me,” she says.

Hollowell has since remarried, and calls Naomi “the love of my life,” adding, “She has been my greatest support system these last three years.” The couple lives in Hazel Park, although Hollowell has strong ties to Ferndale, she explains, “I lived and worked in downtown Ferndale for many years previously and loved being part of the LGBTQ community.”

She works for a nonprofit as a development associate, where she loves serving underrepresented communities. “It’s really important to me to serve communities that helped shape who I try to be. A kind, compassionate, truthful person,” she says.

Of how she views life, Hollowell says, “I do see beauty in the world. Sometimes unbearable, unspeakable beauty. Looking from the outside in, it might be natural to assume that the difficult things I’ve experienced would blind me to what’s amazing in my life. That is simply not the case.”

By Jill Lorie Hurst

WHEN I WALKED INTO INCUBIZIO (a shared office space on Burdette Street) to get an update on the Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming events, I was surprised to “meet” Chamber Board Chair Dale Vigliarolo, someone I’ve known from various events over the past few years. You never know who you know in Ferndale! We joined Director of Operations Kimberly Spencer in the building’s glossy white conference room to talk about “The Best of the Best” gala on November 7th, which is the annual celebration of and for the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce members.

Most towns have a Chamber of Commerce. I wonder if many of us think about them or know what they do. The Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1936, is a non-profit that provides ways for business owners to collaborate and connect with other community leaders. And guess what? You can join up. Yes, you. Residents can become members of the “guardian of the business community.”

Spencer and Vigliarolo both take their roles very seriously. Vigliarolo, a Ferndale resident and owner of Lake Pointe Construction, was involved with the Royal Oak Chamber for several years, then brought his experience and knowledge to his hometown. Kimberly Spencer has held her job for a little over a year. She comes to us from Chicago. Her background is in project management and operations. She left Chicago to get involved in nonprofit work and was recruited by Michigan Works to head up the Ferndale Chamber. Spencer loves the collaborative spirit she sees here.

“The business owners are very involved. They attend each other’s events.” She also mentions Ferndale’s diversity and acceptance. “You don’t have to fit in, but you do.” Joining the Chamber has business and personal benefits. “People become better speakers, less shy. The communication changes you.”

Vigliarolo talks about the time and energy it takes to do justice to the job. No complaints. “I love being a part of our city. We’re in a good place and we’re going to keep building.” Regarding Chamber membership? New folks are welcome, veterans are valued. It’s all about the mix. Spencer – “We’re looking for a good representation of Ferndale so we can make good decisions for Ferndale.”

Put “The Best of The Best” (November 7th) on your calendar, to be held at Boogie Fever. Tickets are available through the Chamber web site. While you’re there, check out the calendar: “Coffee Connections,” “The Lunch Club,” “After Fives.” I love the ribbon cuttings. There was something wonderful about seeing James Tailoring, Ferndale Family Pharmacy and 3 Winks proudly become a part of the family. Find an event that appeals to you. There’s something for everyone. This is Ferndale. | 248-542-2160

By Ingrid Sjostrand

IT’S NOT UNCOMMON FOR CITIES TO HAVE A FARMERS MARKET. EVEN SOME OF THE SMALLEST NEIGHBOR-HOODS MEET REGULARLY to exchange homegrown goods and handmade crafts. As of 2016, Hazel Park is no exception, thanks to Jennifer Jackson and a small team of Hazel Park residents.

The Hazel Park Growers & Makers Market began their third season on Sunday, July 8th and will run every Sunday through October 14th. Jackson started the market, along with a governing board, when they noticed a lack of affordable, healthy foods for residents.

“Myself and other volunteers started the market to bring a family-friendly weekly event to our community,” Jackson says. “We live here, and Hazel Park needs family-friendly places where we can gather and purchase locally-grown and made food.”

Jackson and Leigh McLaughlin (another member of the market board) attended training through the Michigan Farmers Markets Association – thanks to assistance from the City of Hazel Park – to learn more about proper practices and how to run a successful farmers market.

The Growers and Makers Market has anywhere from six to ten vendors on a given weekend, and it has grown to be about more than just food. These merchants vary from artistic endeavors to fresh produce.

“We have two farmers, Jentzen Farms and Mulberry Hill Farm and Garden. Detroit Kombucha Company serves fresh Kombucha by the cup or growler, and Sinfully Sweet offers cake pops and various confections. And Pink Robin Bake Shop has cookies and other baked goods,” Jackson says. “A variety of crafts, jewelry, signs, yard games, pottery, home decor, purses, and children’s clothing, have all been at the market throughout the season. We are looking to add coffee and personal care products as well.”

THERE ARE ALSO KID-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES at the Growers and Makers Market, thanks to the Hazel Park Arts Council. The organization hosts their Art in the Park program during the market to teach creative arts to kids.

“Art in the Park is a free event hosted during the Growers and Makers Market where kids can engage in arts and crafts,” Amy Aubry, Treasurer of the Arts Council, says. “We use items that are easy to find around the home or in nature to show just how easy and accessible art is for the family.”

Another important element of the Growers and Makers Market is that all residents are able to reap its benefits regardless of income, which is why they participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food assistance programs.

“Our market is a SNAP-approved market, and we are able to accept Bridge Cards at the market manager booth,” Jackson says. “We are also participants in the Double Up Food Bucks Program, where Bridge Card holders may double their produce purchasing power up to $20.”

ESSENTIALLY, THE GROWERS AND MAKERS MARKET is about bringing residents together and building up the City of Hazel Park and its residents.

“Hazel Park is our home. We are tightly-knit, and always jumping in to help one another,” Jackson says. “We want to see Hazel Park grow and be-come a destination for people to visit, and a farmers market is a small piece of joy that invites our families to gather, and surrounding communities to visit.”

By Mary Meldrum

IT IS ONE OF THE LARGEST REDEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN OAKLAND COUNTY,” said City Manager Ed Klobucher, referring to the Tri-County Commerce Center. “This is the largest building in Hazel Park, and overnight became the biggest taxpayer in the city.”

Ashley Capital partnered with the owners of the Hazel Park Raceway in 2015 to develop a 575,000 square foot building in the west parking lot of Hazel Park Raceway at 10 Mile and Dequindre. Ashley is one of the largest property holders that primarily markets to tier-one auto suppliers, and they planned and developed this property to be a light manufacturing center. The site is ideal for light industrial, manufacturing and distribution businesses.

The building is situated on the northwest corner of a 120-acre site located near the intersection of I-75 and I-696. The 36-acre site is surplus land for the thoroughbred horse race track that was in operation until April of 2018. This is a perfect location within the Detroit Metropolitan area, and is considered “ground zero” for any business needing to quickly access major expressways heading north, south, east, and west. The building was completed in the spring of 2017 and is roughly 80 percent leased.

The Tri-County Commerce Center currently houses three tenants: an Amazon distribution center, LG Electronics, and Bridgewater Interiors, which is a logistics company related to Adient, formerly Johnson Controls Automotive. There are two spaces left to lease out in the center; one is 55,000 square feet and the other space is 68,000 square feet.

THE CENTER SITS ON HAZEL PARK’S FORMER DISPOSAL SITE, which means the developer is cleaning the site to meet environmental standards and guaranteeing the $2.1 million loan through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The Tri-County Commerce Center will help to add between 200 and 300 jobs and $300,000 to the city’s tax revenue.

Ashley Capital has purchased the rest of the remain-ing raceway land, and will be breaking ground on their second building within the next year. The third development is undetermined at the time of this writ-ing. Both of these proposed sites are speculative as of right now and no tenants are in place. According to Kevin Hegg, VP of Acquisitions and Leasing for Ashley Capital, they are investigating and research-ing what types of commercial real estate is in demand for these sites.

The location is the primary factor that attracted Ashley to develop here. Hazel Park offers fantastic ac-cess to highways and all quadrants to Metro area markets.

“Hazel Park has been very supportive of our endeavors,” Hegg explains. “The city is progressive, pro business, and easy to work with. I want to commend them for their efforts and recommend other companies to take a hard look at Hazel Park. They have the right people in place right now in City Hall, a great location and a great story.”

Hegg emphasized that, “We are very confident in the location, and plan to continue to develop the area with a second 650,000 square foot building as well as additional building thereafter. We plan to be there for the next couple of years developing.”

When asked about working with the MDEQ, Hegg added, “Michigan has been at the forefront of brown-field redevelopment as far as protecting new buyers from past polluters. [The racetrack property] is a brownfield site and a great example of how to take blighted areas, improve them, provide economic impact to an area and provide a protected environment that helps to separate any toxins from the area. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

While the Tri-County Commerce Center is growing and supporting Hazel Park’s economic turnaround, the plans for further development on the site are steadily progressing, too. Evolution of the site from historical racetrack to economic catalyst for the city marks a very tangible and persuasive shift in Hazel Park’s renaissance.