Special

THE OAK PARK PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT MAY BE EXPERIENCING SOME STAFF CHANGES, BUT THOSE JOINING THE TEAM, AND RETIRING OUT, HAVE SEVERAL TRAITS IN COMMON. THE MOST IMPORTANT? THEIR COMMITMENT TO SERVING THE OAK PARK COMMUNITY TO ENSURE SAFETY.

Oak Park Public Safety Sgt. Walter Duncan being honored

“The Oak Park Department of Public Safety has always taken pride in recruiting the best and the brightest in the Public Safety profession,” said Public Safety Director Steve Cooper. “There is no better illustration of this than the officers who either have retired or are retiring in the immediate future.

“Each one of these officers has carved out distinguished careers and I am extremely proud to have served along-side them. Although their departure will be sorely missed, we look forward to the development of our newer officers as they prepare to take over these leadership roles. The Oak Park Department of Public Safety has always and will continue to place a premium on honesty, integrity, dedication, hard work, customer service, building positive relationships, etc.”

RECENT OAK PARK PUBLIC SAFETY RETIREMENTS:

  • Sgt. Maureen Bergman: Retired after 25 years of service in Sept. 2021;
  • Det. Matthew Theisen: Retired after 20 years of service in July 2022;
  • Lt. Samantha Kretzschmar: Retired after 28 years of service in Aug. 2022;
  • Sgt. James Vernier: Retired after 23 years of service in Sept. 2022;
  • Sgt. Walter Duncan: Retired after 23 years of service in Oct. 2022;

NEW OFFICERS SWORN IN ON SEPT. 6:

  • Samuel James: Joined the Oak Park Public Safety Department with six years of prior law
    enforcement experience;
  • Brian Blackburn: Joined department with five years of prior law enforcement experience.

Due to a combination of recent retirements and newly budgeted positions, the City of Oak Park continues to recruit for individuals to join the Public Safety team.

“The City of Oak Park values the rich diverse and inclusive environment that our residents bring to our community. In an effort to mirror that diversity and inclusivity in our workforce, Oak Park continuously recruits the most qualified, diverse and experienced candidates for the position of Public Safety Officer,” said Human Resources and Operations Director Megan Burke. “We understand that by having diverse perspectives ‘at the table,’ we will be able to better serve the best interests of ALL, instead of just a few.”

For more information on open positions in the Public Safety Department visit oakparkmi.gov.

CITY MANAGER ERIK TUNGATE WAS RECENTLY NAMED THE OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE EXECUTIVE OF
THE YEAR FOR 2022 BY THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (ASPA) DETROIT METROPOLITAN CHAPTER.

This award is given annually to individuals whose career in public service has been impactful on the communities they have been chosen to represent and has contributed to the advancement of the public interested and the prestige of the public service profession.

“To serve as a public service professional is a calling and I am honored that my passion for helping others has been recognized by ASPA-Detroit Metropolitan Chapter,” said Tungate.

ASPA’S MISSION IS TO ADVANCE EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC SERVICE through promoting the value of joining and elevating the public service profession, building bridges among all who pursue public purposes at home and internationally and achieving innovative solutions to the challenges of governance.

“City Manager Tungate is a key leader in public service,” said President-Elect of the ASPA-Detroit Chapter Courtney Flynn. “Through strong fiscal policies, long-term economic development goals and a deep connection to the communities he has served, City Manager Tungate has positively impacted the Metro-Detroit region.”

Tungate has been a committed public servant since 2005, which is when he began his career in public service as the Executive Director of Community & Economic Development for the City of Hamtramck. From there, Tungate went on to serve as the Business Development Manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Senior Project Manager of National Business Attraction for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, an Economic Development Officer for Wayne County and Acting City Manager for Hamtramck. Tungate’s success in these positions led him to the role of Oak Park’s City Manager in 2012.

TUNGATE HAS SERVED AS OAK PARK’S CITY MANAGER FOR NEARLY TEN YEARS, a timeframe in which he has bolstered the City’s financial health and implemented policies that allow the community to thrive. Some key examples that highlight how Tungate’s skills and leadership abilities have led to a thriving community include:

  • The once dry City of Oak Park reformed its liquor/alcohol regulations and is now home to two micro-breweries, a social district and other establishments that offer such libations, creating greater opportunities for economic development.
  • The City’s tax base substantially growing, in part, due to economic success. Such economic success includes the full development of the former Detroit Armory Site, and n ew local businesses regularly opening.
  • A focused commitment to the health and wellness of the Oak Park community, which is currently being exemplified by a complete assessment of the City’s parks and recreation amenities through the Elevate Oak Park project. With this project, like all projects in the City, citizen engagement is of the highest priority.
  • The leveraging of resources through working closely with neighboring communities and entities to create more opportunities for community success can be found.

By Jenn Goeddeke

MEETING CINDY WILSON, THE OWNER OF INNOVATIVE HEARING SERVICES IS LIKE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR! WE RECENTLY MET FOR COFFEE, WHERE SHE REFLECTED ON HER SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS AN AUDIOLOGIST IN A GENUINE, HUMBLE, AND PROFOUND WAY.

Wilson is enjoying her semi-retirement, having closed the physical doors of her business on June 30th of this year. However, Wilson feels she has plenty more to accomplish in life as she transitions into retirement, and shares details of her career, plus some great advice for those with any type of hearing loss issues.

What is involved in being an audiologist?

My niche has been auditory processing evaluations, which are a special series of tests that look at what you do with what you hear. For example, how’s your ability to sequence; how do you process noise; or how is your auditory memory? There are lots of skills to analyze. If the evaluation could be done without a break, it would take less than two hours. However, most clients need a break.

Four factors overlap: Attention; language; processing; cognition. By the time a client gets to me, there was most likely a problem. I have specialized in working with children diagnosed on the spectrum, too.

What inspired you to enter this field of work?

There were multiple factors. The specific degree I wanted was not offered in Michigan. When I first went to college, I knew that I wanted to work with children. Originally, I took courses in Special Education, then I transferred to regular education classes. But I was not enjoying the classes. So, I took an exam offered by MSU which matches a person’s skills and interests to careers. Then I went through the coursebook, and selected classes based on the top two categories. I made a wonderful choice to study audiology! I lived with a mother who had hearing loss, plus I have a hereditary hearing loss condition for which I had surgery.

How did your career progress?

I started my career at Children’s Hospital in Detroit and moved to private practice in 1999 after my husband died. The business name changed from Innovative Therapy & Hearing Services. I gained a reputation for being able to test the kids nobody else could test! The other population I have served is those who need hearing aids. This involves fitting them, making adjustments, and coaching my clients throughout. I am proud of the work I have done for my patients. I have done a good job and I have loved my career!

What have been some favorite aspects of your career?

Mostly, the satisfaction of helping people in a personal way and forming relationships. I say this because I have worked with entire families, from birth on up to old age. For example, when I have a patient who is a baby, I am naturally seeing the parents also. It’s not just about giving 15 minutes for an appointment. I have been able to decide how to spend my time. Of course, that’s a luxury some don’t have, due to financial demands. I have enjoyed making a difference in patients’ lives.

Have there been any aspects that you have disliked?

I wasn’t cut out to run a business, as I dislike being the boss! Fortunately, I had an employee named Tracy Ravary with me the whole time and she assisted me in all ways. Tracy paid bills, handled the paperwork, and was also my tech with hearing aid check-ups. She is wonderful!

Do you have any advice for those who may need help with their hearing?

I would recommend you visit a qualified audiologist. Not everyone realizes they have hearing loss. Many came to understand this due to the masks worn throughout the Covid19 Pandemic, as they could no longer recognize speech without a visual cue. There may be an aspect of sticker shock, as some aids may cost three to four thousand dollars. I encourage people to consider it as a daily cost, which over three or four years would amount to less than a daily cup of coffee. Additionally, I emphasize that the patient is paying for a high level of technology, plus analysis and customer service.

When should someone reach out to get help with their hearing loss?

Don’t wait for a big problem! It’s best to start wearing a hearing aid when there’s a small issue – then, your brain can adjust more effectively. If you’re not doing well with the hearing aid, go back for modified settings. Or go and see someone else, as a different approach could be night-and-day in results. I know this from personal experience! Possibly, the aid has been adjusted to your Rx level immediately, instead of slowly adapting the strength. The contrast between what you remember hearing, and what you hear today could be so different that everything sounds too loud initially. Modern aids often adjust automatically/electronically, but not all do.

Are there certain ways that people adjust to hearing loss?

Not everyone can adjust at the same pace. There is a lot of grief surrounding hearing loss. I began to ask questions like, “are you here because you noticed a problem, or because your wife noticed?” Often the patient is not feeling it, but the spouse is!

Why did you close your doors?

It became complicated due to what is known as “third-party payers.” I refused to just sell to the highest bidder, leaving my patients to the whim of the world. I needed to know I could send my patients to a place where they could receive a particular type of hearing aid, and it’s not the most common one. I closed my doors on June 30th of this year and gave my patients a list of very competent specialists. It has been disappointing, but I feel good about my choice. I am not fully retired yet, more in transition. I still see some patients, such as pediatric ENT referrals. It’s hard to turn anyone down because I want to help! An alternative is for patients to go to Children’s Hospital for specialized care.

How would someone become an audiologist?

These days, it would require a four-year post-graduate degree, with an undergraduate degree in a health-oriented field. I have a two-year master’s degree and a one-year clinical qualification. I did not need to return for my doctorate later on, as I felt it was unnecessary. You would expect to work with a wider range of ages, from infant through to geriatric.

Would you like to share any additional information or opinions with readers?

Yes, I would like to address over-the-counter hearing aids. There is certainly a big difference in quality. If you have mild hearing loss, it won’t hurt to try this kind of hearing aid. However, the problem is, there’s no evaluation, and no help to figure it out. The counseling part is missing. If the aid is not doing its job, and lands in the drawer, please don’t assume all aids are like that! Hearing aids that I prescribed even had multiple profiles for different experiences, such as music.

Finally, as a segue, Wilson shared information on another of her life passions:

I am a practitioner and instructor of Jin Shin Jyutsu which is light touch energy/healing work to release tension. It is beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit. I have been involved with this for 30 years, and I have a few private patients. I would like to increase my work with this practice.”

We wish Wilson all the best in her future endeavors!

By Jenn Goeddeke

IRENE PETTS OF THE LIVELY FLIP SALON IN DOWNTOWN FERNDALE (251 W. NINE MILE RD.) HAS BEEN KEEPING CLIENTS LOOKING AND FEELING GREAT FOR OVER 18 YEARS!

Petts originally came from a salon background in Birmingham: “I wanted to create a unique experience for all and especially to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable.” As the name suggests, Flip Salon has an entertaining, vintage-themed vibe with music playing in the background to enhance the friendly ambiance.

The salon offers many beauty services including hair, make-up/skin, massage, and typically nails too (a new nail tech is coming soon). Check their website for updates and pricing.

The staff at Flip are experienced professionals, who work with all ages and any hair type and styling needs. Whether you’re considering a hip or “edgy” new hairstyle or simply a trim, the Flip stylists will welcome you!

Walk-in appointments for hair styling are available, plus there is a Wi-Fi connection, and wheelchair access if needed.

Flip carries a diverse array of skin and hair care products, including the all-natural ‘Davines’, plus ‘Cult and King’ selections.

The current product giveaway on offer is proving to be popular: buy two items and get one free.

PETTS SAID SHE CONSTANTLY DRAWS INSPIRATION from her stylists, and that they are “super-talented, investing considerable time into each client’s appointment.”

A special shout-out goes to her masseuse-Jane Andrews, who Petts described as, “truly amazing and intuitive.” Andrews combines different types of massage techniques, depending on the client. She is available by appointment only). Additionally, two of the salon’s stylists – Adrienne and Levon – are both established local artists.

Petts emphasized that the best part of her job is, “meeting new people all the time, and helping others feel good about themselves.” She added, “There have been a lot of changes over the last few years in the salon business, in general. I feel like Flip has been consistent throughout in giving our clients the best experience possible when they come here. I am very grateful to have a team of people and a unique space to make that happen!”

PETTS PARTICIPATES IN VARIOUS LOCAL FUNDRAISERS, including the Locks of Love charity events. In the past, (pre-Covid19) Flip has hosted some art shows and held art openings.

Naturally, the pandemic caused stress and set-backs, as most local businesses and customers would agree. Fortunately, Flip Salon emerged strong and vibrant! Petts mentioned that Flip has a larger space than average, so the staff was able to spread out sufficiently, plus work different shifts.

Although Petts continues to wear a mask at the salon, it is optional for clients to wear a mask at this time. Petts concluded with a smile that it’s good to see a few newer businesses open up in Ferndale, such as Olive’s Bloombox on 9 Mile, and Quix Chocolate on Troy St.

Flip Salon is located at 251 W.9 Mile Rd., Ferndale.
Call them at: 248.544.1400.
Email inquiries can be sent to: jeremy@flipsaloninc.com.
Visit their website: www.flipsaloninc.com.
Open hours: Sun, Mon, Closed; Tues, 9am-2pm; Weds, Thurs, 10am-9pm; Fri, 9am-6pm; Sat, 9am-5pm. Flip Salon is currently hiring – contact Irene Petts for application details.

By Jenn Goeddeke

MIGHTY MO MUFFLER BOLDLY STANDS OUT FROM THEIR COMPETITION IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

Located at 13941 W 9 Mile in Oak Park, it has been family-owned-and-operated for over 40 years. Owner Fares Shafou emigrated here in 1978 from Baghdad, Iraq. He began working almost immediately for the previous owner and founder, Morris Schussel. Fares fondly referred to him as, “a big man, who wanted a big name!”

In 1982, Shafou purchased the business from Schussel. Together with his sons, Frank and Brandon Shafou, Fares has consistently built up the Mighty Mo Muffler name to the point where customers come in from many of the neighboring cities. The fact that they openly generate a friendly, hard-working vibe has added to their popularity.

WHEN ASKED WHAT STANDS OUT FOR HIM over the past four decades of servicing vehicles, Fares responded, “I enjoy helping the community, and serving customers with integrity and honesty.” Frank added, “Not everyone in the industry can be relied on to do a great job.”

Mighty Mo’s good reputation has spread wide, and so most of their newer customers are from word-of-mouth referrals. It is not simply a location for muffler work. They deal with a full range of vehicle repair and diagnostics, (except for major collision work). The scope of work done covers anything from basic servicing, such as oil changes or replacement tires, to more extensive and time-consuming repairs.

Services include brakes, electrical/electronic components, engine, and transmission work. Utilizing the latest technology, they repair and maintain all makes and models of cars, vans, and trucks (including foreign, electric vehicles, and fleets).

Part of the reason for their success is the fact they supply only quality parts, along with thorough service. All techs that work for the Shafous are certified and experienced. Frank mentioned that they emphasize continuous and progressive staff training.

THEY OFFER THE STRONGEST WARRANTIES, including the high-ranked North American Warranty. As part of their online pledge to customers, Mighty Mo stands by the promises they make to their customers. One such promise states that “after a thorough inspection on your vehicle, any required repairs will be discussed with you for your understanding and approval.”

Overall, the Mighty Mo Muffler team is keen to help, build trust, and encourage any auto-related questions that customers may want to ask. Discounts are offered to students and seniors, plus various coupons can be applied. Additionally, the Shafous like to help out a few local causes, and they recently sponsored a school baseball team.

Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 5:00PM; Saturday 9:00AM – 3:00PM; Sunday Closed
13941 W Nine Mile Rd., Oak Park 48237
248-398-2774
www.mightymoauto.com

By Jenn Goeddeke

DENNIS FERGUSON IS DEDICATED TO HIS CAREER AND ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT HELPING CUSTOMERS.

He first started his work with insurance when a friend suggested, “you’d be good at working in the insurance industry!” Ferguson was licensed in 2008 and worked with other carriers for many years.

While with State Farm in 2014, Ferguson felt that he wasn’t moving forward at the pace he wanted, and knew his goal was to own an agency. When he found out about the opportunity at AAA, he decided within 24 hours to run the agency. His top location choices at the time were Oak Park and Ferndale, and the clincher for Ferguson’s decision was ample parking space at the Oak Park locale.

FERGUSON’S OFFICE OFFERS A FULL RANGE OF INSURANCE PRODUCTS. He believes there’s no substitute for insurance. It’s a product everybody needs and one that cannot be replaced by technology.

He explained that there’s always something new to learn. “Information can get technical. I am serving as a consultant for my customers, advising on the best options to choose.” He stated that AAA is a good company to work for, partly because there’s a lot of support given to its agents.

“As agents, we are allowed to try different things. New systems have been introduced that enhance our ability to provide faster quotes, plus tools to assist with customer retention.”

ONE KEY WORKER OF FERGUSON’S RECENTLY LEFT TO ATTEND COLLEGE. “I am not rushing to employ someone new. I want to find the right person, and it’s not for everybody!” An agency position involves making calls, doing follow-ups, and being detail-oriented. A candidate needs to be open- minded and entrepreneurial, make their own decisions and be confident.

It also requires some patience, due to the level of paperwork involved. Ferguson mentioned that the real test is working at an agency: “Become a producer and see how it goes.”

On a final note to potential applicants: It’s important to complete the online assessment. Ninety-five percent of applicants fail to do this, and I won’t even call them if it’s not complete.” No college degree is required to work at the Ferguson Agency, but a high school diploma together with some sales experience is needed. Regarding salary, you can essentially make what you want (salary plus commission).

Ferguson concluded, “I enjoy my work here with AAA and, fortunately, I am not affected by the economy. It’s essentially recession-proof! I feel it’s important to be available for my customers to talk to, and nine times out of ten, I will return calls on the same day. The service I offer is thorough. I make it happen!”

Ferguson’s Insurance Agency AAA is located at:
13691 W 11 Mile Rd., Ste. 200, Oak Park 48237.
Open hours: M-F: 8.30am-5.30pm; Sat, Sun: Closed.
Call: 248.565.3371.
michigan.aaa.com/dennis.ferguson

By Jenn Goeddeke

DR. BENAY DABNEY’S CAREER JOURNEY BEGAN AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY AS AN UNDERGRADUATE, MAJORING IN BIOLOGY. DABNEY WAS IN THE PROGRAM WITH OTHER SCIENCE MAJORS, PRE-MED, AND ENGINEERING STUDENTS. A UNIQUE FLAVOR.

She had an interest in clinical medicine at the time. “I always had a good relationship with my dentist, so I thought that would be a neat profession.”

In 1975, Dabney applied to dental school at Ohio State University and was accepted. She came to MI in 1979 and worked for the public health system, plus taught classes at a dental school. In 1984, Dabney opened her first practice in the 8 Mile & Livernois area before moving to Oak Park in 1990. “It’s a nice community with a steady flow of patients. I love it here!” Dabney mentioned enjoying improvements along the 9 Mile Road stretch, especially the addition of landscaping, artwork, and bicycles.

ORIGINALLY THE OFFICE BUILDING WAS DIVIDED BETWEEN the dental practice side and the larger medical side. The first building owner was Dr. Stanley Sarter, who had built a breezeway to an adjacent house as an expansion. Subsequently, the building was owned by Dr. Roiter, who sadly passed away.

“My space was fairly small at that time, and it confined my practice a bit, but it was adequate.”

Five years ago, the building was up for sale. Dabney recalled with a smile, “Dr. Roiter’s wife told me that he had wanted me to buy it. The medical tenant moved his practice out. So, I bought the building and was also able to expand my practice, to encompass the whole building plus the neighboring house. The house has been a real asset. It serves as a break room for staff, with its kitchen, plus storage space.

“I brought in a full-time dental associate, Dr. Werdlow. I have been so busy – it’s a blessing!” Dabney mentioned: “One thing that happens a lot is people approach me and they tell me: ‘No one here can ever retire!’ Some of them have been my patients for 20 years or more.”

DABNEY’S IS A FAMILY-ORIENTED PRACTICE, where they perform every procedure, such as x-rays, fillings, crowns and dentures/partials. Dabney added, “I have a gentle touch and demeanor and I can turn any nervous patient into a dedicated customer if they give us a chance! We typically get a good response once patients see how our approach is different from some other dental offices. When patients tell me of previous bad experiences, it tugs at my heart!”

The practice does have nitrous oxide available and on hand for patients who request it, but it’s not a “go-to.” Additionally, the office is designed to be both efficient and attractive. “We have a lot of modern equipment and computers in every room. Everything was updated when we remodeled and expanded about four years ago, so the office looks fresh and new. People feel very comfortable here.”

Dabney mentioned that she particularly likes doing more complex work such as crowns and bridges. “I love all the variety of my profession.”

Dabney has a dedicated team, with two hygienists. “Delrey has been with me for over 20 years and Christine for five years. They both have excellent skills. Another of my staff, Shawanna Tucker, started here while she was still in high school, at 16 or 17-years-old. She has been here ever since.”

Children are always welcome to schedule a visit. Dabney added, “My two children, Danielle and Veronica, have never known another dentist or hygienist!” Dabney is a proud mom, and described her daughters’ careers: “Danielle has been a film producer for 15 years. Her work mostly involves documentaries and commercials. Veronica set up her dog-walking business and is doing well with that!”

DABNEY HAS VARIOUS HOBBIES AND ACTIVITIES outside of dentistry. She is an active member of the Greater Wayne County Chapter of the Links. This organization has a “mission to promote and engage in educational, civic & intercultural activities.”

Dabney also likes to help and mentor younger people in the STEM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math), and work on acrylic paintings. Two of her artworks are on display at the practice. Travel is another of her favorite activities, in particular, her annual excursion to Martha’s Vineyards in MA.

Dr. Benay’s Dental Clinic is located at 10300 W. Nine Mile Rd in Oak Park, 48237. She can be reached at 248.543.8800 or via email: bgddds781@gmail.com. Clinic open hours are: M, T, Th, Fri, 9am-6pm; Sat, 9am-1pm; Sun, closed. Emergencies welcome.

By Ryan R. Ennis

FOOD CRAVINGS CAN CROP UP AT ANY TIME. ONE AFTERNOON, YOU STRUGGLE TO FOCUS AT WORK BECAUSE YOU IMAGE THERE IS A DELICIOUS HAMBURGER PLATE WITH MOUHT-WATERING FRENCH FRIES SITTING BESIDE YOUR LAPTOP.

ON ANOTHER DAY, YOU STOP CLEANING THE KITCHEN and just stare at the refrigerator, wishing it had a small container of tasty potato salad you could grab and devour. Cravings often take hold at the most inopportune moments, when you lack the time and the ingredients to fix the desired foods.

Fortunately, if you live in Metro Detroit, there is Kravings — a deli offering signature sandwiches and many ready-to-eat side items that can appease your hunger. Some of the sandwich choices are the BLT, the BBQ beef, the Philly steak, and the Reuben. According to online reviews, many customers rave about the Chazal, a burger topped with beef bacon and served on a jalapeño bun. Some of the side dishes include soups, garlic bread, fries, and salads. Also available to order are sushi rolls, tempura rolls, and boneless wings.

Oak Park resident Zoya Rice praises the deli to her friends, family, and coworkers. “It has a nice environment and is very clean,” she tells them. When her cravings strike at work, she often breaks away at lunchtime and travels a short distance to the establishment to get her favorite — the grilled chicken sandwich.

The selections at Kravings are kosher. To be kosher, “the food must be prepared under certain restrictions (which adhere to Jewish dietary laws),” explains Sandy Singal, the general manager at the restaurant. “We pride ourselves on the fact that we can make anything that anyone else can under the highest kosher restrictions.”

SINGAL’S HISTORY IN FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRY GOES BACK 23 YEARS, when he began working for Kraving’s parent company Quality Kosher Catering, owned by the Kohn family. Although Quality Kosher Catering had established itself as a reputable caterer for weddings and other events within the local Jewish community, Daniel Kohn, grandson of the company’s founder, decided eight years ago it was time to tap into the market of a new generation of people seeking creative cuisine. The challenge was to find an economical and convenient way to supply kosher meal options on a smaller scale.

Enlisting Singal’s help, Kohn developed a plan to open a carryout business. As they embarked on their search for a suitable location, the owner of Unique Kosher Carry approached Kohn (as luck would have it) about buying his Oak Park sandwich shop. Realizing it was a great spot to achieve his dream, Kohn jumped at the opportunity. Once the purchase was made, the necessary workers were hired to give the place a more contemporary look with new walls, flooring, and furniture.

WHILE THE DELI’S MODERN APPEARANCE HAS ATTRACTED both former and new customers, people keep coming back because “our menu offerings are kosher and high quality at the same time,” says Singal. “We are careful about what we buy and where we buy it from.” In the present period of supply chain issues, “our chefs have learned to be creative,” continues Singal. “If a particular product is out-of-stock, they figure out how to work around it.” For example, “our menu may have more items with fish when beef and chicken aren’t available.”

With business steadily increasing, Kohn has recognized the need for adding services. If you are on a tight schedule, you can place your order in advance and also stop in to quickly buy pre-packaged foods, like roasted potatoes and rice pilaf, from the refrigerated display cases. On the occasions you would prefer to eat in, there is a dining room that comfortably seats about 25. Recently, Kohn purchased the space next door so that the site will accommodate more patrons and more tables with chairs.

As Singal will tell you, Kohn’s intention to expand could not happen at a better time. “Our burgers and sushi are very popular. Unless you live in Los Angeles or New York, it’s hard to find delis that have kosher sushi.” Whether people require a kosher menu or not, more and more customers frequent Kravings “because they love the quality and freshness of our food.”

Located at 25270 Greenfield Road, Kravings is open M-TH 11AM-9PM; FRI 9AM-3PM; SUN 4-9PM. Closed Saturdays. To view the menu or contact the staff online, visit kravingsdetroit.com. To place an order by phone or schedule a food delivery, call 248.967.1161.

By Jenn Goeddeke

THE SAHARA RESTAURANT & GRILL, JOINTLY OWNED BY ZEANA AND SAAD ATTISHA, SERVES A WIDE RANGE OF CUISINE WITH A FOCUS ON TIME- HONORED MEDITERRANEAN DISHES. VARIOUS DINING OPTIONS ARE OFFERED, INCLUDING CATERING, BANQUETS, AND CELEBRATIONS OF ALL TYPES. CURRENTLY, THEY HAVE FOUR DINING LOCATIONS: DETROIT, STERLING HEIGHTS, OAK PARK AND WARREN.

I recently visited Zeana Attisha at their Oak Park locale, which has a spacious, warm ambiance and traditional/intricate decor. Zeana is lively, charismatic, and highly educated, with degrees from MSU and WSU in hotel management and business & finance, respectively. Her father, who immigrated here from Iraq in 1967, was determined to raise his girls to be strong and independent, “like five soldiers!”

SAAD ATTISHA CAME TO THE USA AT AGE 16, the eldest of eight children. His family immigrated here for freedom from Iraqi government oppression. The Sahara Restaurant locations have opened within areas that have both a Chaldean church with a strong community. Saad became skilled at working in the family restaurant and worked his way up from stock-boy. At 19, he opened the Eastern Restaurant at 9 & Woodward in Ferndale (across from Como’s). Then in 1983, Saad moved the restaurant to Oak Park (9 & Coolidge). At that time, they changed the name to Sahara Restaurant & Grill, now located at 24770 Coolidge Highway.

Zeana mentioned that Mediterranean food has steadily become more and more popular over the years, to the point where it is a top option for diners in the USA. She added that there are quite a few variations in how food is prepared, depending on the restaurant. In response to high demand, Sahara employs an experienced team of chefs who work together each day, preparing meals from scratch, using authentic Chaldean recipes: “straight out of mom’s kitchen!” Ingredients are always fresh, not frozen, with frequent purchasing from Detroit’s renowned Eastern Market and the Detroit Produce Terminal.

The Sahara Retaurant menu is extensive, with tempting favorites such as chicken or beef shawarma & cream chops; various lamb dishes; seafood dinners; grilled kabob kaftas; hommous (with or without meat); a full range of salads, and tasty soups such as lemon rice or adas (lentil). Also, menu options include “create-your-own” sandwiches and combo meals. The house ranch, garlic spread, pickled cabbage, plus rice & stew are all popular additional sides. Combined with the fresh bread, made from a customary Iraqi recipe, the combined result is delicious! Zeana informed me that they cater to many other forms of cuisine preferences, aside from the established Chaldean/Mediterranean fare, plus items by special request.

TOGETHER, THE ATTISHAS EFFICIENTLY HANDLE all aspects of the restaurant operations. Zeana explained with a smile, “We are like yin and yang, and so we make a great team. Saad has street smarts and I have book smarts! He is the idea-man: creative and smart. He is also very picky about all ingredients used. For example, he favors choice angus and other top-of-the-line meats. He manages the kitchen and I handle the bookkeeping and bills for all the locations. We are both outgoing and respected in the community.”

Additionally, Zeana is involved with local politics, and helped overturn the dry-city status of Oak Park (which had been in place since 1945. “I want the city to do well and so I have to be proactive!”

The Sahara Restaurant is obviously successful, despite significant adversities the Attishas have encountered while running their business. Zeana recalled that in June of 2010, while at their 9 mile & Coolidge locale in Oak Park, the premises of the neighboring tenant burned down. It was a massive fire, and several local fire departments were involved. The fire extended into the Sahara Restaurant and destroyed a lot of the property (including damage to some large, expensive equipment). Zeana added that it was a huge hurdle to deal with and recover from.

They have also felt the effects of the Covid19 pandemic in quite a few ways. Initially, there was a complete closure, followed by carry-out orders only. “We gradually got back to full restaurant service, but there have been huge changes in cost, labor, and worker expectations.” Zeana explained. “Costs have dramatically increased on just about everything they need to buy, including spices and oil, but we are trying hard not to let this affect the current menu prices. Our customers have been understanding of any small increases made because clearly food prices have gone up everywhere.” In common with many other businesses, supply-chain delays have been problematic currently for the Attishas. There is a wait time of several months for certain supplies for the restaurant (such as their signature plastic bags used for carry-out orders).

DESPITE ALL THE MAJOR CHANGES SINCE MARCH 2020, Zeana emphasized how patient and supportive their customers have been throughout the whole Pandemic upheaval. The staff has been equally loyal, something that Zeana largely attributes to Saad’s management style: “he is laid-back, and you couldn’t ask for a better boss!” Their four busy locations continue to thrive and consistently keep customers happy.

The Sahara Restaurant & Grill locations are in Sterling Heights, Oak Park and Detroit. The Sahara Banquet Center is in Sterling Heights and the Sahara Market & Bakery in Warren.

2390 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights, 586.264.0400
24770 Coolidge Hwy, Oak Park, 248.399.7744
32836 Ryan Rd., Warren, 586.274.0700
77 W. Columbia St., Detroit
www.newsahara.com

By Jenn Goeddeke

SCHEER’S ACE HARDWARE STORE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1946 BY BROTHERS MARTIN AND PHILIP SCHEER. THE STORE OFFERS PRODUCTS RELATING TO ALL ASPECTS OF HOME IMPROVEMENT, INCLUDING PAINT AND TOOLS.

This is a store with a rich history, spanning three generations. First known as “Scheer’s Trading Post,” it was located in Ferndale. In 1958, the store became part of the Ace Hardware cooperative.

A decade later, they moved to Oak Park, in a larger space across the street. In 1978, the store expanded again, by purchasing the neighboring building.

The second generation of ownership began in 1986, with Carol Paul, Paul Krupkin, and Howard Scheer. Currently, it is third-generation-owned, shared equally by Paul Krupkin and Bryan Golemba. Along with their long-time manager, Deborah Novak, they have formed an impressive team!

KRUPKIN HAS BEEN WORKING AT THE STORE for 50 years, (as of September 1st). He remembers working there during his high school days, then working more seriously at the store after graduating from college.

Golemba’s background is in skilled trades (electrical and plumbing), then in welding and fabricating for over ten years. In 2020, just before he took over the 50 percent ownership of the store from his mom, (Carol Paul), Golemba was working as a lien coordinator with a trucking company. Golemba recalls it was a “big decision” to leave his career in the trucking industry, but certainly not one he ever regrets.

“I was riding the store’s conveyor belt when I was a child, and there are pictures of me sitting on someone’s lap here! I have lots of great memories, and the store is a huge point of pride for me. It’s a big commitment and not simply a corporate entity. I treat my employees as family, but I am still running a business.”

GOLEMBA ADDED, “WE HAVE A DIVERSE EMPLOYEE LIST, with lots of longevity – like Theresa Farnum. Several people have retired from here. A good example of someone who has grown with the company is Leslie Miles. She has been a store manager for over seven years.”

Keeping the staff motivated is a big priority at the store. Golemba explained, “I try to make it so that employees come in and leave with a good attitude. Paul and I take out the trash, clean gutters, stock shelves, and mop floors. We like to think we lead by example, and we remain very hands-on.”

Krupkin and Golemba also keep energy levels up by interjecting fun staff activities: “Recently, we made a semi-truck out of buckets! Additionally, pins are awarded for years of service attained. These pins become more decorative and ‘blinged’ as years progress, and employees look forward to receiving them.

Golemba described recently attending an Ace Convention in Chicago, with various options for buying new products. He called the store to get the staff’s opinion. He added, “by consult- ing them in my decisions, the staff feels respected and needed. I both rely on them and trust them. I am not always right, so I get other input. Many of the staff live locally and under- stand the vibe of Oak Park, Ferndale, Detroit and surrounding neighborhoods.”

SCHEER’S ACE ALSO GIVES A BIG SHOUT-OUT to customers, who have been extremely generous in the store’s fundraising campaigns. They recently transitioned from a national charity group to serving local charities. For example, Ace raised almost $5,000 for the Detroit Food Rescue (run by Darraugh Collins) from over 10,000 “round up” store donations. Other charities the store has worked with include: ‘Building Beds for Kids’; ‘FernCare’; ‘Mission Clinic’ and ‘A Girl Like Me’. …As of Sept 2021, they have raised over $24 thousand dollars for local charities!

ONE OF THE THINGS THEY LOVE MOST OF ALL is when kids come into the store. Golemba enjoys giving them treats and says it brings back so many good memories of himself as a child in the store. Both Krupkin and Golemba take pride in the fact the store is clean and well taken care of; plus, they’re dog-friendly! When asked about this, Golemba often jokes with customers: “just no giraffes!”

Customers are encouraged to ask questions and the staff finds it satisfying to help customers figure out what is needed. Certainly, it can be a real problem-solving task to find the correct part out of several thousand items sold in the store.

ON A FINAL NOTE STAFF SUGGESTS THAT YOU VISIT THE STORE (or their website and Facebook pages) to find many extra services. Golemba explains, “We are not trying to sell customers something they don’t need. We will offer our advice on how to fix items they already have, and how to implement what we sell. Fortunately, we do have lots of knowledgeable staff on our team!

Scheer’s Ace Hardware is located at: 8601 W 9 Mile Rd, Oak Park, MI 48237.
Contact # (248) 542- 1802 or visit the website: www.scheersace.com.
Email: Scheersace@comcast.net.
Opening hours: M-F, 8am-6pm; Sat, 9am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm.

Helpful additional services include: carpet cleaning machine rental; computerized paint-color matching; glass and screen repairs; glass & acrylic cutting; key cutting; knife & scissor sharpening; propane; postal services.