Hazel Park City Guide 2018
2018 Hazel Park City Guide

By Mary Meldrum

EXLTERRA IS AN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE COMPANY located on 10 Mile Road in Hazel Park with strong business contacts in Switzerland, India and Japan.

They are mostly known for their HAZL drill rig, but they are a little bit of a mystery since their web site doesn’t give viewers a clear understanding of exactly what they are doing.

That’s sort of intentional.

In short, Exlterra uses innovation, technology and experience to create reliable, long-lasting solutions to environmental industry problems.

Frank Muller, CEO of Exlterra, explains that maintaining some mystery to their business is necessary right now. They are in the process of completing two new technologies that they will announce later in 2018. These are just the first two in a substantial pipeline of currently classified revolutionary environmental technologies that will come online in the near future. For now, the two new technologies as well as the pipeline must remain a secret for a little longer, but Muller is extremely excited about the direction of their innovation and the future of Exlterra.

Muller is very quick to give credit for Exlterra’s innovations to Chairman, CTO, and inventor Andrew Niemczyk.

“Andrew was born in Poland in 1960 under communism,” Muller explains. “He has a gift for understanding the systems of the world, the environment. It was a prison for him growing up in communism. There, you are capped and your knowledge is not valued.” Niemczyk eventually escaped, and came to the United States where his long-stifled creativity has been erupting into breakout discoveries.

An established businessman searching for more meaning in his life, Muller moved to the U.S. in 2011 from Switzerland. He was introduced to Niemczyk, and it was the beginning of their close relationship. Muller sees it as his purpose and duty to protect Niemczyk and help him bring his remarkable products to market. Niemczyk develops the technologies, and Muller – with his understanding of business and professional connections — brings them to market.

“The more time I spend with Andrew, I realize how much this man went through,” Muller says. “We have not seen even one percent of what he can achieve.” By all of Muller’s accounts, Andrew Niemczyk is a gifted creator, a renaissance man, someone to watch.

THE SMALL TEAM AT EXLTERRA INCLUDES NIEMCZYK’S TWO SONS – both engineers – Robert and Patrick Niemczyk. Together, they are working on building more technology that will equip humans with the tools to prosper and help the earth to heal.

Explosive growth of modern civilization has put tremendous pressure on the environment causing imbalances. Exlterra recognizes that many standard systems used today that address environmental issues lack sustainability and often result in unintended consequences and unnecessary costs.

Exlterra’s mission is to invent better ways to combat major challenges affecting the environment and civilization. Their focus is on developing technologies that generate significant economic, environmental, and social value.

In 2010, Exlterra invented and patented a passive groundwater recharging system. This product revolutionized the way to address certain water issues.

In 2017, HAZL was born; a versatile drilling machine to accelerate the installation of their soil moisture management system, and for other drilling applications.

Exlterra realizes that nature works in systems. Awareness, appreciation and deep knowledge of how to work within natural systems is the key to Exlterra’s success. The concept of a circular economy presents a unique opportunity to build greater value through our world’s abundant yet finite resources.

TODAY, EXLTERRA IS WORKING ON IMPROVING ITS EXISTING DRILL TECHNOLOGY while continuing to pursue new projects and ideas. It is in the DNA of Exlterra to invent and market powerful technologies that will benefit humans and improve the way we treat the earth.

“The only way people will adopt a new way of doing something is if they experience a benefit,” Muller says. “Find a way that people will see the benefit, and they will adopt it.”

As a business professional, Muller clarifies, “If you try to impose change through sanctions or in a way that is inefficient, that will never succeed. If you want to achieve things on this planet for the environment, you have to do it in a way that there will be a benefit and a profit. And it is my job to make sure that message is heard for Exlterra.”

Muller values Exlterra’s strong relationship with Hazel Park.

“Exlterra came to the city in 2013, and we identified this place as a great area to start manufacturing,” Muller says. “We got a good price with our building and solid support and understanding from the city. We have a happy and harmonious relationship with the city of Hazel Park.”

Stay tuned to Exlterra to discover what new technology they will be unveiling in Hazel Park in the coming months!

By Ingrid Sjostrand

From international cuisine to ice cream and freshly-brewed beers and meads, Hazel Park has been building a food and drink destination along John R Rd. for years. Check out some of the city’s most popular dining destinations.

24310 John R Rd.| 586-413-4206

MEADS CONTINUE TO RISE AS THE NEXT BIG beverage, and Hazel Park is at the forefront with Cellarmen’s – the only Demeter-certified biodynamic meadery on the planet.

Founded in 2015, by four friends – Dominic Calzetta, Ian Radogost-Givens, Jason Petrocik and Andrew Zalewski – they have created over 100 flavors in the three years since opening, including fan-favorite “Hungry Girl,” a strawberry-and-white pepper mead.

“We make mead, cider, and beer out of the highest quality ingredients we can find – we use only real fruit and honey in our recipes and never use flavorings or fruit concentrates,” Calzetta says. “We all come from kitchens, so everything is very food- and flavor-driven, along with tradition of mead and cider making.”

Quality has been key in every decision Cellarmen’s has made, including picking the ideal location for their business.

“Bolyard Lumber had been a staple in the community for years. The building actually burned down in the ‘60s and was rebuilt to what we have today. The space in the back which was the former yard is perfect for our production,” Calzetta says.
Hazel Park as a city continues to win them over too.

“The city could not be more perfect for us. A few of us lived here before we opened and always had eyes on our building. When we began our relationship with the City, we knew it was the place for us,” Calzetta says. “The people, the spirit, the leadership – there is nothing not to love about Hazel Park.”

Cellarmen’s 200-seat tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday, where you can find live music and monthly comedy shows. Their products are sold throughout Michigan at all craft beer retailers.

24940 John R. Rd | 248-545-4070

AUTHENTIC INTERNATIONAL CUISINE CAN BE HARD TO COME BY, so when a credible place opens it tends to succeed. Pi’s Thai illustrates this perfectly, having opened over 30 years ago when owners Pirote (Pi) and Boonserm (Boon) Chinthanond migrated to Hazel Park from Thailand and opened their restaurant.

“Thai cuisine was relatively unknown in the Metro Detroit area and Thai restaurants practically nonexistent. Pi and Boon saw an opportunity to introduce the exotic flavors of Thai cuisine to Metro Detroiters and in the Spring of 1986 Pi’s Thai Cuisine opened in Hazel Park,” the restaurant’s Cuisine Management says.

When they retired in 2011, they passed ownership to second cousins to ensure family recipes would be honored. The restaurant built an online presence and the building was updated but the food stayed the same – fresh ingredients and authentic dishes.
“Everything served at Pi’s Thai Cuisine are the original recipes Pi and Boon would cook at home. About 95 percent of the sauces used are also homemade,” says management.

Spicy Thai food is not uncommon, but Pi’s prides itself on their extra fiery levels; they’re known to not even let new customers try ‘hot’ without sampling their ‘medium’ spice first.

“We work hard to create the best flavors for our food and we want our customers to enjoy it, not suffer from the spiciness of the chili,” Pi’s Thai says. “However, we do have some brave souls that order ‘extra hot’ on the regular. Only a handful that I can remember have ordered ‘triple extra hot’.”

The most popular dishes are their Pad Thai, fried rice and drunken noodles. Pi’s has become a staple in Hazel Park and over the last 32 years, Pi’s has come to see the residents as family – even watching some come in as small children and slowly build their spice level as they grow.

“Food brings family together, and especially in Thai culture where the phrase, ‘Have you eaten?’ is used interchangeably to ask, ‘How are you?’” the cuisine management says. “Coming to Pi’s Thai Cuisine is an experience and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

23839 John R. Rd. | 248-291-5711

THE EVERYDAY NEIGHBORHOOD BAR, for the ‘everyday Joe’ – a down-to-earth watering hole with authentic food, fair priced drinks and good music,” Cari Vaughn, co-owner of Joebar, describes the restaurant best.

“Our clientele is an amazing mix of college-aged kids, blue-collar workers, city officials, suburbanites and city dwellers,” she adds.

Opened in March 2017, Vaughn runs Joebar with Managing Partner and Chef Rebecca LaMalfa and husband Joe Vaughn. The restaurant offers weekend brunch and $10 burgers and beer, but there is more than meets the eye at 23839 John R. Rd. Technically, it’s three restaurants in one.

They recently collaborated with Dark Matter Coffee, a Chicago-based roaster, to open shop inside the restaurant. This is Dark Matter’s first location outside Chicago. Additionally, the back half of the restaurant is “frame” – a unique culinary space that holds chef residencies.

“We’ve played host to the most amazing chefs this past year, from the likes of James Rigato, Craig Lieckfelt, George Azar and Luciano DelSignore,” Vaughn says. “No two days are ever the same at frame. From cocktail workshops to private events, it’s an ever-changing line-up of chefs and experiences. frame doubles as a food studio by day for commercial and editorial clients.”

Whether you’re looking for a fresh-roasted cup of coffee, a burger and a drink, or an exclusive culinary experience, it can all be found inside the doors of Joebar.

24110 John R. Rd

DOUG’S DELIGHT is probably the newest restaurant in Hazel Park, but it already has a lot of history and connections in the city. You could call it Mabel Grey’s little sister; the restaurant is run by their Executive Chef James Rigato and Pastry Chef Kristina Conger.
“Doug’s has been around for 50 years, and has served as a community gathering place for ice cream and snacks,” Rigato says. “It sat for a couple years, and then we bought it and restored it to what you see today.”

The diner-style space opened in April of 2018 and is a reinvention of the original Doug’s that closed in 2014 when owner Vicky Muccino passed away. The restaurant will still feature favorites like soft serve and hot dogs, but there will be upgrades and unexpected culinary specials too.

“It’s definitely fun and nostalgic. The savory side is hot-dog-focused, with tater tots, curly fries and nacho cheese, but Brittany Decamillo (our savory chef) is always doing cool specials like al pastor tacos and bacon-&-jalapeño grilled cheese on homemade sourdough,” Rigato says. “The sweet side features ten percent milk fat soft serve ice cream, Guernsey’s hard scoop and dairy products, as well as homemade brownies and cookies. We’re definitely sourcing the nicest products possible.”

Open seven days a week as of June, they hope to expand pastry production in the coming months and continue to promote the growth of Hazel Park.

23825 John R. Rd | 248-398-4300

MABEL GREY MIGHT BE ONE OF THE most recognizable restaurants in Hazel Park – it won the Detroit Free Press title of “Restaurant of the Year” in 2017, was featured in The New York Times and became a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best New Restaurant” in 2016 – and these accolades are well deserved.

Owner and Chef James Rigato opened Mabel Grey in 2015, with business partner Ed Mamou, to expand his culinary imagination and build unique new flavors and dishes.

“I wanted a small restaurant that I could oversee and use as a vessel of constant creativity and shareable space for my fellow industry friends,” Rigato says.
“We allow the menu, space, ambiance, music and vibe to change with all the other variables of life.”

“The menu is an ever-changing playlist reflecting the seasons and influences around me. I think of Mabel Gray as a canvas for creativity, R&D, exploration, education and personal growth. Change is a necessity for these things,” he adds.
The restaurant seats 40, and Rigato created an urban ambiance to reflect the city around him.

“I lived at 11 Mile and John R for years. I’ve always loved Hazel Park. The layout, the buildings. The businesses like Pi’s Thai, Loui’s Pizza, Kozy Lounge were places I already loved,” he says. “I liked the idea of taking a small, shotgun building, the kind a tool-&-die shop would be in, and opening a creative food think tank where I could be free.”

As for future plans for the restaurant, visitors can expect to see continuous change and an ever-evolving menu.

“Mabel Gray will continue to change, grow, evolve and celebrate the people and influences that walk through both its front and back doors. I always have ideas and aspirations for the future,” Rigato says.


Story By Sara E. Teller
Photos by Wes Brooks

TO SAY THE HAZEL PARK RACEWAY, which initially opened its doors to the public in 1949, will be missed by the City and its residents is an understatement. The track ultimately closed in April of this year due to financial difficulties, leaving behind nostalgic memories for many longtime members of the community.

“The Race Track was an iconic, signature business for the City of Hazel Park,” explained Hazel Park City Manager, Ed Klobucher. “It was what [the city was] most known for throughout the state and region. For many years after it opened, the track and the City had a symbiotic relationship, and in the ‘50s, the revenue racing generated made up roughly 50 percent of the City’s general fund.”

However, this changed significantly along with the times. “That percentage, over time, declined, and very substantially in recent years. It’s been a shame to see,” he said.

Klobucher called the track a “casualty of Michigan legislation” adding, “In 2004, casinos paid for a ballot initiative to limit other types of gaming, and it passed.” Many foreshadowed back then that this would ultimately lead to the downfall of horse racing in the state.

Over the years, the City of Hazel Park would host events at the track and Council members would be invited to attend Kentucky Derby day, which Klobucher said, “was a great, fun day” for all who went. “We would from time to time have special events at the race track, and work with them on a cooperative basis to do annual activities such as the fireworks and our Promise Zone dinners. The Promise Zone is a program that helps students pay for their first two years of college. We worked well together.”

He feels the fireworks and Kentucky Derby day are two events that will no doubt be missed the most. “I was very disappointed to hear the track would be closing right before Derby day,” he said.

He did mention that Ashley Capital, who has bought the site, offered to host fireworks, but added, “While I want to thank them for the kind gesture, it just can’t happen in its current state.”

Klobucher’s experience at the Raceway dates back much further than his time in office, and he is certainly among those who will always view the track and the fond memories he’s had there as a big part of his life.

“My parents would visit the track when I was a kid, and sometimes my brother and I were able to go. We’d head over there on Sunday afternoons with them and watch the thoroughbreds. One day, my mom hit a trifecta. She had walked down there with the neighbor ladies and came back excited to tell us she’d won,” he reminisced. “I spent time quite a bit of time at the track myself as a kid and as a young adult. I, too, hit a trifecta at 18 and remember the joy of cashing in that ticket.”

He explained that horse racing was so popular in the 1970s, “You used to see the roads around the Raceway all chained off. That’s how many people would go. It was the only legalized form of gambling for many years – before the lottery, then the casinos and the Internet.”

While the City’s 2018 revenue will take a bit of a hit with the closing of the raceway, Klobucher is hopeful that future plans for the site will make up for the temporary dip. “Ashley Capital, the company that bought the area on which the northwest Tri-County Commerce Center was developed, purchased the remaining property at the track. There is a plan for two new industrial facilities. The company has been very successful so far, and the Center has done a lot of good for the community,” Ed explained. “We’ve attracted Amazon and LG Electronics. Drawing in LG is very exciting. They are going to be the exclusive builder of the batteries for the new Chevy electronic vehicles and will be doing this in Hazel Park.”

The new facilities only bring more promise to the city. “They will bring new opportunities to Hazel Park and create jobs for residents. The project will increase the city’s tax base overall.”

However, nothing can replace the Hazel Park Raceway. Klobucher said, “If I’d had a magic wand to wave that would have saved the raceway and built the facilities, I would have used it. It’s very sad to see it go.”

By Sara E. Teller

BOBBY EMMETT IS A TALENTED COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN FROM THE DETROIT AREA who originally played in a band called The Sights. When he decided to pursue a career in music, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and it didn’t take long for success to come.

“I moved to Nashville around 2012 to take a break from the treadmill garage scene, and work and play on Sturgill Simpson’s first record,” he said. “The day I got to Nashville, coming right off the freeway, Dan Auerbach was in the parking lot of the bar I arrived at. He hired me to play on a song, which turned into several full albums with him.”

Soon after that, Emmett was doing sessions for Dave Cobb in the morning, and Auerbach in the evening. “I sort of hit the ground running,” he said. “Those studios are insane. The coolest. I also made a soundtrack to a film that won an Emmy.”

Emmett spent a couple of years playing on records in Nashville. He was involved in what he describes as “some really cool stuff,” including working with John Prine, Kurt Vile, Bombino, The Arcs, Chris Hennessy, and Cowboy Jack Clement’s final album. “I also got a call from Rick Rubin to do a record with him. That recording session was hilarious,” he reminisced. When he began to work with Simpson, they opened for Guns N’ Roses and even made an appearance on Saturday Night Live. “Sturgill’s stuff started getting big and he asked me to tour with him,” Emmett said. “We made another record that won a Grammy for Country Album of The Year last year.”

EMMETT IS STILL PLAYING WITH STURGILL. He also recently produced and played on a new record for a band called Welles. “I am back in Michigan now, engaged to the love of my life,” he said. Emmett lives in Hazel Park and is pursuing another passion-project. “I bought a condemned house and completely gutted the entire thing, rebuilt everything. It was a true test of will power, standing on a dirt floor swinging a sledge hammer for a year with snow coming in the windows, no heat or water, and no end in sight. It turned out really beautiful, though. Never worked so hard on anything in my life.”

He’s also been spending some time on a project with this partner, saying, “My favorite thing that I am doing right now is with my fiancé. We have a project called Monster Fighters. It’s both of us singing and playing mostly everything, very ‘60s rock ‘n roll influenced. We work really well together. The stuff is really special to me.”

As far as future plans, Emmett said he played at Fuji Rock Fest last year in Japan, and brought home “this thing called a Daruma Doll. The concept is you color in one eye, write a goal on the back of the doll, then color in the other eye when the goal is achieved.” The goal the couple has in mind is to make a song together as Monster Fighters with a focus on getting a TV/movie sync to pay for their wedding. He explained, “So we plan on doing that, and having a family. We are always working on really cool music – doing her solo record now, too, which is sounding incredible. I also have a record of my own in the works. Never ending. I’m still trying to work my way up to getting a DMA nomination –maybe one day.”


HOW DOES A CITY FIND A WAY TO STAND OUT from its neighbors? And how can it highlight its residents and bring them together? The City of Hazel Park is using art as one way to set itself apart.

The Hazel Park Arts Council was founded in 2010 when City Council Members Andy LeCureaux and Jeff Keaton discovered they shared a love of art and wanted to display the work of local artists. Amy Aubry, treasurer of the Arts Council and Chair of the Art Fair Planning Committee, explains the goals of the organization:

“To bring art, in all its forms to our community. This means everything from public art installations with sculptures and murals to finding ways to feature our performing arts such as dancers and musicians, as well as hosting events that feature our local artists and engaging our residents in making their own art,” she says.

In the group’s eight years, they have built an art garden and created three annual events to pro-mote the creativity and craftsmanship of residents. The most permanent of those is the Art Garden, dedicated to former Mayor Jan Parisi and located next to Dairy Park at 21809 John R Rd. It features a sculpture by local business owner Richard Gage, and has a chess table, benches and a “Little Free Library” where residents can take and leave books. The group is working to bring more sculptures and murals to the city.

“This not only beautifies our town but provides work for our local artists,” Aubry says.

Another way the Arts Council brings local art to the forefront is through their events, the largest of which is the Hazel Park Art Fair. Now in its seventh year, the fair is held August 25th and 26th at Green Acres Park.

“Currently we are focused on having between 50 and 70 amazing artists who bring a variety of work to the fair,” Aubry says. “In addition to live music, we have artists that will produce art on-site while you watch, a magician is known to make an appearance or two, and even aerialists. The fair is free, so come join us to see it all!”

Other events produced by the Arts Council include Art in the Park – a free children’s crafting event held during the Growers and Makers farmers market on Sundays through summer and fall – and the Artober Art Crawl where temporary art pieces are installed around Hazel Park throughout the month of October.

Art Council currently has 10 members and Aubry encourages anyone to join, noting you don’t have to be a resident to become a member. Just fill out an application at hazelpark.org.

Aubry and other Art Council members, including its Vice President and City Council Member Alissa Sullivan, praise the city and its residents for their creativity and involvement, and realize they wouldn’t be here without the support.

“The community is so very helpful and supportive – they have embraced our art ‘offerings’ and really seem excited to participate,” Sullivan says. “It’s nice to bring things to our community that other communities have – art fairs, bazaars, murals, free kids art. I’m proud to be a part of that!”

By Ingrid Sjostrand

ARTS PROGRAMS IN K-12 SCHOOLS ALWAYS SEEM TO BE THE FIRST TO GO WHEN BUDGETS GET TIGHT, AND SCHOOLS OFTEN HAVE TO GET RESOURCEFUL TO FIND FUNDING. This is what prompted the creation of Hazel Park Creative Arts, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the Hazel Park School District’s art programs.

“We noticed that while the band program had a booster organization to raise money for the band, the other art programs did not,” Mike Vanderveer, president of Hazel Park Creative Arts, says. “We formed Hazel Park Creative Arts in an effort to support all of the art programs in the Hazel Park School District that do not have their own booster organization.”

Since its founding in 2014, the group has accomplished quite a few noteworthy projects. They started small by collecting art supplies for Hoover Elementary and tuning the piano for the high school choir, but quickly moved on to larger, more impactful goals like procuring a new kiln in November 2016.

“Our first major project was an effort to replace the pottery kiln in the high school. The kiln was estimated to be about 30-years-old and was showing its age in down time, repair costs and electricity usage,” Vanderveer says. “Working with the high school art department, we helped raise $15,000 to replace the old kiln with a brand-new, front-loading kiln. Many students in the district have been awarded scholarships for their ceramic art abilities, and the new kiln is a small part of that success.”

Most recently, they replaced the high school auditorium’s lighting control console. The mechanism was 15-years-old and produced by a company no longer in business, making it hard to find repair parts. Hazel Park Creative Arts was able to raise $6600 through fundraising and had the new lighting console installed just in time for theater season.

“The new console arrived at the school in February of 2018, and was used for the first time in the Hazel Park Drama Club’s performances of Seussical the Musical in April,” Vanderveer says.  Hazel Park Creative Arts is made up of four board members that meet the first Monday of each month. The majority of their work is completed through fundraising events; their two largest being a Fall Dinner held at the Junior High on October 5th and a Spring Night Out the Friday before the high school drama club performance.

“We very much appreciate the support the City of Hazel Park, its residents, and local businesses have given our organization and fundraising events,” Vanderveer says. “It’s great to see our city come together to support the arts in the school district;  None of what we do is possible without that support!”
Hazel Park Creative Arts is currently looking for their next major project. Anyone interested in attending board meetings or donating can reach out through their website, hpcreativearts.org.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

WHEN ICE THAWS AND THE SNOW MELTS, Metro Detroit streets start to fill with the dusted-off motorcycles previously hibernating all winter. Oftentimes after a harsh season, these bikes could use a little love – or maybe an extreme makeover – and that’s where Bad Pig Customs takes pride.

“We service and build motorcycles; we do anything from A to Z as far as customization goes. And we’ve got a storeroom that has parts, so we can do part sales,” co-owner Dave Foster says. “We can’t sell motorcycles because we don’t have a dealer’s license, but we do everything that needs to be done on American motorcycles only.”

Located at 1806 E. Nine Mile, Foster and his partner Mark Zagacki opened their Hazel Park shop in 2012 when they saw a growth in the industry and a lack of shops like theirs.

“There was a need – not just in the city, but in the motorcycle industry. It is getting larger because of gas mileage and stuff,” Foster says. “It’s a shame that in Michigan it’s not a necessity to have a motorcycle because of our weather – real short season – and the state considers it a recreational vehicle.” Foster says.

ONE THING THAT MAKES BAD PIG CUSTOMS unique is that they have an in house parts shop, so there’s no waiting for parts to be ordered and shipped in. Zagacki is actually well-known in the community for his parts knowledge and accessibility.

“We’re actually two businesses in one. We have Oak Park Mark — he sells parts — and then Bad Pig Customs is about service and custom builds,” Foster says. “We’re partners but I try to run this side and he tries to run that side. He’s been known as Oak Park Mark for many years, so we threw the second business in there.”

Being located in Hazel Park has served the business fairly well too, and they are hoping to add a local bike night but are still searching for the right location.

“It’s actually a really good location, we’re right on the edge of Macomb County, Wayne County and the Southeast corner of Oakland,” Zagacki says. “We’re kind of positioned in between the little four corners, and we’re far enough away from Harley dealers that we shouldn’t really take away from any of their business.” “There aren’t too many bike shops in our ten-mile radius,” Foster adds.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

ONE SIGN OF A STRONG BUSINESS COMMUNITY is longevity – when many companies thrive and expand, it’s proof that the city and its residents care about supporting local endeavors. Hazel Park has many staple businesses that have grown with the city and helped support and build a stronger community. Capital Sales Company is one such venture leading that pack.

In business for over 30 years, Capital Sales Company has been essential to the success of Hazel Park and has also received help from the City. The wholesale distributor, located at 1471 E. Nine Mile Rd., sells to businesses in more than 20 states.

ON THEIR WEB SITE they describe themselves as a “full-line distributor of grocery, candy, tobacco, health, beauty care, dry goods, meat snacks, restaurant supplies, automotive and dollar store items. We provide shoppers with unmatched customer service and are committed to meeting our customers’ high expectations for service and product selection.”

Many of Capital Sales Company’s customers include convenience stores, dollar stores, restaurant suppliers, and other retail outlets.

The business expanded their Nine Mile Rd. location after receiving a Brownfield Single Business Tax Credit of $200,000 from the city of Hazel Park in 2005. The money was used to grow their warehouse and distribution center by 38,000 ft. It also created 30 new jobs and generated $2 million in private investment.

The support Capital Sales Company received from the city has not gone unnoticed, and the business has not shied away from returning the favor. Sam Haddad, President of Capital Sales Company, donated over $10,000 to the Hazel Park Recreation Department to help with the construction of a playscape in Scout Park.

This is just one example of how businesses and cities support each other, and how everyone in the community can benefit.

By Jenn Goeddeke

THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF EAGLES (F.O.E.) HAS GROWN DRAMATICALLY in membership and broad social impact since it was founded in 1898 in Seattle, Washington. With the motto of “People Helping People,” it now reaches out around the world with a message of peace, hope, and substantial financial assistance.

Originally set up by just six theater-owning men, and named “The Order of Good Things,” the F.O.E. currently boasts over 3000 Aeries and Auxiliaries (lodges/clubs) nationwide. Their fundraising efforts are beyond impressive: Almost $10 million raised and donated annually to various core charities, locally, nationally and internationally.

The F.O.E. also is credited with establishing the “Mother’s Day” holiday in the US, and the organization’s ‘crown jewel’ is the $25 million FOE Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa.

Anyone 19 or older can join, and the voluntary nature of its structure means that 100 percent of the funds raised actually reach the charity, in the form of grants (partly because the membership dues offset the cost of administrative work).

In addition to its outstanding fundraising success, the F.O.E. also promotes companionship, and members often form close friendships that stand the test of time. Fun activities include bowling, darts, pool, golf, softball and so on. There are numerous fundraising events throughout the year, with raffles, picnics, dances, barbecues and many other family-oriented gatherings. Certain months have distinct themes, such as February where money is raised for the local “Beaumont Healthy Hearts” program. April is devoted to raising funds for cancer research.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Todd Caswell at the Hazel Park Eagles location. This particular charter began in 1945 for males, and in 1947 for females. Caswell retired a few years ago from a 33-year career in the military which included several tours of duty, and he is clearly not content to just sit back and enjoy his retirement years! Alongside other trustees, officers, and longtime members, Caswell invests many hours weekly into helping out with all the various F.O.E. projects and fundraisers. In fact, it has become a lot like his second home! Caswell’s efforts are focused primarily on the Hazel Park F.O.E. and also on District #3 in general which consists of ten local clubs.

Even though the F.O.E. is essentially a social club, it runs a very tight ship in its structure and organization. Each club has a team of officers and from three to seven trustees to manage the administrative duties, plus a male and female President. The membership process involves a simple application, a $15 joining fee and two sponsors (who must be existing members).

Youth Camp for ages 6-18 is held in the third week of July every year at the Eagles Recreational Facility. “Steak Outs” are currently being held one Saturday each month, inside the club. This is a large spread of food, some of it made-to-order, for just $10/plate. The proceeds for both the steak outs go towards the Cystic Fibrosis Fund. Upcoming Auxiliary events include a ‘bunko night’ (dice game) in October and a ‘Drag Queen Bingo’ night.

The F.O.E. are a driven set of individuals who join forces to make a difference – and they have plenty of fun and camaraderie in the process.

248.548.7547 / www.FOE.com
22010 N. Chrysler Drive, Hazel Park.

ESTABLISHED IN 1993, THE EIGHT MILE BOULEVARD ASSOCIATION (8MBA) is composed of 13 communities and three counties along Eight Mile Road. In conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation, businesses, neighborhood groups and corporations like DTE and ITC, they facilitate collaboration between
these stakeholders toward the revitalization of Eight Mile Road, with a focus on a span of 27 miles of the corridor.

An IRS-designated 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, 8MBA and its partners employ projects to unlock Eight Mile’s socioeconomic potential, including business assistance, community development, beautification projects and more.

The Mission Statement: “The Eight Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA) revitalizes and promotes the Eight Mile transportation, business and residential corridor be-tween I-94 and I-275 by linking the efforts of the public and private sectors.” It’s great, but it doesn’t cover everything going on in this dynamic and progressive organization.

Many jurisdictions begin, end and overlap on Eight Mile, complicating services such as public transit. Eight Mile’s reputation as a divider between Detroiters and subur-banites also fuels socio-economic inequality. The 8MBA seeks to change this.

ENTER BETHANY HOLLAND, HAZEL PARK’S 8MBA REPRESENTATIVE and meteoric fire-starter. Although Hazel Park borders only roughly one mile of Eight Mile Road with I-75 cutting through the city’s section, Holland’s energy for the 8MBA could light up the entire 27-mile span. Holland, of course, also serves on the Hazel Park City Council.

She was quick to volunteer her time for the representative position, and sees the 8MBA as a great platform for change. With a large, spirited membership, 8MBA has been focused on beautification and economic development of the Eight Mile corridor.

Hazel Park has hosted the 8MBA board meetings twice in the past year. Holland indicated that it is her highest priority to improve pedestrian safety with a proper crossing at Eight Mile and Dequindre Roads. The Belmont Shopping Center is working with the city planner on making a safer pedestrian crossing at this Tri-County corner where Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties converge.

While Hazel Park is a founding member of the 8MBA, Holland reports that the City hasn’t been an active participant in recent years due to financial and other constraints during the economic downturn. That is all changing. Cities are emphasizing art and walkable communities. And right now, Eight Mile is not walkable, but there are some colorful murals being painted on buildings along the corridor. Holland would like to continue to create those opportunities for local artists.

Another challenge that Holland and the 8MBA are ad-dressing is the public transit along the corridor. Eight Mile is one of the busiest transit routes in the Metro area, and they need improved transit opportunities. Right now, most bus stops are simply signs on a pole that indicate where riders need to stand in order to catch their bus. She would like to see more covered waiting areas for riders that will protect them from rain, snow, wind, and road debris.

HOLLAND SEES THE 8MBA AS A GOOD ORGANIZATION to rebrand Eight Mile. “Everyone in the
8MBA is passionate about making this a road you want to drive. If you’ve had the opportunity to drive Eight Mile recently due to the I-696 construction, you may have seen the economy percolating along the boulevard. Vacant buildings are filling up. Signage tells you what city you are in as you travel the corridor, and drivers will notice a ton of new development in the Tri-County area of Eight Mile Road.”

Holland recognizes the huge economic opportunities that are opening up for Hazel Park and surrounding cities. She believes that Hazel Park needs to jump on those opportunities now and build on the momentum. 8MBA is a perfect partner for that.

8MBA has played a big role in supporting the business-es and communities bordering Eight Mile Road for 25 years. 8MBA provides it membership with a voice and serves as a conduit for regional collaboration. For more information about 8MBA, its work in the community, and how you can be a part of the revitalization of this historic Boulevard, go to eightmile.org