Oak Park City Guide 2018
2018 Oak Park City Guide and Business Directory

By Mary Meldrum

Get ready for a brand-new Nine Mile! One of Oak Park’s major thoroughfares is about to undergo a major makeover.

The Nine Mile Redesign project was borne from the leadership change and a paradigm shift in the Oak Park City government’s focus that began in 2011, following an economic recession that almost bankrupted
the City. One big change came in 2014 when the City hired Kimberly Marrone, Economic Development &
Communications Director. Marrone explained the objectives and the progress of Oak Park’s Nine Mile Redesign project:

“My role in the City is for economic development, so we want to attract new businesses and retain the businesses we currently have in the city as well as help them grow and expand,” says Marrone. She is part of an Oak Park government leadership that has implemented service-oriented and pro-growth policies. These policies are gaining momentum – funding and creating an impact for the city’s future.

In 2014, a Strategic Economic Development Plan was adopted by the Oak Park City Council. The plan outlined action steps to assist in sparking additional economic development to Oak Park. Marrone discusses the growing evidence that providing places to walk and bicycle is a successful strategy for maintaining and restoring economic vitality. Indeed, there is solid research that supports the connection between pedestrian-friendly environments and economic viability.

Major firms around the country are beginning to loudly advocate for pedestrian, bike and transit-friendly development patterns. And they are voting for these changes with their walking boots on, relocating to city centers that are a better fit for their business, their ideals, and for their employees. Booming business centers like Atlanta and the Silicon Valley are showing how an over-dependence on the car can stall economic development. Businesses are increasingly concerned with lengthy commutes, gridlock, lack of transportation choices, air pollution, and the overall decline in quality of life that can make recruiting and retaining skilled workers difficult.

According to the 1997 Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, the number and location of open space/parks/recreation ranks high among factors used by small businesses in choosing a new business location. According to a 1998 analysis by ERE Yarmouth and Real Estate Research Corporation, real estate values over the next 25 years will rise fastest in “smart communities” that incorporate a pedestrian and bike-friendly configuration.

Road Diet
A study conducted for the City in 2015 with grant money showed it was feasible to redesign Nine Mile Road with a so-called “street diet.” The road will be reduced from five to three lanes, and the City will create linear parks, additional parking, bike lanes and streetscape amenities, a known formula to spur economic development.

“Businesses want to know if they can be successful here in Oak Park. They want to locate into a community that people are attracted to live in,” says Marrone. Oak Park and surrounding communities have seen a steady demand for homes and an uptick in median home prices over the past several years, making Oak Park an attractive place for businesses to settle in and grow.

Reducing traffic noise, traffic speeds, and vehicle-generated air pollution will increase property values. Adding green space, parks and public gathering places are multipliers in the property value equation. One study found that a five-to-ten mile-per-hour reduction in traffic speeds increased adjacent residential property values by roughly 20 per cent.

“We applied, jointly with Ferndale, for the grant from MDOT last spring and received notice in September of 2017 that they would partially fund the project. The total project cost is roughly $1.4 million. We received a grant award from SEMCOG and from MDOT in the amount of $983,826. This would require a 30 per cent match from the cities,” shares Marrone.

In 2018, The City of Oak Park will finalize road plans for Nine Mile, solicit bids this Spring. The City will add bike lanes and redesign the parking starting in late Spring or early Summer. The majority of the work is repainting of lines with minimal actual road construction.

Nine Mile Road was developed before I-696 was finished, and now carries much less traffic as it once did. In fact, the car count is roughly 17,000 cars per day now, making it a “tired” street with too many lanes. People drive past businesses on Nine Mile without noticing them. A road diet would slow the traffic and improve safety, allowing businesses to enjoy a spark of additional success, as well as fill vacant storefronts.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a push to move away from downtown areas, like Detroit. That movement has recently reversed, and there is a shift to embrace downtown density again in most communities. Oak Park’s Nine Mile Redesign project is quickly getting traction to promote a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown area by addressing traffic issues, greenway development, and density.

Pocket Parks
Oak Park residents were interested in creating space where people could gather. As part of the Nine Mile Redesign project, a park was tested with the Sherman Summer Pop-Up Park in 2017. The City closed about 100 feet of Sherman Street.

In June, and put in tables, chairs, games, activities and programming. Sometimes they held scheduled musical entertainment, exercise classes, art and STEAM programs from the Oak Park Library and Recreation Department. Sherman Street residents were asked for input and invited to help create the space. In feedback following the pop-up park, 83 per cent of survey responses said they were in favor of the permanent park. The City applied for, and received, a grant from Oakland County.

“We went to great lengths to take into consideration the wishes of the community and to ensure that the needs of the residents were being met,” said City Manager Erik Tungate.

For the Nine Mile Redesign, the engineering firm suggested closing three streets at Nine Mile Road to create pocket parks. The City decided to close only two, Sherman and Seneca.

When people on Seneca were approached, most were happy about it. Of those with reservations, they expressed worry that emergency vehicle access would be impeded to homes and businesses; that school buses might not be able to travel the street; and questions on whether the park could invite crime to the area. Not one item went missing from the temporary pop-up park; creating more of a crowd typically creates less crime. The Public Safety Department reported that emergency vehicle and bus access was not impeded, and noise and vandalism was not an issue.

Bringing people together has long been known to produce economic value. Population density creates and increases social capital and economic opportunity. Social capital has value in fellowship, shared information and common goals; it thrives in communities that provide platforms and places for people to come together to shop and share their knowledge and information, while collaborating and socializing. Social capital allows people to become invested in the outcome of their neighborhoods, and economic capital to flourish.

“When talking to new potential businesses about locating in Oak Park, they become very excited about the vision and plans we have, specifically for the Nine Mile Redesign Project,” says Marrone.

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

The MI Works Oak Park office opened its doors over 40 years ago, working to connect job-seekers with steady employment and business owners with the help they need. The Oak Park School District has offered its support for the office’s various programs over the course of its existence. As part of Oakland County’s MI Works network, the Oak Park location is also funded by L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive, Oakland County Workforce Development Board & Talent Investment Agency, and the State of Michigan.

“We service everyone, mainly businesses and job seekers,” said Laura Robb of the Oak Park office. Robb is involved with the center’s business services and social media, and is a career coach. “We offer training, re-employment, and recruitment assistance for businesses.”

The Oak Park Career Center truly is a one-stop shop for all things related to employment for both employers and job candidates. Career advisors are available for one-on-one consultations, resume assistance, personalized skills analysis, networking help, interview preparation, third-party resource referrals, early access to job postings in and around the Oak Park area, information regarding federally funded job training programs and personal branding assistance.

For businesses specifically, the Oak Park Career Center offers outplacement services, on-the-job training support, labor market information, social media services, grant opportunities, veteran services, tax credits for new hires and fidelity bonding.

Robb loves being in Oak Park, especially, “the support of the school district and the City of Oak Park, as well as the wonderful residents of this great area and the businesses we service with workforce services.” She said catering to the needs of Oak Park residents and businesses can be challenging, though, too, especially with limited means for the unemployed to visit the center and readily report to work. “The need [is obvious] for an effective and affordable regional transportation system to provide access to available jobs throughout the region” and would be very helpful, according to Robb.

Oak Park’s MI Works offers computer training every Tuesday from 9:00 – 11:00 A.M. for those interested in brushing up on their tech skills. They also offer weekly resumé workshops and interview training. Resumé workshops help candidates organize their work history and format their resumés in a way that is easily understandable, readable and professional. Career advisors also offer assistance with crafting an effective cover letter. Interview preparation includes methods for creating a job search plan and finding available positions, job application dos and don’ts, what to expect, and how to prepare for interviews, proper follow-ups, and salary negotiations.

The Oak Park Center also offers a “Job Club” on Fridays from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. During this time, visitors can drop in and learn about job search strategies, news ways to look for careers, and career websites and resources. They can get assistance with their resumés and general information regarding average salaries levels. LinkedIn profile creation services are also available by appointment as well as interviewing practice sessions. Appointments should be scheduled prior to visiting the center.

To inquire about Oak Park MI Works’ services, interested parties can “visit our center which is centrally located in the heart of the city, connect via our social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter and visit our website and LinkedIn page for more information,” Robb said.

Due to severe budget cuts, the Ferndale MI Works office, located at Hilton and 9 Mile, will be closing by the end of the Summer of 2018, and its services consolidated with the Oak Park office.

The Oak Park MI Works office is located just south of Nine Mile Rd, four streets west of Coolidge, in the north end of the Clinton Center. Parking is located at the south end of the complex.


Story by Ingrid Sjostrand

If you’re an Oak Park business owner – or aspiring to be – and you don’t know Kimberly Marrone, it’s time you should. As the Director of Economic

Development & Communications, she works to provide the tools businesses need to thrive and to promote Oak Park as a sustainable community.

“We work with new and current business owners from inception through development to meet business timelines, provide market research data, site selection, and site plan process. We provide the best customer service from beginning to end,” Marrone says. “We help connect business owners and entrepreneurs to resources and incentives to help their business startup, grow and expand.”

Oftentimes, these resources are free. There are opportunities on which businesses are missing out. As Economic Development & Communications Director, Marrone also oversees the Zoning Board of Appeals, Brownfield Authority, Corridor Improvement Authority, the Economic Development Authority, and Planning Commission for the City of Oak Park – where she is focused on creating a better business market.

“New this year, we will be adding all licensed businesses to an online database on our City web site, connect them to resources that are available, counsel businesses when needed, provide invitations to business seminars, and publish bi-monthly newsletters,” Marrone says.

Not only does she help businesses, she works with residents, property owners and surrounding communities to make sure that Oak Park continues to succeed. This includes following the City’s Strategic Development Plan and finding the best way to implement key initiatives and build a stronger tax base for the city.
Since 2014, she has led the Economic Development team in improving the economic outlook for the city of Oak Park. Marrone and her team have been instrumental in several recent projects totaling over $65 million in development since 2014 – including the FedEx Ground distribution center, the largest development deal in the city’s history. Oak Park also became a One Stop Ready Community through Oakland County’s program, and are working toward completion of Redevelopment Ready Certification through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

A Michigan native and graduate of Oakland University, Marrone previously worked as Executive Director of both Imlay City’s Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority. She has a background in local government and the private sector, including real estate. For her work, Marrone received the Rotarian of the Year Award in 2012 and the City’s prestigious Employee of the Year Award in 2015. She’s also been instrumental in the City being awarded the eCities lab Best Practices Community honor in 2015 (Marrone also received this award for Imlay City in 2012 and 2013); the Five and Four Star eCities Top Performing Community Award; and the Main Street Oakland County Vision Award in 2016.

Marrone is a member of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce, International Council of Shopping Centers, Eight Mile Boulevard Association Board, Michigan Economic Development Association Board, and other organizations that are beneficial to the economic development of Oak Park.

2018 plans are already looking bright, with a variety of projects in the works. The much-anticipated 8MK restaurant rehabilitation of the historic WWJ building will include Oak Park’s first banquet space. The Jefferson Oaks mixed-income housing development offering 60 housing units will open in the Spring, and the 9 Mile Redesign Project will also begin this Spring. A portion of 11 Mile Road was recently rezoned from light industrial to mixed used. This new zoning allows for a variety of uses in one building.

Business and residents interested in taking advantage of the resources available through Oak Park’s Economic Development & Communications Department can reach out to 248-691-7404.

Story by Ingrid Sjostrand

It takes a village is a phrase originated in reference to raising children. But the principle can apply to many aspects of life, including – surprisingly – running a business.

Taking advantage of community knowledge and networking with other business owners can breed collaboration and lead to the exchange of resources, which in a city of nearly 700 businesses like Oak Park could create unimaginable results.

Luckily, an organization that promotes and facilitates these connections exists right in Oak Park’s backyard, through the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1936 and expanded to include Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge in recent years, the chamber has over 250 member businesses that all work to improve the economic climate.

“A lot of people have ideas of what chambers are about but, ultimately, it’s a business association and a way for businesses to network and exchange ideas…and get involved in the community,” Matt Zook, executive director of the Ferndale Area Chamber says of the organization.

The chamber hosts events three to four times a month, including networking opportunities like their Business After 5, Chamber Lunch Club, and Coffee Connections programs. They host guest speaker events and ribbon cuttings for new, renovated and reopening businesses.

Any business can join the Ferndale Area Chamber and membership fees vary based on the number of employees. The benefits of membership include a listing in the Chamber online business directory, marketing opportunities, and social media call-outs to nearly 5,000 subscribers. Zook says they are always working to increase the benefits for businesses, too.

“I’m working on a few different things here – we offer discounts among members, discounts at OfficeMax, things like that. I’m working on one with an insurance company, so you can get a better rate on home, car and business insurance rates.”

Zook says one way the Ferndale Area Chamber focuses on building business relation-ships and networking is by keeping up on new trends and gaining the tools to educate members.

“I’m seeing a lot of changes happening in networking organizations and I’m trying to bring the chamber up,” he explains. “There’s other ways that people connect aside from the internet these days and I’m hoping to maybe even help facilitate those things.”

Another great way to create a prosperous trade is to pick the brains of those who have run successful businesses. SCORE, a resource partner of the Small Business Administration, is a nonprofit organization that offers just that, and often collaborates with the Ferndale Area Chamber.

“SCORE is [working and] retired people that are in the business community and they offer their services for free. It’s a really great organization,” Zook says. “I’m working on moving our offices to an incubator space, and one of the things I’m trying to do is get SCORE there too because that would be a great place for them to be, as well.”

Currently, the Ferndale Area Chamber resides in the Credit Union One building at 400 East Nine Mile, and their web site has a comprehensive list of upcoming events and member benefits. Ultimately, Zook says the members that get the most out of the Ferndale Area Chamber, and their business resources, are ones that engage.

“Most people find that the Chamber is something that works better when you have involvement; whether it’s reading the newsletter or getting out and doing things –it’s hard to see the value without effort,” he says.

Story by Mary Meldrum
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

In 2014, Congregation T’chiyah welcomed Rabbi Alana Alpert from California to Oak Park, Michigan. Her arrival initiated a new direction for the congregation as she began a dual position, serving both as Rabbi and as a community organizer with Detroit Jews for Justice.

Rabbi Alpert arrived prepared for the challenge. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz where she studied resistance and social movements and learned about faith-based community organization. She had already en-gaged in leadership around feminism, Israel/Palestine, GLBTIQ rights, and prison reform. She attended rabbinical school to prepare for Jewish leadership, and she also spent three years in Israel and speaks Hebrew fluently.

Congregation T’chiyah was founded in Detroit in 1977, and they were “lay led” for most of their existence. About five years ago they decided they wanted a rabbi and that they wanted to focus on social justice work. But they didn’t need a full-time rabbi. While there was good work happening on the community relations and social service level by the local Jewish community, they felt that there was room for more meaningful work with racial and economic justice. The congregation set about looking for a rabbi that had a background in community organizing who would be their part-time rabbi and their part-time organizer for the broader Jewish community. That idea eventually developed into what today is Detroit Jews for Justice.

The congregation now resides in Oak Park, and has approximately 90 congregational members – more than double the membership from when Rabbi Alpert arrived in 2014. Rabbi Alpert attributes this growth to her smart congregation that adopted a social justice mission. Having an energetic, young rabbi out in the community raising awareness has attracted additional members, as well.

Aside from the original members setting some good objectives, their work is now resonating with a greater cross-section of people from a wider geographic area around Detroit, and includes new members from younger generations. While established members tend to be a steadfast part of the congregation, younger members connect with the social justice mission of Detroit Jews for Justice, and they eventually become more interested in the larger scope of work that the congregation does.

Detroit Jews for Justice is based off a successful model in New York, the Twin Cities and Washington, D.C., which they have adopted and adjusted to their context for their program in Oak Park. “Our mission is to be a Jewish voice in the progressive community and the Jewish community. We are interested in engaging Jews in movements for racial and economic justice,” describes Rabbi Alpert. “We have built a base of about 100 people who identify as Detroit Jews for Justice leaders, and they choose as a group to focus on certain topics.”

Rabbi Alpert is clear that their work distinguishes them from other groups; what they do is not social service. They are trying to change conditions. She also says there are lots of folks who live in the suburbs who want to put in time and get involved with Detroit. Detroit Jews for Justice is giving people more meaningful ways to connect with the city and be supportive of Detroiters.

As outlined in their core values, Detroit Jews for Justice honors the long history of activism that came before them and organizes around aspiring towards a better world. They choose work that is actionable, winnable and relevant to the lives and experiences of communities in the region. Their work follows the lead of people who are directly impacted by injustice; they support the work around key issues of Detroit and surrounding communities, and they address root causes of injustice.

The group now meets once a month at Rabbi Alpert’s home because young people seem to prefer to meet in homes. They also meet twice a month at the Mondrey building in Oak Park, and twice a month at various locations in Detroit. “We have a high percentage of attendance from our membership,” says Rabbi Alpert.

“We usually have at least 20 people on a Saturday morning and about 40 people on a Friday night.”

Rabbi Alpert reports that congregational members, as well as members for the Detroit Jews for Justice, travel from all over the metro area including Detroit, Shelby Township, West Bloomfield and Huntington Woods. As an organization that serves families who live in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, Oak Park has proved to be a comfortable commute and very convenient meeting point for everyone.

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

Sudha Sekhar, a 40-year resident of Oak Park who began her passion for dance at the young age of three, has been teaching the art since 1958. Her desire to share her talent began in India, and she eventually took her expertise with her to Canada in 1967, then the United States. Sekhar is originally from Mumbai and came to Canada after her arranged marriage.

“It’s been a 60-year journey as a teacher, guru, and mentor for hundreds of students,” Sekhar said. “I teach the sacred, ancient, classical dance form called Bharata Natyam, which we consider a fifth Veda. I have also taught Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, as well as the Kathak form of North Indian classical dance and Indian folk dancing.”

Sekhar feels teaching dance to others is her life’s purpose. She explains, “It has been a deep dedication for me to promote, preserve, and share the ancient arts of Indian music, dance, poetry, and theater with the younger generation. I have been trained by bona fide gurus, and would like the world to know about the discipline, devotion, and greatness of these arts that enhance the quality of life through development of a strong character, mindfulness, and mind, body, and soul consciousness.”

The 77-year-old has also served with Oak Parks Arts & Cultural Diversity Commission since 2007, as well as being an active member and the Charter President of the Oak Park-Royal Oak Township Optimist Club. “We are a group of like-minded individuals with a variety of interests and accomplishments. We have annual spring and summer festivals, and an annual World Dance Day on April 29th which I started in 2010 to promote collaboration with the diverse dance groups in our city,” she explained.

Sekhar holds private dance lessons and group sessions in her home studio in Oak Park. “Finding a place is hard for our type of dances, as we dance barefoot,” she said. “It was easier for me to teach at home for some girls, and that way my daughters also made friends and learned about our traditional arts.” She also teaches in Farmington Hills, Canton, Ann Arbor and Troy, and will be starting a group in West Bloomfield soon.

Sekhar is used to traveling for the art. “My husband and I have driven with our daughters to Lansing, Dearborn Heights, and Westland, to name a few. I drove to Flint, and Saginaw for almost 20 years to teach students there. Before coming to Detroit, my family lived for 11 years in Windsor, Ontario, where my daughters were born. I was invited to teach in Windsor, Ontario, St. John, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Bar Harbor, Maine until the year 2000.”

All of those years spent dedicated to extending the art to her children paid off. “My oldest daughter, Vidya, is a two-time world record holder for solo classical dancing. She got her first world record in 1989 when she danced for 48 hours in aid of the American Cancer Society. She beat her record by dancing for 72 hours for the American Heart Association in 1996 in memory of her father. She contributed $10,000 to each of these organizations.”

Sekhar said her family has always been very much involved with charitable organizations. “We have always contributed to worthy causes for advancing education and health consciousness.” Sekhar loves Oak Park, especially the city’s diversity. “It’s a beautiful family city,” she said. “We made our home here because we felt welcome here. We have a great mayor who has put Oak Park on the map. So many people from different lands have made their home here, bringing with them the richness of their unique culture, talents, and mannerisms which has added to the colorful mosaic of this city.

I try to attend classes at our Oak Park Community Center, offered by our Department of Recreation, whenever time permits. This is a city of fine restaurants, shops, pharmacies, schools, parks, and admirable services.”

Students interested in connecting with Shekhar can visit her website at www.hindutemplerythms.org

By Ingrid Sjostrand
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

Be patient. Sometimes you have to sacrifice everything and weather the storm. Sacrifice equals success, it will pay off.”

Those are the words of Patrick Peteet, owner and founder of Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake, and it’s safe to say he knows a bit about success. Since opening in 2010 with no professional background in baking, Peteet has expanded his operation to selling wholesale in over 150 locations – including The Henry Ford Museum, Cliff Bells and the Fox Theatre – and was recently endorsed by comedian Steve Harvey.

But it hasn’t always been success and celebrity endorsements for Peteet. Before cheesecake, the family business was real estate. After his father tragically passed away in 1997, Patrick took over Peteet Realty and managed it successfully until 2010 when the recession forced them to close. The setback didn’t slow him down, though. Peteet used the opportunity as a fresh start to turn the hobby he began at 11-years-old into a new business.

“It’s all part of our story. When one door closes another one opens,” Peteet says. “You can’t look at it as negative because it might be the reason something better came along,”

He opened Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake at 13835 West Nine Mile Rd., and made sure to keep family a part of his business. Peteet works daily with his mother, brother, cousins and sometimes even his two children. Another important part of his business was staying in the community that gave him years of profitability in realty; Peteet thinks he even owes some of his cheesecake success to the City of Oak Park.

“I attended Oak Park school systems, and at that time they had home economics class at Roosevelt Middle School where we learned to bake,” Peteet says. “It inspired me to want to start baking, and I experimented with making my aunt’s cheesecake recipe.”

Peteet actually made a mistake with the family recipe, but everyone loved the flavor so he kept the change. Today, Peteet’s Famous Cheesecake makes their preservative-free cheesecakes fresh daily and they offer over 90 different flavors ranging from their widely acclaimed sweet potato cheesecake to more unique flavors like superman and strawberry shortcake vodka. Thirty of these flavors are offered on a regular basis.

“I look at what people like to eat in ice cream, cookies, cake, and other desserts and convert them into cheese-cake,” Peteet says. “I ask questions like ‘what’s good in the market? What are traditions in people’s houses?’ And I base recipes off of dessert trends that people like.”

Now Peteet is looking toward the future by expanding their location and working to grow their wholesale operation even more. He is working with the City of Oak Park to take advantage of their One Stop Ready status with Oakland County. He hopes to help the next generation gain some hands-on business and baking experience, just like he received.

“When we’ve completed expanding our facility, I hope to reach out to high school students and start a mentoring program where students can learn to run a business from baking to back-of-the-house operations.” Peteet says. “We’ve been in talks with the City to help with getting grants and initiating the program.”

“Oak Park is a good place to start a business. The City is behind you, and they have good public safety – the police and fire department are behind you.” he says. “It’s an up-and-coming community always working toward growing and helping their businesses.”

By Sara E. Teller
Photo by Bernie Laframboise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story by Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie Laframboise

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

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

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