Week of 4.24.17

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JVS Trade Secrets

“And life goes on,” said Connie Holzer, honorary chair and keynote speaker at the JVS Trade Secrets fundraising dinner. (It attracted record attendance - 560 @ $150 and up – to the Troy Marriott.) Holzer’s unique business experience did not even begin until her car dealer husband of 52 years died when she was 70 years old. Although the economy was in the dumps, she mortgaged the home where she had raised six children, got concessions from their 130 employees, and rebuilt the Tom Holzer Ford dealership into the 4th ranked regionally and 10th ranked nationally. “You are never too old to begin a new life,” she concluded. Women to Work recipient Kimberly Baker, whose fairytale life crashed when her husband went to jail for tax fraud, praised Judy Richmond and the JVS computer program. She attended it on a scholarship. “And now..because of people in this room... I can feed my kids,” Baker said, apologizing for her tears. The venue provided ample space to display the event’s traditional pick-your-own-prize raffle of 62 items, the main cocktail hour diversion.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

May 2017

MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO NOWHERE: A budget proposal by the Trump administration may be the final blow to plans for a regional mass transit system for southeast Michigan. A proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) millage failed in November 2016, when voters in Oakland and Macomb counties rejected the four-county millage, while passing in Wayne and Washtenaw counties. Deal was, it had to win in three of ...more»
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Ben Riggan
Photo: Jean Lannen
(click for larger version)
08/05/2014 - Marriage, a new house and a new business – life has been busy for new Bloomfield Township resident Ben Riggan and his wife, Megan Stowers.

"We just got the keys to the house," Riggan said in July of the couple's new home in Bloomfield Village, near Maple and Lasher.

Riggan, 32, said he's excited to move to the area from his former Lake Orion home. The move will also bring Stowers, a pediatric dentist, closer to her practice in West Bloomfield. Riggan, however, will likely remain on the move during his work day to grow the recently formed "Paw Pods" business.

The business is another of the more unique ideas that Riggan has come up with and brought to reality with the help of several business partners.

"We had two Springer Spaniels," Riggan said, remembering the sad day he brought his sick dogs to the veterinarian. "We had to have them euthanized. The only option for taking them home and burying them at the time was to take them in two plastic cadaver bags. It wasn't the best experience one could have."

Hoping to offer other pet owners a better way of saying goodbye to their beloved pets, the seeds of Paw Pods were planted.

"We decided to come up with something that was more dignified, all around," he said. "There are a lot of pet caskets out there, but they cost anywhere from $600 to $8,000, and not everyone can afford that. We decided to come up with an eco-friendly version, and make it very affordable."

The result is the Paw Pod: an eco-friendly pet burial system. Each pod is made from recycled bamboo and rice husk. Each of the biodegradable pods comes with a sympathy card and a seeded leaf, designed for burial. Upon burial, pet owners can sign the card and plant the seeded leaf, which will in turn sprout perennial wildflowers.

"The wildflowers grow year after year, and it creates a living memorial," Riggan said.

Launched in January 2013, Riggan said he is working now to have the product available in veterinarian offices and major pet stores throughout the country. It's currently available on the company's website, as well as Amazon.com.

In addition to the new business, Riggan is co-owner of Five Lakes Communications, with Birmingham resident Jacob German. Riggan, along with German, is also responsible for "Hired On The Spot," which they launched in 2010. The business, which didn't quite catch on, centered on "wearable resumes," in which customers could have their resume printed onto a T-shirt to wear when they were out and about and in need of a job.

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