Week of 5.22.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

Older Persons Commission Charity Gala

The 15th annual fundraiser for Rochester’s Older Persons Commission’s Meals on Wheels program attracted 375 ($150 ticket) to the Royal Park Hotel to party in a Monte Carlo mode. Chance-takers could bid on jewelry from Aurum Designs, pick their own prize in a chance raffle of 13 packages and, after dinner while Frank Sinatra tribute singer Mark Randisi entertained, play casino games and turn their winnings into raffle tickets. WXYZ’s Dave LewAllen emceed the dinner program in which 96-year old Erv Bauer, a Meals on Wheels recipient since his wife died three years ago, admitted, “I can’t even boil water.”  He called the program “a real treasure” because ....” the drivers (greet you) with a smile...and are someone to talk to every day...we really appreciate you sponsors...thank you kindly.”
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This weeks social light photos…

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oakland confidential

June 2017

DUMBING IT DOWN: State Rep. Mike McCready (R-Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield) has introduced a legislative proposal to reduce the number of members of the state House of Representatives from 110 to 76, or about one-third. "We currently have three House members for every three state Senate seats," McCready said, noting there are 38 state Senate members. Each state ...more»
business matters birmingham/bloomfield

Dick's celebrates 20 years

The first major renovation since its opening nearly two decades ago is planned for Dick O' Dow's Irish Pub, 160 W. Maple in Birmingham. The pub, which opened in 1996, is continuing the celebration of its 20th anniversary with plans to revamp the rear dining area of the bar/restaurant to give the area a more open, communal feeling that will include new seating, an 18-foot bay door that will open up onto Willits Alley and 20 new beer taps. Founded by former Campbell-Ewald advertising executives Dick O'Connor and Pete Dow, along with current owner Mitch Black, the business will maintain its authentic Irish pub decor throughout the front of the building. Black, who became the sole owner about nine years ago, said the bar was specially-crafted in Dublin and shipped to Birmingham in six 40-foot containers and reassembled by the artist and craftsman who designed it in Ireland. Earlier this year, Black renovated the pub's original bathrooms, restored some of the stonework and installed new lighting in the front of the restaurant. "We are trying to recapture the integrity of the front pub, getting it back to when we opened. We didn't want to change the vibe," he said. "But looking at trends, Birmingham doesn't have a place to hang out and watch sports." To fill the void, Black said the back room will include a new bar with nearly two dozen craft beers, six 80-inch televisions, long communal seating, a new fireplace and other features that will offer a blend of a modern sports bar and a craft beer pub. Garage-type doors will open out to the alley. The new room will also feature the "O' Dow Exchange," a market-based pricing system that uses an advanced algorithm to allow pints of beer to be sold at prices based on their sales in the bar. "The prices will fluctuate depending on sales, with a cap on the high end," Black said. The pub will remain open during the renovation, which is scheduled to begin in mid-June and finish up by late July....more>

10 years of Plum

It's hard to remember a time when there wasn't a Plum Market, which is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its store at Maple and Lahser Roads in Bloomfield Township. The store first opened in March 2007 by brothers Marc and Matt Jonna, who "just wanted to share with the community a focus on local produce and growers who provide seasonal, hard-to-find food in each department," said Plum spokesperson Rachel Cannon. Marc and Matt, sons of Eddie and Juliet Jonna of the former Merchant of Vino, are third generation retailers "who continue in their family tradition for a commitment to quality and passion for excellence," Cannon said. Ten years later, Plum Market has grown and expanded, with locations in West Bloomfield, two markets in Ann Arbor, in Chicago, and one inside Detroit Metropolitan Airport. "It's still a privately-owned Michigan company," Cannon said. Plum has grown to be a full service grocery store, featuring organic produce, an artisanal deli, floral department, Plum Kitchen, in-store bakery, and has seasonal offerings as well as Zingerman's and Avalon Bakery goodies. In addition, the company has expanded, and has Plum Food Service, which provides catering and food services in several corporate locations, such as the Lear Corporation and Magna, as well as some select private schools, including Detroit Country Day School. "We still have a commitment and passion for the stores," Cannon noted. "The products we offer will still be quality no matter how much Plum Market grows, and our owners will continue their attention to details."...more>

LePage's expand to Detroit

Longtime Birmingham restaurateurs Norm and Bonnie LePage, owners of Big Rock Chophouse and Griffin Claw Brewery, along with a new Griffin Claw Brewery in Rochester Hills, are expanding their wings to Detroit, partnering with DTE Energy to open a restaurant at a new park at Cass and Grand River. "Bonnie and I have been looking at Detroit for a restaurant for 15 or 20 years," Norm said. "We grew up in the city when it was bustling. We had been looking at Midtown. And the good thing is we'll have our own parking lot at night, as well as valet." While both the park and the restaurant are currently without a name, LePage's restaurant will be an 85-seat brasserie-style establishment at an affordable price point, slated to open this fall, with a focus on food and Belgian beers. In warmer months, the restaurant will open out onto the park, where there will be an additional 125 seats for outdoor dining. "We're the only food supplier for the park, which is gorgeous, and we'll have some food trucks there. It's right across from DTE headquarters, with 3,500 employees," Norm said....more>

Centennial celebration

Bloomfield Open Hunt Club, 405 E. Long Lake Road in Bloomfield Township, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year with a series of events, culminating in a joint event with Preservation Bloomfield on Saturday, June 10, in an event surrounding the running of the Belmont Stakes. Bloomfield Open Hunt – or BOH to regulars – was founded in 1917 by a small group of Grosse Pointe and "Hills" residents who purchased just under seven acres at what is now Long Lake and Kensington roads for the purpose of fox hunting. A circa 1834 farmhouse became the club's first clubhouse, only being replaced with a new clubhouse in 1996. In 1929, an indoor riding ring was built, and its original stables continue to be used. The club expanded to include swimming and tennis in 1955, and although fox hunting ceased in 1965, BOH continues as a thriving equestrian club that offers swimming, tennis and other sports, with 21st century amenities. "It's a place with such a rich cultural history," noted member Cheryl Hall Lindsay....more>

New township center opens

Where the venerable Hogan's Restaurant once stood in Bloomfield Township on Telegraph just north of Maple Road, a new retail center has arisen, with a variety of everyday uses for local residents. An Art Van Pure Sleep mattress store opened in mid-May, center owner Scott Barbat announced. Art Van Pure Sleep offers 30 percent off popular and high-end mattress brands like Sealy, Serta, Beautyrest, Tempur-Pedic, King Koil and others. Opening in June is a Level One Bank branch on the endcap, with a drive through. Level One Bank is a community-focused bank based in Farmington Hills, which emphasizes its relationship with small businesses. Next to Art Van Pure Sleep will be Jersey Mike's Subs, which Barbat said will open the end of May. At the northern end of the strip will be 2941 Mediterranean Street Food, opening sometime this summer. This location will be the rapidly expanding 2941 Mediterranean's fourth location, after beginning in Rochester Hills in 2015 by Chef Jacques Van Staden and then-partner Jeff Langois. The goal of the fast casual eatery is to serve wholesome and affordable food featuring progressive twists on traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare, where diners can come up to the counter and choose items from a list to create their personal dish. Van Staden has teamed up with Joe Vicari of Joe Vicari Restaurant Group and Andiamo's, along with developer Doraid Markus, expanding 2941 Mediterranean Street Food to midtown Detroit and downtown Birmingham....more>

Unique workout option

Zifit Infrared Fitness, 2254 Cole Street, Birmingham, calls itself the "hottest thing in fitness." It's easy to see why, as the Zifit workout combines incline trainers and functional strength training in what they call state-of-the-art fitness studios that are enhanced with infrared therapy, in order to provide optimal results. Following the heated workouts, which can work at anywhere from 71 percent to 100 percent of maximal heart rate, they encourage fitness fans to try their infrared saunas, which they say are an "amazing source for natural healing and prevention. Infrared light has the ability to penetrate human tissue, which in turn produces a host of anti-aging health benefits, making infrared saunas one of the 'hottest' therapies for overall healthier living," the website states. Corporate headquarters are located at 34110 Woodward, and there are other Zifit workout studios in West Bloomfield, Livonia, Allen Park and Lansing....more>

New cooking locale

Like to cook, or want to learn how to cook? Then Bon Cook, opening up at 34901 Woodward in the Balmoral Building in Birmingham in late June, is just the place, according to owner Cindy Juncaj. "We teach people how to cook – it could be for team building, a children's cooking camp, individual cooking classes, or classes for groups of people from 8 to 25," she said. Located on the second floor of the new building, Bon Cook will have 5,000 square feet, and will be the national headquarters of Bon Cook, which has cooking instructors across the United States. It's also the sister company of Demarle at Home, where Juncaj has toiled for the last 10 years in Milford, which will also be relocating to Birmingham. Demarle at Home does concept cooking and direct sales for well known products to make cooking at home easier, representing numerous products, including silpad. "It's one of the products we carry. It's been used by professional chefs since the '60s. It's quicker, healthier, and it makes cleanup a breeze," she said. Demarle at Home is based out of France, Juncaj said, and is noted for its cooking demonstrations throughout France and Italy....more>

Men's custom clothier

Men's clothier Carl Sterr closed his long time Birmingham retail store this winter, and after a quick renovation, reopened in April as Carl Sterr By Design, in the same location, 742 N. Old Woodward, offering a "full line of men's clothing on sale 24 hours a day, 365 days a week," Sterr said. "The store now looks like someone's walk-in closet," he said of the "refreshing" he gave the shop. "A woman can come in with her husband, lounge, read a book, work on her computer, and help him shop." Sterr closed Carl Sterr on the Hill after a 35-year-run, the last 15 years of which he was on N. Old Woodward. But changing shopping habits, the internet, and "an absolutely cataclysmic time for brick and mortar," led to a liquidation sale, during which he offered his customers "my personally-curated products at never-before-seen prices," he said. His clients went crazy, demanding more, telling him that they loved what he was offering, and they loved the prices, and he adapted. "It's my passion (men's clothing), but it's also my responsibility to my clients. Now, rather than stressing about trying to predict menswear trends in the market, he's having fun again, working with clients to offer them quality one-of-a-kind products produced in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom that they can purchase at really great – even bargain – prices. "I'm getting such great prices at great deals," Sterr noted. "The quality is still there – we're not sourcing in China. I have people in these countries I can talk to, who allow me to design, to monitor the quality. And we treat our customers the way they want to be treated, the way they always have been, and I have my design sense and artisan tailors." Whether in the factories, or back on N. Old Woodward, Sterr said, "It's all about my relationships."...more>

Art in 48 hours

A public art incubator will take place on Saturday, June 3, at Birmingham's TYP Collection as artist and founder Tony Rave has invited a group of artists to created a new body of works which will spotlight the culture and community over a 48-hour period called the 48 HR Experience at the art gallery located at 261 E. Merrill in downtown Birmingham. "We have invited artists that aren't waiting for inspiration and who want to improve communities," said Rave. He said the artists that were chosen were given consideration of the stage they are at in their career, and because they have developed previous bodies of work, which will be able to add something new to Detroit culture. The 48 HR Experience is part of a microfellowship supported by TYP, Cafe Via, and Meijer....more>
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