Kate Gosselin, the star of a top-rated cable show and author of the best-selling book Multiple Blessings, shares her story of the challenges that come with raising 8-year-old twins and a set of sextuplets.
The Gosselins' life is a whirlwind, with the book and show reflecting the fast-paced, no nonsense approach they take to raising their twins and their miracle sextuplets. Her message: If she can balance the demands of parenting, so can all parents. Kate's second book, Eight Little Faces, was released in April 2009, and her family cookbook, Love Is in the Mix: Making Meals into Memories, is due to be released in October 2009.
"Tea with Kate Gosselin" is an intimate meet and greet with Kate and a small group of special fans. This event will be held at the new Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital (6777 West Maple Road) at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $150, and include your choice of one of her best-selling books plus an opportunity to get it signed by Kate.
"Moms' Night Out with Kate Gosselin" will give Metro Detroiters an opportunity to hear how Kate copes with her big brood. She'll share her "Six Lessons Learned" and "Tips for a Stress Free Home."
This evening event at Faith Lutheran Church in Troy (37635 Dequindre Road) begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38 for general admission gold seating (includes book signing opportunity) and $27 for general admission silver seating. It's the perfect Mother's Day present for Metro Detroit moms, letting them know that no matter how tough and demanding parenting can be sometimes, they can find the right balance to ensure a happy home.
The event is presented by Metro Parent Magazine and Henry Ford Health System. It is sponsored by The Henry Ford museum and 96.3 WDVD-FM.
To purchase tickets or for additional information, visit MetroParentEvents.com or call 248-398-3400, ext. 128.
Businesses flourishing along Michigan Avenue in Corktown include O’Connor Real Estate and Development and the adjacent Slows Bar BQ. Owners Ryan and Phil Cooley recently purchased two more buildings down the block and hope to open an entertainment venue there.
Mosey has an apartment and works nearby in Midtown, a thriving neighborhood anchored by Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center, and most of the Motor City's cultural institutions. Often called the district's unofficial mayor (she's president of the University Cultural Center Association, which works to develop and improve the neighborhood), she gestures proudly to the crowd.
Automakers and suppliers, vital employers here, face an uncertain future. Thousands of abandoned homes and buildings—estimates range from 60,000 to 85,000—dot the city. And last season the metropolis once dubbed The City of Champions, watched its NFL Lions fumble their way to an 0-16 record, the first time that's ever happened in the league.
Yet despite a fourth-and-long outlook, there are just as many—if not more—reasons to be hopeful.
At the top of the list is the recent $200 million renovation and reopening of the 1924 Book Cadillac Hotel. Shuttered since the early 1980s, it stood downtown—along with the still-abandoned train station—as a symbol of Detroit's downfall.
Around the same time the Book Cadillac opened, another shuttered hotel on the National Register was reborn. The Fort Shelby, originally opened in 1917, was restored and reopened late last year.
This is an excerpt from Preservation magazine.
Dan Shine, a longtime resident of Detroit's east side, works at the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan
If your definition of summertime doesn't include barbecue, beer and baseball it's time make some serious corrections to your agenda -- like, with a bright red pen.
In Detroit, those properly schooled in brews amble on over to Slows Bar BQ a joint that caters to fans of all three types of fanatic.
Just a mile or so down the road from Comerica Park and in the shadow of the old Tiger Stadium, Slows is a popular pre- and post-game stop for Tigers fans.
Manager Terry Perrone notes that its primary appeal is the food: "We're a barbecue restaurant first and foremost." Terry isn't stopping suds snobs with a nose for microbrews from slipping through the door, too, though.
With renowned Michigan names like Bell's, Founders and New Holland, Slows has no shortage of local breweries to draw from and stocks as many as possible: of 20 taps Perrone says they try to keep "no less than 14 from Michigan or the region."
Some, such as Great Lakes Grass Roots Ale and Dragonmead Corktown Red, aren't readily available anywhere else. So though Slows puts eats first, Peronne admits, "We see more and more [beer lovers] as the notoriety gets out that we are a great destination to find these local beers."
Check out yesterday's complete draft list after the jump. (Got a fave on the list? Let us know what we should be sipping this summer).
Arcadia Sky High Rye
North Coast Brother Thelonious
Great Lakes Burning River
Dragonmead Corktown Red
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Great Lakes Grass Roots Ale
Arcadia Hop Rocket
New Holland Golden Cap
Short's Huma-Lupa-Licious IPA
Motor City Nut Brown
Arcadia Wit Sun (hand pump)
Ommegang Abbey Ale
Uncle John's Perry Pear Cider
Victory Prima Pils
Today, festival organizers announced the lineup for the 30th Anniversary of the Detroit International Jazz Festival, Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7, in downtown Detroit.
At a challenging time in Detroit, this year's jazz celebration will serve as a reminder of the greatness of Detroit and its musical soul. Subtitled “Keepin' Up with the Joneses, “ the Detroit Jazz Fest will give a nod to Thad, Elvin and Hank Jones, feature other great jazz families, and continue its recognition of the richness of Detroit's jazz history. “In this case, 'keepin' up' means 'living up' to the greatness of Hank, Elvin and Thad Jones - these important musical giants, and their incredible sense of swing, “ says Detroit Jazz Festival executive director, Terri Pontremoli. “In no way is this your typical family reunion!”
First, there are the “family guys”: 91 year-old Hank Jones, the Clayton Brothers, Dave Brubeck & sons, John & Bucky Pizzarelli, Larry & Julian Coryell, the Heath Brothers, Pete & Juan Escovedo, and Brian Auger and his family. Then, there are the “heirs” (musicians who represent strong family traditions): T.S. Monk with a “tentet” performance of Monk on Monk, and Chuchito Valdes - son and grandson of brilliant pianists Chucho and Bebo.
The homecoming of Detroit's greats brings to the stages vocalist Sheila Jordan, known for her heartbreaking ballads and improvisational lyrics; pianist Geri Allen in a quartet featuring tap dancer Maurice Chestnut as an additional “voice” in the band; Louis Hayes (Cannonball Adderley's original drummer) with his Cannonball Legacy Band; Charles McPherson, known for his work with Mingus; the adventurous Bennie Maupin's Dolphyana--a tribute to Eric Dolphy; drummer Karriem Riggins' Virtuoso Experience with Mulgrew Miller and DJ Madlib; Dee Dee Bridgewater (okay Flint, close enough) with the Michigan State University Big Band; and Marcus Belgrave's Allstar Jazz Ensemble--a reunion of his proteges including Bob Hurst, Geri Allen and Karriem Riggins. Last, but certainly not least, the indefatigable Gerald Wilson, conducting his commissioned work for the festival's 30th anniversary.
Add to that a special treatment of Detroit trumpeter Donald Byrd's jazz-gospel recording A New Perspective - which also gives a festival nod to Blue Note on their 70th, and showcases Sean Jones and other artists from the Mack Avenue label, led by Detroit native Rodney Whitaker. The festival will close with a commissioned “concerto grosso” by John Clayton, written for and performed by the Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quintet.
The Clayton Brothers will open the performance with material from their CD Brother to Brother, which honors the amazing brother teams of the Burrells, the Heaths and the Adderleys, to name a few. Detroit Jazz Fest and John Clayton were awarded a prestigious grant from the Joyce Foundation for this special project. Out of the four 2009 Joyce grant recipients in the Midwest, the Detroit Jazz Fest was the only music organization to receive the honor.
“Not everything will be Detroit or family-centric,” says Pontremoli. “We're thrilled to have Chick Corea and his fabulous trio with Stanley (Clarke) and Lenny (White) on opening night. And then, of course, there's Wayne Shorter with John Patitucci, Brian Blade and Danilo Perez...it just doesn't get much better than that!” Festival fans will also be treated to a performance by vibraphonist Stefon Harris, and recently signed Mack Avenue artist Christian McBride will make a return appearance with his new quintet, Inside Straight.
Other cool presentations include a 100th birthday celebration for Benny Goodman by clarinetist extraordinaire Eddie Daniels and the WSU Big Band a; Bottoms Up!, a “superbass” performance by John Clayton, Christian McBride and Rodney Whitaker; and a piano tribute to Tommy Flanagan, Hank Jones, Barry Harris and Milt Jackson by pianist Antonio Ciacca. Outside of jazz, audiences will be treated to appearances by Irma Thomas, the soul queen of New Orleans, Detroit's own gospel sister act, The Clark Sisters, and Motown's very own Contours featuring Sylvester Potts.
Rising star artists in 2009 include vocalist Gretchen Parlato (2004 Thelonious Monk award winner); Alfredo Rodriquez, the stellar pianist recently discovered by Quincy Jones; and vocalist Jose James, who blew the audience away last year as a special guest in the Marvin Gaye tribute.
The Detroit International Jazz Festival will continue to encourage young talent not only by inviting college and high school ensembles to showcase, but by giving them opportunities to perform with jazz veterans.
The Wayne State University Big Band will perform the music of Benny Goodman with clarinetist Eddie Daniels and the Michigan State University Big Band will perform the works of John Clayton with Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Other visiting schools include the Berklee (Boston) Jazz Ensemble, North Carolina Central University Jazz Ensemble and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet. Jazz Fest continues its partnership with MSBOA by showcasing outstanding Michigan high school jazz ensembles. And back by popular demand is the KidBop area for the wee-boppers and their parents, with stories, songs and other fun activities.
The Pepsi Jazz Talk Tent will also be full of laughs and stories, with Hank Jones, Christian McBride, Jimmy Heath, Bennie Maupin, Louis Hayes and Sheila Jordan. Topics will range from remembering Cannonball to discussing the genius of Elvin Jones, Eric Dolphy, Donald Byrd, and the special piano trademark of Detroit. The tent will also feature a gallery of historic festival photographs in honor of DJF's 30th anniversary.
“As is always the case with this festival, the musicians will be having wonderful reunions, and the ever-hip and amazing Detroit audience will be joining the family in their uniquely enthusiastic and respectful way.”
The festival has been celebrating its 30th anniversary since February through its series, Another Great Day in Detroit. Through collaborations with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne State University, Detroit Institute of Arts, Midsummer Nights in Midtown, the Guardian Building, the Rowland Cafe, and area jazz clubs, the festival is treating Detroit music lovers, showcasing Detroit musicians, and building momentum toward Labor Day Weekend.
The Detroit International Jazz Festival is the largest free jazz festival in North America. It has become a major tourist attraction, with 23% of its audience coming from out of state. It has a $90M economic impact on Detroit and showcases the city in its most positive light.
The festival has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), the Joyce Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. Major corporate sponsors include Chase, Carhartt, Absopure, Mack Avenue Records, DTE Energy, Whole Foods, Citizens Bank, Detroit Medical Center, Solaire, Pepsi, Comcast and Fox 2. In addition, there is a growing base of individual support. “We are extremely grateful to have the support of these institutions and individuals, “ adds Pontremoli. “They are our life blood.”
Nightly after-hour jam sessions will be held at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, the official festival hotel.
New to the festival this year are Phase I of a Greening Program sponsored by DTE Energy and the DJF Maiden Voyage Cruise, presented by Citizens Bank on August 26.
A knack for journalism and a commitment to the success of minorities in the media are qualities that earned a Detroit high school senior a full-ride scholarship to Central Michigan University. Darnell Lyndon Gardner Jr. of Detroit has been selected to receive CMU's most prestigious journalism scholarship -- an award worth nearly $80,000.
As the 2009 recipient of CMU's Lem Tucker Journalism Scholarship, Gardner, a student at Davis Aerospace Technical High School, receives a four-year scholarship covering tuition and room and board. The Lem Tucker Journalism Scholarship is named for CMU alumnus and Saginaw native Lem Tucker, who graduated in 1960. Tucker worked for three major television networks and earned two Emmy awards before his death in 1991.
Gardner will be honored May 14 during the Lem Tucker Journalism Scholarship and Media Leadership Speaker Series event at the Atheneum Hotel in Detroit's Greektown. The event will feature four-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Michele Norris, host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," as keynote speaker.
Gardner, editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, wrote in his application essay, "Journalism, as part of the media, is the best way to further force prejudice out of the American zeitgeist and into the history books. Lem Tucker's work in journalism set a reputable standard for all journalists, minority and non-minority alike. Through print journalism, I hope to advocate for those whose voices are often silenced or overlooked..."
True to his philosophy, Gardner penned an April 2008 Detroit Free Press opinion piece about the state of Detroit's schools, neighborhoods and politics that led one Free Press editor to call him "one of the city's great literary hopes" and to say that Gardner's "voice -- clear, forceful, well reasoned -- was a clarion of sanity at a time of unprecedented craziness in Detroit." Several Detroit media outlets interviewed Gardner about the piece, which received national response.
He went on to serve as a summer apprentice at the Free Press, writing articles and guest blogs, as well as providing photographs, for the paper and its Web site.
"Darnell is a gifted writer and an extremely promising young journalist; he asks the kinds of questions that we all should be asking and will continue to ask them until they're answered," said Diane Krider, interim dean of CMU's College of Communication and Fine Arts. "He will be sure to carry out the Lem Tucker legacy and we are excited to see him excel as a student at Central Michigan University."
Gardner participated in Focus: HOPE's Excel Photography Program and "Focus on the Mission" diversity program, both from 2005 to 2008. He also has attended Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, participated in the Henry Ford Health System high school internship program and was invited to participate in a WXYZ-TV town hall meeting featuring Bill Cosby.
Among Garnder's charitable and philanthropic endeavors are volunteering with such causes as Habitat for Humanity and Motor City Makeover, participating in Health Alliance Plan's charity bowl-a-thon, and providing lawn maintenance for a neighbor.
"Darnell doesn't sit back; he takes action, and his writing is his gift," wrote one mentor in their letter of recommendation. "Very mature for his age, Darnell has a sense of responsibility to his community and given this opportunity he would continue to shine."
After David Mancini opened Supino Pizzeria eight months ago in downtown Detroit, he quickly came to appreciate a powerful source of word-of-mouth marketing: his fellow business owners. Even those who are potential rivals.
The owners of nearby Russell Street Deli, who sold the pizzeria space to Mancini last year, give Supino menus to their customers and allowed Mancini to test dough recipes in the pizza kitchen before he decided to go into business. Jerry Belanger, a partner with Park Bar in Detroit, has bought rounds of pizza for his patrons and frequently promotes Supino's to the bar crowd.
As a newbie entrepreneur trying to make it, Mancini finds the help essential.
"I don't know where I'd be without it," said Mancini, who has hired seven part-time employees. "We've done pretty well. I'm doing a lot better than I thought I'd ever be doing at this point."
Mancini is part of a community of Detroit entrepreneurs banding together to help each other weather the struggles of running a business. Such cooperation isn't exclusive to Detroit, but local entrepreneurs say having a support system is especially crucial.
"We really want each other to succeed," said Liz Blondy, president of Canine To Five, a dog daycare, boarding and grooming facility in Detroit's midtown.
Blondy is a co-founder of Open City, a small business networking group that gathers monthly. Around 100 people attended the April meeting, at which longtime business owners offered advice on how new companies can navigate Detroit's economy and achieve similar longevity. Among their tips: Keep your overhead low. Detroit's rock-bottom real estate prices help with that -- commercial space is inexpensive and homes can be had for less than $1,000.
"There is no place to open a business where your fixed expenses will be lower than Detroit," said Dave Muer, owner of Blue Pointe Restaurant.
Launching in Detroit
Muer's advice was a welcome tip for Open City attendee Torya Blanchard, the owner of Good Girls Go To Paris Crepes. Blanchard opened her creperie's first location nine months ago, where she now employs four part-time workers. She's planning to soon open a second Detroit outlet and a third in nearby suburb Grosse Pointe Park.
"When you get advice and insight from people who have done business in the city for 10 or 20 years, they can tell you from experience how they got through the rough spots and how to change with the times," Blanchard said.
Open City's co-founder believes Detroit's challenges make the small business community here particularly cohesive.
"Not a day goes by that I don't talk to another small-business owner in Detroit to say, 'Hey, how's it going,' or 'How's business? Is there anything that I can do to help you?'" said Blondy, whose company has 12 employees and had sales of $290,000 last year.
Belanger, who helped Mancini in Supino's infancy, has made it a personal mission to assist new entrepreneurs in town. Most recently, he helped create Detroit Cheers, a local currency circulating among Detroit businesses. Detroit Cheers trade at par with U.S. dollars and are backed up by money in a bank account. The bills, which come in $3 denominations, can be redeemed for cash if turned in to Belanger or his two partners in the currency: Tim Tharp, owner of Grand Trunk Pub, and John Linardos, owner of Motor City Brewing Works.
There are 4,500 Cheers in print, but Belanger said he and his partners are leaking the currency out slowly to keep interest up in the program. Belanger gives the bills out for free to Park Bar customers who promise to use the money at about 20 Detroit businesses that accept the currency.
"It provides new or struggling businesses with revenue they need, and exposes their products to a new customer base," Belanger said. "The point of the program is primarily awareness, togetherness and community. It is more of a social statement than anything."
Lending a hand
For some entrepreneurs, building the local business community means referring customers to potential competitors.
Slow's Bar BQ in Detroit has become a hotspot for regulars craving baby-back ribs or Texas-style beef brisket. The restaurant is so popular that diners wait as long as two hours for a table on a Saturday night.
While Slow's has a bar, co-owner Phil Cooley often refers people to nearby LJ's Lounge, where they can grab drinks until their table is ready. On some busy nights, he points hungry customers to El Barzón instead, a Mexican and Italian restaurant where Cooley frequently dines.
"We want businesses as competition, because in our minds it's about getting more people down here visiting and having a nice time," said Cooley, who expects sales of $3 million for Slow's this year.
Sharing customers is especially helpful in a city that has more than 900,000 residents but few national retail and restaurant chains. "We're so underserved in so many ways, but especially commercially," Cooley said. "So there's plenty of market to share."
When Claire Nelson's home accessories store Bureau of Urban Living doesn't have what a customer is after, she'll often pick up the phone and call Mezzanine or Design 99, two other design stores in town. Nelson, who created Open City with Blondy, says she'd rather steer a buyer toward another independent retailer than lose them to a chain store like Target.
Peer support can be a powerful motivator for new members of Detroit's business community, especially as the city struggles to gain an economic foothold.
"There has to be something that makes people live here, because you have to endure in this town," said Belanger of Park Bar, which opened in 2004. "You have to endure the economy, you have to endure blight. But there's something about Detroit that makes people say it's worth the struggle."
Cooley thinks that "something" is directly related to the struggle. Detroit's turmoil bonds together the entrepreneurs who choose to build their companies there.
"It's exciting to watch people to work together out of necessity to make things work," he said
The Wings brand is so powerful and the organization so impeccably run that players who could sign anywhere, for almost any price (think: Marian Hossa), take a pay cut just to play in Detroit. Among the many perks, is a fan base with a magic touch.
After Wings forward Johan Franzen scored a hat trick in last year’s Western Conference finals, he arrived home to find his driveway covered in hats.
"I still have them in my garage," the 29-year-old Swede stated. "It's a good healthy relationship between us and the fans."
Last year, during a television interview, goaltender Chris Osgood told the Free Press he had not had a beer in months. Twenty cases of beer miraculously appeared on his front step thereafter. Even head coach Mike Babcock is capable of eliciting kind and creative gestures from the team's supporters.
"I have one fan that sends me country songs all the time,” Babcock said. “He puts the tune it's to and then writes lyrics about the Red Wings. So that keeps me entertained. I read those. I have them piled up on my desk.”
This fun and lively event, moderated by Lucy Ann Lance,
introduces those that are interested in board service to nonprofit organizations that need
Participants meet facetoface with organizations through lightning round conversations, mix and mingle with others, and complete profiles and interest summaries.
When: Thursday, April 30, 2009
Time: 5:30 – 8 pm
Where: The Kensington Court Hotel – Ann Arbor
For More Information Contact
Yodit Mesfin Johnson
ext. 238 or to Register http://www.new.org/
Meet. Connect. Serve. Make a Difference!
BoardConnect, a program of NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) will assist individuals and
organizations in the matching process. While at the event you can:
● Meet with Arts & Culture, Human Service, Environmental, Educational, and Animal
● Connect with other people who want to serve their communities
● Post your professional profile in the Cyber Cafe
● Spring into action & have fun!
The Plymouth community — the city and the township together — was named one of the top 100 places to live Tuesday by http://www.relocateamerica.com/. The area also made the list in 2008.
The Plymouth area joins Rochester Hills and Hudsonville as the three Michigan communities on the list, which was whittled from more than 1,800 nominees.
“We all knew the Plymouth community was a great place, but it's special when somebody from the outside looks at 1,800 communities and recognizes” Plymouth and Plymouth Township, said Richard Reaume, the township supervisor.
A press release said feedback from residents and local leaders, plus statistics on crime, education, employment and more in the nominated communities, were studied before selections were made.
Wes Graff, executive director of the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce, filled out a questionnaire for the study, which was a new element in the selection process. The questions, Graff said, touched on public safety, parks and recreation, community events, the economy and leaders' vision for improving the community.
“It's exciting that they've put more (criteria) into the process and we're still able to be in the top 100,” Graff said.
Brad Keselowski won't soon forget his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.
Keselowski claimed the checkered flag in a wild day at Talladega Superspeedway that ended with Carl Edwards crashing into the catch fence, Dale Earnhardt Jr. getting his best finish of the season and a rookie winning at Talladega for just the second time in NASCAR history.
Keselowski was 10th with four laps to go and moved to eighth with two to go. He pushed Edwards around leaders Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the white flag waving and then made contact with Edwards approaching the finish line. Edwards rolled into the outside wall and Keselowski claimed the win.
"Pinch me, am I awake," Keselowski asked in Victory Lane.
"I've got to apologize to Carl for wrecking him but the rule is that you can't go below the yellow line," Keselowski said. "He blocked and I wasn't going below it. I don't want to wreck a guy but you're forced in that situation. There was nothing else I could do."
Keselowski was making his third start of the season and his previous best finish was 19th at Texas last November.
"This is the best show on Earth," the 25-year-old from Rochester Hills, MI said. "Man was that fun. I hope the fans had a lot of fun too. This is NASCAR racing and this is cool."
After a wild tumble on the front stretch, Edwards got out of his car and ran across the finish line.
"I didn't know if it mattered if I went across the finish line," said Edwards, who didn't suffer any injuries in the spectacular crash. "I just wanted to finish the race."
Edwards said that despite the disappointment of not winning the race, he didn't blame Keselowski for the move.
"Brad was pushing and doing everything he could," said Edwards, who was officially scored in 24th place. "I didn't realize he was there and came down on him. Brad did a good job - congrats to him on this win. That's what Brad's supposed to do. He's assuming that I know he is inside. I was doing everything I could to keep him from winning. I'm just glad nobody got hurt today."
Earnhardt and Newman were pacing the field in the closing laps and Earnhardt thought that he was heading for his first win if the season.
"We had it going and I thought there was no way," said Earnhardt, who finished second. "We were staying tied together but they were smart enough to move up and the higher line has been faster all day. I couldn't believe Brad was pushing that 99 (Edwards). He did an awesome job."
Newman finished third while Marcos Ambrose finished fourth. Rookie Scott Speed capped an exciting day with his first career top five finish.
Speed qualified eighth but was held a lap at the start of the race for working on the car before the race started. He got back on the lead lap after the first caution on lap seven and took the lead when he stayed out under caution on lap 43.
The day was bookended by a pair of multi-car wrecks - one just seven laps into the race and the other with nine laps to go.
Point's leader Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth made contact near the front of the field on the back stretch just seven laps into the race. The wreck collected nearly half of the field.
"We were having a good time there but I'm not really sure what happened," Gordon said. "I was just cruising up through the middle."
Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne were among those caught up in the early trouble.
"It's just unfortunate," Bowyer said. "I don't know what happened - just racing way too hard, way too early."
There was another big wreck with nine laps to go. Polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Robby Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were all collected in the wreck.
"Man it sucks racing here," Johnson said. "You've got a great race car - guys worked really hard to get this thing in order and very fast and then get that close to the end and it gets tore up. It just looked to me like they were some guys were beat and didn't have the position and tried to force their way in from the outside. It's too bad."
Kyle Busch was leading the race with 17 laps to go when was tapped from behind by Jeff Burton. Busch's car didn't sustain a lot of damage, but he couldn't get it started and needed a push to the pits. Truex, who also led laps earlier in the race, was also collected in the wreck.
Kurt Busch finished sixth and moved past Gordon into the points lead while Greg Biffle finished seventh and jumped into the top-12 in the standings.
Burton started 20th but fell behind three laps with an electrical issue. His crew changed his battery on pit road and he worked back to the lead lap and brought home a 10th place finish.
It looks as though the next four sessions of A&E’s successfully realty show Parking Wars, will be shot in Detroit. Previous sessions were shot in Philadelphia. No word on if the recent Michigan film incentives played a role in the shows decision to come to Detroit.
The producers of the show; Hybrid Films, is negotiating with he City of Detroit, which will begin shooting this spring. The show is expected add close to $250,000 a year to the local economy.
Other reality shows including Animal Planet’s Animal Cops (Anglia Television,) Spike TV’s DEA (Size 12 Productions) and Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days (Actual Reality Pictures) have all recently shot in Metro Detroit.
Fifty years ago, Mike and Marian Ilitch opened their first carryout only store with a $10,000 investment — Little Caesar Pizza Treat in Garden City.
The company is now the world's largest carryout pizza chain and for the second consecutive year has been called the “best value in America” by Barrington, Ill.-based Sandelman & Associates, a consumer research firm.
So how did it get there?
The Detroit-based company's ability to attract and retain consumers has more to do with its emphasis on leveraging costs than expanding its product line. “The most important factor in our carryout business is focusing on one thing and doing it extremely well,” Little Caesars President Dave Scrivano said. “When you try to cater to too many people, you dilute what you are good at.
“Little Caesars continues working at its core competency, making large pepperoni pizzas and selling them at a price our competitors find difficult to match,” he said.
The company has performed best when sticking to its value niche — whether it's “Hot-N-Ready,” “Pizza! Pizza!,” “Big!Big!” or other similar slogans. The company has at times with less success tried to compete on product variety as well, with various pizza specials and other product offerings.
It also ran into trouble when Mike Ilitch stepped back from day-to-day management in the early '90s to spend more time with his sports franchises. “I figured we had enough substance that I could step out of the business and we could continue to do quite well,” Ilitch, chairman of Ilitch Holdings Inc., said in a 1996 interview with Crain's.
But Little Caesars needed a captain, and the ship began taking on water. Crain's reported Little Caesars' net income climbed to $41 million in 1992, but by 1995 it dropped to $1.2 million. Revenue reached $774.1 million in 1993 but shrank 20 percent to $620.8 million by 1995. In 1997, it introduced a promotion: a one-day sale in which customers could get a large pepperoni pizza for just $5 — a promotion some say saved the company.
In 2004, Little Caesars reaffirmed its value-oriented place in the market by making the $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza a mainstay on its menu. In 2007 and 2008, Little Caesars was named the “best value in America” of all quick-service restaurant chains for its Hot-N-Ready pizza by Sandelman & Associates. The Illinois firm's syndicated Quick-Track research study monitors consumer awareness, usage and attitudinal measures.
“The Hot-N-Ready concept and Little Caesars whole carryout model provides them a different type of cost structure than we have,” said Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Ann Arbor-based Domino's Pizza Inc. “You can operate a Little Caesars with far fewer employees than a Domino's with the same amount of sales volume.”
A simpler store model eases operations and fewer product offerings allow Little Caesars to run at a lower cost than competitors who offer more services and wider array of products. McIntyre says Little Caesars' simple menu and carryout model has created a customer base different from Domino's.
“We have fundamentally different customers. Theirs are more focused on value and ours on convenience,” McIntyre said. “While we both recognize our customers are different, that doesn't stop us from going after their customers and them from going after ours.”
Exact figures for Little Caesars are difficult to get because it's a private company. But Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based research firm Technomic Inc., puts Little Caesars systemwide sales at about $1.055 billion and estimates its restaurant count at 11,000.
Scrivano, without giving specifics, says that estimate is low. According to Technomic's research, Little Caesars has a 3.6 percent slice of the nearly $29 billion limited service pizza market, market share that has been growing over the past few years.
Dallas-based Pizza Hut Inc. has the largest market share, with $5.3 billion in sales, making up 18.2 percent.
Domino's has about 10.4 percent of the market with sales of just more than $3 billion, and Louisville-based Papa John's International Inc. has a 7 percent market share with sales of $2 billion.
Technomic reports Little Caesars systemwide sales steadily growing over the past three years from $830 million in 2006 to $930 million in 2007, a 12.1 percent increase, and $1.055 billion in 2008, a 13.4 percent increase. Tristano attributes much of the boost to steady unit growth, not an increase in sales.
Scrivano claims Little Caesars led all pizza chains in store growth in 2008 but wouldn't divulge sales figures or revenue. “We built stores in 41 states, in seven countries, and had greater net store growth, openings in excess of closings, than any other pizza chain,” Scrivano said.
In the early 1990s, sales began to lag, and in 1999 the company was hit with a class-action lawsuit from franchisees who complained about the low quality and high cost of food products from Little Caesar's in-house distributor. The suit was settled in 2001. Steve Price, partner of Oklahoma City-based Magnum Foods Inc. which owns 36 locations, said Little Caesars has worked hard to improve relations with its franchisees.
“Little Caesars has made changes in the past few years to allow franchisees to grow in the company,” Price said.
Todd Messer, executive director of Independent Organization of Little Caesar Franchisees, which owns 16 stores in Little Rock, Ark., said nothing heals wounds like success, and the company's focus on its value heritage helped it right itself.
“Many chains today have an identity crisis, but not Little Caesars,” Tristano said. “They have always understood who they are and how they are positioned in the marketplace and so do their customers. They are not a pizza chain trying to be a sandwich shop.”
Tristano said Little Caesars' value-based identity is one reason the chain is found in urban communities where cost is critical. “Most of the major chains are overlooking urban areas and moving to developing communities which are demographically significant and are more aligned with their product,” Tristano said. “Little Caesars is looking at all areas, not just affluent ones.”
In fact, Price said Little Caesars may pass on some higher-end markets. “It's true that we are a value-based family concept, and that fits well within middle-class suburban and blue-collar markets,” Price said. “We don't necessarily want to be in the high-end areas, because if you look at those markets you have fewer individuals per household.”
By locating in areas where its competitors won't, Little Caesars can become a much bigger fish in a much smaller pond.
“Little Caesars is better at competing against independent stores because it has a much easier time leveraging its economy of scale to fit the economic conditions of the community,” Tristano said.
That positioning has allowed Little Caesars to succeed in any economic climate.
“We are more resilient. ... Our sales have not increased as much as they have remained constant, while the other entities are struggling to carve their niche in the market,” Price said.
“We give them (customers) an honest price and an honest product, and we think consumers see that.”
Inforum, Michigan’s largest business organization for women, will feature a keynote address by Martha Stewart at its 47th Annual Meeting luncheon on Friday, May 15, at the Detroit-Marriott Renaissance Center. The public is welcome to purchase tickets to this event.
Inforum’s 47th Annual Meeting offers the public a rare opportunity to hear Martha Stewart share the inspirational message of how she’s used business savvy to turn her passions into a leading national brand and a diverse media and merchandising company—Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.
Following the luncheon, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the public is invited to attend a book signing where Martha will sign copies of her best sellers — “Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts” and “Martha Stewart's Cookies.” Books will be available for purchase on site.
From home décor and delectable dining to gardening, crafting and more, Martha Stewart has had more influence on how Americans eat, entertain, and decorate their homes and gardens than any one person in recent history. But this success story might have turned out differently if Martha Stewart had listened to naysayers who discouraged her from entering the already competitive arenas of publishing a magazine for women and producing a daytime television show.
“Today, Martha Stewart is a household name and one of the strongest brands on the market,” said Inforum President and CEO Terry Barclay. “Inforum is pleased to present this opportunity for Ms. Stewart to share tips about what it takes to be a successful innovator and entrepreneur and triumph against the odds. It’s a positive motivational message for women, or anyone, in business during these challenging times.”
The 2009-10 Inforum board of directors and officers also will be inducted at this annual meeting.
Date: Friday, May 15, 2009
Time: 11:30 a.m. Networking & Registration; 11:50 a.m. Luncheon & Presentation;
Book signing for luncheon participants with Martha Stewart immediately following the luncheon presentation
Place: Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48243
Luncheon presentation cost: Inforum members, $50; Non-members, $70. (Add $10 after 5/10/2009 and at the door.)
Luncheon reservations: Visit May 15 on the calendar at www.inforummichigan.org or call 877.633.3500.
Public book signing: The public is invited to attend a book signing at approximately 2:30 p.m. Martha will sign copies of her best-selling books “Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts” and “Martha Stewart's Cookies” — available for purchase on site.
Event sponsors: Lee Hecht Harrison and St. John Health.
This luncheon is hosted by Inforum. Inforum is one of the largest business organizations for women in the nation, with more than 1,800 members from a broad cross-section of Michigan's business community. The mission of the organization is to strengthen the business environment by creating opportunities for women to lead and succeed. Founded as the Women's Economic Club in 1962 in Detroit, Inforum now has affiliates in Grand Rapids and Lansing, Mich. For more information, visit www.inforummichigan.org or call 313.578.3230.