Photo: Metro Mode Media

People who think of Detroit as the Motor City aren’t always aware that it has an active bicycling culture that is helping to reinvent the city’s image.

Those biking enthusiasts are about to get a feature that the world’s most bike-friendly cities have: protected bike lanes.

The Detroit Free Press says construction will begin soon on Detroit’s first dedicated lanes for bicyclists. These are different than just the bike lanes you see painted on ordinary city streets.

Protected bike lanes are separated from traffic by barriers. The lanes are clearly designated for use by bicyclists, which keeps them from having to dodge parked cars and avoid motorists.

The lanes can be found in cities around the world, from Copenhagen to Chicago. Unlike those places, Detroit’s project is a modest one.

About a half-mile of lanes are being built on Jefferson Avenue, on the city’s east side, near its border with Grosse Pointe Park.

That’s a sharp contrast to the 170 miles of painted bike lanes that have popped up across the rest of the city since 2006. But the Free Press says that there are plans to expand the lanes farther west on Jefferson Avenue to East Grand Boulevard, and eventually to downtown Detroit.

Click HERE For The Full Article! 

Cranbrook Institute of Science invites adults 21 and over to experience a night of camp at the museum on Thursday, June 25 from 7-11 p.m. when its CIS After Dark program presents Camp After Dark.

Who says kids get to have all the summer fun?  The Institute will blend well-loved summer camp activities with well-mixed cocktails and experiences for a-not-so traditional camp “After Dark” at the museum.

Guests will gather around the campfire for ghost stories (weather permitting), spit watermelon seeds, dissect owl pellets, race boats in the reflecting pool, stay dry (hopefully) in a water balloon toss, and practice their Native American hunting skills.  Crafts, games, walks on Cranbrook’s campus looking for bats, and science experiments make Camp After Dark the ultimate grown-up escape.

Classic summer cocktails, craft beers, and food, including a “walking taco,” will be available for purchase in Reflections Café.  A vendor market offers the chance to shop, taste, and buy. Preregistered tickets are $10 for Institute of Science Members and $15 for non-Members, or $20 at the door for all attendees.

Register online at

CIS After Dark events are age 21+ only. All attendees will be required to show their Government-Issued ID upon check in. Cash bar only. No credit cards.

CIS After Dark is a series of science and fun events at Cranbrook institute of Science for adults 21+. Each event highlights a different thematic topic and the opportunity to explore the museum after dark to meet imaginative scientists, artists, thinkers, and tinkerers. Guests participate in live demonstrations, enticing conversations, engaging activities, new experiences, and more. CIS After Dark is much more than the field trips you knew growing up!

Cranbrook Institute of Science, Michigan’s Museum of Natural History, is part of the world-renowned Cranbrook Educational Community at 39221 Woodward Avenue in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The museum is open Tuesdays-Thursdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sundays noon-4 p.m.

Regular admission is $13 for adults and $9.50 for children 2-12 and senior citizens (65+); children under 2 and members are admitted free. Courtesy of MASCO Corporation Foundation, admission is free after 5 p.m. on the first Friday of each month. Other Fridays and all Saturdays after 5 p.m. admission is reduced to $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for children 2-12 and senior citizens; children under 2 and members are admitted free.

For information about becoming a member of Cranbrook Institute of Science, call (248) 645-3200 or visit

2015 detroit fireworks from Green Sky Creative on Vimeo.

After decades of disinvestment, a new trend is beginning to emerge in Michigan metropolitan areas, with Grand Rapids and Detroit-Ann Arbor leading the way: a shift back towards walkable urban places, referred to as “WalkUPs.” According to a new report released today at the LOCUS (a program of Smart Growth America) Michigan Leadership Summit by the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB), in partnership with Michigan State University, there is significant pent-up demand for walkable urbanism in Michigan, evident by the rent and price premiums for walkable real estate that have emerged over the last several years.

The report – The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan – examined the top seven metropolitan areas across Michigan, including Detroit-Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland, Lansing, Jackson, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, and Flint.

The research analyzes and defines the different forms and economic use of all land use across these seven metro areas, revealing there are 46 WalkUPs. These WalkUPs are ranked by economic performance, measured by average rents, and by social equity performance, measured by accessibility, opportunity, and affordability for residents. Lastly, the report identifies emerging WalkUPs where new development could go.

The analysis uncovers a trend becoming more apparent that tells us that Michigan metros are moving away from drivable sub-urban development, which has long been the dominant form of development so associated with the automobile industry. This shift is evident in rising rent and price premiums. Across all of the metros, apartments rent for more per square foot when they are located in a WalkUP, as compared to a drivable sub-urban location. The same is true for home prices per square foot in most of the metros. Rents for office and retail space were found to be more mixed. While walkable urban places are being seen as making a comeback in the state, it’s important to note that most of them are still in a state of transition.

“It would have been unthinkable 15 years ago that these metro areas within Michigan – the center of the car and truck manufacturing industry – would have seen any form of investment and development in walkable urban places,” said Chris Leinberger, president of LOCUS, the Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor at GWSB and chair of the GWSB Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis. “This shift to walkable urbanism presents the opportunity for real estate developers, investors, land use regulators, public sector managers, and residents to create economic opportunities while achieving environmental sustainability and ensuring a mix of incomes in these places. Walkable urban places also yield much higher tax benefits for local governments and the State of Michigan.”

National polls have shown that up to half of the population wants to live in a walkable place, yet only eight percent of the total housing stock in the Michigan metro areas is walkable, whether in the central cities or urbanizing suburbs. Furthermore, people under the age of 35, particularly those with college degrees, prefer walkable urban places. Attracting and retaining these educated young professionals is critical for economic development in Michigan.

“As this new research demonstrates, places like Downtown Birmingham, Main Street—Ann Arbor, and Downtown Grand Rapids illustrate the full potential of walkable urbanism to create value,” said Mark Wyckoff, senior associate director of the Land Policy Institute at Michigan State University, a partner in the report. “While Downtown and Midtown Detroit have demonstrated rapid revitalization over the past five to seven years and a promising future is seen in Lansing with a new bus-rapid transit corridor, many potentially walkable urban places in Michigan have not yet actualized their potential.”

The report ranks Michigan WalkUPs with platinum, gold, silver or copper ratings on both economic and social equity metrics. On the economic side, high-ranking places have reached “critical mass,” a point at which enough businesses and amenities are in place to attract residents without government subsidies. Top platinum level WalkUPs include Downtown Birmingham and Main Street—Ann Arbor. At the other end of the spectrum, on the lowest copper level, are areas such as Downtown Dearborn East and Downtown Bay City. These WalkUPs have the potential to become vital walkable urban places but may need public support and/or a pioneering developer to realize it.

The WalkUPs are also ranked on a first-of-its-kind social equity performance metric, measured by accessibility/opportunity and affordability. Places such as Midtown Detroit- Cass Park District, Downtown Grand Rapids and Downtown Lansing rose to the top with platinum social equity ratings indicating they offer a mix of both moderately priced housing and easy access to employment. On the other side of the spectrum, areas such as Downtown Northville, Downtown Flint and Downtown Battle Creek received the lower copper rankings.

Gary Heidel, chief placemaking officer at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) said, “We’re seeing many of the walkable urban places across these Michigan metros offering a strong combination of both economic opportunity and affordability compared to the drivable suburbs. However, as walkable development continues to grow, this may generate concerns over gentrification and displacement of low-income residents. Establishing plans in advance of this gentrification to preserve affordable housing is critical.”

The report calls for continued support and management by local leaders, patient investment capital, and federal, state and local government in order to continue the progress towards walkable urbanism throughout Michigan. Now, more than ever, there’s a strong need for pioneers who can lead the way. In addition, an investment in rail transit throughout the state, where there is currently very little, will help propel the development of walkable urban places.

To see the full list of land use types, as well as the list of WalkUP economic and social equity rankings, download the report at

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan will be unveiled in Detroit at LOCUS’s Michigan Leadership Summit: Closing the Next [Smart Growth] Deal on June 23, 2015. At the Summit, Regional Leadership Awards will be presented to Crosswinds Communities and the Gillespie Group, two real estate developers or investors who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to public leadership and development for walkable, sustainable development. To find out more information about the 2015 LOCUS Michigan Leadership Summit and the Regional Leadership Award recipients, visit

The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan was funded by MSHDA, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), and ten Michigan-based foundations.

Beginning June 22, Detroit will host Gil Penalosa (photo above), an internationally renowned livable city adviser who is passionate about creating vibrant and healthy communities.

Gil—whose mantra is “Every city should have a law of two words: Pedestrians First!”—founded 8 80 Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to the transformation of cities into places where people can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant parks and public places.

Many community partners, including Knight Foundation, are joining the conversation and hosting events. Others include Jefferson East, Inc., the Wayne State University Office of Economic Development, City of Detroit General Services Department, Grosse Pointe War Memorial, Detroit Future City, Community Development Advocates of Detroit and more.

Gil’s work dovetails with our efforts here at Knight Foundation to make cities like Detroit better places to live. To do that, we invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. Designing places to achieve these goals is crucial to city success. Come hear how we can do that in Detroit. There are multiple opportunities the week of June 22 to see and hear from Gil and 8 80 Cities.


• “Detroit Today” on WDET-FM. 9-10 a.m.  Listen in as Gil Penalosa guests on WDET’s “Detroit Today” to kick off the week of Move Detroit activities.


• Walking tour: “Envisioning the Beltline Greenway.” 10-11 a.m. Location: Gleaners Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait, Detroit 48207) Register for event here.

• Workshop: “Great Streets!” 11:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Location: Gleaners Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait, Detroit 48207) Register for event here.

• Keynote lecture/panel: “We Are All City Builders: How to Create Vibrant, Inclusive and Innovative Cities for All.” 5:30-8 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., keynote and conversation at 6, Reception at 7:30. Location: Community Arts Building (450 Reuther Mall, Wayne State University)  Register for event here.

Click HERE For The Entire List Of Events! 

Why go now?

Detroit's balmy evenings are ideal for strolling on riverside paths and sitting on brew pub decks. That is, after you've visited the landmark exhibition, "Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit", at the Detroit Institute of Arts (1), which explores the year the artist couple spent here in the Thirties.

The city has been decaying for decades, but is now in the early stages of an exciting renaissance. "Detroit is finally coming back" is the constant refrain from upwardly mobile young people who cycle around Motor City and frequent its new bars, cafés and designer shops.

And this week, Virgin Atlantic (0344 209 7777; introduces a daily, year-round Heathrow-Detroit flight, in an expanded partnership with Delta.

Touch down

Detroit is one of the main hubs for Delta (0871 22 11 222; which, along with Virgin, flies here non-stop from Heathrow.

As a city dedicated to the motor car, public transport is lamentable. Bus No 125 (; $2/£1.35 fare) connects the airport to downtown, but it's infrequent, and makes 125 stops en route. A new shuttle van operated by Skoot (001 855 937 5668; charges $23pp (£15). It departs every 30 to 45 minutes but it's best to reserve ahead. McNamara Ground Transportation Center can advise about taxis (around $60/£40 to downtown) and car hire.

From their hub at the sail-roofed Rosa Parks Transit Center (2), city buses ( serve major thoroughfares like Woodward (No 53) and Michigan Avenue (No 37). The basic fare is $1.50 (£1). Construction of the new M-1 Rail streetcar along Woodward Avenue is due to finish in late 2016.

Get your bearings

This city's glory is its setting on the mighty River Detroit that separates the US from Canada. Downtown is roughly encompassed by the People Mover, a driverless overhead train that does three-mile city loops every four minutes ($0.75/50p).

The main thoroughfare is Woodward Avenue, which goes north to the museum district and increasingly gentrified Midtown. The old Corktown neighbourhood, west of downtown, and the vibrant Eastern Market (3) are accessible by bike, bus or on foot.

The tourist office (4) on the 10th floor at 211 W Fort Street (001 313 202 1800;; 9am to 5pm weekdays, closed weekends) is a convention bureau but it will give you a VisitDetroit guide and a good map.

Check in

The Inn on Ferry Street (5) at 84 E Ferry Street (001 313 871 6000; occupies several Victorian mansions in leafy residential Midtown. Rooms are comfortable and elegant, and the buffet breakfast is generous. A free shuttle runs within a five-mile radius. Double rooms from $169 (£111), B&B.

Westin Book Cadillac (6), downtown at 1114 Washington Boulevard (001 313 442 1600;, has revived one of Detroit's landmark 1920s skyscrapers. The standard rate for a double, without breakfast, is $270 (£178) though third-party websites can show rates under $150 (£100). Rooms on higher floors have good views and less noise.

Through Airbnb ( you can stay in the guest room of a lovingly renovated 19th-century mansion at 82 Alfred Street (7), which featured in Jim Jarmusch's 2013 film Only Lovers Left Alive. Double from £97, without breakfast.

Day one

Take a ride

The flat terrain and riverfront bike path make cycling easy and fun. Wheelhouse Detroit (8) at 1340 Atwater Street (001 313 656 2453;; 10am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm Sunday) rents bikes for $15 (£10) for two hours (half price Tuesday and Thursday) or $25 (£17) for a half-day.

Whizzing east along the riverfront for 15 minutes brings you to MacArthur Bridge, which crosses over to Belle Isle (9) (, an island park where you can visit the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (10am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday) and the Beaux Arts aquarium (weekends 10am to 4pm), both free of charge.

Alternatively take the Dequindre Cut Greenway, a mile-long, sunken disused railway, exuberantly decorated with graffiti that emerges near the Eastern Market (3).

Click HERE For The Full Article!

TechTown Detroit is located in an old General Motors factory built in 1927. About 40 small businesses work out of the building.
Jason Margolis/NPR

Many University of Michigan business students who have an entrepreneurial streak take Professor Jerry Davis' start-up class. Davis has lived in the Silicon Valley, he has a Ph.D. from Stanford University, and he has advice for young people: Forget the Bay Area.

"You spend a whole lot of your time on freeways. It's expensive, it's annoying. The weather is beautiful, but basically the Bay Area has turned into Los Angeles," Davis says. "All the things that people hate about LA are now true of the Bay Area."

And the home prices are worse. The median price in Silicon Valley now tops $1 million. In Detroit, it's $38,000.

That's appealing to Aaron Mason, a 36-year-old San Franciscan. "Having a yard, having a garden, starting a family, those kinds of things," says Mason, imagining a possible move to Michigan.

The city of Detroit doesn't have a lot of high-tech companies, but it is interested in attracting young tech entrepreneurs like Mason. He's well known among techies — he's helped launch four companies and has 70,000 Twitter followers. It's not just the lifestyle possibilities intriguing him about Michigan — he thinks it might be easier to launch company number five in Detroit.

"Coming from a place like San Francisco, real estate here is really expensive. And so to go to a place like Detroit and see that you have fairly cheap space, and an infrastructure that is already in place, it's a very exciting place to be," Mason says.

He says he likes the scrappy feel of Detroit's emerging tech community, one that is "still sort of getting up and off the ground."

Click HERE For The Full Article!
Click HERE For All The Behind The Scenes Photos and Interview!

Today 7-Eleven, Inc. unveils Faygo Rock & Rye Slurpee, the second Slurpee flavor inspired by Faygo Beverages’, a Michigan-based soda company, most popular flavors. Joining the Faygo Redpop Slurpee introduced in March, Rock & Rye Slurpee beverages will be available at more than 300 7-Eleven locations across Michigan and Ohio in June.

“Thanks to the outpouring of suggestions from Faygo fans and our partners at 7-Eleven, Rock & Rye just got a lot cooler,” said Al Chittaro, executive vice president of Faygo Beverages, Inc.  “For over 100 years, it’s been Faygo’s pleasure to give the people what they want, and when Redpop Slurpee drinks were introduced, Faygo fans made it very clear that Rock & Rye was the overwhelming favorite to be the next Slurpee flavor.”

Based in Dallas, 7-Eleven introduced the Slurpee drink in 1966 and estimates that more than 13 million Slurpee drinks currently are sold every month in the U.S.  However, according to 7-Eleven, its stores in the greater Detroit area sell more Slurpee beverages than any other 7-Eleven market in the U.S., making this region an ideal location to bring together its most-loved frozen treat and two of the Midwest’s most iconic flavors.

“We want to bring our customers the local products they love and grew up with,” said Nancy Smith, 7-Eleven senior vice president of fresh foods and proprietary beverages. “Rock & Rye is a long-standing hometown favorite in Michigan and Ohio.  We saw our fans on social media telling us they wanted more, and we worked with the team at Faygo to give our Slurpee customers more of what they love.”

“7-Eleven is a national brand, but each of our stores and franchisees are part of their local communities.  Celebrating local favorites is part of being a neighborhood store,” said Smith.

Rock & Rye was introduced in 1924, a popular addition to the original soda flavors concocted over 100 years ago by Detroit-based Faygo Beverages, then known as Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works. Trained as bakers, Ben and Perry Feigenson applied their skill with frosting flavors to sweeten bottled soda water. They delivered their freshly made sodas to local residents from a horse-drawn carriage on the streets of Detroit.  The brothers are often credited with coining the term “pop” as a synonym for “soda,” based on the sound their bottles made when opened.

Combining Faygo’s Rock & Rye with 7-Eleven’s Slurpee drinks is the latest in a long tradition of mixing Faygo flavors with popular recipes served in Detroit-area eateries.  The list of Faygo-inspired creations includes cakes, cookies and ice cream, as well as glazes and sauces for beef and chicken, and even as a marinade for smoked turkey, sliced and served on submarine sandwiches.

“We are always impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm of our fans, especially on social media, and I’m sure they won’t let us down when we look online to see their excitement about Rock & Rye Slurpee drinks,” added Chittaro.  “Besides, there are still over 50 Faygo flavors in our repertoire, and we suspect they will not be shy about weighing in on which Slurpee flavor should become their future favorite.”
A specially wrapped 2016 Fiat 500X, gets some last minute touch-ups before it will lead many of Michigan’s 300 same-sex couples as grand marshal of the Motor City Pride parade, on Sunday, June 7 in downtown Detroit. The parade is part of the two-day Motor City Pride festival, which is the largest LGBT gathering in Michigan

Each year, during the first weekend in June, Detroit is blanketed in the colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) culture at Motor City Pride. The two-day festival, complete with a parade, is the largest LGBT gathering in Michigan.

As a key sponsor of the festivities and the lead sponsor of the parade, FCA US and the FIAT brand will celebrate its longstanding commitment to LGBT employees, communities, customers and issues for its fourth consecutive year on June 6 and 7.

A specially wrapped all-new 2016 Fiat 500X, the brand’s first all-wheel-drive vehicle, will lead many of Michigan’s 300 same-sex couples, who married on March 22, 2014, as grand marshal of the Motor City Pride parade. In addition, FIAT brand ambassadors also will showcase the brand’s exciting vehicles while providing giveaways for festival goers. The parade will begin at noon on June 7 in front of Chrysler House, located at 719 Griswold Street, and end at Hart Plaza in Detroit.

“We are honored to have such a prominent role with this year’s Motor City Pride,” said Jason Stoicevich, Head of FIAT Brand North America. “Supporting the LGBT community and the diversity of all of our customers is paramount to the FIAT brand. I am proud of what FCA US and the brand have achieved in creating an inclusive work culture, a culture that helps generate vehicles that resonate with diverse buyers and communities.”

The horsepower behind the FCA US sponsorship of Motor City Pride is its LGBT Employee Resource Group: the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA). GALA is one of six groups that enable FCA US employees to celebrate their special attributes together, while bringing awareness and value through volunteer and charitable activities.

Motor City Pride is empowered by the support of FCA US and the FIAT brand, helping to amplify the growth and significance of this annual event,” said Dave Wait, Chairperson – Motor City Pride. “We are so thankful for this collaborative partnership, sharing the drive to achieve full equality and respect for all people in Michigan.”

FCA US was a leader among U.S. employers in providing domestic partner benefits to its employees in 2000 and has achieved a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Corporate Equality Index nine times since the benchmark was established. The HRC is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, America’s largest civil rights organization, and is dedicated to achieving LGBT equality. The Company is the only automaker to consistently achieve a perfect CEI rating.

FCA US also is a member of the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition seeking an update to Michigan's anti-discrimination law prohibiting discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Krema will be celebrating with its namesake treat, the Kremnut.

Way more than a donut, Kremnuts are made-from-scratch daily by the experienced team behind Detroit's historic Astoria Bakery. Layers (81, in fact) of airy croissant dough, formed into a round and lightly fried, are filled with house-made custards, fresh fruits, or classics like Nutella.

Several varieties are available daily, while others rotate with seasons and availability. Guest favorites include the Crème Brule Kremnut, Apple Cinnamon Kremnut, and Nutella Kremnut.

In honor of National Donut Day, Krema is offering guests a complimentary coffee beverage with the purchase a Kremnut*.  (*Friday, June 5 only).

Krema is located at 531 Monroe Street in Greektown, and open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (midnight on weekends).

City Year Detroit  it is an organization working to:

  • Bridge the gap for Detroit Area Schools between the support staff and what the students need/what their schools can provide
  • Increase graduation rates 
  • Make a difference in the lives of the students

The City Year process is holistic, called Whole School Whole Child.  This approach is implemented around a group of trained young adults and Corps Members, who give one year of their lives (sometimes more) to work in schools. The Corps Members give individualized support to at-risk students, while also establishing an overall positive learning environment.

City Year works with schools to identify students most at risk for dropping out and providing them extra support.  City Year uses early warning indicators (attendance, behavior and course failures in math and English) to identify these students between third through ninth grade.  If students can make it to the 10th grade on time, they have 75% chance of graduating.

Please join City Year Detroit on June 16th 6:30pm- 9:30pm at the Fountain Bistro in Campus Martius to support a great organization that is making a difference in Detroit.

Buy Your Tickets HERE

Donate To City Year Detroit

To learn more about City Year Detroit,  please visit their website

On June 1st, Shinola founder Tom Kartsotis partnered with Detroit-native Jack White to purchase the building that currently houses the Shinola Flagship store at 441 W. Canfield in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.  The deal marks new expansion for both Shinola as well as Jack White’s record label Third Man Records. For Third Man, this is a homecoming of sorts, since the label was originally founded in Detroit in 2001. This expansion signals the opening of their first retail store and offices outside of Nashville, TN. The new retail space is set to be in operation by Black Friday (November 27th, 2015), with many special surprises in store.

For Shinola, the deal comes on the heels of the brand’s investment into yet another category, rapidly honing in on the ability to manufacture speakers, turntables and headphones of audiophile quality, while creating more manufacturing jobs in the US — a top priority for the innovative and quality-focused company.

Third Man Records has long aspired to have a presence in Detroit and the constantly evolving Cass Corridor in particular, given White’s history in the neighborhood. It is the location of the first-ever White Stripes show, the home of White’s high school, and an area of the city that White says, “has always been the most inspiring area of Detroit for me as an artist and as a Detroiter. From the great visual artists like Gordon Newton to the music of the Gories, and the birth of the Detroit garage rock scene, the Corridor has nurtured Detroit's soul and inventiveness for decades. That spirit pushes forward with Shinola's passion and will come full circle for the artists of the Corridor that work with Third Man Records to plant a new foundation there to help keep that creative spirit alive for decades to come."

The expansion for Third Man Records is both a return-to-its-roots as well as a reach forward into the future, and the possibilities with the additional space and the Shinola partnership are endless and exciting.

About the plans, Tom Kartsotis said, "Everyone at Shinola is so excited about Third Man Records moving into the Cass Corridor.  Unbelievable… There goes the neighborhood!"

This development means a move for current retail tenant Willy’s Detroit, a sister store to Shinola, but current plans are for the storefront to remain within the building.

New Center Park, located on West Grand Boulevard at 2nd Avenue in Detroit’s historic New Center district, begins its summer-long series with weekly movie nights, music performances and dance parties. All events at New Center Park are FREE and open to the public, making for a fun-filled, unforgettable summer. Every Wednesday night, all summer long, New Center Park will be screening new blockbuster films as well as timeless classics—fun for the entire family. The Park’s Thursday night Music Series features an array of artists including different Motown Legends, award-winning blues performers, and local indie-folk stars. New this year is a Saturday night dance party series that will showcase live music, instructors and professional dancers who will provide group dance lessons to all who are interested.

New Center’s Wednesday night Movie Series begins June 4, with doors opening at 8:00 p.m. and screenings beginning at 9:30 p.m. Grab a blanket, some popcorn and your family or friends before heading to the park for a perfect summer evening. The screenings for the summer are as follows:

-          June 4: The original 1939 classic, “The Wizard of Oz,” is a timeless favorite that all ages can enjoy.
-          June 11: Don’t miss “The Triplets of Belleville,” an animated comedy from France.

-          June 18: A timeless romance and fan favorite; watch as Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund’s love story unfolds in “Casablanca.”

-          June 25: A thrilling movie about dinosaurs brought back to life, “Jurassic Park” is a sci-fi adventure that you can’t miss!

-          July 9: This 4-time Oscar nominated film, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is touching and thought-provoking—it will capture your attention and your heart from the first scene.

-          July 16: “Tim Burton’s: Alice in Wonderland” is a magical dive through the rabbit hole, one that will have your imagination running wild until the end. Don’t miss out on the fun and the magic at this movie night!

-          July 23: The 2010 film “Despicable Me”, will be shown in July. A fan favorite, “Despicable Me” has received high reviews and many awards for its ingenious screenplay and fun animation.

-          July 30: A true adventure story, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is a sci-fi journey that you won’t want to miss. UFO’s, aliens and close encounters await at New Center Park.

-          August 6: Critically acclaimed, award-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” kicks off the last month of our movie series. A touching story and quality acting, this is a film not to be missed.

-          August 13: A touching documentary about the migratory patterns of penguins, “March of the Penguins” is a heartwarming, informative and exciting film that the whole family will love.

-          August 20: The timeless take on a classic high-school story, “The Breakfast Club” delivers important lessons about life, love and friendship in a light-hearted and fun film for all.

-          August 27: Take a mysterious journey into space with Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. This exciting sci-fi journey will have you on your edge of your seat until the credits start rolling!

New Center Park’s Music Series is the perfect way to unwind after a day’s work every Thursday night with doors at 6:00 p.m. and performances beginning at 7:00 p.m. Come out and see some of Detroit’s musical legends or experience something new with international, award-winning performers. The lineup includes:

-          June 5: The one-and-only Thornetta Davis kicks off our Thursday night Music Series. Detroit’s very own blues diva is an award winning vocalist and guaranteed great time!

-          June 12: Celtic-style Detroit ensemble Nessa rules the stage this evening.

-          June 19: The WMXD Summer Solstice is a blast every year, and features R&B singer-songwriter Joe. Arrive early for this performance!

-          June 26: Recipient of this year’s Detroit Music Award for “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” award is Sky Covington, the one-of-a-kind neo-jazz vocalist who graces audiences with her smooth, sultry voice and engaging performances.

-          July 10: The Jazz Network Foundation is a Detroit based foundation that promotes multi-cultural arts and performances, showcasing musicians and encouraging youth participation, through public presentations and performances. This year’s performance is given by the Jazz Off Allstars Band, and is guaranteed fun.

-          July 17:  A native Detroiter, the self-made Audra Kubat is a multi-talented indie-folk artist who has been nominated for a total of ten Detroit Music Awards. Her eclectic and moving style consistently enraptures audiences, making for an unforgettable experience.

-          July 24: Led by Al Chisholm (The Contours), The Motown Legends Gospel Choir features legends from some of Detroit’s greatest Motown groups including the Original Vandellas, Enchantment and the Miracles, and Joan Belgrave.

-          July 31: The Ebony Hillbillies are a grassroots, four-part string band based in New York that continues to keep the folky, lively music of the old South alive through their street-side performances and headlining shows. They always give a timeless and energetic performance to all who stop and listen.

-          August 7: Performing traditional Irish music with a blend of American Old Timey, Bluegrass, French-Canadian as well as other Celtic traditional sounds, the Brock McGuire Band consistently gives vivacious and fun performances. The second feature of the night is the Corktown Popes. A spirited Celtic-rock band from Detroit, the band is gritty and vivacious, promising a thrilling show that will keep you excited and rocking all night long.

-          August 14: Originating in East Jordan, Michigan, Breathe Owl Breathe is a folk-indie trio that presents breathtaking harmonies and passionate lyricism.

-          August 21: A dynamic duo, Wilner “Wil B” Baptistse and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester of Black Violin add a new, creative, exciting twist to the classical sounds of the violin and viola. Blending hip-hop, rock, R&B, bluegrass and classical genres, Black Violin provides a ground-breaking and exciting performance that everyone can enjoy.

-          August 28: A dynamic blend of rock and soul, The Infatuations give a fresh, fun take on rock, soul, funk and blues to audiences around Detroit. This 6-part band will be sure to keep you excited and dancing all night long.

Saturday night Dance Parties and performances are the perfect way to celebrate the end of a work week and a beautiful summer night! With doors opening at 8:00 p.m. and shows beginning at 9:00 p.m., there is no better way to spend your Saturday night. With 13 performances and 2 festivals, each Saturday is themed for a different dance style, including:  ballroom, the lindy hop, salsa, square dancing, swing, and tango. All ages and levels of experience are welcome to join in on the fun! Other great musical and theatrical performances will also be showcased during this Saturday night series.

-          June 7: The 15-piece big band, Rhythm Society Orchestra, featuring crooner Paul King bring a contagious sound to the dance floor. King’s smooth voice backed by these vivacious, romantic sounds will keep you swinging all night long.

-          June 14: Three of Detroit’s best Square Dancing clubs brings the fun to you at New Center Park! No matter who you are or what your experience with Square Dancing may be, anyone can learn to do-si-do with their partner thanks to the Cross Trailers, Dudes & Dolls and Sashay Strutters.

-          June 21: Having studied Argentinian tango since 1993, Lori Burton leads Argentine Tango Detroit in an enthusiastic and passionate performance that all can enjoy. Learn how to tango with the best dancers in Detroit for a fun filled night!

-          June 28: Experienced, award-winning lindy hop teacher and performer, Paulette Brockington, graces audiences and students alike with her skill. Exciting, provocative and fun, Brockington’s lindy hop is a guaranteed good time.

-          July 5: Fusing the Chicago music scene with Western-influenced Nigerian sounds, the Chicago Afrobeat Project fuses different elements of hip-hop, rock, jazz, funk and orchestral-like arrangements to create a sound that is entirely unique and inspiring. Our second performance is a rich blend of Afro-Cuban and pan-African styles delivered by Ricardo Lemvo and his band Makina Loca. The group brings a truly unique, multi-cultural experience that is celebratory and exciting, creating an atmosphere where audiences can’t help but dance along.

-          July 12: Started by Samantha White, the Shakespeare in Detroit group performed their first play in the summer of 2013, here in Detroit. With a crowd of 500 people, “Othello” was a hit, and New Center Park is excited to welcome them as they perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this July. Come see the classic words of William Shakespeare performed on stage with the captivating cast from Shakespeare in Detroit!

-          July 19: Detroit activist and talented lyricist, Invincible, rocks the stage with creative lyricism that both provokes and entertains audiences of all walks of life. Come out to New Center Park to see this talented one-of-a-kind artist that you won’t want to miss.

-          July 26: Using popular Latin music to inspire their Cuban style salsa dancing, Duane Wrenn & the Energetic Soul Dancers combine fun and fitness to sooth your soulCome to New Center Park for an enriching and exciting dancing experience with Duane Wrenn & Energetic Soul Dancers!

-          August 2: Want a special preview of one of the most celebrated festivals in Detroit? New Center Park is hosting a “Tune-Up” evening for the annual African World Festival, featuring Meklit Hadero and her soulful melody of jazz, folk & East African sounds. A cultural experience with performances, poetry, drumming and dance, the African World Festival Tune-Up is an exciting event for all!

-          August 9: Thanks to the Caribbean Cultural and Carnival Organization (CCCO) of Detroit, the spice and excitement of the Caribbean are brought to life in the city! Learn about the Caribbean, enjoy the music and dance, and have a great time at New Center Park for the Caribbean Festival!

-          August 16: Mr. Smooth himself started the infamous Mr. Smooth dance studio in Detroit, teaching those who wanted to learn, the ways of dance and romance. Mr. Smooth & Dancers comes to New Center Park to teach a hybrid fusion of club & ballroom dance. Learn how to sweep your partner off their feet with your new smooth moves this August at New Center Park.

-          August 23: Come see the most theatrical music performance of your life! The Ukranian band, Dakha Brakha, brings lively pop-punk music fused with Indian, African, Arabic, Russian, Australian and traditional Ukrainian sounds to deliver the most thrilling performance you will see all summer.

New Center Park is located in Midtown, at 2998 West Grand Boulevard, on the corner of Second Avenue and West Grand Boulevard. All events are free and open to the public. Midtown Detroit, Inc., produces the park’s Summer Series.

Call 313.420.6000 or visit for more information.
Grand Prix Partners with Platinum Equity to Light Up MacArthur Bridge

Nearly $1.1 million was raised to support the work of the Belle Isle Conservancy at the 2015 PwC Grand Prixmiere, presented by Chevrolet, May 29. Proceeds from the event will aid the Conservancy’s efforts to maintain, renovate and enrich Belle Isle Park, as well as provide unique programming to the island’s visitors.

Held for the second time on Belle Isle Park, more than 500 attendees traveled on the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix race course to the trackside celebration overlooking a fully-operational Scott Fountain to highlight the first day of on-track activity at the Grand Prix.

“This spectacular fundraiser was a premier evening that only Detroit can deliver. We are very grateful to Roger Penske and his entire organization for making it possible for us to welcome guests in grand fashion alongside the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix track,” said Michele Hodges, president of the Belle Isle Conservancy. “And, thanks to the generosity of our corporate partners in supporting this event, the Belle Isle Conservancy is poised for significant progress as we embark on our journey to enhance Belle Isle Park in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.”

The sold-out fundraiser, titled “Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!” was chaired by Paula and Steve Kiefer, vice president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors.

“Paula and I were honored to be involved with this outstanding event as it continues to gain momentum,” said Steve Kiefer. “I am truly astounded by the tremendous support we received from our partners in bringing this evening from concept to fruition.”

Emceed by News/Talk 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith, the event was supported by significant contributions from PwC, Chevrolet, FirstMerit and MadDog Technologies.

“The financial generosity of corporate Detroit is critical for Belle Isle’s continued growth,” said Bud Denker, executive vice president of Penske Corporation. “Detroit is a city unlike any other, where both public and private sectors come together in great cooperation when support is most needed.”

More than $600,000 of the evening’s proceeds were generated through spirited bidding for six unique live auction packages, which included a holiday reception at the Belle Isle Conservancy, a VIP trip to the 2015 Country Music Awards, a Corvette engine build experience, a hot lap experience at Milford Proving Ground with Helio Castroneves, a gourmet dinner with the Kiefers, the Denkers and Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The greatest bidding action surrounded a Shinola City Clock, resulting in a second clock going to the next highest bidder.

Guests also donated generously during an appeal in support of the Conservancy’s field trip program through the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and Belle Isle Aquarium for Detroit Public Schools elementary school children.

Topping off the night was a surprise $50,000 donation from the General Motors Foundation, announced by the Kiefers.

“The preservation and restoration of Belle isle is key to Detroit’s future. We are proud to help the island realize its full potential, providing visitors with easier access to the park, its activities and programming,” added Steve Kiefer. “It is imperative that we support activities that showcase the island’s greatest treasures in a way that positively impacts and educates its visitors, particularly the city’s youth.”

Image: CBS Local 

Tom Kartsotis, the wealthy co-founder of Fossil, has no connection to the Motor City. He lives in Dallas, where he now oversees a handful of ventures he’s invested in. In early 2011, he decided to build a small watch factory that would sell high-quality watches that were priced, as he puts it, “at the entry point of luxury.”

He also wanted to make these watches in America. “So many big companies have sourcing infrastructures whose knee-jerk reaction is to head to China,” he said. He couldn’t compete with China at the low end of the market — nobody can. But he felt that the kind of watches he had in mind — priced between $450 and $600 at the low end, with a distinctive but classic design — could be made competitively in the United States. So he decided to put his new factory here in Detroit, a city once renowned for its manufacturing prowess that, in recent times, has needed all the help it can get.

That original idea turned into a company called Shinola. It has eight retail outlets and employs around 375 people, most of them in Detroit. Although those stylized watches are its biggest sellers — the company expects to sell between 150,000 and 180,000 this year — it also designs and makes bicycles, leather goods and other well-crafted, high-end products. Not only are those products built in Detroit, but Shinola also tries to buy the parts it needs from other American companies. Its leather, for instance, comes from the Horween Leather Company, a Chicago tannery more than a century old. Its bicycle frames are shipped from a company run by a fourth-generation Schwinn.

Although it was a philanthropic impulse that moved Kartsotis to set up shop in Detroit, it has turned out to be a very good business decision. The space Shinola needed to build its factory was cheap. There was also plenty of talent — engineers, for sure, but also former auto assembly-line workers, people eager to work who Shinola could train to be watchmakers. When I visited the watch factory recently, I saw rows of employees bent over their desks, focusing intently as they placed tiny, intricate parts inside the unassembled watches.

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