D2D Buyer-Ready Business Spotlight: Grunwell-Cashero Co., Tony Sabo Senior Vice President

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Grunwell-Cashero Co. specializes in building restoration, rehabilitation and preventive maintenance. Since 1953, the company has been dedicated to restoring and maintaining the structural integrity and architectural esthetics of all types of structures including historic buildings, industrial complexes, office buildings and parking structures. The family-owned company has been Detroit-based for its entire existence. We talked to new partner and Senior Vice President, Toby Sabo, who says the company will continue to grow its presence around the city.

 

What projects have you done that you are proud of?

We did a really nice project at the DIA. Our role involved restoring the exterior staircase that was older and displaced. It was closed down to the public because it was unusable and unsafe. Once our work was done it became bright again, the white marble really shines now. We cleaned it and replaced faulty steps as well as some of the stone in the walls in addition to restoring the lantern light fixtures.

 

Another notable project was Campus Martius Park, which involved moving the Soldiers and Sailors Monument about 100 feet into a new foundation we created. This monument has stone the size of small cars, which amounts to over 10,000 pounds. It also has bronze parts that had to be taken apart piece by piece. We also did all the granite work in the park — with the fountain, walks and the winding fountain. (? Not sure what this is) Other stand-out projects include the restorations of the Detroit Opera House and Fox Theatre

 

It is always our mission to bring back the original luster of a buildings from the day it was built.

 

Are you working on anything now that’s notable?

We’re hoping to get started on the Metropolitan building in the spring of 2016. We want to bring the building back to life as it transforms into residential housing, with some first floor commercial space. We are also hoping to also get involved with the Wurlitzer building, which may become a hotel.

 

Additionally we’re working with Bedrock on the former Bamlet Building at 1505 Woodward, which will become office space. We’re going to restore the exterior Mankato stone, which was previously painted.

 

What kind of opportunities do you see in Detroit for businesses to buy and sell, or partner with other Detroit-based businesses?

Right now is a great time in Detroit, more so than I can ever remember, especially within the business district and Midtown. There is a lot of growth that is going on which presents a great opportunity for Detroit businesses to participate in. The value that I see in Detroit-based company relationships is the impact we have for businesses to grow together and prosper while the city continues to grow as well.

 

Personally Grunwell-Cashero Co. strives to work with a lot of Detroit-based businesses like Henry Ford Hospital Systems, Detroit Edison, DMC and Bedrock. We’ve also have relationships with smaller contractors with companies like City of Detroit Trucking Company, the City of Detroit Steel and Iron Workers, Polo’s Trucking Company, Sav’s Welding, and Boomer Construction Materials.

 

What are you looking forward to accomplishing in Detroit?

We’ve been in in the city for over 60 years. When you’re downtown nearly every building there is one we’ve worked on. We look forward for more people and businesses to continue to move into Detroit and for us to bring buildings back to life all throughout the city.

 

Tiffini D. Smith

Communications Director

Historic Tiger Stadium Redevelopment Moves Forward

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Thanks to great collaboration and community engagement we now have a plan to redevelop the site of the historic Tiger Stadium.

The EDC has selected Larson Realty Group and its Tiger Stadium Partners, LLC, to build a mixed use development that will wrap around the Michigan and Trumbull blocks of the Tiger Stadium site. In addition, Detroit PAL and The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy (OTSC) will build a new PAL headquarters along Cochran Street as well as manage a restored Tiger field.

The approximately $33 million Tiger Stadium Partners’ project includes a four-story building along Michigan with approximately 30,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail and 102 residential units, an average of 800 sq. ft. each. In addition, the plan calls for 24 town homes along Trumbull that could be a for-sale product. Tiger Stadium Partners are considering an alternative plan that would increase density along Trumbull to a total of 141 units. They have committed that 20% of all of the units will be affordable housing.

Community involvement is a critical component of this project and Tiger Stadium Partners has committed to:

  • Use a crowd funding program with a focus on Detroiters that will allow many individuals to become investors in the project;
  • Use a comprehensive business and workforce participation and outreach plan consistent with efforts of other major development projects;
  • Engage with existing programs such as the EDC’s Commercial Corridor Revitalization program and Hatch Detroit, to promote entrepreneurial opportunities and provide half of the retail space at reduced rental space at reduced rental rates for local entrepreneurs;
  • In addition to traditional neighborhood meetings, utilize the website RevivetheCorner.com for the community to interactively engage in the future of the site and provide feedback on the design, business and retail needs for the neighborhood; and
  • Assist the neighborhood with improving future appraisal values by potentially providing for-sale product.

Members of the Tiger Stadium Partners team include Larson Realty Group, Jenkins Construction, Rossetti Architects, Stokas Bieri Real Estate and University of Michigan Sports Management locally, as well as The Pauls Corporation, Fundrise and Popularize nationally.

Detroit PAL/OTSC worked with Pendulum Studios, a Kansas City, MO, and design architectural firm specializing in sports facilities, to develop its plans. Its project will include the restored baseball field with a gated entryway, ticket booth, historic memorabilia, lights, scoreboard, covered dugouts, homerun fence, seating for 2,500 spectators, covered pavilion and locker rooms. In addition, PAL will construct a new 9,300-sq-ft headquarters building that will include a banquet facility overlooking the field.

The total cost of the project is approximately $11 million and PAL expects to utilize $3 million of the $3.8 million federal earmark for it. The balance of the approximately $8 million is expected to be raised through grants and an extensive fundraising campaign.

Detroit PAL and OTSC have set fundraising milestones between June 30, 2015 and March 31, 2016 to maintain interest in the site.

These plans preserve the history of Tiger Stadium while at the same time provide for the future of the Corktown neighborhood, two historical sites important not only to our city but the region as well.

Rodrick Miller

President and CEO

Shop local this holiday season

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With the holidays fast approaching, you can find delicious treats, unique gifts and healthy options for your upcoming celebrations from these local Detroit entrepreneurs.

Delicious treats:

Good Cakes and Bakes (www.goodcakesandbakes.com) at 19363 Livernois Avenue or

Coffee and (_____) at 14409 East Jefferson can provide all your holiday desserts, including cupcakes, cookies, brownies and cakes.

Unusual gifts:

  • Love Travels Imports (lovetravelsimports.com) at 19452 Livernois and 19120 Grand River features fair trade items such as jewelry, silk scarves and hand-hooked bags.
  • Detroit Fiber Works (detroitfiberworks.com) at 19359 Livernois offers fiber adornments for body and home.
  • Art in Motion at 19452 Livernois features jewelry and ceramic art.
  • Paramita Sound (paramitasound.com) at 1417 Van Dyke offers a curated catalog of new, used and reissued vinyl albums.

Healthy options:

  • Tarot & Tea (tarotandteadetroit.com) at 8019 Agnes Street provides a host of services and products for holistic healing and advancement.
  • Anahata Yoga (anahatayogadetroit.com) at 19560 Grand River offers yoga classes for a healthy holiday and new year.

You’re sure to find some wonderful gifts here in Detroit by shopping local this holiday season!

Michael Forsyth

Business Development Manager

Detroit Green Grocer Project Supports $5.3 million in Facelifts for 16 Grocery Stores

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Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Green Grocer Project (GGP) has approved applications from 16 grocers to receive matching grants to improve the appearance of their stores. GGP is contributing $500,000 toward a total of $5.3 million that is expected to be spent on the façade improvements at the 16 stores.

We had remarkable participation from Detroit’s independent grocers, who are investing far more in these facelifts than we anticipated. Store owners are excited about the renewed interest in shopping close to home at neighborhood stores, and we are happy to help them.

The program required a one-to-one match for every grant dollar provided by GGP, but the average for all participating grocers averaged more than nine-to-one.

Several years ago we made significant improvements inside the store, but the outside still had the hard look of concrete slabs and high security that was common 30 or 40 years ago,” said Suhel Kizi, an owner of Family Fair Foods at 700 Chene Street in Lafayette Park. “The $200,000 renovation to the entrance will create an open, welcoming appearance that our customers expect and deserve.”

Other stores that have signed contracts with work beginning include:

  • Kit Kat Market, 8330 Harper Ave.
  • E&L Supermarket, 6000 W. Vernor Hwy.
  • Food Farm Supermarket, 11550 Dexter Ave.
  • Farmer John, 9731 Harper Ave.
  • University Foods, 1131 W. Warren Ave.
  • Food Town, 7811 Gratiot Ave.
  • Garden Fresh MarketPlace, 6680 Michigan Ave.
  • 7 Mile Foods, 8139 E. 7 Mile Rd.
  • Indian Village Market, 8415 E. Jefferson Ave.

Among the improvements being made are:

  • replacing older facades with attractive exterior materials
  • seasonal landscaping
  • inviting signage and awnings
  • interesting windows and displays
  • improved lighting
  • repaved parking lots

The Green Grocer Project aims to improve the quality of Detroit’s grocery sector by assisting grocers in addressing operational and store development needs to ensure the highest quality fresh affordable food in local stores. The work of the GGP is supported by the generosity of Detroit’s philanthropic community, with grants from the Hudson Webber Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.

GGP technical assistance grants help grocers improve their stores’ appearance, operations and marketing efforts, with a goal of improving the overall quality of Detroiters’ grocery shopping experiences and access to fresh food.

Mimi Pledl

Progam Manager, Green Grocer Project

The People Pick

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Ellis Island Tea and Motor City Java & Tea House each have won a $10,000 cash grant in the first ever NEIdeas People’s Choice Awards. Above and Beyond Orthopedics and Dexter Quality Cleaners each earned runner-up prizes of $2,000. The competition was an offshoot of the very successful NEIdeas small business competition, in which 30 Detroit firms each won $10,000 cash to invest in their businesses. Two additional prizes of $100,000 will be announced shortly as well. For the People’s Choice Awards, the New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) partnered with DEGC to nominate those four firms for a second round of consideration.

Over a four-week period [VERIFY OR REVISE TIME] people had a chance to vote via text message their preference for granting additional awards. The competition culminated at a special Detroit SOUP event in which the owners of the four small businesses pitched their ideas for business growth to a live audience, who then cast their vote for their favorite idea. Those votes were combined with the results of the text message campaign to decide the allocation of funds overall. As a bonus, Above and Beyond Orthopedics earned the SOUP door prize of an additional $700 based solely on voting of those who attended.

David Egner, president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and executive director of the New Economy Initiative said, “As we award the NEIdea People’s Choice awards, I ask you to join me in spreading the message that all Detroit businesses matter and that resources are and must continue to be available to all businesses. I ask you to spread the word that we are one Detroit, joined by our passion to make our City great.”

Learn more about the NEIdeas competition and other initiatives of the New Economy Initiative at neweconomyinitiative.org and neideasdetroit.org.

Spencer Olinek

DEGC NEIdeas Program Manager