| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter

Woman Owned : News

635 Woman Owned Articles | Page: | Show All

Flash Delivery partnership to bring Eastern Market's Red Truck Produce to your door

Later this month, Detroiters can go online, select from an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, prepared foods, and made-in-Michigan favorites, and, with a few clicks, have their order delivered directly to their home or workplace, thanks to a partnership between Eastern Market’s Red Truck Fresh Produce and Flash Delivery.
 
With a projected launch date of Nov. 15, Flash Delivery could help customers get turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes on the table by Thanksgiving.
 
The exclusive deal is a coup for Flash Delivery, the two-year-old Detroit startup led by entrepreneurs Ericka Billingslea and Tatiana Grant.
 
Better than planned
As a growth objective, the team sought a relationship with a regional chain like Meijer or Kroger, but when negotiations didn't materialize, Billingslea and Grant redoubled their efforts to strike a deal closer to home, and found a partnership that is more in line with their business ethos.
 
"To be honest, we were turned down by Meijer and Kroger, and a couple of years ago we attempted to get this off the ground, and it fizzled out and we never revisited the concept," Grant says of initial hopes with Eastern Market.
 
She re-pitched Eastern Market—this time with success. "We had an impromptu meeting, and they said this is something we might be able to get to work," Grant says.
 
It works for the bottom line too. Red Truck Fresh Produce staff will receive and package the orders for Flash Delivery drivers to collect and deliver, increasing profitability and efficiency over having drivers "shop" the orders on behalf of customers, Grant says.
 
A learning curve
The big picture focused quickly, but finer points required additional work, delaying the launch by a couple of months, Grant says.
 
"From a software perspective, we had issues synching the two systems," she says. Unlike their restaurant meal delivery service, which initiates with customer contact at Flash Delivery’s website, grocery delivery will begin from Red Truck Fresh Produce. This will be seamless to customers, as they will still begin their order at Flash Delivery's site.
 
"At the present we will be sending people to a specific URL," Grant says. "When the order comes in, [Red Truck] will send it to us, which is the reverse of how we started. This process makes it easier from a partnership perspective. We just get a notification, and we send it right over to our driver's phone."
 
Grant and Billingslea also conducted research to outfit their drivers' vehicles to best accommodate groceries.
 
"We settled on a combination of plastic crates and mesh containers, which keep things separated and upright," Grant says. "We also have coolers for things that need to stay cold," Grant says.
 
A wider customer demographic
Red Truck Fresh Produce, owned jointly by Eastern Market Corp. and the Warren-based Community Growth Partnership, accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, payments. Grant says this creates opportunity for Flash Delivery to reach customers happy to save time and taxi fare by having their EBT-qualified purchases delivered.
 
"This will expose us to a further demographic that we couldn’t serve before. It's a win-win for both of us because we have been looking for a grocery partner and Red Truck will increase their sales volume," says Grant, adding that future growth will likely include business-to-business deliveries of fresh produce to area restaurants.
 
Just the right step
With Flash Delivery, Southeast Michigan Eastern Market fans can shop local, even when life gets busy and weather is uncooperative, Grant says.
 
"We are looking forward to giving people an Eastern Market experience direct to their door," Grant says. Customers can even take advantage of fresh, custom-designed meal ingredients, complete with chef-designed recipes already available in the store.
 
"Of course we were bummed when we were unable to move forward with regional and national companies," Grant says. "But the majority of our customers are pro-Michigan and pro-Detroit and for them to be able to get locally sourced fresh foods and Michigan-made products, it made more sense for us. We are looking forward to being able to tout that as well."
 
Claire Charlton is a Metro Detroit freelance writer. Connect with her on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.

The Craft Cafe Detroit thrives on city's lower east side

The Craft Cafe Detroit is off to a fast start. The "sip and paint" party venue opened last June on Mack Avenue, just blocks from city's eastern border with Grosse Pointe Park, and it's already turning away customers as some parties reach capacity. But that's a good problem to have.

While owner Candice Meeks is considering a move to a bigger location, she says she wants to keep the Craft Cafe in the neighborhood. Its location is part of the reason for its success.

"The location at Mack and Phillip, there's nothing like this in our community," Meeks says. "You have to drive downtown and pay for parking or drive out to the suburbs for this kind of fun. We need to keep something like this in the neighborhood."

Craft Cafe Detroit hosts a variety of celebrations, from birthdays to bachelorette parties. Guests can bring their own food and drinks while Meeks leads the party through a painting session. Subjects are pre-sketched onto each person's canvas, allowing them to paint along while Meeks teaches different techniques like blending colors. She also offers vision mirrors, where guests create collages on mirrors and then seal them with a clear coat finish.

Other parties include Eat | Paint | Drink, where refreshments are provided, and monthly date nights, where couples paint together.

Meeks credits a number of small business programs that helped her get off the ground. She graduated from ProsperUs Detroit, where she met her current landlord. Meeks was also the recipient of a $4,000 technical assistance grant from Motor City Match. She says she plans on using the grant money to help with marketing and website construction costs.

"Going through those programs really gave me a platform to open my own business," she says.

The Craft Cafe Detroit is located at 14600 Mack Ave. It's open Tuesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Gwen Jimmere makes all-natural hair care product to celebrities like Beyoncé

LeBron James. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Serena Williams. These are household names throughout the United States and even much of the world. They're also members of the The Root 100 for 2016, a list of the 100 most influential African-Americans as put together by The Washington Post-owned publication The Root. In November, a gala is being held in New York City to celebrate those that have made the list.

Also attending that gala will be Gwen Jimmere, a local entrepreneur who has seen tremendous growth in her all natural line of beauty products, Naturalicious. In just three years, Jimmere has quickly gone from creating an all-natural hair care product in her Canton, Michigan kitchen to being picked up by international beauty product distributor Jinny Beauty Supply and the first African-American woman to hold a U.S. patent for a natural hair care product. She's now based out of the ponyride facility in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, where she and her team make all the products by hand.

Jimmere comes from a corporate communications background where, before even creating Naturalicious, told a friend who worked at The Root that she would one day make it to their 100 list. It only took her four years to do so.

"To find out that I'm actually on it is a full circle moment for me," she says.

Jimmere hails from Cleveland. After attending Kent State University for both her undergraduate and master degrees, she was recruited by Ford Motor Co. to become their global digital communications manager. She would later leave Ford to become the digital marketing director for Uniworld, and soon after make her Root 100 proclamation.

An influential moment for Jimmere was seeing Chris Rock's documentary movie "Good Hair" during her pregnancy. She cites a scene that shows a pop can being submerged in a typical hair relaxer product and subsequently disintegrating. Concerned about what she was exposing her body and her unborn child to, Jimmere decided to create a safer and more natural hair product. She experimented, researched, and honed her product. Still, she treated it as a hobby, something she might one day give to family and friends.

A couple of years later, with a two year old son and about 30 days from divorce, Jimmere was laid off from Uniworld. What some might see as a dead end turned out to be a window of opportunity. With little left in the bank, Jimmere decided that it was now or never.

"Having your back against the wall forces you to not doubt yourself," Jimmere says. "You don't really have the luxury to doubt yourself. It's like, I might as well just try everything because the worst that can happen is nothing."

That attitude, coupled with a desire to make her son Caiden proud, got Naturalicious off the ground. Jimmere called the Whole Foods Market in Detroit to set up a meeting, eventually convincing them to carry her product. Now several Whole Foods locations carry Naturalicious. And Jinny Beauty Supply just signed on to distribute, starting out in 1,500 stores and eventually growing to 7,000.

Naturalicious currently carries 10 products, all made by hand, designed for people with curly hair. The company is becoming known for both its all natural ingredients, and 3-in-1 and 5-in-1 products that help cut down on time. The clay comes from Morocco, the oils from Italy, Spain, and Argentina.

Jimmere moved the company out of her kitchen and into ponyride this past May, making her first hires. Three of her six employees are supplied through Services To Enhance Potential, or STEP, which connects employers with people with special needs looking for work. She anticipates having to hire more people soon.

Another member of the team is her son Caiden, now five years old. Caiden holds the title of chief candy curator, making sure that each order is accompanied by a piece of candy.

As Jimmere relates Caiden's enthusiasm for Naturalicious, there's no need to question whether her son is proud of her. She's got it.

Quick Facts on Gwen Jimmere

Title: CEO + Founder, Naturalicious

Date of opening: 2013

One interesting job before Naturalicious: In grad school I was an editor at a risque book publisher. Every book I was responsible for editing was basically 50 Shades of Gray on steroids. When I interviewed for the job, they just told me it was for an editing position. It wasn't until the day I started that I realized I'd be editing freaky books.  It was a pretty interesting gig, though, and my co-workers were really cool. It was a very laid back office; we could bring our pets in whenever we wanted and wear pajamas to work every day of the week if we chose to. The culture was nothing like you'd expect for that sort of business. 

Favorite music to work to: 70s Funk (i.e. The Gap Band, Earth Wind & Fire, The Commodores, SOS Band, etc.)
 
One indispensable beauty care tip: Coconut oil is good for practically everything. It's an incredibly effective makeup remover, it's perfect for helping your nails grow faster and stronger, and it's a phenomenal conditioning ingredient when found in hair care products. I can think of at least 10 excellent beauty uses for coconut oil. I always keep a jar of unrefined, virgin coconut oil in my bathroom cabinet and another in my suitcase for when I'm traveling.

Downtown co-working space to double in size, eyes big future

The Bamboo Detroit co-working space downtown is focused on the growth of its tenants, providing facilities, resources, and programming to freelancers and startups alike.

That commitment has resulted in the company's own expansion. Bamboo recently announced a new location twice the size of their current one at 1442 Brush St., growing from 3,000 to 6,000 square feet of co-working facilities and more.

Come January 2017, Bamboo will open its doors on the third floor of the historic Julian C. Madison building at 1420 Washington Blvd. Construction is currently underway.

The new Bamboo location will count 20 dedicated desks, seven private offices, and three conference rooms among its new features. The private offices are in direct response to customers' needs, co-owner Amanda Lewan says. The current location doesn't offer private offices, a fact that Lewan says led to a loss of potential tenants.

The top floor of the new location boasts a loft-style events space, something Bamboo will use for job fairs and other pro-business programs. Also planned is a large cafe area, complete with coffee and snacks. In April, Bamboo won a $30,000 Motor City Match grant to help build the cafe.

"Be really clear about what you need; have a really clear budget," Lewan says to future Motor City Match applicants. "It might not be perfect, you might still be playing around with it as you get close to the end, but if you have a really clear plan, people can get on board with it."

The company believes that the expansion will result in significantly more tenants, with Bamboo expecting the amount to grow from the current count of 120 to 300 tenants. 

Bamboo currently has a pop-up co-working space at MASH Detroit on the city's east side. Lewan says Bamboo may one day have multiple co-working sites throughout the city and its neighborhoods.

Motor City Match winners use grant money to help cushion construction costs

Construction has started on the Meta Physica Wellness Center in Corktown. The business will be located in the Bagley and Trumbull building, which counts the Bearded Lady salon and barber shop, Mama Coo's Boutique, and the Farmer's Hand market as its tenants. The latter two businesses are Motor City Match winners. All four businesses in the Bagley and Trumbull building will be women-owned.

Meta Physica Wellness Center owner Jenevieve Biernat started her massage business in Midtown, which she has since outgrown. The Corktown studio will feature expanded services, including two massage rooms, three saunas, a raw juice bar, and an apothecary. Biernat won both a $50,000 Hatch award and a $20,000 Motor City Match grant for her business earlier this year.

"Every bit of money helps," Biernat says. "You don't always know how much you need going in but it turns out you need a lot of money to do this."

Biernat says that once she's established, she'd like to put herself in a position to help others through the Motor City Match application process.

A resident of Corktown, Biernat has been visiting the other shops at Bagley and Trumbull nearly every day, learning from her future neighbors, and soaking up as much advice and information that she can.

Another $20,000 Motor City Match grant winner, Noelle Lothamer, is currently in the midst of construction of an Eastern Market storefront for her Beau Bien Fine Foods. The Michigan-sourced fruit jam-, chutney-, and mustard-makers recently celebrated the one year anniversary of their Eastern Market location, which has served primarily as a kitchen.

Lothamer says the money won from Motor City Match has quickly gone toward construction costs, including the storefront, roof, and some other much needed repairs. "As soon as we knew we could spend it, we did."

The hope is for the storefront to open by Thanksgiving, though Lothamer cautions that there is no set date. In addition to acting as a retail area for their jams, chutneys, and mustards, the Beau Bien Fine Foods storefront will also offer grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and drinks.

Meta Physica Wellness Center is located at 1707 Trumbull Ave.

Beau Bien Fine Foods is located at 2478 Riopelle St.

Royal Oak made-from-scratch bakery to open second location in Birmingham

A favorite bakery is expanding with the opening of a second location in Oakland County. Love & Buttercream, the Royal Oak bakery that opened in 2012, will be opening in Birmingham as Love & Buttercream Too.

At 6,300 square feet, the new Love & Buttercream is more than five times the size of the Royal Oak location. Like the original location, Love & Buttercream Too will feature handcrafted treats made on-site and always from scratch.

There will be some differences, as the abundance of space allows owner Brooke Wilson Vitale the opportunity to try new things. The Birmingham location will have a retail and seating area, including breakfast options, coffee service, and WiFi. A private events space will allow for wedding cake tastings, event planning meetings, children birthday parties, girls' night outs, bridal showers, corporate events, and baking and decorating classes.

The Birmingham location's daily offerings include five to eight varieties of cupcakes, French macarons, cake pops, sugar cookies, cakes, mini pies, whoopie pies, scones, mini doughnuts, and more.

"We set ourselves apart by using fresh, high-quality ingredients, and try to source organically and locally whenever possible," Wilson Vitale says. "No shortenings, preservatives, oils, or any of the fake stuff here."

Wilson Vitale has been baking for much longer than 2012, when her shop opened. She grew up baking with her grandmother, eventually working out of her parents' basement. By 2010, she was taking cake orders and baking from home.

The Royal Oak Love & Buttercream location remains open. It's located at 3202 Crooks Rd.

Love & Buttercream Too celebrates its grand opening Wednesday, Nov. 9 and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It's located at 746 E Maple Rd., in Birmingham.

New yoga studio in Ferndale started by longtime teacher

Caren Paskel is well-known among certain yogic circles for her involvement with the Yoga Shelter studios. Her brother Eric is a former co-owner of the local chain and Caren long held a leadership position there. No longer involved with Yoga Shelter, Paskel is striking out on her own by opening her own yoga studio in downtown Ferndale.

She's calling it EnSoul Yoga and it opened Saturday. An official grand opening won't be held until the first week of November, when Paskel will celebrate with DJs and vendors.

For those familiar with Paskel's style of teaching, EnSoul will be an extension of what she's taught in the past. Paskel believes in a style of yoga that stretches the mind as well as the body, and not just during the class period. She says it's a yoga that keeps working well after a session is over.

Whatever nerves Paskel had when considering starting her own yoga studio have dissipated leading up to EnSoul opening. Originally planning on a now-scrapped Royal Oak location a year ago, she's since had that time to promote EnSoul as she readies the new Ferndale space. She's been offering pre-opening specials and Groupons leading up to the opening, all of which have been going fast, she says.

"We're off to a really good start," says Paskel. "This is pretty invigorating and exciting for me. It tells me I'm doing the right thing. People are coming."

She believes that the move to Ferndale has been the right thing too. She says the downtown stretch of Nine Mile Road is very community driven, with lots of neighboring business owners stopping in to say hello.
"The vibe there is really awesome," she says.

EnSoul Yoga is located at 210 W. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale.

Warmilu's blanket technology goes to Kenya, scales up

From deployments in Nairobi to clinical trials in Detroit to a new home in Ann Arbor, startup Warmilu continues to explore new horizons for its warming blanket technology.

Warmilu's IncuBlanket is a non-electric, reusable heating wrap that acts instantly. First developed by University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University students as a way to keep newborns warm, the idea grew to include uses for the elderly and people dealing with pain or soreness.

In March, Warmilu team members traveled to Kenya, where they spent two and a half weeks working alongside Ann Arbor's Relief for Africa foundation to introduce Warmilu products to doctors, Ministry of Health officials, and potential distributors in and around the cities of Nairobi and Eldoret.

The Warmilu team brought 35 IncuBlankets with them to distribute and test at six different hospitals in Kenya. Grace Hsia, Warmilu's CEO and co-founder, calls the trip an "eye-opening" discovery mission.

"It really validated and helped us realize there was a challenge greater than we had anticipated and potential for acceptance larger than we had anticipated," Hsia says.

With letters of support from four hospitals on the way, Warmilu is finalizing a distribution deal that would allow the company to start processing purchase orders for about 20,000 blankets.

Closer to home in Detroit, the Warmilu team is working with Dr. Nitin Chouthai at the Children's Hospital of Michigan on planning and deploying clinical trials that could help make the IncuBlanket's case as a warming option for transferring critical-care and neonatal patients in emergencies.

Pending approval, the tests will last three to five months and rate the IncuBlanket for efficiency, effectiveness, and safety compared with current methods of transporting low-birthweight and premature infants.

With high hopes for new market opportunities, Warmilu also has another first on the way: its first home.

The company, which Hsia says was previously "nomadic," is moving into a new, 2,000-square-foot headquarters and production space on the west side of Ann Arbor. Hsia says the move will help the five-year-old business scale up while bringing all operations in-house, from administration to production to storing raw materials.

"It will allow us to produce the blanket volumes we're projecting for at least the next two to three years," she says.

Warmilu's team of six will expand soon too, as the company looks to bring on a quality and production manager and several sewers.

Motor City Match winner Mama Coo's opens in Corktown as Round 6 application window opens

A full year into its small business programming and Motor City Match is starting to see some brick-and-mortar results. Vintage clothing boutique Mama Coo's has opened up shop in Corktown and coffee shop Detroit Sip and Comb-N-Weave manufacturer Black Pride Beauty are reportedly nearing the opening of their own stores in the University District and Jefferson East areas, respectively.

Those three businesses were winners of Motor City Match grants ranging from $18,000 to $60,000 each. Entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for their own shot at small business assistance from Motor City Match, which can include anything from grant money to free architectural services, business planning to tenant-landlord introductions, are in luck.

Round six of applications closes Saturday, Oct. 1. Applications are available online.

"Now that we're a full year into the program, Motor City Match is really starting to show some positive results," says Rodrick Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. "Businesses are moving through the steps of the program and beginning to open their doors to serve our neighborhoods."

Lana Rodriguez, winner of an $18,000 Motor City Match grant, recently opened Mama Coo's in Corktown. In an earlier interview with Model D, Rodriguez spoke about the importance of the grant and how it allowed her to open Mama Coo's with less debt and more resources.

"I know that now I have a better chance of longevity and success and to keep this puppy going," she says. 

For those seeking guidance through the application process, Motor City Match has partnered with Wayne County Community College to host the Small Business Summit and Resource Fair, to be held Friday, Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the college's downtown Detroit campus.

The Resource Fair is not Motor City Match-exclusive and will feature a number of Detroit small business support services including the Build Institute, CEED Lending, the Detroit Development Fund, the Detroit Public Library, Detroit SCORE, Grand Circus, Ioby, and Lifeline Business Consulting.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Sweetwaters grows to 7 locations with new cafes in Ann Arbor, Canton

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea is on the precipice of opening its sixth and seventh cafe this summer, an expansion that will cap its 23rd year of growth in the Ann Arbor area.

Wei and Lisa Bee opened the first Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea coffee shop in 1993 not long after they graduated from the University of Michigan. Since then they have steadily opened more locations on their own and through franchisees. Many times those opportunities sought out the Bees.

"It was something our regular guests were asking us about," Lisa Bee says.

The second Sweetwaters cafe opened in Kerrytown about 10 years ago. It now has cafes open there and in Ypsilanti, on U-M’s campus, and in Plymouth Green Crossings on Ann Arbor’s northeast side. The next two stores are set to open in the Westgate Shopping Center and in Canton by the end of this summer. Each will have the feel of the original Sweetwaters cafe but with its own unique aspects.

"Every one of our Sweetwaters looks a little bit different," Lisa Bee says. "We try to make each location unique to the community."

The Sweetwaters cafe in the Westgate Shopping Center on Ann Arbor's west side is going inside the Ann Arbor District Library branch. There will be a coffee car inside the library but no seating. The library itself will serve as the cafe's seating. It will be Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea's third corporate store and is on target to open by late August or early September. The library cafe is coming about because the Bee family's kids are active members of the local library community.

"We are very familiar with the Ann Arbor District Library," Lisa Bee says. "We love it."

The Sweetwaters in Canton is set to open by the first week of August. That is location is being opened as a franchise. It's located in a small strip mall at 302 N. Canton Center Road. The 1,600-square-foot space will be able to hold 50 people.

Bank of Ann Arbor expands to Oakland County with merger

The Bank of Ann Arbor is acquiring the Bank of Birmingham, a move that will serve as the growing local bank’s expansion into Oakland County.

Bank of Ann Arbor is paying approximately $33.3 million to Bank of Birmingham shareholders as part of the deal. The merged banks will continue under the Bank of Ann Arbor brand with $2.5 billion in assets at eight branches. employees. All of the 225 employees from both banks will be retained during the merger.

"We are working hand-in-hand together," says Tim Marshall, president and CEO of Bank of Ann Arbor.

Marshall expects the banks to spend the next 12-15 months working on assimilating the two workforces together. He adds that it helps that both banks have similar work cultures and that they use the same core processing system.

This represents the Bank of Ann Arbor's third acquisition in the last six years. Bank of Ann Arbor acquired the former New Liberty Bank in Plymouth in 2010 and UniFi Equipment Finance in Ann Arbor in 2013. The Bank of Birmingham, which only has a branch in Birmingham, will serve as Bank of Ann Arbor's introduction to the Oakland County market. Marshall doesn't expect Bank of Ann Arbor to make any other acquisitions in the near future.

"It's really too early to make that sort of decision," Marshall says. "We want to focus on closing this transaction flawlessly."

Bank of Ann Arbor has carved out a niche for itself as a local bank as demand for local banking surged after the financial crisis of 2008. Bank of Ann Arbor moved to fill that void by serving both people and businesses. It had grown its overall assets to $2.2 billion before the new merger with Bank of Birmingham, with 185 employees at seven branches in Washtenaw and western Wayne counties.

Marshall expects that sort of local-first philosophy to drive growth at the bank for the foreseeable future.

"We're just going to continue to emphasize that at every opportunity," Marshall says. "We have enjoyed a lot of success, and there is a lot more success on the horizon for us."

Nanotex adds key hires to accelerate growth

Nanotex has made some strategic hires over the last year in an effort to help the Bloomfield Hills-based firm continue its growth around the world.

The fabric firm has hired eight people, including a handful of scientists and sales professionals. Among the hires is John McMichael, brought on as business development manager for Nanotex's North America operations. McMichael previously worked as a sales manager for the military and commercial segments of AEC Narrow Fabrics.

"He is really interesting, because he has a long history in textiles," says Randy Rubin, chair of Crypton, which owns Nanotex. "He was a really strategic hire for us."

Nanotex has carved out a niche for itself as an innovator in fabric by enhancing textiles with nanotechnology in the apparel, home and commercial/residential interiors markets. Nanotex has 11 products, including Resists Spills, Releases Stains, Neutralizer, and Coolest Comfort.

Nanotex has more than 100 manufacturing partners around the world, although Crypton has brought more of Nanotex’s engineering and administrative work back to North America in recent years. The company has grown its customer base to include Banana Republic, the Gap, Dickies, Cabela's, L.L. Bean and Target, among others.

"Now the business is well into the black," Rubin says. "We have a lot of attention and have brought in a lot of great sales people."

Crypton has worked in the textile industry since 1993. Its flagship product, CRYPTON Fabric, is widely used in fabrics in the healthcare, hospitality, government, education and contract markets. Crypton acquired Nanotex in 2013.

Clarity Quest Marketing capitalizes on patience, focus

For more than a decade, Christine Slocumb has been spreading the good word about her clients at Clarity Quest Marketing. And she has learned a thing or two about running a PR firm over that time.

"Don't worry about the first two years," Slocumb says. "The first two years are the most difficult. Also, over 15 years you will have a few years that are lean and mean."

Ann Arbor-based Clarity Quest is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month. The company has 20 employees and an intern between its home base in Ann Arbor and offices in Connecticut and Seattle. Its revenue is up 25 percent last year, and that's on top of a 23 percent increase the year before that. Slocumb wants to hit 30 percent revenue growth this year as her firm's work grows across the U.S.

"We have some of our first clients in Silicon Valley now," Slocumb says. "That's a region I always wanted to tap into."

Slocumb suggest other small companies focus on a handful of things to really grow and establish themselves: patience, perseverance, hard work and finding a niche. Clarity Quest Marketing has sharpened its focus in its later years to concentrate on work in healthcare IT firms. That specialization has really allowed the company to grow in recent years.

"That really paid off for us," Slocumb says.

Source: Christine Slocumb, president of Clarity Quest Marketing
Writer: Jon Zemke

PreDxion Bio's tech helps tailor treatments to patient's immune system

The team at PreDxion Bio isn't just trying to come up with new technology to help sick people. It's trying to help really really sick people. The University of Michigan spinoff is in the early stages of developing a diagnostic device to help create custom diagnosis. The technology is coming from U-M's Pediatric Critical Care Precision Laboratory.

"One of the main thrusts of our lab is to develop new diagnostic tools to treat these really sick patients," says Walker McHugh, co-founder of PreDxion Bio and a biomedical engineering graduate student at the University of Michigan. He is launching the startup with Dr. Timothy Cornell, a physician at U-M, and Caroline Landau, an MBA student at U-M's Ross School of Business.

PreDxion Bio's technology is a patent-pending diagnostic device that gives doctors the information they need to precisely tailor treatments to a specific patient's immune response. The idea is to make precision care more available to people in intensive care.

The team has created a prototype and is currently entering it into a variety of high-profile business plan competitions. It is one of two U-M startups to make it to the Rice Business Plan Competition next week where it will compete for $1 million in prizes.

The company plans to use any winnings from business plan competitions and any seed capital it can raise to develop a next generation version of its technology that will be manufacturing grade. It hopes to then submit it for clinical trials that will eventually lead to FDA approval in 3-5 years. In the meantime PreDxion Bio's team is looking for interested parties to help it get to the next step.

"We're talking with strategic partners," McHugh says.

Source: Walker McHugh and Caroline Landau, co-founders of PreDxion Bio
Writer: Jon Zemke

Wheelhouse Detroit to open new bike shop in downtown Hamtramck

Wheelhouse Detroit, the popular bike shop on Detroit's RiverWalk, is opening a second location in May on Joseph Campau in downtown Hamtramck. At 2,600 sq. ft., the second Wheelhouse will be larger than the riverfront location, allowing owner Kelli Kavanaugh to offer more bicycles, accessories, and active wear. The Hamtramck location will also feature a robust service department.

"We see the two Wheelhouse locations complementing one another," Kavanaugh says. "The Riverfront spot will continue to be the anchor for Greater Downtown residents and workers and will serve as the primary spot for tours and rentals. Our Hamtramck location offers more retail space to increase our inventory of bicycles, accessories, gear, clothing and a large service department, while serving Hamtramck and surrounding Detroit neighborhoods."

Kavanaugh says she'll highlight American-made products at the store, including the Detroit Bikes line. Other bikes carried include Sun Bicycles, Kona Bikes, and Brooklyn Bicycle Co., among others. Accessories include products from Green Guru, Chrome Industries, and Timbuk2.

Wheelhouse is a store of many distinctions. The National Bicycle Dealers Association named Wheelhouse Detroit one of the best bike shops in the United States in 2015. It's the only woman-owned bike shop in metro Detroit. Wheelhouse will also be the only bike shop in the city of Hamtramck. Kavanaugh sits on the board of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, is the ride director for Tour de Troit, and is a former Model D development news editor.

Kavanaugh has tapped Christian-Hurttienne Architects to help with the design and buildout of a storefront in a building owned by John Grossi of Amicci's Pizza. Invest Detroit’s Urban Retail Loan Fund and Technical Assistance Grant contributed to the expansion.

The second Wheelhouse Detroit is located at 9401 Joseph Campau St. in Hamtramck.
635 Woman Owned Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts