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Troy’s uBreakiFix: One of Five Metro Detroit Locations to Open Since 2016

By Honey Murray Local Business News Troy resident Kathryn Murphy chuckled as she recalled the frustration of trying to talk on – and arrange repair for – an iPhone that had been grabbed and thrown by her 2-year-old. “ ‘Please, Katie,’ ” my dad would say during our calls that were full of static and awful sound quality. ‘Please take your phone somewhere and get it fixed, so we can have an actual conversation!’ ” “I’m a working mom with two toddlers,” Murphy explained. “I’d already been to my service provider for a repair that didn’t succeed too well. So, I was trying to get by, and I didn’t want to be without my phone again.” But when Murphy noticed the gleaming, new uBreakiFix electronic device service location in her neighborhood, on Crooks Road near Big Beaver in Troy, Mich., she decided to stop in and attempt another repair. “The store was welcoming and spotless,” Murphy said. “I was helped by a very friendly and sympathetic tech guy, who said they’d have my phone ready, hopefully, by the end of the day. Two hours later, my phone was fixed!” Kathryn added:  “I’d been ready to just buy a new phone, so they saved me hundreds of dollars!” The uBreakiFix business in Troy is one of five company locations to open in Metro Detroit during the past 15 months. And owners Drew Lessaris and Matthew, Ron and Joyce Harb have plans to expand into Macomb and Wayne counties, Brighton, Ann Arbor and Flint over the next two years. “I’d been looking for a business venture for this Detroit area,” said... read more

Troy Auto Glass Celebrates 55 Years

With a sleek and efficient website, a gleaming service area stocked with state-of-the-art equipment and a computerized, eye-catching marquee flashing on Maple Road, Troy Auto Glass is an ultramodern and ever-evolving enterprise. But what makes owner Gary Laviolette most proud is that Troy Auto Glass is so “old-fashioned.” “It’s hard to find good, small businesses that work like they did 20 years ago,” Laviolette says. “Social behaviors change, but you can’t underestimate what customer service means.” And each member of Laviolette’s staff provides customers needing auto and windshield glass replacement the kind of service that generates five-star online reviews and enthusiastic referrals from highly satisfied clients and local car dealerships. When Troy resident, Laurie Albert, needed to replace the windshield of her Mazda, she called a business she had used in the past. “They were kind of nonchalant,” said Albert. “They didn’t ask me any details about my car, but said they could take care of the work and the insurance when I came in.” “I then called the Mazda dealership for their advice, and they recommended Troy Auto Glass,” Albert added. Albert’s concerns about the replacement process and questions about the windshield product were answered by Laviolette himself, who happened to take her call. “Gary took time to explain what would happen, that he had the proper inventory, and that he’d easily be able to process the insurance claim. But the best part,” Albert said, “is that work was finished almost an hour ahead of the time they’d estimated!” “Also,” she said, “the facility is clean, pleasant, and professional. It’s much more like a nice office building than an auto... read more

Troy’s Grape Leaves celebrates 13 years of healthy eating

  As a 13-year-old growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, Mike Chalhoub couldn’t wait until his school day was done. Unlike most of his friends, he had more to look forward to than playing ball or riding a bike after classes. He was going to his job as a busboy at The Summertimes restaurant, where he would soon be immersed in the aromas of cumin and coriander and freshly chopped cilantro, onions and garlic, while the chefs sliced, sautéed and shouted orders to each other for chicken shata or the lamb and chicken shawarmas, for which the restaurant was known. “My boss saw my passion for food and hard work,” Chalhoub says, “and soon promoted me to cooking.” By age 18, Chalhoub was running the snack bar, night club and main restaurant of a nearby hotel.  At 23, he opened a restaurant on the Ivory Coast. “Soldiers came and took it over,” Chalhoub said. He moved to the United States and worked in several Mediterranean eateries until starting the Troy location of Grape Leaves in 2004. “It was challenging,” Chalhoub says. “I wanted everything to be perfect: fresh, delicious, healthy and, especially, consistent. And, you know what? Everything, thirteen years later, is still the same consistent quality. And,” he says, “I guarantee that what you enjoy here today will taste the same when you order ten years from now!” Each morning, Chalhoub and his brother and general manager, Brian, shop for fresh vegetables and meat and deliver them to the three Grape Leaves locations (Troy, Oak Park, Southfield). The chicken will be marinated; the lamb, roasted; the vegetables, washed and... read more

Dr. Ryan Corte Creates Health Video Site

By Beth Robinson One of the most challenging parts of a health care professional’s job is explaining complex information about conditions and treatment to patients and making sure the patient has the right information when they get home. It is a frustration that optometrist Dr. Ryan Corte faces regularly. Last spring he had a patient come in about blurry vision in his left eye. It turned out that he hadn’t seen a doctor in years and had very advanced diabetic retinopathy and wasn’t even aware he had diabetes. “As I was explaining to him the likelihood that he had undiagnosed diabetes, I could see the look on his face how perplexed he was that glasses, at that time, were not a likely solution to his problem. I referred him to a see a primary care doctor as well as retinal specialist. But he never went to either appointment,” says Corte. “I felt like in that moment, when I was educating him, it was almost overwhelming. I think of how many doctors are seeing more patients in less time and the amount of time they have to educate their patients is too little. I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to break things down so the patient understands it, so they can follow up appropriately and they can follow through with success.” Corte wished that there was a simple, video-based resource that he could send her and other patients to for information, but that resource wasn’t out there. So, he created his own. A photography buff, Corte was one of the few people who had a digital camera in... read more

Dentist’s Old-School Approach Puts Focus On People

By Beth Robinson The décor in Dr. Scott Meldrum’s Birmingham dental office is clean, comfortable, and untouched by a decorator since the practice moved from West McNichols in Detroit in 1973. There is no television set in the waiting room. The office doesn’t have an internet connection. And eighty-year-old Norma Thurlow, the receptionist since 1957, administers the practice with a huge ledger-style appointment book and an electric typewriter. This old school approach is not a musty tradition, but an intentional focus on what is most important and valuable to Meldrum’s patients. This, for Meldrum, is a relationship with his patients that makes them feel safe and comfortable. And it’s about providing highly skilled, state-of-the-art care, without pain, and without unnecessary procedures. “The number one thing that makes any dental office successful is the dentist,” Meldrum says. “And the number two thing is the employees. It’s about people liking people.” This starts at the front desk, where Thurlow greets each one of the practice’s 1,500 regular patients personally, including children who represent the fifth generation of their families to be treated there. “I’m old school,” she says. “I hang up everyone’s coat and they love that.” Thurlow was a nursing student in 1957 when she became ill and was hospitalized for a month. The break in her studies made returning unfeasible, so she decided to look for work in a dental office. An agency contacted her about the job in Dr. Joseph Champagne’s office, but then told her it was filled. A day later, they called her back, and said that the person they sent over only lasted one day.... read more

70 Years of Happy Cows and Healthy Dairy from Calder Farm

By Honey Murray Nicola (“Nicky”) Noble loves to talk about her girls: all 153 of them. As the general manager of Calder Dairy Farm in Carleton, Michigan, one of Nicky’s many jobs is to make sure that those girls — the Brown Swiss and Holstein cows that produce Calder’s milk daily — are happy, healthy and comfortable, enabling the dairy, after 70 years, to continue to produce, sell and deliver their fresh milk that is free of added hormones and still sold in glass bottles. “Their barn is a free-stall one,” says Nicky, “and the girls are able to eat, drink and socialize as they wish.”  She adds, “Each girl has a mattress, topped with straw, and the floor has rubber matting for their comfort. Their forage-and-grain food is grown right here on the farm and, during grass season, they are free to graze the pastures.” Thermostatically controlled fans and side curtains maintain perfect barn temperatures, and their milking area is heated. The cows receive lots of human interaction, including pedicures and care from cheerful veterinarians, and they can groom themselves with automatic brushes. “Not a bad life!” chuckles Nicky. Each happily pampered cow produces about seven-and-a-half gallons of milk from two five-minute milkings each day. The milk is delivered from the farm to Calder Dairy in Lincoln Park, Michigan, where it is processed and bottled. The Lincoln Park location was established by William Calder in 1946 when he purchased the dairy’s first delivery truck (a used, twelve-year-old laundry truck) with the bonus check he received from the Air Force. The location is also home to an ice cream parlor and a retail dairy store. From there, Calder Dairy supplies many... read more

Vision for the Future: Dr. A. Luisa Di Lorenzo of Somerset Ophthalmology in Troy

This article is part of the LBN Eye Care Series Photos by Vaughn Gurganian As a young Canadian medical student who dreamed of working surgically with her hands and helping cancer patients of all ages, Troy ophthalmologist Dr. A. Luisa Di Lorenzo of Somerset Ophthalmology began her oncology rotation at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland with eager anticipation. But as the program progressed – and she learned that, as an oncologist, she wouldn’t be doing surgery and would need to choose between adults and children as patients – Di Lorenzo wondered if oncology was truly the best specialty field for her. “Fortuitously,” says Dr. Di Lorenzo, “in my final year of medical school, my rotation in ophthalmology at Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, was with larger-than-life Professor Louis Collum. During my very first day with him, I saw that he cared for children as well as adults – and he performed surgeries, too. And when, with photos of the inside of eyes, he innovatively taught us that all diseases can affect the eyes, I knew by the end of that first day that I wanted to become an ophthalmologist.” Having completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Wayne State University and an Ophthalmology Residency at the Kresge Eye Institute of Wayne State University, serving as Chief Resident in her last year, Dr. Di Lorenzo established Somerset Ophthalmology in Troy. Di Lorenzo explains some of the almost science fiction-like improvements in the field that she has seen and passionately incorporated into her practice of eighteen years. “Cataract surgery has changed tremendously,” Dr. Di Lorenzo says, “with extremely... read more

Beds by Design Releases Its New Line of All-Natural Crib Mattresses

By Mike Scott Local Business News Since infants can sleep upwards of 12-18 hours a day, the mattress on which they sleep should be made of the most natural materials possible. That’s why Rory Karpathian, owner of Beds by Design, now sells all-natural crib mattresses from his store in downtown Rochester. This brand-new line of crib mattresses offers a major difference from the typical mattress that consumers can purchase at “big-box” or other name-brand mattress stores. Karpathian understands the differences between mattress products. He worked many years for some of the largest mattress companies in the world, and Karpathian wants to educate consumers on the differences. “You’re talking about mattresses where the materials are actually toxic,” said Karpathian. “These are petroleum-based products that aren’t in any way natural.” That can be particularly harmful for infants, who are going through their most critical developmental years. It is during the first three to five years of an infant’s life when parents should be the most conscientious about their child’s health. The typical mattress is made of petroleum-based foam, an artificial, synthetic product that does not breathe. A crib mattress from Beds by Design is made of wool and natural-rubber, and comes with a lifetime warranty. It is better able to support the head and body of an infant. “One of the benefits of an all-natural mattress is that it is really good for posture, and again this is a major issue for infants,” Karpathian said. “The bones and bodies of an infant are developing and you don’t want to take shortcuts. It’s something that parents should be aware of – but it’s not the type of message you see or hear on television because... read more