It was 2008, and chef Nicole Pichan-Seals had already looked at a couple of storefronts with the idea of opening a prepared meals takeout business. The plan was for her to staff it during the day and her husband David Seals, executive chef at Federal-Mogul headquarters in Southfield, would work there in the evenings.
Chefs Nicole Pichan-Seals & David Seals
Then David learned the Federal-Mogul food services were going to be outsourced. And the landlord at an especially tempting storefront on Main Street south of 14 Mile Road in Clawson said what the city really needed was an Italian restaurant.
The couple drew from Nicole’s northern Italian heritage—her great-grandparents lived in the Ascoli Piceno province, about 125 miles northeast of Rome—and David’s southern U.S. roots, where hospitality is almost a religion, and opened DueVenti. The name is a literal translation of their Northern Italian cuisine restaurant’s Main Street address, “220.”
The fine-dining venue owned by the husband and wife chefs marks its 10th anniversary in August 2018. With seating for 54 inside, and 16 outside in warm weather, its pressed linens and sparkling silverware blend with warmer touches like Nicole’s grandmother’s oil paintings on the wall, her portrait on a shelf above the bar, and a real grapevine that winds its way along another wall.
Nicole’s grandmother Eva Cafini-Theodoroff, of Oak Park, started painting as a hobby after her children were grown and went on to create more than 300 works of art over 40 years. She drew inspiration from food for her still lives, current events and her family, eventually painting every family member before she died in 2008.
While David prepared a cauliflower soup and sweet potato risotto on a Tuesday evening in February, Nicole fed pasta dough through a roller. She can thank her grandmother for inspiring Nicole’s love of pastas, gnocchi, risotto, and Italian breads like ciabatta as well as the sea salt-rosemary focaccia featured at the restaurant.
Diners at DueVenti can order from a full bar and menu of antipasti, zuppa, insalata, dolci (desserts) and piatti principali (entrees) including Piedmontese beef, fresh pastas, sea bass, chicken and rabbit, or can request the tasting menu.
The restaurant is available for private parties, which is partly what brought sisters Melanie Boswell and Suzanne Cross, both of Royal Oak, and Renee Lynch, of White Lake, there for dinner on a Tuesday in February. Cross’ daughter is getting married this year, and her aunts are giving her a shower at DueVenti in May. The trio were also celebrating Cross and Boswell’s March birthdays (the latter woman’s 50th).
Cross had eaten at the restaurant before with her husband, but it was new to her sisters.
“I’ve heard many people who are foodies recommend this place,” Cross says.
Lynch, who had spoken to Nicole on the phone previously to make the shower arrangements, says, “You get a good feeling here.”
At 86, Claudelle Ackerman used to park in a city-owned parking lot when she shopped at Nutri-Foods in Royal Oak, but an office building now occupies the site.
She has two realistic options to continue getting her supplements, bread, nuts, “everything and anything” from the health food store: drive up for employees to load her purchases into her vehicle or get home delivery.
“Any help I need, they give it,” says Ackerman, of Clawson. “The bottom line is, I would be lost without them.”
Nutri-Foods started the curb service when construction took over the city lot and customers had a hard time toting their groceries to parking spots further away. There are six spots that belong to the store directly behind the business, but those go fast and sometimes are occupied if not illegally then unethically.
John McEntee, Consultant/Cashier and Judy Ferguson, Store Manager
With the kind of personalized service that Ackerman and other customers get under the leadership of store manager Judy Ferguson, is it any wonder Nutri-Foods has been in business 81 years?
“I think the key to our success is the relationships we’ve built,” Ferguson says. “We know our customers by name, we know their families, their kids.”
The business was founded by Dwight Hurlbut in 1937 as Health Foods of Royal Oak in the same block of Main Street between 11 Mile Road and Second Street, but on the east side of the road. Hurlbut, a fixture at the store and known to many longtime shoppers including Ackerman, changed the business’ name to Nutri-Foods in 1954 when he moved it to its current building on the west side of Main.
Hurlbut died in 1999 one week after his 99th birthday, and Father John Bettin bought the business with a partner, Michael Frontera.
“And that’s how I came here,” says Ferguson, who is Bettin’s niece.
She and 13 employees staff Nutri-Foods seven days a week, often offering advice to the 300 to 350 customers who shop there each day from a selection of fresh organic produce, pre-bagged bulk food, canned goods, cosmetics, essential oils, juices, teas, vitamins, supplements and more.
Ferguson points out that shoppers are often looking for something to help boost energy or lose weight as well as items for their gluten-free, nut-free, paleo or vegan diet.
“We try to cater to people and not make it a trend thing,” she says. “It’s a lifestyle.”
While Ferguson’s tenure is nearing 20 years, two other employees have been there longer. Trevor Thomas, a bulk packager, has worked at Nutri-Foods more than 20 years, and John McEntee, a consultant and cashier, will mark 50 years at the store this August.
Ferguson, who jokingly calls McEntee “boss,” says customers have come to appreciate and even expect the banter between the two and refer to them as “Edith and Archie,” the bickering couple from the 1970s comedy “All in the Family,” or “The Bickersons.”
The store manager says she hasn’t decided how to mark McEntee’s golden anniversary, but it may be a belly dancer, the same entertainment employees hired for Hurlbut’s 94th birthday.
751 Chestnut, Suite 205
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Phone: 248-541-6820 nutrifoodsinc.com
Birmingham resident Carol Aubrey thought she couldn’t hear her new parish priest because he, unlike her previous pastor, chose to stand nearer to the congregation and didn’t use a microphone for his sermons.
“And then, when with my ladies’ club friends,” Aubrey says, “I couldn’t hear across the table or two seats down from me, and I knew something was wrong.”
“I saw an article in the local paper about Hinderliter Hearing Services and thought, ‘It’s right here, near me!’ So, I made an appointment for a hearing evaluation. Dr. Kristin Hinderliter was kind, thorough, and very smart. She and her staff are unbelievably efficient.”
“I went home with hearing aids for a two-week trial period and, after routine adjustments, have hearing aids that are great,” Aubrey says. “Dr. Kristin even made it possible for me to adjust them by using my cell phone! I’m so glad I went there to have my hearing evaluated. I’ve told my friends, ‘Just go! Have your hearing tested!’ You need to find out if you have a hearing loss!”
Hinderliter, owner of Hinderliter Hearing Services, agrees.
“It’s important for people to have a baseline audiological evaluation,” she says. “The sooner hearing loss is detected, the easier it is to take care of it.”
She adds, “If you’re asking people to repeat or you’re hearing mumbling, or have ringing in your ears, you might not realize you have a hearing loss. Hearing loss is something that nobody sees; it can be gradual. And it affects so many areas of life!”
It is now known that hearing loss can contribute to brain atrophy and dementia, as well as increased risk of falling, depression, decreased earning potential, and the breakdown – and even loss – of relationships, including marriage.
It’s a condition that affects over 48 million Americans.
Though most hearing loss is age-related (with adults aged 60-69 reporting the greatest amount), it can affect anyone at any age.
“When I was two,” says Hinderliter, “my mom took me to the doctor because I had a cold – and I was then diagnosed with hearing loss. It certainly explained why I often didn’t respond to Mom’s calls of ‘Kristin! Kristin!’”
The diagnosis also influenced Hinderliter’s decision to pursue audiology as her vocation. She became a Doctor of Audiology and began working in a Detroit non-profit for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, followed by co-owning a private audiology practice. A year ago, she opened Hinderliter Hearing Services in Birmingham, where she has become known for her compassionate service and expertise.
“For the first time,” Hinderliter says, “hearing aids are really good! They are comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, and they can be programmed and adjusted very easily.”
And, because of her own hearing loss, Hinderliter understands the frustration of her patients.
“I have an awesome staff,” says Hinderliter. “We all work together to make it a pleasant and comfortable experience.”
The doctor always recommends that a third party come to the appointment.
“It helps the patient,” she says, “to have a loved one there to understand and share information and to be able to hear a familiar voice when trying a hearing aid.”
Hinderliter is also able, upon certain diagnosis of hearing loss, to provide – free of charge – a Cap Tel phone system, which displays written captions of land line phone calls.
“There are many devices and options available to assist with hearing loss in addition to hearing aids,” Hinderliter says.
“It is so rewarding,” says Hinderliter, “to help a patient be able to hear conversations, the phone, the television, music. Though an aid doesn’t make things perfect, it provides a chance to improve hearing and prevent more loss, to avoid the related issue of loneliness, isolation, and withdrawal – and to help keep people connected to people.”
Hinderliter Hearing Services
751 Chestnut, Suite 205
Birmingham, MI 48009
Jeanne Boldt smiles as she strides energetically to her car after an early-morning workout at Troy’s Burn Boot Camp.
“Burn Boot Camp is amazing,” Boldt says. “It gets in your blood. I started last March, and I come here five days a week! In addition to the exercise, you develop strong relationships with the other women, and everyone is very encouraging.”
Head Trainer Kelly Matyniak and Owner Bianca Bahri
“All the women who come here say it is addicting,” says owner Bianca Bahri, who opened her franchise location one year ago in the Troy Pointe Plaza (located on the west side of Rochester Road, north of Big Beaver Road), adjacent to newly-opened Revive Juice Cafe — which Bahri also owns.
Bahri, who earned a business degree from Northwood University, is also a certified holistic health coach and a personal trainer.
“In co-ed gyms,” Bhari says, “I’d see the men using weights and strength training, while the women were mostly working on treadmills and cardio machines. There was total separation, like a grade school playground!”
She adds, “I wanted to have a place for women to work out, not just with yoga and Pilates, but more weightlifting and strength building. And here, we say: ‘I don’t use machines; I am one!’”
At Burn Boot Camp, women of all ages and fitness levels work out side-by-side.
“There’s no need to be afraid,” Bahri says. “This is a fun, comfortable and motivating place. We have women who are super-fit, but we also have women who’ve had knee replacements, some who are in their early seventies – even one who is 27-weeks pregnant.”
Diana Gipe, who is five months pregnant with her second child — and whose fitness success is posted on Burn Boot Camp’s “Transformation Wall’ and company website — enjoys the atmosphere of community. “I’ve been working out all my life,” Gipe says, “but what inspires me to continue to come here is the way we all kind of go through life together, working together at different levels. We all want to see each other succeed.”
Bahri also wants children to learn how important health, exercise and nutrition are.
“Burn Boot Camp is for women only. We have free child care. When the kids see their moms doing a camp workout, the kids say, ‘Mommy! I can do a push-up, too!’”
“And then,” Bahri adds, “they go next door to Revive Juice Cafe wanting wheatgrass shots instead of asking for candy and pop.”
Revive Juice Cafe Menu
Among its many smoothie, raw juice and French-press coffees, Revive offers a kids’ strawberry-banana smoothie called “Mommy, I want a ’moothie!”
“Little Sophia would always come in to Revive,” Bahri grins, “and say, ‘Mommy, I want a ‘moothie!’ So, we named that one for her.”
“Making women – and children — healthier and happier is amazing and worth the struggle of owning a business,” says Bahri, who was on the cover of last May’s Entrepreneur magazine. “The women say, ‘You’ve changed my life!’ You don’t hear that in a lot of businesses.”
“When you lose 50 pounds, like some of our clients do,” Bahri says, “it’s life-changing. It may take longer (than a severe diet), but we do it the right way. It has to be done correctly.”
With fourteen days free and membership that includes monthly, individual meetings on fitness and nutrition goals, as well as daily camps focusing on specific body areas or muscle groups and 45-minute boot camp workouts throughout the day, Burn Boot Camp visitors have the opportunity to make a program that fits their lifestyle.
“It’s a stress-relieving time,” Bahri says, “where you don’t have to think: 45 minutes where a busy college student, a professional, a mom, gets to ‘turn off’ and just focus on the trainer’s voice and on the workout. And, it’s a way to become ‘addicted’ to a healthier – and sustainable – lifestyle.”