LBN Covers Local Business News

Birmingham’s St. Croix Shop Shares History and Gives Back to Museum – and Clients

Birmingham’s St. Croix Shop Shares History and Gives Back to Museum – and Clients

The St. Croix Shop, recently re-situated – and thriving — in downtown Birmingham (in the Art-Deco Wabeek building, designed by Albert Kahn in 1928), is hosting a “Give back to the Birmingham Museum” fundraiser September 28-30.

“I came up with the idea of a fundraiser from my St Croix clients who shared stories of Birmingham back in the day 30 years ago or longer and since our store is part of a historic building I wanted to incorporate the History of What Downtown Birmingham Was to What it is today by creating a fundraiser to Give Back to the Birmingham Museum. Plus I want my clients and the community to know how special Birmingham is and gain an appreciation of local history through the years of the town St. Croix is honored to call Home.”

In addition to introducing its new, fall line, The St. Croix Shop will have a photo display from the museum, and clients will be offered a discount on purchases of regular-priced merchandise in exchange for a donation to the museum.

St. Croix Shop:  248-816-1390    st.croixshop.com
Birmingham Museum:  248-530-1928    bhamgov.org/museum

The Salt & Sugar Co. has a Newly Opened Restaurant in Clawson, a Food Truck and Catering Services

The Salt & Sugar Co. has a Newly Opened Restaurant in Clawson, a Food Truck and Catering Services

The Salt & Sugar Co. Has a Newly Opened Restaurant in Clawson, a Food Truck and Catering Services

24

SEPTEMBER 2018

BY REBECCA CALAPPI

LBN Community Series
Clawson

For Alisha and Jesse Nemeth, the Salt & Sugar Co. is a way to balance careers, faith and family.

“Our goals are to have a healthy family life and people don’t always get that,” said Alisha Nemeth, 36. “The goal for us is to prioritize our personal lifestyle and the business is there to support that. It’s about our family and our faith. This is a totally family-friendly environment. That’s what we’re trying to bring in for our customers.”

Before the Salt & Sugar Co. came to be, the Nemeths had a catering and private chef business in addition to Jesse, now 34, working as executive chef at Morton’s in Troy. But after putting in 80 hours a week, starting a family and having a side business, the couple wanted a better quality of life.

JESSE AND ALISHA NEMETH

OWNERS OF THE SALT & SUGAR CO.

They started the Salt & Sugar Co. out of a shared commissary kitchen in Southfield.

“You don’t have a lot of start-up costs because you pay by the hour,” said Alisha Nemeth. “We were there not even a year, because we were doing farmers markets and the market manager there really supported our mission, she invited us to use the city kitchen. We were there barely a year. It really gave us the start we needed.”

Now, the Salt & Sugar Co. has a newly opened restaurant with patio in Clawson in addition to a food truck and catering services.

“We wanted to be in a space that was ours and not relocate every year,” said Alisha Nemeth.

Finding the building they just opened as a restaurant was a total accident. Alisha Nemeth happened upon it, and luckily, it’s just a mile and a half from their Troy home. They love the quaintness of downtown Clawson, so the new location is a perfect fit.

After giving the building a total facelift, including painting the exterior cement wall, the Salt & Sugar Co. opened this summer.

“Not only was the food amazing, but also the pre-planning was a breeze. Everybody I talked to was amazed. They were wide-eyed, ‘Oh my goodness was that good.’”

“We’re an organic, natural food business. Our main priority is organic food. Unlike most restaurants, nearly 75 percent of our food is organic,” said Alisha Nemeth. “We don’t compromise. It’s always something we’d feed our family. If it’s not something we can make that way, we won’t make it.”

Douglas Shaible of Grosse Pointe Woods is a client of the Salt & Sugar Co. Alisha Nemeth is an acquaintance of his, and after hearing she and her husband started a business, he gave her a call when he needed a funeral catered.

“Instead of inviting everybody to a lunch in a restaurant, we just had the food brought to the location. They brought the food in prepped and ready to go,” said Shaible. “We had shrimp, asparagus wraps, roast beef and barbecue-sauced meatballs. There were a couple other plates such as cheese and fruit and crostini that they also supplied.”

Shaible and the 225 funeral guests were blown away by the food.

“It was tremendous,” said Shaible. “Not only was the food amazing, but also the pre-planning was a breeze. Everybody I talked to was amazed. They were wide-eyed, ‘Oh my goodness was that good.’”

The restaurant features a cozy eating area with order-at-the-counter casualness. “The menu took shape because we’d go to farmers markets and be hungry, we tried to create a menu for people who want coffee, lunch and a dessert,” said Alisha Nemeth.

Jesse Nemeth is famous for his salad dressings, so the salad options are a popular item on the menu. The orzo, chickpea, marinated artichoke, tomato and feta salad tossed with the lemon basil dressing is a staple. The pulled pork has been on the menu since day one. The spinach and artichoke chicken nacho have a huge fan base, while the double chocolate cold brew coffee retains its best-seller spot.

“That’s the thing with this storefront. We can offer all our favorites,” said Alisha Nemeth. “We’re trying to attract moms who want to eat this way and go out for lunch.”

Popping by the Salt & Sugar Co. for a drink is also rewarding. From locally roasted coffee and teas to organic soda, the Nemeths take great pride in what they offer customers.

“We want to make sure we have the best drink menu. All of the stuff on our menu except two items are local,” said Alisha Nemeth. “Our coffee is Mason Jar Coffee Co. and Thumb Roast Coffee. They made us our own house blend. All of them are clean organic, but not certified. Even our shirts are printed by a local Clawson company. We’re trying to use local as much as we can because we know how difficult it is to have a small local business.”

139 W 14 Mile Road
Clawson, Michigan 48017
www.thesaltsugar.co

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Royal Oak’s Tania’s Pizza Celebrates 31 Years

Royal Oak’s Tania’s Pizza Celebrates 31 Years

ROYAL OAK’S TANIA’S PIZZA CELEBRATES 31 YEARS
19
SEPTEMBER 2018
BY REBECCA CALAPPI
LBN Community Series
Troy
Talking to Amos Sheena, his energy is palpable.
“I get enjoyment from so many parts of it. It’s the challenge of seeing the next level,” Sheena said. “I don’t want to be 1,000 stores across the country, at least not today. The vision is there, but I want to focus on a true feeling of accomplishment I get when I can help the youth understand more than they did yesterday.”

Sheena is part owner of Tania’s, a family-owned pizza joint in Royal Oak. Together with his father, mother, sister and brothers, they consistently craft pizza by the slice and by the pie made from simple, fresh ingredients using original recipes.

AMOS SHEENA

CO-OWNER OF TANIA’S PIZZA
“The sauce is mom’s and the dough is mom’s recipe. The garlic seasoning we put on top is mom’s. We make our own ranch and the garlic dip is mine,” said Sheena. “It’s simple ingredients. Our sauce is five ingredients. Our dough is four ingredients. We don’t need a lot of complexity. It’s good because it’s simple.”

Those simple ingredients added to the next-level customer service each client receives, earned Tania’s a nearly cult-like following for the last 32 years.

It all started when Sheena’s father, Sam, immigrated to the United States in 1967. Leaving war-torn Iraq behind, Sam Sheena landed in Highland Park just in time to witness the Detroit riots.

“My dad wanted to be in the pizza business,” said Amos Sheena. “He’s always been an entrepreneur. He’s always done his own thing and he’s done many things. At 43 years old, he had a stay-at-home mother of four to support and he had to take a job delivering pizzas for Domino’s. He was enamored.”

“I go in there a lot. I always joke around like it’s my Cheers. I like the pizza, so I get different combinations. I’ve pretty much had everything on their menu.”
In 1987, the business now called Tania’s went up for sale. Sam Sheena borrowed money from his father-in-law and bought it. He named it after his only daughter, Tania.

“He was in love with the Domino’s model, but he didn’t know the model. We focused on the kitchen at first,” said Amos Sheena. “You have to stand out some way. How do we stand out? We have stuffed pizza. We take two thin layers of dough and put pizza stuff inside.”

Today, Sam Sheena is mostly retired, but is still at the store every day. Sam’s wife, Muntaha, also helps out a few times a week. “If we’re short on the schedule, we lean on her. She’s our prepper,” said Amos Sheena.

While the hard work of the family has kept the business thriving for 32 years, it’s the food and atmosphere that makes Chad Chilton a regular.

“I go in there a lot. I always joke around like it’s my Cheers. I like the pizza, so I get different combinations. I’ve pretty much had everything on their menu,” he said.

.

The menu ranges from Tania’s famous pizza to pasta, salads, subs and gluten-free. Additionally, online ordering and delivery makes meal planning a snap.

Tania’s also has a full selection of beverages ranging from wine to craft beers and liquor.

Jim Carlin of Royal Oak is also a long-time customer.

“I’ve been going to Tania’s since Amos was 19,” he said. “Most often we get pizza and salad. Or if we are having pasta that night, I’ll get some parmesan bread sticks. It’s clean, the food is excellent, the service is good. Amos is both proprietor and friend. It’s a good family place. I would recommend it to anybody who likes pizza.”

Tania’s Pizza
3204 Crooks Road
Royal Oak, Michigan 48073
taniaspizza.com
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Woodward Camera: 50 Years and Still “Developing”

Woodward Camera: 50 Years and Still “Developing”

Woodward Camera: 50 Years and Still “Developing”

12

SEPTEMBER 2018

BY HONEY MURRAY

LBN Community Series
Birmingham

Rob Isola sets four used, instant cameras and a roll of Advantix film onto the processing check-in counter of Woodward Camera in Birmingham, ordering double prints of each photo.

“These are my mom’s cameras,” he smiles. “I can’t convince her to go digital. And the film is kind of a relic. The pictures on it are, I’m sure, over ten years old. I found it in her basement.”

BERT WEIDNER III

OWNER OF WOODWARD CAMERA

Woodward Camera, celebrating its 50th year in the landmark building that was designed specifically for their business, offers on-site processing – and sales of cameras, equipment and accessories; state-of-the-art video systems; photo gifts; classes; monthly photography contests – and is run by a longtime staff with decades of photography experience.

“I’ve got the best staff I ever had,” says T. Bert (‘Bert’) Weidner III. “With my wife, Ruby, and daughter, Elizabeth, we are able to have this one-stop shop and offer everything a photography customer could need.”

Though their main business is the sale of digital cameras, including Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic, Sigma, and Sony, Woodward Camera also buys and sells used equipment.

“Many of the high school photography teachers have their students use the older 35mm film cameras, so we are able to provide those here,” Bert says.

“On the other hand,” Bert adds, “we are also very excited to offer the newest, multi-area camera coverage devices for live video streaming, including one by Sling Studio. It’s very popular for recording and for social-media sharing of special events, and churches like to use the system for overflow areas or for unobtrusive photography during ceremonies and services.”

“Another exciting product,” he shares, “is the Nikon-DL, a compact, digital point-and-shoot camera with a one-inch sensor.”

“When we were built, we had 50 competitors within 20 miles. Now, you have to go 50 miles to find one. If you didn’t change with the times, you were gone.”

“I’ll tell you a secret,” Bert says. “Everyone thinks that pixels and megapixels are what’s important for photo quality. But really, it’s all about the sensor. The sensor provides the power that creates the image.”

“In a mobile phone,” Bert continues, “the sensor is smaller than half of your baby fingernail. But with the larger sensor, it’s possible to get unique, gorgeous pictures with virtually no light!”

Unlike many photo store owners, Bert has not been a photographer by hobby or trade.

“I was given a camera by my grandfather when I was thirteen,” Bert says, “and in prep school I worked part-time at a camera store, but my camera experience was really through sales.”

Bert became sales executive for a photo wholesaler, selling cameras and accessories to camera stores. He also worked for Sylvania, providing flashbulbs to all types and sizes of retail distributors — from large chain stores to independent outlets like Arnold Drugs.

“I had very good learning experiences and saw the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of how businesses are run,” says Bert.

“Most people that opened camera stores 30, 40 years ago were photo hobbyists. They either became business people, or they went out of business. Some hobbyist businesses work out, some don’t.”

“When we were built, we had 50 competitors within 20 miles. Now, you have to go 50 miles to find one. If you didn’t change with the times, you were gone.”

And, though Woodward Camera has continued to “change with the times,” they still offer processes and services that others have discontinued.

“We take over one thousand passport photos every year,” says Bert. “We are the only business in 50 miles that develops large quantities of film and can also produce prints up to 44 by 60 inches in size. And we have a very popular service called the ‘Shoebox Special.’”

“For $79,” he explains, “we can take a shoebox-full of a customer’s assorted prints and photos – even of different sizes – and put them all on a zip drive or DVD. We can also take slides and put them on a DVD. We offer many classes, and we have self-serve kiosks for customers to get instant prints from their mobile phones or portable storage devices.”

“We can mount photos for gifts and keepsakes – including mugs, ornaments, jewelry and other items, as well as one-day photo books, calendars, and puzzles. And we can print photos as art onto glass, metal, or as washable plaques – which many people around here do with photos of their Dream Cruise cars, for display in their homes or garages.”

As a business on Woodward Avenue, Bert has been proud to participate in the Dream Cruise for the past nine years by offering, in tandem with the Piety Hill chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, special seating, refreshments and Dream Cruise viewing for any veteran.

Another popular local event was their recent, inaugural Detroit Zoo Photo Safari.

“It was a fantastic and rewarding event,” Bert says. “Participants paid $20 (or participated, free-of-charge, with Detroit Zoological Society membership) and could enter the zoo early and take unlimited photos using $300,000 of photo equipment on loan from us, with help from our employees, who were posted throughout the zoo as ‘photo ambassadors.’ We look forward to doing that again.”

“I love what I’ve been doing for the past 50 years,” Bert exclaims.  “I am still enthused. People say Woodward Camera is a camera shop, but it is actually the greatest and best toy store for photography, ever!”

Woodward Camera
33501 Woodward Ave.
Birmingham, MI  48009
248-642-1985
woodwardcamera.com

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Troy’s I Love Juice Bar: Renew Energy and Health Deliciously with Fresh-Made Food and Drinks

Troy’s I Love Juice Bar: Renew Energy and Health Deliciously with Fresh-Made Food and Drinks

Troy’s I Love Juice Bar:
Renew Energy and Health Deliciously with Fresh-Made Food and Drinks
05
SEPTEMBER 2018
BY HONEY MURRAY
LBN Community Series
Troy
When Maggie Morgan’s babysitter began raving about I Love Juice Bar on Crooks Road near Big Beaver in Troy, Morgan began to have new hope for her family’s health and wellbeing.
“My husband is in medical school,” Morgan shares, “and, since I work full-time and have two pre-school children, sometimes it’s hard to make sure everyone eats right all the time.”

“But my babysitter recently brought me a bottle of I Love Juice Bar’s ‘Sweet Green Juice,’ an order of the most amazing spring rolls – in gluten-free rice paper! — and some of their vegan Pad Thai, and now I am hooked on their combo special: an entrée item and a sixteen-ounce bottle of juice for $9.95, packed with nutrition and so delicious! And my husband can drink all of their great juices instead of the horrible Mountain Dew he’d been living on….”

 

HILLARY & GREGG WARNER

OWNERS OF I LOVE JUICE BAR
“The best thing,” Morgan adds, “is that after I first had some of the juice, my post-work brain fog and my mood lifted, and I had a wonderful feeling of energy. I happily started some laundry and then took the kids to the park for the evening. We even walked there instead of driving!”

“So many of our customers tell us about the almost-instant feeling of wellness they experience after having our all-natural juices, smoothies and ‘shots,’” says Gregg Warner who, with wife Hillary Warner (who is a nurse anesthetist), opened I Love Juice Bar in April.

 

“It’s amazing,” adds Hillary, whose favorite juice is We Got the Beet (beet, carrot, apple, ginger, and lemon). “My hair and nails are growing like crazy since we’ve been here – and I have the energy to maintain our wonderful, busy life of raising three young children, working at the hospital, and having the Juice Bar.”

Gregg and Hillary have always enjoyed a lifestyle of health and fitness maintenance.

 

“The company motto is ‘Have fun and be amazing,’” says Gregg. “We love what we do. We’re very glad to be here, catering to businesses, families and individuals, in this fun and amazing city of Troy.”

“After workouts, I’d visit a local smoothie place,” says Gregg. “One day, the customer in line ahead of me ordered his smoothie without sugar. I asked him, ‘You mean, they actually add sugar to their smoothies?’ That’s how I learned that many places’ smoothies and juices are not actually as healthy as we might think.”

That experience prompted Gregg and Hillary to research area juice and smoothie restaurants and, when they discovered the I Love Juice Bar franchise, the passion and product of that business resonated so strongly with them that they decided to open one in Troy.

 

The first I Love Juice Bar was opened in 2013 in Brentwood, Tennessee, by John and Vui Hunt.

On their company’s website, John describes a time when his corporate job was creating such stress in his life that he was eating poorly and had gained 50 pounds.

“One night around 11 p.m., I found myself on the couch, eating cookies and ice cream, looking for relief,” John relates.

 

“I stumbled on the documentary Fat, Sick and nearly Dead (about an overweight, unhealthy man who regains his health after going on a two-month juice cleanse), and it really inspired me.”

He found a juicer in his garage that belonged to his wife, Vui, a vegetarian chef who had owned an Atlanta restaurant called Veggieland. After a two-week cleanse and with renewed health and vigor, the Hunts decided to purchase a Brentwood sandwich shop that was for sale and to sell healthy drinks – without sugar, ice or artificial ingredients of any kind — and vegetarian soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees.

 

According to Barron’s investment insight magazine, the juicing industry is $5 billion annually, with a growth rate of 4-5%. There are now more than 50 franchise I Love Juice Bar locations throughout the United States and Canada.

“We help people by providing a great product – quickly – that is tasty and good for them. Just because many people are in a hurry these days does not mean that we should still not be able to eat well,” John says. “People bring us thank-you cards, telling us how much weight they lost or how they were able to stop taking as many medications…That’s really what we want to do for our customers. That, and offer a great experience daily.”

And at Troy’s location, many customers are enjoying a great experience daily.

“We really love seeing the high school students and other kids who come in after hockey practice or on their way home to get their favorite drink,” says Gregg.

“And,” Hillary adds, “Many of the kids get a ‘smoothie bowl,’ which is like a healthy version of an ice cream sundae. The Dragon Fruit Bowl, with frozen mango, banana, strawberries, and dragon fruit; apple juice and local honey, topped with granola, is very popular.”

“So is the PBJ smoothie, which tastes just like a cool-and-creamy, peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich,” Gregg smiles. “It happens to be my favorite!”

Local retiree, Patricia Caverly, comes in once a week.

“There is nothing better than stopping by I Love Juice Bar while I’m running errands,” Caverly says. “Yes, I could make a green smoothie at home. But I live alone, and would have to buy so many different greens and vegetables to make one this good. So, I treat myself here.”

“Our Super Greens Juice is one of our most popular,” says Hillary. “And the ounce of wheatgrass juice in it is equivalent to two pounds of greens! We’re very lucky to have our assistant manager, Jeremy Curry, to prepare everything and to prep the produce.”

“Jeremy has a great palate and a special knack for tweaking the juices with just the right amount of lemon, or mint, or ginger.” 

“The Warners are great to work for,” says Jeremy, as he creates a glass of Orange You Glad, a favorite of Gregg’s, with carrot, apple, pineapple, mint, ginger and lemon. “Gregg and Hillary care about you personally. It’s also fantastic to work where everything is so fresh.”

“I love how good it smells when you walk in,” Jeremy says. “We put a lot of love in these juices and into the care of all the produce, all the vegetables.”

“The company motto is ‘Have fun and be amazing,’” says Gregg. “We love what we do. We’re very glad to be here, catering to businesses, families and individuals, in this fun and amazing city of Troy.”

 

3115 Crooks Road
Troy, MI 48084
248.590.2863
www.ilovejuicebar.com/troy

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