LBN Covers Local Business News

October 10th, 2018

Chicken Talk

On Wednesday, October 10, at 7 p.m., there will be a public town hall meeting to discuss the current animal ordinance and chickens in particular. The meeting will be at City Hall at 425 N. Main Street.

It May Be You

Clawson is one of those walkable, hometowny kinds of places. And the mission of The Clawson Downtown Development Authority is to keep the downtown area strong and vibrant. In celebration of the city and the people in it, the DDA recently completed the first phase of a permanent public art installation consisting of steel silhouettes that represent what DDA Director Joan Horton calls “the very best of Clawson – its people.” Several two-dimensional steel figures represent a woman and her dog, a man holding a child, a woman with a shopping bag and a youngster with a backpack. The DDA is currently looking for sponsors for the next phase of the installation. Contact Joan Horton at (248) 435-5299 or ddadirector@cityofclawson.com for sponsorship information.

Free College Savings Talk

College doesn’t have to break the bank. John M. Dyer, a Financial Advisor with Royal Oak Financial Advisors, LLC, will help you learn how to invest in your child’s future without sacrificing yours on Saturday, October 13, 10 – 11 a.m. at the Blair Memorial Library. My Dyer can help you figure out how much college will cost, understand your savings options and decide which is best for you, while avoiding common college savings pitfalls. Call 248.588.5500 to register.

Kids Don’t Have to be Spooked by Allergies this Halloween

Although we don’t quite know why food allergies are on the rise, we do know that they can take the fun out of Halloween. To put the treat back into Halloween for kids with allergies, Clawson’s Downtown Development Authority created Trick-or-Treasure, their annual allergy-friendly trick or treat event.

Kids are invited to come out on Saturday, October 27 from noon until 3 p.m. and visit downtown businesses to gather allergy-friendly treat. Little witches, wizards, super-heroes and monsters will get treats from participating businesses as well as the Clawson Police and Fire Departments.

Halloween Isn’t Just for Little Kids in Clawson

The Great Pubkin Crawl for the over-21 set is a team event that combines a scavenger hunt, trivia, games and silly tasks. On Saturday, October 27, players will visit at least five of the eight venues while completing a game booklet solving puzzles, completing tasks and finding scavenger hunt items or snapping a photo. Booklets will be turned in at the end of the night for the prize drawings. Wear a costume and enjoy food and drink specials at downtown spots such as Mojave Cantina, Moose Winooski, Fifty Four West, Black Lotus Brewing Company, Old Detroit Burger Bar, Montage Grill, Tavern on the Main, Renshaw Lounge, and the new Zeoli’s Italian. Proceeds will support the Downtown Public Art Fund. Space is limited, so the organizers suggest pre-registration. Visit the DDA site for registration and more information. Registration will also be open the evening of the event at Three Cats Cafe, 116 W. 14 Mile, from 6-7pm.

Kids Don’t Have to be Spooked by Allergies this Halloween

Kids Don’t Have to be Spooked by Allergies this Halloween

Although we don’t quite know why food allergies are on the rise, we do know that they can take the fun out of Halloween. To put the treat back into Halloween for kids with allergies, Clawson’s Downtown Development Authority created Trick-or-Treasure, their annual allergy-friendly trick or treat event.

Kids are invited to come out on Saturday, October 27 from noon until 3 p.m. and visit downtown businesses to gather allergy-friendly treat. Little witches, wizards, super-heroes and monsters will get treats from participating businesses as well as the Clawson Police and Fire Departments.

Halloween Isn’t Just for Little Kids in Clawson

Halloween Isn’t Just for Little Kids in Clawson

The Great Pubkin Crawl for the over-21 set is a team event that combines a scavenger hunt, trivia, games and silly tasks. On Saturday, October 27, players will visit at least five of the eight venues while completing a game booklet solving puzzles, completing tasks and finding scavenger hunt items or snapping a photo. Booklets will be turned in at the end of the night for the prize drawings. Wear a costume and enjoy food and drink specials at downtown spots such as Mojave Cantina, Moose Winooski, Fifty Four West, Black Lotus Brewing Company, Old Detroit Burger Bar, Montage Grill, Tavern on the Main, Renshaw Lounge, and the new Zeoli’s Italian. Proceeds will support the Downtown Public Art Fund. Space is limited, so the organizers suggest pre-registration. Visit the DDA site for registration and more information. Registration will also be open the evening of the event at Three Cats Cafe, 116 W. 14 Mile, from 6-7pm.

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 Years of Food, Families, and “Opa!”

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 Years of Food, Families, and “Opa!”

Greek Islands Coney Restaurant in Birmingham: 24 years of food, families, and “Opa!”

11

OCTOBER 2018

BY HONEY MURRAY

LBN Community Series
Birmingham

“Opa!” exclaims John Kotsogiannis as he stops by a booth to greet a long-time customer with a warm handshake and a clap on the back. “Where’s your daughter? Still in New York?”

As the two men chat for a moment, John nods his head and smiles at other lunch patrons who are picking up or ordering carry-outs or looking at menus, seated in his restaurant’s newly renovated booths and tables.

“We’ve been in Birmingham for 24 years,” says John. “I’ve seen families grow up here.”

JOHN KOTSOGIANNIS

OWNER OF GREEK ISLANDS CONEY RESTAURANT
IN BIRMINGHAM

Kelli and Mark Stebbins and their four children are one of those families.

“Mark and I walked here today from our home in Bloomfield Township, three miles away,” says Kelli. “We’ve been customers for 20 years! I’d ride my bike and meet Mark here when I was pregnant with our first child.”

“It was so cozy,” she continues. “We’d talk about what our child might be like while we ate what are still our favorites today: a hamburger for me and a gyro for Mark – though we’d often come for breakfast, too!”

“Yes, and with the kids, breakfast always included Mickey Mouse pancakes, which was exotic for them,” Mark chuckles.

“Part of the reason we come,” Mark says, “is the people: John and his fantastic staff. John always has a really positive outlook and a big smile.”

“And,” grins Kelli, “he always let us take four suckers!”

“If kids want to go to a place – even for the suckers,” John laughs, “the parents will follow. It’s about good, fresh food but, also, all about the nice experience.”

“I had a customer yesterday who was in from Miami,” John shares. “He said, ‘We have upscale restaurants, European places, fine dining – but nothing comfortable like this, with good atmosphere, food, and price.’ We just like to treat people the way we like to be treated while serving food we enjoy eating, ourselves.”

“All of our Greek dishes are made from scratch,” states John. “People especially love our homemade spinach pie and our lentil or chicken lemon-rice soup.”

“A lot of people now like to get home quickly after a long day and then eat at home,” Bill says. “So carry-outs—especially salads — are a very large part of our business.”

“And we sell a lot of chicken here. We have a lady who works cleaning chickens all day and then marinating them for 24 hours.”

Their most popular menu item is their Greek Islands Special Salad, with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, beets, cucumbers, feta cheese, and Greek dressing – which they make themselves and sell in bottles, along with their homemade Ranch dressing.

“We have customers who come from New York and Chicago and buy three, four, five bottles of our dressing,” John says.

Manager Bill Gikas, who grew up with John in Thiva, Greece, adds, “The dressings have no preservatives. And we have low-cal versions, too.”

“All the area schools – the students, parents, teachers — come here to get salads for meetings and to take home, and for catering their all-night parties and other events.”

“A lot of people now like to get home quickly after a long day and then eat at home,” Bill says. “So carry-outs—especially salads — are a very large part of our business.”

“People love that our foods are so fresh. We get produce and other deliveries five times per week,” shares John. “Nothing in our walk-ins is older than two days.”

“And now, our décor is fresh, too,” he continues. “My wife, Mary, chose the colors, the materials: everything! We were closed for eleven days and completed the work, including brand-new bathrooms.”

“I wanted to give Greek Islands a more modern feel, up-to-date and elegant,” explains Mary. “I’m not a designer by trade, so it took me a while…I had a vision and, after lots of tile and paint samples, we got it to work!”

John’s whole family is involved in the business, along with his original partner, George Stefanakis, and his kitchen manager and newest partner, Ali Zacellari.

“My daughter Marisa, who studied graphic design and product packaging at Michigan State, created our menu,” John says. “And daughter Ana, a true family leader and a nurse anesthetist, keeps us all healthy and in line,” John laughs. “She’s always calling to say ‘Add more salads to the menu!’ And ‘Did you exercise today?’”

“I’ve worked a lot of jobs,” John relates, “starting at American and Lafayette Coney Islands as a teen. I treat people, staff and customers, the way I’d like to be treated. Most of my staff has been with me for years. We do the right thing, always, and we have done so for 24 years.”

“I’d like to be around for another 50,” he jokes. “Well, maybe 25….”

Greek Islands
Coney Restaurant
221 Hamilton Row
Birmingham, MI 48009
248.646.1222
www.greekislandsconey.com/birmingham/

jfklsadjfklsjdklfjs

sdjfksdjfklsad

fasdjklfjsad

fj

asjdf

ksjdaf

kjsdk

fjsa

dkjf

sadjfjf

ksadj

LATEST BIRMINGHAM POSTS

Maple Lane Florist in Clawson: Serving Customers for Five Generations

Maple Lane Florist in Clawson: Serving Customers for Five Generations

Maple Lane Florist
in Clawson:
Serving Customers for
Five Generations
10
OCTOBER 2018
BY HONEY MURRAY
LBN Community Series
Clawson
Anna Frost, from Clawson, was sending flowers to a funeral home. Her oldest friend’s mother had passed away at the age of 96 after a brief illness.
“I was sad for my friend, of course, but I wanted a flower arrangement that wasn’t ‘funeral-ish,’” Anna says. “I called Maple Lane Florist on Crooks Road in Clawson and was helped by a man that I believe was the owner’s son.”

“He was sympathetic and kind, and he assured me that he had the flowers available to make just the kind of uplifting and very pretty arrangement I was thinking of – with lots of fresh, white, feminine blossoms — in my price range, and able to be delivered later that day.”

NATALIE WATKINS

OWNER OF MAPLE LANE FLORIST IN CLAWSON
“When I arrived at the funeral home,” Anna recalls, “the family members came running up to me and said, ‘We knew those flowers were from you as soon as they arrived! They are so lovely!’”

Owner Natalie Watkins, who started working in her family’s shop over 50 years ago at the age of nine, says, “We actually listen to everyone and try to get exactly what they want…And usually, we get it just right!”

She adds, “After all, we’ve been in business so long that we have a deep understanding of flowers – and people.”

Though Maple Lane Florist was officially opened in 1948 by Natalie’s grandparents, John and Grace Ann Schultz, the Schultzes actually began the business out of the Troy home they moved to from Highland Park in 1936.

“I had a customer come in,” shares Natalie, “who wanted flowers for a 75th anniversary. She said that my grandparents had done the wedding flowers out of their house all those years ago!”

 

Her grandparents built onto the house with greenhouses and a flower shop. They also had a roadside stand for selling “mums, tomatoes – anything they could grow.”

“And now,” Natalie beams, “there is a fifth generation of family here.”

“Growing up, my mom would bring home work for the five of us kids to do: making bows, assembling corsages…All five of my kids (and most of their spouses) have also been brought up in the business.”

“Our customers love and trust us,” Natalie smiles. “They’ve been with us for years, and many actually worked with us when they were teens!”.”
“My granddaughter Natalie, who is twelve, is one of my best employees! She loves to wait on customers and make mixed bouquets. Since she’s been four years old, she’s counted out the cash drawer every time she works, making sure we have enough singles and change.”

Grandchildren Jordan, Alyssa, Luca, Meadow, and Violet also often work on weekends and in the summer, cleaning flowers and watering plants.

“It’s so great for all the kids to work here. They learn how to count and work with cash, they enjoy people, and they are excited and happy to make money – though they are required to save half of what they earn in their bank accounts.”

Natalie recounts ways in which the business has changed over time.

“In the past, Mother’s Day and Easter were the biggest holidays. But, over the years, grocery stores – and even hardware store chains – began mass-selling of flowers and plants.”

“My grandfather was appalled,” Natalie says. “But the good part is, it’s kept flowers at the forefront. A bad part is, customers are not always getting quality and properly cared-for flowers that way.”

“Like food, our flowers are a perishable commodity and are always kept in perfect temperature and conditions. If a customer says they don’t want roses because they only last a couple of days, I’m so happy to tell them that ours will last at least a week and sometimes ten days with just a little at-home care.”

“And,” she continues, “if you have a small floral arrangement and leave it in the fridge or in a cool room while you’re at work and take it back out when you get home, you can enjoy it for many extra days!”

Maple Lane Florist is increasingly delivering weekly arrangements, as well as other floral gifts, to corporate customers and other businesses.

“When they receive their standing order for their lobby or front desk, the office workers say, ‘Yay!! Our flowers are here!’” Natalie says. “It’s like they are getting their own gift.”

“They love it,” adds driver and clerk Leigh Liotta. “We bring back the old flowers, and they love the new ones. Everyone loves receiving flowers!”

General manager Blake Bergeson, Natalie’s son-in-law, also enjoys arranging holiday decorating of all types and occasions for homes and businesses.

“Especially the weekend of Thanksgiving,” he says, “we are putting up lights and decorations that homeowners and businesses either own or have us purchase for them. We’ve done entire blocks of storefronts as well as a single bannister a client needed decorated for a house party.”

“Our customers love and trust us,” Natalie smiles. “They’ve been with us for years, and many actually worked with us when they were teens!”

“They know our names; they come in, put money on the counter and say, ‘Give me my usual.’ When they move away, they still call to have us send flowers to their mom or grandmother…or to send holiday and thank-you gifts like amaryllis, poinsettias, and centerpieces.”

“They’ve stayed with us through all these years. And…it gets better every year!”

1522 N. Crooks Rd.
Clawson, MI  48017
248-280-5949
maplelaneflowers.com
jfklsadjfklsjdklfjs

sdjfksdjfklsad

fasdjklfjsad

fj

asjdf

ksjdaf

kjsdk

fjsa

dkjf

sadjfjf

ksadj

LATEST CLAWSON POSTS