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Troy Chamber Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Troy Chamber Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Troy Chamber Celebrates 60th Anniversary
13
FEBRUARY 2019
BY BETH ROBINSON
Small Business
Troy
The kanun is a many-stringed Middle Eastern lap harp. Ara Topouzian is a master of the kanun and a popular Armenian folk music performer. He is also the mastermind behind the Troy Chamber of Commerce and many of its contributions to the success of Troy businesses.

Although music and commerce may seem opposites or, at least, unrelated, it was a more or less straight line from the kanun’s strings to the Chamber for Topouzian.

As a musician, Topouzian realized that he needed recordings of his music to get gigs, so he created a record label for himself. He landed a distributor who got his recordings into all the big record stores and then onto iTunes. He became a nationally known artist, playing concerts and festivals around the country. Back home, he was awarded a prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship. And he created “The Guardians of Music,” a documentary about the history of Armenian music in Detroit which aired on PBS.

In the meantime, he was still running a recording studio with an office in Farmington Hills.

As the owner of a small business, says Topouzian, “I thought I should join the chamber of commerce and see what that’s all about.”

Membership led to a seat on the board and then a paid position planning events for the Farmington Hills Chamber, vice presidency and then presidency. After ten years, Topouzian was ready for a new challenge and moved on to Novi as its Economic Development Director.

In 2013, Topouzian brought his unique blend of creativity and economic development acumen to a new role as the Troy Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

This year the Troy Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 60th anniversary and Topouzian took the opportunity to share the secret sauce that makes the Troy Chamber a successful resource for its members.

When Topouzian first took the reins of the Troy Chamber, he visited businesses asking what they wanted to get out of chamber membership. He visited non-members to find out what would make them want to join.

“It’s not my chamber. That’s my mantra. It’s the members’,” says Topouzian.

“We try to be all things to all people,” he says. “One of the things that’s changed in 60 years is not doing one-size-fits-all events. Presidents of major corporations are not coming to events where a guy is selling a widget. So, what you have to do is you have to create events that will bring different folks together in different realms.”

The Troy Chamber has a tiered membership structure which offers different levels of benefits. The president of a large corporation, for example, may pay more dues but have the opportunity to attend a presidents’ breakfast at no cost.

“It’s going to be a year-long birthday party for us. It’s exciting for us because we can tweak a little bit of what we’re doing throughout the year. We’re going to be taking some of our signature events and theming them toward the 60th.”

“At that level,” says Topouzian. “They’re building relationships. They’re not doing lead generation.”

Since the Chamber first opened its doors sixty years ago, people no longer join their local chambers of commerce just because ‘it’s the right thing to do.’ They expect to get something specifically worthwhile to their business when they pay dues and take time to attend an event.

“Ten to fifteen years ago, chambers could be more social, and they did their networking around social type events, like a festival or a raffle or a parade. We don’t do a lot of that anymore,” says Topouzian. “That doesn’t fulfill our mission and what our members want.”

“We know the types of benefits and programming that will help their business, whether it’s helping them save money or market or putting them in touch with the right people so they can build relationships.”

The creativity that makes Topouzian a successful artist, small business owner and chamber professional is what helps him keep the Troy Chamber’s offerings fresh and relevant. His members, he says want quality programming and they need a reason to keep coming.

“Most of our events are unique,” he says. “We try to avoid ‘been there, heard that.’ We do a CEO series. We bring in CEOs from the area, people our members haven’t seen. Food lab – They’re doing work of a different scale. We’ve had Amtrak come out, DTE. Last year, we did an event on the autonomous vehicle. We try to stay on top of current events and parlay them into events. “

At their holiday event, they hosted a panel of Michigan entrepreneurs discussing how they built their businesses. At their annual meeting, the economic forecast was done, not by an economist, but by the president of Michigan Municipal League, the president of the Detroit Regional Chamber and Oakland County’s workforce development staff.

“They’re not throwing numbers on a screen. They’re going to focus on certain issues that pertain to the economy that they see from their vantage points. That’s different and attractive to people who want to know about that,” says Topouzian. “It’s those kinds of unique events that really set us apart. We’re always trying to one up ourselves in what we do.”

And they always solicit feedback from their members so they can continue to fine tune their offerings to their audience.

Their 60th Anniversary presents a great opportunity to dazzle with a full year of events, workshops and promotions focused on growth and opportunities in the Troy business community.

“It’s going to be a year-long birthday party for us,” says Topouzian. “It’s exciting for us because we can tweak a little bit of what we’re doing throughout the year. We’re going to be taking some of our signature events and theming them toward the 60th.”

They recently announced that the Mercantile Bank of Michigan will be partnering with the Chamber as the 60th anniversary sponsor.

Mercantile Bank of Michigan was founded in 1997 by directors and bankers who firmly believed that the customers, employees, and the communities they live in are best served by financial institutions with local ties. They expanded into Troy in 2017.

“We understand the importance of building strong community partnerships and couldn’t be happier to help support the Chamber in their efforts,” said Todd Witmer, Mercantile Bank’s Metro-Market President, SVP.  “It was a perfect fit for us, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Chamber throughout 2019.”

When Edward Rusin first founded the Chamber in 1959 there were fewer than 100 businesses in Troy and today the area boasts 6,146. In 60 years, the names and faces of the Chamber may have changed, but it’s focus hasn’t.

“Troy Chamber is as relevant to the business community today as it was in 1959,” says Topouzian. “Serving our members to help them grow their business has been our main directive for the past 60 years. I look forward to celebrating our year-long birthday with our members!”

For more information call 248.641.8151 or e-mail: theteam@troychamber.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LATEST TROY POSTS

Royal Oak – February 13, 2019

Royal Oak – February 13, 2019

Meet the Women of the Royal Oak Police Department

Interested in law enforcement? Come meet the female officers of the Royal Oak Police Department and discover the personal rewards of a law enforcement career on Wednesday, February 27 at 6 pm at the Royal Oak Police Station.  Young women, ages 16 and up, who are interested in a law enforcement career are invited to hear ROPD’s female officers provide insight and answer questions on:

  • Recruit training
  • Work-life balance
  • The personal rewards of being a Royal Oak police officer
  • Opportunities within the police department

The event is free and light refreshments will be provided.

“Our female officers have varied backgrounds. Their contributions and skills bring something unique and valuable to our department,” said Chief Corrigan O’Donohue. “This is a fantastic opportunity for young women looking for a challenging and rewarding career to spend time with and ask questions of our officers.”

For more information contact Sgt. Renaud at Karlyw@romi.gov. RSVP here.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade T-Shirt Fundraiser

It’s almost time – that one day of the year when everyone is Irish!  The Ancient Order of the Hibernians will host the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 16 and you can help fund the parade and look good doing it.  Get your comfy unisex parade t-shirt in short-sleeved or a baseball 3/4 sleeve t.  All profits are used by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians to conduct the parade. Order at  woodwardmovement.com/collections/city-of-royal-oak.

Jubilate Deo

In a special symphonic and choral performance, “Jubilate Deo” will bring to life the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text, “O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands.” By setting it in seven different languages and drawing from a wide spectrum of musical influences, each movement combines some characteristics of its language-group’s musical culture with the composer’s own musical language. The Earth sings as one in Liturgical Latin, Hebrew & Arabic intertwined, Mandarin Chinese, Zulu with African drums, and Spanish.

On Friday, March 15, at 8 pm, The Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra with John McLaughlin Williams directing and the Metropolitan Detroit Chorale with Pasquale Pascaretti directing will present “The Consecration of the House” by Ludwig van Beethoven and “Jubilate Deo” by Dan Forrest at the Seaholm Wagner Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (60+) and college students, and free for 18 and under. They are available at the concert or on-line at The Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra.

Discounted Tickets Through the Library

Get discounted tickets for the Harlem Globetrotters and Paw Patrol Live by using the Royal Oak Library promo code ROYALOAK at 313Presents.com/RoyalOakPublicLibrary. The Harlem Globetrotters will be playing Saturday, March 2 at 2 pm at Little Caesars Arena. Discounted prices are $48.50|$38.50|$28.50|$21.50 Paw Patrol Live is February 28 through March 3 at the Fox Theatre.  Discounted prices are $54.00|$44.00|$34.00|$26.00|$19.00.

Fun for the Family

Load the family in the car and set your GPS to the Royal Oak Farmers Market on March 9 to hear the “Bestest Concert Ever” from 5 to 8 pm, with performances by Bill Grogans Goat, Miss Paula and the Candy Bandits, The Burros, Motor City Irish Dance, and Detroit Youth Volume. In addition to the concert, enjoy activities such as animal fun with Dan the Creature Man, red carpet photos, a crazy hair salon, face painting, cupcake decorating and a silent auction. Mac Shack, Mean Weenie and The Little Donut Factory will be on site as well as Dark Horse Brewery for food and drink. And, new this year is the famous Upside-Down Van. All the profits for the evening go to the Royal Oak Optimist Club. Tickets are $5.00 per person, children under 3 free. Advance tickets are available at royaloakoptimists.org. For more information, call 248.246.3276 or email Paula Messner at actingoutkids@yahoo.com.

Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

citynewseditor@localbiznews.net
To share your news, announcements, and events, please email citynewseditor@localbiznews.net
Clawson – February 13, 2019

Clawson – February 13, 2019

Coffee and Crocheting

Get to know your fellow Clawson business owners, have a cup of coffee and pick up a new hobby (or some new yarn) with the Clawson Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber Coffee will be at The Yarn Stop, 25 S. Main Street, Clawson on Monday, February 18 at 8:30 am. For more information, call 248.435.6500 or email ClawsonChamberOfCommerce@gmail.com.

Are Your Ready For Spring?

Believe it or not, spring is coming and with it growing grass and shrubs. Billing’s Lawn Equipment is now open in Clawson with a selection of mowers, edgers, pruners, trimmers and everything else you need to manage your yard. Stop by and visit them at their new location at 1241 W 14 Mile Rd, Clawson, or call 248.556.2125.

See Art and Make Art

Join Clawson Seniors for Thursdays at the DIA and Art-Making with Mosaics on Thursday, February 21. Take a trip downtown to the Detroit Institute of Arts to make a simple mosaic using a variety of art-making materials or explore the museum on your own. Transportation is $3 and will depart at 12:15 pm from the Clawson Senior Center. For more information or to register, call 248.583.6700 or visit cityofclawson.com.

A History of Detroit’s Eastern Market

Founded in the 1800s, Detroit’s Eastern Market has become a cornerstone of the community. It’s the largest historic public market district in the United States and a beloved icon of Metro Detroit.

Come listen to Lisa Rush, co-author of “Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market,” talk about its history on Monday, February 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the library.

Right Time for Murder

The famous mystery novel Right Time for Murder is being presented for the first time onstage. The author, Evan Carmichael, finds himself entangled in a chaotic, yet elegant event where actors quit before the show, the stage manager is having a nervous breakdown, and the publicist is just plain cruel.  All antics and craziness aside, Right Time for Murder unfolds into a tight-knit murder mystery from the 1920s. Done as a play within a play, we see what truth really means or if it’s all just fiction.

Performances of this dinner theatre murder mystery will be presented by Acting Out Kids at Kirk in the Hills:

Friday, March 22 at 7 pm

Saturday, March 23 at 7 pm

Sunday, March 24 at 6 pm

Tickets are $18.00 and include a full dinner. They are available at the Hunter Community Center in Clawson, on Eventbrite, or by contacting actingoutkids@yahoo.com. This is a family-friendly event but may not be suitable for children ages 5 and younger.

Sponsorship opportunities and program ads are also available. Prices are $30 – $150. The deadline is March 9.

Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

citynewseditor@localbiznews.net

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email citynewseditor@localbiznews.net

Birmingham – February 13, 2019

Birmingham – February 13, 2019

Birmingham Schools Offers Training for Violent Intruder Situations

Birmingham Public Schools is working with local law enforcement and the ALICE Training Institute to provide training for violent intruder situations. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) is a program designed to help individuals or groups make informed choices when faced with a violent intruder. Learn more at ALICE. Please join the district and Birmingham Police Department’s Commander Scott Grewe on Wednesday, February 13, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the Birmingham Covington School media center. Contact alice@birmingham.k12.mi.us for more information.

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Fire Department Adds Advance Life Support

The Birmingham Fire Department is always looking for ways to implement the latest technology and procedures to keep the public safe. Most recently, they have added to their Advance Life Support capabilities with an upgrade to Engine 2.  In the event the city’s ambulance is on another run or otherwise engaged, Engine 2 now also has life-saving medical equipment, similar to an ALS ambulance. This equipment includes a LifePak 15 monitor/defibrillator, ALS cardiac drugs, oxygen and much more. The Department’s next goal is to have staffing for a second ambulance to be stationed at Birmingham Fire Station No. 2 at all times. For more information on the programs and services of the Birmingham Fire Department, please visit bhamgov.org/fire.

Put Your Name on Birmingham’s Hometown Parade

The Celebrate Birmingham Hometown Parade and After Party needs you! Whether you own a business, are part of a civic group or are an individual, the 2019 parade is offering an opportunity to showcase your community presence while being an integral part of one of the city’s signature events.

“Our sponsorship packages range from the extensive to the affordable,” said Birmingham City Clerk Cherilynn Mynsberge. “We invite the community to consider being part of this family friendly event in downtown Birmingham by being a sponsor.”

The 2019 parade will recognize volunteers, a critical element in the operation of the city, the state and nation. “This is our way of saying thank you to those who volunteer their time, talent and energy for the betterment of all,” Mynsberge said.

For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact the City Clerk’s office at 248.530.1880 or email cmynsberge@bhamgov.org.

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Support Groves Charity Week

In 2008, West Maple kindergartner six-year-old Matthew Bittker lost his battle with Neuroblastoma. The Matthew Bittker Foundation was founded by his family to raise money for pediatric cancer research, supporting pioneering clinical trials and research. Matthew’s twin sister will graduate from Groves High School this June and the school has dedicated this year’s charity week to raising $60,000 for the Matthew Bittker Foundation. A week of charity events and activities at school has brought them close to the goal, but they still need help. You can donate on the foundation’s website.

How to Protect Your Life Savings

Join Collin Dickey, Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney from the Rutkowski Law Firm, for a presentation on asset protection on Wednesday, February 20 at noon at Birmingham Next. Given the current global and economic situation, many people are concerned about losing their savings. Learn the most common mistakes families make and how to avoid them and protect your assets. Planning for illness, disability or death can help protect your spouse and other family members. The discussion will include how to qualify for Medicaid, Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits The program is free for members and $5 for non-members. Register at Birmingham Next or call 248.203.5270.

Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

citynewseditor@localbiznews.net
To share your news, announcements, and events, please email citynewseditor@localbiznews.net
Troy – February 13, 2019

Troy – February 13, 2019

The Ridgedale Players Get Mysterious, and Funny!

Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python, and you have an intriguing, thrilling, riotous, and unmissable comedy.  A man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy.  When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on the man’s trail in a nationwide manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale. Performances are March 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for seniors.

Taste of Troy Benefits Boys & Girls Club

Celebrate an around-the-world taste fest at the 27th annual Taste of Troy on Sunday, March 3 from 1 to 4 pm at the San Marino Club.

In addition to mouth-watering food samplings, Taste of Troy attendees can bid on gift baskets, sports tickets, spa, hotel and restaurant gift certificates in the silent auction, enjoy music and participate in a live auction with WDIV TV 4 meteorologist Andrew Humphrey.  The live auction will include bidding on either an Safari for two at South Africa’s Zulu Nyala Game Reserve or a week of luxury in a 10,000 sq. ft. villa with a pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Villa Aves del Paraiso on the Santiago Peninsula near Manzanillo, Mexico.

“What could be more fun than savoring the delicious cuisine, enjoying great music, live and silent auctions and winning raffles — while raising money for a great cause — the Boys & Girls Club?  Proceeds from the event will help the organization provide a safe place for 1,200 young people to interact, learn, grow and develop into contributing members of this community,” said Jeff Evans, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

The Boys & Girls Club of Troy is a non-profit youth development organization that provides educational and recreational activities to more than 1,200 children, ages 6 to 18, in Oakland and Macomb counties. The goal of the Club’s positive environment is to enable members to become responsible, self-reliant, caring adults.

Participating restaurants include Achatz Handmade Pie Company, Beaumont Health, Billy Sims Barbeque, Brio Tuscan Grill, Cantoro Italian Trattoria, Cedar Grille, Edible Arrangements, Fogo de Chao, Fox & Hounds Pastry Den, Granite City Food & Brewery, Ingram’s Candies, Kona Grill, La Marsa, La Saj Lebanese Bistro, LoLo Potluck Mediterranean, Maggiano’s Little Italy, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, The Melting Pot, Mission BBQ, Noni’s Grill, Noodles & Company, Picano’s Italian Grille, Priya Indian Cuisine, Ridley’s Bakery Café, Seasons 52, Sedona Taphouse, Shield’s of Troy, Smashburger, Sweet Waters Coffee & Tea, Sy Thai, and Tim Hortons Troy.

Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door. Call 248.689.1687 or purchase online.

Have a Heart Healthy Thursday

Heart disease affects millions of Americans and accounts for 1 of every 4 deaths each year. Learn about the basics of heart health, risk factors and management, and a heart-healthy diet from Cate Spurr, ACSM-CEP of the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, at Healthy Heart Thursday on February 14, from 1 to 3 pm at the Troy Community Center. Join DMC Cardiac Rehab for an informative presentation and light refreshments. Call 248.524.3484 for more information.

Celebrating the Troy Chamber’s 60th Anniversary

The kanun is a many-stringed Middle Eastern lap harp. Ara Topouzian is a master of the kanun and a popular Armenian folk music performer. He is also the mastermind behind the Troy Chamber of Commerce and many of its contributions to the success of Troy businesses.

Although music and commerce may seem opposites or, at least, unrelated, it was a more or less straight line from the kanun’s strings to the Chamber for Topouzian.

As a musician, Topouzian realized that he needed recordings of his music to get gigs, so he created a record label for himself. He landed a distributor who got his recordings into all the big record stores and then onto iTunes. He became a nationally known artist, playing concerts and festivals around the country. Back home, he was awarded a prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship. And he created “The Guardians of Music,” a documentary about the history of Armenian music in Detroit which aired on PBS.

In the meantime, he was still running a recording studio with an office in Farmington Hills.

As the owner of a small business, says Topouzian, “I thought I should join the chamber of commerce and see what that’s all about.”

Membership led to a seat on the board and then a paid position planning events for the Farmington Hills Chamber, vice presidency and then presidency. After ten years, Topouzian was ready for a new challenge and moved on to Novi as its Economic Development Director.

In 2013, Topouzian brought his unique blend of creativity and economic development acumen to a new role as the Troy Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.

This year the Troy Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 60th anniversary and Topouzian took the opportunity to share the secret sauce that makes the Troy Chamber a successful resource for its members.

When Topouzian first took the reins of the Troy Chamber, he visited businesses asking what they wanted to get out of chamber membership. He visited non-members to find out what would make them want to join.

“It’s not my chamber. That’s my mantra. It’s the members’,” says Topouzian.

“We try to be all things to all people,” he says. “One of the things that’s changed in 60 years is not doing one-size-fits-all events. Presidents of major corporations are not coming to events where a guy is selling a widget. So, what you have to do is you have to create events that will bring different folks together in different realms.”

The Troy Chamber has a tiered membership structure which offers different levels of benefits. The president of a large corporation, for example, may pay more dues but have the opportunity to attend a presidents’ breakfast at no cost.

“At that level,” says Topouzian. “They’re building relationships. They’re not doing lead generation.”

Since the Chamber first opened its doors sixty years ago, people no longer join their local chambers of commerce just because ‘it’s the right thing to do.’ They expect to get something specifically worthwhile to their business when they pay dues and take time to attend an event.

“Ten to fifteen years ago, chambers could be more social, and they did their networking around social type events, like a festival or a raffle or a parade. We don’t do a lot of that anymore,” says Topouzian. “That doesn’t fulfill our mission and what our members want.”

“We know the types of benefits and programming that will help their business, whether it’s helping them save money or market or putting them in touch with the right people so they can build relationships.”

The creativity that makes Topouzian a successful artist, small business owner and chamber professional is what helps him keep the Troy Chamber’s offerings fresh and relevant. His members, he says want quality programming and they need a reason to keep coming.

“Most of our events are unique,” he says. “We try to avoid ‘been there, heard that.’ We do a CEO series. We bring in CEOs from the area, people our members haven’t seen. Food lab – They’re doing work of a different scale. We’ve had Amtrak come out, DTE. Last year, we did an event on the autonomous vehicle. We try to stay on top of current events and parlay them into events. “

At their holiday event, they hosted a panel of Michigan entrepreneurs discussing how they built their businesses. At their annual meeting, the economic forecast was done, not by an economist, but by the president of Michigan Municipal League, the president of the Detroit Regional Chamber and Oakland County’s workforce development staff.

“They’re not throwing numbers on a screen. They’re going to focus on certain issues that pertain to the economy that they see from their vantage points. That’s different and attractive to people who want to know about that,” says Topouzian. “It’s those kinds of unique events that really set us apart. We’re always trying to one up ourselves in what we do.”

And they always solicit feedback from their members so they can continue to fine tune their offerings to their audience.

Their 60th Anniversary presents a great opportunity to dazzle with a full year of events, workshops and promotions focused on growth and opportunities in the Troy business community.

“It’s going to be a year-long birthday party for us,” says Topouzian. “It’s exciting for us because we can tweak a little bit of what we’re doing throughout the year. We’re going to be taking some of our signature events and theming them toward the 60th.”

They recently announced that the Mercantile Bank of Michigan will be partnering with the Chamber as the 60th anniversary sponsor.

Mercantile Bank of Michigan was founded in 1997 by directors and bankers who firmly believed that the customers, employees, and the communities they live in are best served by financial institutions with local ties. They expanded into Troy in 2017.

“We understand the importance of building strong community partnerships and couldn’t be happier to help support the Chamber in their efforts,” said Todd Witmer, Mercantile Bank’s Metro-Market President, SVP.  “It was a perfect fit for us, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Chamber throughout 2019.”

When Edward Rusin first founded the Chamber in 1959 there were fewer than 100 businesses in Troy and today the area boasts 6,146. In 60 years, the names and faces of the Chamber may have changed, but it’s focus hasn’t.

“Troy Chamber is as relevant to the business community today as it was in 1959,” says Topouzian. “Serving our members to help them grow their business has been our main directive for the past 60 years. I look forward to celebrating our year-long birthday with our members!”

For more information call 248.641.8151 or e-mail: theteam@troychamber.com.

 

Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

citynewseditor@localbiznews.net
To share your news, announcements, and events, please email citynewseditor@localbiznews.net