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Project Manager Turns Lay-off into Sweet Career

Project Manager Turns Lay-off into Sweet Career

Project Manager Turns Lay-off into Sweet Career



LBN Community Series

With more than 4,000 square feet of sweet treats, Doc Sweets’ Candy Company LLC is a delight.

David Sklena, 51, of Shelby Township, opened the shop 10 years ago.

“I worked in project management for a number of years and wanted to open my own store. Candy really fit in to what I really liked,” said Sklena. “I was working in project management for Program Planning Professionals, setting up different lines, organization and budgets. I wanted control of my life back.”



It turns out that getting laid off in 2007 was just what he needed to start his second career as a candy man.

He spent a full year researching industries and candy was the perfect fit.

“Candy isn’t recession resistant,” he said. “We opened Nov. 10, 2008. Right in the middle of the recession. But all the people telling me this is not going to work motivated me.”

He chose the name using his initials: DS. He landed on “Doc,” and the rest just came together. A by-product is his new nickname, Doc.

“I didn’t plan on it being called that, but it’s OK,” he said.

Sklena said 10 years have flown by, and since opening in Clawson, the store has expanded and racked up a wall full of awards and recognition ranging from HOUR Detroit to Local 4 News.

Doc Sweets’ is laid out categorically. Sour candy such as Toxic Waste and Sour Patch Kids. All 72 flavors of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans are cozied up together and on the opposite wall, M&Ms in every color line the walls. The variety of candy in between in mind boggling: candy cigarettes (now called candy sticks), candy buttons, chocolates, gummies, seasonal goodies and more.

“Customer requests drive stock. We try carrying everything,” said Sklena. “When we first started I never guessed we’d have 4,000 square feet of candy. If they make it, we want to carry it.”

The store also stocks a variety of novelty candy as well.

“I’ve probably tried 95 percent of the things in the store. Even the bugs. They’re pretty popular with kids. Adults like the crickets to mess with people—crickets melt in your mouth. They’re actually good for you: low in fat, high in protein,” said Sklena. “But black licorice candy with salt is one of the only candies I’ve ever spit out.”

As a sponsor of the Michigan Pez Convention, Doc Sweets’ Candy Company also carries the latest Pez dispenser designs.

“We have a lot of Pez collectors who call us when the new ones come out. It’s a huge market. I thought wholesale was going to be our big thing, but no, it’s been retail,” said Sklena.

Even if you’re in the market for a little something more, Doc Sweets’ can help. The store has more than 600 bulk items available, so weddings and special events are easily manageable.

“We do a lot of parties, weddings, birthday parties,” said Sklena. “People have a party and candy bars are hugely popular. It’s been really popular over the past five to six years. People really seem to enjoy it. And a lot of them want to do it in their wedding colors or if they have a theme, so if you need aqua blue candy, we have options. If you need 25 cent boxes of candy, 1,000 pounds of candy, this is going to be the only place you can come to do that.”

“It’s the place to go to for that one candy you have to have…It’s so easy to pop in for one thing, but it’s not easy to leave with just one thing.”

Marie Fleischer, 64, of Clawson, stops in Docs Sweets’ around once a month.

For Fleischer, her relationship with candy began 10 years ago when she decided to quit smoking. There was a candy store near the bakery where she worked, so she’d stop in and buy strawberry licorice pinwheels. In the beginning, she figures she’d spend $60 per week on licorice.

Now that she’s retired, and the nicotine addiction has subsided, she finds herself in Docs when she’s out running errands.

“It’s the place to go to for that one candy you have to have,” Fleischer said. “It’s so easy to pop in for one thing, but it’s not easy to leave with just one thing.”

She counts on the team at Doc Sweets’ for their expertise. Recently, she was in the shop asking about a particular mint. She wanted to know which one melted in your mouth faster.

“A clerk at CVS wouldn’t know that,” she said.

Sklena is proud of the team he’s put together at the store, and one day, hopes to share the experience with his 2-year-old son, Romeo.

“One thing I’m really looking forward to is that he can come to work with me and really building this up as a family business,” he said. “But even after 10 years, I’m still buying bags of candy to take home. It’s still a treat to me as well.”

135 N Rochester Road
Clawson, MI 48017













Royal Oak – November 28, 2018

Royal Oak – November 28, 2018

Chamber Soiree

The Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Holiday Soiree on Tuesday, December 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. upstairs at Fifth Avenue. Enjoy musical entertainment, food provided by local restaurants, a cash bar and Royal Oak Trivia. Brush up on your Royal Oak history and get ready to win some fun prizes! It will be a fun and festive networking opportunity. Tickets are $20 per person. Register.


Royal Oak Orchestra Holiday

Nothing brings holiday cheer like music. Starting with pre-concert entertainment by The Gentlemen Songsters, the Royal Oak Orchestra will light up the holiday season with A Canadian Brass Christmas
Suite from the Opera, “The Snow Maiden” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Carol Symphony by Victor Hely-Hutchinson, and The King and I by Richard Rodgers. The orchestra will play under the direction of John McLaughlin Williams on Friday, December 7 at 8 p.m. at Royal Oak Middle School, Dondero Auditorium.

Tickets are available at or at the ticket desk on December 7. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $12 for Seniors (60+) or college students and free for ages 18 and under. Or purchase a package of four flex tickets. Call (248) 549-0262 with questions.

Were There Dinosaurs in Royal Oak?

On December 8, from 2 to 3 p.m., you can explore the Geological Features of Tenhave Woods. Find out what the area looked like thousands or millions of years ago and why Royal Oak is so flat. Or is it? Meet at the Lexington entrance for a fascinating trip through geological time. The walk is free, open to the public and does not require preregistration.

Royal Oak Holiday Glow

Come to Washington Avenue in downtown Royal Oak for the traditional and the spectacular on Friday, December 7 from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 from 12 to 10 p.m. The Royal Oak Holiday Glow will feature traditional holiday fun such as photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, live reindeer, horse drawn carriage rides, letters to Santa and caroling. Step out of the cold and into a Winter Market, with hot beverages, bar and music in a warming tent on Fifth Ave. Collect cookies during the Cookie Crawl on Saturday from 1 – 6 p.m. Marvel at live ice carving demonstrations each day. And for a fabulous finale, massive hot-air balloons will peek above the treetops and buildings in Downtown Royal Oak. Gather to see the balloons glow, like large holiday bulbs and illuminate the sky. Children will have an opportunity to look inside the baskets and pull the rope to the burners. At the end of the night, the pilots will host a synchronize flicker event, weather permitting. If the winds are too strong for the hot air balloons, there will be a Torch of Fire event. Some activities require tickets.


Auditions for “Sondheim on Sondheim”

Be a part of this tribute to one of musical theatre’s greatest composers and lyricists. The eight-member cast will perform two dozen songs intertwined with video of interviews with Sondheim and photos and clips from his life and work. Auditions will be December 10 and 11 on Stagecrafters 2nd Stage. Registration is 6:30 p.m. and auditions begin at 7 p.m. both days. Performances will be March 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10. More information.

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email
Clawson – November 28, 2018

Clawson – November 28, 2018

Go Under the Sea with Clawson High School’s Production of The Little Mermaid

Go under the sea with Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter as she makes a bargain with Ursula the Sea Witch to trade her tail for legs, so she can pursue Prince Eric in the world above. The bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. Enjoy irresistible classics such as “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World,” as Ariel finds her heart’s desire. Fun for all ages on Thursday & Friday, December 6 and 7 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 8 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students.

Make a Handmade Gift for Someone Special

A charm bracelet is a charming holiday gift. Make one for someone you love at a special workshop at the Blair Memorial Library on Monday, December 10 at 7 p.m. Class size is limited, so call (248) 588-5500 soon to reserve your place.



Grow Something Special for our Seniors

Do you have a green thumb? The Senior Center is looking for a volunteer to water their plants. Please call Kathy at (248) 583-6700 if you can help.

Step Out to Lunch at the Clawson Steakhouse

The Senior Center Lunch Bunch will make their annual visit to the Clawson Steakhouse on Monday, December 10. Transportation is free and departs the Senior Center at 12:30pm. Enjoy a great afternoon of delicious food and lively conversation. Register by Thursday, December 6. If you are driving yourself, please call the center at (248) 583-6700 to be included in the reservation.

Get out of the Cold with a Good Book

On December 19, from 1 to 2 p.m., join the Wednesday Afternoon Book Club at the Blair Memorial Library to read from “Standard Deviation” by Katherine Heiny.

Graham Cavanaugh’s second wife, Audra, is everything his first wife was not. She considers herself privileged to live in the age of the hair towel, talks non-stop through her epidural, labor and delivery, invites the doorman to move in and the eccentric members of their son’s Origami Club to Thanksgiving. She is charming and spontaneous and fun but life with her can be exhausting. In the midst of the day-to-day difficulties and delights of marriage and raising a child with Asperger’s, his first wife, Elspeth, reenters Graham’s life. Former spouses are hard to categorize–are they friends, enemies, old flames, or just people who know you really, really well? Graham starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did he make the right choice? Is there a right choice?

Please reserve your copy and register for this free program in the library or by phone at (248) 588-5500.

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email
Troy – November 28, 2018

Troy – November 28, 2018

Shop for your History Buffs

Come out to the Troy Historic Village for a special evening of holiday shopping with complimentary refreshments, appetizers, festive music and gift wrapping on Thursday December 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. Troy Historical Society members enjoy a 25 percent discount and non-members a 20 percent discount on all merchandise. The Village Gift Shop features a wide variety of unique, locally-made gifts. Admission to the Gift Shop is free.


Practice for the SAT

The Troy Public Library is holding a free SAT Practice Exam at the Library courtesy of the Troy Sylvan Learning Center on Saturday, December 8 from 12 to 3 p.m. Registration is required. Register online or by calling (248) 524-3541. Because demand for this program is high, students who register but do not attend or cancel their registration beforehand will be put on a waiting list for any future exams.  A follow-up information session for teens and parents will be held on Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m. At the information session, students will receive their scores and learn tips for making improvements from a Sylvan Learning Center representative.

Decorate for Wildlife with Santa

Santa loves watching wild animals. If you like to watch them too, putting out edible decorations will help attract them. Come make some with Santa on Saturday, December 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Stage Nature Center. Santa will tell a few tales about animals he has seen. Everyone will talk with Santa personally, and receive a small gift from him. Bring your cameras and take pictures of your little ones with Santa. A member of the TNS Photo Club will also be available to take pictures. The price will be $10 for two 5 x 7’s. The program includes, snacks, the craft and a short hike. So, come dressed for the weather. Children must be registered and accompanied by an adult. The fee is $16 per child. Adults are free. New this year, maple syrup products will also be available for sale. Great gifts and stocking stuffers!


What Would You Like to Know About Troy Schools?

Superintendent Dr. Richard Machesky wants to talk! Come out and ask your questions at Chat with the Superintendent on Thursday, December 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Administration Building, 4400 Livernois. Or check out the Superintendent’s PODCASTS.

Chemical Bank Welcomes New Chief Marketing Officer

Chemical Bank announced the addition of Tom Wennerberg as Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Wennerberg will work with his team to further develop the Bank’s consumer, commercial, and wealth management marketing strategies to enhance the brand and support the growth of its 100+-year legacy. In addition, he will focus on optimizing the Bank’s digital capabilities.

“Tom brings a strong understanding of integrated, multi-channel marketing strategies and marketing analytics. His extensive experience will be beneficial to the Bank as we enhance our digital capabilities throughout the company, enabling us to provide an outstanding customer experience,” said Chris McComish, EVP and Chief Banking Officer of Chemical Bank.

“I am thrilled to join a high growth organization such as Chemical Bank. I will be focused on optimizing the Bank’s digital capabilities to further strengthen customer engagement and experience, as well as continuing the work to build the brand as we move into new markets and expand in legacy markets,” said Tom.

Prior to joining Chemical Bank, Wennerberg, a Michigan native, served as Executive Vice President, Data, Client Insights and Marketing, of KeyBank in Cleveland, Ohio, where he led his team in building the brand, enhancing analytics capabilities, and optimizing integrated marketing campaigns.

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email
Birmingham – November 28, 2018

Birmingham – November 28, 2018

Are You a Skating Star?

It’s time to lace up your skates and get ready for the Birmingham Ice Show. The show will be May 10 and 11, 2019. To participate, fill out and submit the application along with payment on or before Friday, December 21. Completed applications and payment may be dropped off in the mailbox outside the Birmingham Ice Arena’s Learn to Skate office or in the main office during office hours: Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Applications received after December 21 will be assessed a $25.00 late fee.

Find the Elves!

Some elves have escaped Birmingham’s Wintermarkt celebration. They have scattered themselves around the Library. How many can you find? Come search all day on November 30 and December 1.


Holiday Mixer

The BBChamber will hold their annual holiday mixer at the Birmingham Athletic Club on Wednesday, December 12, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber has over 700 business members from diverse industries, representing 6 communities – Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and Franklin with over 25,000 households. Membership is an excellent way to connect with other members of the local business community. Registration for the mixer is $40 per Person or $50 the day of the event.

Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Search Nearing Completion

Former Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Daniel Nerad retired from the district last spring and Interim Superintendent John Silveri is serving until a permanent replacement is found. The Board has been working with a search firm to help with hiring a new Superintendent for the district, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. They held a series of community forums to help create candidate profile for their search. The Board anticipates selecting a candidate following interviews in late November and early December.

“We are very grateful for the engagement we’ve received from the community throughout this process thus far,” said Kim Whitman, BPS Board President. “Selecting a superintendent is a responsibility that we as a Board do not take lightly. The input we’ve gathered from the community will help us select candidates that represent the specific needs of the Birmingham Public Schools. We expect to find a dynamic leader that will help us move the district forward.”

Event hours are Friday, November 30, from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, December 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, a complete entertainment schedule and event map, visit

Groves and Seaholm Math Whizzes

The following students from Groves and Seaholm have qualified for Part II of the Michigan Mathematics Prize competition. The finalists will compete in Part II on December 5. The top 50 students in the state will be presented with scholarships ranging from awards of $250 to $2,500. These students are among the top 1,000 students of the more than 6,000 students in the State of Michigan who participated in Part I to qualify for Part II.

Groves – Kyle Alkatib, Zac Chentouf, Jacob Flaherty, Claire Hornburg, Hadi Juratli, Linday Martin, Ethan Podolsky, Scott Rolf, Eden Sherman, Jay Stansberry

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email