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Seeing 2020: Business Cheerleader’s Advice For Success in New Year

Seeing 2020: Business Cheerleader’s Advice For Success in New Year

Seeing 2020: Business Cheerleader’s Advice for Success in New Year



LBN Community Series


Every business needs a cheerleader, and Tisha Hammond has been one for small businesses for the last five years. Her Farmington Hills-based Ascent Small Business Promotion LLC, popularly known as From Launch to Ascent, offers consulting services, online training, inspirational talks, business retreats and more.

While Hammond calls her blog Pep Talk, she’s by no means just a pompom-brandishing cheerleader. She was a badge-and-gun-carrying police officer for 10 years. She spent 21 years working for the government, the last part of that service conducting equal employment opportunity investigations.




There’s something both tough and soft about her, though, most likely because of the road that led to where she is today.

In 2014, both her brother and sister, neither of them yet 40, died. In addition, she and her husband mourned the passing that year of 24 other people they knew. It was a tragic year that ended with a “moment of clarity,” she said.

On Nov. 29, 2014 — yes, she recalls the exact date — she had a dream that featured the Ascent logo in its blue and gold colors and the “Small Business Cheerleader” tagline. “It was one of those dreams I didn’t forget,” she said.

Not much later, she took a test at work to find her “dream job,” which came up as either in public affairs — her husband’s field — or as a small-business promoter. “I said, ‘What’s a small business promoter?’ ” she said with a laugh.

Once she learned, she realized that, through all her employee interviews over the years, she encountered so many people who would rather be doing something else for a living. They weren’t living their passions. Ascent Small Business Promotion was born as a home-based business devoted to helping people make money doing what they love.
A place of her own

Hammond ran Ascent out of her home from January 2015 through March 2017 while still working for the government. In 2018, she retired, going full-time with Ascent in March of that year. That’s when she opened her office, an appointment-only consulting space that includes a meeting room for clients and an area for in-person training sessions.

Positive sayings adorn the walls of her office, which features a flat-screen television, plus a small treadmill and a stair-stepper, so she can get in some exercise while conducting calls or catching the news.

Adjacent to her office sits her husband’s photography and videography company. Hammond sometimes borrows his equipment to record videos or snap photos for her business’ social media pages. Before her interview with Local Business News, she posted a video saying she was praying for clarity in conveying her message — an idea that’s relevant for all business owners.

Hammond, who’s a small-business owner herself and an expert in equal opportunity and human resources issues, counsels and trains clients around the world. “My clients are health-care providers, ‘solopreneurs,’ nonprofits, corporations, agencies, small boutiques,” she said. They run the gamut of industries, but all of them can benefit from a few pieces of advice, she said.

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To start 2020, Hammond offered 10 pointers for small businesses:


  1. Build community. “Envelope yourself in a community — a team of people who will fuel you, share resources, help you change course when necessary, introduce clients,” said Hammond, who has done this throughout her career. She keeps a networking table with business cards from her clients and associates, and she never discounts the value of belonging to an organization of like-minded people. A fellow member of the Greater Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce, for example, helped connect her to a women’s organization in Bosnia. She formed a partnership with that organization to teach classes for her online training academy.
  2. Know your financials. “The IRS will consider your business a hobby if you’re not profitable,” Hammond said. It’s important to work toward making a profit and know what it takes to get there.
  3. Get a mentor. If a natural mentor hasn’t emerged for you, or if you’re shy about asking someone, check out, Hammond suggests.
  4. Build capacity, and prepare for scaling. Hammond tells stories about people who had a product, did a media interview and then received more orders than they could fill. It’s a good problem to have, but it can be avoided, she said. Think in terms of scalability. Devise ways to contract for extra help as needed, or build an inventory you can draw upon.
  5. Invest your own money. “You have to put some skin in the game,” said Hammond, noting that five years ago she would have advised clients not to use their own money for startup costs. With experience, she’s learned that if you have invested dollars, you’re going to work that much harder on your business.
  6. Do your legwork. “I have to find people where they are,” Hammond says. That means email, Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest. For her part, Hammond is calling people from whom she’s collected business cards and asking for their email addresses so she can send them the weekly newsletter, Inspiration for Your Inbox, she plans to start. That’s something she wouldn’t have done five years ago, but recognizes the need for today.
  1. Use your time wisely. Five years ago, Hammond said, she would have told business owners to go to every networking event they could find. Now, she says, business owners need to be selective and go to those that make sense. She advises putting the phone away, too; mindless Facebook and LinkedIn scrolling wastes time you could be spending on other things.
  2. Understand the importance of self-care. “Self-care is crucial and no less important for entrepreneurs,” Hammond says. She suggests regular exercise — remember, she has exercise equipment right in her office — as well as limiting late-night work and finding inspiration wherever possible. When you need a boost, seek out an inspiring story, call a friend or talk to your mentor, she suggests.
9, Find the right price point, and pay attention to expenses. This goes along with finances, but Hammond advises knowing what you’re worth and being prepared for expenses like office supplies, rent and utilities if you’re in a physical office. Also, be prepared for people to offer you a lower price point, and have a strategy to either say no or find a path to getting the amount you want.

  1. ” ‘No’ is a complete sentence, and there’s always a path to yes,” says Hammond. Hammond advises a succinct “no” when something doesn’t feel right or goes against your values. She also tells people that there’s always a path to getting what you want. If the answer to whether someone will do business with you is no for now, you can find a way to get to yes if you’re creative and smart. If someone won’t pay what you’re worth now, work toward showing your value and finding a path to that amount.

In other words, don’t give up.  

Ascent Small Business Promotion LLC is available by appointment only.

Ascent Small Business Promotion LLC
37460 Hills Tech Drive
Farmington Hills, MI 48331













Farmington Flower Shop Has 19th-Century Roots

Farmington Flower Shop Has 19th-Century Roots

Farmington Flower Shop Has 19th-Century Roots

LBN Community Series


In 1932, Imogene Ely Bicking was still living on her family’s 1800s farm at Power and Shiawassee roads in Farmington. At 40-something, she started making pottery and selling it at local markets, but she found it easier to sell with flowers in it. This was the birth of Springbrook Gardens Florist, located in an old barn that was once part of the Ely dairy farm.

Step inside the more than 150-year-old structure, whose rooms sit underneath Power Road, as owner Rick Hatfield points out, and it feels like not much has changed. Fieldstone walls hearken back to what Hatfield said is a circa 1832 foundation, with century-old greenhouses around back.


Indeed, Springbrook is as traditional as flower shops come these days, but that doesn’t mean the business hasn’t changed, said Hatfield, whose brother’s wife was a descendant of the shop’s founder, a woman he simply calls Mrs. Bicking.

“She was born and raised on this property,” Hatfield. “This is the last parcel of the original land.”

Hatfield is the youngest of three brothers whose family has owned the business since 1959. One brother retired, the other is semi-retired, and he’s in charge now.

Back in the day

Hatfield was an adolescent when his family purchased the shop, but he remembers when Farmington was more rural than suburban and when the Ely farm, once bounded by Shiawassee and 10 Mile roads, and east-west by Farmington and Orchard Lake roads,  was divided and sold to the Catholic church across the street and to Bellaire Subdivision’s builders.

“I could tell you so many stories,” Hatfield said. “People say we should write a book.”

Many of Hatfield’s stories begin with “back in the day.” For example, said Hatfield, the Elys grew potatoes on their farm during the Depression and sold them to customers desperate for filling, inexpensive food. It was one of the ways they were able to keep the farm “back in the day,” he said.

He also tells of Mrs. Bicking, who provided food for the American Indians living in what is today known as Orchard Lake Village. She had moved into the small house just south of the shop, which is still there today, and would put food in a basket outside, knowing they were too proud to beg but nevertheless hungry.

These stories have been passed on through the generations, but Hatfield has also seen many changes firsthand. For example, he’s seen one change in the florist industry that he’s happy with.

“People used to think of flowers only for the dead,” he said. Nowadays, people buy them as gifts and for home decorating.

However, big-box stores have also gotten into the flower business, leaving small flower shops struggling, he said. In the early 1990s, Springbrook was one of the top 20 florists in the country. Now, Kroger is the top flower seller, he said.

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“People buy a lot of stuff online,” which cuts into traditional flower shops’ profits, Hatfield said.  “The average florist shop is a novelty.”

Diversification and quality

Springbrook, named for Springbrook Place, which is what the land became known as after it was the Ely farm, does its share of cash-and-carry arrangements, wire-service sales, seasonal home decorating, and funeral and wedding floral services, said Hatfield. “We’re an old-time shop that does everything.”

But traditional floral services aren’t enough anymore. Most florist shops, even many local ones owned by people who worked for Springbrook “back in the day,” have diversified heavily into the giftware business, but not Springbrook, Hatfield said.

“Our specialty is cut flowers and plants,” he said. “We do it, and we do it right.”

Faced with the need to supplement flower sales, Springbrook diversified into growing plants and selling at markets, he said. The shop uses the greenhouses to “grow on,” or finish growing plants started elsewhere, and to house an array of perennials and cut flowers sold both in the store and at five different warm-weather markets.

Springbrook is also part of a co-op with other growers and florists that enables the members to trade and obtain a wide variety of plants and flowers.

The shop has a reputation for high-quality plants and flowers and for horticultural knowledge, Hatfield said. Customers ask questions about plants all the time because they know Springbrook’s expertise, he said.

What’s more, said Hatfield, “People know our quality.” Products that aren’t up to Hatfield’s standards simply aren’t sold, he said. “If I don’t want it, you aren’t gonna get it,” unless you take it for free, he added.

All in the family

Back in the 1970s, the Hatfields made some changes to the barn that houses their business. They moved the entrance to the north end of the shop, so that customers would enter above ground and step down into the main showroom. It used to sit on the south end, closest to Shiawassee Street, and customers would enter into what is now the consultation area.

The Hatfields also raised the ceiling of what is now the main showroom and work area, as it used to sit low, like what you might see in a Michigan basement. They kept the shop’s basic footprint and look, hiring an old-time mason to restore one of the stone walls, which was deteriorating. They brought the building up to code without modernizing it, and, Hatfield added, without adding any heat, as the underground shop stays fairly warm without it.

Stepping into the shop does feel a bit like stepping back in time, not only because of the way it looks, but because of its old-fashioned values.

“We’ve made a lot of friends over the years,” said Hatfield. “People have gotten to know us as ‘the brothers’ or ‘the flower guys.’ ”

Customers trust Springbrook to supply arrangements for many important life events ­ — the death of a loved one, a wedding, an illness, perhaps even a first date — and Hatfield and his six employees appreciate that, he said. “They’re not just customers. You build a relationship with people. We treat them like family.”

At 73, Hatfield still works in the shop daily and in the seasonal markets, and he’ll continue as long as he’s able, he said. Best of all, though, “This place will probably be standing long after you and I are gone,” he said.

Springbrook Gardens Florist is a monument to a time when farms dotted the landscape, but it’s also evidence that old-fashioned family businesses can survive in modern times.

Springbrook Gardens is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

23614 Power Road
Farmington, MI 48336













All-Things-Cheese Shop Has a Small-Town Feel

All-Things-Cheese Shop Has a Small-Town Feel

All-Things-Cheese Shop Has a Small-Town Feel

LBN Community Series
When Kendra Mantey walked into the Grand Rapids Cheese Lady, she fell in love.

“I went there a few times and just loved it a place where you could go and taste all these cheeses,” she said. “One time when I was there, I said to the owner, ‘We really need one of these on our side of the state.'”


The Grand Rapids Cheese Lady owner mentioned franchise opportunities to Mantey, who began selling cheeses with her husband, Joe, at the Farmington Farmers Market in 2014 and opened her Cheese Lady shop a stone’s throw from the downtown Farmington pavilion in November 2014. 

The Cheese Lady, originally founded in 2004 by Kathleen Fagan Riegler in Muskegon, now has six locations around Michigan and one more opening soon in St. Joseph. There’s the original Muskegon store plus stores in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Farmington and Rochester.

Each store is focused on cheese, with specials each month plus whatever other cheeses, accompaniments and gifts the owner decides to carry. Each owner is free to set business hours. Farmington is the only location open on Sundays, for example.

In keeping with the business name, all stores are owned by women. The owners get together regularly to share ideas and enjoy each other’s company, said Mantey. “We call ourselves the Sisterhood of Cheese,” she said.

The Cheese

The Cheese Lady in Farmington carries some 170 cheeses from around the world, said Mantey, noting that about 80 percent of the cheese-board listings stay the same and 20 percent are seasonal or other special offerings. Favorites include Cotswold, a young cheddar with chives and onions; Midnight Moon, a goat cheese that’s made in Holland and has a nutty, buttery flavor; and Chevre, a French goat cheese.

Unique cheese offerings carried only at The Cheese Lady in Farmington and at the Michigan State University dairy store are MSU cheeses made at the campus dairy plant, said Mantey. Another unique offering is cheese made at the Traffic Jam & Snug restaurant in Detroit. 

Right now, The Cheese Lady in Farmington is offering Alps cheeses, made the old-fashioned way with milk from cows that graze on grass as they travel up the Alps Mountains. “It’s about as pure and natural as you can get,” said Mantey. The Alps cheeses are only available this time of year, and they’re very popular, she said.

While the cheeses are fancy, the service is friendly. Many people are overwhelmed with the available choices when they reach the counter, said Mantey. “We always start with our cheese of the month and then maybe our special,” she said. “Then we might ask what kind of cheeses they usually like.” Since all the cheeses are available for tasting, the staff can usually find something the customer likes.

Special diets

You wouldn’t expect to find someone who’s lactose intolerant working at The Cheese Lady, but Joni Hubred, a local journalist, is one of the store’s “cheesemongers,” as Mantey calls them, and is lactose intolerant. However, she can eat aged cheeses, as the lactose breaks down after a year of aging. Hubred’s become a sort of cheese ambassador, bringing lactose-intolerant cheese-lovers together with the varieties they can eat, Mantey said. “We’ve changed people’s lives,” she said.  

The Cheese Lady also caters to vegans. The shop offers Violife, a Greek cheese made from potato starch and coconut oil. The beauty of this non-nut-based cheese: “It melts like real cheese,” said Mantey. Varieties include feta, cheddar, provolone and even cream cheese.

There are also vegetarian-friendly cheeses that don’t contain rennet, an enzyme that’s found in the lining of a goat or calf’s stomach and helps milk separate into solid curds. All of these are marked on the board with a “v” for vegetarian-friendly, said Mantey.

Special events

The Cheese Lady hosts private parties upon request, and also offers classes. Cheese 101 teaches participants all about cheeses and offers tastings. The wine and cheese nights are more popular, featuring four different wines with one or two cheese pairings each.

Weekly events include the Wednesday grilled cheese day, when the shop offers $7 sandwiches, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., that feature its cheeses on Old World bread from downtown Farmington’s Sunflour Bakehaus, which also is available in the store.

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They pair some unique tastes for the sandwiches, said Mantey, like sweet or spicy jam with cheese. “A fig spread or spicy tomato jam with cheddar works really well,” she said. The cheese types that will be available on a given Wednesday are posted on Facebook the night before.

On Fridays, The Cheese Lady makes macaroni and cheese for customers at lunch time, offering it for $4 for a small portion and $7 for a large. The flavors are posted on Thursday evenings or Friday mornings.

Cheese accompaniments and beyond

The Cheese Lady also offers hand-selected wines some made in Michigan and others European as well as Michigan craft beers, plus a cheese monger beer expert to help with those selections. There’s even a cheese and wine club. For a nominal fee, customers can get 12 percent off their total purchase when they buy the featured monthly wine and cheese. 

Other offerings include cheese boards, locally crafted pottery, baskets, imported linens, locally made jams, and crackers and meats. 

During the holidays, The Cheese Lady’s business really picks up, said Mantey. “We start ordering for the holidays in October and then we look at our shelves and wonder if we can sell it all,” she said. “Then we need to reorder in December.” 

Gift baskets are popular for the holidays, said Mantey, and The Cheese Lady will make them, or customers can put them together themselves, with cheese selections, wine, beer, gifts and more. 

Cheese and meat trays also sell well for the holidays. Customers can put them together themselves using the offerings in the store, or The Cheese Lady will make them. 

Gift cards are also available for purchase, both in the store and online.

The Cheese Lady is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Mondays.

Downtown Farmington Center

33041 Grand River Ave, Farmington, MI 48336












Detroit Eatz Builds New Fast Food Concept in Farmington

Detroit Eatz Builds New Fast Food Concept in Farmington

Detroit Eatz Builds New Fast Food Concept in Farmington

LBN Community Series
There’s a new concept in fast food moving into downtown Farmington, and it’s called Detroit Eatz. Here, you can certainly grab a burger and fries, but also half a spiral Dearborn Brand ham for tonight’s dinner guests, and maybe a pound or so of deli cheese and pastrami too.

Yes, you read that right. You can pull up to the drive-thru and order a spiral ham. You may have to wait 10 minutes or so, but you’ll know how long your wait is based on the red, green or yellow light you see next to the items you order.


The Traffic Light Control, or TLC, system, as well as the Dreli − the drive-thru deli − are the culmination of William Schonsheck’s more than 30 years in fast food. Schonsheck owned and operated Farmington’s Grand River Avenue Burger King until 2013, when he leased the building out to other operators. When those operators left, his daughter Lisa Bruso and son-in-law Scott Bruso began work on opening Detroit Eatz in the same building, using Schonsheck’s innovative, proprietary fast food concepts.

The “escape lane” in the Detroit Eatz drive-thru, which enables drivers to go around those waiting a bit longer for something designated with a red light, was actually part of Schonsheck’s Burger King drive-thru when he operated the restaurant. He installed a door at the back of the building as well as another drive-thru lane to expedite service.

Lisa Bruso, Detroit Eatz co-owner, said the idea behind the TLC system is to let customers know what to expect, with the kitchen constantly updating the lights based on what’s ready. That way, if they don’t have time to wait, they can order something with a green light.

“You have to update the customer,” she said. “The second you pull in the drive-thru, you know what to expect.”

As a mom of 21-month-old twins, Bruso understands the need for convenience in restaurant pick-ups, especially when the weather is bad. “Basically, we’re going to offer every option to make it convenient,” she said. That means Detroit Eatz will have an online ordering system and a “fast pickup shelf” where customers can simply take what they’ve already ordered and paid for. The restaurant will also offer curbside pickup and, eventually, delivery.

The Food

The menu is still being finalized, but the basics are burgers, chicken sandwiches and hand-breaded chicken tenders, fresh cut fries and, of course, Dearborn Brand lunchmeat, spiral hams and deli sandwiches. Everything will be freshly made with “nothing from a box,” said Bruso, noting this may lead to a bit longer wait times than, say, Burger King, but the TLC system will keep customers apprised of wait times.

The Dearborn Brand partnership will be a great driver in the Dreli’s success, said Bruso. “Everybody knows the quality,” she said, and having it available from the drive-thru makes it that much more convenient.

Detroit Eatz will carry all the Dearborn Brand meats, plus some custom items, like the Coney Bologna. “It’s a Coney dog in the shape of a burger,” explained Bruso. “It’s an actual patty.”

The restaurant will also carry an Impossible Burger for non-meat eaters. “I don’t eat mammals,” said Bruso, “so that’s important to me.”

As if the menu wasn’t diverse enough already, Detroit Eatz will also carry Better Made potato chips and other Michigan-made products, plus a grab-and-go case with premade sandwiches, lunchmeat and other ready-made items.

An innovative concept

Bruso and her husband Scott have put a great deal of resources into Detroit Eatz. The only salvaged items from the Burger King were three fryers. They gutted the dining room and kitchen, Bruso said, hiring a designer to set the decor and purchasing top-of-the-line equipment. “We about tripled our investment in this property,” she said.

That said, the 44-seat restaurant exemplifies Bruso’s father’s innovative fast food ideas, and she expects it to be very successful. “With this concept, you can’t lose,” she said.

If Detroit Eatz takes off, the Brusos may open other locations, or they may expand their innovative ideas by selling the TLC and Dreli ideas to other restaurateurs, she said.

Right now, the Brusos are just looking forward to seeing their hard work come to fruition. They’re planning a soft opening the first weekend in November, with a grand opening the following week.

Detroit Eatz will be open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

32704 Grand River Ave.
Farmington, MI  4833
(248) 579-5655








The Rolling Stoves Traveling Burger Food Truck Parks in Farmington

The Rolling Stoves Traveling Burger Food Truck Parks in Farmington

The Rolling Stoves Traveling Burger Food Truck Parks in Farmington

LBN Community Series
For six years, Carli and Josh Mansfield happily operated The Rolling Stoves burger-and-fries food truck, which they founded. The husband-and-wife team, who both went to culinary school, enjoyed the success of the food truck and catering business, which granted them a slow winter season to enjoy time with their kids − a one-year old, three-year-old twins and a four-year-old.

“We had no intention of ever opening a restaurant,” said Carli, “But people were asking.”


Those “people” were customers who enjoyed their “smashed” burgers, seared flat on top and loaded with lettuce, tomatoes and other fresh ingredients, along with fries, onion rings and fried pickle spears. The truck typically operated in four downtown Detroit locations each month and took on corporate and private catering jobs too.

In response to inquiries, the Mansfields began scouting out locations in Farmington, their home town. “We couldn’t imagine opening anywhere else but Farmington,” Carli said, adding that they wanted to contribute to the local business scene, hire local workers and enjoy the convenience of a short commute while they care for their young children.

After much investigation and negotiation, the couple landed the spot next to Dunkin’ Donuts on Farmington Road north of Eight Mile, just around the corner from the Farmington Meadows neighborhood where they live. The storefront has been vacant since the donut shop took over the former Big Boy in 2016, leaving the south end of the renovated space open for a tenant.

Carli said she and Josh are excited to partner with Dunkin’ Donuts, and to benefit from the 500-some vehicles that traverse the drive-through daily. “We definitely want to do a donut burger down the road,” she said.

Parked in Farmington

Set to open Sept. 23 after a longer-than-anticipated renovation process, The Rolling Stoves restaurant will offer 62 seats plus seasonal outdoor seating. It’s not exactly fast food, but it’s not full-service either, said Carli. “It’s fast casual for sure.”

The menu includes all the popular burgers and fries The Rolling Stoves is known for, plus chicken strips, two salads and a kids’ menu with three simple choices.

“Our simple menu is perfect,” said Carli. “Each burger is the best it can be.” The result is a dining experience that isn’t overwhelming but includes enough choices for everyone to enjoy.

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“Our most popular one is our peanut butter burger,” Carli said. “It’s peanut butter, honey, pickles, bacon and caramelized onions. Somehow it just works.”

The peanut butter and bacon burger came from a cooking competition in Josh’s culinary-oriented family, explained Carli. It’s not identical to the original burger entry, as it’s evolved, but the Mansfields find that even those who are skeptical like the burger.

“It adds a little bit of pizzazz to our menu,” Carli said.

“Our garlic fries are crazy good,” Carli said. “We sell a ton at office parties because once one person gets an order, the smell makes everyone want them.”

Four other burgers, including a vegetarian black bean burger, are on the menu, plus a burger flight − an $18 option that enables customers to choose three different full-size burgers. Carli explained that the burger flight not only fills a desire to share with a friend and try everything − something she and Josh understand as restaurant-goers − but allows customers to try the peanut butter and bacon burger with a fall-back option in case they don’t like it. But they usually do, she said.

The Mansfields also plan to offer a burger of the month that displays their creative cooking flair − something new and different to try − as well as a yet-to-be-developed gluten-free burger. Delivery service is also on the list for future offerings, as they see carryouts as a big portion of their business.

The restaurant’s decor incorporates The Rolling Stoves food truck, bearing a wall mural that includes the truck, the Detroit skyline and a large back-lit Detroit Tigers “D” logo. A stainless steel counter, red and black metal chairs at a combination of high-top and standard tables, track lighting and a chalkboard-style menu finish off the look, complementing the business’s established identity.
Carli said she’s thankful to many fellow food truck industry workers who’ve helped The Rolling Stoves become successful. “The food truck industry has been so good to us. You’d think it would be competitive, but people have really helped us.”

A dream come true

With the opening date finally set, 15 employees in place to work and just the final touches to put on the restaurant, the Mansfields are eager to get started. Carli said that while she and Josh didn’t plan on turning The Rolling Stoves into a stationary restaurant, operating a restaurant is the dream that took her to culinary school.

“It’s been a childhood dream of mine to open a restaurant,” she said.  “We’re ready. We want to get going doing what we do best.”

The Rolling Stoves food truck and catering business will slow down for the winter, and the Mansfields will play it by ear next year, Carli said. She and Josh are excited about their foray into the restaurant scene, especially in their home town.

“Farmington’s an awesome city, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” she said. “We’ve had great support.”

The couple plans to add Sunday cooking classes as a community outreach in the near future.

Carli offered a hint on what might be next for the couple, once The Rolling Stoves gets off the ground. “We want to open more restaurants in Farmington. We have so many ideas.”

The Rolling Stoves will open Sept. 23, with hours 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

20780 Farmington Road
Farmington, MI  48336
(248) 943-8537












The Riviera Cinema: Small-Town Theatre Adds Big-City Amenities

The Riviera Cinema: Small-Town Theatre Adds Big-City Amenities

The Riviera Cinema:
Small-Town Theatre Adds Big-City Amenities

LBN Community Series

The Riviera Cinema’s elegantly lit sign and awning adorned with sepia-toned images of high-class theatres hearkens back to the good old days of theatre-going. People dressed up for an evening show or weekend afternoon matinee and perhaps splurged a bit on treats from the concession stand.



While movies are a bit more casual these days, movie-goers’ quest for advanced theatre amenities ­− heated recliner seats, large-format screens, online ticketing − has grown. The Riviera Cinema, close to Nine Mile and Shiawassee Road in Farmington Hills, has been known for its luxury seating and bar since opening in 2014 in the former Dipson Theatre. Now it’s making a name for itself by adding three new screens, one of which is an Emax large-format screen with Dolby Atmos sound.

Last spring, The Riviera broke ground in the space between its current building and the new Edge Fitness Club (formerly Kohl’s), with hopes of finishing in October or early November for the onslaught of fall and winter blockbuster movies.


Renovations include an Emax screen in an auditorium with nearly 200 luxury recliner seats, plus a private screening room, another movie auditorium, a party room for special events and additional restrooms. The three new screens will bring The Riviera up to 12 total movie screens, adding nearly 400 seats for a total of  more than 1,100 luxury recliner seats.

In 2017, The Riviera became a “powered by Emagine” theatre, bringing Emagine’s total Michigan movie theatres up to 11, including one other “powered by” theatre, The Patriot Cinema in Grosse Pointe Farms. Emagine also operates theatres in Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin.

“This location feels very homey, very small town,” said Melissa Boudreau, chief marketing officer of Emagine Entertainment. “We like it to feel like this is your neighborhood theatre. But at the same time, we’re adding the latest amenities to bring it up-to-date.”

In addition to Dolby Atmos surround sound in the Emax theatre which “really does make a difference,” according to Boudreau the three new auditoriums will include a fourth generation of luxury recliner seats. “They’ve really found ways to make them even more comfortable,” said Boudreau, who noted that the new seats will not be heated initially, but that amenity will be added soon.

The party room and private screening room are typical Emagine amenities that will now be available at The Riviera. The screening room is not just for current movies, but for any media guests would like to show, including personal DVDs and presentations. Available for rent at a rate of $450 for two to three hours, the small auditorium is popular with corporate customers and other guests who want a private experience.

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“It feels very exclusive,” Boudreau said. “You can do whatever you want in there. It’s really fun. It has all the amenities of a home theatre, but you don’t have to clean up.”

The renovations will not only attract more customers − especially movie buffs seeking the latest movie technology for a better experience − but will accommodate those turned away when seats sell out. “It will help us expand our capacity,” said Boudreau. “On certain weekends and with certain shows, we’re selling out.”

Boudreau mentioned a few of the upcoming blockbuster movies Riviera is looking forward to screening. The Riviera’s Emax theatre may not be ready for “Joker,” opening Oct. 4, but possibly for Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” on Oct. 10 and likely for “Terminator: Dark Fate” on Nov. 1. Nov. 15 marks the opening of a local interest movie, “Ford V Ferrari,” starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. The Riviera is also looking forward to seeing sell-out crowds for the long-awaited “Frozen” sequel, opening Nov. 22.

“All of these will play well on the large screen,” Boudreau said. “Frozen II will probably sell out all weekend.” And of course there’s another Star Wars movie coming for die-hard fans on December 20.

“People can go on our email list or social media to find out when these movies come out,” Boudreau said, mentioning Facebook and Twitter as possible sources for Emagine movie news.

Boudreau said other plans are in the works for a renovated and expanded concession area at The Riviera. There will be new menu items, plus an updated look to the area, she said. It’s not certain when this work will begin, but it will likely be next year, after the prime movie season.

The Riviera looks forward to being able to accommodate more guests and attract die hard movie-goers with updated technology. And while this is also true other movie theatres, Boudreau wanted to stress that guests can purchase their tickets online before coming to the theatre. Beyond the security of knowing you have tickets, there’s one great perk of buying online through Emagine: “You can choose your seat,” she said.

30170 Grand River Avenue
Farmington Hills, MI  48336