LBN Covers Local Business News

Home Improvement Center Still Going Strong at 110

Home Improvement Center Still Going Strong at 110

Home Improvement Center Still Going Strong at 110

LBN Community Series


Sometimes, 110 years old looks amazing.

Dillman & Upton near downtown Rochester — now 110 and still family-owned and -operated — provides customers with an array of home improvement services, including kitchen and bath design and remodeling, decking, doors and entry systems, interior trim, rough lumber products and windows and window installation. Patrons can also shop in a separate hardware section.




Can’t decide what you might want? Wander through 14 updated displays of modern kitchens and baths. Customers can see the latest in self-closing doors and drawers, unique woods such as rift-cut white oak, and interior-lit cabinetry.

Window, decking and door displays (including touch-activated electric doors) are arranged in a separate part of the building.

Curt Belaney of Rochester Hills was pleased with his new door. “Brandan Luther (an employee) was a true professional throughout the search, choice and delivery. (Installation) was perfectly done. Thanks to Dillman & Upton for improving our home,” Belaney said.

The business is run by brothers Brad Upton, the chief executive officer, and Todd Upton, the president. The brothers’ wives — Sue and Stacey, respectively — work there, too. All told, 60 employees are on staff to assist.

The business — founded around 1910 by Brad and Todd’s grandfather’s uncle, C.W. Upton — began as a place to buy lumber and coal. (Coal was phased out in 1960.)

C.W. Upton’s nephew, Roy Upton, worked with him. C.W. also brought his son-in-law, Arthur Dillman, in as a bookkeeper. In the 1950s, the business was incorporated as Dillman & Upton.

Ownership has passed down through the Uptons; Brad and Todd’s father, Terry, worked in the business in the 1990s. Brad and Todd Upton now control the company, and Ryan Upton, Todd’s son, is on the staff, representing the next generation.

The showrooms have a fresh appeal, all updated in 2019, said Brad Upton. Customers include home-builders, remodelers, deck-builders and homeowners.

“Our biggest niche with local homeowners is installed sales,” he said. That means the installation of new kitchens, bathrooms, windows, decks and doors.

Homeowners thinking of a redo should take note: “One of the biggest returns on remodeling is the kitchen and bath,” he said.

Check Out This Week's Rochester City News

For customers considering an update to a kitchen, the Uptons note that the trend now in countertops is a composite quartz. “It’s easier to maintain (than granite),”  Brad Upton said.

Before diving into a new remodeling job, “interview a couple (of contractors) and get comfortable. The right architect and builder can make the experience a good one,” he said.

The Uptons keep a list of preferred skilled contractors — and they recommend getting the right people before any project is undertaken.

“We can provide a good referral for contractors, architects and engineers,” Brad Upton said.

Dillman & Upton also has experienced kitchen designers on staff. These professionals work with customers to design the room on a computer. A full kitchen redo can run between $25,000 and $100,000.

Customer Patrick Corey stated in a testimonial: “(Dillman & Upton have) excellent knowledge, great prices. Way better than dealing with a big-box store.”

A separate window and door showroom is also available. The Uptons work with many manufacturers, including Andersen and Jeld-Wen. In 2020, watch for the addition of a display of new high-end pocket doors, a type of sliding door that, when open, is kept inside the adjoining wall.

“The advantage? It’s dramatic,” Brad Upton explained. By “hiding” the doors, a scenic view can be revealed.

Dillman & Upton staff offer knowledge and service, Brad Upton said.

“We can assist you with rough lumber, trim lumber, kitchens, baths, doors and windows,” he said.

“We’d love to sell everything, we’re happy to sell anything,” he added. “We try to sell the things we are good at.”

Dillman & Uton is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.

607 Woodward Street
Rochester, MI 48307













Bowling Center’s Success Rooted In a Colorful Past

Bowling Center’s Success Rooted In a Colorful Past

Bowling Center’s Success Rooted in a Colorful Past

LBN Community Series


If it’s possible for a bowling center to have a personality, Hartfield Lanes has got one. And it all started with Harry Hartfield Sr.

The charismatic Harry owned a pool hall and a blind pig in Detroit during Prohibition. He did well for himself. So well, if fact, that the Purple Gang, notorious Detroit mobsters, invited him to join the organization.

Harry declined, saying he was doing just fine without the gang, and continued his professional growth. In 1944, he bought a bar in downtown Berkley and called it Hartfield’s, according to his grandson, Jeff Hartfield.

“They nicknamed it The Bucket of Blood,” said Jeff. “I don’t know why, but somehow it got nicknamed that. But then my father (Harry Hartfield Jr.) built the bowling center around the bar. He had to buy out residents’ homes. They built 16 lanes downstairs. The next year, they built 16 more lanes above that. Then the following year, they built 20 more lanes.”

It was the 1960s by then, and bowling was all the rage.

“You built a bowling center and you had a line out the door,” said Jeff. “Back in the early ’70s, we were the first house to have automatic scoring. By about ’75-’76, we had the most games bowled per lane in the country.”

Hartfield Lanes was a success.

Harry Sr. was part of that success until 1999, when he died at the ripe old age of 102. He lived in the apartment above the bar until he died and could frequently be seen in the bowling center.

His grandson attributes Harry’s longevity to being active at Hartfield Lanes.

“He was an avid pool player. He’d come out and talk to everybody,” said Jeff. “He’d come out and see some kids playing pool that didn’t know how to play. He taught a lot of the kids in Berkley. Some of those kids still talk about him.”

Today, Jeff, 59, runs the center with his wife, Linda Hartfield, and his son, Jeff Hartfield Jr.

“The bowling industry has changed. We went through the real rough period, but we’re on the upswing,” said Linda Hartfield recently. “It’s neat because so many people love bowling. Right now, it’s the season. It’s our busiest two weeks a year with holiday break. Everyone can bowl. That’s the neat thing about bowling.”

Check Out This Week's Berkley City News

Mary Mason has been the manager of Hartfield Lanes for three years.

“Right now, we have 19 employees who pretty much run the whole show,” said Mason. “They’re very dedicated, very loyal employees. Based on the manner in which the family treats the employees, people stay here.”

In addition to open bowling, Hartfield Lanes also offers league play, special-needs programs, glow bowling (bowling with the lights down and the music up), special events and more.

“We offer bowling parties, corporate, birthday, fundraisers, family reunions,” said Mason. “Glow bowling is specific to Friday and Saturday evenings. That starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. We get very crowded and we offer overflow upstairs. We have karaoke every Saturday night in our Hat Trick Pub from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.”

The Hat Trick was formerly known as The Bucket of Blood. The new name came about during the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup years, when the pub had a naming contest and one of the patrons suggested “The Hat Trick Pub.”

Perhaps the biggest draw for Hartfield Lanes is the location, right on 12 Mile Road in downtown Berkley. While many bowling centers are dying out, Linda says, Hartfield stays consistent with its ambiance.

“They’re definitely dying out and turning into entertainment centers,” Linda said. “But we have a local pub with karaoke. It’s kind of a ‘Cheers’ thing. The young people all walk or Uber. A lot of the girls get together to karaoke. We’re thankful where we’re at and keeping afloat.”

Four generations in, and the business is still strong. The vision Harry Sr. left for Harry Jr., Jeff Sr. and Jeff Jr. laid the foundation for four generations of Hartfields to entertain Berkley over more than 70 years.

“We’re fortunate we can make it work for us,” Linda Hartfield said.

Hartfield Lanes is open Mondays Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to midnight, Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to midnight.

3490 W. 12 Mile Rd.
Berkley, MI 48072











Building Trust Helps Keep Repair Shop Going Strong at 30

Building Trust Helps Keep Repair Shop Going Strong at 30

Building Trust Helps Keep Repair Shop Going Strong at 30




LBN Community Series


As his business hits the 30-year mark, Troy Midas Automotive Service Center owner Gil Harris has developed a pretty straightforward philosophy.

“This is my life. It’s my family’s life. One thing we absolutely demand is integrity,” said Harris. “If I would find an employee screwed someone (regarding service), they’re gone. That’s how I built the business.”



With his wife of 54 years, Patricia, and son Chris, Harris owns and operates the Midas store on East Big Beaver at Dequindre in Troy, along with a second location in Clinton Township. His first Midas franchise was in Detroit on Van Dyke just south of Eight Mile.

“I put everything in the world on the line to buy that store — my house, my life insurance. If it didn’t succeed, I’d go bankrupt,” said Harris.

But Harris did succeed and at one time owned four Midas stores — the Detroit location, the two current locations and an additional store in Waterford. The Detroit and Waterford locations were subsequently sold.

“Our philosophy is that we want to be as honest as humanly possible and give the customers options,” he said. “We don’t shove anything down anyone’s throat. If something needs to be done, we will tell them why and show them what needs to be done. They get the estimate upfront. Even if it was a verbal estimate, they won’t find it is $300 higher when they come in.”

Folks of a certain age will remember when the automotive repair chain was known as Midas Muffler. The days of vehicles that need to have mufflers replaced is largely gone.

“Exhaust systems are steel now. It’s not stainless steel but it’s more like stainless steel,” said Harris. “Today, cars can go to the graveyard with the original muffler. If I had to live off exhaust system business, I’d be dead.”

Today, Midas offers the kind of full automotive service offered at dealerships as well as tires. In most cases, Harris said, the repairs are finished the same day unless he’s waiting on a part.

Today, Midas offers the kind of full automotive service offered at dealerships as well as tires. In most cases, Harris said, the repairs are finished the same day unless he’s waiting on a part.

“We are in a position as a dealership alternative. I’m not the lowest-priced guy in town and I’m not the highest-priced guy in town,” said Harris, who dislikes offering low-cost oil changes but admits those will get people in the door.

Check Out This Week's Troy City News

Many of Harris’ employees have been with his business for many years, and keeping those workers is part of a successful operation.

“Have you tried to hire an auto mechanic? It’s virtually impossible after … Washington (D.C.) killed all the technical schools and told everyone they needed to go to college,” said Harris. “A quality mechanic is an asset beyond words.”


One of those assets is Jason Morgan, the manager at the Troy location. “Jason is the finest diagnostician I have ever known. If no one else can find the problem, which is rare, Jason can find it,” said Harris.

Morgan was a mechanic at Midas when he was seriously injured when his vehicle was hit head-on in December 2017.

“I have three artificial discs in my neck and they had to redo my left shoulder. It was a mess,” said Morgan, who has worked at the Troy Midas for three and a half years.

After Morgan recuperated, he tried to come back to his old job but he wasn’t physically able to work as a mechanic. Morgan said he and Harris had always worked well together, including when Morgan took calls seeking advice while he was on medical leave.

“Jason has certain physical limitations now. We really try to benefit from using his brain, not brawn,” said Harris. “Jason is also highly personable. He is able to give customers an explanation of a problem. He has the patience to educate them. A lot of mechanics understand the dollars and cents but not how to build customer loyalty.”

While he misses working on vehicles himself, Morgan has settled into his new role well.

“Auto repair has been my passion but I know that I’m stuck at the counter,” said Morgan, originally from Cass City. “God does things for a reason. I’m thankful that I am still able to be in this business.”

Recently, customer Jason Bradford was in the store having his vehicle repaired. He came all the way from Redford Township to Troy to have his truck serviced.

“It’s because of this guy right here,” Bradford said, pointing at Morgan. “He’s why I came so far. He has kept my truck running in peak condition.”

At 78, Harris said he doesn’t have any plans to retire — life is already good.

“I have a phenomenal life. I can come and go as I like. I have complete confidence in the staff. My son handles the finances for the business,” he said. “I just came back from Tennessee last week.”


His wife alternately asks him either why he hasn’t retired or why he doesn’t go do something at the shop, Harris said.

“I tell her to make up her mind. We have a great life, we are absolutely blessed,’” he added.

The Midas Automotive Service Center on East Big Beaver in Troy is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Closed Sunday.

2995 E. Big Beaver
Troy, MI 48083















Soothe Your Sweet Tooth at Pops’ Sweets an Treats

Soothe Your Sweet Tooth at Pops’ Sweets an Treats

Sooth Your Sweet Tooth at Pops’ Sweet an Treats



LBN Community Series

Mount Clemens

Michael Carpinski, 45, isn’t ready to grow up, and he’s not going to, either. He’s also eschewing low-sugar, fat free, dairy free and gluten free. When you come to his candy and sweet shop, you better be ready for the real deal.

Carpinski is the owner of Pops’ Sweets an Treats in downtown Mt. Clemens. The store, much like its owner, is full of surprises.


“I did the store for people to have fun. It’s nice to have people come in here cranky and leave with a smile,” Carpinski said. “For me, there’s no money in the world for that. Candy is the one thing we all have to connect with.”

Pops’ Sweets an Treats is a child’s candy dream come true. The store is full of all the confections from childhood and features ice cream, Slush Puppies (the real ones, not the knock offs) and grab-and-go food such as walking tacos and kielbasa.

“With my stuff, you can walk around downtown, or you can sit here, have lunch, grab some candy. We’re a one little stop shop for everything,” Carpinski said.

With more than 400 bulk candies available at any time, customers can get lost in Pop’s.

“I love my old candies,” said Carpinski. “I like the idea of the things I created myself just from experience and feedback.”

Carpinski has a lot of experience and many memories from which to draw inspiration. His memories stem from making the rounds with Pops, his grandfather, who was a father figure to him.

Growing up was rough for Carpinski. At 13, he became a ward of the state and Pops decided to take him in. He lived with Pops and his grandmother, raising him as their own.

“They were my rock. They were the ones who showed there was actually someone out there who loved me. This is my way of giving back,” said Carpinski.

Pops was a popcorn machine repairman who supplied places such as the Fox Theater, the Silverdome and Olympia Entertainment. Carpinski would ride along on Pops’ rounds.

“Those were the best times,” he recalled. “I would go during the summers with him to work. We did the first Wrestlemania. As I got older, I appreciated all those times.”

From those adventures, Carpinski owns one of the oldest cotton candy machines and popcorn machines.

As he got older and Pops passed away, Carpinski owned and operated a landscaping business, which he started in his 20s with a push mower and a weed whip in the back of his car. More than 17 years later, he had a dream about opening a candy store in honor of Pops.

Check Out This Week's Mount Clemens City News

His first try was a store in Richmond, in northern Macomb County, where he gave penny candy a go for three years beginning in October 2016. Things didn’t work out as he hoped, but after seeing the storefront where Pops’ Sweets now resides, he decided to give it another try.

Pops’ Sweets opened in downtown Mt. Clemens in April 2019. This time, instead of penny candy, Carpinski decided to go with retro sweets instead.

The result is a sugary trip back in time combined with the next “it” experience to offer customers. Unicorn tacos, made-fresh waffle cones and flash-freeze ice cream are all top sellers.

“Taco shell, cotton candy burrito, cotton candy to order, things like that make us different,” Carpinski said.

Pops’ Sweets is a family affair. Carpinski’s son, Michael, 15, also works in the store.

“Hopefully, this will be an experience for him like I had with my father [Pops],” said Carpinski.

More than candy to Carpinski, Pops’ Sweets is a chance at redemption.

“I just figure giving back and doing the right thing is important,” he said.

90 Macomb Pace
Mount Clemens, MI 48043











Hollywood Markets Keep Neighborhood Feeling in Era of Big-Box Stores

Hollywood Markets Keep Neighborhood Feeling in Era of Big-Box Stores

Hollywood Markets Keep Neighborhood Feeling in Era of Big-Box Stores


LBN Community Series

Royal Oak

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, it’s all about the turkey. That’s not the case when it comes to the other big holiday meal on Christmas.

“At Christmas, we get a lot of special requests — crown pork roast, standing rib roasts. We have a full-service meat counter with a lot of specialty cuts,” said Bill Hoemke, meat department supervisor at the Hollywood Market in Royal Oak.



Located on Main Street, the store also offers a wide range of specialty sausages all made in-house, as well as popular products from Kowalski and Dearborn Ham. The Royal Oak store has a facility for smoking meats and fish that provides products for meat counters at all Hollywood Markets, a total of five stores in Oakland County.

Some products such as marinated or stuffed chicken breasts are oven-ready, while others, such as crumbled smoked fish, may be more likely to be incorporated into a dish.

“We can help with recipes. We have the best knowledge of the product. It’s what separates us from the big chain stores,” said Hoemke.

At the adjoining counter, deli manager Becky Carver said a special ham is offered in the hot-food case, with party trays, chicken wings and other holiday party favorites.

“Last year, we did 42 party trays December 23-24, not including all the other trays we had done,” said Carver. “We make batches and batches of ambrosia (salad). We have special dips that we make by hand only at Christmas.”

Carver is also in charge of putting up the holiday decorations around the store.

Store manager Frank Remlinger has worked for Hollywood Markets for 42 years. “I started as a part-time cashier in 1977. I was supposed to be working my way through college,” he said.

As Remlinger moves around the store, he talks not only with employees but also with customers — they’re often on a first-name basis.

“I like talking to the neighbors who come into the store,” he said.

He added: “People come in every day. You know people on a first-name basis, you know their kids.”

The Welch family owns and operates Hollywood Markets, with third- and fourth-generation family members carrying on the tradition of working for the company.

“It’s different working for a family owned store. It’s a different vibe than a big company-owned store,” said Remlinger.

Check Out This Week's Royal Oak City News

The Welch family’s experience in the grocery business actually dates back to 1924. Having served during World War I, John Welch Sr. opened his grocery store on Detroit’s east side. During the 1930s, he was killed during a holdup at his store.

Known as Jay, John Welch Jr. opened a grocery store in Detroit in the years after World War II.

The first Hollywood Market opened in Royal Oak on Campbell in 1950, founded by brothers Jay, Richard and William Welch, working with their stepfather, Charles Ross. A fourth brother, Robert, the eldest, had died while serving in the military during World War II.

“Each of the brothers had three kids so there were nine of us from the third generation involved in the business,” said Hollywood Markets president Tom Welch, whose late father was Jay. “There are six of us (from the third generation) still involved today and five from the fourth generation actively involved.”

At eight or 10 years old, Welch said, family members of his generation would start helping out at the store by getting carts, handling returnable bottles, cleaning and bagging groceries.

“We all got our feet wet. It’s part of our DNA,” said Welch, whose uncle William is still active in the business at 88.

Not surprised that Remlinger and customers were on a first-name basis, Welch said that’s what the company expects from store managers, who need to know what customers like.

“We encourage that contact with customers. It differentiates us from other stores,” said Welch. “That customer contact makes the whole experience more enjoyable.”

With competition from big-box stores and more people ordering dry goods online for home delivery, Welch said, fresh specialty items like those found in the meat department are a forte for Hollywood Markets.

“When people have a holiday gathering with family and friends, they come back to us. They trust us and the quality,” said Welch. “When they want to make a presentation, they come to us, with the full-service meat counters. The same with the deli and produce. There are always ways to buy cheaper but you get what you pay for.”

There are several stories about how the Hollywood Markets name originally came about. Welch prefers one crediting his grandmother with picking the name.

“Nana Ross in 1950 flipped open a phone book and landed on Hollywood. That’s where the name comes from. It’s as a good a story as any,” said Welch. “There is Hollywood, California. The customer is always the star. We don’t use that slogan anymore but we still stick by that. It has to be that way for us to survive.”

Hours at the Hollywood Markets Royal Oak store are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

714 North Main Street
Royal Oak, MI 48067















Shop Offers Jewelry Made by Local Artisans

Shop Offers Jewelry Made by Local Artisans

Shop Offers Jewelry Made by Local Artisans

LBN Community Series


Elaine Jager, founder and owner of Elaine B. Jewelry in Ferndale, is an artist first and a jeweler second. The Charlottesville, Virginia, native trained in metal material studies and apprenticed with a master jeweler, but she was also a glassblower who worked part-time in her family’s restaurant business.

“I was always an artist,” Jager said. “Jewelry just became a way to make a living with my art.”



While working with the master jeweler, she designed and created her own metal and glass pieces, developing a name for herself by selling at craft and trade shows and creating an online presence for her products. Six years ago, she took the plunge and went full time with her business, operating a small private studio in Virginia.

When her husband took a position with Ford Motor Co. three years ago, she moved to Ferndale and moved Elaine B. Jewelry into a Detroit warehouse, hiring like-minded artists along the way.

“I was very interested in Detroit and being a part of that culture,” she said.

But having a daughter reduced her personal time and her willingness to travel to work, and when a storefront opened up six blocks from her home, she nabbed it. Elaine B. Jewelry opened in November 2018 on Woodward Avenue just north of Nine Mile.

Not just a storefront

“There’s not a lot of foot traffic, but this is our season, so people come out more,” said Jager. There’s parking on Woodward and adjacent streets, but it’s easy to overlook the shop while driving.

Elaine B. is more than just a storefront, though, Jager said. “At this time in the business world, you can’t do just one thing,” she said. “You have to do a little bit of everything.”

To that end, Jager sells her jewelry online, at a few trade shows, and wholesale through some catalogs and to partner businesses.

“We ship our products across the country,” she said.

With the help of Jager’s new public relations manager, Elaine B. also maintains a social media presence.

“It’s not enough to just have a good product,” she said. “You can’t just have a storefront.”

Not just jewelry

The storefront posed a bit of challenge, she said, in that jewelry just doesn’t take up much space. Customers need something else to look at and purchase.

Jager has a lot of different interests and enjoys partnering with like-minded businesses, so she supplements her jewelry displays with products like handmade goods in leather, wood and ceramics. She also carries a line of candles and skin-care products called Detroit Rose.

All of the products are either made in Michigan or in Virginia, her home state, she said.

“The storefront has allowed me to indulge in many of my other interests,” she said.

Check Out This Week's Ferndale City News

The jewelry

Elaine B. specializes in unique, handmade jewelry, as the pieces displayed in the store are designed by Jager and her staff and made at the site. Just beyond the gemstone counter, you’ll see the work area, where pieces are soldered, hammered, sanded, set and hand-polished.

“We partner with a caster,” said Jager, but 90% of the work is done at the shop.

Jager characterizes her company’s jewelry as “airy, with clean lines.” Much of it is geometric — concentric hoop earrings and necklaces, cubed pieces, hexagon- and triangular-shaped designs and more.

Elaine B. offers a wealth of 18- and 14-karat gold pieces as well as sterling silver and vermeil, which is 18-karat gold plated over sterling silver.

The shop also offers a line of fine jewelry, with a variety of precious gemstones and ethical diamonds.

“We have pieces from $40 up to several thousand,” said Jager.

Elaine B. caters to a wide range of customers, especially during the holiday season, but one target customer, she said, is a woman in her mid-30s who’s professional and creative. She may have a collection of trendy jewelry from Banana Republic and the like, but she’s looking to upgrade her collection.

“We try to be a nice medium price point,” said Jager.


If you don’t see exactly what you want in the store, you can have something custom-made, said Jager.

Elaine B. does a lot of custom engagement rings as well as other gifts and personalized pieces. “People can mix and match,” Jager said. They might like the shape of a ring but want a different stone set into it, or want it created in a different metal type.

“We also do redesigns,” said Jager. For example, she’s in the process of taking the diamonds out of an heirloom ring and setting them into multiple pieces for the family members, she said.

Many customers also come in with older pieces that simply need updating, Jager said. There’s not much she and her staff can’t handle as metalworking experts.

Jager noted that the business’s staff, six including herself, is made up of women who are art-school trained and share her philosophy of having a work-life balance.

“We kind of treat it like home,” she said of the store, which includes not only a work area, which customers are free to see and visit, but a gated area for her dog. Her 10-month-old daughter used to be in the store every day, she said, until she needed more attention and playtime.


Elaine B. brings more customers into the store through monthly jewelry-making workshops. She charges a flat fee for a typical three-hour evening and the materials, and participants can choose to purchase upgrades.

In December, she held a hoop earring workshop at a cost of $68 per person. She’s planning a future ring-making workshop, she said.

Jager said she’s not sure the direction the business will take, but she’s optimistic about growth. “Oh, I love a challenge. We’ll always keep growing and changing.”

Elaine B. Jewelry’s holiday hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

22961 Woodward Avenue
Ferndale, MI 48220