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DBusiness Daily Update: Michigan

Oct 24, 2023

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Michigan-based Makers Collaborate on Limited-edition Apple Pie Vodka

Armada Township’s Blake’s Hard Cider (BHC) and Petoskey-based Gypsy Spirits have teamed up for the first time to create a seasonal batch Apple Pie Vodka.

The limited-edition 40-proof spirit is being sold at all Blake’s Tasting Room locations and Gypsy’s Tasting Rooms. Expanded distribution to Michigan retailers including Meijer, Total Wine, and independent retailers will begin in September.

Infused with BHC’s famous fresh pressed apple cider directly from Blake’s orchard, cinnamon, and brown sugar, the Apple Pie Vodka is “a smooth, easy drinking vodka that tastes like a fall dessert in a glass,” the companies say.

Gypsy Vodka, founded in 2015 by twin brothers Michael and Adam Kazanowski, began producing a small batch apple pie vodka in 2020 but, restrained by limited production capacity, it was only available at its Tasting Room. Through the BHC partnership this year and its ability to source apples from its family-owned farm, the company is able to scale up and produce enough product to release the new Apple Pie Vodka statewide. The 750mL bottle (20 percent ABV) will retail at $24.95.

“When we first began talks with Blake’s about this collaboration we were literally blown away,” says Michael Kazanowski, co-founder of Gypsy Vodka. “We have followed and admired Blake’s story and rise since we began our company in 2015, so this partnership allows us the opportunity to work with one of the best cider houses in the country to finally release this limited-edition vodka to people all over the state.”

This is BHC’s first venture in the spirits category but one it says it has wanted to develop for a while. The company obtained a distiller’s license several years ago to pursue apple-centric beverage opportunities outside of hard cider.

“We knew we had one shot to do this properly and had to partner with a company as passionate about their products as we are and I believe we found that with Michael, Adam, and their team,” says Andrew Blake, president of Blake’s Hard Cider. “The end result is the best of both our worlds for our companies and customers, and we look forward to other potential collaborations in the future.”

Visit and for more information.

AlphaUSA Certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

AlphaUSA, a manufacturing company in Livonia has been certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Great Lakes Business Women’s Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC Certification).

The company was founded in 1957 by George Strombos and now is owned by chair and CEO Cate Strombos and her daughter, Chrystyna.

AlphaUSA develops and manufactures innovative and cost-saving solutions to its customers through the design, development, and engineering of stamping, fastener, and stamping assemblies, attachments, and washers.

“My belief in the company and its potential was so strong that I was unwilling to let it go,” says Strombos. “The family’s legacy is very important to me and certification as a women owned business is an important part of our story.”

Somerset Collection’s ‘Cinematic Couture’ Exhibit to Features Movie Costumes Sept. 1

Somerset Collection in Troy is offering an opportunity to see the design and craftsmanship of costumes worn by Hollywood A-listers in blockbuster films starting Sept. 1.

The “Cinematic Couture” exhibition, which runs through Oct. 1, presents costumes donned by Julie Andrews in “Victor Victoria,” Renee Zellweger in “Miss Potter,” and Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” among 38 others that will be displayed in Somerset Collection’s North Grand Court.

“Fashion in film often inspires design that is seen on the runway, and eventually these looks transition into what are guests see in our stores,” says Kate Millea, general manager of Somerset Collection. “We are thrilled to bring this one-of-a-kind fashion exhibit to Somerset Collection for our guests to enjoy.”

Birmingham’s Community House Presents Bourbon, Cigars, and Friends Event

The Community House in Birmingham is hosting the Bourbon, Cigars & Friends event from 7-9 p.m. on its Van Dusen Terrace Sept. 21.

The evening revolves around the carefully curated selection of premium cigars from Wild Bill’s Tobacco, accompanied by an offering of acclaimed bourbons from Elijah Craig and Evan Williams.

A VIP experience begins at 6 p.m. with a one-hour pre-glow where guests will enjoy an additional pour of an exclusive bourbon featured in a flight of bourbons, a selection of premium cigars, and appetizers. This special package is tailor-made for those seeking to explore the depths of flavor and aroma in an intimate and exclusive setting.

For more information and tickets, visit here or call 248-644-5832.

Tickets for the Bourbon, Cigars & Friends event are available now. To purchase, please visit

New Detroit Opens Registration for October National Racial Justice Conference

New Detroit Inc., the nation’s first racial justice coalition that works toward racial equity and dismantling systemic racism, is accepting early registration for its national racial justice conference “Just Lead Advancing Racial Equity” conference taking place Oct. 19-20 at the Detroit Marriott.

The conference will offer participants compelling perspectives from national and local speakers on racial equity and racial justice and will provide real-world ways to take action. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writer Nikole Hannah-Jones will be the keynote speaker at the conference, and also will be interviewed by Pulitzer Prize winner Rochelle Riley. Jones is best known for “The 1619 Project” she developed with New York Times and New York Magazine writers, a long-form journalism venture that tackles the subjects of slavery and the founding of the United States.

“This conference will be a collaborative space to address our nation’s critical issues with the goal of ending racism,” says Michael Rafferty, president and CEO of New Detroit. “We invite leaders interested in bringing equity in their sector to join us in this endeavor to form a unified voice to end systemic racism that still exists in every facet and industry in our nation.”

For more information, visit

Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for Lincoln Street Art Park in Detroit

The Lincoln Street Art Park in Detroit will activate a vacant greenspace and create an environmental and educational learning center on its property through the anticipated success of a crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and local nonprofit Green Living Science announced.

The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $25,000 by Oct. 29, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program.

“This project will create a community hub and gathering space for learning and connection,” says Paula Holtz, regional prosperity managing director for the MEDC. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this project through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Green Living Science together with neighboring partners Make Art Work and Recycle Here, will complete and restore the Lincoln Street Art Park and Activi-Tree Learning Center. After years of fractured construction and the shipping container sitting dormant, this project will breathe new life into it and fulfill its purpose as an educational and environmental space.

The project will complete the shipping container learning center for events, field trips, and camps. At the greenspace in the art park, the funding will install solar panels and batteries to power the area and create pollinator gardens, seating, signage, and waste/recycling programs at the art park. This campaign will fully create a new public space in the area and foster an environment where education, art, and community converge.

For further project details and to donate, visit:

Advancing Macomb Awarded $118K Grant from Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Advancing Macomb, a Mount Clemens-based 501(c)(3) that convenes resources to solve community challenges and enrich the lives of Macomb County residents, was awarded a $118,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation for operational capacity building.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation for this generous grant,” says Brian Pilarski, board chair of Advancing Macomb. “This funding will help us expand our reach and impact throughout Macomb County and set us up for continued success in 2024.”

Jim Boyle, vice president of programs and communications at the foundation, says: “Advancing Macomb plays a pivotal role within the nonprofit sector of Macomb County. We are excited to contribute to their growth as they continue their coordinating efforts to strengthen the nonprofit community in the region.”

Hurley Medical Center in Flint Wins Starlight Award for Children’s Programs

Hurley Medical Center in Flint has won a 2023 DEI Champion Starlight Award from the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Los Angeles.

“Hospitalization can be scary and stressful experience for kids, often isolated from friends and families,” says Adam Garone, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We rely on many partners and donors to deliver vital programs that provide young patients with play, positive distraction, and a sense of normalcy to help them feel more comfortable and supported during hospital stays.

“These annual awards are a way for us to honor and thank those who have demonstrated excellence, innovation and dedication in helping us transform hospital stays and improve kids’ wellbeing and health outcomes.”

For more information about the awards, visit here.

Michigan-based Makers Collaborate on Limited-edition Apple Pie VodkaAlphaUSA Certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National CouncilSomerset Collection’s ‘Cinematic Couture’ Exhibit to Features Movie Costumes Sept. 1Birmingham’s Community House Presents Bourbon, Cigars, and Friends EventNew Detroit Opens Registration for October National Racial Justice ConferenceCrowdfunding Campaign Launched for Lincoln Street Art Park in DetroitAdvancing Macomb Awarded $118K Grant from Ralph C. Wilson Jr. FoundationHurley Medical Center in Flint Wins Starlight Award for Children’s Programs