Locally Grown 2014

. August 1, 2014.
Locally_grown

 

Growing anything successfully takes hard work, creativity and luck—and local business owners understand. Navigating the peaks and valleys of our economy, these dedicated men and women have grown their businesses, some of which boasting a long tradition and others just beginning to make their mark on the community. Check out their stories!

 




Arbor Brewing Company
114 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-213-1393
arborbrewing.com

Owner: Rene Greff
Years in business: 19
Number of employees: 45 at the Brewpub, 35 at the Microbrewery

Why are we great?
The great thing about Arbor Brewing Company is that we get to dabble in so many things we’re passionate about. We operate under a triple bottom-line approach which evaluates our business success against social and environmental as well as financial measures. That and the fact that we are a small owner-operated business means that we can focus on what we love and not just on what is profitable – like local sustainable sourcing, staff-centric management, community involvement, solar and geo-thermal technologies, and sour beer production. Our entire team is involved and energized by what we do and it makes for an amazing work environment.

Best piece of advice for local business owners?
Get involved! We’re all in this together. We have a great community of local businesses and we are all stronger when we support one-another. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

We couldn’t do it without?
Our staff. We hire nice people that share our values and are rewarded with the most dedicated, creative and interesting team anywhere. It is their hard work, enthusiasm and dedication that make it all possible.

Favorite Business quote?
Be competitive but don’t compete – looking over your shoulder slows you down.

The turning point (When they knew they were a success)?
Even after 19 years, success isn’t something we take for granted. After standing on the edge of the precipice, we are grateful for every day that we get to do what we love. But I think the true turning point for us has come within the last few years as people have started to describe Arbor Brewing Company as an Ann Arbor institution. That is just an amazing feeling.



Unity Vibration
93 Ecorse Rd.,
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
734-277-4063
unityvibrationkombucha.com

Owners: Tarek and Rachel Kanaan
Years in business: 5 years
Number of employees: 9

How we got started?
Serendipitously – just a crazy idea Rachel had that, once started, had a life of its own!

Best piece of advice for local business owners?
If it’s your passion, and you are tenacious and determined, anything can happen. There are no problems, only solutions.absolutely necessary.

Favorite Business quote?
 What we are trying to spread out into the world, of course: “Love, Health and Possibility!”

One word to describe your business?
Exciting!

The turning point (When they knew they were a success)?
There are small successes all the time, especially with a new business like ours. The ability to hire people, winning awards, staying in business, etc. Success isn’t an end-point but a process.

What are some of your favorite local establishments?
In addition to the Ypsilanti Food Co-op with whom we’re philosophically aligned, we love our local suppliers of many of the products we sell, like The Brinery, Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory, River St. Bakery, Mindo Chocolate Makers and so many more.



Ypsi Studio
208 W. Michigan Ave.,
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
734-845-0542
ypsistudio.com

Owner: Julia Collins
Years in business: 10 years in October!
Number of employees: 15

Why are we great?
We have a team of committed, educated instructors who know how to help members from every fitness level. They are also just as fantastic at creating a sense of community by forming authentic relationships with their students.

Best piece of advice for local business owners? 
Reach out to other business owners and do NOT fear self-promotion. Assuming that you will be making a profit the first year might be a mistake. So, limit extremely high priced purchases for the business unless they are absolutely necessary.

We couldn’t do it without?
 Happy, enthusiastic members who want to work out with their friends. Word of mouth advertising has been crucial to our success.

One word to describe your business?
Community

Favorite Business quote?
I don’t promise it will always be fun or easy but, it will definitely be worth it.



Crossroads
517. Cross St.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
745-340-5597

Owner: Jesse Thomason
Years in business: 6 years
Number of employees: 6

Why are we great?
We are great because we provide an environment that is different from all of the other bars and music venues in town. We have an open space that has the ability to feel like a giant party, or an intimate night out, depending on what event we have going on.

How we got started?
I moved on to the property six years ago, And I’ve been working on the place ever since.

Best piece of advice for local business owners?
This is a tough town. It’s important to keep moving forward no matter what. Be frugal with your expenses and overhead.

We couldn’t do it without?
The Locals, Townies, And Students who visit us daily.

Favorite local establishments?
I’m a fan of everything Ypsi. Each place has its own little unique way of making it stand out.

One word to describe your business?
Neighborly

Favorite Business quote?
We may not always have what you want, but, we will make you want what we have 🙂

The turning point (When they knew they were a success)?
When we were able to expand and continue on with building and renovating.



 

A2 YOGA
2030 Commerce Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734-216-4006

www.a2yoga.net

Why are we great?
The studio offers over 45 classes a week, and 5 free or donation-based classes. 100% of the donations go to support local non-profits. We enjoy supporting the community that supports our business. Thank you for voting us #1 Yoga Studio in Washtenaw County!

How did you get started?
Ana started working with our guru, Frederic Ferri of YogaPro to help correct her scoliosis. She opened her first small yoga studio on the second floor of the Mail Shoppe, our parent’s downtown business. Ana founded A² Yoga over ten years ago and moved the studio to Commerce Blvd. in the fall of 2009 to accommodate the growing number of students. Dina took over operations in 2013 to help continue the growth of the studio.

Best piece of advice for local business owners?
We recognize that yoga is a study. Teaching people to live in a healthy way is so important. It’s opening a door to the idea of taking care of their body and a way for them to remember who they are–body, mind, emotion, spirit. This is the same approach we take with our studio. As a champion of “sustainable development” we use a “triple bottom line” approach based on the tripod of Ecology, Equity, and Economy. We are always learning!

We couldn’t do it without?
Our wonderful students! Our knowledgeable, amazing teachers and staff! The love and support of our family!

Favorite local establishments?
Mail Shoppe (not only because it’s our mom’s business). Too many to list because we grew up here in Ann Arbor!

One word to describe your business?
Caring.

Favorite Business quote?
“There is no single, right way to be a leader. Finding the style and routine that’s suited to you, and to the particulars of your environment, is not easy.” -Ari Weinzweig, Managing by Pouring Water.



People’s Food Co-Op
216 N. 4th Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-994-9174
peoplesfood.coop

Owner: Kevin Sharp
Years in business: 43
Number of employees: 75

What makes you stand out?
This kind of longevity is unusual, especially in this day and age when independent local businesses are increasingly squeezed by the national chains. The fact that we’ve not only survived but thrived says that what we do continues to resonate with people in our community. Really, our cooperative ownership is key. You can find natural foods in lots of places, but we are a co-op, which is an fundamentally different way of doing business. We have multiple bottom lines. We care about not just finances but also doing business sustainably and being good to people too.

How did you get started?
The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were the height of the environmental movement. People were actively seeking healthier food and more sustainable ways of feeding themselves. A lot of the products that are readily available now were hard to come by then. People pooled their resources and began buying food in bulk and sharing it with each other. What we have now grew out of those efforts.

Best piece of advice for local business owners? Hold some greater good, some values, above and beyond just selling something. Work toward ideals.

What are some of your favorite local establishments?
In addition to the Ypsilanti Food Co-op with whom we’re philosophically aligned, we love our local suppliers of many of the products we sell, like The Brinery, Ann Arbor Tortilla Factory, River St. Bakery, Mindo Chocolate Makers and so many more.

One word to describe your business?
Cooperative

Favorite Business quote?
“Co-op education begins in building a way of thinking about how people should work together and control their affairs democratically… It begins with people who have a firm conviction that consumer and worker cooperation represents fundamentally more humane ways to conduct economic and social life than the current system provides.” -Bob Schildgen, Green Life Columnist, Sierra Magazine

The turning point (When you knew that you’d be successful)?
It would have been early on. The ‘70s were such a time of growth and consciousness-raising on so many issues, including health and food. Now, every day someone discovers what we do and is turned on to a new food or a whole new way of eating or the concept of a cooperative, and that’s success.



 

The Sports Bar Westend
93 Ecorse Rd.,
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
734-277-4063
the-sportsbar.com

Owners: Jackie Walter
Years in business: 35
Number of employees: 30

Why we are great?
We focus on great service, great food, great drinks, and the ability to watch all sports at all times. We value our customers and make sure we meet their expectations.

How we got started?
It has been a father son dynamic duo since the late 70’s. We have been in the restaurant business for many years down on campus. They decided that we need a change. Ben is a sports fanatic and thought this was a great fit. He wanted to provide an atmosphere that he was passionate about for our clientele. So we are working on developing that and continuing to expand on what our customers want from us.

The best business quote we have heard is:
“Ready, Fire, Aim”. A lot of people make decisions before they think. So this quote helps us to think before we fully jump in head first.

How many years?
We are going on our third year as The Sports Bar Westside and things are looking good. We are excited by how far we have come and look forward to all the new challenges ahead.

We couldn’t do it without?
All of our dedicated employees and our loyal customers. We have about 30 employees on average and lots of fun loving customers who support us on a regular basis.



Ann Arbor Animal Hospital
2150 W. Liberty St.,
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734-662-4474
annarboranimalhospital.com

Owner: Dr. Linda Griebe
Years in business: 32
Number of employees: 48

What makes you stand out?
We are truly a full-service veterinary care facility. We do preventive care for all age ranges of dogs and cats, have advanced dental and surgical abilities, are open 24/hours a day, 365 days a year for critical care and emergencies. We also combine alternative medical modalities like acupuncture, laser therapy, chiropractic and traditional Chinese medicine when we feel patients can benefit.

How we got started?
The hospital was established in the 1930’s by Dr. Hanawalt, expanded by Dr. Hergot in the 1970’s and 80’s. We moved the practice to the new build- ing in 2003.

Best piece of advice for business owners?
Constantly strive to be the best. Look ahead to see where the market is going and re-invest as needed to provide what your customer/ client base wants.

We couldn’t be successful without?
Our experience staff. We hire for expertise in veterinary medicine and work to maintain a dedicated staff. We have many employees who have been with the hospital for 20, 30 and 40 years.

Favorite local establishments?
Knights Restaurant, Ace Hardware.

Favorite Business quote?
If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you get there.

The turning point (When they knew they were a success)?
When I was able to hire people to help with the management and business aspects of running a growing practice.



Kerrytown Concert House
415 N. 4th Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-769-2999
kerrytownconcerthouse.com

Owners: Deanna Relyea
Years in business: Kerrytown Concert House (KCH) opened September 1984. We will be starting our 30th season this fall!
Number of employees: We have 3 full-time employees and 2 part-time.

What makes you stand out?
KCH is the only professionally managed concert space in Ann Arbor outside of U of M, presenting hundreds of classical, jazz, cabaret, and avant-garde concerts each year. Since 1997 KCH also presents an annual, internationally recognized creative music festival, Edgefest, which features an international roster of cutting-edge jazz improvisers. Additionally, KCH is a community resource, providing space for students and their teachers, and to local organizations for meetings and fundraising events.

We couldn’t be successful without….?
 The dedicated support of our patrons and members.

Favorite local establishments?
There are small successes all the time, especially with a new business like ours: the ability to hire people, winning awards, staying in business, etc. Success isn’t an end-point but a process.

What are some of your favorite local establishments?
As a member of the Kerrytown Historic District, we love all of the Kerrytown neighborhood businesses and especially appreciate the mutual support from Sparrow Market, Fustini’s, and Sweetwater’s Cafe.

One word to describe your business?
Creative.



Affordable Vet Services
2117 West Stadium Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
(734) 926-0114

Owner: Kelly MacArthur and William MacArthur
Years in business: 8
Number of employees: 15

How we got started?
We started from scratch as a small one vet practice on the Old West Side with the goal of providing high quality veterinary care at reasonable prices. We started with zero clients but were welcomed into the community and have grown over the last eight years to employ four additional vets besides Dr. Bill and currently have over ten thousand dogs and cats in the practice. Favorite local establishments?
Washtenaw Dairy of course!! The turning point (When you knew that you were a success)?
 When we were forced to relocate into a new building that was three times the size of our previous clinic and filled up the entire space instantly.



Colonial Lanes
1950 S. Industrial Hwy.,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-665-4474
coloniallanescubsac.com

Owner: William Wood Years in business: Let’s say we began in 1962 Number of Employees: 50

Why are we great?
I think we stand out because we have an excellent staff dedicated to customer service. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re located near the center of Michigan athletics.

The turning point (When they knew they were a success)?
CLAA was successful from the beginning.

Favorite Business quote?
In the immortal words of Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”