Special Advertising Section
What makes Washtenaw County so unique? The area’s independent businesses and organizations offer a lot of character. From nonprofits to arts organizations to locally-owned businesses, these Washtenaw County gems grow with, and in, our community.
Tuesday Productions, LLC
13 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti.
Performing hypnosis and mind magic for entertainment and personal development, since 2016.
How does your business make an impact? When I perform, it’s not about me showing off. It’s about making authentic connections with individuals and groups to promote curiosity and wonder. I also use hypnosis for helping people with personal change and conducting professional development workshops.
Three words to describe your business: Interesting. Amusing. Mysterious.
What do you love most about your job? I get paid to go to social events and have fun; I interact with people from all social and cultural groups; and I can use my whimsical talents to actually help people.
What are three Washtenaw County businesses that you love? Vault of Midnight is one of my favorite comics shops in the world. I love theBrick & Mortar modern general store in Depot Town. The Back Office Studio is a new coworking space in downtown Ypsi where I’m a member— I conduct some of my hypnosis sessions there.
How do you become a better you? I use self-hypnosis and other NeuroTricksSM to program and tune my unconscious mind for happiness and success. I also teach others how to do this.
What’s your purpose, and how did you find it? I’m not a fan of the idea that everyone has a pre-existing purpose that exists outside of themselves. While it is important to live purposefully, missions can and do morph and change from time to time. I focus more on identity and values: who am I, and what is most important in life? It can be problematic when we try to hold ourselves to outdated notions of who we “should” be.
Michigan Theater Foundation
603 East Liberty St., Ann Arbor
A non-profit organization whose mission is joyfully serving the community, history, public storytelling,
and the arts.
In 1979 (but the story begins in 1928 when The Michigan Theater was first built), the theater was saved from demolition by the community, and thus, the Michigan Theater Foundation was formed. Russ Collins has been the Executive Director ever since.
How does your organization make an impact? The Michigan and State Theaters are community gathering spaces where people can enjoy film, concerts, the performing arts and so much more.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? The Michigan Theater and State Theatre marquee along with the Barton Tower are part of the Liberty Vista, which are considered well-known landmarks of Ann Arbor.
What do you love most about your job? Everything. My job is not only fun, but incredibly rewarding because I impact what the Michigan Theater is for the community.
How many emails are in your inbox right now? 90, but I also move emails into folders, so there’s probably more in total.
What year did your business open, and who opened it? Food Gatherers was founded in November 1988 by Zingerman’s Deli; we were the first food rescue program in Michigan and the sixth in the United States.
Describe your business in one sentence. We are the food bank and food rescue program fighting hunger in Washtenaw County.
How does your organization make an impact? We fight hunger and help the environment! Food Gatherers provides the equivalent of more than 14,500 meals a day! More than half of all food distributed is wholesome food that would otherwise end up in landfills.
What do you love most about your job? Sharing food with those that need it most! Gathering brings about the very best in people. We get to work with more than 7,000 volunteers and pretty much every community agency and food business in the area.
What do you want your legacy to be? Everyone in Washtenaw County has access to healthy, safe and affordable food.
Where would we find you on a Friday night? At Food Gatherers Community Kitchen inside the Delonis Center in downtown Ann Arbor serving a delicious meal to people staying at the homeless shelter. The Community Kitchen is open 364 days of the year!
Three words to describe your organization: Mission-driven. Innovative. Joyful.
What’s a tech gadget or app that you couldn’t live without? Google Maps! Our fleet of carrot trucks is on the road six days a week connecting more than 1,000 food businesses who have food to donate to community agencies. The daily logistics can be mind boggling, so we are thrilled to no longer rely on pagers and payphones!
Muse Atelier Vintage
336 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor.
Noon-5pm, Sunday. By appointment Monday and Tuesday.
A vintage boutique with a twist— focusing on providing exceptional service, a beautiful and playful atmosphere, beautiful clothes and accessories, personal styling, fun events, inclusive sizing for all, boudoir photography, and more.
Since December 2015.
How does your business make an impact? At a time when the way we buy things has changed so rapidly and sites like Amazon continue to dominate our purchasing attention, I wanted a place that felt like stepping back in time. I wanted people to feel really good about coming in, to feel warmly greeted, to be told someone is grateful and thankful they are there and for their business. I try to remember everyone’s names. I also love when kids come in, and I can help them discover new things. My particular specialty is helping people find their best fit. I can look at a customer, and for the most part know their size and what might look best on their shape, so a lot of my customers will come in when they have a specific event they need something for and I will help them put a whole outfit together that makes them feel amazing. I do a lot of listening and observing, because it’s a very intimate experience and a lot of women hate shopping for themselves or have been treated terribly in larger shops. I wanted a place that felt safe and accepting to try things on, and a place where you know you will find new treasures every time.
How has Washtenaw County changed since the business began? Some things have really grown, like the restaurant scene. Unfortunately, there is a lot less of the mom and pop kind of traditional retail you might expect in a town like this. Wonderful shops like Peaceable Kingdom, Bead Gallery and more have all closed. My customers and friends have felt the loss of their favorite quirky shops.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? That’s hard to answer! From what I can understand, my reputation is for encouraging people to dress however they want, having really fair prices, personal styling, amazing service, hosting fun events and clothes that actually fit real women’s bodies. We also celebrate diversity, and are known for our events and photography sessions.
What do you love most about your job? The people!!! The most kind, wonderful, and amazing people come through our doors!
Three words to describe your business: Exciting. Supportive. Playful.
7 S. Washington, Ypsilanti. 734-408-1648. ypsimassagemechanics.com
10am-8pm, Tuesday & Thursday-Friday.
Noon-8pm, Wednesday. 11am-6pm, Saturday.
Accessible, inclusive, and exceptional therapeutic massage for Ypsilanti and the surrounding communities. Since 2017.
How does your business make an impact? Massage therapy is an important service for both physical and mental health that is often overlooked for being “too pricey” or just as an extra luxury. My staff and I take pride in fostering an environment that is friendly, non-judgemental, and comfortable for everybody, but especially the LGBTQIA community. We also strive to keep our prices and options financially feasible for anyone looking to benefit from bodywork.
What’s your favorite local luxury? The food! I feel incredibly blessed to live in a place where there is such a plethora of places to eat. Not only are there a ton of good restaurants within walking distance within Ypsilanti, but across Washtenaw County we have food from all over the world— small family owned eateries, foodie farm-to-table, local breweries and beer fests and food festivals and contests. The only problem I have when deciding what to eat, is narrowing down my choices! Good food is indeed a luxury.
What do you want your legacy to be? That Massage Mechanics stood out from other massage studios in our involvement and service to the community, while being a safe space for everyone and anyone who walks through our doors, staff and guests alike.
Where would we find you on a Friday night? Going out to support my neighbors and fellow local businesses! My spouse and I are frequent-fliers at both Cultivate and Maiz. When we’re not out and about, you can usually find us hanging out at our Ypsilanti home enjoying our back porch.
What do you love most about your job? As a Massage Therapist, I love connecting with clients, getting to meet and help people is incredibly rewarding. As a business owner, I love being able to provide a safe, healthy environment where my staff feels comfortable to be themselves. It helps us all do a better job providing for our guests.
Oscar and Maria Cotero
Sports & Grill
6877 S. State Rd., Saline.
A family-owned local neighborhood bar and grill that is welcoming to everybody and serves only fresh-made
meals. Since 2008.
How has Washtenaw County changed since the business began? We have witnessed a growing thriving diverse community throughout the township and county.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? We offer different menu items from traditional American cuisine to some traditional Mexican entrees and pasta dishes. We use local vendors as much as possible including meats from Knights, fresh baked bread from Benny’s Bakery in Saline and fresh produce from Eastern Market. We like to say that our menu is derived from valuable customer feedback as we place specials out on weekends and, with positive feedback, we will more than likely place it on the next version of our menu.
Three words to describe your business: Welcoming. Fresh. Delicious!
What do you love most about your job? Socializing with longtime loyal customers and meeting new customers in hopes of making them loyal return customers by ensuring an overall great experience.
What’s your favorite local luxury? We keep it simple. A special treat is taking a trip to Washtenaw Dairy to grab our favorite ice cream.
What are three Washtenaw County businesses that you love? Tomukun on Liberty, Knights on Dexter Rd., and, of course, Washtenaw Dairy!
How does your business make an impact? We believe in giving back and supporting the community. We welcome fundraising events for schools and charities.
Alexandra E. Berneis Hoag
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
322 West Ann St., Ann Arbor.
Twitter: @a2ct | IG: @annarborcivictheatre
9am-4pm, Monday-Friday (9am-4pm, Tuesday-Thursday in August).
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre is a community theatre group that provides opportunities for the members of the community to participate in theatre. Since 1929.
How does your organization make an impact? We provide accessible theatre for all ages, include participation, education, and entertainment.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? In an area ripe with arts and culture, we offer a creative outlet for those employed in other fields. A2CT provides a way to be involved without making theatre your profession. We began as a place for theatre artists to create and grow that wasn’t affiliated with the University, and have since become a place for those moving into the area to find a creative “home”.
What do you love most about your job? I love seeing people from every walk of life experience live theatre. Whether it’s their first time in an audience or onstage, or their hundredth, our doors are open. We create lifetime appreciation for the arts in our young people and foster it in those who have more experience.
What’s your favorite local luxury? Oooh … charcuterie from York, French cosmetics from Lily Grace or Ann Arbor Pharmacy, a binge at Literati.
What are three Washtenaw County businesses that you love? aut bar, Vinology, and Raven’s Club are my favorite places to meet my friends before or after a show.
Where would we find you on a Friday night? If I’m not onstage introducing a show for A2CT, I can often be found at the round table at Old Town!
Tom and Jade
301 W. Michigan Ave. Ste 408, Ypsilanti.
4-7pm, Tuesday. 10am-1pm, Friday.
And by appointment.
Educating individuals on medical cannabis, the Ypsilanti Medical Marijuana Clinic offers medical cannabis certification and in-depth consultations with patients in a safe and comfortable atmosphere. Since 2018.
Three words to describe your business: Compassionate. Efficient. Hospitable.
What do you love most about your job? Seeing people experience positive change medically and personally.
How many emails are in your inbox right now? Too many!
Jessica and Nikolai Morschakov
Academy of Russian Classical Ballet
Primary Location: 46969 West Rd., Wixom
Opening this month: 527 E. Liberty St., Suite 208, Ann Arbor (located inside the Michigan Theater Building).
Offering accessible, professional world-class training and performing opportunities in the Vaganova (Russian) ballet method for children and adults of all ages and levels in a supportive and encouraging environment. Since 2004.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? As a classical ballet academy, we are so happy to be part of Washtenaw County, a community that really appreciates and values the arts. We have spent the past several years performing at the beautiful theaters in Ann Arbor, and are looking forward to providing dancers of all ages and levels with high quality Russian classical ballet training and performance opportunities. We are also looking forward to extending our community outreach programs within Washtenaw County. We feel the arts are a vital part of any community. We pride ourselves in providing one-on-one guidance and mentoring to aspiring dancers, helping them reach their fullest potential.
What do you love most about your job? Having a positive impact on our students. Watching them grow and develop as dancers, artists and individuals. Seeing them succeed and achieve their goals.
What are three Washtenaw County businesses that you love? Zingermans, Michigan Theater and the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.
What’s your purpose, and how did you find it? Jessica: I feel my purpose is to provide local dancers with the opportunities and tools they need to succeed. As a young dancer from Michigan, I had to move away from home at 14 to Washington DC to receive the training I needed to become a professional ballet dancer. I always knew after my career as a professional dancer that I wanted to teach and have a school so I could provide mentorship and training to aspiring dancers, and help them navigate the process. It was very important to me to bring world-class training to Michigan. My husband and I have worked very hard to ensure our students have access to professional teachers – who graduated from top ballet schools and had extensive careers as professional ballet dancers. We know how important it is to have teachers with professional credentials who are truly invested in their students – who view their students as unique individuals, and find the best path for that specific student.
Where would we find you on a Friday night? With our students, amazing staff and our children, at the studio rehearsing for our next performance.
Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor
2010 Hogback Rd. Suite, 3 Ann Arbor.
Programming also offered in the evening and weekends.
Ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community. Since 2000.
How has Washtenaw County changed since the organization began? Prior to the CSC opening in 2007, there was no other organization providing support specific to people with cancer in the greater Washtenaw County area. Defined by the Institute of Medicine as an integral part of cancer care, psychosocial support, is a type of care addressing the emotional, psychological, social and practical needs of individuals and has been shown to improve quality of life for people impacted by cancer. Even still, these offerings were limited through the local cancer centers. CSC brings all people together in a shared space of acceptance and hope, providing connectedness that would not happen otherwise.
Serving under 200 people in the first year of being open in 2007 the CSC is now expected to serve over 1,000 people impacted by cancer in 2019. More recently, the CSC has partnered with both major cancer centers, St. Joseph Mercy Health System and Rogel Cancer Center, to provide psychosocial services as an extension of their programs of care.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? Specific outreach efforts have been made by the CSC to ensure that underserved people in our community are provided with equal access and level of care. The CSC developed the evidence-based Community Health Advisor Program, which engages local communities with information and develops trust. Since the implementation of this program, the number of African American people accessing support services at the CSC has grown from less than 1% to 12% and has maintained that level year over year.
The CSC cares deeply about serving all people impacted by cancer and specific efforts are not limited to ethnicity or race. In 2018, the CSC began offering its LGBTQ+ support group for patients, survivors and loved ones. This support group fills an unmet need as people who identify as LGBTQ+ report continued experiences with discrimination in the healthcare system. The CSC prides itself on being an inclusive organization, continuously assessing programs to ensure that they are representative of our local community.
Candye and Kayia Hinton
Hinton Real Estate Group
36 N. Washington. 734-480-8650. teamhinton.com
Family-owned and team-operated, servicing clients to help them buy and sell residential and commercial properties in Ypsilanti. Since 2015.
How does your business make an impact? We make an impact because we are charged with taking the time to educate and assist our community with resources to help them become homeowners, many are first time homeowners and/or first generation homeowners. We are involved in community events and work diligently to help build and support the downtown area, specifically.
How has Washtenaw County changed since the business began? We are effectively newcomers to Washtenaw County. We have witnessed the growth of the area as well as the average house cost increase significantly. Many people are rediscovering the character and unique reasons to shop, live and raise a family in Ypsilanti. Our downtown area is emerging and we enjoy the new energy that has come with all the new businesses in the area.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? We fit the cultural landscape because of the culture we create inside of our office. We care and treat everyone we work with like family and very much care about the upward mobility of the city.
What are three Washtenaw County businesses that you love? Muse Atelier Vintage, Cultivate, and Back Stone Book Store.
What do you want your legacy to be? Candye: We want to leave a legacy of helping as many people as we can in Washtenaw County, and specifically, in Ypsilanti to have all the resources available to them to acquire, maintain and leave a legacy for their families through home ownership.
Three words to describe your business: Innovative. Passionate. Forward-moving.
Dr. Renee Laliberte & Michael C. Burns
Co-Owners and husband and wife
Main Street Optometry-Vision Source
Dexter: 8089 Main St. Ste 1. 734-424-9230.
By appointment on Saturday.
Pinckney: 1245 E. Main St., 734-878-7444.
9am-6pm, Monday. 10am-6pm, Tuesday.
9am-7pm, Wednesday. 10am-6pm, Thursday.
10am-5pm, Friday, By appointment on Saturday.
Providing excellent quality eyecare, glasses and contact lenses with attention to customer service. Since 2003, beginning in Dexter.
How does your business make an impact? Our business makes an impact by offering a local and personalized option for for all eye-related needs without the need to travel to a large chain store. We accept most insurances.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? The people of Washtenaw county are very proud of the options they have for just about everything and having quality services and products offered without the inconvenience of a long drive makes them loyal.
Three words to describe your business: Current. Stylish. Caring.
What do you love most about your job? The best part of my job is the patients. I love learning what people do for a living or for a hobby and educating them on the best options for their visual needs.
How do you become a better you? I become a better me by slowing down, making eye contact and listening to people. I try to offer input or solutions only when asked, or when obviously needed.
What do you want your legacy to be? We are creating a legacy already as we watch our patients grow up, start families, have grandchildren and introduce us to their new family members, friends and neighbors.
What’s your purpose, and how did you find it? After spending a summer studying lizards in Colorado I realized field and lab work were not suited to me. I really love dealing with people each and every day making an impact on their lives, much like they impact me.
What’s your favorite local luxury? All the eateries to choose from.
Ypsilanti Food Co-Op
Owned by more than 1,000 community members
312 N. River St., Ypsilanti.
A community owned store, with a mission of providing
organic, local and sustainable foods. Since 1975, after running as a buying club for several years.
How does your business make an impact? We have been providing a place for our community to obtain good for you, sustainably produced foods for 43 years, which has also provided a bedrock for the local food scene in Ypsilanti. It has allowed many people to know about good food and have access.
How has Washtenaw County changed since the business began? In 1975, not many people knew about organic foods, or why they were important, and today most everyone knows about them. There was very little local food available, although there were still many fruit orchards in the area: peaches, cherries, apples, as well as blueberries and raspberries and strawberries, especially U-pick. There are still a few, and it has become popular again, but several of them were lost to detrimental winters.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? We have been an example of a cooperatively owned business, a neighborhood store, and a seller of organic and local foods, and all of those concerns that are current issues of importance to our communities. We have always been open to everyone, and have worked to be a part of our community.
What do you love most about your job? That I can buy great food everyday without having to seek it out! I love knowing that our store is really a community asset that supports a healthy and sustainable food system on a broader level.
Blue LLama Jazz Club
314 S. Main St., 734.372-3200. bluellamaclub.com
@bluellamaclub on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,
5-11pm, Wednesday-Saturday. 11am-3pm, Sunday.
Connecting the “Love of Food” and “Love of Music” to offer one of the most unique and exciting dining and listening experiences in the Midwest. Since April 2019.
How do you fit into the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County? There are a good number of venues who provide music in A2 in different formats. We spent a great deal of time planning and designing an intimate venue with state of the art sound and acoustics that elevates what the artists bring to the stage. Music is an extremely important part of any culture and we program amazing local, regional and national acts and some extraordinary world music acts representing their own diverse cultures, and bringing them to our community live. We love music and the opportunity to share it with people.
What do you love most about your job? We love our business because our guests are really excited to have a jazz club back in Ann Arbor. It’s great to open a business that the community is really longing for!
What are three Washtenaw County businesses that you love? Le Dawg – our team loves their homemade and creative soups, and the dawgs are delicious. White Lotus Farms and Kerrytown Farmers Market have great local products that Chef Louis uses for inspiration and to keep our menu evolving, fresh and exciting every day.
How do you become a better you? We think that it is extremely important to always be active within our community and stay connected. We continually look for feedback to know what our guests love and to keep growing and improving on what we are doing every day.
What do you want your legacy to be? We want to provide an amazing food, beverage and music experience all in one and give people a place they can create great memories with their families and friends. We aspire to have a positive impact on our guests, our staff and our community.
What’s a tech gadget or app that you couldn’t live without? P-Touch label maker.
What’s your favorite local luxury? Blue LLama loves wine and the team tasted over 1000 bottles to hand-pick a list that is interesting, diverse, approachable and pairs well with our menu selections.