Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Local inventor Lawrence Hardge launched a national campaign to roll out his newest product, KnockOut 360. More than 15 years in the making, KnockOut 360 is an advanced fire extinguisher made of environmentally safe chemicals.
According to Hardge, the product terminates fires instantaneously without leaving residue like traditional extinguishers. KnockOut 360 was picked up by Harvest Growth, the national infomercial company that created the well known OxiClean, Kaboom and Snuggie campaigns. Infomercials have begun airing around the country. The product is expected to be sold in stores later this year.
With a background in chemistry and engineering, Hardge developed the concept for the product after the 1996 crash of a ValueJet airplane in Florida, which was due to a fire in the cargo compartment. A combustible combination of oxygen and heat led Hardge to create a fire extinguisher that removes heat from fire but not the oxygen.
“I have a passion for creating products that will benefit mankind,” said Hardge. “I have always been intrigued by how things function and how to make them better. As long as I can remember, I have always broken things down and rebuilt them adding my own twist.”
Hardge is also the inventor of other innovative products, including the DoggoneIT collar clip which alerts owners, via remote alarm, if their dog is exposed to dangerous temperatures; BabysitIT, an invention designed to alert parents and guardians when their children are separated from them by a predetermined distance; and the EZStrollIT, which is a versatile seat that converts from a safety-approved child car seat into a stroller.
Traditional fire extinguishers can cost upwards of $50. The cost of KnockOut 360 is $15 which makes the product perfect for usage in urban centers where delayed responses from fire departments could potentially lead to fatalities.
By lending his experience and expertise to novice inventors, Hardge also plans to open the doors of opportunity for other minority inventors.
“Detroit has some very talented inventors — a new generation of George Washington Carvers — but their voices are not heard,” says Hardge. “It is difficult for a minority to get their product out into the marketplace unless he or she is validated by a major company. I want to use my knowledge to help them bring their products to market.”
With offices in Detroit and a warehouse in Wixom, Michigan, Hardge seeks to provide jobs for Detroiters and establish partnerships with businesses that will provide distribution sites for his products.
For more information visit www.hardgeinvestments.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 09:51
Category: Business - Original Written by Ross Woodstock, ACC
Special to the Chronicle
The Michigan Chapter of Associated General Contractors (AGC) awarded Tooles Contracting and Clark Construction a 2013 Build Michigan Award for the construction of New East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit. The award was presented on Friday, Feb. 22, at the Firekeepers Casino & Hotel in Battle Creek.
“To be recognized by the AGC for a Build Michigan Award is an exceptional accomplishment, and we are honored,” said Damon Toole, president of Tooles Contracting Group. “We’re especially proud to be a part of the team that developed a LEED Gold building that will set sustainability standards for future city projects in Michigan.”
“We were thrilled to be involved with a project in Detroit,” said Clark Construction President Sam Clark. “I am proud that our company had a hand in rebuilding the Detroit Public Schools system, especially for Detroit’s youth who truly deserve constructive learning environments and enhanced opportunities for future success.”
The New East English Village Preparatory Academy has transformed two schools into one academic setting, creating a permanent home and a safe, modern learning environment that strengthens the school community and the city of Detroit.
The building is a 221,000-square-foot high school that accommodates up to 1,200 students. The school features four wings, with eight science laboratories, a high-tech media center, and an athletic area with a community health clinic.
A performing arts section includes an 800-seat auditorium, small black box theater with a scene shop and dressing rooms, a 2,400 square-foot band room and a 1,900-square foot choir room.
A cafeteria commons anchors the four wings and serves as an assembly area. The school also features an indoor athletic wing containing a gymnasium with bleacher seats for 1,300 spectators, an eight-lane competition pool and diving well with balcony seating for 230. Outside facilities include a football and track-and-field complex with stadium seating for 1,100.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 13:03
Category: Business - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
Participating as developers, or construction partners and bringing more than $1.2 billion in potential new investments and jobs to the city, minority-owned businesses have been an important part of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s (DEGC) success over the last two years.
Marvin Beatty and James Jenkins are both involved in the largest retail development in Detroit in more than 40 years. Beatty as one of the development partners and Jenkins as a construction contractor on the Gateway Marketplace at Woodward Avenue and Eight Mile Road. With Meijer and Marshalls as anchor tenants, Gateway Marketplace is the first major retail development and national grocer within Detroit in more than two decades.
DEGC had a critical role in the project, facilitating brownfield credits and setting up a local economic development authority to generate tax-increment financing to support the development. Beatty has also partnered with former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson in a bid to redevelop the Michigan State Fairgrounds, which is next to Gateway Marketplace.
Jenkins Construction is a $30 million-per-year operation that is also working on the Cobo Center renovation and a medical office building in Detroit that received brownfield help facilitated by DEGC. One of its latest projects is the renovation of a building in the Paradise Valley District, which will be the new home of the Michigan Chronicle. Jenkins says, “Detroit is a city of hardworking people and that is what I believe in. If you work hard, success will come your way.”
George Stewart is managing partner of Woodward SA-PK, LLC and other partnerships that are developing what’s known as the Woodward Garden block — a mixture of new construction and historic renovation that includes retail space, residential units and a restored entertainment venue. The development is on Woodward between Selden and Alexandrine streets in Midtown. Ten years ago, Stewart and another African-American partner, Michael Byrd, started with an idea of restoring a historic entertainment venue. The project has grown the project to include a mixed-use development comprising the entire block.
Stewart says that he was drawn to the Garden Theater, which was designed by the same architect, C. Howard Crane, who designed the Fox Theatre. “The Garden Theater had a lot of history to it,” said Stewart. “Where others saw blight, we saw opportunity.”
The project took 10 years because when the duo acquired the theater, they determined that the best way to proceed was to gain control of the entire block. DEGC helped in guiding the project through the complications of acquiring the additional properties. Further complicating the process, Stewart says that the financial collapse of 2008 hurt the project. They initially counted on National City Bank as an anchor tenant, but late PNC Bank participated providing much needed new market tax credits.
DEGC also contributed the knowledge and management coordination to allow the group to obtain $1 million in loans from the Michigan Strategic Fund and Detroit Casino Loan Fund, as well as brownfield incentives, a SmartBuildings grant for energy conservation and a Creative Corridor grant.
So far, the Blue Moon building has been restored, storefronts have been demolished and a 23,772 sq. ft. retail/commercial building has been built. Renovation of the theater, named the Woodward Garden Theater, is now in its final phase. The residential portion of the development is also being completed and is expected to open this fall.
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is a private non-profit organization that has been dedicated since 1978 to helping businesses create new jobs and leverage private investment in the city of Detroit by providing technical, financial and development assistance to the city and the business community, from the start-up entrepreneur to the multinational corporation.
By combining public sector policy and direction with private sector leadership, DEGC is able to actively strengthen Detroit’s economic base.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 14:14
Category: Business - Original Written by Damon Autry
That Jerome Harvey has been a successful entrepreneur for more than three decades should come as no surprise to those that know him. Harvey grew up an only child in Albion, Michigan, a small town nestled between Jackson and Battle Creek, where he developed the self-reliance that has aided in his achievements as a businessman. His parents were caring and nurturing, yet demanding of young Jerome.
“I stand on the shoulders of my parents, there’re no two ways about that,” he says. “They were big believers in education, having a good work ethic and learning how to do things.” And growing up in a town that at the time had less than 5,000 people also proved beneficial. “We were encouraged by our neighbors to do well,” he says of those growing up in Albion. “It was expected of us.”
Harvey left Albion to attend Eastern Michigan University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. It was during his sophomore year, however, that his future began to come into focus. That’s when he decided that one day he would be an entrepreneur. “I was pretty clear on what I wanted to do. I felt I was going to be an entrepreneur. I’ve always been entrepreneurially driven.” Harvey landed a job at General Motors after college. His career at the automotive giant included engineering, purchasing and serving as a Launch Team Leader.
He spent eight years at GM, calling it the greatest education he has ever had from a manufacturing perspective. “GM was a good career step for me. It was a great opportunity to learn and understand the corporate culture,” he said. “And there were also many opportunities to learn new things and take on new challenges. I always tried to be the first to raise my hand and say I’ll take on a new assignment. It was just a great learning experience.”
Harvey left GM in 1981 to launch Harvey Industries. Initially focused on machine tooling operations, the company quickly grew in scope to become a major supplier to the original equipment manufacturers. And while leading the efforts to provide top quality components, Harvey Industries was recognized with Ford Motor Company’s Silver World Excellence Award. Headquartered in Livonia, Harvey Industries has grown to include plants in Westland, Michigan; Wabash, Indiana; Aiken, South Carolina; and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The primary product mix includes aluminum and iron casting, machining and plastic molding for key engine components.
The diverse business offerings allow Harvey Industries to become a one-stop shop for its customers. Specifically, it allows Harvey to control the quality of his products and gives him an advantage in delivery speed. “We’re able to respond quickly to customer needs, and that has been a substantial part of our growth,” he says.
Harvey is a graduate of Dartmouth College’s Tuck Executive Program. He has also served as a member of the Eastern Michigan College of Business Development Board, the National Association of Black Suppliers (NABS), the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), the North Ohio Minority Business Council, the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and the Detroit-Windsor Chapter of the American Foundry Society.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 09:40
Category: Business - Original Written by Amber Bogins, Entertainment Editor
Detroit is reinventing itself and the way businesses operate in the city.
A new business model in Detroit appears to be pop-up businesses which are springing up in key areas, including Midtown, Corktown and the Villages. The emergence and success of pop-ups will be discussed Thursday, Feb. 28, during the Detroit Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber. The panel discussion will be moderated by Claire Nelson, publisher for Model D Media.
The panelists include Jordi Carbonell, owner of Café Con Leche del Easte; Brian Ellison, business advocate for the city of Detroit; Bryan Lively, vice president of retail for Moosejaw Mountaineering; and Rachel Lutz, owner of The Peacock Room and Emerald Gift Shop. Café Con Leche, Moosejaw Mountaineering and the Emerald Gift Shop have opened pop-up shops in Detroit successfully. The panelist will discuss the lessons they’ve learned and policies that would make pop-up businesses a permanent fixture in Detroit’s growing small business environment.
“Pop-up businesses are growing in popularity not only in Detroit, but nationwide. People want to expand, but want to ensure that they are not taking on long-term debt. Detroit is an ideal market for pop-ups. Many parts of the city have been without a retail centers for a significant amount of time,” and Sandy Baruah, CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. Pop-up shops give entrepreneurs a chance to test drive a market lacking in solid retail presence.
Pop-up retail shops are trending throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with companies temporarily opening a storefront anywhere from one day to six months as the Emerald Gift Shop did. They are not uncommon, but are most recognizable as seasonal shops, like Halloween costume shops or the Somerset Collection on Woodward.
The reimagining and utilization of this business model presents Detroit business owners with a unique opportunity to test the market in a given area without being locked into a long-term lease. It’s also a great tool for generating buzz about the company and its product. If consumers know that they can only get specific goods for a short time, it can increase traffic and support an ever- changing landscape.
As a part of the REVOLVE project, a partnership between the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and The Villages Community Development Corporation, Detroit Vegan Soul, a catering company, will open its first storefront, a pop- up café, this spring in the West Village. Detroit Vegan Soul has a specialized niche in soul food, and it is that type of diversity that lends itself well to the emerging pop-up business culture that is blossoming downtown migrating towards West Village.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 08:49
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