This column is a look at brave souls who have taken a leap of faith to open their own businesses in and around Ann Arbor. What follows are personal profiles of business owners following their dreams and thriving despite the odds. This issue we feature Unicorn Feed and Supply in Ypsilanti.
Angela Barbash knows about financial challenges. Of Mexican and Italian descent, she’s the first generation not to work on a migrant farm, but grew up in a poor neighborhood in Westland. Now a wife and mom herself, Barbash recognizes the intimidation of learning financial management. At her Ypsilanti- based company Revalue , Barbash educates and empowers people to change their lives and their communities through ethical, local, micro-investing. She worked on the MILE (Michigan Invests Locally Exemption) Act, presents at socially responsible investing conferences, and is preparing to host a national conference on community capital in Detroit in June 2019.
The phrase “street food” may not sound too appetizing, but the real dishes behind the term are now considered by many to be the most authentic sampling of a culture’s cuisine, made popular in part by celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain, who was a huge fan and helped to elevate street food’s popularity with his travel shows. Street food is sold from baskets, pushcarts, trailers, and trucks. What all of these modes have in common are their transportability, and they’re usually found very close to, if not parked on, the street.
Despite the fact that starting any new business often comes with overcoming financial hurdles, working up the courage to start can often be the hardest part in and of itself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the work that goes into running a business. The thought of hiring employees, managing the day-to-day operations, and trying to turn a profit can be a lot to juggle. However, I have discovered a local entrepreneur that dispels many of the myths centered on running a successful, and environmentally sustainable, business.
Kristen Madrid and James McDonald have had a lifelong interest in the metaphysical and spiritual tools for healing practices, and their shared passion has blossomed into Saline’s first and only mind, body, and spirit shop: Earth Elements. At their store on Michigan Avenue in downtown Saline, you’ll find everything from crystals and gemstone jewelry to loose leaf teas and Reiki healing services. Together, they have created a one-stop-shop for self-exploration and spiritual connection. Stay for a cup of their “tea of the day”, and you will find it is also a wonderful space for relaxation and taking a much-needed break.
In this column, Crysta Coburn writes about crazywisdom-esque people and happenings around Ann Arbor. This issue features local blogger Chrissy Barua, Author Judy Wenzel, and owner of Petals + Butters, , Sri Lankipalli.
Coffee Buzz — The Art, Science, and Community of Coffee. A Round-Table Discussion with Local Experts.
Coffee has always been this rather predictable dark beverage served upon waking or with a friend while we engaged in deep conversation. I never gave the making of coffee much thought except for finding a roast I like and a brewing method that worked for my taste and lifestyle. These two things have changed over the years—the only consistent being that I like it simple and on the stout side. I recently became more curious about specialty coffee, especially our local artisan scene.
Alexandra Berneis smiles slightly. She leans back in her chair in her crowded office in the distinctive purple building on a quiet street in downtown Ann Arbor.
The executive director of the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre ponders the question at hand: “The secret to our success? Let me think for a minute. She knows there is one — maybe more than one. After all, the community theater group has celebrated its 90th anniversary and is still going strong, producing mainstage productions, junior theater, workshops, new play readings, and improv every season.
When my business partners and I bought the property that Stone Coop Farm lives on in November of 2011, I knew we had to save it as farmland for future generations. Our farm is on 30 acres, but it is zoned residential. 1000 new homes in four new subdivisions are being built on both sides of us. I can hear the excavation equipment every day. A wastewater treatment plant is being built and the high-pressure sewer line will be connecting these subdivisions along our property line. Developers are approaching us to sell the farm, so that more homes can be built. The value of our land is increasing as residential lots, not as farmland. I know my mission is to save the farm, but that often feels like an insurmountable task, given what’s going on around me.
I watched the man through the window stretch a length of dough arms width apart, bring the ends together, twist it, slap it on his work table, then repeat the process until the noodles were ready to be cooked. These noodles were about to be my dinner.
In this column, Crysta Coburn writes about crazywisdom-esque people and happenings around Ann Arbor.
When Damien Lamberti, more commonly known as D, first decided to open YPSCITY, it was to be a custom sneaker shop (there’s a major market for upcycled, custom designed tennis shoes in the Sneaker Culture, and they’re fetching incredible prices) and graphic design business, but it quickly grew into a broader concept which included providing a space for artists, home crafters, and creators to display and sell their work. As D put it, “I wanted to create a space in which artists are taken seriously and can be fairly compensated for their creations, rather than accepting the minimal amounts often offered for the piece they spent weeks or months creating.”
John and Ruth Loomis opened the doors of their new venture, The Cheese Shop of Saline in the fall of 2017.
Writer Mary Runser meets the owners of Ypsi's new CULTIVATE COFFEE & TAP HOUSE and Ann Arbor's new THISTLE & BESS.