Local man creates innovative update to ubiquitous socket wrench

Imagine you own a classic car; one perfect for driving in the various car events and shows around Metro Detroit in the summer. It’s early August, so you decide to make your pexels-photo-175684way out to the Clinton Township Gratiot Cruise. While you’re on the way, something big goes ka-thunk – every car owners’ worst nightmare. You’re almost to M-3, but decide it’s best to pull over and figure out the issue. As an experienced classic car owner, you’ve got your tool set and hydraulic jack on hand. But one rusty bolt won’t come off no matter how hard you push and pull on your socket wrench. Ultimately, the only option is to take it to a mechanic and you miss the cruise completely.

This is similar to the issue Al Gunther faced several years ago while working on his daughter’s car. A rusty bolt prevented him from doing necessary maintenance and he had to pay a professional to do the job. This got Al thinking. As an engineer who has worked for the Big Three, he knew there had to be a better solution to the socket issue. But to come to that, he had to get at the root of the problem: leverage.

You see, Al realized that he could use two breaker bars, in the hands of two people, but he could only use one tool on the socket at a time. His idea – why not have an adapter that would allow two or more tools to turn the socket at the same time, doubling or even tripling the torque that could be applied? That was the inspiration for the Torkster, a made-in-Michigan product perfect for a car-lover’s toolbox.
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How does it work? Well, because of the product’s innovative design, the concept is fairly simple. The Torkster is a round device made out of hardened steel with two half-inch square drive holes on two sides, two half-inch pipe thread holes on the other two sides and a half-inch insert driven through the center of the device. At one and a half-inches thick, the insert fits nicely within the Torkster and allows another half-inch drive tool to be used on its back side. So essentially, you attach the Torkster to a socket, insert multiple breaker bars and then use that leverage to easily remove something like a rusty bolt. To get a better idea of how the tool works, you can watch a ‘how-to’ video starring Al here.

Now, I should mention, the most interesting part of the entire Torkster story are its historic implications. The square drive socket wrench was patented more than 100 years ago and is used across the world. But after doing some research, Al realized that no one had ever tried to patent a way to attach more than one wrench to a socket. The Torkster would be a major update for the classic tool. This makes Al more than just an inventor, he’s an innovator. And through his company, Big Al’s Tools, he’s also an entrepreneur – something that he says runs in his family.

Al’s grandfather owned his own business, as did his father, mother and several of his cousins. His father’s business, a small fleet of ice cream trucks driven throughout New Jersey, required long hours and years of hard work. When Al was old enough, he wanted to take over the business, but his father didn’t want that life for him and insisted that he go to college, get a degree and find a 40 hour-a-week job. Al did as his father wished, getting an engineering degree and moving to Michigan to work for the Big Three. But when the recession hit in 2008, he was laid off from his job. So Al mustered his entrepreneurial spirit and opened his first business – Global Engine Cooling Solutions. The company, a full-service provider of engineering consultation, employee training and technical sales support, gave Al the confidence to venture into other businesses too. Soon after, Big Al’s Tools was born and with it, the Torkster.

torkster logoAs previously stated, the Torkster is nearly entirely made in Michigan. Al believes that sourcing materials locally boosts the quality of his product, and as an autoworker, he thinks it is important to support hometown suppliers. His current partners include a steel wholesaler in Detroit, Sharp Screw Machine Products in Chesterfield, Sturdy Broaching in Warren, Michigan Paper Die in Detroit and Suburban Heat Treat in Warren. This all means that if you purchase the Torkster, you can feel good knowing you are buying local. Which begs the question – where can you get the product? Currently, the only way to buy it is online here. So if you’re driving in the Gratiot Cruise in just a few short weeks, you might want to check the site out as soon as possible, place an order and give your toolbox an update.

To learn more about Big Al’s Tools and the Torkster, visit https://torkstertool.com/home.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

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Companies interested in choosing Macomb at Select USA

Macomb County recently participated in the Select USA Investment Summit, an event that brings in roughly 1,000 international companies looking to do business in the United States. The conference also attracts economic development officials from across the country who are competing to win the sought after new jobs and investment, which totals $30.7 billion since Select USA first occurred. Overall, our team had a positive experience at the event. And from our conversations with global business leaders, we can tell that Macomb County’s reputation as a great place to do business is growing worldwide.

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Our county economic development team participated in Select USA alongside the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a contingent of roughly 30 economic developers from various regions across Michigan. Over the course of three days, our group met with companies and business groups from four different continents, including Europe, Asia, North America and South America.  These organizations were interested in Macomb County because of our capabilities in manufacturing, our strong infrastructure of suppliers and our highly-skilled workforce. Being a logistics hub with a major international airport was also a draw for those looking to locate here. And notably, our county’s reputation as the Arsenal of Innovation and it being home to the Michigan Defense Center was a big draw for the team.  We were able to show these companies that our well-equipped economic development toolbox is not only ready to help them get in the door, but to also support them throughout their stages of growth. They also learned that Macomb County is very supportive of business and a great place to live.

As background, pursuing international investment is one part of Macomb County’s comprehensive economic development strategy. The success of this tactic is evident in our increasingly diverse demographics. For instance, nearly one out of every 10 county residents is foreign born and there are more than 80 firms operating here that are headquartered outside of the USA. These international companies are creating great products and paying excellent wages. They include Kuka, Sodecia, Grupo Antolin, Brose and Faurecia, among others. Additionally, Macomb County has facilities for major domestic companies like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, General Dynamics, Fiat Chrysler and Oshkosh Defense. All told, the investments made by both domestic and foreign companies have boosted Macomb County’s economy.  Since the end of the recession in 2009, the county has added 80,493 jobs, increasing from 346,216 jobs to today’s total of 426,709 jobs. This astounding growth is a direct result of an effective economic development strategy, and of course, a great business environment.

To see more of Macomb County’s major investments, click here.

Nick Posavetz is an economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development and is focused on growing, retaining and attracting businesses to Macomb County. To learn what resources are available for your business, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

Using a Kooty Key every day keeps the doctor away

Ken Kolb’s “aha moment” came in a McDonald’s restroom. Frequently on the road for his job, the lifelong Macomb County resident often made pit-stops at the fast-food joint. On one occasion, while washing his hands, he noticed that there were only hand dryers in the restroom – no paper towels. Transitioning to this more environmental hand drying method is a fairly common trend for businesses, but for individuals like Ken, who like opening restroom doors with paper towel to protect freshly-washed hands, this causes a bit of an issue. That’s when he got his flash of inspiration. What if there was a tool that would allow you to open doors without touching them? In that moment, the Kooty Key was born.

packageThe Kooty Key is a hook-like product made from reinforced, antimicrobial plastic. It easily attaches to keys or a purse so the user can grab it, take hold of a handle and open a door – all without actually touching the surface and coming in contact with germs. This was the goal Ken set out to achieve after his aha moment. As an Ultimate Fitness Event professional who previously won Mr. Natural Michigan, Ken is a health enthusiast. He understands how healthy living and exercise can have a positive impact on a person. But even with this commitment to well-being, Ken still managed to contract viral meningitis. In 2005, he spent a week in the hospital after being diagnosed with the infection. He’s not sure how he came into contact with the meningitis bacteria, but he knows it can be deadly and he has tried to reduce his risk for future illness by frequently washing his hands and opening public doors and handles with paper towel – what he had intended to do in that restaurant restroom. However, more and more businesses are switching their restroom facilities from paper towels to hand dryers to save costs and reduce their impact on the environment. While this is ultimately a positive move, it puts individuals like Ken in a bit of a pickle. So he developed the Kooty Key as an alternative for himself and others.

Creating the product took time. Ken first sketched out his vision for the tool, handing it off to an engineer friend who created the initial version out of steel. Ken took that to ADAPT Technologies in Rochester so they could help him flesh out the idea and make it slotssomething that could be produced on a mass scale. After applying some physics and printing several 3D models, Ken and the ADAPT team landed on an antimicrobial plastic version that would be able to open a 35 pound door while still being small enough to fit in your pocket. They also added a touch tool that would give users the ability to push keypads and buttons. Ken then took the product to Las Vegas, testing its durability by opening heavy casino doors and pulling slot machine handles. The tool worked exactly as planned so Ken put it into production and began selling it as the Kooty Key.

Initially, Ken sourced his manufacturing in China. But after a round of disappointing product arrived at his door, he made the choice to move everything to Michigan. Now made through Molding Experts in Chesterfield, Ken can say his product is entirely “made in Michigan.” He’s proud of that, but it also makes fiscal sense for him. Sourcing locally means that Ken can meet his product managers in person; they’re in the same time zone. He can also see his product on the line, which gives him the ability to personally ensure its quality. This results in five-star reviews from Kooty Key customers. According to one individual: “This is an awesome product! I feel much more confident when I go to public places now. With the flu out of control, I use my Kooty Key everywhere.” And another: “This was a great gift for my grandmother who was always wrapping her hands with her shirt or coat to open doors.”

As that customer stated, the Kooty Key is the perfect tool for individuals concerned with their health or who have suppressed immune systems. It is also suitable for individuals who work in environments where germs are prevalent, like teachers or nurses. It could even be a great gift for young people going away to college.

While there are a variety of individuals who might find this product helpful, the end result is always the same – peace of mind. Customers who use Kooty Key always say that they feel better about being out in public because the tool offers them some protection from the germs and bacteria that contaminate everyday surfaces. Ken agrees. Since he created the product and started using it, he says he’s never been sick. His family feels the health benefits too, which is certainly positive as they help run the business and have never needed to call in sick.

Knowing this, I’m personally giving the Kooty Key a try. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than coming down with a cold or the flu, calling off and then falling behind at work. So if there’s something simple I can do to reduce my risk of becoming sick, I’m going to test it out. Who knows what the result will be, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for an illness-free year!

For more information on Kooty Key and to purchase the product, visit http://kootykey.com/.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Macomb County: Equipped and ready for next generation mobility

Macomb County is made up of 27 cities, townships and villages. Connecting those communities are 1,700 miles of road and 740 traffic signals. The county’s residents, more than 864,000 individuals, rely on this transportation network to get to work, school, stores and ultimately, to their homes. That’s a lot of usage, and it often results in back-ups, accidents and fatalities. How do you solve these issues? Our county might have the answer.

Smart and connected roads
We have smart phones, smart homes and smart cars – why not smart roads? Here in Macomb County, that’s no longer a question; it’s a reality. The Macomb County Department of Roads is leading the country in creating a smart infrastructure network that can communicate with vehicles, bikes, buses and pedestrians; improving the overall mobility experience. The county was recently able to showcase this technology at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA) annual meeting hosted in Detroit. Along with our partners at MDOT and SMART, county leaders demonstrated how transit signal priority that uses dedicated short range communication can expedite a bus route by extending green lights. This is one of the many pilot programs being explored in Macomb County, and while it sounds simple, it has taken years of planning and development to get to this stage.

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Vicky Rad tests real time collision prevention systems in Macomb County with DERQ, a Dubai-based company with a mission to eliminate road accidents and save lives by using AI and technology

How did we get here?
It all started with COMTEC, the Macomb County Communications and Technology Center. Completed in 2013, this 25,000-square-foot facility houses traffic communications, 911 emergency dispatch and information technology services for the entire county. Through a system of 230 cameras, the center provides 24/7 situational awareness to residents, businesses and first responders. In addition to providing this essential service, the network also allows the county to build a Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication system. And with car connectivity on the rise (by 2020, more than 75 percent of vehicles shipped will be connected), this system is increasingly relevant.

In a recent interview, John Abraham, director of traffic and operations at the Macomb County Department of Roads, described why this is important:

“In one scenario, if a connected car gets into a crash, an alert comes to the center immediately and sends information that the airbag was deployed, and the extent of the damage. The emergency dispatch center gets the information also, and we can deploy the right resources to the crash using the GPS location of the accident,” he said.

Ultimately, Macomb County would like to increase safety on area roads and decrease the number of car accidents. With the V2I system and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications now available through some auto manufacturers, this goal is within reach.

How it works
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An integral part of this connectivity and vehicle communications are roadside units (RSU), boxes that gather and broadcast information at an intersection. In addition to signaling back to COMTEC so traffic signals can be prioritized for emergency vehicles or during periods of heavy road usage, the RSU can link with connected vehicles and alert them to changing lights or other hazards.  Eventually, RSUs will be able to give speed guidance or alert a driver that a lane is closing due to construction. And in the future, RSUs and connected vehicles could provide COMTEC with information about vacant parking spots and even communicate with other modes of transportation, like buses, pedestrians and bicycles, all using the same technology.

Macomb County currently has five RSUs completely operational, and will install 20 to 25 additional units this summer. Federal grants will provide the funding to have 301 RSUs installed by early 2019, and the goal is to have all 740 traffic signals in the county connected within three years. This makes Macomb a leader in smart and connected roadways. Only a few dozen locations across the U.S. have installed connected technology and Macomb is among the handful that also have an operational RSU. That’s certainly impressive; but of course it makes sense that the Motor City region would be a trailblazer in this effort. We make the cars, therefore we lead the way in next generation mobility.

 

Vicky Rad is the deputy director of the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

How Macomb County is preparing today’s talent for tomorrow’s opportunity

The world around us is changing. Every day we see new technologies, automation and artificial intelligence influencing the economy, and businesses have to adapt to keep pace. With this evolution, we see the workforce changing too. And in late 2017, we began to see the rise of the “new collar” worker.

What is a new collar worker?
We’ve all heard the terms blue-collar job or white-collar job. Today, a new classification of worker is emerging that combines professional knowledge with technical skills. The need is becoming so great that last year, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty coined the term “new collar” worker to describe a role that is between a professional career and a skilled trade. These workers have technical skills and knowledge rooted in higher education. The roles they fill are in areas like cybersecurity, data science and artificial intelligence, but some roles have yet to be created. It is estimated that 65 percent of today’s kindergartners will have job titles that do not exist today. All told, a big shift is coming and our young people need to be ready to leave high school career and college ready.

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Macomb County is fueling the talent pipeline
To ready our region for this shift and fuel the talent pipeline, Macomb County is engaging directly with businesses and the next generation of our workforce. We work one-on-one with area employers to connect them to resources and learn about their talent needs. We also collaborate with partners to develop and support initiatives that expose students to career possibilities and point them to educational pathways that lead to meaningful employment. This work includes:

  • The Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development partners with the Macomb Intermediate School District, along with an active planning committee and generous sponsors, to coordinate one of the nation’s largest celebrations of Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Since 2014, more than 6,500 students have visited a nearby plant to see industry in action and learn about career possibilities.
  • The Department has also partnered with Romeo Community Schools as they work towards becoming Michigan’s first Ford Next Generation Learning community. The newly established Academies of Romeo will enable students to choose a thematic course of study – such as engineering, health care or information technology – and learn in a relevant, hands-on environment. Students learn math, science, English and social studies within the theme they choose.
  • Macomb Community College hosts AUTO Steam Days, a two-day hands-on opportunity for students to explore careers in automotive design, robotics, manufacturing and technology.
  • The Michigan Automotive & Defense Cyber Awareness Team (MADCAT) partners with academia and area U.S. Department of Defense assets to develop a career pathway for high school and college students in cybersecurity.
  • MiCareerQuest Southeast – Michigan Works! offices from across the region host an event for 10,000 students at the Novi Suburban Showplace. This event provides hands-on activities related to career exploration in four quadrants: construction, information technology, advanced manufacturing and health sciences. Involved employers will provide hands-on experiences and sponsorship.

Those are just a few examples of the many programs and partnerships Macomb County is pursuing to fuel our talent pipeline and prepare the next generation workforce for new collar work. Through these efforts, we hope to ensure economic stability in our region for many years to come. But ultimately, our goal is to give our young people the tools they need to succeed and connect their passion with opportunity.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Shop local, shop Hatherly Commons: Part 2

In the second part of my series on Hatherly Commons, I’ll detail my trip to three more storefronts at the shopping center. If you missed the first blog where I wrote about shopping at Salim Optical and Dream Fashion, you can catch up here.

Now, as I previously mentioned, I like to think of myself as a “professional” shopper. This means that I’m a self-proclaimed expert in what makes for a good shopping experience. For starters, great customer service is key. Then of course you need interesting and unique products or offerings. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you have to have a clean, friendly space. I give all of the storefronts at Hatherly a high mark in these categories, including the final three spots that I visited the other day – Bride Jewelry, Lazar Sound & Lighting and Al Mahar Restaurant.

I made my way to Bride Jewelry (3645 15 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI) after stoppingimg_0144.jpg into Salim Optical and Dream Fashion. Lining the walls of the store are displays filled with fine gold and silver necklaces, bracelets, rings, chains and earrings. Behind the counter was Nathan Sweer and his father Hameed, both experts in designing, making and selling jewelry. Nathan opened several displays to give me a closer look at some of their beautiful product. The gold is all 21 karat, nothing less. Outside of simply offering the highest-quality metal, Nathan shared that the purpose of this standard is to prevent depreciation. This means that if you buy a piece of jewelry there and one day need to sell it, the product will still have value on the market. That’s great news for individuals looking to purchase something special.

As I browsed through the displays, I saw several sets of jewelry perfect for a bride on her wedding day. Nathan informed me that these sets (which include a bracelet, necklace, earrings and ring) are often on sale for as low as $1,200. Talk about a great deal for high-quality gold! If your wedding is approaching and you are in the market for a bit of bling, I’d definitely recommend shopping here.

Moving towards the back of the store, I noticed some fun pieces available for sale. OneIMG_0132 item, a gold Mickey Mouse pacifier, recently arrived at the shop from Dubai and is on special for $200. Other trendy items from Italy and the Middle East are in stock as well, but the biggest benefit of shopping at Bride Jewelry is the store’s ability to create custom pieces. Nathan’s father, Hameed, has been making jewelry for more than 45 years. He designs nameplates, charms and other items with precious stones. They proudly showed me some of these special pieces and informed me that they can make something in about two days for as low as $100. That’s impressive IMG_0123and certainly worth the investment. I left the store thinking of several gifts I’d like to purchase for upcoming special occasions, noting to myself that I’ll be back.
My next stop is Lazar Sound & Lighting (3743 15 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI), a natural destination if you are engaged and have just purchased a bridal set at Bride Jewelry. Lazar George, owner of the business, greeted me with a firm handshake and guided me to a conference table. Once seated, he offered me some refreshments and began to tell me about his company. It specializes in providing sound systems, lighting, pipe and drape, LED dancefloors and GOBO projections for weddings, parties and corporate events.  Lazar pulled up several images and videos on a screen to demonstrate his skill.  I saw beautifully light ballrooms in every color imaginable and bride and groom first dances on floors that sparkle and shine. He told me about his degree in physics, which means that the lighting and sound he produces at events has some science behind it. For instance, the lights that Lazar offers are custom built from the manufacturer. He informed them of specific angles and outlines that only a person with a background in math and science could request. The end result – a room with no gaps in the up lighting. That may sound odd, but you can certainly see the difference:

Don’t these spaces look beautiful? What more could a party planner need? Well, they definitely need someone who works tirelessly and is available around the clock to ensure an event is well-produced. That description fits Lazar perfectly. He told me a story of a recent customer who called him at 5:20 p.m. one evening. That individual needed a dancefloor by 6:30 p.m….that same day. This type of last minute request is not one that many businesses can fulfill, but Lazar got to work and made it happen. That level of commitment makes Lazar Sound & Lighting an in-demand vendor with brides and party planners around Sterling Heights, where Lazar focuses much of his work. If you’re putting on an event and need audiovisual services, I’d recommend you make an appointment before stopping into the storefront. It may be one extra step, but it’s certainly worthwhile.

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IMG_0145After my day of shopping at Dream Fashion and Bride Jewelry and talking with the owners of Salim Optical and Lazar Sound & Lighting, I decided I needed to check out a local restaurant within Hatherly. I ended up Al Mahar Restaurant (3665 15 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI), which specializes in Arabic seafood. I noticed the delicious scent of spices and herbs as soon as I opened the front door. The owner and head chef, Naseem Alnasrawi, emerged from the kitchen to welcome me. His restaurant opened 10 months ago and he was happy to show me around the nautical-themed space that he designed and constructed himself. To my right, a beautiful stone water feature with a fish tank at its feet. Two large fish happily swam by the glass. To my left, a pristine IMG_0085dining area set off by turquoise walls adorned with a shell-like piece of art. At the back of the facility are several glass display cases, one holding fresh seafood, the other holding prepared sides. The seafood, which Naseem noted is fresh and never frozen, looked like it was just pulled out of the Atlantic Ocean. He showed me the menu and highlighted the promfret “zbedi” whole fish as his most popular dish.  Other offerings include a whole chicken tandoor cooked in a true tandoori oven, breaded shrimp, fried curry fish and fried or grilled grouper, whitefish, tilapia and catfish. All the food is made by Naseem and his family. He’s been cooking for 20 years and he says he’ll never tire of it. He even cooks at home after he leaves the restaurant. Food is his passion. He doesn’t just throw it on a plate. Each dish is carefully assembled, layering ingredients and spices until the right flavor is achieved. This keepsIMG_0093 his patrons happy and the restaurant packed on the weekends. So if you’re interested in trying some promfret at Al Mahar, be aware that you might have to wait for a table. And if that’s not your cup of tea, you can always order a meal to go! Whichever option you choose, I predict you’ll be satisfied.

Well, that wraps up my trip to Hatherly Commons Shopping Center. I hope that my experience with all of these friendly small-business owners inspired you to shop local here in Sterling Heights. If you have any questions for the “professional” shopper, leave them in the comments. I’m happy to guide you in your local adventure.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

Shop local, shop Hatherly Commons: Part 1

I come from a long line of self-proclaimed “professional” shoppers. It started with my grandmother. She loved to hit the big department stores all over southeast Michigan. Jacobson’s…Hudson’s…you name it, she was there. The same goes for my mother. When I was a child, we used to spend entire weekends out shopping at the mall. But the malls weren’t always our main shopping destination. We loved visiting small, local stores too. They’d always have something unique or special on sale; something we just had to have. The shop owners would greet you with a smile; offer their help and guidance with a purchase. They were kind and friendly. They’d treat you like family. This is why I loved shopping at these stores. You don’t get those products or that level of service at the big-box retailers. And only when you begin shopping local do you start to see the difference. So today, I am asking you to shop local at Hatherly Commons Shopping Center in Sterling Heights. You can trust me, I’m a “professional” shopper.

Salim SignI had the pleasure of visiting several small businesses located within Hatherly the other day. Parking was a dream. I pulled right up in front of where I wanted to go. How easy is that? My first stop was Salim Optical (3747 15 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI), a family-run store that offers eye exams, glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses. I was greeted by its owners, Salim and Aydel Auraha. Married 28 years, the friendly husband and wife optometrist team were joined by their daughter Rafal. Prior to opening their storefront at Hatherly, Salim owned an optical business in Baghdad. All told, he has close to 30 years of experience in the field. This expertise means that Salim Optical offers quality products and quick service. In most cases, you can get an eye exam, fitting and custom frames within an hour. If you’re looking for name brand accessories, they offer Ray Ban, Gucci and Jimmy Crystal NY glasses and sunglasses. And if you’re looking for specialty items, Salim Optical delivers. For instance, they have custom color contact lenses and the ability to tint any pair of glasses, turning them into sunglasses. Need a quick repair on some existing frames? They handle that too! All this to say, I was very impressed with the offering and the store itself. You could feel the passion Salim and his family have for optometry. I mean they’re open seven days a week! And you could certainly tell that the service provided to customers is top-notch. They want to help you find exactly what you need, which is of course what I love most about shopping at small, local businesses. So if you’re in the market for a new pair of lenses or want some shades for the summer, stop into Salim Optical.


dream signThe next storefront on my list was Dream Fashion (3653 15 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI), a woman-owned boutique offering eye-catching, custom gowns and sharp, tailored menswear. Noor Shammo, the owner and designer of many of the store’s fashions, warmly welcomed me at the door and ushered me inside to showcase some of her beautiful clothing. We started in the women’s section. She pulled dress after dress to demonstrate the exact detailing on many of the gowns and showed me colors ranging from pastel pink to deep blue. She then took me inside a room with wall-to-wall dresses, a space that could easily be featured in any high-fashion magazine. Feathers, sparkles, beading, lace, embroidery, cut-outs, long dresses, short dresses, form-fitting dresses, mermaid-style dresses, ballgowns…this room had everything. I know it’s cliché, but as a woman, it would be a dream to shop at Dream Fashion.

We then made our way to the men’s section and I saw several jackets that would make any man look like James Bond. Each piece came in a variety of quality fabrics and with custom touches like removable silk lapels that transform a high-end tux into a suit for work. Positioned conveniently next to the suits were dress shirts in almost every color, dress shoes, belts and ties. Alterations were available on site as well, making this truly a one-stop shop for both men and women. And I should note, everything was very well-priced. With a full men’s suit for $140, dresses as low as $100 and alterations starting at $20, shopping at Dream Fashion makes fiscal sense.


Prior to 2018, Dream Fashion was owned by a different vendor who has since retired. So if you were previously familiar with the store but haven’t been back recently, it’s worth stopping in. Noor invested a great amount of time and energy remodeling the space. She painted the walls and installed new lighting, carpet, TV screens and other decorative features. The store now exudes class, but with a modern twist. She’s proud of the space and you can sense that. I would be too. It’s a beautiful place to shop.

Stay tuned for the next blog, where I’ll detail the final three storefronts I visited at Hatherly Commons. If this “professional” shopper hasn’t convinced you to get in your car and drive over there yet, I hopefully will in my second piece.

Megan Ochmanek is a communications specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.