People are jazzed up about exercising in The Clem


Jazzercise Mount Clemens is a growing Macomb County business that has made it over the first big hill of surviving a year in a new location. They are celebrating their one-year anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 13 with an open house and free classes.

jazz 3Jazzercise Mount Clemens owner Lisa Michalik started with one instructor (herself) and three classes per week, renting space and holding classes inside the Mount Clemens Ice Arena for 3 1/2 years. But they were growing and needed to move into their own space. Through my role as senior economic development specialist for Macomb County, I helped Michalik locate her current building, a facility that had been left vacant for a number of years due to economic downturn. Michalik moved in and invested in renovations. The current center is conveniently located right across the street from the ice arena.

jazz 2I attended the official grand opening celebration held on Aug. 15, 2015 with Mount Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey and Pat Marshall from the Macomb County Chamber also in attendance. Over the past year, I have worked to help this business succeed in Macomb County. This has included presenting ideas on how to grow the business, providing referrals for printed materials and window advertising and offering suggestions for problem solving.

Since opening, they have gone from offering five different class formats with six certified Jazzercise instructors teaching 19 classes per week to offering 10 class formats and 10 instructors teaching 32 classes per week! With this being a primarily female-oriented business (although men are welcome), having childcare available so moms with little ones can get one hour of “Me Time” is of utmost importance. Jazzercise Mount Clemens originally had three classes per week with babysitting and now has seven class times with babysitting available.

jazz 1Michalik said she teaches Jazzercise to a diverse group representing all ages and body types. She is a life-long resident of Macomb County and says she opened a franchise because she never was able to commit to fitness until finding Jazzercise. She wanted to bring this fun fitness program to the community so residents could reap the benefits.

So what is Jazzercise? It is a dance-based fitness program. Although it was founded in 1969 by professional dancer Judi Sheppard Missett, no dance experience is needed to successfully complete the classes. Jazzercise has evolved over the years and withstood the test of time as a quality fitness program for students of all ages and fitness levels.

Class formats include:  Dance Mixx, Core, Interval Fusion, Interval Dance Mixx, Flip Fusion, Strike, Strength 60, Strength 45, Express and Lo.

The certified instructors at Jazzercise Mount Clemens face the students and cue the moves during routines that are set to popular music heard on the radio. Modifications are provided to meet all fitness levels.

You can find the Jazzercise Mount Clemens team at events in the community throughout the year such as Bikes, Burgers & Brews, the Mount Clemens Trunk or Treat, Relay for Life, the Mount Clemens Cruise and Let’s Move Festival of Races. They also participate in fundraising for community organizations such as the Macomb County Food Bank, Turning Point Women’s Shelter, Relay for Life, Shoes for Soles and Abigayle Ministries.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary (or “Jazzerversary” as they call it), an open house will be held Aug. 13 with all classes FREE. Join Jazzercise Mount Clemens from 8 a.m. until noon and try out three of the class formats: Strength 60 at 8:20 a.m., Dance Mixx at 9:30 a.m. and Lo at 10:40 a.m. (attend as many as you’d like at no charge). Refreshments will be served and prizes will be given away.

New customers (or those who have not been a member in the past 6 months) can join for $0 with a 6- or 12-month registration (first auto payment Oct. 1). Arrive 15 minutes before the first class you plan to attend, and bring handheld weights if you have them. For the complete class schedule, visit:

While working with this business, I have had a chance to meet some of Michalik’s customers and hear why they love Jazzercise Mount Clemens so much. The one thing you notice right away is how the members enjoy socializing with each other and what a happy environment has been created – it is a gym that is like no other I have been in. Participants laugh while they exercise, forgetting about their tough day. Many friendships have formed in these classes, and members even enjoy spending time together outside of class.

Jazzercise Mount Clemens is a happy place to meet with old friends or meet new ones while achieving your fitness goals. Prize incentives are offered throughout the year to help keep customers motivated and on track. Let’s face it, some days it’s tough to squeeze your workout in, even when it’s as fun as Jazzercise. Hence, the attendance games held throughout the year.

If you can’t make it to the one-year anniversary celebration, you can take advantage of the $0 to join with a 6- or 12-month registration through Sept. 15. Keep in mind, the sooner you get started at Jazzercise Mount Clemens, the more you’ll get for your money, and it will be that much sooner that you make a commitment to your overall well-being by incorporating Jazzercise fitness classes into your life.

Jazzercise Mount Clemens Fitness Center

273 N. Groesbeck

Mount Clemens, MI 48043

(586) 307-5299


Class schedule and more info:

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Johns, Jack IMG_0030Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in working with food, agriculture, energy, robotics, autonomous vehicle and retail businesses. If you are a business owner and would like to contact him, email or call (586) 469-6293.    


Macomb County supports National Black Business Month

In 2004, August was established as National Black Business Month. It is a time for policy makers, venture capitalists and residents to focus on fostering a welcoming environment where black-owned businesses can prosper. It is also a call to action for those within the black business community to support one another.

onemacomb (1)In an effort to create an inclusive community for all people, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel established OneMacomb. One of OneMacomb’s key objectives is to strengthen the county’s economy. This is accomplished by focusing on a variety of approaches to advance economic inclusion.

For example, we are hosting job fairs specifically geared toward our county’s diverse populations. Recently, OneMacomb met with the Detroit HBCU Network and members of the new Alpha Kappa Alpha Macomb Chapter to discuss matters of mutual economic interest. We are working together to host a job fair at our Macomb County Family Resource Center on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Other strategies we are implementing to create a welcoming and inclusive county consist of sending our job postings to our African-American, ethnic and cultural business organizations and meeting regularly with African-American community leaders to connect them to resources in the county that help their businesses advance. Also, at our Macomb Business Awards, we recognize businesses that are cultivating an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued, and we are proud to promote our Model of OneMacomb award.

Our Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development also specializes in helping all types of businesses grow. Their staff has extensive knowledge about available incentives and alternative financing programs that may be able to assist eligible businesses in gaining access to capital and taking advantage of new opportunities such as job training, energy efficiency and façade improvement programs.

Bill Perkins Automotive GroupAnother way to help black-owned businesses succeed in Macomb County is through patronage. There are 677 minority-owned businesses in Macomb County. According to Crain’s Detroit Business 2014 Book of Lists, the top black-owned businesses in the county are St. Clair Shores-based Prestige Automotive LLC and Eastpointe-based Bill Perkins Automotive Group and metal processing corporation SET Enterprises Inc. in Warren.

This month, challenge yourself to shop small, shop local and discover a new business. By redirecting a small portion of your spending, it could be a beneficial boost to Macomb County’s black entrepreneurial system.

Pam Lavers is the deputy county executive for Macomb County and leads the OneMacomb initiative. 

Boosting economic development through international student retention

onemacomb (1)Did you know that international students make up 70 percent of graduate students enrolled in a master’s or PH.D. program in electrical engineering? In fact, throughout the nation, 63 percent of computer science and 70 percent of graduate students in engineering are international students. Generally speaking, international students are much more likely to study in the STEM fields than any other.

As potential employees, international students have a lot to offer our industries.

electrical engineering (1)Now, an initiative is underway to help employers recognize the value of hiring international students in  Michigan and other Midwestern states. It is led by Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network, a project of Welcoming America.

More than 20 organizations from throughout the Midwest are part of the WE Global Network. United, they work to welcome, retain and empower immigrant communities for the value they add to our local economy. The network also provides members access to research and tools and gives peers the chance to share best practices for creating new opportunities.

To learn more about this initiative, check out the latest WE Global Network’s blog: International Students Are U.S. Business’ Best Hope For Growth.

Michigan (1)OneMacomb is a proud member of the WE Global Network. This initiative strives to make Macomb County a welcoming community where everyone can thrive. Last month, Deputy County Executive Pam Lavers attended a special event at the White House where Macomb County, along with 50 other U.S. cities and counties, was honored for its participation in the nationwide Building Welcoming Communities Campaign.

OneMacomb was singled out for its efforts to enhance language access by incorporating video remote interpreting services, installing multi-language signage throughout county buildings, translating brochures into numerous languages and providing connections to local literacy services.

Follow OneMacomb on Twitter @WeAreOneMacomb and Facebook @OneMacomb.

Zardis, Maria IMG_0089

Maria Zardis is the program manager for the Business Outreach and Communications Group for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Job growth picking up steam in Macomb

In case you needed a pick-me-up today, here is some great news for Macomb County. The most recent jobs update from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the county has gained more than 10,000 jobs in the past three months and nearly 25,000 in the last year.

In January 2015, the county started off with 383,739 jobs. May figures for 2016 show 408,217 Macomb County residents are employed. Not only is this a healthy growth of 24,478 jobs, but this is the highest number employed in Macomb County in 15 years! You would have to go all the way back to 2001 to find employment levels this high.

These great jobs numbers mark seven continuous years of job growth in Macomb County. Since 2009, when only 350,776 people in the county were working, jobs have been added every year. With momentum, we are closing in on our pre-recession maximum! The county peaked in May 1999, when 437,251 were employed and unemployment was a mere 2.7 percent.

What’s driving these gains? Job growth in manufacturing, (thanks to the auto industry accomplishing a record year and expected to break records this year), a revolution by the auto industry toward smart mobility, an evolution of auto manufacturers in to aerospace and defense industries and an awakening of the services industries in Macomb County.

“Businesses are finding success tapping into the world-class talent we have here in Macomb County,” said Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel. “The county has emerged as a leader in advanced manufacturing technology. Sophisticated new industries in aerospace, life science, information technology, defense and homeland security have grown alongside Macomb’s traditional manufacturing businesses.”

Are you a company looking to tap into Macomb County’s highly skilled labor force? We can help. Reach out to the Department of Planning & Economic Development today!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at

Macomb Community College hosts Employer Information Session about its expanded apprenticeship program

Macomb offers employers access to motivated, work-ready candidates, as well as training for existing employees 

On Tuesday, June 28 from 7:30-9 a.m., Macomb Community College will host a breakfast meeting at its South Campus in Warren for employers interested in exploring how the college’s expanded apprenticeship program can help them effectively grown their own workforce.

Employers will learn about Macomb’s Michigan Apprenticeship Program Plus (MAP+) program, which offers industry-driven, structured training that allows employers to develop current employees, as well as to interview and hire students. The first cohort of approximately 24 MAP+ students will complete an Industrial Readiness Certificate in August. The work-ready candidates will have completed pre-apprenticeship training classes in foundational skills relevant to skilled trades, apprenticeship and similar work-based learning experiences.

MAP+ funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration under the American Apprenticeship Initiative.  The training and education related to MAP+ may have associated financial incentives through complementary funding programs.

The cost to attend the Employer Information Session is $10 per person, which includes a hot breakfast.  It will be held at the John Lewis Student and Community Center (K Building) on Macomb’s South Campus, 14500 E. 12 Mile Road, Warren.  To register online,  For more information, call 586.445.7438 or email

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 48,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Customer service done the “Harder” way

Harder 2When I recently pulled into the Harder Auto Parts store on Groesbeck in Clinton Township, I was reminiscing back to when my father would take me there in his 1970 aqua blue F250, which I could barely see over the dash. I’m going back to the days when the gas tank for the truck was behind your seat, and you had just a lap belt restraint.

Richard Harder owns and runs the store with his son Ryan, and it is the type of place where they greet you as soon as you walk in. They ask you what you need and walk you right to it. They know where every single item is in the store because they put it there. It is a friendly family store where they know what type of oil you prefer and the color of the vehicle you drive. It is the Cheers bar of auto parts, for those who remember that show, where everybody knows your name. What I was not aware of is just how far back the history goes of his family owning local businesses. I had a chance to talk to Richard one day between him helping customers to really get a feel for how important this business is to him and his family.

Harder 1Russell Harder, Richard’s father, back in 1940 owned and operated the Sinclair gas station on Jones and North Avenue in Mount Clemens. I mentioned that little fun fact to my mother, and she responded without hesitation, “They sure did, and they have always been the nicest people.” Nineteen years later, Russell opened up the Harder Oil Company right across the street from today’s Harder Auto Parts on Groesbeck just south of Hall Road (M-59). He ran that store until 1987 and then helped with his son’s store until he was into his 90s.

Richard always wanted a business and knew he was going to own one from age 10 working for his father. His mom wanted him to go to college, so he ended up going to Western Michigan University and took some automotive classes for a year. He liked it so much that he continued on to graduate with an automotive engineering degree. While in college, he joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and was in the reserves for a total of eight years. He opened up the business in 1977 with financial help from his father.

“Personal service is what has kept us around,” said Richard.

Harder 3When they first opened, there was not a lot of competition in the area, and now they are dealing with the big box stores and many other auto parts stores in the area. They used to order all the parts from a book over the phone, and then through the years, they had to learn how to use the computer, which took a little time. He told me there were more than 30 distributors out of Detroit buying from local manufacturers, and many of the parts at that time were made in the USA. Now with the global economy, the distributors have dwindled down to just a couple that buy the parts from other countries, so they had to change with the times.

Richard says that if they don’t have it in the store, they can get pretty much any auto part for foreign or domestic vehicles. They also have a great rapport with Hanks Auto Service next door that works on vehicles, and they will send customers to each other.

Harder Auto Parts is also a FFL dealer of firearms and carries a few products in the store. The son, Ryan, picks up extra business during the warmer Michigan months doing auto detailing in the back of the shop. I asked Richard if he is going to retire, and his response was he will hand the business over to his son one day, and he will be like his father before him, helping around the shop.

Richard says they have known customers their entire lives, and now their kids are having kids. They have a solid group of customers that come in year after year. In my case, like my father before me doing business with Russell and Richard Harder, now I see Richard and his son Ryan when I go there. Maybe someday I will see another Harder family member stepping in to help Ryan. Then hopefully for small business’ sake and good customer service, that lifecycle of proud business ownership will continue on this little slice of land in Macomb County under the Harder name.

Harder Auto Parts
44000 Groesbeck Hwy.
Clinton Township, MI 48036
(586) 468-1511

Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist with the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in assisting food and agriculture, automotive, energy and retail companies.


Who’s hiring?

Know someone looking for work or wanting to change jobs? Here’s a quick look at what’s hot in Macomb County right now. Our economic data provider EMSI shares that companies looking for new employees right now include General Motors, Henry Ford, CVS and McLaren Health Care Corporation.

Looking for a job close to home? Here are the Macomb County communities with the largest amount of total and unique online job postings:


Not only are employers looking for workers, but they’re looking harder. While the number of total unique open positions continues to rise steadily, the number of total postings has shown tremendous growth.


Resources are available for both the job seeker and the job provider. Those looking for work should check out the state’s website or reach out to their local Michigan Works! office. Employers looking for assistance can contact our department to find out more about employee training, financial assistance and other resources.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at