eMailMax 4/9/2016 : Page 1

Moody On The Market

Pat Moody

Anna Gordon lias been enamored with flowers since she was 11 years old. She would assemble bouquets and create arrangements o f all sorts even at that early age. Over the years, she has honed that passion into a profession, and after working for a couple o f years out o f her own house specializing in wedding flowers, she has jumped full-tilt into the floral business with a brick and mortar store overlooking the Brookwood Golf Club in Buchanan. Anna and her right hand assistant Cassondra Rudlaff o f Berrien Springs debuted the new home o f Flowers by Anna last weekend. The new shop at 4796 Niles-Buchanan Road has undergone a major transformation to the new shop, across from State Farm Insurance. Over the past two years, Anna has crafted the floral arrangements and bouquets for nearly 160 wedding parties and she’s already projected to perform for 65 in 2016. Anna tells me that while she will continue to specialize in weddings, because she loves the work, her new business is a full scale gift shop as well with all sorts o f bridesmaids gifts, Pinterest-inspired creations from local crafters, soy candles, herbs and small plants and even specialty food products from Froelich’s of Three Oaks such as coffees, jams, and other preserves. Sweet Dreams Bakery in St. Joseph is making sugar cookies for inclusion in flower arrangements, and the shop also provides every-day florals for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions and even for funeral arrangements. Anna’s parents have always had a fruit and vegetable farm where they also grew fresh cut flowers and herbs. That’s where she learned to assemble bouquets and arrangements. When Anna went to Western Michigan University to continue her education, she earned her business management degree but until her last semester she still didn’t know exactly what she was going to do. Barcley Johnson o f Tara Florists in St. Joseph was her professor, and he suggested she work for a while in his shop to determine if she still wanted to head in the direction o f going into business for herself. It worked, and now here she is. Gordon hails from Berrien Springs, and she is ver) excited about the new building. Other things she is featuring in the shop include hand-crafted bird houses, fresh pies, priceless photos, personalized bridal hangers, cake pops, and vintage refurbished furniture in a shabby chic style which she is using for store displays but are also for sale to interested buyers. Wreaths o f all types, including holiday wreaths in season, will also be offered along with a lot o f wedding gifts and rustic home decor inspired by farms and local nature.<br /> <br /> Anna’s prime focus will continue to be on wedding florals and you can see all that she has to offer now that her Grand Opening Open House has taken place. Flowers by Anna takes the more than 1,500 square foot space that most recently housed Petals & Blooms. In addition to the retail space and showroom, the newly remodeled shop also features a Bridal Lounge overlooking the fairways at Brookwood for consultations with new brides, and space to display rental offerings o f such things as vases, decorations, table runners and more. In the future, Anna hopes to offer occasional Wine & Design parties, wherein classes show how to make colorful centerpieces while sipping wines, much like the Wine & Canvas parties that feature “how to” options to budding artists while they enjoy local wines together. You can follow Anna’s shop online through her Facebook fan page which shows dozens o f floral displays she has provided over the past several years, and you can learn more online through her web site by clicking the link below. Flowers by Anna will be open Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm and Saturdays from 9am until 3pm. The shop will be closed on Sundays. Here’s the link to her website: www.FreshFlowersByAnna.com. <br /> <br /> An eleventh hour deal that was cobbled together just over a month ago is poised to substantially rejuvenate a Stevensville manufacturing facility, creating dozens of new jobs and ramping up an aggressive production schedule as early as next week. Just hours before a major auction was slated to begin last month to liquidate the inventory, assets, and real estate o f the former All Star Plastics plant on West Marquette Woods Road in Stevensville, a private investor from Southeast Michigan swept in and bought everything lock, stock, and barrel, ending the auction process just moments before it could get underway, and skilled tradesmen in the region will be the big winners as a result. Nova Plastics has taken over the 115,000 square foot manufacturing plant alongside the I-94 entrance ramp in Stevensville that once was home to Wollin Products, and most recently was known alternately as Harbor Isle Plastics and All Star Plastics before the company ceased operations at the end o f 2015. Matt Bommarito is the new General Manager and Josh Gordon is his Operations Manager. Together they have been shepherding clean-up and renovation crews at the plant at 2337 W. Marquette Woods Road prepping for full scale auto parts manufacturing to resume any day now for some of the hottest selling Chrysler products in the company’s line up. The two have been plotting strategy with H.R super star Bert Lillie of Niles who they have pulled out of retirement to help launch the hiring process for a broad array of jobs at the facility. Lillie has been taking applications at the plant Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm for workers to join the team. The plant will need materials management people, supervisors, dependable hourly production associates, machine operators, mold technicians, and many other roles. Plastics manufacturing experience will be a huge plus for any applicant under consideration. About 35 to 40 people are being hired in the first round getting started. Lillie says, “We are very selective, and are looking for people who are a good fit.” She says, “We need people with a good attitude, and people who exhibit a concern about how they presents themselves and their company. We also need people who will come to work regularly and be on time, every time.” Bommarito is pumped. He told me, “We’re here to stay. We are a tier one, original equipment manufacturer for Chrysler, and we have a ton o f work coming to this plant, so we need to ramp up quickly.”<br /> <br /> He has teams scouring the facility now to the point that it looks like a brand new facility on the production floor. He also notes that they have the space and the opportunity to grow exponentially over the next several years. Nova Plastics will launch with a day shift at first, quickly advance to a second shift and will likely be a three-shift facility within several months. The plastics injection molding plant has 26 injection molding machines in two mold bays and will also perform light assembly work. They will be high volume makers of interior hard trim plastic parts for the hot selling Jeep Cherokee and other top selling Chrysler vehicles. All are visible, aesthetic parts in the passenger compartment of a vehicle so the need for the very highest quality is paramount. The demand for high-quality, flawless performance is driving Bommarito, Gordon and Lillie to seek out strong team players who take pride in the work they do to work for what they term as a very fair company with a lot of opportunity for growth. Nova will offer competitive wages & benefits. The rigorous quality control process and high demands for timely performance are critical to the success o f the company, but Bommarito says they are up to it and ready to handle a substantial, high volume, level o f production for Chrysler and other customers going forward. Nova Plastics has one other location, a smaller facility located in Fraser, Michigan. Terms o f the deal made to acquire the Marquette Woods manufacturing facilities were not disclosed. It’s a dream way to end the nightmare o f the shutdown of the facility just after Christmas and what would have proven to be a disastrous break up through auction sale o f the plant, machinery and real estate. Bommarito says the pipeline is filling rapidly and new projects are being added for several years down the road -- all excellent news for the manufacturing jobs market in the region.<br /> <br /> You have to love the ingenuity of Jill Adams and the enthusiasm, customer service and muscle-power of the ranks o f volunteers who make it possible for all of us to little perform drive-through recycling to help keep the environment clean and healthy in Michigan’s Great Southwest. Together they will bring Berrien County residents the 7th Annual Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Day at Lake Michigan College. Jill Adams is Environmental Property Manager for the Berrien County Parks Department and she is a rock star in the world of people who have become accustomed to this annual opportunity to unload things in an environmentally safe manner two weeks from today. Her team includes a veritable army of volunteers who will actually direct you through the motorcade o f drop-off points in the college parking lot at LMC, unload the items for you, collect whatever fees owed for TV’s and computer monitors (see below), and cheerfully accept your thanks and perhaps even a donation to help defray costs o f operating the day. The 7th annual Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Day will take place this coming Wednesday, April 13, from 3pm to 7pm at the Napier Avenue Campus of Lake Michigan College, at 2755 Napier Avenue in Benton Harbor. The event is for Berrien County residents only, and no business waste will be accepted at this time. You must enter the Napier Campus from the main entrance only. No entries will be allowed to the lot from either o f the Yore Avenue entrances. They will be blocked and you will be turned away. Accepted items for this drive through event include the following items: Electronics.. .Appliances... Household chemicals . Home medical waste . Magazines .Books .Hard foam or Polystyrene . Shoes . Eye glasses.Bicycles.Clean /empty plastic grocery bags...and personal documents for on-site shredding. The only items that have a recycling fee are computer monitors at $10 each and televisions at $20 each.<br /> All other items will be accepted at no cost to the participant. However, donations are accepted to help with other event costs. A complete list of accepted items, as well as a map of the collection area, is available by clicking this link: www.berriencounty.org/recycle. Or feel free to call Jill Adams at 269-983-7111 x8234 with questions.<br /> <br /> They’re tinkerers by nature. Ever in search of the new, bold and exciting, they fidget and fuss to get there. You’ll typically find Whirlpool Corporation’s New Innovation Team knee deep in idea generation for the next great labor saving device for the kitchens and laundry rooms o f the world. That clearly doesn’t preclude them, however, from venturing far afield in search of other improvements in life across the board. That’s why you’ll find them on several upcoming occasions searching for the next great craft brew in the world. Noel Dolan is Senior Marketing & Open Innovation Manager for Whirlpool, and she has asked me to alert you to a couple o f cool events in the coming months when Whirlpool’s New Innovation Team will host a Big Brew Day in early May and their 2016 Home Brew Contest a month later with both events slated to take place at The Livery Brewpub in the Benton Harbor Arts District. The Big Brew Day is scheduled for saturday, May 7th at The Livery and will take place rain or shine from 10am until 4pm that day. The day is set aside to learn all about home brewing, and interested home brewers are invited to connect with Tony Gates by RSVP’ing to Tony_Gates@Whirlpool.com. Food and beer will be the prime focus of the learning session and cool times at The Livery with the New Innovation Team. About a month later, the Whirlpool New Innovators will sponsor the 2016 Home Brewing Contest at The Livery, judged by the owner and brewmaster o f the microbrewery and several other judges still to be announced. Home brewers will be asked to submit their best brews between June 1st and June 7th with the winning results due to be posted during the wrap-up event on Thursday, June 9th from 7pm until 8:30pm also at The Livery. Contestants will be competing for best pumpkin beer this year, and all participants seeking the cash prize money will be required to submit a minimum o f three 12-ounce bottles along with the brewer’s name, and details regarding the manner in which the beer was made. As in the case o f reservations for the Big Brew Day, contestants wishing to craft their best pumpkin beer must contact Tony Gates with their plans via the e-mail included in this story. The first place winner in the Home Brew Contest will be awarded $150 in cash and get to brew a 10-barrel batch with Brewmaster Simon. Second place prize money is $100 cash and the 3rd place winner takes home $50-bucks. The good news for these guys is that they shouldn’t have much of a problem finding a fridge to keep their beer samples cold along the way -- they do, after all, work for Whirlpool!<br /> <br /> That’s it for this week! See you Saturday, right here in MailMax!<br /> <br /> Pat Moody<br /> Morning Radio Personality<br /> WSJM Radio<br /> moody@wsjm.com<br /> (269) 925-1111<br />

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