The Community Spirit of Ferndale

Photo credit: SoPlat Media
Photo credit: SoPlat Media

Written by guest author Jay McMillan, President of Royal Services

I believe that Ferndale, perhaps more than other communities that I have lived, played, and been a part of, is one of the most giving communities. This is just one of the unique ways Ferndale adds to our lives.

As the Chair for the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce, and a business owner and president of Royal Services, I know this to be true:  Giving to the community creates a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, and a sense of caring.

Giving to the community, whether it be through contributions, offering a helping hand to our neighbors, or through taking part in community activities, gives back to me that feeling of “WOW, I am proud to be a part of Ferndale!”  Sharing the joy of successes of ourselves and others makes me stick my chest out a little further, adding to the pride of being part of Ferndale.

If I ask myself, where do I belong and where does Royal Services belong, there is only one logical choice – we belong in Ferndale.  Through Royal Services logomy activities with organizations, volunteer efforts, or just by  sitting and speaking with new business owners, I realize that I do these things because I really want to! Never an expectation of getting anything in return, but from the pure joy of giving.  The payback, if you will, is that the community has reached back and offered a strong sense of belonging.  I am PROUD to say I am from Ferndale Michigan – look at what we have become and where we are going!

The last component is that Ferndale is a caring community. Plain and simple, we care about each other and for many of us, we are there to offer that helping hand when we are needed most. Those business neighbors who are most successful give to the community without a second thought. Not because it’s good business, but because they care.

Jack Aronson receives "Special Service Award" at the 2014 Ferndale Area Chamber Gala.
Jack Aronson receives “Special Service Award” at the 2014 Ferndale Area Chamber Gala.

With the floods of 2014, those that cared most stepped up and took the lead in offering support to those that were devastated. I look at Jack Aronson, owner of Garden Fresh Salsa, and his efforts through flood relief and the Ferndale location for The Boys and Girls Club. I watch Jim Pool, Pastor of Renaissance Vineyard Church, and know that he genuinely cares  about our city, offering a helping hand to those in need of help.  I look at Kyle Van Buren, owner of Biggby Coffee – Ferndale. He is one of the newer members of our community, and has already embraced Ferndale and the Ferndale Public Schools, taking part wherever he can.  I can look at any number of individuals in our community who have similar stories.

It’s what we’re all about – helping one another succeed. Thank you Ferndale for letting myself and Royal Services make this our community home.

#SupportLocal

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The Business of Supporting Local

 Written by guest author, Sandy Levine

When I started in the restaurant industry at the ripe old age of 11, I was already a really competitive kid.  I loved sports and hated losing.  It seemed natural that in the coming years, as I moved my way up through the ranks in kitchens and dining rooms, that other nearby restaurants with similar concepts were viewed by my bosses as the enemy (or at least the opposition).  Whether it was a deli, a pizza place, a burger joint, or a steakhouse, I was always very loyal to where I worked and ready to tell a guest why we were better than somebody else.

In the early 2000s, I moved to Philadelphia, and my eyes were opened to a completely different culture.  It seemed not only that restaurant owners (and managers, servers, bartenders, etc) communicated with one another, they often acted as champions of one another’s places.  In many cases, they would hold events at their competitors’ venues, or team up with other chefs for charity events.  It wasn’t rare if we happened to overbook, that we’d call another restaurant down the street, asking if they could squeeze in a guest we didn’t have room for.  The drastic difference in restaurant/bar industry climate in 1990s Detroit vs. 2000s Philly wasn’t lost on me.  Being so close to New York, we noticed that the bar scene had a similar communal aspect, with bartenders working one or two nights a week at a few different bars.  Everyone sang everyone else’s praises to whoever would listen.

This is the climate that has been building in the Detroit area over the last few years, and it’s

"We were really nervous about how a bar with such a different concept would be received, but something special happened."
“We were really nervous about how a bar with such a different concept would be received, but something special happened.”

intoxicating.  My wife and I signed a lease on a space in downtown Ferndale just over 4 years ago that became “The Oakland,” a craft cocktail bar.  At the time, it was a very new concept that not a lot of people understood (or necessarily cared to).  We were really nervous about how a bar with such a different concept would be received, but something special happened.

For the first month or two we were open, our guests consisted almost entirely of restaurant/bar industry and retail people, who not only liked what we were doing, but told lots of other people about us.  Our business has increased steadily since we’ve opened, and we’ve relied completely on word-of-mouth rather than traditional advertising. The community of Detroit area service industry professionals is growing and strengthening.

I’ve called other owners to borrow ice when our machine was down, to send a free round to our regulars who we knew were there, asked for a bottle of something we ran out of.  We’ve also done the same for several other places near us.  If a guest mentions that they’re headed to one of our friend’s establishments, we’ve been known to send a “special delivery” (read: shot) to the bartender on duty.

If we have a guest who walks out on their bill or is unruly, or if underage kids try to drink at our bar, we send out a text to our neighbors warning them.  I’ve discussed systems and strategies dozens of times with a bar owner that we’re compared to constantly.  All of this lends itself to each establishment improving, our city’s food and drink culture growing, and ultimately a better experience for the guest.  The proof is in the pudding – GQ named Detroit the “Best Bar City in America” in their Bars Issue last August.

#DowntownFerndale
#DowntownFerndale

We were at a soft opening for a new restaurant the night before this post was written that knocked our socks off.  I counted at least 10 separate tables with owners or managers of food or drink establishments, all of whom were cheering on this new establishment.  They all raved about the new place on social media, too.

#SupportLocal

Social Media, Students and Careers

Written by Heather Coleman Voss, Business Services/Social Media Coordinator

Young people with the goal of applying for their first jobs, college, or beginning their career need to start utilizing social media with a “brand” in mind. Even high school students have the opportunity to begin this positive branding process while still enjoying social media platforms for social interaction.

Here’s the thing: Employers are Googling applicants every day. They are checking out Facebook Timelines, Twitter profiles and posted photos via Instagram. Why? They want to get a feel for the personality, communication skills and interests of applicants. Times are different. Employers and college admissions representatives are not using social media to turn a candidate down as much as to find reasons to recruit you.

This is very good news. Becoming an attractive candidate is as simple as sharing blog posts, interesting posts and tweets from organizations, your community and companies. Publicly sharing content which showcases your upcoming professional interests, and joining in discussions where your voice is heard on these topics, can be a key factor in your future success.

I reached out and asked some local experts their opinions on this topic. Here is what Samantha Bankey, Marketing Coordinator at HelloWorld (@HW_inc), shares:

Samantha Bankey
Samantha, a 2013 Ferris State Grad, was hired via Instagram the summer after graduation (see photo above).

“It’s important to brand yourself as soon as you enter your undergraduate. Who do you want to be noticed by, and what do you want them to think about you? That’s your personal brand. Your personal brand defines who you are as a professional and a potential employee, so it’s important to realize that your social accounts really do reflect you. Do you have a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, etc.? Be sure it’s cleaned up. You have a few scrolls down your page to make an impression, and you control whether it’s a good or bad one. 

I always encourage others to not be afraid of social media, but to use it to their advantage. I think it’s totally silly to have a personal Twitter page and a professional Twitter page. Your character shouldn’t be two separate identities. Show your personality and your interests, but don’t go over the top by sharing too much information or by being offensive. You should be able to be 100% yourself with your future employer, not a completely different person. An employer is going to look at your character as a whole, not just your skill sets.

You have to find a way to make yourself different from the other applicants and other students in your field. What makes you unique? For example, when I had my interview at HelloWorld (ePrize at the time), I gave every single person I met that day my personalized business card and resume, all decked out with my logo, contact information, and website. That made me memorable (and landed me an internship, turned job!).”

Social media is hugely beneficial to those who understand how to use it for both personal and professional networking. Emilie Mecklenborg, Recruitment Media Strategist at Alexander Mann Solutions (@WeAreAMS), advises:

Emilie Meck
Emilie’s effective use of Twitter was key to opening a new door into a satisfying career.

“How you manage your online presence is critical for new grads and job seekers whether they are in college or as early as high school. It helps establish your personal brand which will differentiate you from the competition. Social media can be used as a 3D resume showing your strengths, talent and accomplishments. Your social media presence is like your credit history, it will open or close doors for you depending on how you manager your online presence.”

Additionally, many professionals have embraced social media as a way to interact, network, build authentic relationships, crowd source and collaborate across all platforms.

To underscore the importance of the connection between social media and your career, consider carefully what Joseph Gacioch, Chief Innovation Officer of the City of Ferndale (@FerndaleMich), advises:

Joe was promoted from Assistant to the City Manager to Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) within one year of employment at The City of Ferndale.
Joe was promoted from Program and Grants Coordinator to Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) within one year of employment at The City of Ferndale.

“Establishing and managing a social media presence should be an important focus of young graduates and professionals. Sites such as Linked In and Twitter have granted young professionals the opportunity to engage in networking with peers and organizations in locations of their choice. Your soft skills, interests, and opinions are a unique and valuable brand that should be contributed to the ongoing digital conversations.

Linked In and Twitter have often replaced my business cards in context of professional networking at conferences and industry events. Linked In empowers me to continue a conversation and establish a connection where a business card cannot.”

Interested in learning more on this topic? Join the #VZHRchat I have been invited to host on Wednesday, June 25 at 1:00 pm!

Additionally, we have several outstanding career and social media workshops to choose from. Find our calendar on our Facebook page, and call us to register!  We’d love to see you on Twitter: @FerndaleMIWorks

New Ways of New Work: The Good and Bad

goodbad

Written by Gerard Baltrusaitis, Training and Workshop Coordinator

The “New Economy” is a new tag that comes along with new rules and requirements. Not just a moniker that is thrown around business articles and the Wall Street Journal, the New Economy is a dramatic change not only in work, but the way we think and do things.

Below is a list of the old vs. the new (and in many instances the good vs. the bad), as well as a brief explanation of the inference.

Empowered vs. Imprisoned
Industrial age careers often carried connotations of having a life or 30 year sentence (30 years and out). Today you are empowered to create the career of your dreams (talents, skills, and abilities) and transition as quickly or slowly as you like.

Pleasure vs. Pain
If not pure physical duress (repetitive stress, wear and tear of physical labor on assembly lines, etc…), then Industrial Age work can be commonly associated with the mental and emotional anguish of monotony and criticism. New Economy opportunities avail workers to flexibility, freedom, and physical demands based on the individuals liking.

In Control vs. Being Controlled
One of the most stifling and stressful situations in life is the feeling of being out of control. Although a good deal of the frustration can be self-imposed, by “believing” that your employer controls what you do, when you do it, and how you do it, New Economy rules (“Free” Agency, Temp work, etc…) begins to return a certain amount of control back to the worker.

Calling/Legacy vs. Zombie Walk
Workers going through rituals and routines daily, for years, without passion, personal engagement, or enthusiasm, can remind one of a futile, frustrating “zombie walk”. The opposite of this problem, is the opportunity that new workers have by pursuing their “calling” or “legacy” in life. Aligning with one’s purpose not only brings joy and enthusiasm to work, but also an overall sense of well-being.

Unlimited vs. Limited
More specifically we are addressing the presence, or lack of presence , of several key criteria found in a quality work life. By working for an employer, you can limit your hours worked (when you want to), your salary, your depth of influence in the workplace, as well as the actual flexibility of the job.

Vision/Direction vs. Confusion
Quite often Corporate America has a vision that is not necessarily agreed upon, let alone seen by its workforce. Many workers complain of being confused about what they have accomplished and for what reason. Being in control of your destiny avails workers to being reliant on their own vision and career direction.