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Alpha: Made in Michigan

18 Apr

At the IDEA: Detroit conference, near the doors, was a table stacked with literature boasting “MAKE it HERE,” filled with reasons for setting up shop in the mitten. They are the same reasons our city can’t stop discussing Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” Commercial. The welcoming address of the conference referenced the commercial, spoken hand-in-hand with the expressions of awe over “inspiring, electrifying, nourishing” ideas from the region.

Dale Dougherty, of Make Magazine fame, noted that he was not a Michigan native, but he chooses to host a Maker Faire here because of the area’s compelling nature, naming Henry Ford the original tinkerer. “You have manufacturing in your blood,” he explained. It was tough to argue with him, especially after an elaborate technological explanation of the 2011 North American Car of the Year, the Chevy Volt. Throughout the different presentations, it was clear southeastern Michigan offers opportunities and a mindset like no place else. Regional residents carry strong local pride, including a couple of innovators featured at the conference. Travis Wright and Philip Lauri are planning a college tour to tell students about the value of this great city, explaining why they should “Do it in Detroit .”

At Alpha, we love hearing echoes of the reasons to be here in Metro Detroit, but we don’t need to be convinced by pamphlets or fancy presentations. These reasons are what have kept Alpha here for over 50 years. Innovations come from Michigan, and we are proud to offer products that do too.

:Detroit Gets the IDEA

13 Apr

Advocates of innovation, Alpha excitedly attended IDEA: Detroit a few weeks ago. The day was a mashing together of striking thinkers and ideas from southeastern Michigan, as well as from around the country.

“Tinkerers” at heart, we were intrigued by the inventions of Dale Dougherty and Make Magazine, and excited that Maker Faire will be coming to our own backyard (The Henry Ford) this summer. Wello grabbed our attention with more than just its name, offering the WaterWheel as an inspiring solution to water transportation challenges throughout the world. Chevrolet wowed us with the inner workings of the new Chevy Volt, while Ford impressed us with its simple yet inspired “ask the audience” customer involvement. IDEA left us with no shortage of inspiration.

Check the links to these ingenious presenters for now, and shortly we’ll let you in on a few of Alpha’s own ideas that arose from the conference.

Over $137,000 in support

15 Feb

We continue to follow the story of Larry Nehasil, the fallen police officer who served Livonia for over 20 years.

Larry’s death has been met with an outcry of support for the family and many efforts to show appreciation for Larry as well as our Police force and Firemen. Even weeks after the tragedy, support for the family is still going strong:

  • Last week, a Livonia resident and former classmate of the officer, presented the idea that a park be named after Officer Nehasil.
  • Last Friday, February 4th, the Livonia Jaycees hosted an event at One Under Bar and Grill, with all proceeds benefitting the Nehasil Family. It was easy to see the community support from the many attendees to the multitudes of donated silent auction prizes.
  • Last Saturday, February 12th, more than 500 people attended the In Memory of a Hero benefit for Larry’s family.
  • This coming Friday, February 18th, at the Livonia, Brighton, and Canton Buffalo Wild Wings 20% of sales from all three stores will be donated to the memorial fund (promotion must be mentioned for donation to be counted).

The Larry Nehasil Memorial Fund has over $137,000 in it already, with many more fundraising efforts ongoing.  To get involved, click here.

This is What We Do.

9 Feb

It’s what we are talking about in this town:

Did you see that Chrysler commercial?

The “Imported From Detroit” ad has rallied supporters worldwide around our city, its story, its people.

Reinvention, a living reality Detroit has become famous for,  is a clearly featured theme of the ad and its focus on Detroit as a gritty hardworking city– highlighting our region’s trip to “hell and back.”

The most important and moving aspect of the ad was its focus on Detroit’s talent. It paints a picture of Detroit through its dedicated citizens.  The stalwart Detroiters you see embellishing the cityscape aren’t make believe. They are a real part of our community, our mission.

Chrysler invested in the two minute, longest-ever SuperBowl ad of course with the intention of selling vehicles. What they ended up doing was telling our story of determination to upwards of 100 million people.  And we are proud.

This is the Motor City. This is what we do.


Honoring Officer Nehasil

28 Jan

Last week,  Livonia Police Officer Larry Nehasil was killed in the line of duty, investigating a burglary.  Larry followed a suspect into the backyard, shots were fired, and both officer and suspect were found dead.

The loss of Officer Larry Nehasil has struck a heartstring with many in our community, and has reminded us that our police force takes the risk of life for us every time they go to work.

The community has reached out in a multitude of ways offering support to Larry’s family. Read about these heartwarming community efforts in today’s Observer.  Alpha is taking part in the efforts of the Livonia A.M. Rotary and Chamber of Commerce, who have worked together to organize the PATROL for Us (Police Always Taking Risk Of Life for Us) pledge-a-thon challenge. The pledge-a-thon is designed with a snowball effect in mind. Each participating organization impacts the amount the other organizations will donate, growing and growing a larger overall donation (to take part click here). Some organizations have already stepped up to the challenge. Among the first were Merribowl LanesMid-5 Auto Supply, and Big Boy.  In March, we will be wrapping up the Pledge-a-thon at Merribowl, where they will be hosting an event in support of the Larry Nehasil Memorial Fund.

We encourage you to get involved with these efforts and to keep a look out for more updates!

Livonia Change-Makers

21 Jan

Last night, Alpha attended the Livonia Chamber of Commerce Leadership & Awards Ceremony. We were introduced to many community change-makers. Awards honored businesses, students, and individuals who contribute in unique ways to better our Livonia community.

My favorite quote of the evening was from small business of the year winner, Dominic Soave,  of Primo’s Pizza “I make better pizzas than speeches,” after which he went on to give an entertaining and touching account of all the people that helped contribute to Primo’s success. Other organizations honored were Bill Brown Ford, Madonna University, and Angela Hospice.

As a past honoree and community member, Alpha was happy to be a part of celebrating Livonia, and proud that we have been able to call it home for fifty years.

For a full list of the winners, along with profiles, please see the Chamber’s press release.

Inch-vesting

4 Jan

“Investing” brings to mind a large financial commitment in something valuable, bringing in profit over time. However, a more innovative approach could be small.

Mary Lorene Carter and Jerry Paffendorf are the brains behind Loveland and the apparent inventors of micro-investing. Their idea: everyone can help revitalize Detroit by purchasing a single inch of the city, receiving a little deed in the mail. Inches are purchased online, viewable on a virtual map, and directly accessible via a drive to the city. Anyone can have a stake in the city “microhood”.

Loveland teaches a common lesson for any project: the effectiveness of working piece by piece. Last week at the Livonia A.M. Rotary Club meeting, members discussed some seemingly overwhelming social issues. Then Chuck, fellow rotary member & Alpha’s COO, cited the Loveland micro-investing concept, to encourage members to simply “do what you can”, nothing is going to be solved in one swoop.

We can all be challenged to inch-vest in our own communities, not to literally buy a chunk of vacant lot, but to give a piece of free time or make a small donation to a worthy organization.

You can help grow the value of your own community, inch by inch.

screen shot of a "microhood" from the Loveland website.

 

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