Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
Hollywood Casino at Greektown to Open Market Express with Amazon Technology
Hollywood Casino at Greektown has unveiled Market Express, a new grab-and-go market powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One, marking the debut of both technologies in Detroit.
Located in the property’s casual dining Monroe Market food hall, the new in-casino mini market enables visitors to purchase what they want without having to stop to checkout.
To enter Hollywood Casino at Greektown’s new 400-square-foot Market Express, guests simply insert their credit card or hover their palm over an Amazon One device at the entry gates and begin shopping. As they make their selections of snacks and refreshments, Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology determines what they take from, or return to, the store shelves.
Upon exit, the credit card they inserted at the entry gate or linked to their Amazon One ID will be charged for the items they took. The technology is designed to offer an effortless and convenient retail experience, free from check-out lines. To sign up to Amazon One, interested shoppers can enroll at an Amazon One device kiosk located outside the store.
“At Hollywood Casino at Greektown, the customer experience is at the heart of everything we do, so being able to offer this innovative, convenient and seamless retail experience for our guests is certainly a win,” says John Drake, general manager of Hollywood Casino at Greektown. “We’re thrilled to work with Amazon to bring this cutting-edge technology to Detroiters for the first time.”
Dilip Kumar, vice president at AWS Applications, says: “Hollywood Casino at Greektown wanted to provide a place in Monroe Market for guests to grab their refreshments as quickly and easily as possible, so it’s been a very fitting collaboration for us. Hollywood Casino at Greektown is firmly focused on enhancing customer experience, particularly in busy areas of the venue, and we’re excited for guests to enjoy Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Amazon One during their stay.”
Credit Unions in Maryland, Texas, Illinois Implement Bankjoy Platform
Bankjoy, a Detroit-based digital banking provider, announced that three credit unions implemented its business banking platform to provide their business members with a best-in-class digital banking experience.
The latest credit unions to select Bankjoy’s business banking platform are:
- Mobility Credit Union in Irving, Texas with more than $350 million in assets.
- Lafayette Federal Credit Union in Rockville, Md. with more than $1.6 billion in assets.
- SIU Credit Union in Carbondale, Ill. with more than $465 million in assets.
Bankjoy’s business banking platform is an expansion of the company’s current digital banking solution, which includes comprehensive mobile and online banking features, online account opening, integrated online loan applications, and more.
In addition to these digital features, Bankjoy’s business banking platform offers one portal for multiple business accounts, the ability to manage multiple users, control permissions, and send transfers to multiple recipients, as well as a dual approval process to reduce fraudulent activity.
In response to growing demand, Bankjoy also has recently expanded its business banking functionalities with several new features, including an admin transfer hub, which serves as a centralized location for financial institution administrators to manage transfers, and the ability to initiate and manage various ACH payment types.
“Over the last 12 months, 43 percent of small businesses have increased their use of online banking services via computers or tablets, and 40 percent used more mobile banking services, according to Ernst & Young data,” says Michael Duncan, CEO of Bankjoy.
“Clearly, a majority of businesses now expect to be able to engage with their financial institutions through digital channels and this is what Bankjoy’s business banking platform was designed to solve. Bankjoy is proud to collaborate with our credit union clients and help foster stronger relationships with the business members in their communities by introducing new and enhanced digital banking features designed to help their businesses grow.”
Jasper Health in Rochester Hills Partners with New Day Foundation
Jasper Health, a Rochester Hills-based intelligent digital platform that provides end-to-end care guidance and navigation for people living with cancer, and New Day Foundation for Families, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance and emotional support to families facing cancer, are partnering to help families facing cancer access critical resources and help better organize their care.
Jasper Health provides the high-touch guidance that people living with cancer deserve through one-on-one coaching, personalized information, and smart planning. The digital platform acts as a central connector — bringing together oncologists, care management teams, specialty pharmacists, caregivers, and more, to deliver whole-person care.
New Day Foundation works with hospitals across the state of Michigan to reach more patients before they hit critical financial breaking points caused by financial toxicity, a harmful side effect that creates significant barriers to treatment and healing. Through New Day’s partnership with Jasper Health, patients will have access to additional free resources to help them on their cancer journey.
“We are so thrilled to have New Day Foundation for Families join Jasper Health’s growing network of nonprofit partners and to be a valuable resource to our members,” says Adam Pellegrini, co-founder and CEO of Jasper Health. “Financial management and toxicity are critical components to the cancer journey, and the work the foundation is doing in Michigan to help and support patients is unparalleled.”
Jasper Health has nearly 17,000 members on its platform today tracking symptoms, medications, treatments, and appointments. Its personalized guidance capabilities contextually surface educational materials, recommended actions, and digital interventions. Patients newly diagnosed or living with cancer, or caregivers for someone living with cancer, visit hellojasper.com for access to the Jasper app free of charge.
Pistons Owner Tom Gores to Provide 10K+ Toys, Bicycles, Tablets to Michigan Families
Thanks to a generous contribution from Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, more than 10,000 toys, bicycles, and tablets will be distributed to families in Detroit, Flint, and surrounding neighborhoods this holiday season.
U.S. Marines and volunteers of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program will host a special gift event for families and children in Detroit today while Voices for Children will be coordinating a similar event in Flint on Dec. 15. Gores is also supporting The Salvation Army Downriver Corps with an additional $25,000 donation.
Tricycles with helmets will be gifted to all children under three. Children ages 4-7 will receive bicycles with helmets. Youth ages 8-10 will receive drones and those ages 11-13 will receive tablets.
“All children should experience the joy of receiving gifts during the holiday season,” Gores says. “There’s nothing better than children smiling and experiencing real joy. We started doing this many years ago and I’m pleased that we continue to help families during this special time of year. We are excited and honored to partner with these great organizations that are doing important work for Michigan youth.”
Gores and his wife Holly support a number of Detroit-area causes focused on improving the quality of life for families in need and contributing to the revitalization of the region and the state. They both grew up in the area and quietly have supported holiday toy distributions across Michigan since 2006 and delivered more than 145,000 gifts to families, according to a spokesperson for Gores.
The Gores family’s partnership with Toys for Tots began in 2009 and has delivered more than 125,000 toys to more than 60,000 children. Prior to aligning with Toys for Tots, Gores supported similar gift-giving programs through other organizations. After supporting the programs as a “Secret Santa” for seven years, Gores agreed in 2013 to be identified in order to encourage others to join in with contributions of their own.
“Finding a present under the tree on Christmas morning is an experience every child deserves,” says Ted Silvester, a retired Marine colonel who is vice president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Tom and Holly Gores have certainly gone above and beyond to help us bring that joy to children whose families have suffered so much. This has been an especially difficult year to raise support and collect toys, so Tom and Holly’s effort in support of the Marine Toys for Tots programs in Michigan will fulfill the Christmas holiday dreams of thousands of less fortunate children who otherwise might have been forgotten.”
Royal Park Hotel in Rochester Rolls Out Holiday Specials
The Royal Park Hotel in Rochester is offering festive favorites again this holiday season, including its nationally recognized Buddy the Elf-inspired suite in partnership with Maker’s Mark. New this year are a Winter Wonderland “Frozen”-inspired suite and Holiday Pop-Up Bar.
The hotel continues its partnership with The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit to support holiday programming within the Rochester community. Throughout the 14-year partnership, Royal Park Hotel has donated more than $200,000 to the Salvation Army, with support from the David W. Elliott Memorial Foundation, which provides a $5,000 donation match.
Royal Park Hotel offers guests several opportunities to support the charity’s Red Kettle Fund, including the purchase of holiday mittens or by enjoying a sweet finale at Park 600 where $1 of all desserts will be donated to The Salvation Army.
“The holidays are a special time in downtown Rochester, and Royal Park Hotel is delighted to have the opportunity once again to partner with The Salvation Army and continue the tradition of giving back,” says Michael Zorn, general manager of the Royal Park Hotel. “We look forward to seeing families gather this Holiday season as they celebrate traditions, spend time with one another, and make new memories for years to come.”
The holiday themed Buddy the Elf-inspired suite returns in partnership with Maker’s Mark. Available through Jan. 1, 2023, the family-favorite suite includes:
- Overnight accommodations in the festively decorated Buckingham Suite.
- A bottle of Maker’s Mark Bourbon and coffee to recreate Buddy’s “mailroom” cocktail.
- Watch Elf in the suite.
- Enjoy Buddy’s four favorite food groups reimagined as an exclusive Royal Park Hotel culinary amenity.
- 10 percent of proceeds will be donated back to support The Downtown Rochester Big Bright Light Show
New this season, Royal Park Hotel introduces a Winter Wonderland “Frozen”-inspired guest experience. It is available through Jan. 1, 2023 and includes:
- Overnight accommodations in our custom-decorated Highland Suite featuring hundreds of snowflakes, snow, and favorites, Olaf, Else, and Anna.
- “Frozen”-themed cocktail for two.
- Watch “Frozen” in the suite.
- Winter Wonderland welcome treats.
- 10 percent of proceeds will be donated back to support Give Kids the World Foundation.
The brand-new Holiday Pop-Up Bar is like none other, according to the hotel, tucked away in PARK 601. It features festive craft cocktails and appetizers in an over-the-top Christmas extravaganza with neon lights and spectacular holiday decor.
New Year’s Eve packages include overnight accommodations for two, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, two chocolate-dipped strawberries, party favors, and a $40 voucher toward breakfast New Year’s Day. To book, visit here.
The NYE @ PARK 600 includes:
- Enjoy festivities in the Holiday Pop-Up Bar
- A limited menu along with a five-course Prix-Fixe option.
- Complimentary party favors at each guest table.
- Champagne toast at midnight complimentary to anyone who is onsite.
For more information, visit royalparkhotelmi.com.
Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Begins Winter Entertainment Season
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s Winter at Valade celebration, which features free family-friendly programming at Robert C. Valade Park every weekend, kicked off its season Dec. 9 with hundreds of guests enjoying oversized outdoor fireplaces, food and drink, and s’mores stations. The outdoor fun continues every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Feb. 26.
Presented by Friends of Robert C. Valade Park, Winter at Valade also includes sledding, curling on synthetic ice, and other hands-on activities, as well as wellness programming that includes dog walks, hustle classes, and more.
Robert C. Valade Park is located at 2670 East Atwater along the East Riverfront in downtown Detroit. The hours for Winter at Valade each weekend are 4-9 p.m. on Friday, noon-9 p.m. on Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. on Sunday.
“The Detroit Riverfront is a four-season destination and we are proud to provide our guests with programming to enjoy year-round,” says Rachel Frierson, director of programming for the DRC. “For this year’s Winter at Valade, we expanded on some of the most-popular components from last season and added new ones as well. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back for some family fun every weekend all winter long.”
Themed Weekends Reimagine Michigan Winter
- 6-8 — Fire and Ice Festival, presented by Bedrock
- 20-22 — Winter Around the World, presented by Visit Detroit
- 3-5 — Motown Love, presented by Bedrock
- 17-19 — Mardi Gras at Valade
Winter Wellness Activities
- Polar Power Walk — Jan. 14, 28, Feb. 11 and 25 — 11 1.m.-noon
- Winter Hustle — Jan. 14, 18, Feb. 11 and 25 — 1-3 p.m.
- Pack Walk with Canine to Five — Jan 15 and Feb. 12 — 10:30 a.m.-noon
- Riverfront Walking Tour — Jan. 29 and Feb. 26 — 1-2 p.m.
- Self Care Sunday Stroll — Jan. 15, 29, Feb. 12 and 26 — 2-3 p.m.
Every weekend features hands-on activities and winter games, including curling on synthetic ice and box hockey. The “Sled Shed” is sponsored by Chip and Sarah McClure and provides free sleds for visitors to use while at the park. The Valade Sledding Hill is sponsored by Bosch.
Several giant outdoor fireplaces are placed throughout the park to help keep guests warm. Starting in January, conservancy volunteers will have free gloves and hand-warmer pouches available for guests during select hours.
The Winter at Valade Activity Page provides children with a variety of fun and engaging activities that they can do at home as well as when they visit the park. Activities include a word search, name the animal tracks, make a paper snowflake, and more. The activity page can be found here.
The Shed Bar will feature hot seasonal alcoholic and non-alcoholic classics for purchase like hot chocolate and hot toddies. Marshmallow kits for roasting at the park also will be available for purchase.
Two eateries which operate out of The Shed at Valade Park year-round will provide guests with food to purchase. Smokey G’s menu includes pulled pork, brisket, ribs, macaroni and cheese, and other items. Geisha Girls Sushi features crab Rangoon, shrimp tempura, panko chicken tenders and more. Food is available Wednesday through Sunday from noon-8 p.m.
Limited sponsorships are still available. Visit here for more information.
Forgotten Harvest Partners with Kroger on Hope for the Holidays
Oak Park-based Forgotten Harvest, in partnership with the Kroger Co. of Michigan, will provide more than 6,500 holiday-themed meals to community members in need.
All Forgotten Harvest agency partners open from Dec. 15-21 will receive enough food to feed a family for one week, just in time for the holidays.
Hope for the Holidays volunteer food packing events will take place at Forgotten Harvest’s Oak Park warehouse at 15000 Eight Mile Road in the mornings (9 a.m.-noon) and afternoons (1-4 p.m.), Dec. 13, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14. In addition, there will be three volunteer-led Forgotten Harvest “On the Go” mobile pantries where meals will be distributed:
- 15, 2-4 p.m. at Dorsey College (35005 W. Michigan Ave.) in Wayne
- 20, 1-4 p.m. at Patton Recreation Center (2301 Woodmere St.) in Detroit
- 21, 9 a.m.-noon at Oak Park Recreation Center (14300 Oak Park Blvd.) in Oak Park
For more information, visit forgottenharvest.org.