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Ann Arbor : Featured Stories

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Concentrate Speaker Event: Building A Competitive Downtown

What makes businesses want to set up shop in a downtown? How do downtown policies and infrastructure impact their ability to thrive, to attract the best and brightest employees? Concentrate and the Ann Arbor DDA have invited economic consultant Todd Poole and a panel of local business leaders to discuss the economic viability -our strengths and weaknesses- of Ann Arbor's downtown. Sign up now for tomorrow's (Thursday) event.

The Blue Oval Goes Green: A Q & A with Ford's David Berdish

David Berdish has been called the sustainability guru of the Ford Motor Company and, no, that's not an oxymoronic title. Concentrate digs in with the car company's green advocate and discusses how a member of the Big Three can promote sustainable practices, champion mass transit, and still hold true to their business mission. He also talks about Michigan's need for leadership when it comes to developing public transportation.

Got A Robust Local Business Ecosystem? A Conversation with Zingerman's Paul Saginaw

Mark Maynard, local blogger extraordinaire, shares his recent tete-a-tete with Paul Saginaw about the upcoming Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) conference in Grand Rapids, why it's crucial to develop a vibrant local business environment, and the meaning of "real prosperity."

A Bicycle Built For Seven

It's a bike. It's art. It's two great tastes in one. Concentrate's Tanya Muzumdar pedals around town on the seven-seater Conference Bike, and learns why Ann Arbor is a a great place to ride (and Mackinac Island is verboten).

Trail! Trail! to Michigan: What Ann Arbor Can Learn From Indianapolis

How do you turn a 5.5 mile loop into $100 million of development while drawing enthusiastic cyclists, walkers, and strollers? If you're Indianapolis you do it with a $65 million Cultural Trail that connects people to art, nature, and local history.

Concentrate Speaker Event: Creating Great Public Spaces

Why do some public spaces inspire use and others sit idle? What is the effect on the surrounding neighborhood? Concentrate and the Ann Arbor DDA present the second in our "Great Places" speaker series. This time we've got Bob Gregory, President of the Detroit 300 Conservancy, which is responsible for the development and management of Campus Martius Park, the $20+ million centerpiece of Downtown Detroit. Sign up now for tomorrow's event!

Lonely to Loved: Turning the Corner at an Ann Arbor Intersection

What makes a street thrive? Why do people gravitate to some corners yet leave others empty? To chart the changes on Division Street, particularly between Washington and Liberty, is to see how redevelopment and foot-friendly businesses can transform Ann Arbor's downtown. Concentrate's Constance Crump digs in.

Talking Food with Dr. Paul Kessenich

Math professor by day, burrito maker... by day. Mark's Carts has not only attracted interesting on-the-go cuisine to downtown, it's inspired unconventional owners as well. Concentrate's Tanya Muzumdar chats with Dr. Paul Kessenich, owner of Darcy's Cart, about juggling his academic responsibilities with the demands of food cart culture.

Encouraged to Think, Create, Write

826michigan is well known for its Robot Repair Store and writing center in downtown Ann Arbor (not to mention its fun, offbeat events). But did you also know they tutor and host workshops in Ypsilanti? From fiction to stage plays to poetry, volunteers at their Drop-In Teen Writing Workshop inspire kids to find expression through words.

Entrepreneurship: Stories From the Front Line

As Nikka Costa sings, "Everybody's got their something." Poetry slammers, story tellers, and, yes, even entrepreneurs. Thus the EntreSlam, a new tale-telling competition for Ann Arbor's business minded. We talk to the creators of this MOTH Story Hour for start-uppers.

Got Art? A Chat with FestiFools' Mark Tucker

Festifools is right around the corner (that corner being the month of March), and its puppet masters and luminaria makers are busily getting ready. Concentrate chats with founder Mark Tucker about what it takes to put together an arts event in Ann Arbor, and asks him to reflect on our community's attitude about public art and art education.

How Mob Mentality is Helping Ann Arbor Businesses Profit

In an age of corporate big box shopping and free-shipping, tax-dodging Internet sales, cash mobs are using tweets and Facebook posts to support local retail. This local first flash mob movement is gaining momentum across the country with Ann Arbor and Detroit joining 200 other groups to participate in the first ever International Cash Mob Day on March 24th. Will you be there?

Concentrate Speaker Event: The Complete Downtown Experience

How do you create a downtown that appeals to current residents, future generations, and potential employers? Concentrate and the Ann Arbor DDA present the first in our four-part speaker series, "Great Places." First up, CEO & executive director of the Michigan Municipal League, Dan Gilmartin. If you haven't heard Dan speak you're in for a treat. Join us for tomorrow's event!

Can Live Music Pay The Rent?

A staple of any culturally vibrant community is its live music scene. But how do the venues that provide that scene survive in high-priced downtowns and the growing digital economy? Concentrate's Richard Retyi does a deep dive into the business of booking bands for Ann Arbor's and Ypsilanti's stages.

Only In Ann Arbor: Ron's Roadside BBQ (aka Romanoff's Catering)

Good things can sometimes be hard to find. But that makes them all the sweeter, doesn't it?. Take Ron's Roadside BBQ. Fans complain about its obscure location, poor signage, and threadbare surroundings. But once they sink their teeth into the "low and slow," the criticisms melt away. Little do many know that Ron's (aka Romanoff's Catering) has 40 storied years of history. And nearly 200,000 toy soldiers!
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