There may be no signs of a winter thaw outside, but things certainly are warming up around metro Detroit.
The North American International Auto Show is in full swing, and by early indications, this year's event is going to be one of the best in years. Consumer confidence is slowly on the rise, the domestic automakers are riding a wave of positive press in terms of vehicle quality and auto sales, and second- and third-tier suppliers are adding jobs as well to give a boost to the badly battered jobs market.
Just as always has been the case, the fate of our region is joined at the hip with the auto industry, whether we want it to be or not. But this time around, maybe the economic rebound can be sustained longer if the region can develop and grow other non-auto related industries to complement our bread and butter jobs maker.
Locally, we at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber continue to see signs that the economic picture is brightening. New businesses are sprouting up every day, fewer mainstay companies are closing their doors, and we are receiving a steady stream of requests for new business ribbon cuttings and grand opening announcements.
One particular bright spot continues to be the restaurant scene in downtown Birmingham. For the most part the existing eateries seem to be holding their own, and there is no shortage of new restaurants either opening, or awaiting requests for bistro licenses from the city of Birmingham.
Just last week, three Birmingham restaurants - Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro, Luxe Bar and Zazio's - were included among a list of the top 10 restaurants to open in Metro-Detroit in 2010. We are happy to count all three as members of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, and are happy to share their success story.
Another new restaurant to hit the Birmingham dining scene in the past year is South Bar. With its South Beach vibe and menu to match, it's a surefire way to escape the mid-winter blues if only for a couple of hours.
The Chamber is holding our first Business After Hours of 2011 at South Bar from 5:30-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, and we would love to have you join us say good riddance to Michigan winter for a while. Details for the After Hours, and all of the Chamber's upcoming events, can be found at www.bbcc.com.
Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.