Monday, February 21, 2011

Adams square adds to the sense of community

Our current home is much different than the chamber's former perch atop the landmark Astrein's Creative Jewelers store on Maple in the heart of downtown Birmingham. And while our new location cannot replicate the vibrancy of being in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle downtown business district, it offers its own unique atmosphere and an added element being downtown did not: a sense of community.

And did I mention the hundreds of free, convenient parking spots?

This feeling of Adams Square being a little village unto itself did not happen by accident. It has been the vision of center owner Gary Andrus for many years in his quest to build a “community center” within his strip mall.

To further his vision, Andrus regularly holds community events at the center, where all are welcome to come and enjoy the Adams Square experience. His latest effort takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 5, when the center hosts its second annual Community Health Fair.

The health fair is free and open to the public. Guests can receive free, mini-health screenings, chair massages and other health- and wellness-related services. In addition, six health-related seminars will be conducted throughout the day.

The Community Health Fair is an extension of another vision Andrus has for Adams Square: To make it a center for the health-and-wellness community. More than 40 of the businesses located within the center, he said, are directly tied to those industries.

To learn more about the health fair, call the center's offices at (248) 646-5900.

Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at

Monday, February 14, 2011

Good news is a welcome change

We continue to see signs that our state's woeful economic condition is starting to slowly, gradually improve. That observation was somewhat verified on Thursday at the Chamber's Economic Forecast Luncheon hosted at the Townsend Hotel.

Both featured speakers — Paul Traub from the Federal Reserve Bank and George Mokrzan of Huntington Bancshares, predicted a somewhat rosier picture of the state's economic condition in 2012 and beyond. Sure, the state and our region continue to suffer challenges with our unemployment rate and home foreclosures, but other factors such as manufacturing output are on the rise. And the recently announced bonuses being paid out by the Big Three automakers should provide a decent, short-term stimulus to the local economy.

The nearly 100 attending seemed eager to take away any bit of good news they could get. And they were not disappointed. I think people are tired of being negative and being surrounded by negative news. They want desperately to be able to be more positive about their own future, but also the future of the place they call home. My guess is that is why Chrysler's “Imported from Detroit” ad that ran during the Super Bowl made such a huge splash and was the talk of the town on Monday.

People want to have something to feel good about. And even if it does not translate directly into economic prosperity, there still is great value in having a positive attitude about where you live, play and work. Click here to read complete article. Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at

Monday, February 7, 2011

Here's a forecast you can count (money) on

Whew! I am so relieved to have survived the second snowstorm of the century in the past three years. And thank goodness for that rogue “dry air pocket” that saved southeast Michigan from sure Armageddon, at least according to the (again) red-faced television weather “forecasters.”

It continues to amaze me just how unpredictable our weather can be, given the arsenal of technology available to today's meteorologists. Maybe that's why we still rely on the Farmer's Almanac and a groundhog to predict our weather.

Speaking of forecasts, the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber kicks off our 2011 Forecast Series on Thursday, Feb. 10, with our Economic Forecast featuring two experts who really know their stuff. Our featured speakers are Paul Traub from the Federal Reserve Bank and Huntington Bank's George Mokrzan. They are noted experts in their respective fields in analyzing and predicting local, regional and national economic trends.

Traub is a business economist for the Federal Reserve of Chicago's Detroit Branch. Traub retired in 2008 as corporate economist for Chrysler. A good part of his job was tracking the economy and forecasting its impact on Chrysler's North American auto sales.

Mokrzan is a vice president and senior economist for Huntington Bancshares Inc.'s Private Financial and Capital Markets group. In his position, he performs macroeconomic analyses of the U.S. and world economies, and developed his own forecasting model to successfully predict major turning points in the economy, and relative industry and sector stock price probabilities.

The forecast luncheon is at 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Townsend Hotel in downtown Birmingham. Register at

Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at