Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GreenfundraiserStore.Com: Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial - Imported F...

GreenfundraiserStore.Com: Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial - Imported F...: "If you watch this commercial and it does not bring goose bumps to your skin... then your either dead, emotionally disabled, or a communist!..."

I've got an interesting side story to this commercial that has generated so much conversation and buzz here in the Detroit market. Last weekend I took my two youngest daughters downtown to the Motor City Winter Blast held each winter in Campus Marcius. Now for those of you have not set foot in the city for a number of years you will be pleasantly surprised with the wonderful activities and goings on in this part of the city.

The park is really like a giant round about in the heart of what was at one time the central shopping district of the city. Of late... it is mostly vacant store fronts and a few businesses that are making a go of it. If you visit my Facebook page you can see the pictures I have posted of our visit to the D. When you visit you will notice that I am a complete architecture junkie and love the 3 dimensional aspect of the city. Living out in the rolling hills of North Oakland County it is a major shift in not only looking along the horizon... but up... up... and you see some wonderful details that many just miss or are uninterested in.

Half way down the photos you will find the first shot of the Guardian Trust building rising into the sky. What is so important about this landmark you say? Well... here is where some of the connections to "the commercial" come into view. The girls and I walked into the lobby late last Saturday (note: the arched ceilings decorated with burnt orange and bright blue Pewabic tiles from back in the 1920's) and were fortunate enough to come across a young security guard behind the front desk (I'm sorry to have forgot his name). He took the time to give us some history and details of what is currently happening with the building. Currently it is 75% occupied by Wayne County offices, several other small offices, houses a branch of Bank of America. Believe me when I tell you... this is just not any ordinary bank branch. Note the photo of the tiled wall mueral of the State of Michigan (again Pewabic tile mosaic done in the 1920's). On this day the Bank was closed and inaccessible other than through the decorative gates.

One special note is that tours are available of this wonderful structure Monday through Friday from 10:30 am to 12 noon. Guess who does the tours? Slim Shady? No... but go back to the commercial and recall the door man standing so straight and proud of this post at the door.... and that guy... he is the doorman to the one and only Guardian Trust Building! Yes... according to my sources you can stop in at the stated times and meet a new star of the Motor City! I don't know about you... but I'm planning to take the tour.... and maybe a few more photos of the rising star.

* Last note on this for now: One part of the building I've not seen up close (until last Saturday) are the giant vaults located in the bowels of the GTB. Note in the FB photos these are still there in all their stainless steel glory. These vaults once held stacks of cash, gold, and other valuables in their cavournous interiors. The girls and I walked into the vaults and imagined what it must have been like. Very cool... must see!

Really... the story behind the story is that back in the glory days of the automotive revolution Detroit was a rising star with cash and wealth piling up and reinvestment in buildings like never before seen in this country. The GTB was in fact created off the interest payments of those original auto workers who Henry Ford put to work for $5 a day. As the industry grew... so did the Guardian Trust assets and ability to trim out this building so lavesly. Funny thing... when the great depression came along after the workers were moslty let go... so went the GTB. The financial giant went broke and the building eventually became vacanct for a short time.
Ironey.... here we are in 2011 looking for a hero to lead us back again... Slim Shady? He's the best we got for now!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chrysler Eminem Super Bowl Commercial - Imported From Detroit

If you watch this commercial and it does not bring goose bumps to your skin... then your either dead, emotionally disabled, or a communist!

Or on the other hand.... perhaps you have not gone through the experience of watching the world beat the living crap out of an old friend who you'd always hoped could get it together.... get up and fight man... don't take that anymore! Don't get me wrong... I have not been down on the ground and beat up as badly as many. I am not from the mean streets as some might call it. In fact I was raised in the Lilly white suburbs of neatly groomed lawns known as Sterling Heights. I was in fact born in Detroit and spend a great deal of time in my youth on the east side border town to the north Detroit know as Harper Woods. The other grandparents lived... well you might have never guessed it... on 8 mile and Van Dyke again bordering the cities northern boundary. I am a second generation son of an auto worker from Chevy Gear and Axle Hamtramck. My dad came came home not smelling like booze or pot... like some in the media want you to perceive all Detroit auto workers are into.

He came home with the penetrating smell of machining oil. He came home dirty, tired, and stressed with the wonder of when the next day off might come... or the next lay off notice. There was nothing constant about his work...except inconsistency. He worked his ass of for the family. Literally going months without a day off to provide us with a better life. He came home with a sling on his arm and a bloody bandage around his hand. A grinding wheel shattered into pieces and a chunk flew into his hand severing the tendons. I remember the surgery to fix it and the crazy get up the Dr. required him to where in the form of a dress hook glued to the tip of this pointer finger and a rubber band attached to a fixture on his wrist. I swear to God... we all ducked when he motioned to pass the salad at the dinner table for fear of being shot at with the taught rubber band keeping his hand from seizing up.

I can go on and on about then.... but it is the now that really galvanized me as a Detroiter. You really haven't lived until you watch your family, friends, and customer base fall like domino's. I like to consider myself a fairly educated and trained professional. But... there are just some things your never really trained to do. Like take a call from a client who wants to know if you can help her determine wheather or not give their home back to the bank? Or friends in the 50's who are still out of work or underemployed.... the new American welfare class of unemployed going on two years consecutive with no irons in the fire. What can you do? What do you do? You do what we've been doing for a long time. You dig in, reach in deep and give more than you thought you had to give.

Yes... things are getting better... and we have learned from the endless trail of mistakes. People in the fair City of Detroit do what they have always done.... when you lose your way... you get back up again.... get up, get up, your gonna shine again. Fitting words from a city that has been on it's knee's.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oakland Press coverage of the

It came as quite a surprise to me today when I visited the Oakland Press Sunday edition and found an unexpected story about one of my favorite topics.... the!  I want to say thank you to who ever it was at the Oakland Press that found our company of interest and news worthy.  We are coming up on the 1 year anniversary of the creation of the GFS and it only makes sense that this is a time for reflection on the events of the past year.  Here is a brief timeline of the company history:

April 2010  Beginning of the business planning stages for the conceptualization of GFS.

May 2010   Focus group gatherings to begin putting pieces of the puzzle together for how the company will be organized and function.   Critical decision made to make this a fundraising organization first... and a green product store second.  More to come on this decision later.

June 2010  Launch of the actual website :  and partnering with OCS Design out of Oxford Michigan for the creation of the web site and company logo.  Design of the printed brochures and business cards showing the new company logo released.

July 2010  First public introduction of the concept took place at the Oxford Farmers Market.  Second public introduction took place at the Celebrate Oxford Festival.  Little did we know at the time that we avoided a potential disaster as a tent spike was driven into an underground gas main.  It was discovered later in the day after the spike was removed and gas began escaping into the ground causing a mass evacuation of local stores.  That was pure luck that day considering all the people that had come and go throughout the day.  Better to be Lucky than good ... they say...

August 2010  Introduction to the Michigan Green Team as a result of a visit to the Earth Day Festival in Rochester Hills Michigan.   Joined the Michigan Green Team and made the first introduction to the group at the Oakland University Green Team meeting.  Discovered many influential and successful green business owners to network and refer to as a wealth of resources. 

September 2010  Through the association with Michigan Green Team were introduceed to and joined .   It just so happens that beside my interest in promoting and education the green message... I also am a huge believer in the City of Detroit.  After all I was born there and spent much of my childhood coming and going to events like the Detroit Thanks Giving Day Parade and visiting places like J. L. Hudson and Cobo Hall during the holiday season.  My Aunt Judy worked at the Detroit J.L. Hudson building for years and likely was instrumental in making the impression on me as a child.  Cobo Hall... who can forget the visits to the Christmas set up every year... sliding down the giant snowman slide and visiting with Santa.   To keep this brief... Greening was a natural partner for GFS.

October 2010 Hired first consultants to work on building web site content and tweaking the business model.  Many of the first products were kept off the site because it was suggested that some of the products were not green enough and could be offensive to the hard core greenies.   First attempt at YouTube video demonstrations of the green roof wash and deck cleaner.  Staring my son Alex and daughter Amanda.   By the way... the consultant was soon not renewed and products with more fun and practical appeal began to make their way to the store.  After all... we are a fundraising company and that should be a fun thing to do.... in other words... don't take the message too seriously.  We do not lay down in front of the recycling truck if they don't accept our plastics as some may have been told we do! 

November 2010  Maybe a little late.... but Michigan Green Team sponsors a fundraiser for Roosevelt Park at the foot of the old Michigan Central Train Station.  Good news... lots of cool people enjoying the day... bad news.... lots of cool people freezing their buns off!   Good day for the purposes of creating awareness to the cause of saving the park/station.  Who would have thought this very building would be seen in the major movie hit... Transformers!

December 2010  Website traffic is taking off and we have had thousands of hits in just a short time.  Good news is that people are getting the word.  Bad news is... some are confused and are unaware that you can make a product purchase any time... any day... with or without the fundraiser.  Which... in turn caused us to go back to the drawing board to revisit the life long question of... what comes first.... the chicken or the egg??  The fundraiser concept or the green store?   Minor changes made to the layout of the website to move the message of the green store to the front.  How can you have a fundraising company that has good traffic, people who are in love with the idea, but don't know they can buy the products?  In other words... product sales ahead of the fundraising produces the end result of raising funds!  Which takes me back to the May 2010 design decision to go fundraiser first.    

January 2011  Vision of a green retail products location begins to take shape.  Trial versions of conceptual names for the store are being developed.  Something that will dove tail well with the name and mission.   Still in the developmental stage and too soon to elaborate any further at this time.

February 2011  ??? Reporting soon...