Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small done Right.... Friday night Soup and Sweets Stroll in the Village...

There are so many wonderful events happening this time of year.  My favorite is the annual Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade that travels down Woodward Avenue each year.  As a young boy my sisters and I participated in this annual event through our participation in a precision marching drill team.  I know that may seem like an unfamiliar extra curricular activity to most.   Our elementary school happened to have a teacher that was a patriotic guy who put this group together and brought it to life.  When I stop to consider what he and the group of parent volunteers accomplished in this group... well... it was a thing of beauty.

He taught and instilled in this group of elementary school age kids things that are sorely needed in today's kids.  Thinking of the term "precision" as the main element of this group... we were... well... precise.  Not only in the way we dressed in our uniforms, hats, metal heel cleated boots (polished for every event), long pants with stripe down the side for boys and perfectly pleated skirts for girls.  We were taught to stand at attention in military fashion.  We were taught to perform in perfect lock step harmony never looking anywhere but straight ahead.

Please... for your own fun today... click on this link... and you can play with a giant clown balloon with your mouse... careful this could suck you in for hours of fun?

The point of this brief description is all to say that we marched down Woodward Avenue every year for the annual turkey day event... and that was back in the day when Santa arrived at the J.L. Hudson building for his reception  key to the city, and flight to Santa's Wonderland up in the still then standing Hudson's department store.  

We loved to perform and my roll in this group was fairly simple.  Because I was the tallest guy in the group the instructor found me to be best suited to handle a job that at the time I did not appreciate or really understand the meaning.  While my buddies got the job I wanted of flinging fake riffles around while marching in lock step... I was placed in the more conservative position of the colored guard.  My job was to represent our group and I guess in a small way... our country in carrying the American flag.  And so it was... while the guys behind me got the glory of slinging their riffles and precision marching in various every changing flanking patterns... my guys in the colored guard lead the way... in a more conservative... much less action pace.  Years later I began to appreciate and understand the significance of this privilege and honor to carry the American flag.  More on this in a future blog...

Now... fast forward to 2012 and we are past all the turkey day events... including a new way for the Detroit Lions to lose a game on T day... and we are on the thresh hold of Christmas.  With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us... we now enter the first full week in December.  That means local small town events like the Soup and Sweet Stroll in the Village of Oxford and the special night time event in the Village of Lake Orion in the wonderful Lake Orion Light Parade.

I am officially inviting you, your family and friends for a bonding experience with "Small Town America".   The activities begin on Friday night in the Village of Oxford, Michigan with the annual "Soup and Sweet's Stroll".   You can purchase a wrist band at "Christmas central" or Centennial Park that gives you a sampling of soups from local restaurants or sweets from local merchants as you stroll through the Village and visit their stores while window shopping.  At 8:01 the Christmas Tree lighting officially takes place... but not before performances and caroling from local high school groups.  Be sure to stop in at local merchants to visit their "Small done Right..." stores.   Your's truly will have the new entry in "The Little Green Store..." open into the evening... we are just south of the activity center on the east side of S Washington.... look for the green light and bright white LED Christmas lights on the front of our store.

Saturday afternoon will kick off the Village of Oxford's noon time Christmas parade which marches down the main street. The great news about small town parades are that for those in the parade... it's over before you know it... while back in the day we marched in the freezing cold with the cold wind shooting down the tunnels effect created by the huge buildings in the city and covering well over a couple of miles of street lined parade goers.  Small town America is different in that you get started...cover several blocks and pack up... go home.  Fun... but in a "Small Done Right..." kind of fun.

But wait... it's not over yet... head down the highway a couple of miles... stop in to a local pub or restaurant to warm up and refuel.  Then when the day grows dark and the newly installed LED street lights come up along with the wonderful assortment of holiday decorative lighting... for the "Lake Orion Light Parade".  It is truly small town America at its best.  Done Right!

Stop in to our new brick and mortar location known as "The Little Green Store" and try out our free samples of chocolate covered cherries, fair trade olive oil, AND our organic candy canes.  Yes Virginia... there is an organic candy cane!    ;)

Enjoy it all before it comes and goes....

Best of the holiday season to all of you and your family!


Don Sherman



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Santa's Gone Green....

You may have noticed a subtle change that occurred this past week.  At first it was not so obvious and took a day or two in order to full sink in.  It started with a simple stop for lunch at one of my new favorite diners in  the Village of Oxford.  My daughter Amanda and I had been busy on this day putting the finishing touches on our new brick and mortar location for our green products company when we decided we needed a break for lunch.   Relaxing in the former Star Buck's location recently converted into Lilly's Diner.... we shared a few laughs and talked about the recent movie offerings on the marque at the Oxford Cinema just across the street.   Our waitress promptly greeted us and joined in on the conversation.

Then... it hit me.  Subtle at first and then almost consuming me was the sound of music infiltrating the atmosphere around me.  It was not just any music my friends... but it was the sound of Christmas music.  I looked at my phone to check the date... and confirmed that even though I had just removed the Halloween pumpkins and put them into the compost pile... someone had thrown the switch to Christmas.  It felt out of place and uncomfortable to have this music placed upon us a full three weeks before Thanks Giving.  Then from there I realized that the rest of the world (at least here in metro Detroit) had made the decision to jump the gun to Christmas holiday sales.

The big box stores have made the jump.... the big orange box store has the full display of all types of electric LED lights (going green) and all types of inflatable holiday decorations.   The car dealers are subtly changing their messages... as if Santa is going to deliver a new car to you under a giant red bow.... and the local nursery on the corner has plopped down the giant Santa on their roof and placed a huge lot of natural Christmas Trees on their corner lot.  It is official... the new bench mark is the first week in November.  Black Friday is now the new official national holiday.  Close the post office... close all government offices....  and let's go shopping!        

So it is with that in mind that we enter the fray with this message for you.... Santa has gone Green!

For those of you who may not have heard the news about the new brick and mortar green store... The Little Green Store... we are located at 94 S Washington in the Village of Oxford,  Michigan.   The LGS is a sister company of the and you can see that many of the concepts we have introduced to you over the past two years are now in a place you can come to see, feel, touch, smell, taste.... kick the tires before you buy.   We feel that this completes the circle now by connecting the web store with our first brick and mortar location.   So... keep your eye out for more to come on some VERY UNIQUE green gift idea's for this dash to Christmas.  

As I like to say to my classic rock and blue's friends.... "Santa's got a brand new bag...." 

Come on up and see us as we get the store ready for Christmas 2012... and walk through the door at The Little Green Store!

See you soon!


Monday, November 5, 2012

"Shift into Green" in Bay Nature Magazine

Here is our recent ad that appeared in Bay Nature Magazine for the October-December issue.
Please enjoy the beautiful pictures and interesting articles in this publication.  We felt compelled to
support this publication since we have had such a high level of interest and visitations to our web site
from communities located in the Bay area.

Best Regards,

Don Sherman
Founder and President of and The Little Green Store

Monday, October 15, 2012

Green Halloween....

Now that the leaves are officially piling up it can only mean one thing... Fall has fallen!   In my last message we focused on our lawn and leave solutions that make the big box store look like the tiny tin box.  Our bundle of 50 lawn and leaf bags made from recycled paper content will get the job done with room to spare.  One thing I wanted to share on this topic for you out there looking for a fall or harvest themed activity... How about a bundle of bags to be decorated by your group with stampers made from pumpkins, gourds,  and corn.  Roll the corn into water based paint and carve out fall shapes from the pumpkins to create stamps that are function AND biodegradable/compostable when your done using them.

Our bags come with no company imprint or advertising for a clean canvas for your fall art projects.  Then... package them with garden twine in small packs of 3 or 5 for a take home gift for the family or neighbor.  OR... perhaps sell them for $5 a bundle for an easy fall fund raiser for your group.  

NOW... We turn to preparing for Halloween and that always means more candy than we know what to do with.  Do something different and bold for Halloween 2012 with our "Green Halloween" alternatives.

Kids love tattoos and our non toxic soy based tats are just the answer.  OR try our eco friendly Halloween themed pencil erasers.

Top reason's why kids love Green Halloween??

The kids will love these cute and spooky pumpkin temporary tattoos! Made with FDA compliant non-toxic inks. Sold in packs of fifty (50).
Kids sharpen by turning the crayon in the small plastic cone. There are NO metal blade and it's too big to swallow (passes industry standard choke-tube test. Features the GreenHalloween® logo sticker ...
Sold in packs of twenty (20) boxes.  Three crayons per box (red, yellow, and blue). Box displays the Happy Hallogreen® message. "Good for People, Good for the Planet, Good for the Community!"   ...
Combine with our Green Halloween® soy bean crayons for the ultimate holiday kid pack!  ...
One for the house and one for the office! Let 'em know you're celebrating in a Healthy, Eco-Friendly way! The back side contains tips for "thinking green" on Halloween.  ...
Traditional costumes are old hat. Grab some of our soy bean crayons and let your kids go wild designing their own monster mash masks! Made from 100% recycled paperboard and printed on with soy ink.  ...
Wear 'em on your sweater, put em on your correspondence, stick em on bags of homemade healthy goodies. Raise awareness of Green Halloween®. 2" circle.  ...
 Green Halloween is a community movement towards a healthier and more eco-friendly holiday.  ...

Good "Green" Fun!  

Order's placed this week through mid next week guaranteed delivery by Halloween Day!   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Green Fundraiser Store - Lawn and Leaf Paper Bag No print

They say time fly's when your having fun.  We must be having a real blast because summer has made a late appearance in 2013 and like Ernie Harwell used to say as the voice of the Detroit Tiger's.... "It's long.... Gone...".

This is a good time of year to get ready for the fall projects that you may have put off during summer and will come ready or not.  Check out our Amazon store for some of our most popular tried and true home helpers.  

If your like me you pick up a bundle of lawn and leaf bags here and there when your around town.  Why not have us ship you the mother load with a bundle of 50 bags?  It will cover you for the big leaf fall and perhaps a few left over for spring clean up.  I know this looks like a giant lunch bag... but it is actually a standard 16 X 25X 35 50 pound unprinted biodegradable lawn/leaf bag.

Hey... look up... better yet... look down.... Wow you better get ready to grab a rake and get busy!  The big box store tries to impress you with their impulse crate of 3 or 5 bags... but let's face it... do you really want to promote "Stuff Mart" at your curb?  Do you overflow with pride when you drag their bag to your curb.  I didn't think so.  GO BIG or GO HOME with the greenfundraiserstore fall special bundle of 50... that's right... a few left over for spring cleaning next year... AND your buying from a company with a B corp plan of action.  That means that a stated percentage of our proceeds goes toward a stated social mission of  "Education, Awareness, and Advocacy for Green Shift's in the course of daily living.

Good news... we  just received notice that has been recognized as one of the 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies for 2013.  We are happy to accept this honor for a second year in a row.  We are happy to receive the award and will continue with our mission of promoting "Green Shifts" in the course of daily living! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

They say that if you stand still for too long.... the grass will grow under your feet.  To that point... change is inevitable and I think a very exciting concept.   This month we are moving into the next steps of the development of the movement.    It is a new green offshoot that has been under construction since the very beginning.   Introducing to you.... "The Little Green Store..."

From day one in the development of the GFS I struggled with the decision of whether to be a "green product store" that does some great things in the way of "green shift" product offerings...


to be a green product fund raising company  focused on education, awareness, and advocacy for "green shifts" in the course of daily living and unique fund raising.   Those of you who have followed us know that we went with the model of  fund raising first model.

Today we now feel as though we can offer the best of both worlds in that those who simply want to purchase our products can do so by visiting the web page and shopping on line at and clicking SHOP NOW  


for those who enjoy the Amazon shopping experience you can shop with a more limited offering at


You can walk in the door of  The Little Green Store and see, touch, smell, taste many of the products you've seen on our web site from the beginning.

In fact... one of the new features that we rolled out in the spring of 2012 are the educational offerings we can do at your school, church, business, or any group who wants to engage in our "Shift into Green...." education sessions.  By clicking on the link below.... as they used to say on Hawaii Five-O.... "Book it Dan-no..." .

Rather get out of your space and come see us?  No problem as we aim to please.  Bring your class to our "Little Green Store"  and learn on site about how to "Shift into Green....".   Our programs are fee based and intended for groups in the store to under 30 participants.   At this time we are accepting reservations through the same link as above.... with remarks to indicate "Store visit" .

I can tell you that just a visit to the store will tell a unique story about "Going Green..." since there really was not much at all about this space that was green when we got a hold of it in 2006.  There is so much to talk about in the changes and development of this project... but I will save the details for later.

We have not yet officially "opened" since I have been working on the final touches throughout the summer. Each day we are getting closer and will soon make an announcement to provide hours of operation.   Make plans to "walk through the door... of The Little Green Store..." located at 94 S Washington, Oxford, Michigan.

We are 10 miles north of the Palace of Auburn Hills if your coming from Detroit or northern suburbs.   Take the Lapeer Road Exit on I-75 and head north on Lapeer road which is also known as M 24 or Washington Street once you enter into the Village of Oxford.  Use the map on the right to locate us.... ;)  We are kind of easy to spot... since we are the only place I know of that has a compost tumbler and rain barrel on the front porch placed with family of scare crows.  Got that?  ;)

Last thing... get engaged now with our Fall fund Raising campaign by down loading the latest version of the on line brochure.   Printed fund raising forms will be available at the end of the month.

In the mean time.... the leaves are falling and for what ever reason we feel the need to chase every last one down and put it in some type of get yours now... we sell them by the bundle of 50.  Great time to buy in bulk... do a class project of decorating the bags in Halloween or fall themes and then hit the streets as a unique fall fund raiser item.  Bundle 3 decorated bags with natural twine... sell to family , friends, neighbors and.... just like that... your truly making the most... of your compost!

Last... Last thing.... Green Halloween items... order now by October 15th for guarenteed delivery by Halloween.

Happy Fall!

See you Soon!

Don Sherman
President and Founder of AND  "The Little Green Store..."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fall Fund Raising with

Well they say that all good things must come to an end.... and that could never be a truer statement when it comes to summer!   I enjoy the seasonal change that comes with living in the mid west... but summer is THE best for me personally.   So.... without really calling it officially over.... as public service announcement.... I'm calling it the seventh inning stretch for sure.  For some of you it might already be the bottom of the ninth!  

Seasons change, the students in the classroom change, sometimes event the color of the paint on the classroom wall changes.... but one thing never changes.... the need for the ever elusive, hard to come by, and challenging to keep.... FUND RAISING dollars!  

This year I would like to invite you to take a close look at what were doing over here at  Tired of the same old idea's that seem to rise to the surface every year? 
Had enough pizza kits and cookie dough?  I love these tried and true concepts... it's just that my waist line
cannot handle it all like it used to!  

We will be releasing our Fall Fund Raising Campaign in the next week and cannot wait for you to see all the
unique and fresh idea's to help you reach your fund raising goals for the coming year.   One of the most exciting elements of this year's program are the customized imprint items we can create for your school, civic group, sports program, or church.   

Last year we heard a lot of positive comments and feedback about our Michigan Green Schools Eco Tee.
This iconic tee helped raise funds to offset some of the costs to implement these programs in the State of Michigan.  Oakland County has always been our biggest supporter so we were able to help offset some of 
their costs.   We were also able to help at the state level and truly appreciated the warm reception and support. 

Please visit our web page and take note of the new category to "Book Events" and our new Amazon Store link.  We have shipped green products all over the United States this year from our relationship with Amazon and now we look forward to continuing our partnership with schools, civic groups, and community organizations here in Michigan with our fall 2012 campaign. 

You may notice some new product additions such as the rain barrel and the compost tumbler.  These are exciting additions that can be added to any home or school and make an immediate highly visible impact.  They are made right here in Michigan from re purposed pickle and pepper shipping containers. 

With a renewed focus on urban farming and gardening these will make great additions to your current tools that will provide long term benefits now for next years garden.  We have these on display at a location at 94 S Washington in Oxford, Michigan.  We have had lots of questions about why we have kegs out on the front porch.... but those in the gardening and green world no better to ask!      

This compost tumbler comes with and easy to assemble wood stand and metal rod assembly for separating.  

Look for our brochure coming soon ,  check our "Book and Event" tab for your schools "Shift into Green" presentation, and see you back in the classroom!  

Best Regards,

Don Sherman    
President and CEO of 
101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in Michigan.... 2012 Award Winner 
Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies 2012


Friday, August 10, 2012

Successful Summer Fund Raising.... 2012

Why are we always surprised when we arrive at this place?  Summer is winding down and I can feel it like never before.   Although there are still technically three full weeks left in August... why can I never fully enjoy them?   Because it is human nature to think ahead to what is coming and that usually means back to a routine we may not enjoy as much as what summer offers us.

This year will be especially different as my first of four children heads off to college.  There is an added element of change in the household knowing that there will be change.  There is that word again!  My son Alex will begin his freshman year at Michigan State University and that has got to be exciting for him.   He is starting from a much stronger position than I could have hoped for coming out of high school.  A scholar athlete with good work ethic has created a good foundation to build with.  My only question to him is does he have an opening in the dorm room for me... perhaps I can go back and work on that Masters degree?

Although summer months typically run at  a slower pace for us at (and that is a good thing...) we did run a successful campaign for the Salvation Army Echo Grove Camp. The send a kid to camp campaign provided resources to help fund scholarships for children that likely would not have otherwise been able to go to summer camp.  Here is the web address for the Echo Grove Salvation Army Camp... and I think they have a link if you are so inclined to want to make a contribution. 

We partnered with the Oxford Chamber of Commerce (Oxford, Michigan) and together were able to make these scholarships a reality.  The Chamber held their annual golf outing which was held at the Oxford Hills Golf and Country Club and raised funds for the Salvation Army Camp through some fun and exciting side games.  My Insurance Agency fielded a team and participated in the hole sponsorship's for the event.  We enjoyed the day and had a few highlights like a hole in one at the putting contents by my dad... the original Don Sherman.  We also participated in the red kettle collection to get a pro to take a tee shot for the team. The idea is that us mere mortals would never have a chance to stick a tee shot on the green on a "reachable" dog leg left and over the water hazard shot.  Sure enough our donation led to a great shot placed 5 feet from the pin which we finished off for an eagle!

All in all it was a great day with Team Sherman and we helped raise money for a great cause.... sending kids to camp!

I guess you can say the picture below says it all... Can you make a funny face for the camera?
 "Happy Campers" for sure!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Let's send a kid to camp....

After a successful weekend at the Detroit Green Festival held this past weekend at the headquarters of the Horatio Williams Foundation we now turn the page as we prepare for the Salvation Army Camp in North Oakland County.... also known as Echo Grove.   These two events may seem far apart on the surface... yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me start by saying that meeting Horatio Williams just a few weeks back was a great experience AND an eye opening one at that.  Many of us today take for granted the things we enjoy in part of our daily life such as family, support structure, mentors, and access to recreational opportunities.   In fact Horatio's first words to me were "We're just trying to do things for the kids.... ".
It seems that with the state of the financial situation in many of our urban centers... especially in Detroit... it has effected every aspect of services that used to be provided through traditional sources AND that includes parks and recreation opportunities for youth.  As a result we continue to hear and read about youth who have gone to other places for the sense of family and that place is often times not always the best choice.  Gang activity and violence is at unspeakable levels and when one examines the root cause... it seems to come back around to no support structure or a weak one that is not able to keep kids on a promising path.  Enter groups like The Horatio Williams Foundation.

  In 1992, Horatio Williams formed On Time Transportation Inc., a non-emergency medical transportation firm that provides 24/7 service for clients suffering various injuries. Horatio notes, “The obstacles of my accident led me to this business and it’s been a blessing.”
With 17 vehicles, he has serviced over 3000 clients and employed 32 people. He went from signing autographs as a college basketball star to signing checks…helping people provide for their families. “While I still miss playing basketball,” says Horatio. “Working with my clients and providing jobs has been an honor and I thank God for the opportunity.”
He established the Horatio Williams Foundation which has provided additional charitable contributions to the community. In April he sponsors the “Second Chance Basketball Game” so that high school seniors who did not receive college scholarships have an opportunity to play in front of scouts & coaches from across the country.
In June, he sponsors a free 2 week basketball camp for over 100 youth. In August, he sponsors a free trip to Cedar Point for over 400 youth. In September, he sponsors a back to school uniform clothing drive to provide school clothing for underprivileged youth
Williams is determined to expand his youth outreach, provide more programs and reach more kids. He is currently working on providing academic (tutorial) assistance to those students needing additional in all subjects and ACT/SAT testing preparation. As he says, “Life is about learning and I believe that kids can achieve their greatness if they are given an opportunity…I feel it’s my responsibility to provide them with a chance”

 The Horatio Williams Foundation is currently seeking support to win a grant through Art Van Furniture here in Detroit and you can help in their effort simply just by casting a vote for them on line.  That would be a great start to help support a group who is getting it done!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Shift into Green..." at the Lake St Clair Water Festival

This week we were pleased and honored to be invited to present our "Shift into Green..." presentation at the Lake St Clair Water Festival held at Macomb Community College (MC3) North Campus.  It was kind of a homecoming of sorts in more than one way.  Personally.... for me it was going back to where I came from in the sense that I was raised in the suburban community of Sterling Heights, Michigan from early childhood until leaving the nest as a college bound teen.   Returning after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education... with an emphasis on science... I accepted my first full time teaching position as a middle school science teacher in Roseville Community Schools... also located in Macomb County.

 So it is with that brief history that today after a 23 year absence from the classroom that I returned to where I started.... at MC3.... into the classroom.... loaded with science tools and materials.... back to where I came from.  But there is more to this story.  Being my first time presenting at this event I really did not know what to expect in the way of the format.  My hopes and expectations were fully met in that the MC3 classrooms were fully equipped with the technology I hoped would be there to connect my lap top to the internet and display my presentation links to the various sites relevant to the day.  Keep in mind that none of these tools even existed for classroom use when I left my educational career to start my own business in 1990.

Now let me get to the real irony of this day.  My first group arrived just slightly ahead of schedule.  As I looked through the agenda of the 4 morning groups scheduled to come through my "Shift into Green..." presentation I noticed an unfamiliar name of an elementary school.... but since the group arrived early I had little time to research their background.... so I began my presentation with kind of an opening probing approach to find out a little background information on my first group.  "Tell me a little bit about you before I start to tell you more about me and our topic of discussion...."  As the hands popped up... I learned some names,  favorite colors, favorite sports, and then leading them into the points I needed to know.... I discovered they were from Roseville Community Schools.  "Really?  I said... this is interesting to me".  Back to where I came from... picking up where I left off 23 years ago.... teaching a science lesson to students from.... Roseville Community Schools?    Planned?  Ironic?  Fate?

As the day went on and group two arrived.... it became clear to me that my morning schedule in fact was booked with kids from Macomb County... of course.... but specifically from Roseville Community Schools.  What an irony?  As the third group came and went... I began feeling like it was a divine intervention experience and each group revealed more new information to me about their new school... 2 years old.... Michigan Green School.... kids even knew my old teaching Buddy Dan Crow who is still in the district as an Assistant Principle or Principle last we talked.  

The bottom line for me was that this was a very meaningful day in many ways that literally took me back home for the better part of the day.  In fact... my Mom and Dad are still in the area not far from the campus.  You may have seen a post I put up with a photo of my Dad working with me at the Michigan Green Schools event in Macomb County a few weeks back.   On this day I took the time to make a call... "Mom... It's Don... are you home?  OK... I'm on my way over to see you.... OK?"  "Sure"... she said and off I went.  Now I tell you this as I begin to wind down the story of "coming home" to Macomb County.   I am lucky in so many ways and in this case... that I had taken the time to do what many of us take for granted.  I admit... I have taken for granted the assumption that they are going to be here for ever... I can always make time to stop in... and... then you realize that isn't true.  So... the moral of the story today?  Take the time... your busy... you have more to do than you can possibly deal with... how can you take the time or make the time?  Do it.  While you can... while there here... put all else aside for just this one day.... and go back home while you still can!  ;)                  

Monday, April 23, 2012

MGS Oakland County Event

First... I'd like to recognize John Carlos of for a special award that we received together last week at Davenport University in Grand Rapids Michigan.  It was an honor to share the stage with John and be recognized as one of the 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in Michigan by Corp Magazine,  The Grand Rapids Press, and Davenport University.  Congratulations John.... he is the "James Brown"... the hardest working man in the green business.

We listened to Key note speaker ,  Fred Keller of Cascade Industries talk about his companies mission and goals of being a designated B Corporation which adds a level of commitment on the organizations part to reach their business goals while being a good steward of the earth, community and company at the same time or Triple Bottom line standards.  This is significant in that they are not only working toward profitability for the company... but doing so in ways that go far beyond effecting the bottom line.  Fred talked about the efforts his company puts forth to use recycled content in the products they create and demand the same from their supplier base.  He talked about innovative programs that went beyond the bottom line and into effecting social causes like unemployment, underemployment and event prisoner release to work programs.

I am honored to be here with you all today to celebrate in your achievements and to be recognized for your efforts within your schools to meet the Michigan Green Schools Standards of achievement this year in 2012.  

 It is with the B corp model in mind that I created  just over a year ago in April 2010.  Last year we engaged in an effort to raise awareness, educate and raise funds for Michigan Green Schools of Oakland County.  We did so through the promotion of a simple tool...small yet significant... that many of you purchased for use in your home.... a simple old idea made new again that we learned from our grand parents in their garden years ago... composting.  This compost bucket is simply a new twist on an old idea.  Focusing our efforts on sorting biodegradable and compostable materials out of the regular waste stream and back into our own gardens.  This bucket contains a special corn starch based liner that allows for simple, no smell, no mess under the kitchen counter composting.  The bag and its contents can go right into your yard composting barrel or in my case right into the compost pile... contents and bag right back into the earth.   Last year we were able to provide Debbie Dunn with a check for $200.00 from the proceeds of the sale of those buckets to help offset her costs for last years program and to show our capabilities as an organization committed to education, awareness, and advocacy of "green shifts" in the course of daily living.

This year.... we decided to back to the original fund raising concept of an Eco Tee Shirt.  After working through the politics of use of the logo... why does that always come up?  We were able to gain approval to move forward with the project.   With Debby's support the word of the partnership made it out to the MGS schools in Oakland County.  This year we had 10 school districts engage with us on the first wave of Eco Tees that are here today for delivery.

But... there is more to the story.  The first shirt we selected... we found upon going to place the order... wasn't going to be available until May.  Well... that just wasn't going to work well for us since we wanted the shirts ready for today's event and other events in Macomb, Washtenaw, Huron, and Wayne Counties that were planned in April.  Interest in the project was gaining support in other counties... but the request was clear....  they were interested in a shirt not only that met our eco standards of being organic cotton and eco friendly imprint... but also made in the USA.  That is a pretty important issue today AND believe me when I tell you I was raised in a GM family with a  buy American... buy local attitude at an early age.

And so... we found the perfect match in the Royal avocado Eco Tee.  Our promise on this partnership is simple... we do the labor of creating and implementing the project.  We cover our overhead costs and costs of production, imprinting, AND then share in the proceeds with our partners. in this project 25% of the proceeds go to the partnering schools AND 25% of the proceeds go the the MGS at the administrative level.

Today I am happy to present Debby Dunn with a check for $150 to make good on the promise of that partnership.   Thank you Debby for your support and continued partnership on this project.  Checks will be mailed out to the partnering schools at the end of the month.

FYI....  we are accepting orders for the next wave that will conclude at the end of this month.    See us at our display in the lobby for more details on your way out today.

Last thing... Rochester High School... You Rock... You were by far the biggest supporter on this project with 39 tees ordered for your group alone.  Thanks for your support!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Michigan Green Schools Events 2012

Most people get excited about certain days on the calendar mostly because there is something in it for them so to speak.  Children love Christmas... for obvious reasons.... and get excited about birthdays and really that goes without saying.  ME?  I am not so big on these for my own personal reasons.   I think Christmas has lost focus on the true reason and has become a retail bonanza AND personally I believe that the mother who birthed the child should get the cards, cake, and presents... I am the father of 4 and witnessed each of the blessed birthing events... MOM's deserve gifts!

So... it will come as no surprise that I will tell you that on the eve of Earth Day... I am excited and patiently waiting to celebrate the gifts that the earth is springing forth to us.   As I write this blog I can catch a scent of the beautiful flowers my wife has harvested and placed in a vase in our family room.  In spite of allergies...the perfume scent is intoxicating.  The birds have returned and are singing in their finest tune... Twitter... move over for the real deal!

Each year for the past couple now I have selected a song to post on Earth Day that I find meaningful to the continued need to bring focus to the natural gifts provided to us in this world... that for 354 days of the year many just take for granted.   So this year.... I have selected a song from my youth...  all the really good songs have already been written... right?  And... to that point the ultimate statement to that is when a young and upcoming star finds it necessary to rip off the success of the past and create a "re-do" of the glories of the past.  I find this somewhat disturbing... since most of the youth today have not idea that this musical "borrowing" from the past has actually taken place.

This year.... I want to share a blast from the past from non other than....

Yes... Joni Mitchell... Big Yellow Taxi... which I have always known as "Pave paradise, put up a parking lot...".  The words ring true now today more than ever.... in light of the ever expanding desire to develop and expand into natural places.... deforestation and abandonment of used up urban spaces in the name of creating new places in the ever cheaper ring of suburbs.  One upside of a terrible down economy of the past 5 years in Michigan has been the abrupt pause of this expansion... which gives us time to pause and reconsider how we will proceed in the next expansion.   Will we go back into those places we have abandoned to "reuse, recycle, and reduce" OR will will continue to live in the bigger, better, more mentality of the past decade?  

This year has been blessed with the gift of opportunity in the partnership with the Michigan Green Schools program AND the creation of the MGS Eco Tee.  This iconic tee shirt is made of 100% organic cotton and uses a special non toxic imprinting technique to create a truly ecological tee shirt.  This only makes sense since it has been produced by our sister company known as The Ecological Tee Shirt Company.

The real story behind the story on this project has to do with the original selected organic cotton tee.  We selected the tee back in January and our supplier had shown it on their web site as available.... until we went to place the first wave of orders.    The explanation we got was that the tee was unavailable until May... which is a full month until after our project was set to go... and so we started on a search for an alternative.

Many of the would be partners said... "We like the idea... but frankly we want to know where the tee was made... would really would prefer a tee made in the USA" .  Now... as a relative new comer in the clothing market....I have found that the majority of clothing products are not made here and all you have to do is look through your closet to find out where they are being made.  Pretty much.... anywhere in the world... but here in the USA... right?

Enter... Royal Apparel... Let me give you the highlights below...

So... without saying too much... which I usually do....  I will leave you with this link to and the partnership with Michigan Green Schools.  We are providing 25% of the proceeds of this partnership to the schools who engage in ordering with us AND and additional 25% to the MGS at the administrative level.   Last year we partnered with Oakland County and promoted the compost bucket and corn starch liner. 

 We were able to provide a check to the Oakland County MGS program for $250 to help them offset their costs for their program.   This year with the encouragement from the Oakland County Coordinator Debby Dunn... we reached out to the leadership of the Michigan Green Schools program and proposed the concept for the expansion throughout the State of Michigan.  With presistance, patience and the spirit of co-operation....  we received a nod of approval and the program spread to Macomb, Wayne, and Washtenaw Counties.  Later... it has made it's way to all the coordinators throughout the State of Michigan.  

This year's program is really giving us leg's AND allowing us a forum to showcase our capabilities.  The real traction so far has been right here in Oakland County AND on Tuesday this coming week I will proudly provide a check to Debby Dunn for the over 250 Eco Tees we have sold so far in over 20 Oakland County Schools.  Each partnering school will receive a check for their participation in the project... and we will have fulfilled our promise.  It all comes full circle now back to the "small, yet significant" changes we can do to make a difference....  ;) 

Last thing.... Thank you to those who nominated for the 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in Michigan Award.  We were honored to take the stage with some of Michigans Very Best and Brightest... Herman Miller, Steelcase Furniture, The Grand Travese Resort... just to name a few.  Please see the full list in this article link below: 


The gift that keeps on giving... Flowers by my wife Lisa... they come up every year and each year it is a wonderful surprise and gift!  

Sunday, March 18, 2012 Spring 2012

Spring has arrived in Michigan.... even though the calendar says it is winter for another week.... nature will not wait!  For the past few weeks... winter has really already left.  My snow plow sits there on the driveway with a sad rusty grin.... no work in March!  However.... while the plow may feel unappreciated... my wifes garden is already coming to life like never before!  Yes... there are little purple flowers already fully developed in the grown cover AND full ripe buds on other plants that I don't know the proper name for that are ready to burst open any minute.  The birds are up at 5:30.... HOO, HOO and Chirp...Chirp... so.... am I.  I live for this time of year.... up early and usually exhausted by sundown... the way it was meant for us to live.

This past week has been without a doubt the most significant week in the development of the life cycle.  May I tell you about it?   After careful consideration and a lot of contemplation about an implied threat of sorts.... I am going ahead with the 2012 fund raiser for the Michigan Green Schools Eco Tee.   I know you've heard this before... nothing in life worthy of doing is easy.... and that is the case here.  Last year we created an idea for an iconic tee that would help promote, celebrate, educate, and raise money for schools all over Michigan who are involved in the Michigan Green Schools program.

Those of you who follow GFS will recall that picture of the presistant young lady who would not take "NO" as an answer from me at our display.  I created one sample shirt with the MGS logo as an idea to pitch to the various MGS groups throughout the area.  Along the way... I was told that someone claims to own the rights to the logo and that I should refrain from using it for fear of repercussions.   Because of the timing of the process I decided to go with a gift or promotional give away that did not include the beautifully done logo and simply went with a congratulatory message to the MGS school recipients branded on an jar opener made from recycled tire rubber.   That was indeed the one and only MGS shirt and now it is owned by a proud young lady in the Southfield School district.

Fast forward to Michigan Green Schools 2012 and again.... the activity is reaching a frenzied level!  This is the time of year when the schools engage in their focused green activities... and rightfully so.  Time to be respectful of the beauty that is unfolding all around us in the annual renewal of spring and the beauty of the up-welling of new life and renewal.   This year I feel differently about the MGS Eco Tee project and have enough time and experience behind us to take it to launch.  We carefully analyzed the potential good will VS implied threat of the project and have decided that there is so much good that will come from this activity that I simply cannot let an implied threat stand in the way.  The logo has no visible trademark, registration or copyright markings that would have been placed there to prevent use.  That in of it self speaks volumes over the implied threat of use.

We stopped to consider other symbols and representations that might parallel this concept.  For example.... if we flash the peace symbol.... do we need to fear the original hippy who may stake claim to own it?  OR... if we show the chasing arrows of the recycling symbol... will the original stake holder show up to prevent this?  How about the American Flag?  Will the Ross family show up to claim that Betsy is the controlling interest here?   We considered all of it and came out with this final conclusion.
We are promoting a cause in the Michigan Green Schools program, we support their mission,  we are in turn educating/creating awareness/advocating their cause,  AND we are able to raise funds for partnering schools own green efforts.   That is plenty of up side... with little down side.  And... that is a risk we will take in doing good.

So... keep an eye out for more information from your school and if you don't see any out reach from them... then take this PDF to them and get involved.   Our program will run through the end of March for those who want to engage and have delivery before the arrival of Earth Day 2012.  Our goal is to have the Eco Tees delivered to the schools in time for the Michigan Green schools Awards ceremony in April.

Enjoy the early spring... and support your schools MGS efforts!      

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rise and Shine Detroit -- National Geographic Traveler

Rise and Shine Detroit -- National Geographic Traveler

This article appeared today and I could not just read it and leave it... so please read the story that is hitting the March/April Nat Geo with the now famous Chris Roddy. I was recently in the city visiting with some fellow Board Members from my suburban community of Oxford and we walked right into the Guardian and there here was. Christopher in his full humble glory waiting for us to meeted and greeted. He charmed the ladies in our group with his well... charm... and then offered to give us a tour... that is before... his job called him to the attention of a elderly visitor who had collapsed and was in need of medical attention. This humble servant of Detroit made his way to world wide attention... if only for a brief glimpse (two seconds at second 39-40) ... from his short video appearance in last years Super Bowl smash hit commercial featuring Marshal Mathers attempt to lift Chrysler Corporation on his back to resurrect the brand rising up from the ashes of the complete collapse of bankruptcy.

Yes... I just revisited this blog from February 2011 and I am willing to admit that it still gives me the goose bumpy chills when I watch it on YouTube. Funny how a year has passed and now that Marshall Mathers message of "This is the Motor City and this is what we do...." has been attempted to be topped  with another super star... from a different era... in Clint Eastwood and the "It's Half-time..." ad. Again... I will admit that this was again a goose bump spot on commercial.

I was not sure what to expect when I heard that Clint Eastwood had been hired in to do the spot this year. In fact... I missed it completely due to some running around and transporting kids that occurred at my own household half time. I did see the Madonna show... missed the bird that got flipped and then missed the Chrysler spot. Thank goodness for YouTube as my son and I cued it up the next morning and... again... a strong message that I did not think was as powerful as the Marshall Mathers message... but then again... Marshall is from Detroit or now lives out in the extended suburbs not too far from my neighborhood.

I was taken back a bit by the storm of controversy that followed the next day and has just now started to settle down this week. It appears that there are all types of conspiracy theorists at work on the hidden messages and meanings of this ad. The most outrageous one I have heard has to do with the theory that this is somehow Chrysler paying back Obama for the bail out loans that occurred. The theory is that "half-time" represents the half way point in Obama's attempt for re election for the next 4 year term.... and that somehow Clint Eastwood is paying it forward to Obama in this ad.

I heard an interview with local Detroit radio host Paul Smith and Sergio Marchionne on WJR Radio the Monday following the Super Bowl. Later that morning the dissection began taking place of the interview and some of the further conspiracies that were quite laughable. Marchionne is the head of Chrysler... who is now joined with Fiat... and this leads into the European influences on the entire ad campaign.

One thing I learned later that day... it appears that the NFL forced Chrysler to remove the ad since they had apparently violated some type of agreement and used a term that was either trademarked or propitiatory in the use of the words.... "Half Time". First Boise State threatens our local high school stating they have the rights to the words... "Blue Turf" and now the NFL says they own "Half Time"? Very soon we will not be able to say a word without infringing upon someones ownership rights to the words!

I will finish with one of my favorite catchy little toons that I think summarizes the entire Spirit of Detroit.... Sammy Davis Jr... we miss you!

"Hello Detroit" ... is a song that Sammy Davis Junior wrote about the D back in the day when he apparently felt pretty good about his experiences here in the Motor City. I don't know the story about how that song actually came to be... but Sammy belted it out and here it is...

Update:  March 8th, 2012

I caught this article on a local Facebook page for Digg Detroit from a visiting journalist who was in town to cover the Romney event at Ford Field.  He saw something in our city that many journalists have failed to see.... hope of a real sustainable recovery.  Please check it out....

  Two cities: two works in progress....

And... my reply to the comments posted....

posted 2 days ago
Thank you Richard for you thoughtful comments about your recent visit to Detroit. It is refreshing to see some more positive light being shined on a city on its knees. You see as an advocate for the fair City of Detroit...I read, watch and hear plenty of the bad news and poor coverage of the city. I caught your story on a Facebook page known as Digg Detroit and I recommend a visit there to get a vibe on what I am about to try to explain to your readers. As the first Chrysler superbowl ad said...most critics have never even set foot here. How can you pass judgement on something you know little or nothing about? Some of your reader comments are kind in thought but lack prespective from some current facts. I will direct you to some great web places for fuether thoughts on what is happening at the grass roots level... Visit Lemonaide Detroit and Google search Dan Gilbert...Quicken Loans owner and his continued investment in city gems long ago abandoned and under redevelopment. There is an entrepenurial renassance taking place very quietly and the nation needs to understand what happens when you have gone to hell and back...again quoting Chrysler super bowl ad last year.... You had better learn from the past mistakes or plan for the final chapter. Please also visit National Geographic online March April edition for a great story in 3ise and Shine Detroit...and see my favorite gem in the Guardian trust building...alive and well in 2012 dating back to the pre first depression boom and unfolding of the automotive explosion in the making. 5eroit was then known as the Paris of the midwest due to its ever expanding deco skyline. Now donkt let me leave you with the idea that I am not in touch with the was stated in the article...we have COMPLEX issues that are mind blowing. Last month each week a new more horrifying story surfaced of chilren being baby shot to death while sleeping on a sofa in a drive by...40 plus shots into a house...gang drug related. Those are deep dark issues that go way beyond any revitalization plan. Sorry about the typos...I am doing my best with Blackberry. Check my FB for more pictures and my personal committment to find the beautiful things in the D!