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SUMMER 2011

CHALDEAN COMMERCE Official Newsletter of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce

Light at the End of the Tunnel? This summer’s economic mood: Cautious optimism

MARKETING YOURSELF INSIDE

LEGISLATIVE NEWS SUMMER FUN PHOTO ALBUMS


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CHALDEAN COMMERCE Official Newsletter of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce SUMMER 2011

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GREETINGS

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From the Chairman and the Executive Director Mission Statement Brand New Business Directory Introducing Shawn Ayar Save the Date

HAPPENINGS

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Chaldean Day May 26 Chaldean Festival June 10-12 Golf Outing June 23

BRIEFINGS

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Justice for Waad Murad

Debunking the Food Desert Myth Mixed Bag Let the Membership Drive Begin! Deloney Named Liquor Control Chair Hire a Refugee Look Out for the Survey Join Us Members in the News MARKETING

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Governor Snyder to Michigan: Market Yourself 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

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Governor Signs Biggest Tax Overhaul in 17 Years Redrawn Congressional Boundaries: Fight to Follow New Prescription Drug Law Takes Effect  Up in Smoke?

OUR CHAMBER

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Chamber Staff and Board of Directors

COVER STORY

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Light at the End of the Tunnel? This summer’s economic mood: Cautious optimism

MEMBERS

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New & Renewed Members

SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Greetings

Our Mission The Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce is a partnership of Chaldean businesses and professionals working together to strengthen members’ business, increase job opportunities, encourage expansion and promote Chaldean business and culture. The Chamber seeks to service and represent Aramaic-speaking people, including Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs. FRANK JONNA

MARTIN MANNA

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Brand New! The 2011-12 Chaldean Commerce Business Directory is just about complete. You should be receiving yours any day now. If you haven’t by the end of August, or need additional copies of this invaluable guide to Chaldean businesses, call (248) 996-8340.

Introducing… Meet Shawn Ayar. Our new Membership Manager is tasked with recruiting new members and keeping our existing ones appraised of all their chamber has to offer. Contact Shawn at (248) 996-8340 or sayar@chaldean chamber.com.

save the date SEPTEMBER 14 OCTOBER 20 NOVEMBER 9 DECEMBER 8

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Industry Outlook Annual Business Luncheon Annual Meeting and Board Elections Annual Christmas Party

CHALDEAN COMMERCE SUMMER 2011

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ummertime brings rich bounty and this year is no exception. We once again celebrated a very successful Chaldean Festival and our annual Golf Outing – despite less-than-stellar weather for both events. Is summer also bringing the bounty of an improved economy? We talked with industry leaders in several segments and share their views in this edition’s cover story. The bounty of summer includes, of course, the fresh produce that reminds us of why we love living in Michigan — and tolerate the winters instead of fleeing to warmer climes. While it sometimes seems that so many things are out of our control (like the weather), we can each decide what and how much we consume. Healthy eating is never easier than in the summertime. So a big tip of the hat to the Chaldean American Ladies of Charity and their brand-new cookbook, Ma Baseema: Middle Eastern Cooking with Chaldean Flair. The handsome 276-page volume is a cultural journey that reaches all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia. It contains dozens and dozens of favorite recipes from community members and many are quite healthy. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, we urge you to do so at once. As the title says, “How good it is!” An excellent companion piece is Samira Cholagh’s baking treasury, A Baking Journey: From Samira’s Kitchen to Yours, which is also just hot off the presses and a must for every kitchen. Samira and the women of CALC are all valued members of the chamber, which reminds us to tout one of the greatest benefits of membership: doing business with one another. With nearly 1,000 members, our chamber is represented by virtually every service and industry. The next time you need to find a product or hire a professional, please make the chamber directory (available online at www.ChaldeanChamber.com) your first stop. While summer means relaxation and vacations for many of us, it’s just life as usual for a growing segment of our population: the thousands of Chaldean refugees forced to flee Iraq due to religious persecution. Our new jobs bank pairs companies needing responsible employees with newly arrived Iraqis who are eager to work. We all know what hard workers Chaldeans are, so please take advantage of this new resource the next time you seek help. Visit www.ChaldeanFoundation.com. Enjoy the waning days of summer, and rest assured, we’re a four-season organization. Thanks as always for supporting your chamber.

Frank Jonna, Chairman

Martin Manna, Executive Director


Happenings

Chaldean Day May 26 An enthusiastic busload of community members traveled to the State Capitol on May 26 to celebrate the second annual Chaldean American Day in Lansing, sponsored by DTE Energy. Attendees watched the presentation of resolutions on both the Michigan House and Senate floors and hosted a Middle Eastern lunch for the legislators. This is the second year the state has recognized Chaldean Day.

SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Happenings

Chaldean Festival June 10-12 The Sixth Annual Chaldean Festival, held once again at the Southfield Civic Center, was a rousing success despite cool, rainy weather. While Friday night was a wash-out, the rest of the weekend saw record-breaking crowds. As has become tradition, community members really packed the fairgrounds on Sunday. Many thanks to our sponsors: Art Moran, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Central Intelligence Agency, Comerica Bank, Country Fresh, Ford Motor Company, St. John Providence Health System and Walsh College. As always, proceeds benefit the Chaldean Community Foundation, the chamber’s charitable arm.

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CHALDEAN COMMERCE SUMMER 2011


Happenings

Golf Outing June 23 Mother Nature wasn’t in a much more cooperative mood on June 23, but a little rain didn’t dampen spirits at our Eighth Annual Golf Outing. Congrats go to the team from DTE Energy – Ron Bawulski, Jeff LeBrun, Nick Carlson and Scott Jones – who took home the Chaldean Cup. The jam-packed day included 18 holes, dinner and a lively auction. All proceeds once again go to the non-profit Chaldean Community Foundation. Special thanks to our sponsors: Bank of Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Central Intelligence Agency, Coca-Cola, Community Choice Credit Union, Country Fresh, DMC Huron Valley Sinai Hospital, DTE Energy, Frankenmuth Brewery, Fred Lavery Motor Company, Frito Lay, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Hiller’s Market, Jonna Companies, MetroPCS, Pepsi Cola, Sherwood Foods, St. John Health System and U.S. Ice Co.

SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Briefings

Justice for Waad Murad The family of Waad Murad, a founding member of the Chaldean American Chamber, has finally found some justice. Herman Norman Johnson, 44, was sentenced to life in prison on June 27 by U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh. A jury found Johnson guilty of murdering a federal witness, conspiring to murder a federal witness and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Johnson killed Murad at his used car dealership in Detroit in March 2005. Prosecutors said Johnson was hired by Adarus Maceo Black, who feared Murad might provide evidence to law enforceWaad Murad ment officers that could hurt Black, the Detroit News reported. Black was convicted in connection with a large drug conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison in June 2008. “We express our deepest condolences to the Murad family for the loss of Waad Murad,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said in a statement. “This crime was an attack not only on Mr. Murad but also on our entire system of criminal justice. We are pleased that those involved were successfully brought to justice and hope this sentence brings some closure to the Murad family.” The Chaldean American Chamber and the Murad family established the Waad Murad Advocacy Fund in Murad’s honor. The fund provides reward money to help bring the perpetrator(s) of violent crime to justice. By working the CrimeStoppers, the fund helps bring closure to family members.

Debunking the Food Desert Myth The age-old myth that Detroit is a food desert was soundly refuted by Noah Finley, editorial page editor of the Detroit News, in a July 28 column. In “Local Grocers Snubbed for Whole Foods,” Finley weighed in on Chaldean News reports that Whole Foods is getting nearly $5 million in government incentives to open in Detroit. Meijer is being lured to the city with as much as $30 million in incentives. 8

CHALDEAN COMMERCE SUMMER 2011

Finley used University Foods, located near Wayne State University, as an example of a full-service independent grocer that is ably serving its neighborhood. Finley toured University Foods at the invitation of the Chaldean Chamber and its affiliate, Detroit Independent Grocers. In his column, Finley noted that subsidies and tax breaks are allowing Whole Foods to lease its Detroit store at just $6 per square foot – half to two-thirds less than other Detroit supermarket owners typically pay. “If Detroit were truly a food desert, there might be a public health rationale for subsidizing Whole Foods and Meijer,” Finley wrote. “But with local competitors already in place, the special treatment for the national chains raises a fairness issue. “It also ignores history. Detroit has a poor record of using national grocery chains as a redevelopment tool,” he added, citing failed chain stores such as Super Kmart and Kroger.

Mixed Bag The Chaldean Federation of America hosted a luncheon with Iraqi Parliament President Osama al-Nujaifi at Shenandoah Country Club on June 25. Al-Nujaifi discussed the status of current efforts to rebuild Iraq and protecting the rights of minorities in Iraq. He in turn listened to a presentation on Chaldeans in Michigan, was given recommendations on how to improve the living conditions of Christians in Iraq, and engaged in a question-and-answer session with community leaders. Not all came away happy, however. Many in attendance felt that al-Nujaifi paid only lip service to the plight of his nation’s Christians, and were disappointed by his lack of support for the proposed Nineveh Plain province.

Let the Membership Drive Begin! Our first-ever membership drive went so well last year that we’re doing it again. Fabulous prizes and priceless bragging rights await the member who recruits the most new members by October 31, 2011. The winner will be announced at the Annual Meeting & Board Elections on November 9 and receive an impressive package of goodies, including a year’s worth of pizza, a year’s worth of car

washes, a Marathon gas card and much more. “One of the most frequent misconceptions we encounter is that people cannot join if they are not Chaldean. False! Twenty percent of our members consist of companies that are not Chaldean-owned but wish to do business with our community,” says Jim Manna, who squeaked out a victory in last year’s Membership Drive over Tony Konja, who came in second. Appropriately enough, both men chair the Membership Committee. “Another issue that is raised when speaking about a new membership or renewal is that people believe they are not receiving any benefits. Further digging reveals the reason: they have usually not attended a single function or taken advantage of any chamber program,” Manna adds. “The absolute most important reason to join the chamber is to help grow and improve your business in every way possible, and that means participating!” Learn more about the Membership Drive and how to get involved with the Membership Committee by calling (248) 996-8340.

Deloney Named Liquor Control Chair Governor Rick Snyder put the longtime lobbyist for the Michigan Restaurant Association in charge of what is expected to be a major overhaul in the state’s regulation of alcohol when he announced the appointment of Andy Deloney as Liquor Control Commission chair. Deloney succeeds Andy Deloney Nida Samona, an appointee of former Governor Jennifer Granholm, whose term has expired. Deloney had been with the restaurant association for nearly 10 years and previously worked for the National Federation of Independent Business-Michigan and as a legislative aide in the House. The commission falls within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, which recently announced an advisory committee to review rules governing alcohol regulations. Industry insiders say they expect total overhaul of the commission.


members in the news Hire a Refugee The Chaldean Community Foundation’s Job Bank matches employers with refugees who are seeking jobs. These newcomers are hard workers who make excellent employees, says Rachel Savaya of Wolbrook Auto Parts in Highland Park. “Our experience in hiring refugees has been that they take pride in their work and have a hunger to make sure it is done to their best ability,” she says. “They acknowledge it is a privilege to be employed and they give all they can to learn the job required.” Visit ChaldeanFoundation.org for details.

Look Out for the Survey By now our Chaldean members should have received their Business Survey in the mail. Walsh College and Data Driven Detroit are conducting the survey to measure Chaldean-Americans’ economic impact on Southeast Michigan. The Chaldean Community Household Chaldean Business Survey Survey in 2009 painted a robust picture of the thriving community, and this latest effort will do the same in the business sector. There is power in numbers, so it is Haven’t received imperative that each your survey? and every member of Call (248) 996-8340 and the Chaldean commuwe’ll get one nity participate in this out to you today! survey. Responses are strictly confidential. Special thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Comerica Bank and St. John Providence Health System for their support in funding the survey. CONFIDENTIAL

RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY

Walsh College of Business and Data Driven Detroit

INSTRUCTIONS:

This survey will be held in the strictest of confidence. Please fill out this form as soon as possible after receiving it. A postage-paid return envelope is provided for you to return this survey. IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE FILLING OUT THIS SURVEY, CALL THE CHALDEAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AT 248-996-8340.

Join Us The Chaldean Chamber will once again participate in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on October 15. We’ve really enjoyed the event over the last few years and our team, headed up by the Women’s Committee, is always among the leaders in dollars raised. The five-mile walk around Belle Isle raises funds for the American Cancer Society and its fight against breast cancer. Drop a line to info@chaldeanchamber.com to join our team.

Michael A. Bender has joined Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. as an Of Counsel attorney in the firm’s Livonia office. He has practiced law for more than 25 years, and has experience in commercial law, secured transactions, loan default workouts, consumer lending, privacy, litigation and bankruptcy. Marcia Gershenson, an Oakland County Commissioner, is spending her summer vacation at Harvard University participating in the Taubman Fellows program. Gershenson is the first female commissioner from Oakland County to be selected as a Taubman Fellow and is one of only two former Oakland County commissioners chosen for the program. Senior executives in state and local government from across the country participated in the prestigious program. Governor Rick Snyder has appointed Diane Dickow D’Agostini to the Michigan Judges Retirement Board. She was elected judge in the 48th District Court in Oakland County in 2000 and was re-elected in 2006. She will represent active judges and fills a vacancy in a term that expires March 31, 2013. D’Agostini is also this year’s Chaldean honorary chair of the Building Community initiative between the Chaldean News and Jewish News. Tad Roumayah has joined Southfield-based Sommers Schwartz P.C. as an associate in the firm’s Business Litigation Department. A graduate of Wayne State Law School and Oakland University, he will focus his practice on commercial and employment litigation. Flagstar Bank’s new senior vice president and national sales manager of branch banking is Dounia Senawi Lievan. She was previously managing director of branch banking and sales at Peoples State Bank, and started her banking career at Comerica. At Flagstar, she is responsible for the overall leadership and coordination of sales for the bank’s 162 branches. Chaldean Chamber Chair Frank Jonna has been added to the Detroit Public Television Board of Trustees. He is chief executive officer of the Jonna Companies and as well as president of the Catholic Central Alumni Association and the Our Lady of Sorrows Athletic Association. After completing his fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Dr. Patrick Alexander has joined Heart Cardiology Consultants, PC, in Southfield and Novi.  Alexander is board-certified in five areas of medical practice, specializing in cardiology. He has been acknowledged as Outstanding Resident of the Year and received the Tip Top Doc Award. Alexander A. Ayar, a commercial litigation attorney at the law firm Foster Swift Collins and Smith, P.C. has been elected to serve as the 2011-2012 president of the Chaldean American Bar Association. He earned his Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude, from Wayne State University Law School.

Diane D’Agostini

Tad Roumayah

Dounia Lievan

Frank Jonna

Patrick Alexander

Alex Ayar

SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Marketing

Governor Snyder to Michigan: Market Yourself 

E BY DON TANNER

arlier this summer, the Detroit Regional Chamber, a “sister” business organization of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, held its annual policy conference on Mackinac Island.  The happening, attended once again this year by Martin Manna and Frank Jonna representing the CACC, is a veritable “who’s who” of business and political leaders. Leading the charge, literally and figuratively, was Governor Rick Snyder, who spoke several times to attendees, imparting both a plan and a plea for change. The plea to you and me? Market ourselves and, in turn, Michigan.   What did he mean exactly? Despite the fact that we live in a state with a history of pioneering technology, innovation and commerce, in more recent years we have, of course, fallen on challenging times – times that have forced us to change, evolve and reinvent. We are, at times, the governor reminded us at the conference, our own worst enemy.  We are also, he conceded, often too Midwestern humble. As such, on several occasions throughout the three-day event,

he asked those in the Grand Hotel theater audience to communicate our respective successes in business; tell positive stories and let those within and outside our great state know what a wonderful place Michigan is to live and work.  On the surface, the concept seems simple enough. Rather than let others who don’t know us form opinions, why not let the “outside world” hear what Michigan (and Metro Detroit) really is all about from those that know the true story: us. The reality of it is, quite often, we simply do not have the time, acumen or interest. We’re too busy running businesses and keeping our heads above water, forced to do more with less.  Maybe we prefer to stay under the radar of our competition as we work to capture market share in our respective industries.  Or, perhaps, we don’t feel the need to toot our own horns, preferring instead to let our work product and customers do the talking.  Governor Snyder, an ultra-successful businessman and the one tasked with turning our state around, would no doubt understand and yet take exception to the previ-

Legislative Update

New Prescription Drug Law Takes Effect 

BY JOHNNY ORAM

Governor Snyder has signed into law HB 4192, authored by Rep. Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc). The new law will minimize prescription drug fraud in Michigan by allowing prescribers to track prescriptions that were made in their names via a database called MAPS (Michigan Automated Prescription System). The Michigan Department of Community Health will share data from the system with pharmacists, dispensing prescribers and veterinarians to determine if the scripts written were actually filled. 

Governor Signs Biggest Tax Overhaul in 17 Years Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation in May that would replace the Michigan Business Tax by financing its loss by implementing additional changes. There will be a realized $1.6 billion cut in taxes to Michigan businesses and the state is expecting a net loss of $220 million into the State Treasury. An additional tax increase amounting to $1.42 billion will make up for the difference and such tax is going to be applied to pensions and other retirement income. The MBT is being replaced by a 6 percent tax 10

CHALDEAN COMMERCE SUMMER 2011

on profits on thousands of Michigan companies that file federal income tax forms. Criticism and controversy abound as to the methods used to replace the loss such as: 1) tax filers born between 1946-1952 would receive a smaller pension tax exemption of $40,000 for joint filers, $20,000 for single filers and those born post 1952 would pay tax on all pension income; 2) Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit for lowincome wage earners will be reduced from 20 percent of federal credit to 6 percent. 

Redrawn Congressional Boundaries: Fight to Follow

Every 10 years, every state in the nation redraws the congressional boundaries to complement the U.S. Census results. The Michigan Legislature’s recent redrew will certainly disadvantage Democrats in the 2012 election cycle. U.S. Congressman Gary Peters will be forced to run against Congressman Sandy Levin, and U.S. Congressman John Conyer’s 14th District will span from Grosse Pointe, parts of Detroit, and through Oakland County up to Pontiac. As an example, residents of Farmington Hills will see Conyers on the ballot instead of Peters as his new 14th District will represent the city. Democrats in the Legislature offered maps that would pit Peters and Thaddeus McCotter’s 11th District together, but


Our Chamber

ously described mindsets.  We should all be serving as ambassadors for our state, he would say.  Be proud of our accomplishments. Take those horns and toot away! The best way to do that? By all of us speaking loudly and often about our successes. How we are helping others through our non-profit work; how we anticipated demand for a particular new product and are creating and supplying it; how we are innovating in biotech, nanotech, IT and countless other industries and business sectors.   So, do us all a favor (yourself included). Make it a point to market yourself and, in turn, our region – in your conversations at industry conferences and networking events; in your words in your business or company’s website and marketing materials; in stories that you tell to media or relate yourself in an e-newsletter or online video.  And don’t discount social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – for telling positive stories with regularity.   Celebrate success – and market it (and yourself).    Don Tanner is a founding partner of Tanner Friedman, a strategic communications firm specializing in traditional and emerging media relations, marketing and public relations counsel. Visit TannerFriedman.com.

EXECUTIVE BOARD

FOUNDING & LIFETIME MEMBERS

CHAIRMAN: FRANK JONNA

RON ACHO

CEO, Jonna Companies

Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho

EXECUTIVE VICE-CHAIRMAN: PAUL ASKER

CARL DALLO

Partner, Asker Perlmuter PLC

17th Street Bar & Grille

VICE-CHAIRMAN: JOHN LOUSSIA

JAMAL KALABAT

President, Value Wholesale, Inc. 

Icon Management

TREASURER: WENDY ACHO 

JOHN & CHRIS DENHA

EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER: SAAD HAJJAR

Denha Investment Group

CEO, Abcosat Corp.

DAVE NONA

DIRECTORS IYAD ALOSACHIE, MD,

Physician, Hazel Park Medical Center  FRANK ASMAR,

President, Tinelle Properties  KEVIN JAPPAYA,

Realtor, Thomas A. Duke Company SONYA KORY,

Assistant V.P., Huntington Bank  BASSAM SALMAN,

Art of Strength  SHARONA SHAPIRO,

Director of Community Development, DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital  GERARD VAN GRINSVEN,

CEO, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital  JAY YASSO,

Partner, Hertz Schram PC 

that failed. (Meanwhile, McCotter continues to pursue the Republican presidential nomination.) There are certainly legal challenges that are being lined up by opposition groups to fight these new boundaries. Many critics argue that the Republican-led Legislature is engaging in racial/partisan gerrymandering, a process that was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. 

ERIC YOUNAN,

Up in Smoke?

PAUL ALRAIHANI

Many Chaldean chamber members who own bars/restaurants are feeling the pain in this economy, just as the Michigan Liquor Control Commission released a report indicating that on-premises sales of distilled spirits are down more than 20 percent. Establishment owners are ordering less because sells are declining. Many have had to lay off employees and even shut their doors for good. Critics have pointed the fingers at the Legislature for creating what they call anti-business policies that have caused the economy to take a dive, such as the smoking ban.  Moreover, Michigan Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen last month revealed that Club Keno, which is played in bars and restaurants statewide, has seen sales fall by 15 percent as a result of the smoking ban. 

SHARON HANNAWA

Senior Marketing Associate, UHY LLP  RON ACHO, LEGAL COUNSEL SABAH HERMIZ (SUMMA), FOUNDER 

Triangle Development NAJIB ATISHA

Lance’s Hometown Market MAZEN SAMONA

Smokers Outlet AMEER & JASON NAJOR

Super Fair Foods WISAM PAULUS

Trepco BASIM & MAZIN SHINA

Apollo Market JALAL GARMO

Majestic Wine & Deli FRANK JADDOU

Mazen Foods WAAD & JOEY MURAD

Metro Car Company NAJIB & ARVIN AYAR

Whitmore Lake Hotels, Inc. TERRY FARIDA

Value Center Markets JIM HILLER 

Hiller’s Markets

CHAMBER STAFF

PARTNER MEMBERS

MARTIN MANNA

JOSEPH ATTO

Executive Director

Fox Realty, LLC

LISA KALOU

ROCKY H. HUSAYNU

Program Manager, Mental Health Initiative Grant Controller Program Manager, Refugee Acculturation Sustainability and Training SHAWN AYAR

Membership Manager VALERIE CHOLAGH

Administrative Assistant GALIA THOMAS

Tri-Lingual Translator/Case Manager JUMHORIA KASKORKIS

Case Manager WALID ABRO

Case Manager KRISTIN JIRJIS BAJOKA

Case Manager SATHAB ABBO OUSACHI

Professional Insurance Planners JOHNNY KARMO

Market Square STEVEN KHERKHER

Williams Kherkher JOHN LOUSSIA

Value Wholesale STEVEN TAPPER

Tappers Diamonds and Fine Jewelry CONTACT INFORMATION Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce 29850 Northwestern Highway, Suite 250 Southfield, MI 48034 Phone: (248) 996-8340 Fax: (248) 996-8342 www.chaldeanchamber.com

Legal Consultant JOYCE WISWELL

Johnny Oram is a former chamber board member.

Publications SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Cover Story

Light at the End of the Tunnel? This summer’s economic mood: Cautious optimism

time in the 14 years that CNN has asked the question that a majority has been pessimistic about the country’s economic future. Michigan continues to post dismal unemhile no one is exactly belting out ployment rates, posted at 10.5 percent in June. “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “Halfway through 2011, Michigan’s labor some chamber members are market has shown no significant changes cautiously optimistic that the economy has since the beginning of the year,” Rick Wabottomed out and is inching back up. clawek, director of the state’s Bureau of Labor “I think the worst has come and gone for us Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, here in Michigan,” says Karam Bahnam, whose said in a statement. “Since January, statewide USA 2 Go company owns three gas stapayroll jobs were little changed tions and is building a fourth. “But it’s one and the jobless rate edged down by step forward and two steps backwards.” two-tenths of a percentage point.” Ismat Karmo, who owns the Karmo said hotel rates dropped Hampton Inn in Canton, agrees. “It’s about two years ago in response to not going to get any worse, and it’s the poor economy but are slowly definitely better than last year,” he edging up, and that people are now says. “There are signs of improvement, spending a bit more on weddings. but they are not robust signs. It’s a “I have a very cautious optiKaram Bahnam very shy movement.” mism,” he said. Unfortunately, “shy” may even But Basim Shina, who owns 14 be overstating matters in Michigan. food markets, including five Save While home prices in the United A Lots, said he does not see any States rose slightly in 16 cities for the promising economic news. second consecutive month in May, “I’ve been in my stores for so they fell in three others. Detroit, Las long that we are still doing good, Vegas and Tampa reached new lows, but I don’t see the economy imdown nearly 50 percent or more since proving,” he says. “The first of the the peaks of 2005-6, according to the Saber Ammori month, 80 percent of my business Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index. is Bridge cards [food stamps] – Other variables in the economy are what kind of improvement is that?” deflating hopes for a housing rebound, Detroit’s shrinking population continues including a struggling jobs market in which to be a major problem and more and more the national unemployment rate is at 9.2 percustomers are seeking bargains, Shina notes. cent and consumer confidence at depressed “People will shop who is the cheapest,” he levels, Chris G. Christopher Jr., senior princisaid. “It’s a tough market out there.” pal economist for IHS Global Insight, told the The search for good deals is helping the New York Times. bottom line at Wireless Vision, says Saber Most Americans are not feeling particuAmmori. The company has 120 stores in larly hopeful. According to a CNN/ORC poll eight states, including 12 in Michigan. released on July 25, 84 percent of Americans “Michigan used to be one of the lowest in feel the economy is in poor shape. While some sales compared to the other markets but in the expect economic conditions to improve, 59 past six months our business in Michigan has percent believe the economy will still be in gotten much healthier,” he says. “T-Mobil has poor shape one year from now. It’s the first rolled out a really good, aggressive rate plan,

W

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CHALDEAN COMMERCE SUMMER 2011

Basim Shina

and people are always looking for ways to save money. That has helped our business.” Despite economic woes, consumers will still splurge on their phones, Ammori says. “Nine out of 10 people now use their phones to get on the Internet,” he notes. “The product has become so important in people’s lives that they will pay for the coolest phones and handsets. Maybe people are cutting back on other things, but not their phones – it’s become a status thing.” Where customers are looking to save is on their monthly data plans, which are becoming more costly as phones need increased capacity to surf the web. Wireless carriers get a percentage of each plan they sell. “That is a great business – it’s only growing,” Ammori says. Soaring gas prices have put owners like Bahnam in a bind and left little margins for profit, so the emphasis has shifted to the C store part of the business. “Less traffic at the pump translates into less traffic inside the store, so the new stores are becoming more like mini-markets,” he says. “The industry has changed and we can no longer make a profit from gas alone.” USA 2 GO has locations in Commerce Township, Lyon Township and Howell. Howell has a 7,000-square-foot store and the company’s new market in Novi will total 5,000 square feet. “The buzz is out there that people are feeling psychologically better about the economy,” Bahnam says, echoing the thoughts of many, “but that has not translated into dollars yet.”


Members

new & renewed members New Corporate Member D & B GROCERS WHOLESALE, INC. Robert Hesano, President 12190 Sears Drive Livonia, MI 48150 T (734) 513-1715 F (734) 513-2431 bhesano@dandbgrocers.com www.dandbgrocers.com Wholesaler supplying more than 300 retail stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana  

New Business Members   AFLAC Derek Atto, Coordinator-Agent 920 E. Long Lake Road, Suite 200 Troy, MI 48085 T (248) 835-5615 F (248) 680-9849 Derek_atto@us.aflac.com www.aflac.com Insurance agent specializing in employee benefits, broker relationships, PEO, small business and individual policies  ALLURING IMPRESSION Wali Kalou, Owner 6346 Orchard Lake Road, Suite 106 West Bloomfield, MI 43222 T (248) 865-0200 alluringimpression@gmail.com www.alluringimpression.com Videography   ART OF STRENGTH Bassam Salman 6775 Daly Road, Suite 100 West Bloomfield, MI 48322 T (248) 932-6500 F (248) 932-6525 info@aoskettlebells.com www.aoskettlebells.com A boutique training center with an energetic and supportive environment   C & G PUBLISHING Elaine Myers, Sales & Marketing Manager 13650 11 Mile Road Warren, MI 48089 T (586) 218-5012 F (586) 498-9631 emyers@candgnews.com www.candgnews.com Nineteen direct-mail local news-

papers distributed by U.S. mail to more than 600,000 homes in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties   DENTAL SPOT Nahla Wadie-Salem, D.D.S. 31487 Northwestern Highway, Suite B Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 539-7781 F (248) 539-7782 nahlaw@sbglobal.net General dentistry, braces, Invisalign, cosmetic dentistry and Lumineers    FOOD EXPRESS MARKET Devone Yelda, Owner 9911 E. Jefferson Avenue Detroit, MI 48214 T (313) 822-4433 F (313) 822-6810 foodexpressmarket@yahoo.com Supermarket with quality meat, dairy goods and fresh produce  G&G ADVERTISING Leslye Golding, President 600 E. Maple Road, Suite 200 Birmingham, MI 48009 T (248) 258-5370 F (248) 258-5401 leslye_gandgadv@ameritech.net www.gandgadv.com Advertising agency offering a range of services from consulting to website design, providing clients with a competitive edge   GREENFOOT GLOBAL Michael Skupin, Sr. Vice President 2734 Wabum Road White Lake, MI 48386 T (248) 789-2185 F (248) 618-3086 mike@mikeskupin.com www.mycarrunsgreat.com New patented and EPA-registered technology providing savings of $1 per gallon on gas and/ or diesel    HIP CITY DEALS Julie Plotnik, President 30700 Telegraph Road, Suite 2656 Bingham Farms, MI 48025 T (313) 444-3251 F (855) 447-2489 info@hipcitydeals.com www.hipcitydeals.com South Oakland County’s newest online daily deal site 

April 26, 2011 – July 15, 2011

KAJY LAW Nameer Kajy, Attorney 2833 Crooks Road, Suite 104 Troy, MI 48084 T (248) 688-5370 F (248) 822-3174 nklawpllc@gmail.com Law firm providing clients with a wide range of legal services    KATTO FINANCIAL LLC Mike J. Katto, CFP, RIA 2139 Brinston Drive Troy, MI 48083 T (248) 835-9112 F (419) 858-4570 mike@kattollc.com www.kattollc.com State registered financial advisory firm providing all financial planning needs    KEY BANK Dalia Alias, Key Center Manager 6525 Orchard Lake Road West Bloomfield, MI 48322 T (248) 855-6644 F (248) 855-6737 dalia_alias@keybank.com www.key.com Full-service bank offering reliable checking account and banking solutions, including home equity loans, auto loans, student loans, and boat loans to meet all of your banking needs   LIFE-LINE MEDICAL Delone Yelda, Owner 13241 W. Warren Avenue Dearborn, MI 48126 T (877) 539-8444 F (877) 903-5888 deloneyelda@life-linemedical.com www.life-linemedical.com Home health care and physical therapy including imaging and MRI equipment   MAC’S II John Jarjosa, Vice President 22399 Northline Road Taylor, MI 48180 T (734) 287-8010 F (734) 287-8011 john.jarjosa@yahoo.com Convenience store with an extensive range of liquor, beer and wine   MEGAN MARY, INC. DBA BP NORTHWESTERN George Denha, Owner

29150 Northwestern Highway Southfield, MI 48034 T (248) 356-6005 F (248) 356-5619 georgedenha@yahoo.com Full-service gas station and convenience store   MIDWEST HEALTH PLAN/WAYNE COUNTY HEALTHCHOICE James Ballnik, Insurance Agent P.O. Box 5650 Dearborn, MI 48128 T (866) 570-8255 jbinsurbiz@yahoo.com Insurance agency offering affordable, quality health care coverage    NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY Gabriel H. Sinawi, CLU, ChFC 4000 Town Center Drive, Suite 1300 Southfield, MI 48075 T (248) 357-8971 F (248) 352-8971 gsinawi@ft.newyorklife.com www.newyorklife.com Provides individuals, families and businesses with life insurance and financial products and services   POWERHOUSE GYM – NOVI Michael Dabish, Owner 44125 W. 12 Mile Road Novi, MI 48377 T (248) 344-7522 Michael@powerhousegym.com www.powerhousegym.com/novi 24-hour fitness center offering personal training, group classes, full basketball court, racquetball courts and a pool   SAVINGSHOOD.COM Brian Giles, Owner 1212 Larrabee Lane Northbrook, IL 60062 T (248) 225-5578 F (847) 239-7787 brian@oywhatadeal.com www.savingshood.com Online daily deal company with highly targeted marketing    SUPER SLIM HCG LLC Andi Sklar, President 6400 Farmington Road, Suite 220 West Bloomfield, MI 48322 T (248) 705-1551 F (866) 806-9776 andisklar@gmail.com Weight loss company   SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Members

new & renewed members TOOTY FRUITY EATIBLE ARRANGEMENTS Sinda Fathel, Owner 31190 Country Way Farmington Hills, MI 48331 T (248) 722-1966 sindafathel@hotmail.com A variety of fruit and vegetable arrangements for all your special occasions   TRI-COUNTY TRANSPORTATION Montana S. Yousif, President West Bloomfield, MI 48323 T (248) 789-9080 TriCountyTransport1@gmail.com Transportation services   TWIN BEACH MARKET Steve Orow, Owner 4292 Green Lake Road West Bloomfield, MI 48323 T (248) 363-8790 Convenience store with an extensive range of liquor, beer and wine  WARREN CONSOLIDATED SCHOOLS Robert D. Livernois, Ph.D., Superintendent 31300 Anita Drive Warren, MI 48093 T (586) 698-4093 F (586) 698-4095 Livernois@wcskids.net www.wcskids.net Public school district serving the cities of Warren, Sterling Heights and Troy 

New Individual Members   LAVON M. AMMORI Ammori@millercanfield.com   SUE D. DANKHA sueday71@hotmail.com   JOE ISHOO joe_ishoo@hotmail.com  

Renewed Corporate Members   CAESARS WINDSOR HOTEL & CASINO Danial Ibrahim, National Casino Marketing 377 Riverside Drive East Windsor, ON N9A 7H7 14

CHALDEAN COMMERCE SUMMER 2011

T (800) 997-7777 F (519) 985-5863 ibrahim@caesarswindsor.com www.caesarswindsor.com Luxurious hotel and casino   CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Recruitment and Retention Center Marilyn Blatnikoff, Diversity Recruitment Coordinator 4B14 DD1 Washington, DC 20505 marilbz@ucia.gov www.ucia.gov T (703) 785-5436 F (703) 482-1739 Government intelligence agency   CITIZENS BANK Ray Diab, Branch Manager 22575 Telegraph Road Southfield, MI 48033 T (248) 691-6570 F (248) 827-1153 ray.diab@citizensbanking.com www.citizensbanking.com Full-service banking institution   FIFTH THIRD BANK, MID AMERICA Byna Elliott, Senior Vice President 1000 Town Center Drive, Suite 1300 Southfield, MI 48075 T (248) 603-0415 F (248) 603-0615 byna.elliott@53.com www.53.com Full-service banking institution   MID-AMERICA SHOWS DELAWARE Danny Huston, CEO 576 Highland Colony Parkway One Paragon Centre, Suite 110 Ridgeland, MS 39157 T (601) 898-5533 F (601) 898-5521 www.namidway.com World’s largest traveling outdoor amusement park   U.S. MIDEAST TRADING Akram Hermiz, President 2394 Haff Drive Sterling Heights, MI 48314 T (586) 803-1205 F (586) 803-1206 akramhermiz@hotmail.com Global trading company

WIRELESS VISION, L.L.C. (UPGRADE) Saber Ammori, President 40700 Woodward Avenue, Suite 250 Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304 T (248) 865-0900 F (248) 228-8456 saber@wirelessvision.com www.wirelessvision.com One of the largest T-Mobile exclusive retailers in the country, operating more than 100 T-Mobile and T-Mobile Limited stores in seven states 

Renewed Business Members   ASKER PERLMUTER, PLC Paul P. Asker, Partner 32000 Northwestern Highway, Suite 275 Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 419-5250 F (248) 419-5407 pasker@attorneyclientsolutions.com www.attorneyclientsolutions.com Dynamic law firm providing services for corporate, professional and international clients   ATISHA CONSTRUCTION Basim Atisha, President 29429 Somerset Drive Southfield, MI 48076 T (248) 552-9322 F (248) 552-0022 b.g.atisha@hotmail.com Residential construction management and development firm   BEST CHOICE PRINTING Bob Ansama, Director of Sales 26975 Northline Road Taylor, MI 48180 T (734) 942-5947 F (734) 941-9129 boba@bestchoiceprinting.com www.bcms.us One-stop solution for print, promotional and direct mail needs   BLOOMFIELD DELI Joseph Atto, Owner 71 W. Long Lake Road Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304 T (248) 645-6879 F (248) 645-0221 josephatto1@yahoo.com www.bloomfielddeli.com Full-service deli and catering

COMMUNITY CHOICE CREDIT UNION Beth Spadafore, Business Development Officer 31155 Northwestern Highway Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 765-5063 F (248) 785-5103 espadafore@communitychoicecu.com www.comm-choice.coop Member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative   COSTCO WHOLESALE COMMERCE TOWNSHIP Risa Pinkston, Marketing Manager 3000 Commerce Crossing Commerce Township, MI 48390 T (248) 529-2303 F (248) 529-2320 w341mbr@costco.com www.costco.com Membership warehouse club   CUSMANO KANDLER & REED, INC. Ronald G. Khoury, Partner 124 West Allegan, Suite 1700 Lansing, MI 48933 T (517) 485-4044 F (517) 485-4045 khouryr@ckronline.com www.ckronline.com Government consulting agency  DENHA & ASSOCIATES, PLLC (UPGRADE) Randall A. Denha, Founder 255 South Old Woodward Ave, Suite 310 Birmingham, MI 48009 T (248) 265-4100 F (248) 465-4105 rad@denhalaw.com www.denhalaw.com Law firm providing estate planning, probate, business and tax services    DIGITAL HERITAGE, INC. Dalen Hanna, President & CEO 4840 N. Adams Road, Suite 274 Rochester, MI 48306 T (877) 289-2151 F (248) 702-7158 dalen@hdswiss.com www.dhisystems.com Audio/visual and CCTV equipment


April 26, 2011 – July 15, 2011

FOOD MAX SUPERMARKET Nick Sandiha, Owner 27333 Cherry Hill Road Inkster, MI 48141 T (313) 562-7900 F (313) 562-7902 nsandiha@comcast.net www.palacesupermarket.com Supermarket featuring quality meat, dairy and produce   FUTUREWAVE IMAGES Ivan George, Owner 30201 Orchard Lake Road, Suite 100 Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 932-8900 ivan@futurewaveimages.com www.futurewaveimages.com Award-winning photography and videography   GEORGE ENTERPRISES, LLC Rodney George, CEO 30777 Northwestern Highway, Suite 300 Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 851-6990 F (248) 851-9551 rodney@georgeent.com www.georgeenterprises.com Multinational holdings company   GRANDPAPA’S, INC. Michael Robin, President P.O. Box 1004 Warren, MI 48090 T (313) 891-6660 F (313) 891-3023 michaelrobin4@aol.com www.grandpapas.net Distributor of Better Made® potato chips and Grandpapa’s® snacks   GUARDIAN ANGEL HOME CARE, INC. Sam Kassab, CEO 1715 Northfield Drive Rochester Hills, MI 48309 T (248) 293-2400 F (248) 293-2401 skassab1@sbcglobal.net www.gahc94.com Full-service home health care provider   HARBORTOWN MARKET Tom George, Owner 3472 E. Jefferson Avenue Detroit, MI 48207 T (313) 259-9400 tom@harbortownmarket.com

www.harbortownmarket.com Supermarket featuring quality meat, dairy and produce   INTERLINK MEDIA Martin Manna, Managing Partner 29850 Northwestern Highway, Suite 250 Southfield, MI 48034 T (248) 996-8312 F (248) 996-8342 martin.manna@interlinkmedia.com www.interlinkmedia.com Public relations, publishing, association management and event production   INTERNATIONAL WHOLESALE Shoki Konja, Vice President 21170 W. Eight Mile Road Southfield, MI 48075 T (248) 353-8800 F (248) 353-8801 iwsale@aol.com www.internationalwholesale.com Wholesale distributor of dollar store items    KESSLER & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Charles Kessler, CPA 31800 Northwestern Highway, Suite 110 Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 855-4224 F (248) 855-4405 ckessler@kesslercpa.com www.kesslercpa.com Certified public accounting firm  KING COLE FOODS Salam Manni, President 40 W. Clairmount Street Detroit, MI 48202 T (313) 872-0220 F (313) 872-6480 kingcole40@hotmail.com www.kingcolefoods.com Supermarket featuring quality meat, dairy and produce   LIBERTY INTERNATIONAL WHOLESALE Mike Dikhow, Owner 21535 Hoover Road Warren, MI 48098 T (586) 755-3629 F (586) 755-3149 libertwhsl@aol.com www.libertywholesale.com Wholesale distributor catering to the needs of supermarkets, c-stores, dollar stores and more  

MANHATTAN VILLAGE, LLC Masoud Yono, CEO P.O. Box 252451 West Bloomfield, MI 48325 T (248) 420-0729 F (248) 681-4366 msy87@aol.com www.yonoproperties.com Property development and management   MANJU, INC. Walid Manju, Partner 3491 W. 12 Mile Road Berkley, MI 48072 T (248) 545-5300 F (248) 543-3516 dqwally@aol.com Dairy Queen operator   OMNI INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT GROUP, LLC Nicholas Faranso, President 14417 Michigan Avenue Dearborn, MI 48126 T (313) 584-3600 F (313) 584-3601 nick@omniidg.com Financial advisory services  ORCHARD LAKE AUTOMOTIVE CENTER Peter Mona, Owner 28799 Orchard Lake Road Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 553-3302 F (248) 553-9128 petermo5@aol.com Auto repair center   RAY’S PLANTS AND FLOWERS, INC. Raymond Hesano, Owner 32905 Northwestern Highway Farmington Hills, MI 48334 T (248) 855-1947 Plant and flower equipment and supplies  

Madison Heights, MI 48071 T (248) 431-8786 F (248) 539-0941 lawrence@topthattable.com www.topthattable.com Event planning, design and production   TOTAL HR SERVICES Fred Wolf, VP New Business Development 117 W. 4th Street Rochester, MI 48307 T (800) 446-SWITCH O (248) 601-2850 F (248) 608-9813 fwolf@totalhrservices.com www.totalhrservices.com Human resource administration and business analysis     WORLDWIDE MERCHANT SERVICES Sheren Yakoob, Manager 600 N. Old Woodward, Suite 102 Birmingham, MI 48009 T (248) 594-2333 F (248) 594-2335 syakoob@worldwidemerchant.net www.worldwidemerchant.net Electronic payment processing 

Renewed Individual Members   LAYTH BARASH lbarash@armadarealestate.com   LARRY BROWN tryccs4u@yahoo.com   RENEEE A. DENHA rdenha07@yahoo.com   ASAAD FARAJ asaadpfs@aol.com   ANDY GUTMAN gutman@farbman.com  

SITTO SIGN COMPANY Haitham Sitto, President 8220 W. Nine Mile Road Oak Park, MI 48237 T (248) 399-0111 F (248) 252-2540 haitham@sitto.com www.sitto.com Custom-made signs, banners and digital printing  

JUDITH JONNA jjonna@ameritech.net  

TOP THAT TABLE Lawrence Yaldo, Partner 29310 Stephenson Highway

MIKE RAZOKY moualr@yahoo.com

SIMON JONNA sjonna@marcusmillichap.com   CARMEN HUSAYNU MAFFEZZOLI rcmworldbiz@gmail.com   JIBRAN F. MANNA jimmanna@remax.net  

SUMMER 2011 CHALDEAN COMMERCE

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Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce 29850 Northwestern Highway, Suite 250 Southfield, MI 48034

Section

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID FARMINGTON HILLS, MI PERMIT NO. 83

Present :

Sixth Annual Business Luncheon Thursday, October 20, 2011 11:00 a.m. Noon

Check-in & Networking Lunch & Keynote Address: Speaker TBD

Sponsor: $1,500 (includes branding, exhibit space, ten tickets with premium seating, mention in Chamber newsletter and Chamber website)

Cost: Members: Non-Members:

$50 each or a table of ten for $450 $60 each

Location: Shenandoah Country Club 5600 Walnut Lake Road West Bloomfield, MI 48323

Reservations: To reserve your seat or for sponsorship opportunities please contact Lisa at 248-996-8340 or lkalou@chaldeanchamber.com


Chaldean Commerce Quarterly Newsletter - Summer 2011