Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights business community cleans up at 12th annual Macomb Business Awards

More than 400 attendees packed into Andiamo’s Warren location bright and early on the morning of Thursday, May 9, for the 12th annual Macomb Business Awards. And while it was a good day for all of the nominees -- a group of more than 100 businesses and nonprofits found throughout the entirety of Macomb County -- it was an especially good day for Sterling Heights. That’s because 50 percent of the awards handed out at this year’s ceremony were given to Sterling Heights businesses, a group that stood out from the rest of the county and took home four of this year’s eight total awards.

The award ceremony was hosted by retired Fox 2 News anchor Huel Perkins, welcomed keynote speaker Princess Castleberry, and featured Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and Vicky Rowinski, director of Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.

“Every day, local businesses and organizations make our County a better place to live, work and experience, and the Macomb Business Awards is a prime opportunity for us to showcase this,” said Executive Mark Hackel. “I’m proud to share the stage with these incredible local leaders and to once again promote that the County is your trusted business partner.”

It was a room full of some of Macomb County's brightest and best. Yet for all of the local notables, it was the Sterling Heights business community that stole the show.

Let’s meet the hometown heroes.

Inside AGS Automotive Systems in 2018. (File photo: Joe Powers Insitu Photography)Best Place to Work

AGS Automotive Systems
6640 Sterling Dr.

Who they are: Tier 1 auto supplier AGS Automotive Systems acquired its current site in Sterling Heights in 2012 and has made several significant investments in the facilities since then. The Toronto, Ontario-based company employs hundreds of Michiganders – and apparently it’s a group of well-treated employees.

Why they won: “The company is focused on retention, offering opportunities for advancement and development,” the county attests in its comments on the winning businesses. “It’s also built an impressive employee culture – with engagement activities like birthday and anniversary celebrations, as well as an employee assistance program that helps workers overcome barriers from transportation to housing. The results of these efforts are clear. AGS has a turnover rate of less than six percent over four years.”

Visit AGS Automotive Systems online for career opportunities today.

Deer CampJulie Majewski is the founder of Deer Camp Coffee and Outfitters.Hidden Gem
Deer Camp Coffee Roasting Company & Outfitters
35279 Dodge Park Rd.

Who they are: Founded by Julie Majewski in 2015, Deer Camp manufactured premium and specialty coffees before opening their own retail and roasting facility in Sterling Heights in 2020, a bold decision made in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic that has since paid off. Majewski continues to grow her business, year after year.

Why they won: “Created in 2015, its coffees are designed with the outdoors in mind - known for low acidic blends with exceptional tastes. Building on its popularity, the company expanded in September 2020, opening a retail and roasting facility in Sterling Heights. The shop features Michigan-made products, wild-game, meats, cheeses and chocolates that can be shipped anywhere. Founder Julie Majewski continues to seek opportunities for growth, with new locations, new partnerships and new products on the horizon.”

Visit Deer Camp Coffee online to learn more about Macomb County’s hidden gem.

Startup of the Year
Epoch Expressions

Who they are: Epoch Expressions is an outpatient mental health treatment clinic that specializes in treating children and adolescents. Stephanie Falotico, LMSW, launched Epoch Expressions in 2022 with the help of Apollo, the clinic’s resident Certified Therapy Dog.

Why they won: “With just two employees, Clinical Therapist Stephanie Falotico and Certified Therapy Dog Apollo, the practice focuses on youth and adolescents with trauma, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. In less than two years, the organization has served 73 clients, with many receiving certified trauma treatment. This has resulted in reports of more confident and secure children and teens, and parents who have new perspectives on their behaviors.”

Visit Epoch Expressions online to learn more about treatment options today.

Velocity is located at 6633 18 Mile Rd. in Sterling Heights. (File photo: David Lewinski)Economic Development Partner of the Year
6633 18 Mile Rd.

Who they are: Velocity first opened in 2011, repurposing a Ford Motor Company child care center as a hub for innovation and growth for Macomb County businesses and entrepreneurs in the manufacturing, technology, and defense industry sectors. The 2022 reinvention of the space includes facility renovations, new equipment, and spaces designed to grow business and talent at every stage of development. In November 2023, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded Velocity a $1.8 million grant as part of their inclusion in the Small Business Support Hubs (SBSH) program.

Why they won: “Velocity is a catalyst for culture change designed to accelerate innovation, reinvention and growth for Macomb County businesses in the manufacturing, technology and defense industries. Located in the Sterling Innovation District, its incubator, accelerator and coworking space offer world-class opportunities to help businesses thrive.”

Visit Velocity online to learn more about upcoming events, programs, and business development opportunities. And visit Macomb Business online to learn more about the complete list of winners from the 12th annual Macomb Business Awards.

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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.