When Branden Donley was in college, he set out with his push mower to earn some cash tidying lawns around the neighborhood. His friend Sam Johnson began pitching in, and though the two were just 18 and 19 years old, their success soon made them realize they could turn their small operation into a full-time business.
That was more than 20 years ago. Branden still runs the business, but today, he shares his love of creating beautiful yards with a staff of more than 40 people. The crew is dedicated to manicuring lawns with services that range from mowing grass and pulling weeds to complete landscaping overhauls. Rather than find a compatible bear to hibernate with during winter months, the crew turns its focus from greenery to snow removal, using its fleet of snowplow trucks to clear commercial parking lots, roads, and paths.
Go Green Energy Consultant’s team of environmentally conscious experts can reduce home energy bills by 20-30% by uncovering the insulation insufficiencies and leaky spots that welcome drafts indoors. Their process begins with trawling Michigan houses with thermal cameras and industrial-strength fans, uncovering the cold zones that suggest air leakage or closets full of icebergs. After pinpointing these draft sources during “energy audits,” the team can alleviate them with a custom combination of remedies such as caulk, foam, and sealant. The resulting snugger environment requires less energy to heat, rendering obsolete band-aid solutions such as overheating to counteract drafts.
Every year at Ann Arbor Fest, Catching Fireflies founders Steve and April paused from manning their paper-arts booth to admire the folksy paintings of local artist Chris Roberts-Antieau. When they finally saved up enough to purchase their favorite piece, “Catching Fireflies,” it led to a flash of inspiration: a shop dedicated to showcasing similarly whimsical artwork and supporting local artists.
Now, Catching Fireflies’ inventory spans the spectrum, from leather-bound journals and wall art to children’s toys, and has been lauded in Rochester-Rochester Hills Patch. Once customers have honed in on wares, staff can gift-wrap them free of charge, thereby eliminating the need to conceal them behind Groucho glasses.