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September 29, 2011 - Image 52

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-09-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ECONOMY

PROFESSIONALS

HERE AND NOW

Detroit Guitar Opens its Rockin New House in Downtown Birmingham!

By Lynne Konstantin

uitar fans ... you are
worthy.
So says guitar aficio-
nado Eric Wolfe, who, with
wife Tracey, teamed up with
friends Charlie Lorenzi and
Claudia Leo to open Detroit
Guitar in downtown Birming-
ham last month.The two
couples met a few years ago
at a guitar store in Ann Arbor,
where musicians Lorenzi and
Leo also own the label No Fun
Records. Mutual interests led
them to morph their passions
for great music and well-craft-
ed guitars into a unique guitar
boutique.
Geared toward every level
of musician (or wannabe),
Detroit Guitar is a playground
for the music fan. Its broad
range of electric and acoustic
guitars, amps and accessories
include offerings from Fender,
Gretsch, Schecter, Hamer and
Michigan-based Heritage,
made in the old Gibson fac-
tory; it also is the only dealer
in Michigan to carry Carr
Amps, a specialty maker in North Carolina.
Each guitar and amp in the shop has been vetted and
personally selected based on characteristics desired by
guitarists of different experience levels and tastes — and
many have been designed exclusively for Detroit Guitar.
Even the lighting and seating is specialized, designed to
make customers feel at home to both shop and just hang
around.
Detroit Guitar was created to make the customer king,
focusing on customer service and quality products in a way
only a mom-and-pop shop can.
"We feel the pendulum is swinging back in the direction
of the specialty store, which is part of the neighborhood,
and where patrons are treated like they are important;' says
Wolfe. "We created a store that we would want to shop in
and that reflects our personal taste and style. And as a cus-
tom store, we focus on each instrument and its particular
qualities of sound and design!'
Posters, art, clothing, jewelry and more fill the
2,000-square-foot space that also includes lesson rooms
for private and group lessons (for all ages) and a stage for

Multi-generational
purveyors of textiles,
a father and son wrap
their wares around Detroit.

G

By Jackie Headapohl

Entrepreneurs create
iRule for handheld
devices using existing
Apple hardware.

By Pamela A. Zinkosky

special appearances by touring musicians. The offerings
and multipurpose use of space is near limitless: used and
vintage gear, a record section, VIP events, music-industry
personalities, band endorsements, rock band-university
classes, live in-store performances, rock-art and live band
photography exhibitions and in-store product demos; even
instrument repairs will bring visitors to the front row of the
world of music.
"Charlie and Claudia have years of experience and
contacts in the music industry," says Wolfe, who also lives
in Birmingham."Tracey and I have attended hundreds of
concerts, we both play instruments and our home is filled
with paintings and posters of our favorite bands, as well as
more than a dozen guitars!'
Their 14-year-old son is an accomplished guitarist —
even their 1-year-old daughter is strumming."We are pas-
sionate about guitars, and we're excited to impart our love
for guitars and music to the community," he adds.
Detroit Guitar, 243 W. Maple, Birmingham. (855) 540-
9900; (248) 540-9900; detroitguitar.com . Find Detroit Guitar
on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date info on concerts
and special events. Ry

ll Itai Ben-Gal wanted was an
affordable easy-to-use remote
for his home-theater system.
He got it, along with a successful
business venture — iRule LLC.
Three years ago, Ben-Gal
tapped longtime friend and
fellow Israeli immigrant Vic-
tor Nemirovsky, a software
developer, to solve a problem.
He loved his new multi-corn-
ponent home-theater system,
but he and his wife needed a
better remote.
"What was available out
there wasn't affordable or
flexible enough, so I asked
Victor if he could turn my
iPod into a remote;' Ben-
Gal says.
Today, Ben-Gal's
3-year-old touches a
picture of Elmo on an
iPod to turn on the last

recorded Sesame Street episode, dim
the lights and set the appropriate
volume.
In fact, thousands of people in 30
different countries control their home
electronics through their iPods, iPads
and iPhones using iRule, the software
Ben-Gal and Nemirovsky sell online
through Apple and their company's
website.

-.,11 .761 811

9;62 AM

A

12 October 2011 I

RED TIM

emember those commercials the cotton
industry aired with the tagline "the fabric of
our lives"? For Bradley Foltyn, that line held
particular resonance since he never ques-
tioned where his career path would lead him.
From the time he was a teen, Foltyn, 33, says
he would go to work with his father at the fam-
ily's wholesale textile business; an operation
founded by patriarch Andrew Foltyn, Bradley's
grandfather.
And, after graduating from Michigan State
University in 2000 with a degree in business,
the Birmingham resident became the third
generation of Foltyns to sell yards of gingham,
damask and other fabrics to designers and
retailers.
"I used to work in the showrooms after
school and during the summer," Foltyn says."'
loved working with my family, with fabrics — I
love everything about it."
With his father, Paul, who is his partner and
co-owner at The Fabric Warehouse, Bradley is
putting his own mark on the family's business,
bringing it into the digital age."I'm focused on
building online sales," he says, adding that the
store has begun shipping internationally to
customers in the United Kingdom, Greece and
Australia.
Of course, the textile industry isn't the same
as when Grandpa Andrew opened his whole-
sale textile business.
"You adjust," says Paul, who leveraged the
relationships he's built in the industry over the
last several decades in an effort to recalibrate
his business model to accommodate the
economy."You just have to hope you're mov-
ing in the right direction!'
Forty-five years ago, founder Andrew Foltyn,
a Czechoslovakian Jew, came to Michigan with
his family to escape the Nazis and opened up
a small eponymous-named wholesale textile
company. His son, Paul, eventually expanded
the small company to 25 states, employing 40
people; the Foltyns even had a showroom in
Chicago's famous Merchandise Mart, selling
wholesale luxury fabrics to designers and
department stores.
Then the housing bubble burst.
"During the housing boom, it seemed that
everyone was an interior designer;' Paul says.
"But those designers lost their clients when the
bubble popped — nobody was buying new
homes anymore!'
As the Foltyn's wholesale business began
to shrink, Paul and Bradley knew they would
need to move in a new direction to keep the
company alive. After nearly a half-century, the
father and son made the difficult decision to
close the wholesale operation and open a new
concern in the retail arena.
"Unless you reinvent what you're doing all
the time, you get left behind;' Paul said. "You
always have to adjust!'
Adapting to a new business model and a
changing economy with a more cost-conscious
public, the transition was, as Bradley described,
"nerve-racking;' but borne of necessity. "We
had no other options;' he says.
"Those who can't afford to buy new homes
are choosing to decorate and update their cur-
rent homes;' Bradley, a graduate of Birming-

R

PROFESSIONALS

Want to Rule
Home Electronics?
Yeah, There's
an App for That

Ensconced in the
Family Fabric

Cara-cvn

Note,

"I just happened to have the perfect
partner;' Ben-Gal says of Nemirovsky.
"He was able to take my idea and make
the magic happen!'
The magic involves a WiFi interface
that lets users customize their remotes,
the iRule software that's installed on
the device and a receiver that commu-
nicates with the electronics. The cost
is about $150, with additional charges
for multiple receivers and software
upgrades.
When iRule hit the market in
February 2010, Alex Milogradov
had his wallet ready."It's such
a visionary product,"the Dallas
resident says. "I was one of the
first customers:'
Milogradov purchased an
iPad specifically for the iRule
software and uses it to control
an X-Box, Playstation, Blu-Ray
DVD player and computer,
plus home lighting. The iRule
package ran him about $300 —
with receivers in three rooms of
his house — compared to the
$1,000 he paid for a Harmony
remote system, which was in
addition to $130-an-hour for
installation and upgrades.
An accountant, Milogradov
was able to install iRule and
customize unique interfaces for
himself, his wife, and guests or
babysitters, each with differ-
ent icons and channels."You
don't need to go through the
guide or anything," Milogradov
explains. "You just [hit the but-
ton], and go!'

(RULE SEE PAGE 14

FABRIC WAREHOUSE SEE PAGE 14

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