Valentine’s Day: Lover or Hater?

Who doesn’t love Valentines Day? Umm... Everyone Who Hates It?

In the celebration of Valentine’s, we want to know if Detroit has more “lovers” or “haters.” Avalon is offering traditional heart shaped shortbread cookies from February 1st through February 14th.

For the lovers, we offer cookies with acronyms like:
♥ rmw = rock my world
♥ yst = you sexy thing
♥ lyf = love you forever
♥ me = my everything

For the haters we offer cookies with acronyms like:
♥ mfits = more fish in the sea
♥ yhyc = you had your chance
♥ bda = better days ahead
♥ has = happy and single

To participate, all you have to do is come visit us at Avalon on Willis or on the Boulevard or at our Hearth to Home Mail Order page from February 1st through the 14th. Find the acronym you like best and purchase that cookie. $3.00 for one cookie = one vote. More cookies=more votes.  $30.00 per dozen. You can even order half and half if that’s how you roll!

And if you have an acronym that you want us to use, tell us about it! Share it with us on facebook, instagram, or twitter with #loversvshaters or send us an email at
Let’s see if Detroit gets to keep Cupid’s Arrow or if Cupid will demand it back! Enjoying a scrumptious all-butter shortbread cookie makes us all lovers, whether we celebrate Valentine’s Day or not!

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Introducing high quality handmade preserves by Beau Bien Fine Foods

Around the same time Michigan passed its Cottage Food law, I met my business partner Molly O’Meara through mutual friends on Twitter, and we quickly discovered a shared love of food, cooking and entertaining. We hit it off in person, too, and decided to turn our passion into a small business, Beau Bien Fine Foods. The name is a nod to Detroit’s Beaubien Street, as well as my background in French language. Living there for a year after college, I was introduced to many new flavors and cooking traditions which still influence me today.

Molly and I were inspired by other artisanal jam makers in fruit-rich areas like the Bay area of California who were making small batch, high quality handmade preserves, and we thought, “Why not here?” We have access to some of the best fruit in the country in Southeast Michigan, yet no one was really making the kinds of preserves that we wanted to eat; specifically, a less sweet product with a more concentrated fruit flavor that could be paired with savory items like a cheese board in addition to putting it on your morning toast. We had tons of fun in the kitchen developing recipes for flavors like Apricot Riesling, Tart Cherry & Port, and Peach Ginger Chutney.

Almost all of our fruit is sourced from Michigan, and much of it from within 50 miles of our kitchen. We’ve experienced a big growth spurt within the last year, and with that, we are dealing directly with many farmers to buy large amounts of fruit. Last year Molly had the privilege to meet Barbara Norman, our blueberry farmer in Covert, MI. Barbara is the third generation owner of her farm, and her grandkids are the sixth generation to work the land. She’s transitioning her farm to organic, so she hasn’t sprayed her berries in four years. These are the kinds of details we can get from going to the source and knowing our farmers. We always look for the best quality produce we can possibly find, and we love being able to have hands-on involvement in selecting the best fruit for our products.

Working with Avalon is a natural fit for us and we’re so excited and proud to be in their stores. As hugely successful women business owners in Detroit, Ann and Jackie have always been role models for us, and the high caliber of everything they produce is a standard we strive to meet with our own company. We hope you’ll love our preserves as much as we love Avalon’s delicious baked goods, so please come in and try some soon!

Noelle Lothamer, co-owner
Beau Bien Fine Foods

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Avalon International Breads Packs a Punch with Downtown Boxing Gym

Avalon's 3 Bottom Lines- Earth, Community, Employees- are both our path and our destination. Sometimes, in the pressure to solve problems and create a healthy business, it is easy to forget the impact that we have had throughout the years on the community around us. One of my Detroit heros, Detroit Boxing Gym Director Jesica Hauser, recently reminded me of one such success story. I hope that you will join us in supporting Detroit Boxing Gyms great work and take pride in something that, as an Avalon customer, who have helped to succeed as well.

We’ve come a long way since 2006 when founder Coach Khali opened the doors on St. Aubin Street. He started the gym in his childhood community as a safe haven for kids to come after school, using his life savings to convert a former car wash into a training facility. When the gym started growing with the neighborhood kids stopping by on a regular basis for training and homework help, we soon had a team that quickly developed a formidable reputation as winners. At that time, the team was sharing uniforms – until Avalon Breads stepped into the ring to help.

One of the first Detroit companies to sponsor a tiny little gym with big ideas, Avalon gave us great hope that we had a future in helping Detroit kids. Jackie and Ann bought us uniforms so the kids could have their own at tournaments. Lesley helped us bake shortcakes to sell as a fundraiser. They hired one of our champions to work in the bakery, giving him his first taste of work experience. And we couldn’t be more grateful.

It makes a difference when someone believes in what you do. Take AJ for example.

AJ grew up in Downtown Boxing Gym. He came to us as a shy, 8-year-old boy, who wanted something to do after school. Khali took him in, mentored and coached him, made sure he had academic tutoring after school, and helped him discover his own dream of becoming an attorney. AJ became a champion. He won national titles, he holds the Olympic record for the most jabs set in the trials. He is now in college, studying pre-law, and he returns to the gym not only for training, but also to be a mentor to the younger students who are actively involved in the Youth Program. He was the student Avalon hired – the exception to their rule – and gave him valuable work experience. He still wears their uniform when he competes.

Today, we consider ourselves very lucky. We gained nonprofit status in 2011 and have since developed an organization with a vibrant and active board. We’ve had national exposure about our program – from NBC Nightly News and Chelsea Clinton, to Madonna’s Ray of Light Foundation giving us money towards a new facility. Other companies and organizations are finding ways to support Downtown Boxing Gym, and we appreciate every bit of help we can get to make sure our kids graduate high school. Avalon Bakery holds a special place in our hearts because they gave us the hope that we could be something more and that our kids were worth the investment. Like the first dollar a business receives the day they open, our relationship with Avalon symbolizes that dedication, hard work, and perseverance can open more doors to success. We appreciate that the owners of Avalon still live their own mission of Eat Well. Do Good.

Downtown Boxing Gym is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that develops good citizenship in urban youth through a demanding boxing program in addition to strong academic support and a connection to the community through voluntary service. To date, 100% of our participating students have graduated high school, and 94% of them are in college. For more information about Downtown Boxing Gym’s Youth Program, visit, like us on Facebook or Twitter

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