Royal Oak and Clawson stores gear up for Small Business Saturday


From left to right, Teresa Gale, Sandie Maynard and Alex Maynard stand behind the counter at Unplug & Paint Resale in downtown Clawson on November 16.

Ann Al-Amara of Kal’s Lunch Bowl holds a house salad – made with lettuce topped with cucumber, tomato, parsley, dried apricot, walnuts and a house pomegranate dressing – in front of the order window inside the Royal Oak Farmers Market November 16.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

    Three Mediterranean fusion dishes at Kal's Lunch Bowl, located inside the Royal Oak Farmers Market, include the house salad, left;  shawarma fries, illustrated with beef shawarma;  and the loaded falafel in the center.

Three Mediterranean fusion dishes at Kal’s Lunch Bowl, located inside the Royal Oak Farmers Market, include the house salad, left; shawarma fries, illustrated with beef shawarma; and the loaded falafel in the center.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

    Unplug & Paint Resale, located in downtown Clawson, is an open-concept craft market and boutique that also offers space and classes for creators.

Unplug & Paint Resale, located in downtown Clawson, is an open-concept craft market and boutique that also offers space and classes for creators.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


ROYAL OAK / CLAWSON – If municipalities had vascular systems, their lifeblood would be small businesses.

Exchanging money within communities, especially in mom and pop stores, is vital to creating jobs, boosting local economies, and preserving neighborhoods.

This year is a critical time for small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every business, regardless of industry, business plan or size. Problems include shipping delays, staff shortages and rising commodity prices.

Many innovative entrepreneurs are gearing up for Small Business Saturday, a nationwide campaign launched by American Express in 2010 to increase footfall to local stores and restaurants.

This year, Small Business Saturday falls on November 27.

In preparation, the Royal Oak Review spoke to two local independent businesses that opened this year: Kal’s Lunch Bowl in Royal Oak and Unplug & Paint Resale in Clawson.

Kal’s Lunch Bowl serves Mediterranean fusion to order
On June 11, Kal’s Lunch Bowl launched its unique concept. Located in the northeast corner of the Royal Oak Farmers Market, the restaurant is a family affair that celebrates the positive impact of fresh, healthy food and the power of community.

The name derives from the initials of Kal Al-Amara, his wife Ann, their daughter Lorelai, 5, and their business partner, lawyer Seymour Schwartz, Ann said.

“My big thing is that food is a universal language. It always brings people together, ”Ann said. “We are a hidden gem. We just want to introduce people and have them come and try (our food).

The idea of ​​Mediterranean fusion arose from a mixture of the origins of Kal and Ann. They not only prepare authentic dishes reminiscent of their Iraqi heritage, but also blend in with regional specialties from other Mediterranean countries.

The easily customizable menu includes options for vegan and vegetarian diets, and all meat is halal and premium quality.

Kal is an experienced executive chef and restaurant manager. Most of Kal’s Lunch Bowl dishes come from his creative process, and he says watching customers enjoy the food gives him joy.

“It occurs to me. I taste it before I even cook it, ”he said, adding that he could count on his daughter Lorelai to be an honest taster, as well as a helping hand in the kitchen. “I can always count on her.”

Ann is a Culinary Chef who graduated from the Culinary Arts Program at Oakland Community College. While Kal thinks about the flavors and how they blend together to make a perfect bite, Ann’s strong suit is technique, cooking and presentation.

She said that she was interested in cooking before going to culinary school, and that her mother, a talented chef who learned to cook at a young age, traveled to different regions and prepared a variety of Middle Eastern kitchens for her children as they grew older, even acquiescing to their requests for Americanization of certain meals.

The Al-Amara use fresh produce and ingredients from vendors at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, as well as eggplants, cucumbers and tomatoes from their own garden. Ann said Schwartz smokes eggplant for baba ghanoush, which gives it a unique flavor profile.

The loaded falafel is unique in that each fried ball contains a selected blend of spices from four Middle Eastern countries and is topped with garlic sauce, taboula and amba sauce, a traditional pickled mango puree. Another unique dish is fried shawarma, in which the seasoned fries are topped with beef or chicken shawarma, feta cheese, and dressing.

Even the house salad is not basic. The lettuce is topped with cucumber, tomato, parsley, dried apricot, walnuts and a homemade pomegranate dressing. The restaurant also offers a ranch dressing to appeal to the Midwestern palette.

“The good thing about (being in the farmers’ market) is that we can be a part of so many events in the market, and when events do take place we sometimes get late,” Ann said, adding that some of the vendors have become like family. “The only downside is that people, when they hear our location, assume we’re only here on weekends. “

The Kal’s Lunch Bowl is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on Mondays. It also offers on-site and off-site catering. For more information, call (248) 832-0044, email [email protected], or visit

The Royal Oak Farmers Market is located at 316 E. 11 Mile Road, east of Troy Street. The building hosts a covered farmer’s market on Saturdays and an antique market on Sundays all year round. For more information call (248) 246-3276, email [email protected] or visit

Unplug & Paint Resale offers maker space, retail lessons and one-to-one lessons
On May 22, Unplug & Paint Resale opened to the public. The Craft Market and open concept boutique are located in the 5,000 square foot space that once housed Regeneration Clothing in downtown Clawson.

The family business started as a hobby for sisters Sandie Maynard and Teresa Gale, who research real estate sales and thrift stores for furniture and other items which they then turn into more modern, recycled pieces.

“We were looking for a small space and sort of stumbled upon (the space available for rent) last Christmas. There was a lot of window space and was a lot bigger than what we were (initially) looking for, ”Maynard said. “In addition to recycling furniture, we also offer the Dixie Belle line of chalk paints and we are opening up the space to other suppliers and artists. “

The business opened with three family artisans: Teresa’s Treasures, Sewn by Megan and That Girl Designs. It now has more than 30 suppliers.

Maynard admitted opening a business during the pandemic was scary and risky, but said if they didn’t do it now, they probably never would.

“My daughter (Alex Maynard) plays a major role,” Sandie said. “Over the past five months we’ve learned a lot and tried to understand the website and social media and get the word out. It’s difficult because people don’t shop like they used to.

Sandie said there was still more space for 30 more vendors. Many current sellers, she added, are selling their products for the first time. Items for sale include door signs, children’s clothing, baby blankets, recycled pieces, tiles, unique jewelry, local photographs in handmade frames, wooden bowls and vases, and leather goods.

“We rent spaces of all sizes, from a 2-foot by 2-foot area to an 8-by-4-foot area, generally depending on what they’re trying to sell, and we work with a space at open floor, space on the wall, (and what used to be) changing rooms in the back, ”she said. “We can also organize birthdays, reunions and take out items. “

Unplug & Paint Resale runs one-to-one lessons with Dixie Belle Paint, an all-natural chalk-based paint that can be used on furniture, doors and now fabrics. Customers can purchase furniture to paint from the store or bring their own pieces to paint.

It also allows providers to teach courses.

“(The premise of our business) is to unplug your electronic device and create something, paint something, socialize and converse,” Sandie said. “It’s so that you get customer service back instead of something showing up at the door, so that we can actually talk and see what they want and guide it, and then everyone helps each other out, like we do. were doing before. “

Unplug & Paint Resale is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, and is closed Monday. It is located at 126 E. 14 Mile Road, east of Main Street. For more information call (248) 629-6022, email [email protected] or visit

For more information on Small Business Saturday, visit



About Octavia A. Dorr

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