Café concert to benefit local animal rescue

Event set for Madison Heights Biggby Coffee Dec. 23

By: April Lehmbeck | Madison - Park News | Published December 18, 2013

MADISON HEIGHTS — Mike Grosvenor and his wife adopted a cat from the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan, in Madison Heights, after taking a tour of the facility and becoming attached to one of the felines there.

By adopting a cat, they helped free up space at the no-kill shelter so that AWS could rescue another animal in need. They also gained a deeper appreciation for what goes into running a rescue operation.

Around the same time, the Grosvenors were thinking of ways to give back to the community during the holidays.

“That’s when we thought, ‘Let’s help out the animal shelter,’” Grosvenor recalled. “That was the first thing that came to mind. My wife and I are both very passionate about animals, and we love event planning. I’m a musician, and I have some connections, so it all came together from there.”

The event they put together was the Santa Paws Java Jam, at the Madison Heights Biggby Coffee, 31055 John R, just north of 13 Mile. It was a success. The concert packed the café with people and raised funds and awareness for AWS.

Fast-forward a couple years, and they’re doing it again.

The 2nd Santa Paws Java Jam will take place from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 23, at the same venue. There are two musical acts lined up: September On, and Stephen Clark & The Trending Topics.

As the name implies, Stephen Clark & The Trending Topics is fronted by WXYZ-TV anchorman Stephen Clark. It’s a country band, in which Grosvenor is the drummer.

Grosvenor is also the drummer in September On, which he describes as having “more of a ’90s alternative rock sound — better Than Ezra, The Verve Pipe, Toad The Wet Sprocket and others.”

In addition, Allyson Martinek from 96.3 WDVD’s “Blaine and Allyson in the Morning” will emcee the event.

There is a suggested minimum donation of $10 per person, paid at the door or in advance through the website, All proceeds benefit AWS. Biggby Coffee will also be donating a portion of its own proceeds, and the band September On will be donating a portion of the proceeds from its merchandise, as well.

Guests can also donate supplies that the rescue needs, including dry dog and cat food, collars and leashes in puppy and adult dog sizes, bleach and paper towels, toys for dogs and cats, kitty litter, two-pocket folders and page protectors, hand sanitizers, gas cards, and more. A complete list is available at the website.

AWS has found homes for more than 20,000 animals over the last 31 years. They provide shelter for homeless animals, facilitate adoption events, provide pet food assistance to owners facing financial difficulties, and educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering to control the animal population.

They are strictly nonprofit and run by volunteers, relying on donations and adoption fees to keep their operation going. The holiday season puts extra strain on their resources, since more strays are brought in from the cold, and more people give up their animals around the hectic holiday season.

“We are full right now; every cage is full,” said Susan Edwards, president of AWS. “December is good for adoptions, but every day, it seems we get about 30-40 calls from people wanting to surrender their animals. And the more animals we have, the more expenses we have.

“No animal comes in vetted anymore, it seems,” she noted. “In the good old days, people would offer up the animal spayed or neutered, but now there’s often nothing done, so the vetting we have to do cost more than the fee we charge to adopt them out, and we lose money on them. But this is fine, since we’re still saving animals. It just puts a strain on our budget.”

That budgetary strain includes the fact that every animal adopted out of AWS is fully spayed and neutered, up to date on shots, on flea and heartworm preventative, and more. Many are already house-trained. The adoption fee helps defray some of the enormous cost that went into them, but not all of it, let alone the ongoing costs of their day-to-day maintenance at the facility.

That’s why events like the Santa Paws Java Jam are so important, Edwards said.

“It was standing room only last time,” Edwards said. “I expect it will be even bigger this time around, since we got the word out sooner. It’s also right in our community, so a lot of people want to attend. Many contributed dog and cat food last time, which was very helpful. We also bring some AWS merchandise to sell, which also helps the shelter.”

Grosvenor said he’s excited.

“The first event was great,” Grosvenor said. “This time, we’re hoping to have that same kind of turnout again, and we’re hoping to dial up the donations a bit.”

The 2nd Santa Paws Java Jam will take place from 8-10 p.m. Dec. 23 at Madison Heights Biggby Coffee, 31055 John R, just north of 13 Mile.

The suggested minimum donation is $10, either at the door or in advance at the website, A list of needed supplies is also at the site.