The city of Farmington Hills is reminding residents that driveways to local businesses are still accessible during a construction project that is taking place on Orchard Lake Road between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads.

The city of Farmington Hills is reminding residents that driveways to local businesses are still accessible during a construction project that is taking place on Orchard Lake Road between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Officials highlight importance of supporting local businesses during construction season

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published June 8, 2022


FARMINGTON HILLS/WEST BLOOMFIELD — Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield officials are encouraging residents to continue to support local businesses during construction season.

In Farmington Hills, the project that is impacting the greatest number of businesses is a reconstruction of Orchard Lake Road between 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads.

The project includes a partial reconstruction, a partial boulevard and the addition of a roundabout.

Road Commission for Oakland County Senior Communications Manager Craig Bryson previously referred to that project as a “very large” one.

He expects it to be complete near the end of the construction season, in November.

There are more than 60 businesses along that stretch that are frequented by both Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield residents.

In an effort to support businesses, Farmington Hills developed a “Shop Local” flyer that has been posted on the city’s website. The flyer provides the names and categories of the businesses located between 13 Mile and 14 Mile on Orchard Lake Road.

Farmington Hills is also encouraging residents to send pictures with captions when out and about at businesses along that stretch, with some of those photos being posted on the city’s Facebook page.

Photos can be sent to Cristia Brockway, who is the economic development director for the city of Farmington Hills.

Brockway said feedback from businesses has been, “They’re hoping that it moves quickly.”

She added that the construction schedule is running on time.

Brockway is a proponent of maintaining support for businesses during construction season.

“Shopping local is important for everybody,” she said. “It’s a way to support those that are contributing to the business community — this is a livelihood. … Being able to support them is an important role.”

Becky Killarney, who is the director of marketing for Great Lakes Ace Hardware, located on Orchard Lake Road, said construction has impacted business “a little bit.”

“It’s not like we’re not seeing any customers,” she said. “There is definitely impact to the traffic coming into this store … not to the point where we’re worried about, ‘Oh, are we going to be able to keep our doors open.’”

Kris Tall f/x Make Up & Nail Studio is also located on Orchard Lake Road.

The studio’s owner, Crystal Williams, has not noticed an adverse effect as a result of the construction.

“It really hasn’t been affecting business very much,” Williams said. “All of our clients are typically appointment only, so they know exactly what they’re heading into.”

Construction projects in West Bloomfield are not impacting a large number of businesses. However, Township Supervisor Steven Kaplan provided an example of one business that has been affected.

“Pontiac Trail is being renovated between Haggerty Road and Green Lake Road, which is approximately 9/10 of a mile,” he said. “There’s a party store on Green Lake Road, at Pontiac Trail and Green Lake Road. … That store is affected because it relies on volume. … There aren’t many big-ticket items.”

Kaplan estimated that the project will be complete around mid-September.

He shared his reasons for continuing to support businesses during construction season.

“First one would be (that) many of our businesses have been loyal to the community and have existed for 10, 20 or even 30 years, and they provide convenience because of the proximity between the businesses and our residents,” Kaplan said. “Another reason is, empty storefronts are not favorable. They lead to vandalism, and they’re eyesores; they’re not a sign of vitality.”

As someone who shops in the city, Farmington Hills City Councilwoman Valerie Knol understands the frustration involved with trying to navigate to local businesses when construction is taking place.

“It’s a bit of a hassle,” she said. “You really (have) to pack your patience, but it is important to support these local businesses. … They’re part of a vibrant community. They’re very necessary to sustain our community.”

Knol expanded on her point.

“A good portion of our tax dollars come from those businesses,” she said. “If we don’t have businesses, then it’s going to increase taxes for the residents because then they have to pay a greater share. That’s one reason why we want businesses, because of the tax revenue that they help provide to the city. Also, just for the convenience.”

Williams also weighed in on the importance of having successful businesses within communities.

“The thing about having the businesses thriving, it puts money back into the economy. It makes people want to be out in the area, possibly even move if there’s businesses that can cater to their needs that are just around the corner or up the street; something that they can utilize on a regular (basis),” Williams said.

Knol pointed out why adapting to taking detours makes more sense than choosing a different shopping destination due to construction.

“Quite honestly, going into another city to run your errands to shop at those particular stores takes even longer than taking the detour to get up to 14 (Mile) and Orchard Lake,” she said. “Even though it may take longer to get to 14 (Mile) and Orchard right now, it’s probably still quicker than if you have to travel all the way to Southfield or Novi to visit those stores.”

According to the “Shop Local” flyer from the city of Farmington Hills, driveways to businesses are open and accessible, and that traffic can travel east on 13 Mile Road to Northwestern Highway and back to Orchard Lake Road if looking to access shops.

Brockway shared her perspective on having to navigate around a detour.

“It’s not a long inconvenience,” she said. “It’s actually pretty straightforward and takes maybe an extra three minutes. … Even during rush hour, it’s not that inconvenient … if you think about it, it’s one song on the radio.”

The most updated version of the “Shop Local” flyer can be viewed on the economic development portion of the city of Farmington Hills’ website at

Despite the inconvenience that comes with construction projects, Knol chooses to keep their purpose in mind.

“Everyone wants smooth roads, free of potholes,” she said. “Unfortunately, part of fixing the roads is dealing with the temporary frustration, or temporary hassle, of the construction. … I understand it’s frustrating, but unfortunately, you can’t fix the roads without all that temporary inconvenience.”

Knol provided a reminder of other benefits of having healthy roads.

“It increases property values,” she said. “If you don’t have good roads, you’re more likely to have flat tires and other sorts of maintenance on your vehicle — it increases your costs there. Good roads are important to the sustainability of a community, just like having businesses in your community is important for a vibrant community.”

Residents or business owners with questions can reach Brockway at (248) 871-2506 or