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From the bustling nightlife and niche specialty shops that characterize Birmingham’s vibrant downtown to the authentic, rural country charm of the Franklin Cider Mill, the Birmingham Bloomfield area has a variety of retail options to suit any visitor’s or resident’s tastes.

The business community throughout this area just north of Detroit is likewise diverse and thriving. Offices in the area are home to local businesses, information technology and financial services firms and professional service providers such as accountants, attorneys and physicians.

McCann, a renowned global advertising firm, maintains one of its seven North American offices in Birmingham.

Of the six towns in the Birmingham Bloomfield area – Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Beverly Hills, Franklin and Bingham Farms – Birmingham has the largest downtown.

“It’s very trendy. It has great variety. It has a lot of restaurants and two movie theaters,” said Greg Kowalski, director of community development for Bloomfield Township.

A favorite spot for shoppers with a sweet tooth is Cupcake Station, where homemade confections are available for reasonable prices. Kowalski describes the Old Woodward Avenue bakery’s $3 cupcake as “heaven on earth.”

Dick O’Dow’s Irish Public House on West Maple Road, just west of Woodward Avenue is one of Birmingham’s most popular hotspots, Kowalski said. The Irish pub features a full menu, including Irish classics, live music and special events.

Out-of-town guests visiting downtown Birmingham often stay at the Townsend Hotel, located three blocks south of O’Dow’s, in the heart of the business district. Kowalski said celebrities and sports stars occasionally may be spotted at the four-star luxury hotel.

McCann’s offices are just west of O’Dow’s on West Maple Road.

“It’s a very walkable community. They take great care to make it accessible. It has a great diversity of shops, lots of upscale clothing stores,” Kowalski said. “It’s prime retail space.”

Kowalski said office space on floors above ground-level retail businesses house doctors’ offices, real estate offices and other professional service providers.

Kowalski said the opening of Somerset Mall several years ago in Troy, about seven miles northeast, caused consternation about competition for retail success in Birmingham. But those fears proved unfounded as shopping preferences have evolved.

“The trend now is toward open downtowns as opposed to enclosed malls,” he added.

Almost all of Bloomfield Hills’ nearly five square miles are residential properties, but the city does have a small collection of retail stores near the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Long Lake Road. The city also has medical and professional offices at several office campuses, along with a selection of restaurants specializing in a variety of cuisines.

In the autumn, cider fans flock to Franklin’s historic district, where the Franklin Cider Mill is in full cider-making mode. Apples are pressed and bottled at this historic mill, which is open from Labor Day through Thanksgiving weekend. The mill also offers German doughnuts and pies for sale.

Bloomfield Township may not have a traditional downtown, but it does have the Maple Theatre on West Maple Road. The cinema presents indie and vintage films and presents live music before screenings.

“It’s a small theater that has a bar, which is very unusual for a theater. They usually get art films,” Kowalski noted.

There also is a wide variety of retail businesses along the busy Telegraph corridor as well as Woodward Avenue for residents to visit.

On the third Saturday of each August, the Woodward Dream Cruise classic car event attracts thousands of vehicles and about 1 million spectators to the cruise along Woodward Avenue, which extends from Detroit, runs through Oakland County and ends in Pontiac. Kowalski said event enthusiasts show up days ahead of time to enjoy the festival atmosphere.

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