True to its name, Sweet Encounter Bakery offers team-building activities that are sugary good fun. For a holiday event, the Lansing-based bakery delivered handmade cookie-decorating kits to the employees of Dart Bank, which is headquartered in neighboring Mason. Employees, along with some lucky family members, gathered for a virtual class in adorning those sugar cookies with icing, sprinkles, and a variety of other decorative edibles. On-site, the bakery can accommodate 24 guests for classes and up to 100 guests for receptions that might include a dessert bar or a 1980s theme with “shake and bake” passed appetizers.

Add a little spice to the classes by dividing groups into teams to compete for best honors as they decorate a cake with chocolate fondant. “We did that with a local accounting firm, and they loved it,” says Sweet Encounter’s owner Nikki Thompson Frazier. Other classes feature a mystery box with ingredients that aren’t revealed until the class begins and the clock starts ticking down. Another option is a French-themed savory class where a few steps are missing from the recipe. Participants, for example, may have to figure out how much seasoning to add to the quiche. Or, in a meatball-making Italian feast, challenges might include distinguishing basil from tarragon or oregano.

Sweet Encounter also provides corporate and employee gifts. Thompson Frazier likes to get creative here, finding ways to incorporate a logo or company colors into cookies and cupcakes. Among her inspired creations was a holiday s’mores kit, with “We wish we had s’more employees like you” written in edible ink.

Condé Nast Traveler has named two Michigan hotels in its top 15 list in the Midwest: Reader’s Choice Awards 2022.

The Detroit Foundation Hotel ranked fifth and the Hotel Iroquois on Mackinac Island rated eighth overall. 


MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


SCS Global Services (SCS), a third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development, has launched its Zero Waste Standard, “Zero Waste for Events.”