Armada, Michigan is a small village in rural northern Macomb County. It’s like a lot of small towns in Michigan. It has one stoplight, two bars and a small family restaurant where you can find the same retired farmers gathering every morning to share their coffee. You’ve probably never heard of it unless you were visiting one of the area’s orchards in the fall, attending the longest running agricultural fair in the state, or visiting the flea market in the spring.
In July of 2021, a category EF-1 tornado with speeds of 105 mph swept through the village. Miraculously not one person was hurt, but damage to the large shade trees around town was catastrophic.
Armada is also home base to Tandeski Associates, a family-run plant brokerage firm and longtime MNLA Member. Mike Tandeski, who founded the company in 1989 in the dining room of his house outside the village, fell in love with the small-town charm and country living after moving out from the city 40 years ago. Mike’s son Josh grew up working at those orchards, the fair, and finding treasures at the flea market.
Most of the trees that were blown over were irreplaceable. Mike recognized this right away. The entire scope of the village had changed. Streets once lined with large mature trees were now bare. After assessing the devastation, his mind started to work. The small village didn’t have any money to plant trees of any substance or size. Working with the village council Tandeski Associates decided to donate over one hundred 2 to 2½-inch caliper trees. A mixture of Princeton Elms, Exclamation Sycamore and Autumn Blaze Maple was decided upon because of their fast-growing nature, hardiness and what would make the most immediate impact. “We found ourselves in a unique opportunity to help our community,” Mike would say when asked why he wanted to donate the plants. The trees were delivered this spring and have been planted throughout the village.