About Us & Blog
Michele is a seasoned and creative professional, a serial entrepreneur in
business for over 30 years. Her business background includes: consulting, design, marketing, promotions, advertising, web, social,
multi-media, and has a gift for product development for infotainment.
2009, 2010, 2011 Maltese's agency was the recipient of the Best of Business Award / Small Business Commerce Association’s Award Honors of Achievement.
2014 Maltese was pleased to announce, Michigan Mitt Maps won 1st Place from City Voter / Detroit's A-List in the category of Best City Tour 2014.
2015 Maltese is pleased to announce another 1st Place from City Voter / Detroit's A-List in the category of Best City Tour 2015 — 2 Years in a row!
Tepel Bros. - the highest quality standards in the
Highest standards produce highest quality. When it came to choosing a print production facility with the ablity to produce and deliver the highest quality product for our books and decals, we looked around the globe. Clearly, there was only 1 facility with the ability to produce them and we were lucky to have them within our state.
We're not going to get all technical on you, but in layman's terms — Tepel Bros uses the absolute best in the business. Their tools, procedures, state of the art equipment, and their plethora of experts. True talent each step of the way (concept through delivery).
The moment you step foot into their production floor - your expectations and YOUR printing standards just stepped up several notches.
Jennifer Lohr Kujawski
Executive Account Rep
A former R.L. Polk Account Executive, Jennifer is well versed in customer relations, marketing / brand building, team building, media buying, statistical strategies and core management.
Responsible for servicing her clients (Fortune 100 / 500 companies), Jennifer produced over $10 million annually for R.L. Polk.
Jennifer is a true humanitarian and spends a great deal of her free time volunteering for various people in need, homeless, elderly, community and works with St. Vincent DePaul. When Jennifer volunteers, she brings along a team including her own two adult daughters and her teenage daughter, along with friends and relatives. Jennifer truly makes a difference in the lives of countless families. We are so very happy and humbled to have her on our team.
Cartoonist & Illustrator
Carol is well known for her nationally televised cartoon "My Bedbugs", which aired throughout the United States on PBS from 2004 - 2007.
Carol is the featured Michigan artist, whose cartoon characters fill the pages of the Activity & Adventure Guide. Her characters Belle, Mac, Bunny and Beans walk through the pages and point out many of the fun things to see,
do and learn about Michigan.
We are grateful for her talent and for her generous contributions of work.
Travel Advisor /
Back Seat Driver
Meet Joey. He's 13 years old and our most loyal employee. As our Travel Advisor, Joey knows where he has been and where he is going. ;) Joey loves to travel, especially in "the car" where he has mastered the art of "back seat driving".
Trip Tip With Joey
Traveling With A Pet?
One thing leads to another. Road trips can be stressful for our four legged friends. Keep noise levels down inside of your vehicle. Buckle them in place, to prevent them from injury when you break. Another option is a car seat for your pet. Worth every penny. Make sure you stop every hour to help lower stress levels. Let them step outside, stretch their legs, and go potty. Pack a bowl and water to give them a cool drink of water.
FYI — Panting is a sign of overheating. It can lead to poor heath issues like an irreversible
enlarged heart / heart failure. Keep your pet hydrated and calm.
Use disposable plastic bags to pick up what your pet is putting down.
Life threw me
a curve ball,
so I made
Drive — Michele Maltese
Life was moving along at the break neck speed of a blur, and then suddenly it came to a screeching halt. "Bam!" I was driving the middle car in a 3 car collision - rear ended by someone on their phone.
"I remember looking at my rear bumper and thinking my cute little car would never be the same. Little did I know, it was me who would never be the same." This was a life changer.
I've come a long way from that fateful day in 2009. My family and friends have been incredible. I am blessed.
Thanks to Carol Bartholomew/ TV cartoonist and a Michigander who grew up with fond memories of her family weekend retreats. Carol created all of the characters and decals for Michigan Mitt Maps.
WHAT ARE THE MAPS USED FOR? Used by families traveling in Michigan on a road trip and classroom studying Michigan, Michigan Social Studies and Michigan Socioeconomics. The maps are a road trip journal. Mark your route. Place decals that illustrate the fun things you discover and experience on your trip. Most importantly, make memories! Michigan Mitt Maps make fun selfies at locations and landmarks.
It's fun and appealing to young and old,
on a road trip, at home and at school!
Michigan Mitt Maps is the vision of its founder Michele Maltese, an entrepreneur for 3 decades.
"Michigan Mitt Maps" evolved from the previous version (sold out / out of print) "Happy Trails Michigan".
These fun and educational products promote travel, destinations, communities, and local brands of the state.
How Could I Forget My Clothes?
True story. My niece was getting married. The entire family was traveling to Charlevoix for the wedding. We arrived several days prior to the vows/ceremony. My family is Italian/American and weddings are a big deal. I packed my SUV for the trip. Gift, card, clothes, T.V., radio, alarm clock, Macbook, cell phone, cooler, flip-flops, beach towel, swim suit and pillow. Four days later, (the morning of the wedding), I'm showered and looking for my sequins outfit - which I left hanging on a the door knob of my bedroom (at home). Since I packed for this trip like I was "moving to Charlevoix" rather than "visiting", I did have a full length, black dress coat. I buttoned it all the way to my neck that 80° day in mid May. (Laughing as I write this. It was a meltdown at that moment.)
Yes, sometimes while packing, we forget our clothes but we rarely forget our electronic devices which are woven into our daily lives. After a couple hours of use, we become over stimulated. Our eyes tire and irritability levels peek. Listen for the signs... "How much longer?", "Are we there yet?", "Let go of it!" and "They won't let me have it!" Check your speed. Resist the urge to step on it.
I Fell In Love Before iHeart Radio
It wasn't long ago, a time where our favorite radio stations would fade within 100 miles. We had to turn knobs until we could faintly hear the crackling of another station that seemed like it was broadcasting from a foreign country.
If you were lucky enough to have a cassette player, then you probably recorded a couple of hours of your favorite music on the radio and brought it along for the ride. A few years later CD players replaced cassette so we burned CD's with 10 x the music of a cassette. Then iPods were invented and we could travel with our entire music collection and listen with a device 1/10th the size of a handheld transistor radio.
Maybe I'm stuck in the stone age. About 15 years ago I made 4 CD's with my favorite Road Trip songs and those same 4 CD's are in my car (8 cars later) along with some new ones.
Why does some music sound so much better on a road trip, than it does on a ride to the office? Maybe it's the fresh air of the windows being open, or maybe we play it a little louder or at the volume it was intended to be listened to. If I had to pick one album to take on a road trip... it's the one I fell in love with by the time I was 12 yrs old. The Best of Earth Wind & Fire - Volume 1: “Shining Star,” “Sing a Song,” “Getaway” and “Fantasy,” plus three exclusive tracks including a Grammy-winning cover of The Beatles “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the immortal dance floor hit “September". It's that distinctive beat and those horns. They make my car (and travel time) go faster.
Pointing Towards Paradise
Sleeping Bear Dunes (Scenic Drive) to the top of the dunes, is a curvy slow road climbing up towards the sky. Covered in shade by the lush forest. It's a 10 minute cruise that feels like you're traveling through the pages of a really great story book. If you're lucky you will spot a deer or other wild life, but either way — this ride will not disappoint.
There are places to pull over and look out over inland lakes on the rise of this mountainous road. I cruise past the pull-offs. My destination is the top — one of the most beautiful places in the United States.
There are no words that illustrate all of the views, all of the feelings and emotions to describe the moment you gasp. Gasp, because the beauty of this place takes your breath away. For me, the view feels like a massage that soothes my eyes, my brain, my senses and renews my spirit. A place that can do all of that is paradise, to me. Here are a few pics from my most recent road trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes — an absolutely perfect day.