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Detroit Development News

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Meta Physica hosts grand opening celebration in Corktown with preview of its raw juice bar

Meta Physica Wellness Center is offering the community a sneak preview of its raw juice bar on Tuesday, March 20, during its grand opening celebration. While Meta Physica opened last November, this is the official grand opening party for the Corktown business, which offers therapeutic massages, full spectrum infrared saunas, an apothecary, and more.

It may seem a long gap between a November 2017 soft opening and the grand opening, but that's by design, says Jenaveve Biernat. She and co-owner Anahi Hollis wanted to let the business work itself out. Now that it has, Biernat says that they're ready to ramp up the next phase of business, the raw juice bar.

"I think the juice bar will open in May, but it could be in three weeks. We're not pushing it until it's on point," says Biernat. "In business, there's what you think will happen, and then it doesn't. But sometimes it becomes even better. So we're hesitant to define it just yet."

What Biernat can guarantee is that the juices will be organic, as locally-sourced as possible, and reasonably priced. The grand opening celebration will feature free samples of the Meta Physica raw juices.

Biernat started Meta Physica as a therapeutic massage business in Midtown, in a location that she soon outgrew. Hollis, who is responsible for the raw juices, later became a partner in the business. The duo went on to win the $50,000 grand prize in the 2016 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest and a $20,000 grant from Detroit's Motor City Match program.

The grand opening party is free and open to the public, on Tuesday, March 20, from noon to 7 p.m. The first 100 visitors will receive a complimentary gift bag with essential oils, discount coupons, and more. There will also be free raw juice samples and chair massages.

"I think a lot of people don't know what to expect when they come for the first time," says Biernat. "This is their chance to come in and look."

Meta Physica Wellness Center is located at 1701 Trumbull Ave., Ste. 3, in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Veteran-owned businesses named to inaugural WeWork residence program

Eight local businesses have been named to the first ever cohort of Detroit Veterans in Residence, a business incubator for United States veterans. This is the first Detroit round for the national program, which is a partnership between Bunker Labs and the WeWork co-working space.

The entrepreneurs will receive access to the Campus Martius WeWork co-working space, which includes such amenities as high speed internet, business-class printers, conference rooms, and more. WeWork and Bunker Labs have also built a specially-designed lounge and meeting space for those enrolled in the program.

The first round of Veteran-owned businesses includes AGI Construction, a general contracting construction company; Dominant Approach Digital, a boutique digital marketing firm; GreenBeings, a provider of recycling services to commercial and industrial buildings; SeannLewis.com, an IT support and software development firm; The North Group, a company that provides safety, security, and intelligence services; Hero Homes, which teaches veterans how to generate income by becoming landlords; HorHaze Lemoné, a health-minded soft drink company; and Digitech Studios, a video and photography studio.

"Detroit presents a unique opportunity, one unlike any other community in the nation," says Thomas Typinski, chapter leader at Bunker Labs Detroit and owner of Dominant Approach Digital. "We're flying under many people's radars, even some Detroiters'. Veterans have an obligation to lead the way through this program by transitioning from active duty life to their next mission in civilian life: Entrepreneurship.

"Veterans have a unique skill set of leadership that many people don't possess. They have a responsibility to help rebuild the city of Detroit through their entrepreneurial dreams."

Any veteran or military spouse in the Detroit area is eligible for the Veterans in Residence program, organizers say. Click here to learn more about applying for the next round.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Furniture company Floyd, and two others, to relocate to Eastern Market

In a bit of development news, three established businesses are moving their offices to a new redevelopment in Eastern Market. 

One of those businesses is Floyd, a Detroit-based furniture company that first gained notoriety for its "Floyd Leg," which allows any flat surface to become a table. It has since designed a modular bed frame and more standard table. The company has gotten considerable national press, and even a visit from Martha Stewart.

Floyd will be relocating to the building at 1830-48 Division Street, just east of the Dequindre Cut and recently renovated by the developer Marshall Pryce. The company was previously located at the business incubator Ponyride, which itself earlier this month announced plans to sell its 30,000 square-foot Corktown building and move to Recycle Here!'s renovated space. 

The Eastern Market building has already secured two other tenants, Anthology Coffee, also coming from Ponyride, and Et Al. an architecture firm that is leading the renovation of the building itself. 

New art and design gallery to open on Woodward Avenue

They're stacking art galleries on top of each other in Midtown these days. The Corridor Gallery is preparing to open its doors for its first exhibition, right above the Woodward Gallery. Each are part of Lawrence Technological University's Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT) on Woodward Avenue.

The "Datum: Detroit" exhibition opens in the new second-floor Corridor Gallery on Thursday, Feb. 8, with the gallery reception scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15. The exhibition documents and examines the work of Detroit-based furniture designers. Produced by NEXT:SPACE, the exhibition has the stated intent of defining the next generation of local furniture designers, while also reinforcing Detroit's role as an international center of design. Heather Saunders is the photographer.

Datum: Detroit runs through April 25.

"The creation of the Corridor Gallery is an effort to expand our ability to host local artists and designers at the DCDT, further exposing the public, LTU students and our partner organizations to the innovative work being done right here in Detroit," Christopher Stefani, associate director of Detroit Center for Design + Technology, said in a statement.

"This gallery will take on smaller, salon-style shows that look to curate an intellectual conversation around local design professions and their corresponding economy. It is also meant to showcase the work of our own economy initiatives."

The DCDT's exhibition season kicked off earlier this year with the opening of "Intersections: The City Through Cartography," in the first-floor Woodward Gallery. The exhibition features contemporary maps made by Detroiters and runs through March 30.

In addition to its art and design galleries, the DCDT is the home of LTU's College of Architecture and Design's Detroit programs, a co-working space, business incubator, and more. It opened in 2016.

Woodward Gallery and Corridor Gallery are located on the first and second floors, respectively, of the Detroit Center for Design + Technology at 4219 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Vegetarian and vegan food truck to open restaurant in Hamtramck

Michigan's winter weather poses certain challenges for food trucks—a dent in sales, namely. One local food truck, Nosh Pit, is doing something about it.

The vegetarian and vegan food truck is opening a brick-and-mortar location in the city of Hamtramck. The Nosh Pit will open on Yemans Street, across from Polish Village Cafe, in the latter half of February.

What's already started, however, is a series of ticketed events that allow co-owners and staff the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new space and even the restaurant business itself, while offering its customers a sneak peek at the new brick-and-mortar location at the same time.

It's been a relatively fast ride for food truck co-owners Karen Kahn Schultz, Eric Schultz, and Stefan Kudek. Having started the food truck just a year and a half ago, the Nosh Pit trio have quickly built a loyal customer base and garnered a fair share of national recognition for their vegetarian and vegan soups, sandwiches, deserts, and more.

Karen got the idea for the Nosh Pit as she was feeling unfulfilled by her former career in waste management. Though she was in the sustainability sector of that industry, Karen was ready to change course.

"You hit 40 and you start to re-evaluate what you want to do in life," Karen says. "I wanted to do something that helped change the world. I wanted something that was hands-on."

In addition to serving a vegetarian- and vegan-only menu, the Nosh Pit limits waste as much as possible, and recycles and composts whatever they can. Karen's husband Eric says that the business composted three tons of materials last year.

One of the Nosh Pit's main goals is to demonstrate better practices for limiting waste, and recycling and composting materials, and to spread that knowledge to other businesses.

The ticketed soft opening events are open and available to the public, and more information can be found on the restaurant's website and Facebook page. Events feature a four-course dinner that includes soup, appetizer, main course, and dessert, as well as a free drink.

The Nosh Pit is located at 2995 Yemans St. in Hamtramck.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Avalon Village continues to grow in Highland Park, adds seven properties from Michigan Land Bank

Seven more properties have come into the possession of Avalon Village, this thanks to the Michigan Land Bank, which has deeded the seven properties to the sustainable eco-village in Highland Park.

In total, Avalon Village now owns a mix of 30 houses and parcels of land on its stretch of Avalon Street, between Woodward and Second avenues. The Michigan Land Bank has deeded 11 of those properties.

For Avalon Village CEO Shamayim "Mama Shu" Harris, the seven properties mean even more opportunity to improve the quality of life in her community. She's actively been doing so for about ten years now, inspired by the hit-and-run death of her two-year old son Jakobi Ra in 2007.

In that time, she's gone from simple acts like cleaning up vacant lots to now owning 30 properties. Harris built community gathering space Jakobi Ra Park, as well as the Goddess Marketplace for women entrepreneurs. She's received a lot of attention for her efforts and, in 2016, Harris received a gift from comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres: A pre-fabricated home to serve as the village headquarters.

[Read Model D's article on Highland Park featuring "Mama Shu"]

On-going projects include the Homework House, which will serve as a safe place for area children to study and socialize.The Avalon Village Healing House, the Blue Moon Cafe, and the Avalon Village Community Greenhouse are also planned.

"Partners like the Michigan Land Bank help us continue to strengthen our community," Harris says in a statement. "These seven properties will help us take Avalon Village from blight to beauty faster and more efficiently than we would have been able to do on our own. We are building a sense of pride for the people who live here and are working hard to make this a better, safer place; one property at a time."

Over half of Highland Park's 7,000 parcels are owned by public entities, and they're now ready to offer them to organizations and businesses like Avalon Village. The city, Michigan Land Bank, and Wayne County Land Bank will soon issue a Request for Qualifications to determine and attract qualified developers for nearly 1,000 properties.

Potential developers must submit their qualifications by noon, Feb. 9. 

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Empowerment Plan starts selling new line of coats, preps for move to larger West Village facility

It started as a way to help Detroit's homeless population. And now, even Founder and CEO Veronika Scott is surprised by the ways that her non-profit organization the Empowerment Plan continues to grow.

Empowerment Plan has recently debuted a retail clothing line, Maxwell Detroit. It's also planning on moving into a larger facility in the West Village. But its mission to address the challenges of generational poverty through employment remains the same. It just has new tools in its belt to do so.

Scott started the Empowerment Plan in 2012. A student at College for Creative Studies, Scott designed the EMPWR Coat, a water-resistant jacket that transforms into a sleeping bag. She employs people recruited from local shelters, who manufacture the coats to be donated back to the homeless population.

What's surprised Scott has been consumers' interests in the coats. So, Scott and her team have designed both a men's and women's coat to go along with the original sleeping bag design. All three products are now for sale via the Empowerment Plan's new line of clothing, Maxwell Detroit.

"The revenue earned from sales goes back into Empowerment Plan," Scott says. "Maxwell is a tool to continue the mission-based work that we're doing."

Scott hires people from local shelters, and enrolls them in a two-year "stepping stone" employment program. During that time, Empowerment Plan prepares their employees for life after coat manufacturing. According to the organization, since beginning in 2012, all 45 of the Empowerment Plan employees have gone on to find permanent housing.

The organization has also grown to the point of needing a new facility. This January, Empowerment Plan will leave its longtime space in Corktown's Ponyride maker space and move into its own 21,000 sq. ft. building in the West Village.

Empowerment runs on-site GED training, financial literacy programs, and other workshops, and the new building will allow the organization to dedicate an entire classroom to the subjects.

Maxwell Detroit coats are available for purchase via their website, here. Scott provided a discount code, which is mw2017. Donations and sponsorships can be made at the Empowerment Plan website, here.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Paralee Boyd Salon opens flagship location in Midtown, plans nationwide expansion

Paralee Boyd, which specializes in providing haircare for women of color with thick and curly hair, sets itself apart from seemingly similar salons by eschewing the traditional appointment-based model and instead only offering its services on a walk-in basis.

And now the unique salon is opening in Detroit, in a high-profile location in Midtown on Woodward Avenue. It's the second location for the salon, and its first in Detroit. Paralee Boyd Salon first opened in Southfield in 2012.

Though newer, Dana White, the owner of Paralee Boyd, considers the Midtown location her flagship studio, and the point from which she'll launch her brand on a national level. White has big plans for Paralee Boyd, and she's prepared herself with a novel approach to haircare and a well-manicured attention to detail.

White says that while living in New York, she found salons that worked on a walk-ins-only approach, something different than what she was used to while growing up in Michigan. And they were cheaper, too. What appointments-based salons offered, however, was more business stability. So White sought to combine the best of both styles.

Before opening her salon in Southfield, White consulted with engineers from members of the Big 3 auto companies. She wanted to take the walk-ins-only process and streamline it, make it more efficient and stable.

White embraced the principles of lean manufacturing, eliminating waste while improving productivity, and it worked. In busy times, White says her Southfield salon services 600 to 700 women a month. She's planning on opening five to ten more salons in the metro Detroit area, and then more throughout the state. She's also exploring opportunities in 200 major markets nationwide.

"I specifically chose metro Detroit to launch my brand because I know what I'm doing is innovative and I wanted to come to the center of innovation," says White. "It's not lost on me that my lean manufacturing practices are the same as those of Henry Ford."

Paralee Boyd Salon opens Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7 a.m. Its hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Paralee Boyd Salon is located at 3939 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

44 businesses representing more than 30 neighborhoods named first Motor City Re-Store grant winners

Celebrity Carwash in LaSalle Gardens. Louisiana Creole Gumbo in the Bagley neighborhood. Lopez Tire Repair Service in Springwells Village. All these businesses and 41 more have been announced recipients of the city of Detroit's first round of Motor City Re-Store grants.

In total, $330,000 has been awarded to the 44 businesses and another $519,000 has been earmarked for future construction projects. More than 30 neighborhoods are represented in the first ever round of grant recipients.

The Motor City Re-Store grants function as a way to lend a hand to business owners who already call Detroit home. While the city's Motor City Match program exists to encourage entrepreneurs to build in the city, the Re-Store grants aim to help those already here.

The grants are to be used toward the design and construction of upgrades to business facades, landscaping, and other exterior improvements. Matching construction grants are awarded at up to $25,000 per business and design grants are awarded at up to $10,000.

Royalty Dance Studio in the Morningside neighborhood was one such recipient, having been awarded $7,500 to make improvements to their building's exterior.

"Royalty is a real community resource for the neighborhood," says owner Howard Brown. "We are excited to be able to remove old signage and make other improvements that will show off Royalty and the surrounding area on East Warren as a great community."

According to officials from the Motor City Re-Store program, 70 percent of the grant-winning businesses are minority-owned, and 43 percent are women-owned.

While the application window for round two has already closed, the third round opened Dec. 1 and will close Jan. 1, 2018.

Click here to learn more about the Motor City Re-Store application process.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Natural fragrance-maker opens flagship retail shop and cocktail bar in Midtown

A Gothic-Victorian mansion built in the 1880s has been steadily accumulating tenants since full-scale restoration work first started in 2014. Once a hollowed-out shell of its former self, the Midtown building, located at the intersection of Second Avenue and Alexandrine Street, is currently home to three residential units and the Detroit Clothing Circle clothing store. It once hosted the 2016 beer garden, Stadt Garten.

Located in a newly restored garden unit of the building, Sfumato Fragrances, the creator and purveyor of natural fragrances and scent experiences, celebrated the opening of its flagship retail location this past Black Friday. In addition to retail, the Sfumato space will also host Castalia, a craft cocktail bar.

"The garden level below the traffic and city noise is a perfect sanctuary for the senses," says community developer and Sfumato's new landlord, Mark R. Beard. "Sfumato fills that void better than anyone else in Detroit."

The Sfumato line features only natural ingredients extracted from plants, and supplies lists of all ingredients used. For example, Epiphany features Chamomile, Cypress, Frankincense, Galbanum, Grapefruit, Katrafay, Lavender, Petitgrain, Rosemary, Sweet Orange, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang.

In addition to their signature line of fragrances, Sfumato creates custom fragrances for order, be it for people, businesses, or weddings and other events.

"Not to knock the DDSs in my family, but Sfumato is way less scary than the dental office that was in the same space a century ago," says Beard.

Castalia, the craft cocktail bar, won't operate regular bar hours, but rather ticketed events that pair fragrances with signature cocktails. Such sensory experiences have been a big part of Sfumato since its founding by Kevin Peterson and Jane Larson in 2013, including custom events at a number of bars, restaurants, and other businesses throughout the region.

Sfumato Fragrances is open from noon to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Expanded hours will occur as the new year begins.

Sfumato Fragrances is located at 3980 Second Ave. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Five businesses win TechTown "Kickstart" money to open brick-and-mortar locations in Detroit

Just weeks removed from having recently celebrated their grand opening in Ferndale, culinary outfitter Provisions is already planning a second location in Detroit. The specialty cheese, chocolate, and charcuterie shop is just one of five businesses that are closer to opening their own brick-and-mortar locations in the city after being named winners of TechTown Detroit's Kickstart Awards.

All graduates of TechTown's 2017 Retail Boot Camp, the five businesses have each been awarded up to $5,000 to be used toward their permanent or pop-up spaces, and inventory and point-of-sale systems. Each should open within the next six to 12 months.

In addition to Provisions, the winners include Voluptuous Bien' Aime Boutique, a women's clothing and accessories boutique; Mature, a men's contemporary casual clothing and modern dress wear store; Chanel's Bling, which offers customized bling designs for shoes, apparel, and accessories; and Urbanum, curators of various provisions and designs for city living.

"It was a really great program and I was proud of earning the award," says Provisions co-owner and cheesemonger Zach Berg. "I thought the program was a great way to take our business from pop-up to being a real establishment. It was also a great opportunity to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs who were dealing with similar challenges as my own."

TechTown's Retail Boot Camp is an eight-week program designed to prepare entrepreneurs in opening their own brick-and-mortar locations in Detroit. According to their website, Retail Boot Camp covers a wide range of topics, including identifying startup costs, understanding pricing and inventory, and how to manage daily cash flow. Eligibility requirements stipulate that applicants must locate their brick-and-mortar location, be it permanent or pop-up, in the city of Detroit.

Notable Retail Boot Camp graduates include Live Cycle Delight, Third Wave Music, and House of Pure Vin, among numerous others throughout the city.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

North End nonprofit saves low-income family homes from foreclosure

Earlier this year, Forbes ranked Detroit's real estate market as the most undervalued in the nation. The report cited the city's low housing prices and the prospect of increased development as reasons for Detroit's recent real estate boom.

Discussions about Detroit's ripe real estate opportunities are often geared toward affluent outsiders and metro Detroiters who can afford to take on the financial risk of buying and rehabbing a home. But what about the long-time Detroiters who wish to keep their properties in good shape and avoid displacement?

In October, the North End's Vanguard Community Development Corporation, an economic equity and racial justice-focused nonprofit, prevented 24 low-income family homes, collectively called Melrose Square, from going into foreclosure. 

"Vanguard is so very pleased to be able to preserve these homes for low-income families; especially given that the homes are located within the greater Downtown Detroit footprint," says Pamela Martin-Turner, CEO of Vanguard. "It is important for people of modest means to be able to remain in their neighborhoods and to enjoy the benefits of Detroit's new economic boom."

Built in 2006, the Melrose Square homes are just north of Grand Boulevard on Melrose and Cameron streets. Vanguard has been working to secure financial support since 2015 and were able to start making capital improvements with grants of $965,000 from the city of Detroit and $700,000 from IFF.

Rehabilitation efforts which include improvements on the roof, insulation, landscape, exterior appearance, concrete repair, and exterior lighting will continue through July 2018.

Renovations and expansion planned for African Bead Museum

Unmistakable from both Grand River Avenue and I-96, the reflective exterior of Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum has been the catching eyes of passers-by and drawing in visitors since 1994. Home to the African Bead Gallery, N'kisi House, and African Language Wall, as well as 18 outdoor installations, the African Bead Museum stands to receive significant renovations, this thanks to the announcement of its inclusion in the state's placemaking initiative.

Facing a Dec. 31 deadline, the African Bead Museum must raise at least $50,000 via the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. If successful, the Michigan Economic Development Corportation will contribute a $50,000 matching grant to the project.

The matching grant is made possible by the state's placemaking initiative, Public Spaces Community Places. That program is a collaboration between MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity.

"One way to do effective placemaking is to build on existing assets," says Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. "Dabls' MBAD African Bead Museum is certainly an amazing asset in Detroit. With the public's support, an expanded Dabls will allow it to continue to be a source of community pride for years to come."

The African Bead Museum receives 35,000 visitors each year.

With the money, African Bead Museum founder Olayami Dabls will renovate the buildings that make up the museum campus, which consist of nearly an entire block. A renovated rowhouse will feature free rotating exhibitions of African beads and artifacts, as well as a public gathering place and events space. In partnership with schools and museums, Dabls will also use the renovated space to grow African-based education programs.

Physical improvements will include repairing and refinishing interiors, building new gallery spaces, the installation of an ADA access ramp, and basement storage for his collection.

To view the crowdfunding campaign, visit Patronicity online.

Dabls MBAD African Bead Museum is located at 6559 Grand River Ave. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

University commercialization programs receive $2.66 million in state funding

A recent funding renewal will allow two University of Michigan (U-M)-administered programs to continue their mission of supporting collaboration among state universities and spinning off technologies developed at universities into startup businesses.

The Michigan Strategic Fundan oversight board for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)approved $1.4 million for the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) and $1.26 million for Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N), funding each program for another year.


"The state continues to fund these programs because they show results," says Stella Wixom, executive director of the U-M Business Engagement Center and principal investigator of the MCRN grant.


MCRN started in 2011 as a collaboration between six state universities but has since expanded to include all 15 state universities, including Wayne State University. T3N, also created in 2011, was started with help from the MEDC to provide talent programs and resources to support the commercialization of university projects.

Talent resources provided by T3N include a fellowship program, a mentors-in-residence program, university post-doctoral fellowships, and a statewide talent resource network.


"These programs touch on three key areas that are integral parts of commercializing technology: business engagement, technology transfer, and research," says Denise Graves, MEDC university relations director. She says the renewed funding will allow both programs to "expand and refine" the work they're doing supporting all 15 public universities across Michigan.


While the focus of both programs is on finding commercial channels for university-created technologies, much of the work they do is about "building relationships," Graves says.


That relationship-building includes setting up mentorship programs and getting interns into small and medium-sized businesses.


Graves says mentors with "deep industry knowledge" are matched with faculty to help them commercialize technology, get first customers and funding, and provide feedback to faculty on what they need to do to make the technologies viable in the marketplace.


Wixom says the state is interested in exposing students to small and medium-sized companies that students might otherwise overlook. The grant money will help students get internships in those smaller companies.


"A lot of those companies are thrilled with the talent and convert those internships to full-time positions, and the students are more interested in staying after having hands-on experience at those companies," Wixom says.


Wixom says it's important to note that the collaborations among state universities to create technology spinoffs is "a really unique offering."


"It makes us competitive in the country in terms of companies locating here," Wixom says. "I've talked to folks in Texas and Mississippi who are trying to emulate this model. The partnerships and support from the state make us attractive and friendly to businesses."

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township.

Pop-up library program celebrates successes with Free Laundry Day at westside laundromat

Laundromats, like libraries, are community hubs. It's no wonder, then, that the two go together so well.

That's what Libraries Without Borders has found both in Detroit and the Bronx, where the international non-profit has introduced their Wash & Learn program. The pilot program brings library amenities to the people, setting up pop-up libraries in laundromats.

Wash & Learn provides a Detroit librarian with books, laptops, Wi-Fi access, and more to each of the participating laundromats.

For John Carr, program officer at Libraries Without Borders, the marriage between library and laundromat has been a perfect fit.

"It takes an average of one and a half to two hours to do a load of laundry. So you have a captive audience," says Carr. "It's a real opportunity for community enrichment."

The program started in summer 2017 at three laundromats across the city of Detroit. Carr says that the goal is to have a library at every laundromat in the city.

Libraries Without Borders has partnered with a number of organizations to make Wash & Learn possible, including the Knight foundation, United Way of South East Michigan, Laundry Cares Foundation, the Detroit Public Library system, Southwest Solutions, the Detroit Mayor's Office, Coin Laundromat Association, Too Small to Fail, and Brilliant Detroit.

Celebrating their program's success, Libraries Without Borders and their partners are throwing a Free Laundry Day event at Coinless Laundromat on the city's west side on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 3 to 7 p.m.

The festivities will include access to free laundry and refreshments, as well as arts and crafts and face painting for children.

"We hope that these pop-up libraries become integral parts of Detroit neighborhoods," says Carr. "We're inviting the community to come out and see."

Coinless Laundromat is located at 1281 Oakman Blvd. For more information on Wednesday's free event, click here.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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