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Retail-design executive says look to Detroit for future of retail

The future of retail will be in Detroit, said Ken Nisch, chairman of JGA Inc., during a presentation at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in Manhattan. According to an article in the Detroit News, the large crowd included major international retail executives and experts who wanted to understand how to best integrate online shopping with brick-and-mortar stores. 

Despite the fact that upscale shopping has not been central to Detroit for 40 years, few national vendors opened stores in the city, and shopping malls have never had a place here, Detroit is well positioned in retail. Shopping malls are beginning to die out, after all, and Nisch thinks Detroit is well-positioned to thrive.

Todd Sachse, vice president of Broder & Sachse Real Estate, agrees with Nisch. He says that about $5.2 billion has went towards development projects downtown Detroit, and that more retail will follow. 

Louis Aguilar writes, "Detroit's emerging scene of DIY retailers is full of unique customer experiences, Nisch contends. They include Detroit is the New Black, an apparel and accessories shop focusing on local designers; and the Peacock Room, a women's apparel and accessories store with a vintage bent. And it's attracting more unique retailers such as City Bakery, a New York cafe and bakery with locations in Manhattan, Tokyo and now, the Fisher Building in New Center."

Nisch thinks it's possible national chains like Target might locate in Detroit in the coming years, but the stores would be smaller and offer products that coincide with the city and its people.

Detroit Sip in Live6 to celebrate long-awaited opening

When a brick and mortar business opens, it's always a cause for celebration. But in the case of Detroit Sip, a coffee shop on McNichols Road in the Live6 area, it's really a cause for celebration.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Detroit Sip will celebrate its grand opening after a lengthy saga of trying to open its doors. Renovations have been completed for months, community and other events have been held there, and owner Jevona Watson has been working diligently to open. But red tape and other issues have held delayed that from happening until now. 

Watson even spoke to Model D back in February this year for a video (see above) on the coffee shop and its potential importance to the neighborhood. 

[Read more articles from our On the Ground series in Live6 and the North End]

With the recent groundbreaking of the nearby Ella Fitzgerald Park and construction underway next door at the new Live6 Alliance HQ, HomeBase, the coffee shop couldn't be opening at a better time. 

The grand opening of Detroit Sip will take place Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the Facebook event page for more details. 

Hamtramck community space Bank Suey to host local marketplace

Bank Suey, a community space in Hamtramck, has hosted a number of creative events in its brief history. We're really excited about this latest one.

Dubbed "Shop Suey," Bank Suey will be hosting its first local marketplace. There will be clothes, jewelry, housewares, and plenty of food and drink for sale. 

Bank Suey is a flexible event space. Previously, it's hosted musical shows, art exhibits, speeches and discussions, and various popups. 

Shop Suey takes place on March 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at corner of Joseph Campau and Caniff. For more information on vendors, check out the Facebook event page

TechTown awards ceremony to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship

TechTown Detroit, a business incubator located in New Center, has done a lot to support entrepreneurship since opening its doors in 2004. And at The Salute! Awards, which takes place on October 13 at TechTown, they'll recognize a few of those standout entrepreneurs.

This year's winner of the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award will be given to Sean Ainsworth, CEO and founder of RetroSense Therapeutics, a biotech company that develops "life-enhancing gene therapies" based on research conducted at Wayne State University. Ainsworth and the company have received numerous accolades in the past, including being named one of the "50 Smartest Companies in the World" by MIT Technology Review.

The ceremony will recognize other people who've contributed to Detroit's business ecosystem. James Feagan IV will receive the "Business Champion of the Year" award for his consulting work with NEIdeas, Motor City Match, and more. Three current or former TechTown clients will receive Lab (technology) and Block (neighborhood) awards as well.

The finalists for the awards were nominated by a committee of "leaders in the startup and small business community."

"There is so much happening in Detroit's entrepreneurship and small business community, we could have given a hundred of these awards," says Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown, in a press release.

Food, dessert, and drinks from local businesses will be served at the event.

The Salute! Awards will be presented at TechTown’s annual Toast of the Town celebration of entrepreneurship on Thursday, October 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at TechTown, 440 Burroughs, in Detroit.

How to do Small Business Saturday the easy way

With the holiday season (and all of the shopping it entails) upon us, there's good reason to feel stressed. Thankfully, several Detroit nonprofits are teaming up to make shopping easy and enjoyable, all while promoting city-based small businesses.

This Saturday, Nov. 28, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is hosting its 12th annual Shop Detroit event in conjunction with American Express's Small Business Saturday. Participants will be able to hop on busses at any of nine pickup locations around the city and be shuttled to a handful of retail districts, including the Cass and Canfield district, the shops at the Park Shelton, the Fisher Building, the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, and downtown. Along the way, the good folks at the Detroit Experience Factory will provide background on the shopping options, as well as historical tidbits about the city. The best part? The tours and shuttles are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with Shop Detroit, the Build Institute will be hosting a Build Bazaar in the atrium of One Campus Martius. Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from Build Institute's small business development program. To learn more about Build Institute's Shop Detroit Build Bazaar, click here. Can't make it this Saturday? Check out one of the other Build Bazaars happening between now and Christmas.

To RSVP for Shop Detroit, click here.

Slows Bar B Q turns 10

Model D's not the only Detroit institution celebrating its 10th birthday this year. Corktown's Slows Bar B Q turns 10 on Wednesday, September 16, and you're invited to celebrate.

According to Susan Selasky of the Detroit Free Press, Slows will be "giving away 200 free limited edition commemorative 10-Year T-shirts from the Dirt Label, which is donating its fee to charity (while supplies last)"; "donating money from all purchases of The Reason sandwich and mac & cheese to D-Town Farms, the urban agriculture initiative of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network;" and "charging $2 for all Michigan draft beer."

Want to learn more about the Slows story? Check out this Model D special report about the growth of this iconic Detroit business and its impact on its neighborhood.

Slows' 10th anniversary party takes place this Wednesday, September 16, from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Read more: Detroit Free Press

Did someone just write the first honest review of Detroit's food scene?

There's no denying it: Detroit's food scene is growing like a pubescent adolescent. New spots are popping up every week, and there's more delicious food being served in the city than there has been in quite some time. It is important, however, to keep some perspective.
That's exactly what Jenny Miller does in her refreshingly honest and rather insightful review of Detroit's emerging food scene for Food Republic, a national blog covering food and food culture.
While Miller is a tough critic ("Nothing blew my mind," she writes), she presents an incredibly fair and well-reasoned big picture view of the city's food scene (as well as Detroit's development flux).
She writes:
"Detroit at the moment simply isn’t the kind place where you can dash off a list of the top ten spots to eat and leave it at that, because you’d be missing most of the story. What’s more fascinating is how this city in flux came to be what it currently is, and where it’s going. Restaurants are one lens onto that."
On Townhouse, a new restaurant operating in the Dan Gilbert owned One Detroit Center, Miller writes:
"If this place opened in New York, it would be another clubby spot for the bridge-and-tunnel or finance crowd, but here it’s significant. There just aren’t many restaurants like this in central Detroit: somewhere to dress up and make an evening of dinner out, or to head to after an event for drinks and late-night snacks."
Miller also proves an astute observer of the culture of development that's on the rise in the city:
"For some, there’s a feeling that the era of opportunity in Detroit has already passed, but not for the group of fresh-faced Harvard Business School graduates whose barbecue I crashed one night. These young people, mostly transplants and recent arrivals, spoke quickly and excitedly, describing their real estate ventures with an intensity that contrasted with the laid-back Midwesterners I’d been chatting with until then."
Finally, she points out that Detroit's growing food scene isn't something that magically sprang from the ground, but rather something that is the result of a lot of people's hard work:
"Still, this kind of entrepreneurship often has to be pulled off creatively, since one of the great ironies in a city with so much vacant real estate is that mortgages and financing can be extremely difficult to come by. [Slows Bar B Q owner Philip] Cooley describes how it took a team effort to open his latest restaurant, nine-month-old Gold Cash Gold, down the street from Slows on Michigan Avenue. 'All of our friends with full-time jobs were willing to show up and start cleaning or sanding and still go to their 9-to-5’s,' he says."
Read more: Food Republic

18th annual tour of Detroit gardens and farms to showcase city as capital of urban ag

Of all the remarkable statistics concerning vacant land in the city of Detroit, the fact that the city is home to over 1,400 urban gardens and farms sticks out. That's more than 10 gardens/farms per each of the city's 139 square miles. According to Keep Growing Detroit, an organization that promotes the development of a food sovereign city, this volume of gardens and farms has made Detroit "our nation's capital of urban agriculture."
On Wednesday, August 5, Keep Growing Detroit will celebrate this fact when it hosts its 18th annual tour of a selection of the city's urban farms and gardens. Participants will be able to travel by bicycle or bus along three routes, each with stops at roughly three gardens. Tours depart from Eastern Market's Shed 3 at 6 p.m. and last approximately two hours, concluding with a meal made from Detroit produce and prepared by local chefs. The tour fee is sliding scale $15 to $100. The tour is valued at $50 a person.
To sign up for a tour, visit Eventbrite.

Urban Bean Co., a Capitol Park stalwart, looks for help to modernize equipment

Capitol Park is one of the hottest areas in downtown Detroit. The neighborhood, which is home to some of downtown's oldest and most inspired architecture, is seeing the development of high-end apartments and arrival of new businesses at rates unheard of in recent decades.
Before Capitol Park's current boom began, however, Josh Greenwood was making a big investment in the future of the neighborhood. He started renovating his space on the northwest corner of Grand River and Griswold in 2005. By 2008, he was finally able to open the Urban Bean Co., only to see it close shortly thereafter, a victim of the national economic downturn.
In 2013, however, Greenwood and a new partner were able to re-open the shop.
Today, as new competition moves into the neighborhood, Greenwood and the Urban Bean Co. are hoping to secure a crowd-funded, interest free Kiva Zip loan of $5,000 to modernize its equipment and remain competitive with national chains.
"Now other organizations are looking to move in, which is great," writes Greenwood on Urban Bean Co.'s Kiva ZIp page. "But as an independent retailer, we need to upgrade to compete to stay in this neighborhood."
According to Kiva Zip, "Repayments on the borrower’s loan will be in monthly installments of $208.33 over a period of 24 months. The first payment will be due from the borrower one month after the loan has been fully funded and the funds have been disbursed to the borrower.
At the time of this writing, Urban Bean Co.'s loan is 67 percent funded.
Read more: Kiva Zip

Acclaimed director Werner Herzog makes short film about Corktown's Ponyride for American Express

Werner Herzog is one of the world's most renowned movie directors. His beloved filmography ranges from collaborations with German actor Klaus Kinski on dramas like 1982's "Fitzcarraldo," the story of one man's insane quest to build an opera house in the heart of the Amazon jungle, to recent documentaries like "Grizzlyman" (2005) and "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (2010).
Most recently, Herzog has turned his lens on Detroit for a hybrid commercial for American Express and documentary about the community that has developed inside of Corktown's Ponyride. Between cut scenes of Detroit fauna blowing in the breeze and industrial ruins, a handful of entrepreneurs and makers based out of Ponyride talk about their vision for the city.
To watch the video, which was produced by ad agency Rokkan, click here and scroll below the wall of mildly nauseating hyperbole about Detroit ("But in the wake of the city’s mass exodus, a few have refused to leave their dying hometown, clinging to the stubborn hope that Detroit can be resurrected from the ashes."). 
What do you think, does Herzog get Detroit?

Read more: "Ponyride: Growing the New Generation of Local Business"

Marche du Nain Rouge seeks businesses to host parade parties

According to a press release, organizers of the Marche du Nain Rouge are seeking local businesses to serve as "Preparer le Nain." In other words, they want Detroit businesses will to host parties and events before, during, and after the parade, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 22 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Preparer le Nain events will take place starting Monday, March 16, concluding on Sunday, March 22 after the Marche. Prepare le Nain events may be for only one day or the entire week. They can include art events, performances, parties, specials, discounts, or whatever creative ideas you have. After parties, a.k.a. Apres le Nain festivities, are also welcome.
To be included on the Marche du Nain Rouge's list of Preparer and Apres events and offers, submit your ideas to marchedunainrouge@gmail.com with the subject line "Preparer le Nain" by Friday, March 6, 2015.

Midtown Inc. closes in on $50K fundraising goal for green alley project

Midtown Detroit Inc. is seeking to raise a total of $50,000 towards the development of the district's second green alleyway. If the organization succeeds in raising the funds through its Patronicity campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match the funds. At the time of this writing, donors have pledged just over $30,000 to the campaign.

The project is planned for an alley right-of-way bounded by Second Avenue, Selden, the Third Avenue alley, and Alexandrine. According to the project's Patronicity page, "the project will "transform the 415 foot long alley with the purpose of connecting future developments, promoting walk-ability and community connectivity - opening up business for restaurants like the Selden Standard."

For more details, visit the green alley project's Patronicity page.

Social Club Grooming Co.'s "Shop Talks" not your average panel discussions

The Social Club Grooming Company hosts panel discussion that are wholly unique in Detroit. During the Social Club's "Shop Talks," panelists have an intimate conversation with an audience about the future of Detroit -- while sitting in a barber chair and getting their hair cut.

The next Shop Talk is scheduled for Thursday, July 24 from 6-8 p.m. The Social Club will host a Duke and Harvard student-moderated panel discussion on the social-entrepreneurial climate and business innovation happening in Detroit. Panelists include designer Rick Williams, fashion photographer Piper Carter, chief talent officer for the city of Detroit Bryan Barnhill, and Crain’s Detroit Business's director of audience development Eric Cedo. The panelists will receive haircuts while speaking so the shop can collect the trimmed hair and use its nitrogen content to help grow vegetation in Detroit.

The Social Club’s Shop Talk series is designed to provide a monthly opportunity for the Detroit community to hear from a diverse group of community leaders, artists, business leaders, and activists about specific issues. The objective is to help young people develop thoughtful positions on topics being discussed in Detroit, as well as increase their understanding of the positions of others.

“There’s so much positive energy in Detroit right now,” said The Social Club founder Sebastian Jackson. “It’s wonderful to see tomorrow's leaders at Harvard and Duke take notice. The fact that these students are here to experience a firsthand account of what’s going on means we are beginning to change the narrative of Detroit. Thursday’s panel discussion gives these students an opportunity to interact and learn from the individuals influencing the future of Detroit.” 

Other panelists may be added.

The Social Club Grooming Company provides environmentally friendly grooming services to the Detroit community through socially responsible practices. The Social Club prides itself in catering to all who enter, regardless of race or gender. The shop is located at 5272 Anthony Wayne Dr. on the campus of Wayne State University.

For updates, visit the Social Club's Facebook page.

D:Hive Build expands with Build Bazaar, a roving pop-up marketplace

If you read Model D's Startup News section or follow small business development in Detroit, you're likely familiar with several D:Hive Build graduates and their businesses. Since Build launched in 2012, roughly 350 entrepreneurs have graduated from the 8-week business and project planning class designed for aspiring and established entrepreneurs in Detroit. 

This summer, Build is finding ways to venture outside of D:Hive's downtown offices. On June 3, Build began holding summer classes in the Livernois Community Storefront on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion. Build also launched the Build Bazaar, a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from the Build program. The first bazaar was held on June 15 in Eastern Market. Future bazaars are planned for the Concert of Colors on July 12-13, as well as the Livernois Community Storefront August 21-24.

For more information, visit ?http://dhivedetroit.org/build/bazaar/.

Pop-up in Grandmont Rosedale: REVOLVE Detroit is seeking applications

REVOLVE Detroit is seeking applications for its pop-up retail program, this time in northwest Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood. Over the last three years, REVOLVE has helped pop-ups open in vacant storefronts in Lafayette Park, West Village, Jefferson-Chalmers, and the Avenue of Fashion (Livernois at 7 Mile). Several of these businesses have made the transition from pop-up to permanent and several vacant storefronts that hosted pop-ups have taken on long-term tenants.

Now, REVOLVE Detroit is partnering with the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and Charter One's “Growing Communities” initiative in seeking entrepreneurs to create two new pop-up shops on Grand River Avenue in Detroit’s distinguished Grandmont Rosedale community.

Applications are due June 15. For more information, visit REVOLVE's website.

Source: REVOLVE Detroit
98 Shop Local Articles | Page: | Show All
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