New commercial real estate tours to connect small businesses with storefronts throughout Detroit

Deciding where to locate a new business is a monumental decision, one that will often determine a business's fate.

That's why the Build Institute has partnered with the Detroit Experience Factory to offer a series of monthly tours that will take prospective shop owners through a number of neighborhoods, introducing them to landlords of available properties, neighborhood officials and representatives, and current business owners nearby. Providing historical and cultural context will also be a focus.

It's called Open Shop, and the series of commercial real estate tours is a way for Build and DXF to play matchmakers between new businesses and area landlords and property owners. The first Open Shop is April 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. and takes place in Hamtramck. Additional tours are scheduled for the following months, including commercial districts in Southwest Detroit, Jefferson East, Northwest Detroit, and along the Woodward Corridor.

Jessica Meyer is director of programs with Build Institute and helped develop the tour. It initially grew out of the requests of a number of Build grads who wanted to open their business in a storefront but didn't know where to start. Even knowing the neighborhood or commercial corridor in which they want to open isn't enough.

"It's difficult to get a rundown of what's available where and who owns what," says Meyer. "This is a great opportunity to introduce people to each other."

The Hamtramck Downtown Development Authority jumped at the chance to be the first Open Shop destination. The DDA will introduce tour-takers to people like the Economic Development Director and others who can offer help in opening a business in Hamtramck. The DDA is also offering to cover the Hamtramck business registration fee for the first two businesses from the tour to move to the city, a value of $100 each. 

In addition to meeting landlords and pre-existing business owners, the tour will also stop at Hamtramck Historical Museum and Tekla Vintage, both graduates of Build programming. Tickets are available online.

Source: Jessica Meyer, director of programs at Build Institute
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.