When Amanda Brewington was a freshman at Michigan State University, she didn't know anyone else on campus. So she started hanging out at a local coffee shop that had an open mic on Thursdays. This coffeehouse was where she met most of her college friends, many of whom she is still close with.
This was the impetus behind her desire to open a coffeehouse in Detroit.
Brewington has spent the last two years planning Always Brewing Detroit
. She attended workshops, seminars, networked extensively with other business owners, and eventually enrolled in TechTown
's entrepreneurial coaching program THRIVE, which provided her with a mentor to assist her in business planning and developing funding strategies.
Last winter, Always Brewing Detroit popped up for a month from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23 in the former neighborhood city hall in Grandmont Rosedale on Detroit's Northwest side. Brewington chose this space after spending three months looking in neighborhoods that were underserved in terms of coffeehouses and community spaces. That left out Midtown, Corktown and downtown, but opened up areas like Jefferson-Chalmers, the Avenue of Fashion, and Grandmont Rosedale – a neighborhood she was previously unfamiliar with but was immediately attracted to after being connected to Tom Godeeris, Executive Director of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation
Brewington needed a building that needed a minimal amount of structural repairs – a place with "a roof, parking, walls
." But she also wanted to be in a community that didn't have a coffeehouse that also offered a diversity of clientele – all ages, ethnicities, with both new and long-time residents. Grandmont Rosedale boasts an 80-percent owner-occupied community of some 14,000 residents.
Currently a downtown resident, Brewington also was looking for a community she could settle down in over the next few years and start a family of her own. "I wanted to be somewhere I would move … where I can have a yard and a garden and be able to walk to work."
She found the building at 19180 Grand River Avenue and worked out a deal with the owner to allow her to host the pop-up to gauge the community's interest. The pop-up was a success, and on Feb. 1 she signed a three-year lease. Always Brewing Detroit is currently undergoing its final round of inspections and finishing renovation touches. Brewington hopes for a soft opening by the end of the month, with a grand opening in June. Always Brewing will offer a full coffee bar, espresso, teas, pastries and prepared sandwiches.
For other aspiring Detroit business owners, Brewington offers this advice: "It's definitely possible. You don't have to be rich or well-connected. You just have to be persistent and patient."
Source: Amanda Brewington, owner of Always Brewing Detroit
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg
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