D2D Matchmaking Event – Detroit Businesses Gather with 200 Potential Contracts Up for Bid


Saundra Little, owner of Centric Design Studio, got everything she was looking for from the D2D Opportunity event at the Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit – three interviews with large institutions who could be clients, and an introduction to a fourth that could be in the market for her architectural services. The D2D event brought together nine major buying organizations, representing 200 bidding opportunities, with 280 Detroit-based companies eager to do business.

During the three-hour matchmaking period of the event, the nine buying organizations conducted a combined total of 180 interviews with companies that could become suppliers within the next year. Little’s firm does architectural work. Its specialty is renovating interior spaces that incorporate design themes and graphics that support a company’s brand. She earned interviews with two companies she had worked for as a subcontractor. “Our goal is to become a prime vendor,” said Little. “So they told us how to do that. They said they were satisfied with the work we did and gave us names to contact directly. That was very beneficial.”

Business owners also had chances to meet each other because, as Michigan Black Chamber President and CEO Ken Harris told the crowd, “the opportunities you are looking for are in this room.” Harris challenged attendees to try to meet 50 other people.

Companies attending the event also took advantage of a Resource Corridor where buyers offered general information about what they buy and how to become a supplier. The companies ranged from Build Institute to Lowe Campbell Ewald to Comerica Bank. DEGC also had a resource table to discuss all the services it offers Detroit businesses.

This event would not have been possible had it not been for the guidance and expertise from the D2D Buyers Council: Greektown Casino Hotel, Compuware, Skidmore Studio, Urban Science, Wayne State University, Quicken Loans, Ford Field, DTE Energy, Strategic Staffing Solutions, University of Detroit Mercy, Henry Ford Health Systems, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Detroit Medical Center, Comerica Bank and Ernst & Young.

D2D is the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) program for connecting Detroit businesses with each other. It is funded by the New Economy Initiative.

Brian Watkins

D2D Program Manager

Historic Metropolitan Building on John R to Undergo Renovation


The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has approved a development agreement with Metropolitan Development Partners, LLC, to renovate the historic Metropolitan Building at 33 John R in Downtown.

Built in 1925, the Metropolitan Building was the home of jewelry businesses for many years. In 2014 Metropolitan Development Partners reached an agreement with the DDA to stabilize the historic but deteriorating façade of the building.

Under the newly announced plan, Metropolitan Development Partners will create 71 market-rate residential units with approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of retail/commercial use in the historic renovation.

“The pulse of metropolitan Detroit is stronger than ever and we are excited to embark on this journey of restoring this iconic building, “ said Eric Means, CEO, Means Group, one of the development partners. “The Metropolitan Building will play a vital role in linking the theatre district and historic Paradise Valley on the east with Woodward Avenue and the newly revitalized Capital Park on the west.”

J & G Pallets and Trucking, Sherwood Prototype Selected as Recipients of $100,000 NEIdeas Grants


New Economy Initiative (NEI) has named J & G Pallets and Trucking in Detroit and Sherwood Prototype in Highland Park as $100,000 winners of the inaugural NEIdeas competition. NEIdeas is a program designed to celebrate existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park and reward those with the best ideas for growth. In total, NEI awarded more than $500,000 to 36 small businesses through NEIdeas.

Of the nearly 600 NEIdeas applicants, the two $100,000 winners were selected based upon growth opportunity, business history and mission, neighborhood impact and good financial standing.

Family-owned and founded in 1994, J & G is now one of the largest pallet manufacturers in the region, producing hundreds of thousands of units annually. The company, headquartered on the eastside and owned by Geraldine Wooten, offers to build customized pallets that meet specific customer size, handling and storage requirements. With a growing customer base throughout the Midwest, J & G will use its NEIdeas grant to further accelerate the renovation of a newly purchased location, hire eight local employees and buy a new automated wood pallet maker to increase manufacturing capacity.

Founded in 1991 by Peter Paxton, Sherwood Prototype is now owned and operated by five siblings of the Paxton Family. The company specializes in sheet metal parts, stampings and assemblies for a variety of industries, but manufacturing limitations have prevented them from accommodating full-scale production. Sherwood has worked diligently to expand throughout the last year, and plans to use the NEIdeas grant to continue its growth. The funds will go towards welding equipment, professional certifications, marketing and renovations to its expanded facility.

Since 2009, NEI has awarded $85.3 million in grants, which has helped create more than 1,200 new companies and 10,300 new jobs in the Southeastern Michigan.

Tiffini Smith

Director of Communications

D2D Buyer Ready Business: KC Consulting, LLC – Ken Brandon, Managing Member


KC Consulting, LLC (KCC) is a minority-owned accounting, finance and advisory services firm located in Detroit, Michigan. The company specializes in audit readiness, accounting and finance operations, advisory services and financial systems implementation. KC Consulting also serves as a contracted Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to some of its clients. KC Consulting Managing Member, Ken Brandon, and several of the firm’s associates have experience in the consulting business in both the private and public sectors here in Detroit.

What are some of the current clients you are working with in Detroit? Notable projects?

KC Consulting serves several Detroit-based clients. We provide consulting services to one of the City of Detroit’s departments assisting its accounting staff throughout the year, and we play a significant audit readiness role at fiscal year end. We also work with Detroit Public Schools, providing accounting staffing that is specific to federal and state grants. The firm serves in a contracted CFO capacity for a non-profit entity within the metropolitan Detroit area. Lastly, for Georgetown Utilities we provide operational review and consultative services on an as-needed basis for this private sector entity.


Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?

Personally, I spent most of my professional career in the Detroit area. Having worked for and provided services to many entities in the area, the decision naturally evolved. As an employee of J. L. Hudson Company, Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and other firms working in Downtown Detroit, I chose to become a part of the fabric of this great City. Detroit is such an exciting place to have a business because there is so much going on here. Over the years I have seen the ups and downs, and now that the rebirth of the city is here it’s exciting to be a part of it; not just in Downtown, but the neighborhoods as well.

How do you want your company to impact Detroit in the long term?

KC Consulting wants to provide services that make a difference with our Detroit clients; we want them to perform well financially and be a part of the city’s rebirth. Our success comes from assisting businesses to grow and receive the funds they need. My experienced team’s focus is to provide quality services to businesses all throughout the city and beyond, in the private and public sectors.

Do you participate in D2D? What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit as customers or suppliers?

KC Consulting participates in the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation D2D program – it’s very helpful. D2D allows us to have multiple opportunities to interact with other businesses. Frankly, it’s inspiring and it allows us, and all the other participating organizations, to learn, grow and challenge each other. We participated in one of the D2D professional development events that taught smaller businesses (like mine) to think big and be strategic; this has been very beneficial for my business.

We are currently working toward a model where we collaborate with other Detroit businesses on a regular basis.

Kenyetta Bridges

Business Development Manager