Motor City Match Opens Next Round of Applications

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Motor City Match is now seeking businesses and commercial property owners to apply for the next round of support through the Motor City Match program. New for this first application period in 2016, Motor City Match has simplified its award categories to include:

  • Business Plan – Applicants in this award level will have a great idea but need help developing their business plan.
  • Space – Applicants will be a commercial property owner with vacant space looking for a tenant, or a business owner with a solid business plan or track record of success looking for a quality space to open their business.
  • Design – This award level is for businesses and building owners who have recently signed a lease and now need help planning renovations to help get open for business. This award offers architectural design assistance, construction documents and priority permitting.
  • Cash – Awardees at this level have secured a space, have a plan and bids for their buildout and are seeking support to fill a financial gap for their project.

Commercial property owners and prospective businesses can submit their applications between March 1 and April 1 at www.MotorCityMatch.com.

Since its inception in February 2015, the Motor City Match has invested $1 million in 20 different Detroit businesses. That funding has leveraged an additional $6 million in public and private investment.

“After two rounds of Motor City Match awardees, it’s clear this program is making an impact,” said Rodrick Miller, president and CEO, Detroit Economic Development Corporation. “From restaurants and retail establishments to service companies and even manufacturing, Motor City Match is growing neighborhood small businesses all across Detroit.”

Miller also noted that Motor City Match has had a diverse pool of winners over its first two rounds. Of the 196 businesses and property owners that have received support through the program, two-thirds are from Detroit and one-third are from outside the city. In addition, half of the winners have been minority women-owned businesses.

Michael Forsyth
Director of Small Business Programs

Downtown Development Authority approves plans for new parking deck at Comerica Park

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February 25, 2016, Detroit – The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has approved plans for Detroit Tigers, Inc. to build a $29 million parking deck between Montcalm St. and the Fisher Freeway South Service Drive, across from Comerica Park. The 900-space deck would replace a surface parking lot and would serve St. John’s Episcopal Church as well as the sports and entertainment venues in the area.

The Tigers designed the deck to blend with the architecture of Comerica Park. Landscaping and green space along the south and east sides will help create a pedestrian-friendly environment and a gathering spot before or after Comerica Park events.

The land is owned by the Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority, which must also approve the project before construction begins. If the Tigers receive timely approvals they expect construction to begin this spring and be completed next year.

Moddie Turay
Executive Vice President of Real Estate

Green Grocer Project Profile: Garden Fresh Supermarket

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When the Matty family first walked into Garden Fresh’s predecessor, a small liquor store, there was some serious improvements needed before it could be a full-service supermarket. “My father walked around what was the liquor store at the time, inspecting the place,” Azher said. “Then, he looked up to the ceiling and the rest was history.” Covered by industrial tiles was a fully-functional, clean ceiling. Azher said that his father was completely sold on its beauty and purchased the building.

“The building directly next to ours was formerly a drug rehabilitation center, then abandoned,” Garden Fresh Co-owner Azher Matty said. “We purchased the building, knocked it down and was able to expand our store.”

The Matty family, with support from the Green Grocer Project, was able to make interior and exterior renovations, estimated at $180,000 total. Interior improvements included a substantial addition to the west portion of the building and a new bakery was installed.

The bakery has been a popular addition to Garden Fresh. The employees enjoy the fresh treats as much as the customers. “We are constantly baking new things each day, and the smells are pretty persuasive,” said Azher. “I have to try it once it’s out of the oven.” The owners completed the bakery section with other new equipment, cedar wood shelving and cases for baked goods.

Looking outside, Garden Fresh sports a, well, “fresh” new look. The exterior’s walls were re-painted, the parking lot was resurfaced, and new awnings were added above the windows. “What’s great is that now with our improvements completed, we’re seeing more development in the surrounding area,” Matty said. “A restaurant and salon in our neighborhood will be opening soon.”

Azher said he is very pleased with all the work the Green Grocer Project has not only done for his store, but for other grocers in Detroit. “Without the support of the Green Grocer Project, our renovations would not have been possible,” Azher said. “All the talk has always been about how Detroit is a food desert, and, in reality, anyone who knows Detroit knows it not true.”

A grocery store is, as some Detroiters call it, “a beacon of the community.” Garden Fresh Supermarket is a great example of that.

Mariangela Pledl
Green Grocer Program Manager

D2D Buyer Ready Business: Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics – Chris Casteel, Co-Owner/Member Manager

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Anew Life Prosthetics & Orthotics assists patients who have faced limb loss, and provides prosthetic (artificial limb) or orthotic (brace) devices. The company fits and manufacturers these parts, and also has a lab on-site in order to conduct face-to-face patient meetings.

Co-Owner/Member Manager Chris Casteel and his business partner Paul Cauley founded the company five years ago in Detroit (at the old Detroit Savings Bank location), and now have a staff of five who support the client-centric mission of the company.

What is the history and background of Anew Life Prosthetics?
I worked at University of Michigan, where I was previously a patient. (I have a prosthetic leg from a motorcycle accident I was involved in 27 years ago.) While working at the university, I met Paul. In 2009 our paths crossed again and we began a vision to help more people. Paul is a certified prosthetist, and I graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics in order to become a certified orthotist / prosthetist. It’s incredibly fulfilling to help others regain “independence” doing what we do – that’s how Anew Life Prosthetics got its start.

It’s been wonderful process – in fact, we’re right on the cusp of hiring a few more practitioners which will propel our business forward. We’re looking forward to growing in our team in our space.

What is Anew Life Prosthetics’s culture?
We are all about our patients; we want to make their lives as functional as possible. Not only do we assist them via the limbs and braces we create – we also make physical therapy referrals, and provide dietary counsel and support group resources.

Personally, I lead an amputee support group with members in the metro Detroit area. A lot of what the group does is education and pair those who are transitioning into this “stage of life” with a person who is a bit more “seasoned” and lives a full life. It’s a really impactful peer mentoring process.

Why did Anew Life Prosthetics select Detroit as its headquarters?
It was very important to Paul and I to have a location that was central to our clientele, which are all over the metro Detroit area. Our location in the city is perfect; our neighbors and nearby Detroit businesses have been and continue to be so welcoming. Our neighbors Detroit Hardware and Roby’s Shoes (who previously owned our space) were particularly kind to us, especially when we first moved in.

What companies have you collaborated with in Detroit?
Chase Bank helped when our company first got on its feet. Michigan Employment Solutions helped us find some of our beginning staff members. D2D has assisted us with various tax breaks which allowed us to get into the space we’re in.

Due to our relationship with D2D and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation we entered and became a recipient of an NEIdeas grant. With this money we intend to implement scanning technologies that will allow us to create a digital model of residual limbs. This will help us move towards 3D printing and direct manufacturing of prosthetics and orthotics (rather than use traditional methods like plaster). This will ultimately reduce cost and time for patients.

We’ve also worked with Baker College so that students can complete some of their clinical hours in our location. We’ve also hosted Eastern Michigan University master’s students in our location. (We’re working towards having Anew Life Prosthetics being an official residency site.)

What are the benefits of connecting with other Detroit businesses?
I have never found a more supportive group than I have in Detroit. We’re continuing to explore additional partnerships here in the city. In fact, we’re in the process of collaborating with Busted Bra Shop, a Hatch Detroit winner, in order to help those who have had mastectomies. There are endless benefits to collaborating with other Detroit businesses.

Brian Watkins
D2D Program Manager