Narrow Way Cafe & Shop Opens on Avenue of Fashion

FROM: Michael Rafferty, Vice President, Small Business Services

The Avenue of Fashion welcomed its newest business last week when Narrow Way Café & Shop, recipient of a Motor City Match grant, celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting by Mayor Mike Duggan and specials throughout the day for customers.

The new café is located at 19331 Livernois Avenue next to Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles. It is owned by brothers David and Jonathon Merritt, their father Bishop Andrew Merritt and Sabrina Swain, who also is the general manager. The Merritt’s first tested their model and gained experience by operating a pop-up in Straight Gate International Church, where they serve as clergy.

Narrow Way serves Zingerman’s coffee and pastries, baked goods from Avalon International Breads, and smoothies. It also features free WIFI and printing capabilities. Its business hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Motor City Match is celebrating its second full year of success, having awarded nearly $4 million to more than 750 businesses around Detroit. It awards $500,000 every quarter to startups and businesses expanding to new locations, and its eighth round of awards will be announced next week.

Supporting Small Business in Detroit

FROM: Glen W. Long, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Interim President & CEO

DEGC’s marquee programs for Detroit small businesses — Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store — are grabbing some great headlines, but they are just part of the array of resources DEGC can draw on to help small businesses succeed in our city.

Recently, we were able to provide Red Dunn Kitchen with gap financing — in partnership with its senior lenders — from a small pool of funds we have available from a federal grant for loans to small businesses. We also helped the owners of The Inn at 97 Winder qualify for property tax exemptions under the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA).

Currently, we’re working with a group of people to provide a small business loan and a tax abatement incentive that they can use with their equity to fund their start-up, and yes, we are working with the owner of Henry the Hatter as that business considers moving to a new location.

Small businesses in neighborhoods across the city are an important part of the fabric of their communities. We’re adding staff in order to keep up with demand. At DEGC, we work hard every day to find ways to support small businesses as they open and grow in Detroit.

Business Development Hosts Site Selectors Forum

FROM: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

One of the strategies we use to help achieve our goal of attracting jobs and capital investment to Detroit is to engage with site selectors, the consultants who advise corporations where to locate or expand their operations. Recently DEGC Business Development hosted its inaugural “Detroit Immersion: A Site Selector Forum” for site selectors from cities around the country, including Dallas, New York, San Antonio, Omaha, Atlanta, and Tampa.

We wanted to start to change their perceptions about Detroit, and give them encouragement and comfort in referring their clients to us, so we decided to invite them to our city to hear from businesses that have made an investment here, like Shinola Detroit, Sakthi Automotive Group, Ilitch Holdings, Adient, and Quicken Loans. We also provided them with critical data about Detroit in this piece, “Detroit is on the Rise.”

Site selectors represent both domestic and international companies and can have critical influence in the world of corporate relocation. We plan to hold our next Detroit Immersion in the fall for a different group of site selectors.

Another strategy we’re implementing to help expand the local job base is helping local companies export goods and services more aggressively and strategically overseas. The recent Alibaba Gateway ’17 event at Cobo Center was designed to increase local awareness of the trade opportunities in China for small and medium-sized Detroit businesses. We were successful in encouraging local companies to participate in that forum, and we’ll continue to engage in conversations with Alibaba as we seek to build a strong export program for Detroiters.

DEGC Prepares To Go Green

FROM: Moddie Turay, Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Financial Services

The best way to prepare for the future is to properly plan for it. This is exactly what Detroit is doing when it comes to environmental progressive changes.

In November 2016, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation approved a grant of $700,000 for the Detroit Economic Growth Association that will be used for a contractor training program to help property owners construct green infrastructure to manage storm water runoff and qualify for a credit towards their Detroit Water & Sewage Department drainage fee.

“These programs and initiatives are extremely important for attracting millennials to our city because of the growing need for environmental progression,” said Detroit Training Center President Marcus Jones.

The first training program ran between January and April this year with a total of 40 graduates.

The participants received 50 hours of training in subjects like construction techniques, elements of green infrastructure, maintenance training and field experience. All were Detroit-based contractors, ranging from landscape to plumbing to construction. Having undergone the green infrastructure training on how to properly install improvements, they will have a chance to bid on projects as opportunities arise.

“Implementing these programs will allow the city to spend less money for more sustainable and safe properties for Detroit homeowners,” said Patrick Beal, CEO, Detroit Training Center.

Not only will these programs create an opportunity for Detroit’s green initiatives, it will help create new employment opportunities as well as support businesses. By working with other Detroit organizations, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation will be able to help move the entire city forward.

DEGC Talks With Brookings Institution China Council About Detroit

Peter H. Chapman, executive vice president for business development

FROM: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

Detroit’s international vision and investment opportunities were the topic of conversation when members of the DEGC Business Development team met with the Brookings China Council during their visit to the Motor City recently.

The Brookings China Council, as part of the Brookings Institution, conducts independent and original policy research on a wide range of contemporary policy issues regarding bilateral relations between China and the United States. Members of the Brookings China Council include distinguished international scholars and leading multinational technology executives.

We spoke to the Council about recent investments by Flex-N-Gate, Sakthi, and Microsoft, as well as the overall international investment context. We also discussed the impact of broad international issues on local trade and investment opportunities. The meeting was part of Business Development’s ongoing international engagement efforts to share and promote Detroit’s story of resurgence to a broader community of stakeholders.