Grants Available to Improve Grocery Store Façades

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The Detroit Green Grocer Project (GGP) recently launched a new façade improvement program to upgrade the exteriors of Detroit’s neighborhood grocery stores and at least one store owner is encouraging fellow owners to take advantage of it.

“Do it.  It will make your store look that much nicer and help keep customers in Detroit,” said Ray Watha, co-owner of 7 Mile Foods. Watha worked with DEGC to replace old brick and make other improvements to his store’s exterior, as well as increase the size of its parking lot and the lighting in it. The success Watha had with his enhancements was one of the reasons we decided to create a special program for façade improvements.

Detroit’s grocers have been freshening up the interiors of their stores and bringing in fresh new products, and now their priority is to put a fresh new look on their facades.

Façade improvements may include:

  • Attractive exterior materials
  • Seasonal landscaping
  • Inviting signage and awnings
  • Interesting windows and displays

We are also supporting façade improvements such as improved lighting, welcoming and safe entrances, and open parking spaces that can enhance a store’s security.

The new façade improvement program is accepting applications from grocers for 50/50 matching grants up to $50,000 to transform the street look of their stores. Complete information and a grant application can be found at www.greengrocerproject.org.  Potential applicants may direct questions to GreenGrocer@DEGC.org or call (313) 237-6092.  The fax number is (313) 963-8839.

Mimi Pledl

Program manager, Green Grocer Project 

REVOLVE Detroit Offers New Pop-up Spaces In The Grandmont Rosedale Community

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With the support of a Growing Communities grant from the Charter One Foundation, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s (DEGC) REVOLVE Detroit program are seeking entrepreneurs to create two new pop-up shops on Grand River Avenue in Detroit’s distinguished Grandmont Rosedale community.

Entrepreneurs selected to participate will receive assistance and resources to help create their pop-up shop as well as favorable rent terms during the pop-up. Pop-ups will also benefit from marketing and collaboration with events programming to drive awareness and customers to the spaces. The deadline for entries is Sunday, June 15. Details on how to apply are available at revolvedetroit.com/resources. Applicants with questions may email REVOLVE directly at info@revolvedetroit.com.

All of us here at the DEGC are excited to expand the REVOLVE program’s efforts in the Grandmont Rosedale community. This neighborhood has a thriving business community, and we’re looking forward to getting entrepreneurial, up-and-coming companies into these two pop-ups.

The two new pop-up locations are located at 19120 Grand River and 19560 Grand River in Northwest Detroit.

  • 19120 Grand River is the new home for WorkPlace, a neighborhood business incubator and co-working facility. There will be a dedicated pop-up space of 300 square feet with a storefront window at the front of WorkPlace. The pop-up space aims to provide a venue for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their products and test their business plan in real-time. Pop-ups will rotate throughout the year, with the intent to build visibility and success in finding permanent locations in the business district. The remainder of the 2,800-square-foot facility will accommodate both individual enclosed offices and open shared co-working space.
  • 19560 Grand River is a 1,400-square-foot storefront that is move-in ready. It features track lighting, carpeting and fresh paint. There is a storage area and restroom. The unit includes two dedicated parking spaces with ample street parking. The space is ideal for a pop-up business with permanent aspirations.

“GRDC is very excited to be working with REVOLVE and Charter One to bring new business to the Grandmont Rosedale area,” said Tom Goddeeris, executive director of GRDC. “The ‘pop-up’ strategy has proven to be a great way to connect entrepreneurs with neighborhoods around the city.”

Charter One Foundation’s Growing Communities Program is an instrumental partner in supporting the Grandmont Rosedale community. “Charter One is proud to partner with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation to bring its REVOLVE retail growth program to Detroit’s Grandmont Rosedale community,” said Mike Dolson, senior vice president and state director of commercial lending at Charter One & RBS Citizens.

“Grandmont Rosedale has long been a proud Detroit neighborhood, and Charter One wants to help ensure that it has a bright future,” Dolson said. “This strategy is in line with Charter One’s Growing Communities program, which has a successful record of helping to revitalize and grow urban neighborhoods. Charter One has invested steadily and substantially in Detroit, and the Charter One Growing Communities initiative has invested more than $385,000 in local food businesses and the Eastern Market neighborhood since 2012.”

Michel Forsyth

Business Development Manager

Contractor Spotlight: Clark’s Construction Co. – Clark Bailey, President

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Clark’s Construction Co. is a leading Detroit-based construction company that specializes in the commercial, industrial and residential rehab sectors. Its forte is “gut rehab” which involves going into buildings, removing everything down to the studs, then building them back up again. In addition, Clark’s Construction Co. is one of the state’s leading Lead Abatement contractors. As a result of these specialties, Clark’s Construction is heavily involved in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and other initiatives that strive to improve homes across the city. Clark’s Construction was founded in 1992 by still active President, Clark Bailey and has shown strong consistent growth with no signs of slowing any time soon.

 

What are some of the current projects you are working on in Detroit?

We are in the midst of exciting development plans for the Virginia Park and Boston Edison areas. In addition, we’re working on a large commercial job for the Detroit Housing Commission, the Harriet Tubman Apartment Complex, which is a $1.3 million project consisting of exterior renovations. Another current project is the development of the East English Village community where we had the pleasure of working on more than a dozen homes over the past year or so.

 

Why did you select Detroit as your headquarters?

Moving to Detroit in 1975, I was really excited with what I saw going on involving construction, and I wanted to be a part of it. I saw a lot of potential to have a successful business here. My thinking was it would be beneficial to put my resources in the area in which I live, and it most certainly has. Once getting started, we quickly got involved with the Detroit Public School projects, most notably Heilman Middle School, a $28 million new build project. I knew I had picked the right city because I enjoyed working on projects that directly benefited the same residents that I pass every day in my community.

 

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

I want to continue to be a key player in the ongoing comeback of the city. I look forward to being instrumental in the city’s development, working in partnerships with bigger companies that are coming into Detroit, as well as the city itself.

 

What is the Clark’s Construction Co. culture all about?

We are dedicated to the city of Detroit. We’ve been here since ’92, through all of the prosperous times and hardships that the city has gone through and we are committed to continuously improving our community. We also pride ourselves in our diversity – diversity of the projects we work on, the people we employ and our involvement with widespread cultures throughout the city.

 

Tiffini D. Smith

Communications Director

REVOLVE Detroit team earns Crain’s “Intrapreneur” Award

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Crain’s Detroit Business has named DEGC’s REVOLVE Detroit as part of its annual Salute to Entrepreneurs issue. REVOLVE program manager Michael Forsyth and his associate, Lori Allan were individually honored in the “Intrapreneur” category for their work inside DEGC creating innovative ways to connect retail store owners, startups, property owners, community organizations and artists. DEGC launched REVOLVE Detroit in the fall of 2012. Since then, Forsyth and Allan have worked under the REVOLVE banner to help revitalize West Village, the Livernois corridor, and as described in another article in this Growth Detroit Report, Grandmont Rosedale.

Crain’s annually recognizes entrepreneurs who are noteworthy for their innovation, problem solving ability or sheer relentlessness. Forsyth told Crain’s, “Being an intrapreneur is about understanding the mission of your organization and staying true to that, but taking a different path to get there.” In the case of REVOLVE, that meant using Facebook, and other social media tools to promote participation, hosting a program-specific website, and recruiting Lori Allan to help write, design and post web and print materials to promote the program. Allan started at DEGC as an intern while studying at University of Detroit Mercy, and she demonstrated such a wide variety of skills that she was hired as a communications and marketing consultant for REVOLVE.

Forsyth and Allan will be recognized along with the entrepreneurs that Crain’s is saluting at a lunch program July 24 at The Henry in Dearborn.

Tiffini Smith

Director of Corporate Communications

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, D2D Program Increases $200 million in Detroit-based Spend by Key Purchasers

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What does $200 million buy? Plenty. And that’s why it is significant that in an annual survey by DEGC’s D2D Business program, a key set of purchasing organizations reported they purchased $200 million more this year than last from other Detroit-based companies. The increase represents a 31 percent increase, demonstrating D2D’s success in connecting buyers and suppliers in the city of Detroit.

The scale of the increase shows how deeply committed major Detroit purchasers are to look for quality suppliers here in Detroit. It also demonstrates that Detroit-based suppliers have a lot to offer — not just to other Detroit companies, but customers everywhere.

David O. Egner, Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative said, “One of the best tools we have for growing the economy is the purchasing power we have right here in Detroit. We’re thrilled to support D2D as they not only help employ that purchasing power, but ready the small businesses community to better take advantage of it.”

The D2D program provides services and opportunities to grow the relationships among Detroit-based businesses, including a business-to-business database, supplier workshops and other programs. When buyers and suppliers located in Detroit work together it’s a win for everyone including the city itself. Here are a few examples:

Buyer & Supplier: Detroit Lions/Ford Field & Motor City Propane

Bob Gardner, senior director of facility management, Ford Field said, “Motor City Propane is a company that is ‘homegrown’ in the city of Detroit and they always come through for us. We can always depend on them, particularly when we have large concerts and events. Our philosophy is to give back to the city of Detroit and use resources that are community/city-based. Motor City Propane inquired what we were doing with the community, and we referred them to D2D so that they can use Detroit resources and be a resource to other businesses in the city as well.”

Otis Starghill, CEO and president, Motor City Propane said, “We have been servicing Ford Field since they built the facility. We were involved with their construction phase, supplying their temporary heat and cement drying. Currently we supply gas for their lifting trucks and their vehicles that run on propane for their concerts and shows. We’ve had a great ongoing relationship and we’re thankful that they referred us to the D2D program. D2D has really come to the table with a strategy to help grow small businesses in Detroit.”

Buyer & Supplier: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan & Hanna-Neumann/Smith

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) has had a relationship with the architectural firm Neumann/Smith Architecture for a number of years. In 2013, Neumann/Smith Architecture entered into a partnership with Hannah & Associates Inc., an architectural firm that is a minority and female-owned business operated by Beverly Hannah Jones, AIA. The new partnership is called Hannah-Neumann/Smith, and has offices in downtown Detroit.

BCBSM hired Hannah-Neumann/Smith to perform architectural services on a building located on its downtown Detroit campus. “Hiring Hannah-Neumann/Smith supports our core belief in supporting minority and female-owned businesses,” said Tricia Keith, BCBSM senior vice president, corporate secretary and services. “Hannah-Neumann/Smith has become a valued business partner and resource in developing our space requirements with a sense of urgency as well as innovation.”

Brian Watkins

Business Development Manager