Neighborhood Restaurants Opening At a Fast Pace

FROM: Michael Rafferty, Vice President, Small Business Services

There’s a restaurant resurgence underway in Detroit neighborhoods … by Detroiters. Across our city Detroiters are opening local restaurants and eateries with unique themes that celebrate cultures and support the community.

Just last week, PizzaPlex opened on Vernor Highway in southwest Detroit to “create comfortable spaces and serve good food for a more sustainable city.” Two weeks ago, Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique opened its doors in a bank it renovated in the historic West Village district. Coming next spring, Simply Breakfast will open on West McNichols. Owner Ken Brown plans to employ returning citizens and provide them with the time, tools and training to make a successful transition back into the community.

And the list goes on! There’s Detroit Vegan Soul, with locations in West Village and Grandmont/Rosedale; Social Sushi pop-ups all over the city; and Narrow Way Café, which opened in August on Livernois, Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion.

It seems like every month there are more places to mix, mingle and eat in Detroit’s neighborhoods. That’s great news because restaurants and cafes create foot traffic and can be the seeds for walkable neighborhoods and small business development around them. They are destinations and gathering places that add to the vibrancy of our city.

DEGC is proud to support both new and existing small businesses through our Motor City Match and Motor City Re-Store programs, which combined award $1 million in matching grants each quarter. In fact, all the restaurants I mentioned have won a Motor City Match grant. Motor City Match is now starting its third year of supporting city entrepreneurs while Motor City Re-Store was launched this June and will announce its first grant winners later this fall.

We know there are many more eateries in the pipeline, since Motor City Match awarded cash grants to six specialty cafes or restaurants, a mushroom farm and two microbreweries last month. So, as you can see, Detroit’s food scene is “boiling” as Detroiters make the Motor City a culinary destination for our region. We’re happy to be a part of this resurgence.

DEGC Programs Actively Connect Detroit Business with Opportunity

FROM: Michael Rafferty, Vice President, Small Business Services

Three small business programs are actively connecting Detroiters with opportunities to renew and expand their businesses.

D2D
The D2D program is an ongoing pipeline to match developers with local contractors specializing in renovation, rehabilitation and redevelopment projects.

Recently, Joe Tate and Keyra Cokley hosted a D2D PRO Session for Detroit contractors to showcase opportunities with the new Pistons Performance Center and Henry Ford Health System Center for Athletic Medicine. The $70 million construction project will kick off this fall for an anticipated opening in mid-2019. The 167,000-sq. ft. facility will house the headquarters for Palace Sports & Entertainment as well as basketball courts, advanced training rooms and a parking structure.

More than 60 representatives of Detroit’s business community came to learn more about the project and the opportunities available.

“The D2D PRO Session on the Detroit Pistons Performance Center and Henry Ford Health System Center for Athletic Medicine provided not only several bidding opportunities within the city of Detroit, but created an environment that fosters other collaborative project opportunities with my peers in the construction industry,” said Kimle Nailer, president, Nail-Rite Construction Company, Inc.

The next PRO Session is September 8, 2017, and will focus on 7 LIV, a mixed-use development of retail, residential and parking on the corner of 7 Mile Rd. and Livernois. The estimated investment is $8 million.

Motor City Match
Motor City Match (MCM) connects entrepreneurs who operate new or expanding businesses in Detroit with real estate opportunities and a variety of other resources. Since launched by the Mayor in early 2015, more than $3.9 million in grants have been awarded to 87 winners, and infused a total of $24 million in Detroit’s neighborhood commercial corridors. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis throughout the year.

On August 14, Motor City Match announced 13 matching grant awards totaling $500,000 to a variety of businesses in neighborhoods across the city of Detroit, including Rosedale Park, Islandview, Bagley, Southwest, We Care Community, Boston Edison and Jefferson. MCM will provide additionally selected entrepreneurs assistance with business plan writing, space locating and renovation planning.

The next application window for building and business owners to apply for grants and other assistance opens Friday, September 1, 2017, and closes October 2, 2017.

Motor City Re-Store
The newest program, Motor City Re-Store, helps established neighborhood businesses boost their curb appeal. Every three months, selected businesses will receive matching grants to improve the exterior of their business and enhance Detroit’s walkability and attractiveness.

Its next application window also opens September 1 and closes October 1.

DEGC is proud to offer a network of support for every kind of small business in every phase of growth. Working in partnership with Mayor Duggan’s office and private, philanthropic, and non-profit organizations, our goal is to help businesses locate and thrive in Detroit.

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.

Invitation: Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 June 20-21 at Cobo Hall to Cover Success Selling in China

FROM: Peter Chapman, Executive Vice President, Business Development

DEGC’s Business Development team is focused on engaging foreign companies and helping local companies export goods and services more aggressively and strategically overseas. We’re happy to invite you to an event designed to do just that in the China market.

Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 event at Cobo Center will be held June 20-21. Attendees will hear from the company’s founder, Jack Ma, about how Alibaba’s platform has been used to achieve sales success in China.

Furthermore:

  • Hear U.S.-based small business owners’ success stories as they share how they successfully exported to China using Alibaba’s platform.
  • Hear how Alibaba helps businesses sell directly to consumers, build their brand, find distributors, and conduct cross-border e-commerce through their web-based sales, logistics and digital marketing solutions.
  • Find partners for marketing, payments, and logistics in Alibaba’s ecosystem, and understand China’s retail and e-commerce landscape, and the buying patterns of China’s consumers.

In Detroit, we are broadening our base of small businesses among many industries. As such, DEGC encourages small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to attend. We welcome farmers, brand managers, manufacturers, food producers, high-tech companies, and anyone who is exporting or hopes to export goods to China. Alibaba will share specific solutions for business in the following industries: Fashion and Apparel, Everyday Goods, Fresh Foods, and Agricultural Products.

Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 is one of several foreign development investment and export-related forums that DEGC Business Development will participate in or co-convene this year. We hope you can join us.

Visit here to register and attend.

To learn more about Alibaba and Gateway ’17, take a look at these links:

I look forward to any questions you may have, and I encourage you to share news of this event among your networks.