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.

Motor City Match Grows 11 More Businesses

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Mayor Mike Duggan announced last month 11 more businesses that will be growing or expanding in Detroit neighborhoods with the help of grants from the Motor City Match program. Grants range in size from $15,000 to $75,000 and have been awarded to wide variety of businesses, including a beauty supply store, a cycling studio, a butcher shop, several restaurants and a musical instrument retailer.

“These are the kinds of businesses that help to create complete neighborhoods where people want to live,” said Mayor Duggan. “Motor City Match is helping dozens of Detroit entrepreneurs live their dream owning their own business while being a real part of our city’s neighborhood comeback.”

Now celebrating its fourth round of grant awards, Motor City Match has provided a total of $2 million in funds to nearly 40 small businesses over the past year. Those funds have helped to leverage total of $13 million in investment in these local neighborhood ventures.

Round 4 Grant Winners:

  • Twisted Roots LLC / Flow Inc. $75,000
  • Block Party LLC $70,000
  • Detroit Vegan Soul $60,000
  • Norma G’s $60,000
  • Live Cycle Delight $50,000
  • Amaze-Enjoyment, LLC $50,000
  • Guadalajara #2 Inc. $50,000
  • Lil Brilliant Mindz, LLC $30,000
  • Beau Bien Fine Foods $20,000
  • Meta Physica Wellness Center $20,000
  • Third Wave Music $15,000

In addition to distributing competitive grant funds, Motor City Match also provides entrepreneurs with technical assistance in creating a strong business plan. It also helps to match entrepreneurs with the owners of buildings in the city that are well positioned to house a new business.

Other MCM Round 4 Winners

  • 50 applicants received Business Plan Awards for free business planning classes provided by Motor City Match partners. These entrepreneurs have great business ideas but have not yet formulated their plans or need help strengthening their plans before pursuing space.
  • 26 businesses received Space Awards, which connect new or existing businesses with top available Detroit real estate and financial planning assistance. These applicants can be new business ventures with a strong business plan or existing businesses looking to expand into a new space.
  • 7 businesses received Design Awards for free architectural planning support and other assistance to design and plan their renovations in their selected locations.

The next application window for building and business owners to apply to Motor City Match will be open from September 1 to October 1. Application details are available at www.MotorCityMatch.com.

Michael Forsyth

Director of Small Business Programs

July Marks 4 Quarters of Motor City Match Winners

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Later this month, Motor City Match will announce its 4th round of business winners. After a full year of award winners, Detroit’s signature small business development program is starting to show some real impact in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Roughly two-thirds of the businesses supported by Motor City Match will be owned by Detroit residents and more than 70 percent will be minority owned. This includes longtime Detroit businesses like R&L Color Graphics, J&G Pallets and Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply that are expanding their operations, as well as new businesses like Brix Wine & Charcuterie in West Village, Beautiful Bridal on East Jefferson and Slyde, a burger restaurant opening on Livernois.

Just as important as the growth of new businesses is the impact they are having in Detroit’s neighborhoods. Third Round Motor City Match grant winning business, The Commons, is a great example. Owned as a for-profit subsidiary of Mack Avenue Community Church (MACC) Development, The Commons will transform an abandoned building at 7900 Mack Ave. into a gathering place for the neighborhood by offering a combination coffee bar and coin laundry facility with free Wi-Fi for customers. MACC Development plans to reinvest revenues from this project to help continue to grow new businesses in the area.

By the end of July, Motor City Match will have served nearly 400 businesses and more than 220 commercial properties. It is generating a pipeline of small business growth that is creating opportunity and spurring the redevelopment of Detroit’s neighborhood corridors.

Michael Forsyth

Director of Small Business Programs

Third Round of Motor City Match Winners Includes Diverse Mix

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Mayor Mike Duggan joined Motor City Match representatives and partners last month to announce the third round of businesses to receive a combined $500,000 in grant funding to start and grow in Detroit. Funding for the nine small business projects ranged from $18,000 to $100,000 and included a diverse mix of restaurants, retail and professional service businesses.

“It’s been amazing to watch this program grow and see the creativity and hustle that Detroiters are putting into their business ideas,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at the event. “We have everything from a 96-year-old Detroit plumbing business opening a showroom in Midtown to a new wine and charcuterie shop in West Village to an African-American hair care company that has patented their own ‘Comb-N-Weave’ hair extensions. Businesses like these are the fiber of our neighborhood corridors and Motor City Match is making them happen.”

Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit real estate opportunities and provides them with the funding and technical support needed to help them succeed. Since launching last year, Motor City Match has received more than 2,000 applications from business and building owners. The program has since served nearly 300 business owners and more than 180 commercial properties spanning all corners of the city.

A total of $1.5 million in grants has been awarded during the first three application rounds. Business owners have leveraged this funding into $10.5 million in investments for their neighborhood-based businesses.

“There are so many Detroiters out there who have dreamed of starting their own business, and Motor City Match is giving them that extra nudge they need to take the next step,” said Detroit Economic Growth Corporation CEO and President Rodrick Miller. “Whether someone needs help creating a business plan, needs support planning their building renovations or is in need of some extra financing, Motor City Match is going to help get that dream from idea to open.”

Now in its third round, two-thirds of Motor City Match awardees have been from Detroit, and 70 percent of winning businesses have been minority owned.

The next application window for building and business owners to apply to Motor City Match will be open from June 1 to July 1. To view a full list of Round III grant winners and learn more about application details, please visit MotorCityMatch.com.

Michael Forsyth

Director of Small Business Programs

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