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.

Detroit Economic Development Called Out as a National Model in Times of Uncertainty

FROM: Malinda Jensen, Senior Vice President, Board Administration and Government Affairs

Malinda Jensen photo
Malinda Jensen
Sr. VP Board Administration & Govt. Affairs

Motor City Match has now gotten a second endorsement from the current administration in Washington. At a forum of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Washington recently, Jessie Handforth Kome, acting director of block grant assistance at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was a panelist in a session called “City Opportunities.”

Kome spoke highly of Motor City Match, as an example of a “best practice program for matching small businesses with underutilized vacant space.” HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson had previously praised the program during a visit to Detroit.

I saw Kome’s session, attending the IEDC Fed Forum as a representative of DEGC and Detroit. It really was exciting to hear the buzz around all the terrific things going on here. That’s especially true because the IEDC brings together professionals from places around the world. We all share the desire to promote economic development within our communities, and I always learn from my colleagues and competitors about ideas or best practices we can use here. I hope they also learn from the dedicated efforts we are making to bring the benefits of economic development to every part of the city and every citizen who lives in it. Motor City Match is just one of those initiatives.

The Community Development Block Grants that fund Motor City Match and grants from the Economic Development Administration that are currently supporting Detroit’s industrial and commercial redevelopment around the I-94 Industrial Park are in budget jeopardy right now. If you would like to know why federal funds spent on economic development pays off for communities, please download this brochure from IEDC. It does a very good job of explaining the payoff from federal investments Why Invest in Economic Development.

Motor City Match Looking to Jumpstart 2017 with More Small Business Growth


As the Motor City Match program begins to look forward to 2017, it’s hard not to be optimistic for the new year. The program has helped make Detroit one of the most welcoming cities in the nation when it comes to supporting small businesses.

Since its inception, Motor City Match has supported nearly 500 businesses. Two-thirds of those businesses are owned by Detroiters and more than 70 percent are minority-owned. Not all of the businesses are open yet, but they are all actively making progress. In the coming months, we will see several more coffee shops, art centers, health care facilities, small manufacturers, and service providers open or expand in the heart of Detroit neighborhoods.

The program has awarded a total of $2.3 million in grants to date. When combined with each entrepreneurs’ personal investment and traditional financing, the grants have helped leverage a total of $14 million invested in Detroit’s neighborhood corridors. Several areas of the city are quickly becoming hot spots for Motor City Match businesses, including Jefferson-Chalmers, West Village, Corktown and the Avenue of Fashion at Livernois and 7 Mile.

Entrepreneurs and property owners still interested in applying for support through Motor City Match have one more opportunity before the end of the year. Applications will be open from December 1, 2016 through January 1, 2017.

There will be an information session on December 20 to answer questions about the application process. The event will be held from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Bel Air Luxury Cinema, 10100 E. 8 Mile Rd., Detroit. To register for the information session and review Motor City Match qualification requirements and program guidelines, please visit

Michael Forsyth
Director of Small Business Services