The Avenue of Fashion will add even more amenities to its neighborhood repertoire this summer including ice cream, a beer garden, and brunch, neighborhood business owners and developers told Eater today at a press conference hailing Mayor Mike Duggan's new Motor City Match program.
Similar to Hatch Detroit, the program will provide $500,000 quarterly for the next five years to applicants that meet Motor City Match's criteria for investment. "I doubt that liquor stores are going to score very high," Duggan joked. In addition to scoring business plans, Motor City Match takes the additional step of vetting and advertising properties in neighborhoods across the city that meet the program's qualifications. "We're going to match he best landlords and corridors with the entrepreneurs," Duggan says.
Kuzzo's owner Ron Bartell, April Anderson of Good Cakes & Bakes, and Chad Dickinson of I'm Here Detroit spoke at the event about the barriers to opening small businesses in the city. "There are two major challenges to starting a business in Detroit," Anderson says. "First is finding the right space. Second is creating a plan to redevelop the space and getting all the financing to get open."
Business owners frequently face challenges finding appropriate properties and flexible property managers. Earlier this year, Eater reported on Windmill Pointe Brewery's difficulties finding a location for their startup. Likewise, Sweet Artisanal Marshmallows' Michele Mojica Bezue left her shop on Mack Avenue due to a dispute with her landlord.
Dickinson's development company has spearheaded the renovation of Hunter's Supper Club on Livernois over the last two years. Dickinson told Eater he believes the building has a future as a restaurant and is ready to start courting restaurateurs into the space. While he estimates the 10,000-square-foot building still requires approximately 3 years of work, the first "incarnation will be complete by this fall." Looking towards summer, I'm Here is already planning pop-up events in the open-air courtyard including a beer garden and brunch.
Across the street, new developments are headed for Kuzzo's and Good Cakes as well. This month, Kuzzo's will break ground on a new outdoor patio, while the bakery is planning to add eight flavors of ice cream to their menu in June. Anderson tells Eater she's currently in talks with two local ice cream shops to bring their flavors to Livernois.
Applications for building owners to list properties with Motor City Match are available today through May 1, while entrepreneurs can apply for grants June 1 through July 1.