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Photo: Devon O'Reilly

Through my work in Detroit’s incredibly vibrant and complex entrepreneurial ecosystem I’ve come across some amazing people and places. These hotspots of creativity and ingenuity inhabit a variety of sectors, services and geographic locations. To any entrepreneur names like Bamboo, Techtown, MOCAD, Ponyride, and The Build Institute are exceedingly familiar.

Depending on your idea or interest, you may have set foot in one, if not all, of these places and know the faces of their fearless leaders — people like Amanda Lewan, April Boyle, and Ned Staebler. If there was a place that took a little piece of each of those aforementioned institutions, tossed them in a Pewabic Pottery bowl and flung it out to the farthest reaches of Detroit’s east side it would look like Mash Detroit, and in one word, beautiful.

Location of MASH Detroit and Bamboo East on Mack Avenue in Detroit. Daily Detroit photo.
Location of MASH Detroit and Bamboo East on Mack Avenue in Detroit. Daily Detroit photo.

Mash is the brainchild of local entrepreneur, innovator, and “space activator” Marlowe Stoudamire, who for many in Detroit should be a familiar name.  After visiting Europe in 2013 he had the idea for what would become Mash, named not only for the notion of converging people and ideas it conjures up, but also for the its cross streets, Mack and Ashland, which happen to be a few blocks away from where Stoudamire grew up and where his mother still lives.

To accomplish something this advantageous he called on an extensive network of individuals.

Photo: Devon O'Reilly
Photo: Devon O’Reilly

“Always build the network before you need it, and make sure you add value to others before you ask for it,” said Stoudamire.

That mantra allowed Stoudamire to build immense goodwill and credibility among the corporate, civic, and philanthropic communities so that when Stoudamire called, places like Quicken Loans, Techtown, Detroit Future City, and the Detroit City Council listened.

At 6,000 square feet, Mash is part popup retail space, part co-working hub, part community gathering events space, and soon to be coffee shop, all with a local artist gallery thrown in.

This area isn’t overtly a hotbed for creatives in the city but as Stoudamire sees it, that’s because they’ve not looked hard enough. Just a couple blocks north of East Jefferson and a block west of Grosse Pointe, this area is situated at the proverbial intersection of growth and resources. There’s an incredible feeling of cohesion and optimism when talking to Stoudamire that can’t be ignored; he wants to make this space a catalyst for the entire neighborhood and perhaps eventually replicate that model in other parts of the city.

Inside MASH Detroit. Photo: Devon O'Reilly
Inside MASH Detroit. Photo: Devon O’Reilly

“I want this space to have the same energy, the same creativity and diversity of downtown and midtown,” he said.

The way he sees it, “If we win here, everyone in the city wins.”

Mash is something to be experienced, not read about. This versatile and elaborate space is designed with community engagement and personal interaction in mind, or as Stoudamire so eloquently summarizes it, “organic social collision.”

Stoudamire has partnered with some of the best in the business locally so expect to see collaboration with Build Institute and Techtown, in addition to the new Bamboo East location of the famed co-working space that has taken up residence inside Mash.

And if you’re more consumer than creator, come get your hands and clothes dirty at one of CanvasxDetroit’s painting classes, grab a snack at Good People Popcorn, and discover the collection of startup and lifestyle brand BohoModern.

The only real requirement at Mash is that whatever you do, bring your ideas, and an open mind.

Location: 14711 Mack Avenue, Detroit – Website: www.mashdetroit.com – Social: @mashdet

This is a guest column from Devon O’Reilly, who is the Manager of Entrepreneurship and Detroit Engagement for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Daily Detroit welcomes guest contributions as a platform for furthering the Detroit conversation. If you have one of your own, get in touch.