Thanks to funding from the Detroit Lions, six Hatch Detroit alumni businesses have been awarded grants to improve their business or get closer to opening their storefronts. Detroiters often talk about a lack of retail options, and the goal with this program is to expand and increase the number of those places, as well as invest locally.

You might know Hatch Detroit as the contest where local aspiring brick and mortar businesses who want to locate in the city of Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park compete for a $50,000 prize. Hatch Detroit’s goal through all of their programs is to revitalize the retail landscape, increase walkability, and improve the quality of life for Detroit residents.

The Detroit Lions’ grants are taking it to another level, by supporting those who are still are looking to follow through on their business plan and make their dream happen anyway.

“As Detroit continues its transformation and growth, development of small businesses will be an integral part of its economic revitalization,” said Tom Lewand, Detroit Lions team president. “Through these grants and our collaboration with Hatch Detroit, we are excited to play a role in supporting local entrepreneurs and businesses here in the city.”

These grants are an extension of the Hatch Detroit Alumni Program. Following the contest, not only does the winner of the grand prize get support, various resources are made available to all semi-finalists (who finish in the top ten) through the alumni program, even though they did not receive funding.

Through this grant program, $40,000 annually will be awarded to selected projects focused on community building and filling in the gaps in Detroit’s retail offerings.

“We believe strongly in all of the businesses who have competed in the contest,” says Vittoria Katanski, Executive Director of Hatch Detroit. “This funding from the Detroit Lions will give them the support they deserve as they work to open their doors or advance their business.”

Here’s what the first round of grantees will be doing with the money. Some of the projects you will be able to see improvements for yourself, and others are things that will improve the business behind the scenes.


Detroit Institute of Bagels | Corktown

They’re looking to create a “bagel park” adjacent to their building, allowing them to host a farmer’s market and other community events. The Detroit Institute of Bagels is a de facto visual gateway into one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods, and this new landscaping along Michigan Avenue and the Lodge service drive will be welcoming. The rendering is at the top of this post.

La Feria | Midtown

La Feria was the winner of the 2012 Hatch Detroit Contest and has opened their Spanish Tapas bar on Cass Avenue. They will be constructing an outdoor patio, increasing their seating capacity by 50%. It’s definitely another boost for the Cass Corridor. This area, given up for dead by many, is turning into the heart of retail resurgence in the city.

Detroit Vegan Soul | West Village

The vegan restaurant recently celebrated their one-year anniversary of their restaurant opening in West Village. They’ll be purchasing a walk-in freezer, improving efficiency, capacity, and freshness.

Busted Bra Shop | Midtown/Downtown

The only lingerie shop in Detroit is expanding. They will use the grant to purchase new furniture and fixtures that compliment the boutique’s antique style. They are planning on opening their second location in the Penobscot building by Thanksgiving.

Alley Wine | West Corktown

Alley Wine is a restaurant and wine bar in the process of building out their space and tuning their menu. Their location will be a convenient distance to a few different neighborhoods and are zooming in on Michigan Avenue from 22nd Street to Livernois. They will use the grant to facilitate new outdoor patio and green space.

Bumbo’s Restaurant & Bar | Hamtramck

This Hatch Detroit semi-finalist plans to open in Hamtramck. Their menu will be seasonal and focus on a “modern, fresh take on traditional Polish food with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.” Funding will go toward the build-out of their kitchen.

It’s exciting to see these six locally-minded places get a boost, in many cases, with improvements that you’ll be able to see even from the street.

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