Ten local aspiring entrepreneurs are one step closer to $50,000 tonight. Live blogging from the announcement, Hatch just shared the top 10 semifinalists for their 5th annual Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest, presented by Opportunity Detroit.

Whatever Hatch does, Detroit takes notice. Hatch supports Detroit’s retail development by directly funding, promoting, and mentoring individual brick and mortar retail businesses. They also complete beautification projects for prime Detroit retail neighborhoods like the Avenue of Fashion, West Village and Grandmont-Rosedale.

Basically, they are Detroit’s entrepreneurial fairy godmother.


The contest awards a prize that’s much better than the fairy godmother would, though – and it’s doesn’t expire at midnight. They provide $50,000 to one small business that wants to become a retail brick and mortar in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck.

“This year’s semi finalists have some of the most innovative retail business ideas I’ve seen throughout the contest’s five years,” said Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. “Small business growth is what’s going to make this city flourish and we can’t wait to see how this year’s winner will positively impact and inspire future entrepreneurialism in our city.”

The winner is chosen based on the strength of their business plan, ability to make it happen if they did get the money, and the popularity contest that narrows the semifinalists from Top 10 to Top 4, before the winner from the Top 4 is selected by a judging panel of respected Detroit business leaders.


The top 10 businesses vying for public votes are:

Bohomodern will become a brick & mortar boutique featuring clothing, furniture, decor, and gifts for women, men, kids and home. Their new storefront aspires to impart a sense of creativity, optimism and discovery to each customer.

Eskimo Jacks Artisan Cookies + Ice Cream has been serving their made-from-scratch cookies & ice cream through their food carts, events and in several markets in the metro area. Now they’re ready to fulfil another piece of their vision — to have a retail space in the City of Detroit.

House of Pure Vin will be a signature retail destination and a consumer attraction for wine lovers and future connoisseurs to experience and acquire a taste for Michigan Wine located in the heart of downtown Detroit.

Live Cycle Delight aims to become be the first contemporary cycle studio in downtown Detroit. They are dedicated to providing the residents of Detroit an opportunity to find delight through cycling and creating an environment that makes working out fun.

Mi Alma is a restaurant concept focused on offering a creative and varied selection of freshly made baked goods, house made sausages and blended juices for the Southwest Detroit community. The name of the business has dual meaning: In Spanish Mi means “me” (and also means Michigan), and Alma means soul, which helped develop the motto:  “locally-sourced food that comes from the soul.”

MOR & Co. is an outdoors store focused on city dwellers. Their mission is to connect with today’s growing metropolitans through approachable outdoor experiences and high-quality, responsibly made gear, accessories and apparel for outdoor city living.

Motor City Meatball Kitchen (MCMK) is a from scratch kitchen concept where the quintessential culinary staple, the meatball, takes center stage.  They take care to select the highest quality ingredients to grind meats in house, make all sauces from scratch and whip up their own dressings; all while sourcing locally.

Norma G’s aims to deliver something unique to the City of Detroit and rare in this region . . . true authentic Caribbean cuisine. Norma G’s has built its brand in a mobile environment and now looks to establish a brick & mortar location within the city.

Orleans + Winder was born of a desire to create a concept store, offering a retail platform for the finest emerging artists and designers with a focus on artisanal creations. They believe in slow fashion, in design that moves away from hyper industrialization and toward the artfully constructed.

The Royce Detroit is based on tradition, good design & sustainability. They aim to provide the essentials you simply can’t live without; fundamental things like wine, food, home goods, friendship and community. Their mission is to promote a lifestyle of thoughtful consumption and an awareness for the environment.

The popularity contest is where YOU come in. Vote once every 24 hours on their website, their Facebook page and their community voting booths. Every vote matters, every vote counts and voting is not limited to local voters (we’re looking at you suburbanites who love Detroit).

Important dates:

  • Round one public voting runs Friday, Aug. 14 at 12:00 a.m. EST through Thursday, Aug. 20 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
  • Top four finalists will be announced and round two public voting begins on Friday, Aug. 21 and runs through Friday, Aug. 28 at noon EST.
  • The winner will be announced at the Hatch Off event, Friday, Aug. 28 where the final four will present their business pitch one last time to a panel of judges at The Madison Building in Detroit.

Here’s a little background on the past Hatch Detroit contest winners.

2011 Winner
The contest’s first winner ever. Joe Posch used the grant to turn Hugh, his retail pop-up into a Midtown retail store. The men’s lifestyle shop, inspired by the masculine aesthetic of the 50s and 60s is like walking onto the set of Mad Men and running into James Bond in the kitchen while he’s fixing a martini, shaken, not stirred.

2012 Winner
La Feria
La Feria has become one of Detroit’s dining hotspots. The Cass Ave. tapas restaurant serves their family’s Andalusian recipes on small plates meant to be ordered in large quantities and shared with everyone at the table. We cannot stop eating the ESCALIVADA Y ANCHOA, the baguette topped with roasted Eggplant, Onion, Red Pepper and Anchovy.

2013 Winner
Batch Brewing Company
Batch Brewing Company makes small batch handcrafted beer from their taproom in Corktown. The inside of their taproom is sleek, yet industrial. Their unique food menu uses beer as an ingredient as much as possible, and we highly recommend the Batch Antwerp’s Placebo, their Belgian Dark Strong Ale brewed with raisins and dates.

2014 Winner
Sister Pie
Sister Pie now has a homey-chic shop in West Village where you can buy their pies, sit in their dining room and watch the bakers working in the open kitchen. In addition to their store and online, Sister Pie has started selling their pies at local Detroit restaurants Bobcat Bonnie’s, the new restaurant in Corktown we recently visited.

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