Hatch Detroit: Semi-Finalists

By Jeffrey Buck

Have you voted yet for the Hatch Detroit idea that you find the most deserving of $50,000? Well, time is running out and the field will soon be narrowing down from 10 semi-finalists to the final four.

Hatch Detroit was the brainchild of Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, two passionate Detroiters looking to make a difference in their community through business. The long-term goal of Hatch Detroit is to “develop Hatch Detroit into a sustainable organization that can help entrepreneurs in the city of Detroit through funding options, business services, education, and training.”

The contest accepted submissions July 1–September 1. Organizers weren’t necessarily looking for large, complicated ideas but rather unique brick and mortar businesses like a neighborhood coffee shop, yoga studio or art gallery.

From those submissions the Hatch Detroit panel then selected what it felt were the top ideas. These 10 ideas would be the businesses they felt had the best chance of making Detroit a better, more diverse, and more vibrant place to live.

Currently the contest is in Stage Three, in which the Hatch Detroit team has posted their Top 10 semi-finalists. It is now in the hands of Detroiters to vote online for up to four ideas per day that they find to be their favorite.

Here are the business ideas that have reached the semi-finals:

Alley Wine

Twitter: @alleywine    Facebook: AlleyWine

While biking, walking, jogging or driving down Second Avenue in Detroit’s burgeoning Midtown neighborhood, take a quick detour through our alley and find yourself in one of the city’s most enchanting and unassuming destinations: Alley Wine!

Alley Wine is Detroit’s latest casual neighborhood watering hole, with the initial operating hours of 3:00pm to 12:00am, Thursday through Sunday. The bar will specialize in offering an affordable and rotating selection of wines from around the world, as well as a sampling of meat and cheese pairings. Occasional unplugged performances by local musicians (our liquor license permits a maximum of ―two entertainers at one time) will contribute to the venue’s relaxed ambiance, without impeding conversation or interfering with the educationally-oriented customerservice sought by those wishing to learn more about wine culture. In addition to our bar and food service, we also plan to supplement our revenue by retailing wine, beer, cheese, salami and other menu items.


Anthology Coffee

Twitter: @anthologycoffee    Facebook: AnthologyCoffee

What do you get when you combine the desire to build relationships and community, with the sensory experience of freshly roasted coffee?   Anthology Coffee of course!

Anthology Coffee is a burgeoning coffee roaster built on relationships and community. We believe that investing in the communities we work in – both Detroit and in and around the coffee farms – creates a unique experience for everyone involved. At it’s core Anthology questions what coffee is and how it shapes our lives.

Our goal is to open a cafe/roastery which encompasses both the retail and wholesale operations of the business. It would be an open design that showcases the roasting, the coffee preparation, and allows for educational and special events. It will mostly house communal seating with the idea that coffee breaks down barriers, allowing for conversation.


Art = Life

Website: detroitdesigncenter.com

Combine two brothers with a love of building things, a desire to open a retail storefront, and their mission statement of One Of A Kind – Detroit Design.  The result?  Art = Life!

Nearly two years ago, the brothers found themselves in an economy that challenged even the best of companies.  At this time the brothers decided that they would design a line of furniture with the intent of opening a furniture store…in Detroit.

They built coffee tables, end tables, dining tables, chairs, cocktail tables, stools, benches and more.

In early 2011, the brothers began to search out locations for their store and fell in love with Midtown Detroit.  They worked with Sue Mosey of the UCCA and Matt Clayson of CCS, even reaching out to the Technology Park and other Detroit incubators. They were chosen as one of few by the DC3 to participate in a program to help young companies grow in the city.

The store they are hoping to open is called ART=LIFE, the story of the Detroit Design Center.


Detroit Institute of Bagels

Twitter: @dibagels    Facebook: DetroitBagels

Did you know that the City of Detroit has been devoid of anyone selling bagels until very recently? Who knew?  That’s where The Detroit Institute of Bagels comes in!

We will open a bagel bakery, the Detroit Institute of Bagels (DIB), in Detroit. We will make real, boiled and baked, bagels and offer all the standard bagels along with mouthwatering small-batch creations such as bacon cheddar and rosemary-olive oil-sea salt bagels. Our storefront will be a great place to grab a dozen for Sunday brunch, or grab a great bagel sandwich for lunch, or munch on a small-batch bagel while working at your mobile office.

Our idea will work because Detroiters are starved for bagels. There is no other bagel shop in the entire city, but as we’ve seen, through selling from our house and at Eastern Market, there is enough demand to sustain several bagel shops. Also, our combination of great tasting standard bagels with one-of-a-kind varieties will drive many customers from both inside and outside of Detroit. With great tasting food, great service, and exclusive products, the DIB will be another piece to retail revitalization in Detroit!



Facebook: lovehughlongtime 

Inspired by the men’s magazines of the 50s and 60s, Hugh is a store that offers Detroiters a place to find cool stuff for sophisticated living.

With one foot firmly rooted in mid-century “Mad Men” style and the other firmly in the present, Hugh is a store that offers a contemporary take on classic bachelor pad style. Hugh sells all kinds of housewares – glassware, bar and smoking accessories, personal effects, books, furniture, lighting and cool home accessories – with a general masculine focus.  But despite its manly appeal, Hugh offers something for everyone.

If Hugh sounds familiar, it may be because of its far-reaching reputation as the first pop-up shop in the region. First in the Fall of 2009, then again in 2010 as a holiday season pop-up with a winter ski holiday bent. In the world of risky retail ventures in Detroit this model has already proven itself twice. The new and improved plan is to make Hugh a full-time shop!


Lift – Bubble Love

Twitter: @liftdetroit    Facebook: Lift Detroit

LIFT is proud to present Bubble Love, our concept for a new space in Midtown Detroit that combines a bubble tea café with our passion for designer toys and pop surreal art.  We are excited for the opportunity to become part of the creative energy that’s reshaping Detroit.

Bubble Love will complement the existing retail spaces in the Midtown neighborhood by providing an exciting new destination to shop and a place to hang out, study or work while sipping on tasty bubble teas and smoothies. Our space will have an open layout with a serving bar and customer seating area surrounded by designer toys, original art and apparel by Detroit Manufacturing.

Bubble tea’s popularity has exploded in Asia and has been spreading through the United States. Bubble Love will have a menu featuring several flavors and options including green tea, milk tea, smoothies, juice drinks and of course boba – balls of chewy tapioca that can be added to any drink.  We will also offer Japanese ramune sodas and Asian snack foods. Bubble tea cafes are popular in urban areas and near college campuses, making Midtown a perfect fit for our concept.

Our existing Royal Oak location called Lift Designer Toys & Gallery provides us with knowledge and experience in retail that will help us to launch a successful space in Midtown. We’re determined to continue exploring new concepts that enhance the local community.  The best part of being in retail has been getting to meet so many great customers and working with talented artists from the local community and beyond.

We believe strongly in giving back to the community and we look forward to making connections with non-profits and schools near our new neighborhood.  We have held fundraisers for local charities, the most recent being Mission:Munny, an art exhibit benefiting The Art Experience community art studio.  We have also worked with some great Detroit organizations including Better Detroit Youth Movement and provided mentorship for students from University Prep Academy high school.


Little Dove Bakeshop

Facebook: LittleDoveBakeshop

What do you get when you combine spirit, heart, integrity, and the most delicious baked goods you’ve ever had?  Little Dove Bakeshop of course!

Little Dove Bakeshop is a custom cakery offering everything from petite French macaroons to eight tiered wedding cakes.  What started out of a kitchen in Ferndale has now exploded with regular clients such as MOCAD, Wayne State University, The Parade Company, The DMC and countless other wonderful places in the metro area and the US!  The wonderful people and businesses of Detroit have already embraced little Dove Bakeshop.  So, now that it’s time to expand, Detroit is the only place I would ever consider to make our nest and get to work.

Little Dove Bakeshop will be a glowing example of Detroit and what sets us apart from other cities.  Since the beginning Little Dove has developed a business model we call profit with a purpose.  Profit with a purpose is a commitment that each month a portion of the profits from all sales, big and small, will go to a different designated monthly “cause”.  The decided cause has been anything from paying for prescription medication for an uninsured family to helping the local bookstore make the rent.  Thus far Little Dove Bakeshop has purchased a pair of rain barrels for two public schools, helped Georgia Street Community Center purchase a new furnace, purchased a plane ticket for a neighbor’s ill relative to come from Ethiopia, furbished fully stocked backpacks for five local classrooms… and the list goes on.


Pot & Box: Detroit

Twitter: @potandbox    Facebook: PotBox

What do you get when you combine the passion of someone who’s been getting their fingernails dirty their whole life, with a driving desire to open a sustainable, creative business in the City of Detroit?  Pot & Box: Detroit of course!

Pot & Box: Detroit will be a friendly force of local creativity, utilizing floral & garden design to interact with its community; to enable its employees to live an inspired life; and to better its industry through ecologically and educationally friendly practices.  More specifically, we will offer a selection of fresh cut flowers, container gardening plants & supplies, and assorted horticultural lovelies through a storefront in Detroit’s Midtown or Corktown neighborhoods.


The Workroom

Twitter: @workroomD    Facebook: WorkroomDetroit

Did you know that Detroit is becoming a hot bed of fashion, and desperately in need of a garment district dedicated to the support and encouragement of apparel businesses?  Well it’s true, and the WORKROOM is hoping to take the first step!

The goal of the WORKROOM is to establish a space that is more than just a retail space.  The concept would emphasize fashion and apparel from the sample/product development phase, all the way through to the retail storefront.  The WORKROOM could become a model for other independent design labels to use, as they improve upon the structure of their own businesses.  Development of these types of label facilities builds toward distribution, which then leads to a demand for production needs.  Those key factors create the district and push it to thrive.


Woodbridge Gypsy Den & Tea Room

Twiiter: @WBGypsyDen    Facebook: WBGypsyDenTeaRoom

Are you looking for a natural, organic, vegan, local cafe that promotes culture and community?  TheWoodbridge Gypsy Den & Tea Room is your answer!

The Woodbridge Gypsy Den & Tea Room, nestled in the Detroit neighborhood of Woodbridge, will be for the people, by the people.  The Den will boast a sociable ambiance, viewed as an attraction to visitors & a sense of place by locals.  The café will offer simple dishes and sweets, teas & espresso, juice, smoothies, beer, wine & catering services.  The focus is all natural, organic, vegan, local.  Upon entering, you will be greeted with an eclectic collection of people as well as vintage furnishings acquired from local thrifts  & estate sales.  The Den renders culture, amity & a commitment to the slow food movement.  Come for a smoothie or juice after a run, a glass of wine & the world’s best vegan mac n’ cheese, or to watch a neighborhood friend play music in the Den.

Making your way to the back, you will see the Tea Room, situated behind a drapery entrance.  The Tea Room has an intimate, clandestine setting, ideal for a pot of tea with a friend, a quirky first date or some quiet time with a book.


The “Hatch Off” follow Stage Three and will take place at Model D Media’s The Next Big Thing on October 21 at 8 p.m. The four finalists who escape the voting will get in front of a panel of national and local judges for a five-minute pitch presentation followed by a Q & A session with the panel and the audience, like a Detroit-version of the popular television show Shark Tank.

Hatch Detroit will be live streaming the event online for the world to see. After the teams have a chance to pitch their ideas the voting will occur once more online and the public will ultimately choose the winner.

Take some time and read up about each of the businesses and be sure to vote for your favorites before time runs out. Be sure to check out information about the live event here.PACE

About Jeffrey S. Buck

I'm currently a Project Manager at Cypress Partners, LLC in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I graduated from Wayne State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism. Looking to broaden my view of the world, I spent a semester abroad studying at the University of Salford, a Greater Manchester University in England. I enjoy doing an array of activities, including following Detroit sports teams, SCUBA diving, traveling, reading, playing tennis, hand-written letters and going to the movies. I am the co-founder of the Woodward Spine, a blog about Detroit and its surrounding communities. The Woodward Spine aims to inform its readers about relevant news and events through creative and informative posts in these core areas: news, opinion, entertainment, history, sports and development. The Woodward Spine serves the tri-county metro Detroit area, concentrating mainly on the communities that lie along the Woodward corridor.
This entry was posted in Detroit and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s