Celebrate Detroit’s 313th Birthday

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Detroit’s 200th birthday celebration in 1901

Detroit is turning 313 on July 24th! We’ve put together a list of celebratory events happening throughout the week to bring in the city’s 313th year with a bang. Check them out below!

1. Detroit Historical Society is hosting events throughout the week, including a birthday bash on Thursday, July 24th from 6-10pm. See the schedule here

2. Ponyride - Summer open house and makers market will take place on Saturday, July 19th from 12 - 6pm. There will be over 40 local vendors present. RSVP here

3. Campus Martius Park presents live music all day on Friday, July 25th. Great local acts from Thornetta Davis to Dennis Coffey will perform. Check out the schedule here

4. D:hive Pizza Party + Bar Tour - Join us for a lunchtime pizza party from 12-2pm on Thursday, July 24th to celebrate with us! Bring your friends and your Detroit love. And if that’s not enough, you can join DXF on their 313th Birthday bar tour from 5:30 to 8:30. RSVP here.

See more events organized by Detroit Love here. Happy celebrating! 

A Chat with the #DXFchallenge June Winner

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Meet Rob Harris, our June winner of the #DXFchallenge. Rob won a night stay at the Detroit Marriott and two tickets to our July bar tour. Read about his favorite spots and where he plans to go next below. Meet him in person at one of his regular spots: Northern Lights, Third Street or Big City Bar and Grill, where he hosts karaoke every week. 

Why did you want to participate in the #DXFchallenge?

There are so many places I’ve always wanted to go, but have gotten comfortable with my usual spots or make up excuses not to venture out. I saw the challenge on Jeanette Pierce’s FB page and I thought it would be a good excuse to explore more. I knew Jeanette from her days at Inside Detroit (now the Detroit Experience Factory), where I went on a couple pub crawls.

What are some of your favorite bars + restaurants from the checklist?

I’ve discovered a lot of places that epitomize the idea of not judging a book by its cover. Jumbo’s for example – it’s really plain on the outside, but when you go in everyone is so friendly, there’s a pool table and a great patio. It’s definitely one of my new favorite spots. Another is Bookies – I’ve passed by it a lot but until the DXFchallenge, I didn’t even realize I hadn’t been there. It’s a great place to watch a game.

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Any memorable experiences?

Sometimes I’ll run into people I know who catch me taking a selfie or I get curious looks from the server or bartender. Everyone wants to know what its about. Before the challenge I had never taken a selfie so that’s been a learning experience. It’s a challenge in itself – to get the right angle, include the food or drink in the photo and make it look good! I’m definitely a perfectionist about it.

Do you live in Detroit?

I was born and raised here, and I live in Woodbridge now. I know how to get around the city really well – but typically I would always go to the same places to hang out every week. I live in Woodbridge but hadn’t been to the Woodbridge pub in years! 

What’s next on the list?

I’m going to hit a lot of the spots downtown. For someone who loves beer so much I’ve never been to the Detroit Beer Co. which is something I’ve always been a little embarrassed about.

Any selfie tips?

Be conscious of lighting. It’s something I never really thought about but can make or break a selfie. Try to position yourself by a window! 

BUILDers Collaborate for Success

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Ofelia Saenz has a passion for Paletas. Her business, Alegria Pops, pays homage to the traditional Mexican ice pops found on every street corner in Latin America.  Her focus is on simple recipes, unexpected flavor combinations, and locally sourced ingredients.

“I’ve always loved cooking, but learning to make Paletas was like learning to cook all over again, from scratch” says Ofelia. Two years ago, Ofelia began researching recipes and testing ingredients. In early 2013 she took the BUILD class in Hamtramck to develop her financial plan and work out the logistics of production.

She credits BUILD with giving her the networking opportunities to help get her business off the ground. She is partnering with Yum Village, another Build grad, for her first season of pop-ups. “He’s filling a gap for food entrepreneurs who don’t have the capital to afford higher priced venues. It becomes an almost risk-free endeavor for the entrepreneur,” she says of Yum Village’s services. Ofelia and Godwin Ihentuge (the founder of Yum Village) met in Woodbridge, where they are neighbors. 

Ofelia has also partnered with Sarah Pappas, another Woodbridge neighbor and Build grad, to sell her popsicles at Sarah’s Fresh Cut flower stand. And she’s popped up at Common Table Café – founded by Erica Kippe, another Build Grad. “Since this is my first season actively selling, I wanted to make sure I developed strong partnerships,” says Ofelia. “The BUILD alumni community has been a great starting point.” Most recently, Ofelia joined Detroit Cooks, a collective made up of five women-owned food businesses that share a commercial kitchen in midtown. Almost all of the businesses are operated by Build grads. 

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Alegria Pops at Fresh Cut Flower Stand, founded by Build grad Sarah Pappas

Collaboration among Build grads is one of the program’s highlights. In a recent survey, 52% of Build participants responded that they have collaborated with other Builders. Not only does Build provide a strong foundation for starting a business, but there is ongoing support and networking events after classes end.

Ofelia’s ultimate goal is to make the word ‘Paleta’ a household name all over the city. “I want Detroiters to go to other cities and say, “What, you’ve never had a Paleta? You gotta come to Detroit.”

Look for Alegria Pops at the Build Bazaar at Concert of Colors this weekend! And check out her FB page to get the latest updates on new recipes and pop-up events.  

Do Something: July Events

Mark your calendars for some exciting events coming up in July! What are you most looking forward to? For more fun ways to engage in the city, follow us on Twitter. 

July 1 – 13th: Book of Mormon at Detroit Opera House | Musical

The Tony award winning musical comes back to Detroit

July 10-13th: Concert of Colors | Festival

A free celebration of musical culture and diversity in Detroit

July 22-26th: Planet Ant Colony Fest | Comedy

Improv Competition including twenty competing groups

July 26th: Shakespeare in Detroit | Theatre

A free performance of Romeo and Juliet in Grand Circus Park

July 26 – 27th: Maker Faire Detroit | Tech

Annual event celebrating technology and DIY culture in Detroit

Behind the Front Desk: Shawn Handlon

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D:hive’s ambassadors are the first faces you see when walking into the welcome center. Whether it’s fielding questions about where to live, work, and play, or providing residents and visitors alike with insider tips and connections, our ambassadors definitely know a thing or two about Detroit. We chatted with Shawn to get a glimpse into the daily hustle and bustle of the welcome center.

What’s a typical day at the front desk like?

While every day is different, the one common denominator in all of them is that I get to spend the day talking about Detroit, which is one of my favorite things to do. Be it talking to a suburbanite who has come downtown to rediscover the city or to an out-of-towner who is curious to know what to explore, I have the pleasure of showcasing a side of Detroit that most people don’t expect. 

What kinds of visitors stop by?

Visitors to the Welcome Center usually fall into three general categories. The first are visitors who come in from elsewhere in the world, wondering what to check out while they are in town.  The second include people who are from the area and want to learn more about the cool things going on in the city.  This includes people who are looking to move here or start a business in the city. The third is people who live in the area, but very seldom come downtown. These people have wandered back downtown to try to reconnect with their core city.  Maybe they’ve read about the changes going on down here, and want to give their city another try.  

What common questions do you get asked?

The most common question I’ve gotten since I’ve started working as an ambassador is “What is this place?” When I tell them that we’re Detroit’s welcome center, they look at me curiously, as if surprised such a thing could exist.  I tell them that we’re here to engage ANYONE who is interested in living in the city, working in the city, starting a business in the city or just learning about what’s going on in the city. We’re happy to help tourists, but more often, we’re here to engage the people who are already in the area.

What’s a memorable front desk encounter you’ve had?

One day, a middle-aged couple from New Zealand came into the Welcome Center. They were taking an extended tour of the US, and they were going to be staying in Detroit for a few days.  We sat for nearly a half hour talking about the city, and by the time we were done, we had worked out a rough agenda for their entire stay, including adding an extra day to the end to be able to see a Saturday at Eastern Market.  When they were done, they thanked me profusely for spending so much time with them. Then the next day, they came into the welcome center to tell me that they took my Coney challenge—trying one from American and one from Lafayette—and that they had chosen American.  Pfff! Wrong choice :)

What are your hobbies or other projects?

In addition to being an ambassador and a tour guide, I am an improvisor and performer.  I also write plays and screenplays with my specialty being comedies. I am the Artistic Director of Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck.  

Someone is only in Detroit for one day. What do you tell them to do?

My first recommendation is always the RiverWalk, which I feel is the most exciting project going on in the city right now. I direct people to Wheelhouse Detroit where they can rent bikes to maximize their riverfront experience. If they’re a little more daring, I raise the stakes a bit by suggesting they rent segways from Segway Detroit. Otherwise I am sure tell them to take the Dequindre Cut up to Eastern Market for lunch at the likes of Russell Street Deli or Supino Pizza or a drink at Vivio’s or my particular favorite—ice cream from Mootown Creamery.  After so much bike riding, they’ve earned a little ice cream, right?

Meet the Resident: Naomi Beasley

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Detroit is a city of neighborhoods, which Naomi Beasley knows better than almost anyone.  A Detroit native, Naomi grew up in the Jefferson/Mack area, and attended U of D Mercy for her masters degree in architecture. After graduating, Naomi went the unconventional route and took some time off to explore her interests, before working as project manager for Jefferson East Inc., where she oversaw the design and build out of the pop-ups at Jefferson and Chalmers. She was introduced to D:hive from our pop-up welcome center in the Jeff Chalmers neighborhood during the summer of 2013. 

As our Live Resident, Naomi responds to housing inquiries and posts curated listings for rentals on D:hive’s Living Connections page. “I try to do thorough research by making sure the neighborhood is safe and that the listings are up to date,” she says. Sometimes, she also finds listings the old-fashioned way – by driving around and taking note of ‘for rent’ signs and then calling landlords directly. Naomi’s current project is collecting data for the annual Downtown Detroit Occupancy Survey, which provides an overall snapshot of occupancy rates downtown. 

Naomi also meets with individuals on a one-on-one basis during her weekly office hours, where she regularly comes across common misconceptions about the housing market in Detroit. “There’s usually a disconnect between people’s expectations and what’s actually available on the market,” she explains. “People only want to know about downtown and midtown, but they are often surprised at what they can find elsewhere – like West Village or Palmer Park.” Part of her job includes informing people about the many great neighborhoods outside of Greater Downtown, which may not have as much media buzz but are equally vibrant places to live.

Aside from her work at D:hive, Naomi continues to collaborate with Jefferson East Inc. and most recently helped plan June on Jefferson, a month-long series of events in the neighborhood. She also had a hand in organizing the very first Jefferson East SOUP, which will take place June 26th at Coffee and ___. As if that wasn’t enough, she recently collaborated with NextDoor to launch her neighborhood page on their online portal, a resource she explains as a “Facebook for neighborhoods.”

As she continues to help people find their place in Detroit, Naomi is still exploring whether she wants to practice architecture formally, or work in a related field like real estate or urban planning. In the meantime, she’s discovering new things she loves about the city every day. “There seems to be a lot of optimism about the city’s future right now, and optimism always brings action,” she says. 

Build numbers are in!

We couldn’t be happier to share the exciting results from our 2014 Build Alumni Survey. View some highlights in the infographic below. We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented and passionate aspiring entrepreneurs, and we look forward to growing our programming to serve you better in the future. What are we most proud of? 100% of survey respondents said they felt more confident about their knowledge of business development after taking Build. That’s what we’re here for! 

Special thanks to Elena Marenghi, D:hive’s Semester in Detroit intern, for putting together this survey, and to Nikki Roach and Alicia Stocker for their wonderful design work. 

#DXFchallenge Snapshots

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We’ve had over 100 entries to the #DXFchallenge! We love seeing your selfies at Detroit’s bars & restaurants. You can see an ongoing stream of the all of the Instagram photos using the hashtag here. Keep em coming! 

The challenge kicked off June 1st and will go through the summer, ending September 1st. All participants will be entered to win our monthly raffles, and the person who visits the most places on our checklist will win our Detroit Experience Prize Package! 

Did you visit a bar or restaurant you absolutely loved? Have a fun challenge story you want to share? Email us at hello@weknowdetroit.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Do something: June Events

Mark your calendars for some exciting events coming up in June! What are you most looking forward to? Let us know what we missed and submit your favorite events on our website. For more fun ways to engage in the city, follow us on Twitter. 

June (all month): June on Jefferson

The East Jefferson Corridor is abuzz with events all month long

June 4th – 8th: Cinetopia International Film Festival 

Independent films from the world’s best film festivals showing in Detroit + Ann Arbor

June 7th – 8th: Motor City Pride 

Annual festival on Hart Plaza with vendors, live performances, a parade and more

June 14th: Riverfront Run 

5K and 10K walk/run to benefit the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

June 19th – 22nd: Allied Media Conference 

Annual conference promoting media-based organizing strategies

Trish’s Garage Summer Style Tune-up

Sprucing up your summer wardrobe? Trish’s Garage, D:hive’s Pilot pop-up, has you covered. From hip ‘funglasses’ to bold patterned shorts, founder + fashionista Ebony Rutherford showed us her five favorite items for making a stylish statement this summer. Check them out below! 

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'This DITNB t-shirt is fun + relaxed, and super easy to throw on with leggings or shorts’

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'Walk, dance, and explore the city in these bright weekend shorts'

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'Yolanda's D Collection earrings are handcrafted and made from love in Detroit’

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'It's so easy to rep your city with these buttons'

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'You can't do wrong with some funky funglasses'

Stop by Trish’s Garage at 1249 Woodward this weekend to shop even more vintage and Detroit-made looks. Her hours are Mon - Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm