If you’re in downtown Detroit for the holiday season, you’ll notice residents and visitors flocking to Cadillac Square. That’s the scene for the Downtown Detroit Markets and Cadillac Lodge, where you can grab a hot cocoa, play games, and shop at a variety of pop-up vendors. These are the eighteen small businesses – the majority of which are BIPOC or female-owned – that have been chosen this year to participate in the Downtown Detroit Markets.
The markets, which are funded by the Gilbert Family Foundation with operational support from Bedrock and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, have helped small Detroit entrepreneurs grow their businesses by connecting them to high volume foot traffic during the busiest shopping season of the year
This year’s Downtown Detroit Market vendors received additional support from TechTown, Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub, through workshops and one-on-one business mentorship.
“The Gilbert Family Foundation is all about building economic and social opportunity here in the City of Detroit,” said Laura Grannemann, Executive Director of the Gilbert Family Foundation, “and the winter markets do that in so many ways – it really is a culmination of a lot of our work.”
James Feagin, the Gilbert Family Foundation’s Director of Economic Mobility, added, “[The Downtown Detroit Markets] are a great way to leverage our resources, to provide this platform to entrepreneurs.” Simply put, as Feagin says, “The vibe is wonderful.”
But the best part of the Downtown Detroit Markets is how they add real value to the city. Since launching in 2017, the participating businesses have generated nearly $6M in overall sales. In 2021, the Downtown Detroit Market vendors generated over $1.4M in revenue. The Markets also support the Gilbert Family Foundation’s dedication to providing universal access to safe, inclusive and thriving spaces. JJ Velez, the Gilbert Family Foundation’s Director of Public Spaces, agrees. “These spaces build bonds and allow individuals from all walks of life…to come down and really have an unbelievable experience,” he said.
Check out this video of the Downtown Detroit Markets to learn more and come experience them for yourself.