- Funded by the Gilbert Family Foundation and managed by the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) with support from Bedrock, the Downtown Detroit Markets will feature 17 pop-up vendors during the holiday season on Cadillac Square.
- TechTown returns to provide consulting and mentorship support for participating small businesses.
- Cadillac Lodge will offer an assortment of tasty treats and festive drinks for the entire family.
October 12, 2023 [DETROIT] – The Gilbert Family Foundation and Bedrock today announced the return of the Downtown Detroit Markets and Cadillac Lodge, providing Detroiters with a seasonal, fun and immersive experience. Beginning Thursday, Nov. 9, 17 local businesses, the majority of which are Detroit-based and BIPOC or female-owned, will pop up in Cadillac Square to provide residents with engaging and diverse retail opportunities. The Downtown Detroit Markets will be open through Jan. 7, 2024.
“The Downtown Detroit Markets create a beautiful, inclusive space that builds strong social connection during winter months and provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for entrepreneurs to reach new customers during the peak of the holiday shopping season,” said Laura Grannemann, executive director of the Gilbert Family Foundation. “We are excited to once again collaborate with Bedrock and the Downtown Detroit Partnership on this beautiful space that showcases the year-round vibrancy of Detroit.”
Now in its sixth year, the Downtown Detroit Markets have offered a launchpad to more than 130 small businesses generating nearly $4 million in overall sales. Over the years, 19 small businesses have taken part in the Markets more than once, and some have gone on to open brick-and-mortar storefronts. New this year, vendors will receive $3,000 in support. This includes $1,500 to assist with their business operations throughout the season and an additional $1,500 after the season concludes for wrap-around services.
“The Downtown Detroit Markets are a beloved tradition and staple of the holiday season in downtown Detroit,” said Ivy Greaner, Bedrock’s Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve seen, firsthand, the positive impact that the Markets experience has had on the participating small businesses as these flourishing entrepreneurs share their products and services with our engaged community.”
TechTown, Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub offering programs, education and resources for early-to-growth-stage small businesses, is an essential partner in the Downtown Detroit Markets. The organization offers specialized training for participating vendors before, during and after the Markets season. In addition, each business receives the opportunity to work one-on-one with a TechTown retail strategist on a weekly basis. Learn more in the video below.
“TechTown is eager to support the 17 incredible businesses selected to participate in the 2023 Downtown Detroit Markets with coaching in the areas of inventory management, visual merchandising, customer service, revenue generation and so much more,” said TechTown Retail Strategist Carrie Vestrand. “This amazing opportunity provides exposure for these local businesses that few other opportunities can match, and we are certain the featured businesses will bring unique and creative merchandise offerings that will attract shoppers from near and far.”
“The Downtown Detroit Partnership is proud to welcome the Downtown Detroit Markets in Cadillac Square for the 6th consecutive year, offering Detroit small businesses a unique platform to scale their enterprise and reach a customer base of more than 1.5 million visitors during the holiday season,” said David Cowan, chief public spaces officer for the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “At our core, DDP is dedicated to placemaking and place management, driving our collaborative efforts to build a thriving downtown year-round.”
Michelle Smart, founder of Bags to Butterflies, eagerly anticipates sharing her luxurious, sustainable bags out of repurposed wood.
“Bags to Butterflies is thrilled to join the Downtown Detroit Markets as a vendor. This opportunity allows us to showcase our fashion products and support our mission of empowering formerly incarcerated women through transitional employment,” said Michelle Smart, founder of Bags to Butterflies. “Our new handbag collection, crafted by women in our program, will debut here, with our participants on-site to enhance the customer experience. We’re grateful to The Gilbert Family Foundation, Bedrock, Downtown Detroit Partnership and TechTown for this incredible chance.”
Halie & Co. is returning for its second year, following a highly successful 2022, where it became the first vendor to generate more than $100,000 in sales through the markets.
“I’m thrilled to return to the Downtown Detroit Markets for the 2023 season. It was a game-changing experience for Halie & Co. in 2022, allowing me to connect with customers in person and expand my local base,” said Halie Conyers, founder of Halie & Co. “Testing your business as a storefront is invaluable, and I’m forever grateful for the support from The Gilbert Family Foundation, Bedrock, and TechTown. This opportunity helped me grow my sales to new heights and opened doors for my business.”
POST, a Detroit-based production studio, retail shop and venue for craft workshops, is rejoining the Detroit markets as a partner, offering free gift-wrapping services for the public. POST is also introducing engaging programming in Cadillac Square to showcase their products and conduct a series of quick, drop-in style, mixed-media workshops suitable for all ages. These workshops encompass activities like colorful marbling, screen printing, wreath making, and on-site customization of textile, wood, or ceramic projects, providing a dynamic and interactive experience for attendees.
The Cadillac Lodge in Downtown Detroit also returns this year, offering a warm, family-friendly environment until January 21, 2024. The Cadillac Lodge exemplifies the Gilbert Family Foundation’s commitment to inclusive public spaces by fostering community in the heart of downtown. The Iconic Collection will once again manage the Lodge this season, serving a wide variety of food and beverage options including walking tacos, Detroit-style chili, warm soft pretzels, hot cocktails, beer, wine, non-alcoholic options and more. For dates and hours, visit DeckedOutDetroit.com or follow @DeckedOutDetroit, #DowntownDetroitMarkets, #CadillacLodge and #DeckedOutDetroit.
Downtown Detroit Market Vendors include:
Bags to Butterflies – Fashion with a social mission, Bags to Butterflies puts the “purpose” in “repurpose.” The brand empowers and trains formerly incarcerated women to craft luxurious, sustainable bags out of repurposed wood. The cross-bodies, handbags and other accessories reflect the stories and transformations of the women who skillfully handcraft them.
Two Stix 5 Stones – With a focus on texture and color, Two Stix 5 Stones specializes in funky-chic knitwear for people and pets. Each freehand design uses the highest-quality and ethically sourced wool, cashmere, silk, merino, cotton, rayon and alpaca. The hand-crafted knitted accessories include hats, shawls, headbands, gloves, mittens, scarves and pet sweaters. Two Stix 5 Stones has been featured by Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the “30 Americans” exhibition.
Halie & Co. – Using solid gold and sterling silver, designer Halie Conyers handcrafts high-quality (and budget-friendly) jewelry such as rings, necklaces, earrings, and—if you’re not afraid of commitment—permanent bracelets sized and welded to fit each customer. But it doesn’t stop at jewelry and gemstones…Halie & Co. also offers hand-poured candles, diffusers, and other home décor.
The Brave Wimp – The Brave Wimp is here to help you find pride in being YOU! Their handmade, eco-conscious, pop art wearables and home goods incorporate empowering messages and imagery to celebrate diversity, inclusivity and community. From graphic T-shirts, to handcrafted wood jewelry and all-natural candles, some of the messages include: “Empowered Women Empower the World,” “There is Power in Kindness,” and “Be Kind. Be Brave. Be You.”
Ariya’s Apparel and Accessories – Ariya’s Apparel and Accessories is a boutique that caters to women 35+ with modest and modern fashion. With a personal desire to dress demure, yet stylish, owner Akeya Muhammad carefully curates each item including dresses, tops, bottoms, sets, outerwear, scarves, jewelry and handbags. Her goal is to provide her humble, haute designs to women across the country.
ASTOURI – Born out of the love of where we live, ASTOURI apparel and accessories feature iconic and artistically licensed photography. With a focus on community pride, femininity and functional style, more than 90% of ASTOURI products, including scarves, eye masks, skirts, ponchos, kimonos, dusters, dresses, sweatshirts, wraps and shawls are made in the U.S. by female-owned-and-operated manufacturers.
Verbatim – Inspired by poetry, art and style, Verbatim’s apparel is designed to validate the Black and female experience, educate others, start conversations, and break barriers—all while keeping customers looking fresh. The Royal T collection includes T-shirts and sweatshirts with empowering messages such as, “…I am worthy to be loved,” “Ballroom history is Black history,” and “Compromise…for what?” The brand also sells beanies, scarves, and other accessories.
Kids Like Mine – With the mission of inspiring children to embrace and love their true selves, Kids Like Mine owner LaTashia Perry writes diverse and empowering children’s picture books featuring Black and brown characters in stories such as, “Skin Like Mine,” and “Hair Like Mine.” She also sells merchandise including socks, lunchboxes, pajamas, backpacks, tote bags, T-shirts, and puzzles that are all custom-made and gender neutral.
Janna Kay Charcuterie Boards and Boxes- Whether it’s a full spread or a charcuterie box to-go, Janna Kay Charcuterie Boards and Boxes is a one-stop shop for hosting an event. The catering company serves both private and corporate clients and sells charcuterie accessories, stemware and other home goods necessary for entertaining as the host(ess) with the most(est).
FOLK – Located in historic Corktown, FOLK offers biodynamic wines, specialty coffee, catering, and a private event space. FOLK sources from minority creators and spotlights high-quality food, beverages, and giftable items such as candles, beanies, tote bags, books, tableware, linens, jams, honey, oils, cookies, chocolates and treat nuts.
Konjo Me – Konjo Me is a pop-up restaurant that serves authentic Ethiopian cuisine and other Ethiopian-sourced goods like spices and coffee. “Konjo” means “beautiful” in Amharic, one of the many languages of Ethiopia. As the only shop in Michigan that sells authentic Ethiopian goods, Chef Helina is proudly bringing the taste and culture of Ethiopia to downtown Detroit.
Waffle Cabin – If you have a sweet tooth, this one’s for you! Waffle Cabin is a food truck that specializes in (you guessed it!) authentic made-to-order Belgian dessert waffles with toppings including chocolate, caramel, ice cream, marshmallows, cookies, candy and more. They will also have soda and water for sale, along with waffle swag like stickers and T-shirts. The aroma of the fresh waffles, however, comes free!
Crummy’s Cake Supply & Studio – Whether you want to pick up a cake or bake it yourself, Crummy’s Cake Supply & Studio is the place to go! Not only does the shop bake all its authentic southern desserts (pound cake, sweet potato pie, bread, cookies, etc.) from scratch using recipes passed down for generations, but it also offers cake supplies, cake classes, and a rental kitchen. Crummy’s is the first Black-owned cake supply store in Detroit.
Opal Grove Games – Do you want to play a game? Well, Opal Grove Games has just about every type of game imaginable, with a mission to build the most fun, inclusive and inventive board game store ever. They carry party games, board games, card games, tactics games, role-playing games and all the necessary accessories. Additionally, owners Aisha Blake and Ben Lippi love teaching, and offer gaming workshops and open game nights.
Speedcult – A metal art fabrication company, Speedcult has been licensed with Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to create home, garage and business décor using their official logos. They also specialize in original art featuring skulls, critters, monsters, aliens, hot rod and rat rod lingo, all things Detroit and far beyond. In addition to the metal art, the shop also sells T-shirts, blankets, hats and beer koozies.
Rosemarine Textiles – With sustainability at the forefront of everything they do, Rosemarine Textiles is a home goods and accessories brand. All their products are created in their Detroit studio using natural fibers, low-waste production methods, food waste materials, plant dyes, and love. Some of their items include velvet throw pillows, silk scrunchies and ribbons, cotton socks and bandanas, linens, bucket hats, clothing and more.
MG Studio – MG Studio formulates and manufactures 21 plant-based and biodegradable haircare products for all hair types. MG studio offers an array of products including shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, styling products, oils and treatments. Owner Nicole Grant is a cosmetologist of more than 25 years who noticed many haircare products on the market contained damaging ingredients like silicones and copolymers, so she became a self-taught chemist to create her own natural line.
About the Gilbert Family Foundation
The Gilbert Family Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation founded by Jennifer and Dan Gilbert to accelerate a cure for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and build economic opportunity and equity in the city of Detroit. The Gilbert Family Foundation supports groundbreaking, cutting-edge research in hopes of eradicating NF1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves anywhere in the body. Additionally, the Foundation supports the economic stability and mobility of residents in Detroit by investing in wealth-building opportunities and breaking down systemic barriers. For more information on the Gilbert Family Foundation, please visit gilbertfamilyfoundation.org.
Bedrock is a full-service real estate firm specializing in innovative city-building strategies. Since its founding in 2011, Bedrock and its affiliates have invested and committed $6 billion to acquiring and developing more than 100 properties in Detroit and Cleveland, including landmark developments such as the Hudson’s Site, the Book Tower restoration, City Modern and the May Company Building.
Bedrock’s portfolio totals more than 19 million square feet of office, retail, residential, industrial and hospitality space within new construction and adaptive reuse projects.
For more information on Bedrock’s projects, visit bedrockdetroit.com or engage with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
TechTown empowers Detroit-based startups and local businesses to start, stabilize and scale by providing resources, collaborative workspace and education for entrepreneurs that will further accelerate inclusive economic development across Detroit. Since 2007, TechTown has supported 5,371 businesses which created 2,277 jobs and raised more than $385 million in startup and growth capital. For more information visit TechTown Detroit at techtowndetroit.org.
The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) strengthens and supports Downtown Detroit through strategic initiatives and programs. The DDP convenes business, philanthropic and government partners to create a vibrant and resilient urban core for Detroit and the surrounding community. The DDP is responsible for programming, managing and operating several of Downtown Detroit’s parks and public spaces. For more information, visit downtowndetroit.org.