More retail coming to West Village. Pop in and visit!

We need more retail in our neighborhoods, right? So much revolves around it …bringing more people to Detroit to live, work and play … adding more businesses … helping improve Detroit’s financial situation and image.

Revolve is the right word. Just ask the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). It just announced the formal launch of its neighborhood retail development program  called Detroit REVOLVE.

REVOLVE is a collaboration, as it should be. DEGC will partner with community leaders, building owners, entrepreneurs, and artists to activate vacant storefronts with transformational businesses and art installations. The goal is to foster the evolution and vibrancy of Detroit’s neighborhood business districts.

It’s starting out with two new pop-up retail stores that will join the pop-up Tashmoo Biergarten this weekend in West Village at Agnes and Parker Sts. An eponymously named café called Coffee and Donuts and an enigmatically named apparel, antique and oddity shop called PRAMU (Pataphysical Research and Metachanic Union Local 313) will both pop-up on the October 13. The Villages Community Development Corporation and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation are supporting the two new pop-ups as part of a broader retail development effort.

Tashmoo Biergarten is returning to the Villages beginning October 13 and 14 and is open from 12 – 9 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 28.

Coffee and Donuts opens in the old Hillis Apothecary space once occupied by the Harlequin Café in the Parkstone Apartments building and features Detroit-made stuff. Its feature coffee is roasted in Detroit. The handmade pastries and artisan donuts are filled with locally made fruit preserves by Christina Gibbs and jelly from Slow Jams. The yogurt parfaits feature Simply Suzanne Granola and there are other Detroit-sourced surprises.

“It’s really exciting that the neighborhood I live in has all of the elements right here to let me do exactly what I want to do with a new business – create a place for neighbors to gather over coffee and a chance for me to bake all of the specialty pastries I miss making,” said Angela Foster, owner and chef. “It’s amazing how all my friends, neighbors and local food sources have pitched in to help me get started.”

PRAMU, The Pataphysical Research and Metachanic Union Local 313, is the brainchild of local designer Dylan Box and tech entrepreneur Edmund Zagorin. It will sell a sampling of Detroit apparel alongside antique furniture and other oddities in one of the now-vacant storefronts along Agnes Street.

“What we wanted to do with this retail pop-up is to create an opportunity to showcase some local designers who are doing great work, who are sort of continuing the aesthetic traditions of the city … be they industrial, be they retro-futurist … there’s such a rich design history here,” said Edmund Zagorin, director of metachanics at PRAMU.

DEGC, The Villages CDC, Parkstone Apartments and West Village Manor are also collaborating to recruit new permanent retail to the historic district.

“All the right ingredients are here in West Village. We’ve been blown away by the demand and quality of businesses that want to be a part of this special place in Detroit,” said Michael Forsyth, DEGC project manager for retail development.
Brian Hurttienne, executive director of The Villages CDC added, “By spring and summer of 2013, this entire block of Agnes Street will be activated with full-time, independent retail. Pop-ups will give residents a small taste of what’s to come while giving Detroit’s entrepreneurs a taste of what it’s like to run a small business full-time.”

“We have seen the successes of Downtown pop-ups and artists turning vacant storefronts into outdoor galleries,” Forsyth said. “We know we have a rich supply of walkable retail districts with a distinct character and history and we know we have a deep pool of entrepreneurial talent and untapped demand. REVOLVE simply stirs all that together to create a retail evolution for Detroiters and city visitors.”

REVOLVE aims to benefit neighborhoods, building owners, artists and entrepreneurs by:

  • Matching entrepreneurs and artists with opportunities to transform vacant spaces into active places
  • Connecting property owners to a suite of resources to create retail ready space
  • Recruiting and supporting both temporary and high-quality, long-term retail businesses for neighborhoods that have a strong sense of community identity and distinctive, walkable retail districts
  • Creating “buzz” by changing the conversation, image and customer experience on the street and online
  • Showcasing Detroit’s world-class art scene to new audiences in person and online

The ultimate goal: Transform the image and potential of Detroit’s historic neighborhoods.
Find REVOLVE at Twitter: @RevolveDetroit.

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