Retail! Retail! We need more retail!
That’s the constant chant as downtown Detroit works to transform itself.
The program is Pilot, a retail pop-up project for emerging entrepreneurs. Those chosen for the project will get two months of rent-free interior white-box space in D:hive’s welcome center located at 1253 Woodward Avenue. Pop-ups will have full use of the 375-square-foot interior space as well as a window display portion of D:hive’s exterior window facades facing Woodward.
“This is an opportunity open to all entrepreneurs to test their brick and mortar potential in a prime location downtown,” said April Boyle, D:hive’s director of recruitment and pilot’s project manager.
The first business to open is pot & box, a floral design and container gardening service based in Ann Arbor. It will move into D:hive May 2 and recently announced plans to open up a permanent location in Corktown as well.
“We wanted to launch Pilot with a business that represents the kind of retail that will work in Detroit, and whose strong branding, design and programming will demonstrate the potential of our space as a retail laboratory,” said Boyle.
Going forward D:hive will hold a quarterly open call for pop-up proposals. A committee of experts will select each pop-up in residence putting an emphasis on community engagement and involvement.
Pilot will begin taking submissions for the next pop-up proposal on June 6 for an initial pop-up start date of August 1. Interested business owners should submit a detailed proposal including a business plan, preliminary designs for the physical space and a marketing and programming strategy.
Along with a two-month, rent-free space each selected business will receive a number of perks including a modest space transformation grant, marketing from D:hive, design assistance from its in-house designers, mentorship from its team of small business experts and continued support and collaboration with D:hive, Opportunity Detroit and other partners.
“This program is a great opportunity for an early stage local entrepreneur to have a risk-free temporary venue to present and experiment with a creative retail concept,” said Deb Dansby, vice president of Rock Ventures.
For more information on Pilot, including the submission process and timeline, visit dhivedetroit.org/pilot.