For those who follow Detroit business, the Final Four was announced today – and for Comerica Hatch Detroit contest watchers like me, the news couldn’t have been more exciting.
Because although the Top Ten finalists were great, those who made it to the last four spots are going to bring some serious fight and might to the next round. I use those words purposely – there will be a brawl for the $50,000 winning prize as well as a test of which entry has both the popularity and the business moxie to get this thing done.
According to contest organizers, more than 26,300 votes were cast in the first week of voting in the 2013 contest. As a result, the final four are:
• Batch Brewing Company, which aims to become Detroit’s first nano-brewing company, adding their own beer to Detroit’s ranks while seeking to help other small breweries develop their brand through their “Brewery Incubator” program.
• Corktown Cinema, the reincarnation of the Burton Theater: an eclectic independent cinema that will feature arthouse, independent, LGBT, foreign, second-run mainstream, local and cult films. Their aim is to help Detroit rival Chicago and New York as a center for independent film.
• HenriettaHaus Coffee Roasters, a coffee roaster and cafe looking to open up in Hamtramck. Their menu will include homemade favorites that people already drive miles to purchase at their pop-up location in the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale.
• Spielhaus Toys , an independent specialty toy store serving the families of Detroit and its visitors. Fond memories of the children’s store at Hudson’s fuel the vision of this establishment, and aim to bring similar happy experiences to a new generation of Detroit children.
Just from our observations, this year’s contest was a true battle with most contestants getting out in front of people, not just relying on strangers for their votes. Mama’s Sweet Side went to its U-M alumni group to get more votes. There were posters for Corktown Cinema all over the place. This was as impressive a start to Hatch in its three-year run, in my estimation.
Public voting runs through Aug. 28. The big Hatch Off event will be held Aug. 29, where the Final Four will present their business plans in a formal event. Your vote – and that of the judges hanging out that night at the Madison Building – will determine who will be the next Hatch business to open in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck.
Public tickets for the Hatch Off event are free and are available online at www.hatchdetroit.com. Hatch Detroit has contracted past contestants Alley Wine, Rock City Pies, La Feria and pot & box and winners to supply light bites, dessert, drinks and décor.
From the press release: “It’s amazing to see the overwhelming public support of retail revitalization in this city,” said Nick Gorga, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. “We’re so eager to see which awesome business idea earns the winning title.”
And this: “In just a few weeks, these businesses have created a buzz around the City of Detroit,” said Michael T. Ritchie, president of Comerica Bank-Michigan. “There’s no denying that this contest does good things for retail business in the city and region and for both the contestants and winners – we’ve seen it year after year.”
Vote here – you can do it daily and have a real impact on the Detroit retail/eatery landscape.