Hatch Detroit started the annual Hatch Contest in 2011 to attract new retailers to open storefronts. But several smaller retail nodes are also undergoing a resurgence in Detroit neighborhoods. These districts are either expanding their retail offerings or improving their building stock to encourage new entrepreneurs to open. Enter the Hatch Neighborhood Initiative in partnership with the Detroit Lions. In this program, we work closely with the local community development corporations in six target neighborhoods. Our programming aims to champion the long-standing independent retail businesses and the neighborhood infrastructure that supports them.
Avenue of Fashion
Located on Livernois between Seven and Eight Mile Roads, the Avenue of Fashion is resurrecting its status of fashion mecca. Boutiques are popping up all along the Avenue, interspersed with new dining options. Surrounded by several strong residential areas, the Avenue of Fashion is a perfect location for small business. In 2013, Hatch Detroit launched its neighborhood initiative on the Avenue in partnership with the Detroit Lions and local CDC University Commons. With the guidance of University Commons and using planning documents created by a ULI Study of the area, we identified an area of focus and brought new pedestrian scale signage to five businesses on the Avenue. Hatch Detroit and the Lions also completed a beautification project & participated in other local events.
Phase II of the Hatch Neighborhood Initiative was centered around The Villages of Detroit. Working with the Villages CDC, we determined our project area as the Agnes retail strip, between Parker St. and Van Dyke.
Here, we installed new lighting in the alley & back parking lot, installed bike racks, and signage for four businesses. We refurbished the broken gas lighting lining Agnes street and repaved sidewalks on Agnes, Parker and Van Dyke.
The Villages is also home to Detroit Vegan Soul, a 2012 Comerica Hatch Detroit Finalist, 2014 Contest Winner Sister Pie and 2015 Contest Winner Live Cycle Delight.
Hatch Detroit selected Grandmont Rosedale as the third project site in the Hatch Detroit Neighborhood Initiative, focused on serving storefront retail in Detroit.
With the Detroit Lions Charities $150,000 contribution to the program, the team was able to bring community-driven infrastructure improvements that aimed to improve pedestrian friendliness around the businesses on Grand River Avenue between Warwick Street and Outer Drive. Working with the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, Hatch Detroit and the Detroit Lions have identified several place-making elements and their impact on retail success.
Through this project, Hatch Detroit installed new pedestrian scale signage for businesses, bike racks and held a community planting day to install new landscaping.
Neighborhood Initiative FAQs
What is the Hatch Detroit Neighborhood Initiative?
The Detroit Lions in partnership with Hatch Detroit (the only charitable organization dedicated exclusively to championing independent storefront retail in Detroit), will launch an entirely new “neighborhood initiative”, serving the existing storefront retailers that make a Detroit neighborhood truly a neighborhood. The Detroit Lions’ support for the Hatch Detroit Neighborhood Initiative is an extension of our entirely new community and philanthropic initiative, Living for the City which supports organizations that pursue integrated approaches to physical fitness, healthy eating, housing, land use and environmental planning, public transportation, community infrastructure, and aligned workforce opportunities.
What neighborhoods will be included?
Our focus has been on three neighborhoods outside of the Downtown/Midtown area. Those neighborhoods are: The Avenue of Fashion, The Villages, and Grandmont-Rosedale.
Why these neighborhoods?
We see these historical neighborhoods as a critical component of the revitalization of the region and we want to do what we can to shine a spotlight on the entrepreneurs in those neighborhoods making a difference. Hatch Detroit in partnership with the CDC (Community Development Corporations) and other community leaders in these neighborhoods, have identified what those neighborhoods need and who the community sees as the best examples of positive independent retailers–those who contribute to the community, keep their surrounding areas safe and clean, and are otherwise an asset to the neighborhood and its growth.
What kinds of projects will take place in these neighborhoods?
We will work with a team of consultants to address critical elements of retail success: examples are exterior signage and display, retail packaging/branding, window displays, interior/exterior lighting, E-marketing/web Production, etc.
In our previous work on the Avenue of Fashion, we focused on honoring the pedestrian and establishing a district look & feel with the installation of smaller scale signage and hosting the district-wide clean up.
In the Villages, our focus was on improving community safety. Refurbishing the street lights, installing new alley & parking lot lighting and repaving the broken sidewalks were all developed towards this aim.
What is the purpose of this initiative?
Our hope is that while several businesses will benefit from getting a makeover of key retail elements and a ton of publicity and new customers, all surrounding businesses will feel the ripple effect. We will galvanize the Hatch network to support the business and the surrounding shops and share our work flow process to interested parties looking to do similar improvements in their communities.