The Green Garage Hopes To Incubate Urban Sustainability in Detroit

11/23/11Follow @XconomyDET

For months, we watched the renovations and wondered what the heck they were turning that building a few doors down from the Bronx bar into. A Whole Foods, someone said. A bike shop, the construction worker lounging outside the building two summers ago told me confidently. Finally, we divined a name from the sign posted on the door facing the newly landscaped alley telling UPS how to handle deliveries: the Green Garage. “Oh yeah,” my boyfriend told me. “I heard it’s gonna be, like, a hippie mechanic joint.”

It turns out the Green Garage is not a boutique grocery store, bike shop, or a counter-culture mechanic—it’s workshop and office space available for rental by those who are developing cleantech business ideas.

“We want to work with businesses on their true development,” says Peggy Brennan, who, with her husband Tom, purchased the space and led a group of 200 volunteers in its design and development. “We’re looking for the core of what makes a business unique, viable, and good for the environment and economy.”

Acknowledging that most young businesses suffer from a lack of resources, connections, and funding, the Green Garage hopes to serve as a starting point, providing guidance with business plans, funding sources, and community connections. Once the businesses are established, the idea is that they will move out of the garage and into the Detroit business environment. The Green Garage also has a library dedicated to urban sustainability that’s available to the public for check out, and Brennan says anyone interested in urban sustainability can walk in and ask for help.

“Above all, we’re looking for people who want to work with others rather than in isolation, and that have a willingness to do what it takes to work in a green environment,” Brennan adds.

And what an impressive environment Green Garage is. The first thing one notices upon walking in is the … Next Page »

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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