Incubator Brings Startup Services, Co-Working to Grandmont Rosedale

The Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood on the west side of Detroit has long been an oasis of stability in a sometimes turbulent city. Originally created in the 1920s as a neighborhood for middle managers who worked for Ford, people who buy houses in the neighborhood tend to stay for decades. It’s diverse and well-kept, and watched over by an extremely active neighborhood group.

The community’s nerve center is the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, which, in its 24-year-history, has successfully renovated and sold 84 abandoned houses. It provides assistance in the form of forgivable loans, as well as money to repair homes. It operates a farmer’s market, a community garden, and has spent more than $2 million improving streetscapes along Grand River. Now, its latest project is a new incubator and co-working space at 19120 Grand River.

On Oct. 24, the doors to the Grand River WorkPlace, the first incubator of its kind outside of the city’s downtown-Midtown-Corktown area, will open to the public. It will also house a pop-up store called Love Travels Imports, which opens today.

I met Yvette Jenkins, owner of Love Travels, at the Always Brewing coffee shop a few doors down from the Grand River WorkPlace. She took me on a tour of the space, a former hair salon still waiting for a few final touches like carpet and paint.

The 300-square-foot Love Travels area is filled with reclaimed and repurposed wood, which fits Jenkins’ mission to sell fair-trade items from around the world. The rest of the 2,800-square-foot building features a big, open room that will have a long table; two conference rooms that can be booked in two-hour intervals for $10; five dedicated office spaces for $300 per month; two “phone booth” micro rooms for one-on-one meetings or a place for a private phone call; a kitchen; and bathrooms.

Amenities include 24-7 access, high-speed wi-fi, scanning, copying, and printing. It will also have parking spots, lockers, and mail boxes available for rent. The cost of a non-dedicated co-working space is $75 per month and those interested must commit to a three-month membership.

“One thing I love is that we’re centrally located, close to all the major freeways,” Jenkins says. “It’s a place people can easily get to, which is really a plus.”

Three of the dedicated offices are already spoken for by a real estate office, the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED), and a pharmacist who is starting her own business. Jenkins says CEED, SCORE Detroit and TechTown’s SWOT City program will regularly be in the building to meet with entrepreneurs and help connect them to local resources.

“It’s a new venture for us here,” Jenkins says. “As we find out what members need, we’ll grow to accommodate. It’s a place to work, but it’s also a community. Sharing resources is a big value to entrepreneurs.”

Part of the money supporting the Grand River WorkPlace came from ProsperUs, the New Economy Initiative, and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Revolve program.

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

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