Downtown Detroit markets return, bringing opportunity to small businesses

Posted at 5:27 AM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 07:02:43-05

(WXYZ) — Bedrock's Downtown Detroit markets are making their post lockdown come back. Last year, the event went virtual, but organizers say 2021 is going to be bigger and better than ever.

In all, there are 18 vendors that were chosen to participate, and some say the exposure could bring their small business to the next level.

Located in Cadillac Square, just next to Campus Martius, the markets have come to life over the past couple of days.

Preva Body and Zona CBD both launched in March 2020, right at the onset of the pandemic. Getting to sell their products in the heart of downtown is really the boost they need to thrive well past the pandemic.

"This is like the biggest opportunity we've had," Preva Body Owner and Creator Scott Boateng said.

Boateng and Hillary Parks, the owner of Zona CBD, can't help but be all smiles. They lifted their shea butter and CBD oil business off the ground, even when odds were stacked against them.

"When you're really passionate about it's impossible for you to abandon it," Boateng added.

That entrepreneurial spirit paid off. They now have their own storefront in Downtown Detroit as the gift-giving season kicks off, and people are anxious to get out.

"I see a lot of growth. Obviously, we are predicting a lot of foot traffic, so we are trying to keep ahead of production make sure we stay stocked and supply great products to everybody," he added.

Small businesses employ. nearly 50% of American workers, yet only 2/3 actually survive the past two years.

It's a financially fragile undertaking, which is why the Rocket Community Fund isn't collecting any rent for the space. They do, however, collect a small fee is a vendor makes more than $10,000.

"It wouldn't have been possible for us to have this venue and being a small business. Rents are quite high so we really are thankful to have this opportunity," Jerome McMillan, the owner of New Millenium Books, added.

McMillan is one of the 18 small businesses that are occupying the Downtown Detroit Markets. Organizers say they get more than 100 applications each year.

"Every year we try to find a diverse set of entrepreneurs that really reflects the city of Detroit and that changes every year," Laura Grannemann, the vice president of strategic investments for the Rocket Community Fund said.

Boateng and Parks say representation matters, and the best way to revitalize a community is by investing in its people.

"Take a look at all these businesses and take a look at your community that's coming out to support these businesses," Parks said. "We need your help so we can continue doing things like this. We can make it even bigger next year and we continue to help this place grow. Detroit is a hidden gem and now is the time for the world to see it."

The markets and Cadillac Lodge will be downtown through the end of December. They will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.