DETROIT (WXYZ) — Five businesses in Detroit have been chosen as finalists in the Comerica Hatch Detroit contest, and all five are vying for $100,000 to help grow their businesses. Now, it's up to the public to vote.
This is the first time in the 9-year history of the contest that five businesses have made it to the finals. On top of the $100,000 from Comerica Bank, the winning business will get $200,000 in pro bono support from Hatch Detroit and its partners to open a brick-and-mortar business in either Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.
The finalists are:
- 27th Letter Books: an independent bookstore and audio recording space. Their mission is to connect and inspire people through stories, highlighting excellent writing and underrepresented voices.
- Brix Wine and Charcuterie: a gathering place in the Liv/7 neighborhood built on the love of wine, offering a curated wine and small plates menu along with Brix Concierge, a wine curation service.
- ILERA Apothecary: an organic and vegan beauty tech company catering to customers who want the highest quality ingredients in their skin products, without compromising the environment or their budget. ILERA is expected to open a retail store in Detroit containing a curation of skincare items that are carefully sourced and made without toxic ingredients.
- Street Beet: a 100-percent vegan food pop-up based in Detroit pairing creativity and passion to offer a dining experience that is approachable and delicious for all. Street Beet hopes to eventually open a brick and mortar space to provide Detroiters with affordable and nostalgic vegan comfort food – with a focus on allergen-friendly options.
- The French Cow: started as a pop-up when owner Marie Wallace moved to Detroit after realizing there wasn’t food here that she grew up eating in France. Currently a popup at Eastern Market, The French Cow aims to open a brick and mortar space serving crepes, cheese, ice creams and other French cuisines in authentic French environment.
“We had such an incredible interest in this year’s Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest, from the record 444 submissions we received, all the way down to the wire with the fourth and fifth businesses being so close in votes, that we decided to return the vote to the public and present five finalists instead of four,” said Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. “Hatch Detroit prides itself on highlighting the value of unique, independent retail and turning to city residents for their input. This is the reason we continue to invest so much in Detroit’s ever-growing small business community.”
Nearly 30,000 votes have been cast since the top 10 were announced, and now, the five finalists will pitch their business to a panel of jduges and the audience. The judges' deliberation and audience vote will determine the winner on Oct. 17.