If anyone doubts that Metro Detroit is a hotbed of invention, entrepreneurship and creative thinking they just haven't been paying attention. Metromode
once again unearthed a treasure trove of people, companies and communities that are evolving our sense of place, building our new economy, and promoting innovation at every turn.
As we ring out the year we look back at a baker's dozen of stories that inspired us!
1. Royal Oak's Second Story
Walking through Royal Oak's downtown, it's hard not to notice the bars, restaurants and shops that have popped up over the last decade. But do you ever wonder what goes on upstairs? Terry Parris Jr. visits Main Street's second story and discovers a community of new economy creatives. And lots of cereal boxes!
2. Hacking Metro Detroit
It's about innovation and invention, not stealing your credit card info. With a trio of open-source, boundary-pushing hackerspaces opening in the last year, Metro Detroit has joined the international ranks of hackerdom. More than gadget-obsessed misfits, these make-geeks are out to make our world a little bit better... and more interesting.
3. Creating Creativity: A Q&A with ePrize's Josh Linkner
ePrize is arguably one of the most innovative companies in Metro Detroit, attracting a younger generation of creative professionals and techies. Jon Zemke sits down with CEO Josh Linkner to talk about creativity, entrepreneurship, and realigning the region's approach to its future.
4. Could Film Be Michigan's Gold Rush? A Q&A with Harvey Ovshinsky
"It's in our DNA to do amazing things," says Harvey Ovshinsky. Jon Zemke sits down with the veteran video producer and screenwriter to talk about Michigan's Film Incentives and their potential impact on the state's investment opportunities, job growth, and brain drain.
5. Photo Essay: Maker Faire Rocks!
Innovation was the name of the game as this past weekend saw hundreds of mad inventors and tens of thousands of watchers descend on Dearborn for Metro Detroit's first ever Maker Faire. There was a life-sized version of Mousetrap, flame-spewing vehicles, singing fish and the world's largest Coke meets Mentos experiment. Metromode's
Dave Lewinski was there to capture it in all its crazed glory!
6. Hungry For Success
Metro Detroit's young gun restaurateurs are thriving in an otherwise tough economy. Balancing style, location, and affordability, they've created popular eateries that cater to hip and enthusiastic crowds.
7. The Detroit Rah Rahs
Thirty-five is the new 18! If you think you've got Motor City spirit you haven't seen The Detroit Rah Rahs, a community cheerleading squad that celebrates the energy and vitality of our region. Men love 'em and women want to be 'em, or so they say.
8. Step Inside Breco Interiors
When he was young, interior designer John Breco couldn't wait to leave Michigan. Now that he's spent a lifetime professionally zig-zagging the country, he's happy to be back in Metro Detroit. And he has a few innovative things to say about local aesthetics and wind energy turbines. Seriously.
9. When Slow Growth Means Smart Growth
For most companies the mantra is: grow big and grow fast. Of course, given the current economy, any growth would be a blessing. But what if slow growth were the long term strategy? With a focus on work/life issues, purpose, and entrepreneurial pride, some Metro Detroit firms have consciously decided they'd rather be the tortoise than the hare.
10. From Blogs To Bucks
Everyone and their granny has a blog. But how many web-based wordsmiths know how to earn a buck for their efforts? From blog-based record labels to Internet journalists to movie deals for embarrassing text messages, some Metro Detroit bloggers are turning their passions into paychecks.
11. Epiphany Studios
Move over Chihuly, Epiphany Studios is out to eat your lunch. Okay, not really, but this Pontiac-based glass studio produces some incredible work, employing techniques developed and mastered by Italian glass blowers over hundreds of years.
12. Motor City Denim
If you're looking for proof that Metro Detroit's economy is in a period of evolution, take a gander at Motor City Denim - a partnership between an old school auto industry supplier and new school fashion designer. The brainchild of Joe Faris (of Project Runway fame) and TD Industrial Coverings, this all-local enterprise is a declaration of and commitment to Metro Detroit's resiliency.
13. How To Be The Ultimate Metro Detroit Locavore
Think you're a true blue Metro Detroit locavore because your milk comes from Calder and your veggies come from the neighborhood farmstand? Think again. There are homegrown companies producing everything from vodka to soap to furniture to toys in Southeast Michigan.