TechTown Detroit Awards Five Rising Retailers with Kickstart Award

Date: July 23, 2018
Contact: Kristin Palm
Phone: (313) 483-1326


TechTown Detroit Awards Five Rising Retailers with Kickstart Award

TechTown Detroit has awarded five Detroit retail entrepreneurs with Kickstart Awards to help launch their brick-and-mortar businesses. Each of the award winners is a graduate of TechTown’s Spring 2018 Retail Boot Camp. The Kickstart Awards are designed to help retailers launch their businesses in a Detroit commercial district within the next six to 12 months.

The Kickstart Package includes up to $5000 worth of subsidies to be directed toward a permanent or pop-up space, inventory and/or a point-of-sale system. Judges for the pitch competition included representatives from Chemical Bank, Design Core Detroit, Woodborn Partners and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

Retail Boot Camp is an intensive, eight-week program that prepares serious, Detroit-based entrepreneurs for the opening of their brick-and-mortar retail establishments. Graduates throughout the city include Mama Coo’s Boutique, Live Cycle Delight, Sfumato Fragrances and recent Quicken Loans Demo Day winners Plum Health and Lush Yummies Pie Company.

“Detroit’s retail industry is shifting and our graduates are standouts who attest to these changing dynamics,” says Sarah Donnelly, TechTown’s director of retail services. “These businesses are getting open, staying open and providing services and amenities to residents in neighborhoods across the city.”

The winners were announced at the Retail Boot Camp Showcase on June 5, following pitch presentations. Several graduates are already accelerating toward grand openings. The Upperow, luxury cut and sew clothing brand and 2018 Motor City Match winner, is set to open their flagship store in Detroit’s Midtown area. Latin restaurant, Toma Detroit plans to open its location in Corktown this year.

2018 Kickstart Award winners include:

The Upperow
The Upperow is a cut and sew luxury lifestyle brand that offers classy, upscale, versatile and exclusive clothing for men, women and children.

CIGARDEN is a cigar service that specializes in educating and cultivating great experiences for discerning cigar aficionados and novice smokers alike. CIGARDEN offers Cigar 101 public and private events, retail pop-ups, out-of-state shipping and local deliveries.

Toma Detroit
Toma Detroit will feature a Latin-inspired menu, craft cocktails and a tequila and mezcal tasting room. Toma Detroit prides itself on providing excellent service while educating customers about Latin culture.

Detroit Teachers’ Store
The Detroit Teachers’ Store is an educational retail center devoted to increasing the academic outcomes of scholars in the city of Detroit. The mission of the Detroit Teachers’ Store is to equip all scholars in the city of Detroit with the hands-on, minds-on, high-quality educational resources required for a successful K-12 career, post-secondary education and career attainment.

The Heat Factory
The Heat Factory is Detroit’s hottest sneaker resell store, dedicated to revolutionizing the retail experience for buying, selling and trading sneakers via its Sneaker Swap. The Heat Factory was created to give sneaker lovers access to the sneakers that they have always wanted, for affordable prices.

TechTown is Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub, with a full suite of programs for both tech and neighborhood small businesses. TechTown works with businesses at all stages, helping startup, emerging and established companies develop, launch and grow. For more information, visit