Gilbert Family Foundation and Bedrock Announce Applications Now Open for 2023 Downtown Detroit Markets
Managed in partnership with Bedrock, TechTown Detroit and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, the Downtown Detroit Markets will feature 16 pop-up vendors during the 2023 holiday season.
Funded by the Gilbert Family Foundation (GFF), the Downtown Detroit Markets are a continuation of Dan and Jennifer Gilbert’s $500 million commitment and ongoing efforts to help Detroit residents build equity.
May 11, 2023
The Gilbert Family Foundation and Bedrock today announced vendor applications for the 2023 Downtown Detroit Markets season are now open. The Markets are slated to return to the city center in November and December 2023, and will once again call Downtown Detroit’s Cadillac Square home.
The Markets are underwritten by a philanthropic investment from the Gilbert Family Foundation as part of Dan and Jennifer Gilberts’ 10-year, $500 million investment into the city of Detroit. The Gilbert Family Foundation aims to build economic mobility and equity for Detroit residents by providing meaningful access to opportunities like these, which lift up entrepreneurs by placing their goods in a high-value, high-traffic area during the busy holiday season.
“We understand entrepreneurship and public space hold immense potential in the Detroit community, and it’s critical to provide small business owners unique opportunities to succeed through activations like the Downtown Detroit Markets,” said Laura Grannemann, Executive Director of the Gilbert Family Foundation.
Now in its sixth year, the Downtown Detroit Markets have provided a launchpad for more than 150 small businesses, a majority of which are predominantly Detroit-based, generating nearly $4 million in overall sales. Since inception, 19 small businesses have returned for multiple seasons as vendors, some of which have used the revenue and exposure to open brick-and-mortar storefronts of their own.
“I started Halie & Co. in 2019 in my living room as a creative outlet and had it not been for the exposure of being a part of the Downtown Detroit Markets, it would still be just that. The Markets created a micro storefront experience which allowed me to learn so much about myself, running a business to scale and what it takes to have a successful storefront,” said Haile Conyers, Founder of Halie & Co., a 2022 Downtown Detroit Markets participant. “The teams at Bedrock, the Gilbert Family Foundation and TechTown supported me during the entire process. The connections they made for me to other businesses and resources in Detroit will allow me to take my business to the next level.”
During the 2022 holiday season, Haile joined 17 other local small businesses – the majority of which were owned by people of color or women– whose combined sales totaled more than $1 million, making it the most successful season to date.
“Throughout the years, the Downtown Detroit Markets have proven to be a valuable launchpad for entrepreneurs and creators seeking a test market,” said Ivy Greaner, Bedrock’s Chief Operating Officer. “Supporting small business is a key component of Bedrock’s mission and an integral part of the fabric, vibrancy and culture of downtown Detroit. The Markets provide an incredible opportunity for vendors to pop up, incubate and showcase their brands during the winter season in front of Detroiters and visitors alike.”
TechTown, Detroit’s entrepreneurship hub that provides programs, education and resources for early-to-growth-stage small businesses, is an essential partner in the Downtown Detroit Markets. The organization provides specialized training for participating vendors before, during and after the Markets season. In addition, each business receives the opportunity to work one-on-one with a TechTown retail strategist on a weekly basis.
“TechTown is pleased to once again partner with Bedrock and the Gilbert Family Foundation to support the Market vendors with retail training and business coaching,” said TechTown Retail Strategist Carrie Vestrand. “It was an incredible experience last year mentoring the vendors, and we are excited to see the new group of talented small business owners that will be showcased at the Markets and to support them with coaching and workshops.”
“With placemaking and management at our core, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is proud to once again team up with the Gilbert Family Foundation and Bedrock to produce, operate and host the Downtown Detroit Markets in Cadillac Square during the holiday season,” said David Cowan, chief public spaces officer for the Downtown Detroit Partnership. “Since the inception of the Downtown Detroit Markets in 2017, DDP has remained committed to the collaborative effort to build a thriving downtown by providing small businesses a large platform during the holidays and also throughout the year.”
Downtown Detroit Market Application Information:
Applications are now open at www.gilbertfamilyfoundation.org/winter-markets-application/ and will close on Sunday, June 4 at 11:59 pm.
- Vendors must be selling a product. No service-based businesses will be accepted.
- Products cannot contain alcohol, tobacco, drugs or weapons.
- Vendors cannot be a current Bedrock retail tenant.
- Vendors cannot be currently employed by the Rock Family of Companies.
- If selected, vendors must pay a one-time, upfront $1,500 deposit and one additional payment of $1,000 during the season.
This season, the team is looking for the following market mix. Please note, we reserve the right to adjust this target selection based upon actual application submissions.
- Four (4) apparel
- Three (3) home goods
- Three (3) gifting, including food and beverage
- Two (2) accessories
- One (1) wellness & beauty
- Two (2) children’s clothing/toys
- One (1) pets
Priority will be given to Detroit-based businesses as well as businesses who have not participated in the Markets previously. Applications will be reviewed by a diverse group of representatives from the Gilbert Family Foundation, Bedrock, TechTown and the Downtown Detroit Partnership.
Downtown Detroit Markets vendors will be notified in July 2023.
TechTown will host two virtual info sessions for prospective vendors:
- May 17 from 6-7pm: https://techtown.zohobackstage.com/BedrockHolidayMarketVendorInfoSession
- June 7 from 6-7pm: https://techtown.zohobackstage.com/BedrockHolidayMarketVendorInfoSession1