TechTown presents five promising retail entrepreneurs with Kickstart Awards to launch bricks-and-mortar businesses

Date:        December 2, 2016
Contact:   Kristin Palm
Phone:     (313) 483-1326


TechTown presents five promising retail entrepreneurs with Kickstart Awards to launch bricks-and-mortar businesses


TechTown has awarded nearly $40,000 in subsidies to help five on-the-verge Detroit retail entrepreneurs launch brick-and-mortar businesses in Detroit. Each of the award winners is a graduate of TechTown’s 2016 Retail Boot Camp. The RBC Kickstart Awards are designed to help promising retailers launch their businesses in a Detroit commercial district within the next six to 12 months.


The winners were announced at a Retail Boot Camp Showcase November 15, following pitch presentations. The Kickstart Package includes up to $7500 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 include representatives from Bedrock Real Estate, the Detroit Development Fund and Motor City Match, a program of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, as well as local entrepreneurs.


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. Sixty-four percent of graduates in the program’s first four years are currently operating or opening soon in permanent or pop-up locations, including Paramita Sound, House of Pure Vin, Mama Coo’s Boutique, Ashe Supply Co., Breathe Beauty Bar, Third Wave Music, Pedicure & Shoes 2 Go and Live Cycle Delight.


“We are proud of Retail Boot Camp’s tremendous track record of success,” says Regina Ann Campbell, TechTown’s managing director for place-based entrepreneurship. “We’re excited to see all 21 of our newest graduates move their businesses forward, and we look forward to at least five more grand openings in the coming year.” All RBC graduates will transition into TechTown’s SWOT City program, which provides customized, one-one-one business consulting and is designed to help businesses complete all necessary steps to launch.


2016 Kickstart Award winners include:


Plum Health DPC
Plum Health DPC is a medical practice run by Dr. Paul Thomas that delivers affordable, accessible healthcare services in Detroit. The goal is to make high-quality primary care services affordable in a way that traditional insurance cannot, from doctor’s visits without a copay, to wholesale medications, at-cost labs, and at-cost imaging. Plum Health DPC has received $50,000 in funding from the Motor City Match.


Artistic Flesh Tattoo and Supply
Artistic Flesh Tattoo & Supply is metro Detroit’s premiere tattoo parlor and supply shop. Operating in Oak Park since 2012, Artistic Flesh specializes in custom tattoos, body jewelry and art commissions, and also offers wide range of tattoo supplies. The team collaborates with some of Detroit’s most talented artists and actively participates in community outreach projects and charities. Kimber intends to relocate his team and operations to downtown Detroit.


Kaleidoscope is a late-night patisserie and bar producing high-quality European pastries, artisanal chocolates and confections, imagined by Avida Johnson. Born and raised in Detroit, Johnson has worked throughout Europe and the US as a chocolatier/baker. She creates custom products for special events and wholesale accounts and plans to sell at pop-up events in the coming year. She then plans to permanently locate the patisserie in Southwest Detroit.


Eartha’s Natural Skin Care
Inspired by her child’s eczema, Dr. Dameshia Edwards developed Eartha’s Natural Skin Care, an all-natural skin care line that includes body butter, skin salve, and bath soaks, to help those with dry and itchy skin, sensitive skin and eczema. These products provide a natural alternative to medicated skin creams and topical steroids. Dr. Edwards’ items have been sold at various pop-up and vending events throughout Detroit and online at her website: Dr. Edwards plans to sell her products via local stores and hopes to ultimately locate in Midtown Detroit.


Brut Detroit Wine Bar
Brut is Detroit’s neighborhood pop-up wine bar, owned by Nicole Mangis. Brut offers unique wine tastings and social gatherings for the community and brings Detroiters together to experience the world through wine. Since March 2016 Brut has brought the world to Detroiters in every glass of wine and encouraged communities to break bread together. Mangis plans to open a full-service wine bar in the Grandmont Rosedale community of Northwest Detroit.



TechTown is Detroit’s most established business accelerator and incubator, offering a full suite of entrepreneurial services for both tech and neighborhood enterprises. TechTown helps startup and established businesses develop, launch and grow, while strengthening and diversifying the local economy.