In January Fusion Flare Kitchen & Cocktails invited the community to celebrate their grand opening. Now, almost five months later, owner Mashelle Sykes says business is better than she could have ever imagined, but this success didn’t come without hurdles.
“I was blown away by the amount of publicity we received. All of the major Detroit news outlets attended the grand opening to interview me and my husband, which made our turnout amazing.”
In fact, the turnout was so amazing that Mashelle quickly found the need to hire more staff to accommodate the influx in customers. Although the first two months of being open were slightly overwhelming, Mashelle was inspired to see not only people in the neighborhood and region, but foodies from all over the country visit.
“I didn’t know what to expect opening a restaurant in a neighborhood that doesn’t have many other small businesses, other than auto collision shops,” disclosed Mashelle.
Normally, businesses would have the opportunity to band together to cross-promote, and create a network of support and referrals, but the Joy community is a different case. Combined with the fact that it would be the first sit-down restaurant opening in this neighborhood in over 20 years, understandably, Mashelle had anxiety around pouring her life savings into the business. The exposure her restaurant received, however, suppressed all of her fears, as she had long lines of customers waiting for their chance to try her fusion cuisine.
So what goes into making a business successful? Mashelle says there are many factors that were at play, but the biggest is the support she’s received from various organizations.
“Initially, I wasn’t looking for help,” Mashelle admitted. “I met Warren Galloway, a SWOT City portfolio manager, through my hair stylist. From there, Lawrence Jackson, another portfolio manager, helped me with my financial business projections, which was a huge help. After that, Micah Loucks became my ongoing portfolio manager – and he’s amazing. Micah has done everything from helping us curate our menu and finding our POS system, to washing dishes the day of our grand opening, even though it wasn’t his job. SWOT City helped make my business the success it is today.”
Fusion Flare’s menu features something for everyone, from the popular Fusion Flare Chicken & Waffles to a variety of vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
“Fusion Flare is a place where we welcome newcomers,” stated Mashelle. “We’ve created an environment where you don’t have to travel downtown to find good wine, cuisine and locally-sourced, fresh food.”