The Reality of Doing Business in Ypsilanti: a roundtable discussion with a half dozen of Ypsi’s most well known entrepreneurs

    This Thursday evening, from 5:00 to 7:00, I’ll be on stage at Woodruff’s, facilitating a conversation between Bee Mayhew Roll (Beezy’s), Eli Morrissey (The Rocket), Darryl Daniels (Jacobsen Daniels Associates), and Wonder Woman (Bona Sera Cafe) about the challenges that entrepreneurs face in downtown Ypsilanti, and the opportunities, as they see them, that currently exist. (Jesse Kranyak, the owner of the Wurst Bar, will likely be joining us as well, but there’s a chance that he might not be able to pull himself away from the critical task of decommissioning his restaurant’s beloved trough urinal.) The event, which is part of the Concentrate Media speaker series, is free and open to the public. Registration, however, is required. (See link below.)

    This the second time in as many months that I’ve hosted one of these events for Concentrate, and, if it’s anywhere near as interesting as the last one, I think you’ll find it well worth your time… and not just because they folks from Concentrate are known to buy the occasional beer for audience members.

    [Register Now]

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      13 Comments

      1. Knox
        Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        The mix of businesses is interesting. I’d like to see more non food and retail companies at the table than just JDA, but I’m thankful that you’ve got them. (And, to be honest, I’m not sure who else I’d add. It’s not like we’ve got tech startups falling out of the trees.) I don’t know that you’ll get any of them to speak candidly about the Chamber, but I’d be interested to know what value they get, if any, from membership. I’d also like to know their thoughts on Water Street. We always hear from people what they’d like to see there, but I’d be interested to know what these business owners think would actually work there, based on their knowledge of the market.

      2. Edward
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        I assume there will be time for Q&A in case others who are thinking of taking the plunge come and have questions, correct?

      3. bee
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        gods, I need a beer. Thanks Mark.

      4. Elliott
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        “Why do you drink so much?”

        Seriously, I promise not to grab the mic and ask that. I would like to know, however, what kinds of tools there are available to people starting non-tech companies in Ypsilanti. I know that we’ve got Spark, and they’re helpful to a certain breed of entrepreneur, but what do we have in the way of support for people who want to start things in food and retail? Is there anything? I’ve kind of written off the Chamber of Commerce. Am I wrong to do that?

      5. K2
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        I read this as saying that Ypsipreneurs would be gathering at Woodruff’s to “shoot shit”. Now, that would be awesome. I’d love to see Jesse and Bee blowing stuff up, Tarantino style.

      6. karen
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        i was pleased to see the downtown association of ypsilanti involved in this too. it’s good to see different organizations in ypsilanti working together for a change.

      7. 734
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        That’s sarcasm, by the way. Karen is apparently miffed that she and Steve Pierce weren’t consulted on this, as they run the downtown.

      8. anonymous
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Back an ultra right wing supramacist for city council, lie about cuts to social services to keep taxes low, and then complain when no one wants her input. Pure Maurer.

      9. Eel
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        There appear to be more kids downtown than there used to be. It would be cool to have someone speak about demographics and how they’re changing.

      10. Elviscostello
        Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Mark,
        I am volunteering with my daughter tomorrow night, but I’d like to hear what the businesses think of the Historical Commission. How big an impediment is it to businesses in the historical district? I know a business owner who desperately wants to upgrade windows and doors to energy efficient, from original wood windows and doors, but has been told no. He was looking to go with something that would fit stylistically, but seal up the building and keep energy costs down. I looked at the historical commission documents, and holy crap, I’d never buy a building and start a business with those restrictions…

      11. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        EC, I live in the historic district and replaced some of my old windows a few years ago. (Our house is over 150 years old, and I believe many of the windows were original to the house.) There were some hoops to jump through, but it wasn’t too big of a pain in the ass. We just had to show that the design of the muntins and the surface area of the glass would be the same. It was expensive, but they let us do it… There are other issues, though… Like I’d like to paint my front door red. And doing something like that would apparently send the earth off it’s orbit.

      12. anony
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        @EC, we looked at the published available docs about HDC decisions before we bought and it was a good thing (and we chose to not buy the “historic” house. Do not get yourself tied to a historic designation without truly understanding what that means in terms of your time, your money and your frustration level.

      13. anonymous
        Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        The event was awesome. I especially liked all the DejaVu love.

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      1. [...] of co-ops in MichiganBy Mark | May 5, 2013Among the people in the audience at Thursday night’s “Doing Business in Ypsilanti” panel, was a woman who has been tasked by Washtenaw County to study the needs of non-venture [...]

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