Green Garage Member Stories – Rainelle Burton

The Green Garage is well known for being a home to both small businesses and nonprofit organizations, but did you know that we are also home to a handful of creative professionals like novelists? Rainelle Burton is one such Green Garage member. After a career as a systems analyst, she turned full-time to writing and published her acclaimed novel The Root Worker in 2001. Burton wrote the book about a young girl in Detroit in the 1960s who faces the problems of the real world, while fighting her own demons and the thoughts that everybody around her has about her. Rainelle leased a desk space at the Green Garage for a year, but family obligations made it so that she wasn’t able to spend as much time here as she would have liked. Funnily enough, once her lease ended, she started to … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member Stories- Matt Dibble

Matt Dibble is the founder of Final5. Final5 is a company that uses videos to promote and tell the stories of businesses and nonprofits. Final5 started in 2007 with one short video that quickly gained popularity, and the second place spot in a film competition.It didn’t take long for Matt’s video production work to take off, and soon he was doing a brisk business. But something was missing, and Matt began to figure out what that was when he first met Tom Brennan, co-founder of the Green Garage. “In the beginning, we produced videos,” Matt says. “But it didn't take long for me to understand the power of story, and for me to shift the direction of the company. I realize now that the same way Tom used story to connect me to important things that he believed in, organizations can use story to … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member Stories – Nicole Braxton

Nicole Braxton is the owner of Around the World In 7 Days (AW7D). She is with us for the winter under a Bradley fellowship, created by Green Garage co-founder Helen Bradley and named after her late husband Tom, who had a passion for community. AW7D is a social enterprise that focuses on serving healthy, plant-based international cuisine, as well as sharing information about health and wellness through  community health cooking classes and diabetes workshops. Nicole was born in Detroit and grew up in West Bloomfield, MI. She says she has always had an entrepreneurial heart. Starting small businesses like lemonade and cookie stands from a young age, she grew more interested in the way a business worked. This early interest is what lead her to study business at Bowling Green State … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member Stories – Brendan Ross

Brendan Ross calls himself  a “photographic generalist.” What is that, you might ask? Brendan is open to all kinds of photography jobs, from professional portraits to event photography to photographing workers in factories.  He says his favorite kind of assignment is taking photos in factories, of both the machines and the workers. Brendan Ross Photography started in 1971 right here in Detroit. After a handful of years in advertising, Brendan started his photography business because he felt that he could do a lot on his own, and he had a burning desire to start his own business. His company has changed a great deal since it was founded 46 years ago. In its earlier days, Brendan employed a team of assistants and had both a darkroom and extensive studio space. Over time, with … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member stories – Gracie Xavier

Gracie Xavier is the Director of Corporate and Economic Development Strategy for Global Detroit, a nonprofit-in-residence that works to revitalize southeast Michigan’s economy through immigrant attraction and retention. In that capacity, she leads the Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan, which helps companies retain their foreign-born talent. Gracie, says that working out of the Green Garage has greatly affected her life in a positive way. She says that she has become more environmentally conscious as a result of working here. She frequently finds herself looking for a recycling bin when she has something recyclable, and if there isn’t one in sight, she asks for one. Before she worked in the Green Garage, she says she didn't pay much attention to things like recycling, and now … [Read more...]

Hello From Nicolas

Hello all, My name is Nicolas Perales, and as a few Green Garage residents know, I am a new intern here at Green Garage. Since I am new here, I feel the need to give a small introduction of myself so that everyone can know me, and a little bit of who I am. I am a Sophomore at Detroit Cristo Rey High School. I've been here in southwest Detroit for the entire 15 years of my life, and in those 15 years, I have developed a few notable interests and skills that I would like to share with you all. I'll begin with academics, as those are the least interesting things about me. I am the leader of my robotics team's marketing branch. I'm also on debate team, as well as being on the freshmen student council and currently running for sophomore student council.   Now onto the … [Read more...]

TBD Magazine Article on the Rooftop Farm

Our rooftop farm was covered in September's edition of TBD Magazine, a local journal that covers the people and ideas that define modern Detroit. The article profiles the work of Sarah Schnell, the manager of the garden, and includes some great photos. Take a look! The Greenest Garden by E.M. Sommerville (TBD Magazine, September) … [Read more...]

Global Community Lunch conversations: Gracie Xavier and Abdul Muhit

Throughout September our community lunch presentations have centered on the global community within our walls. We've paired people up from disparate backgrounds each week to share their stories in conversations facilitated by our friend Keith Owens of the Michigan Chronicle. We feel lucky to have such a richness of backgrounds in our building. The first week we heard from Amany Killawi (from LaunchGood) and Michel Soucisse (from the El Moore). Amany's family comes from Syria and Michel's from Quebec, Canada. Amany shared with us the story of her family's planned move back to Syria in 2001, which was put on permanent hold because their departure date was 9/11, and the move was eventually abandoned. Michel shared about the surprisingly historic connections he's found between his … [Read more...]

Some new (old) library books

Last week Martha, one of the volunteers who works at the Green Garage's library, came in with 2 books she had acquired at an Ann Arbor book sale. The books are both titled History of Detroit and Michigan, and were written by Silas Farmer. Did I mention that the books were written in 1884? And that they are in great condition? Together, the volumes total over 1,200 pages, and can be separated into two categories. Volume 1 focuses on Detroit's history, including wonderful sketches of various buildings and residences, and Volume 2 deals with 'famous' people of Detroit, including full page portraits of these individuals (overwhelmingly white male, with the exception of one woman we spotted). The books are an irreplaceable treasure trove of historic detail, both in text and … [Read more...]

More Video Oral Histories — Tom and Peggy Brennan

In March I wrote a post about some video oral histories of the Green Garage prepared by Liz Riedman, a Green Garage volunteer and Anthropology Master's student. Those featured 3 of the founders, Don and Mitzi Carter and Helen Bradley. Today I'm adding two more, this time featuring Tom and me. Once again, these are brief, but provide a nice look at some of the thinking behind the design of the Green Garage.  … [Read more...]

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