Finding a Way Forward: Lindsey Elton

Lindsey Elton is the co-owner and President of Eco Achievers, a company that helps new and existing buildings achieve green certifications like LEED, ENERGY STAR, NGBS, and Passive House. Eco Achievers is based outside of Chicago, where Lindsey’s four colleagues live, and where about 75% of their business is. She began working remotely out of the Green Garage after she moved home in 2019 to open their Detroit office, which was a longtime dream of hers. This was also the same time that she and her colleagues purchased the business from its previous owner—a move that brought simultaneous excitement, opportunity, and a whole new set of anxieties. Lindsey says that as a small business “without a lot of backup,” her tight-knit team entered the COVID19 crisis prepared for the worst, … [Read more...]

Finding a Way Forward: Devita Davison

FoodLab Detroit is all about connecting food entrepreneurs to the resources they need to be successful. They’re a network-based nonprofit organization, having worked for more than eight years to cultivate nourishing relationships in support of a thriving good food ecosystem in and around Detroit. Currently, they do that work on two different tracks: the first provides “business 101”-type resources and technical assistance to more than 100 members, and the second convenes a twice-a-year fellowship that takes 10 food entrepreneurs on a more intensive journey to success. Photo by Val Waller When FoodLab’s executive director Devita Davison reflects on the pandemic’s effects on her work, she describes it as a profound upheaval. “Everything we do in the restaurant industry and in food … [Read more...]

Goodbye From Nicolas

Hello everyone, As you all may know by now, I have been working with the Green Garage throughout this school year. And, it is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that I will not be returning to the Green Garage next year. I have made many friendships and business connections during my time working here. And I want to thank each and every one of the people whom I’ve interacted with through my time here. From Gracie Xavier, to Curt Malouin, and Karen Chappelle, the conversations I’ve had with the amazing residents of the Green Garage, have been more than just significant to me. They have changed who I am, and the way I view the world. Though I may not be returning, it is my hope that Tuesday, June 12th, is not the last time you will see my face, or hear me crack an unfunny … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member Stories – Karen Chappelle

Meet Karen Chappelle, the Green Garage’s new Bradley Fellow! The Bradley Fellowship provides an opportunity for an entrepreneur to  develop their business out of the Green Garage for a season. It is sponsored by Green Garage co-founder Helen Bradley and is named in honor of her late husband Tom, who had a gift for making people feel welcome here.    Karen is the president and CEO of Casablanca Consultants, , which recently produced a brand-new theatre festival in town called the Detroit Heritage Theatre Festival.  Karen is a Detroit native who moved back to the city in 2016 after a nearly four-decade stint in Los Angeles in the Office of the Attorney General. Though she worked in the legal profession for several decades, Karen always maintained a passion for theatre. Near the end … [Read more...]

Green Garage Member Stories – Mike Shesterkin

Mike Shesterkin, owner of Green Garage businesses-in-residence What’s Next LLC, works on strategy development for small businesses, specifically focusing on a triple bottom line (3BL) approach. His involvement with the Green Garage began about two years before he joined us as a business-in-residence, when he began regularly attending our Thursday sustainable small business conversations.   Mike graduated from Lawrence Tech with a Bachelor’s in chemistry and worked for a number of years formulating coatings for automotive applications. After working in the automotive industry, he developed the desire to create his own business doing what he enjoyed the most. The Green Garage’s 3BL approach to business -- where environmental and social impact are valued alongside economic profit -- … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: Ribbon Farm Hops

What do they do? Ribbon Farm Hops, LLC is an urban farm that grows hops in southwest Detroit, selling them to home brewers and small batch craft breweries. They also use them to make specialty gift items, such as relaxation pillows and ornaments. In addition to growing hops for brewers, RFH has also partnered with Detroit Tube Products, an industrial tube bending company based in Southwest Detroit, to design and manufacture a trellis system they hope to make available to other hop growers. You can see a prototype of their trellis system on the patio of Batch Brewing Company in Corktown! The Start: Ribbon Farm Hops (RFH) was founded in February 2013 as a result of Susan Mccabe's decision to change her career after 30+ years of working in museums. Learning about the history of … [Read more...]

Business-in-residence Spotlight: ABISA

Clearing the path of socio-economic and civic integration What do they do?  The African Bureau for Immigration and Social Affairs (ABISA)’s main goal is to help resolve the gap between African immigrants in metro Detroit and the resources they need to clear the path to economic mobility, civic integration, and social and cultural inclusion. They do this by advocating for mentor programs in education, teaching ESL classes, running immigration clinics, providing free legal aid, and working to educate immigrants on societal needs and civic engagement opportunities. Who? Seydi Sarr founded ABISA as a result of the recurring problems within Detroit’s West African community, saying, “It’s disheartening to see families come here and make all these sacrifices. Yet, 20 years later their … [Read more...]

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