James Inhales (photo via Great Lakes Coffee)

Despite what you’ve heard, Detroit is far from doomed. While the politicians and banks figure out exactly what to do about the city’s finances, Detroit’s creative class continues to innovate and build toward a future that echoes its past. It was the city’s own invention, the automobile, that once made it world class. Right now, the young inventors of today are forging a new story in Detroit, one where craftsmanship, ingenuity and dedication are again the ingredients of success. Join us to explore seven creative success stories in Detroit today, proof positive that you should never bet against the Motor City.

The motor city is no stranger to pedal power, and a rising Detroit brand is making a name for itself with fine, vintage-inspired bicycles. Detroit Bicycle Company offers six complete bikes, named after famous streets in downtown Detroit, that are proudly hand-built in the nation’s manufacturing capitol. We covered the “Madison Street” by Detroit Bicycle Company back in 2011, and we’ve been following their story ever since. What makes these bikes stand out is their attention to detail– the hand-made copper components, the fine leather saddles and cargo pouches (made in Detroit by Detroit Cargo), the sleek vintage appeal. They’re built to last and look good doing it, just like the other vehicles Detroit was famous for a hundred years before.

In the face of Seattle giants and a struggling local economy, this business has built a success on fine craftsmanship and an authentic customer experience in a challenging environment. Great Lakes Coffee has built a cult appeal in Southwest Michigan, providing fair trade organic coffee to happy customers on location and in stores throughout Metro Detroit. They carefully source, roast and serve fine coffees from around the world, welcoming guests into their Midtown location and two others in the area. This is likely only the beginning of the Great Lakes story, and a rising urban economy can only bring good things to this adored Detroit original.

Back in Detroit’s manufacturing heyday, the denim worn by the assembly line workers was as tough and long-lasting as the vehicles they produced. They just don’t build jeans like they used to, at least until Detroit Denim came around. This young Detroit startup creates hand-crafted jeans from materials sourced a round the United States. They comprise tough selvidge denim from North Carolina, fly buttons from the Delaware company that produced civil war uniforms, and top buttons and rivets that are machined from solid rods of copper. This is a pair of jeans you’ll be wearing for a decade, not tossing into the garbage when they fade and fall apart like the rest.

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