Detroit was one of the hardest-hit cities in America during the recession.

Its auto industry, which helped build America's middle class, needed multiple government bailouts. Unemployment rose to 20% in the city in 2011, but could have been as high as 50% if you include people who stopped looking for work.

But every bad situation has a silver lining. The lack of enterprise and abundance of failed businesses left great opportunities for newer and cooler businesses.

From restaurants and bars to bike shops and tech startups, these are the coolest businesses in Detroit.

You Never Know Who You'll Run Into Shopping At Hugh
#12 Hugh 

4240 Cass Ave.

What it is: A furniture and barware store that evokes "classic bachelor pad style"

Why it's cool: Hugh sells furniture, barware, and accessories that pay homage to the Old Hollywood era. The idea is to invite customers to live their very own version of Mad Men by purchasing household items that, as owner Joe Posch describes it, are inspired by "classic bachelor pad style." Customers can buy items like vintage champagne buckets, stainless steel cocktail shakers, and shaving brushes and razors.

Click HERE for the full list! 
10. Light rail is coming to Detroit 
Light rail is coming to Detroit

In January, US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a federal commitment of $25 million to the M-1 Rail project, thus tentatively setting construction to begin in the summer for the 3 mile stretch of rail between downtown and New Center. Gone will be the days when Detroit's only rail transit is a glorified amusement park ride!

9. Detroit inspires the world's music 
Detroit inspires the world's music

Though Diana and Stevie aren't at the top of the charts, Motown lives on in hip hop, pop and R&B music every time you hear the likes of Beyonce and India.Arie. This sound is inherently tied to Detroit and people know it. Next time you're playing DJ at a party, put on "Baby Love" and count how many people don't sing along. My prediction: zero. If it's more than that, you might want new friends.

8. Detroit is a living museum of 20th Century architecture 
Detroit is a living museum of 20th Century architecture

Perhaps no where else in the world can one so easily access some of the greatest pieces of early 20th Century architecture than in Detroit. You can literally walk into the Guardian Building - a world-renowned Art Deco masterpiece - and snap a photo, hit the ATM and buy a cup of coffee in less time than it would take to navigate around the throngs of tourists at 30 Rock, let alone the security. I'll use all that extra time to watch Liz and Jack deal with New York on TV, thankyouverymuch.

Click HERE to read the full list! 

detroit recovery
Gilbert, left, and Chrysler's Sergio Marchionne announced the 'Chrysler House', the first time the company will have an office downtown. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Sandra Patterson's face lights up at the mention of Dan Gilbert. She works the car valet desk at Detroit's Greektown Casino Hotel, which the entrepreneur has just taken over. "It's like he's sprinkling rose petals all over my city," she says beaming. "He's really rooting for Detroit."

And how. A self-made billionaire Gilbert, 51, was born and raised in Detroit. His father owned Saskey's, a bar in the city, and his grandfather ran a car wash. In the 1990s Gilbert and partners including his brother Garry started a mortgage business that became Quicken Loans, now the US's largest online retail mortgage lender.

Three years ago as Detroit seemed on the edge of destruction he moved his headquarters downtown and began snapping up swathes of real estate. His Bedrock property management company owns 22 buildings with more than 3m square feet in the city. He's attracting big names back into the city. Gilbert convinced Chrysler to take office space downtown and renamed a building after the car firm; he recently toured the city with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. He's effectively created a business campus in the heart of a city some had written off as dead. A death that had been a long time coming.

Detroit had a population of nearly 2 million in the 1950s, and now it's below 700,000. People and their money fled to the suburbs decades ago. The city is struggling with $14bn in long-term liabilities, falling tax revenues and declining services, 60% of its children live in poverty. It's a decline that has been a long-time in the making.

"People around 55 and down have no memory of what people call the good Detroit. You'd hear from your parents and grandparents how incredible Detroit was," says Gilbert. For his generation those golden years were just stories. "The 1967 race riots are my first memories," he says.

Gilbert's vision of Detroit's future is of a city filled with young people from local universities, the majority of whom now skip town on graduation. This summer he'll have 1,100 interns working downtown, and he's convinced many of his tenants to follow suit. The company gives employees who buy property in the city $20,000 on condition they live in the city for five years. Occupancy rates downtown are close to 100%.

"Detroit has the bones, the infrastructure, the people, to be a very special city. We have to do a lot of clean up then we have to start playing offense. The part that is difficult is here already. Look at these buildings. It's laid out well; there are parks. It's like a lot of great hardware with no software," he says.

Click HERE to read the full article!




Silicon Valley transplant Jerry Paffendorf chose Detroit: "I thought I should look at big problems. You know, let’s get real."


In addition to her retail shop, Margarita Barry runs a design business and a website for young entrepreneurs.


Alicia and John George faced down financial hardship and endless bureaucracy to create the only coffee shop for miles.
When a much-touted light-rail project stalled, 26-year-old Andy Didorosi stepped in: "We're the other option, all of us scrappy folks."


Click HERE to read the full article from Fast Company!


"What’s amazing to me about Detroit and Detroiters is they are IN. They’re 100 percent in. You hear it in their voices: ‘This is my city, I don’t care what you say about it. I love this city. I’m here. I’m not leaving.’ That passion is really important. It will happen. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. It will."

-Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties.  Full article by the lovely Karen Dybis HERE!
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