Metromode started the holiday season off with a panel discussion on the Dearborn retail industry. Build Institute, in partnership with Metromode and the Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, presented Open City: Shop Local.
This event was the finale of a 3-part Open City Dearborn series that aimed to shine a spotlight on Dearborn's unique community of entrepreneurs and the influx of new businesses looking to set up shop in the area.
The round-table panel discussion, which took place at The Annex, located next to the Arab American National Museum, featuring both retail entrepreneurs and industry experts who discussed internal and external components of retail business ownership and strategy development as well as highlighted the challenges and opportunities that come with launching and/or growing a business.
The panel featured Mariam Mroueh, Business Coach for ACCESS, Mike Kirk, AIA, LEED APPrincipal at Neumann/Smith Architecture, Ida Gonzales, founder, and owner of I Say It With Cafe, and Karen Nigosian, co-founder and owner of Nigosian Rug Company, a long-time business in downtown Dearborn. The moderator for the event was Christina Renee, a professional makeup artist, entrepreneur, and beauty product developer.
Each of the panelists tapped into their expertise to discuss their business strategies such as Gonzalez, a relatively new entrepreneur who launched her coffee themed online store in June 2018. She discussed her experience as an online retailer and how she markets her products at pop-up events around metro Detroit at places such as Eastern Market.
Nigosian, a veteran business owner, discussed her start in the rug business back in 1970 and talked about how Dearborn’s retail community has evolved over the years.
Both Mroueh and Kirk provided insight into how aspiring entrepreneurs can get help to start their business as well as how to determine the right location for setting up shop.
As part of the event, Metromode also partnered with the non-profit agency ACCESS as they were hosting a retail bazaar the same day in the Annex. Their event, which took place from 10 am-4 pm, featuring a wide array of retail vendors from metro Detroit, many of whom stayed after for the panel discussion to learn more about the retail sector and what resources Dearborn offers to business owners looking to set up shop in the city.