On Thursday, September 26, Build Institute, in partnership with Metromode and the Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, presented Open City: Taste the Dearborn Experience.
This was the second event in a 3-part Open City Dearborn series that aims 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 atop the new Ford Wagner Place West, focused on topics such as what’s attracting food entrepreneurs to the area; the challenges/opportunities that come with launching and/or growing a business in the city, and what makes Dearborn a good place to grow a food economy business. The panel discussion also highlighted Dearborn's unique community of entrepreneurs and how they have benefited from starting a business in the city.
The panel featured Zee Shami, founder of ZeeTheCook Culinary Studio, Sam Abbas, owner of Brome Modern Eatery, Yogurtopia and the soon to be open brunch spot The Great Commoner inside the Wagner Place, and Sam Haider, the owner of Modern Greek and Paradise Indian, also about to make its debut inside the Wagner Place building. The moderator for the event was Amanda Saab, owner of Butter Bear Shop in Livonia, and a member of FoodLab Detroit.
Here are some takeaways from the event from the panelists:
SAM HAIDER, owner of Modern Greek and Paradise Indian
I really enjoyed the event, it was great seeing some of the locals and entrepreneurs in the area. I now have an idea of what people expect and want from a new business so that was very helpful to find out as I’m about to open two new restaurants in downtown Dearborn.
Sam Haider, owner of two new Dearborn Resturants stands for a portrait. Dearborn, Michigan, September 26th, 2019.
AMANDA SAAB, owner of Butter Bear Shop
One of my takeaways was how invested the community is in ensuring the success of the businesses in their neighborhoods. The audience was genuinely engaged with the business owners.
Amanda Saab, stands for a portraits after moderating a panel of local Dearborn resturants owners for Dearborn Open City. Dearborn, Michigan September 26th, 2019.
SAM ABBAS, owner of Yogurtopia, Brome Modern Eatery, and The Great Commoner
It was inspiring to hear others' stories on how they started out. It was even more amazing to see how willing everyone is to help and the resources devoted to seeing more entrepreneurs start up their next venture. Excited to see what Dearborn’s future looks like!
Sam Abbas sits for a portrait after his panel talk about food and resturants in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn, Michigan 20190926.
ZEE SHAMI, Culinarian & Owner, ZeeTheCook, LLC
Being a great leader means leading by example. We can say so much, but when we act on fulfilling our own dreams day in and day out, others will be more inclined to act on their dreams too. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Zee Shami, owner of Dearborn cooking studio, Zee the Cook poses for portrait after her panel talk for Dearborn Open City. September 26th 2019