In this online panel discussion and presentation, branding experts, architects and designers answer business owners’ pressing questions about designing, building out and refreshing their commercial spaces.
Business owners with existing space and those who are in the planning stages pose questions to our panel of experts:
Meaghan Barry, partner and creative director – Unsold Studio (and recently named one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ Notable Women of Design): “With our clients, we talk about a priority list and a wish list. We identify what is the priority – what will make the most impact.”
Naomi Beasley-Porter, architectural designer – NSPIRD Design Studio: “(Designers) can work together to create a style guide so there are minimum standards in place. It pertains to finishes and quality, so the design is consistent throughout.”
Bryan Cook, registered architect – Berardi Partners: “It’s important to have good team members around you. (Architects and designers) can save you money because of what we know.”
Kenneth Crutcher, registered architect – Crutcher Studio: “If you have a budget, we can work with it, but you have to be upfront and honest about what that budget is.”
These experts have designed some of the best known small commercial businesses in Detroit. Watch to get helpful advice and tips before you build.
SpaceLab members are continuing to operate their businesses and serve their clients. Here’s some great news they’ve shared over the past weeks. We hope the good news motivates you to keep moving your business forward.
Member SDG Architects & Planners is architect for the Detroit City Council Committee of the Whole (COW) office renovation in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (CAYMC) – the first renovation of the area in over 40 years. SDG worked with LLP Construction Services on this Design-Build project.
photo by LLP Construction Services
Izzie LLC has contracted with the City of Highland Park to disinfect and sanitize the city’s four main buildings: Police Headquarters, Fire Department, Robert B. Blackwell Municipal Building, and the Ernest T. For Recreation Center.
Black Girl MATHgic reached a milestone with founder Brittany A. Rhodes giving her first-ever presentation as a full-time “mathpreneur” at the Mid School Math Conference in Santa Fe, NM, the largest middle school mathematics conference in the nation, in early March.
New members LottMetz Crutcher Architecture – a partnership of Grand Rapids-based Lott3Metz Architecture LLC and metro Detroit’s Crutcher Studio, Inc. – came together to propose larger developments in Southeast Michigan and plan to “positively contribute to Detroit’s urban revolution.” Read more on MiBiz >>>
Karen Burton, along with Saundra Little, AIA, spent time with Melissa R. Daniel on her podcast Architecture is Political. The conversation focused on architecture, their Noir Design Parti project, Detroit and entrepreneurship. Listen here >>>
SpaceLab welcomes Swint Logistics Group, Inc., owned by Cherri Harris, to our community. Swint Logistics is a hauling firm with Domestic and Canadian authority. Services include dispatching, logistics consulting, driver recruiting, and as well as infrastructure consulting services directly related to sewers. The company is a Compliance Specialist.
Cherri spent 15 years as a commercial truck driver. She began her business by running five tractor-trailers for fixed-route deliveries. In 2018, she started a training program for operating gravel dump trucks and then created training programs for long-established road-building companies. Swint was recently hired to create a pre-apprenticeship program for heavy construction trucking for its unionized employees.
Swint Logistics was named a PTAC Best Small Business Honoree at the 2019 Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards sponsored in part by the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Orletta Caldwell has hosted workshops at SpaceLab, and now she’s a member. After attending the opening of the 7Mile location, Orletta decided to align her business with our coworking community.
Through her company, Beyond Existing Enterprises, LLC (BEE), Orletta assures that her clients – no matter the size – can build sustainable organizations. Her approach is to empower the team.
BEE addresses the capacity building needs of nonprofit and faith-based organizations. Services include grant writing, nonprofit start-up filings, strategic planning, capacity building, board development, coalition building, and financial services. Services to for-profits businesses are also available.
Orletta starts with a comprehensive consultation that helps identify gaps and opportunities and delivers a comprehensive report that includes a project plan with timelines and milestones, a cost analysis, and a schedule. BEE also offers a suite of quality products that will help you reach your goals quickly and smoothly. That’s one way the consultancy ensures your success.
Tash Moore, head blogger for Detroit Startup Week and founder of Catch-313 social media agency interview SpaceLab’s CEO Karen Burton on Medium.
Tash Moore: Thank you so much for chatting with me? You run SpaceLab Detroit, the coworking space downtown geared toward architecture, community development, and like-minded firms. How did you discover coworking?
Karen Burton: Thanks for the opportunity, Tash. I opened my first design and drafting business years ago in Flint. I started in a 70 square foot office in an incubator just north of downtown called the Oak Business Center, which is still operating today. There were a variety of businesses there — professional services and retail with a conference room to share — but at the time everyone seemed pretty disconnected. I thought there could be a better way for businesses to share resources and collaborate.
I see [Detroit] as a top-tier entrepreneurial hub for the country. There are so many resources available and a wealth of opportunities for innovation. – Karen Burton
Freelancing as an architectural designer, the traditional “third places” like coffee shops and libraries didn’t always fit my needs or my colleagues’. We’d need a place to print construction documents and large tables to lay them out for review when meeting with clients. There were many of us solopreneurs who wanted to collaborate on larger projects, and we needed somewhere to come together. The idea for our design and construction-focused coworking space began to develop some time ago, but the timing was perfect in 2015 after I left a job. The following year, my husband Bobby left his, and we decided to pursue the SpaceLab concept together.
TM: With associated partnerships with NOMA Detroit and AIA Detroit, your space really highlights inclusion in a field that doesn’t showcase as much diversity nationally. Besides our majority-black population, what else do you believe makes Detroit special?
KB: I’m proud of my connections with those organizations, as well as with NAWIC and NABWIC, the women in construction groups. We want to highlight that professionals of color and women working in these fields that are so-called non-traditional for us are just as educated and qualified and can lead and work alongside majority companies to get the projects done. SpaceLab is a diverse shared office space with members of all backgrounds and age groups. We’re thankful that people choose to grow their businesses with us.
As part of Detroit StartUp Week, SpaceLab’s member architects and designers tell how to get the most out of a relationship with these professionals and answer questions at “Ask the Architects and Designers.”
You’ve decided that you want to build out your restaurant or retail space. Should you hire an architect? What do architects do? Representatives of Detroit-based architectural firms share information on the best design practices on for your project and how to engage professional services to make your space the place that you love to come to work and welcome your customers.
Moderator: Doreen Hunter, ASID – Owner, HDesigns Group, LLC and Library Coordinator, SpaceLab Detroit
Wes Sims, Vice President – SDG Associates
Paul Carr, Architectural Designer – SDG Associates
Kevin Boyle, AIA, NCARB – BASIC Design
Bryan Cook, RA, NOMA – Detroit Director, Berardi + Partners
Doreen owns HDesigns Group and is Design Library Coordinator at SpaceLab Detroit. She has a degree in Interior Design (with a minor in Business Management) from Central Michigan University and has residential and commercial experience in her portfolio. Doreen was recently elected Finance Director of the Michigan chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.
Kevin Boyle, AIA, NCARB, EDAC
Kevin, a licensed architect, holds both Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from Lawrence Technological University. Early in his career, Kevin worked on construction documentation for renovations and additions to several historic Detroit Public School structures and loft conversion projects. Significant past work includes single family residences in coastal Long Island towns, commercial projects in New York City, twin 37-story condominium towers at CityCenter in Las Vegas, and expansive work in the senior living and healthcare field.
Bryan Cook, NOMA
As the Director of Berardi Partners’ Detroit office, Bryan is instrumental in overseeing business/client development, new market sector initiatives, and talent acquisition. He also serves as Project Manager and oversees multiple projects while working directly with the client and development team in producing quality design and documents from schematic design through construction administration. Bryan is current treasurer and past president of the Detroit chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects.
Bruce Kopytek, AIA, NCARB
Bruce has 40+ years of architecture experience. His specialty in the field is creative design, for which he has received several awards and accolades, including the prestigious “Ceramic Tiles of Italy” honorable mention for his work in the financial facilities market. Bruce has designed all types of structures; from banks and retail stores to custom homes, hotels and high-rise apartments. In addition, Bruce is an author and educator, having taught for Wayne State university’s interior architecture program and counts four (a fifth is on its way) published titles and a major article in Michigan History magazine.
Building out your brick-and-mortar business – restaurant, retail or office – is a gargantuan task, and can sometimes feel overwhelming. How do you come to an agreement with a building owner, or buy your own building? Who do you call first after you secure the space? How much should you budget for design and construction costs? We’ve assembled an expert panel of Detroit professionals to help navigate the process and answer your questions.
Moderator: Lynnette Boyle – Principal, Beanstalk Real Estate Solutions
Erin Bonahoom – Founding Attorney, Canvas Legal
Sean Kelly, LLP Construction Services
Troy Puste – Broker, RISE Real Estate & Co.
Lynnette has worked in the Detroit metropolitan commercial real estate industry for over 25 years. As Vice President of Property Management with Bedrock Real Estate Services, she worked on the acquisition, development and management of over 7 million square feet of downtown Detroit high-rise and mixed-use property. Lynnette has managed assets and operations of over 20 million square feet of real estate, developing and overseeing operating budgets, implementing multi-million-dollar renovation programs, helping mitigate risk of legal and financial issues, and negotiating vendor, supplier and union contracts.
Erin’s law practice is based in Detroit and dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services to established businesses, startups, and nonprofits in Southeast Michigan. She advises small businesses, startups and nonprofits from across a wide range of industries on formation, governance, employment, general operations, commercial real estate, construction, and contractual agreements. Erin is also a facilitator and a member of the Board of Directors for the Build Institute in Detroit, a nonprofit focused on economic development empowering the citizens of Detroit and other cities to start their own businesses.
Sean Kelly is a construction industry professional representing the LLP Construction team. Sean’s project portfolio includes commercial and industrial projects throughout the U.S. His responsibilities include; estimating, project management and business development. Sean received a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University and holds the designation of “Associate Constructor” through the American Institute of Constructors.
Troy is founder of RISE Real Estate & Co., a full-service Real Estate Brokerage. The firm handles residential and commercial sales and leases. Their emphasis is on Detroit’s real estate market, however they sell throughout all of Southeast Michigan.