What do Detroiters want more of in their city?
The Comerica Hatch Detroit contest announced that a field of 10 semifinalists business plans have been narrowed down by popular vote to four finalists: Detroit River Sports, Detroit Vegan Soul, La Feria and Rock City Pies.
Over 30,000 votes were counted in the semifinalist competition in the last week, said Hatch media representative Vittoria Kattanski.
The Comerica Hatch Detroit contest, founded last year by Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, will provide $50,000 and support services to one worthy local entrepreneur. They received over 250 business plans this year, choosing semifinalists with the help of an advisory board loaded with current Detroit business owners.
The entrepreneurs behind what may be Detroit's next non-motorized water sports outfitter, vegan soul food restaurant, tapas eatery and bar, or gourmet pastry counter will meet in person to defend their business plans and dazzle a panel of local and regional business owners at this year's Hatch-Off on Sept 26 at the Majestic Theatre from 6 to 9 p.m..
Each finalist will take the stage for a very public, fast-paced Q&A at the hands of Lydia Gutierrez of Hacienda Mexican Foods, Rufus Bartell of the Simply Casual clothing store, local restauranteur Sean Harrington, of Town Pump, Centaur and Hot Taco fame, and New Holland Brewery's Brett VanderKamp. Tickets are $50, including appetizers, beer and wine, and can be purchased here.
The second round of voting begins Sept. 24 and lasts until Sept. 27. Hatch organizers say they will also man one on-site voting booth location in the city, where passionate retail supporters can cast up to three votes per day.
Last year, Joe Posch’s concept for men's retail took home the grand prize. He’s been working with Hatch since and plans to open his store Hugh in the Auburn, a building under construction at Cass Avenue and Canfield Street, this fall.
Who will be the next winner? We'll find out on Sept. 27. Who are you voting for? Let us know.
See all 10 semifinalists in this slideshow.