For the First Time, Five Businesses Chosen as Finalists in Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest

Bookstore, wine shop, skincare line and popular food pop-ups all vying for $100,000; Public voting happening now until Oct. 10

Detroiters have made their decision – and 27thLetter Books, Brix Wine and Charcuterie, ILERA Apothecary, Street Beet and The French Cowhave all advanced to the final round of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest.

This is the first time in the contest’s nine year history that five businesses have been named as finalists, and the stakes are higher than ever. All of these aspiring entrepreneurs are competing for $100,000 in startup funds from Comerica Bank, as well as $200,000 in pro bono support from Hatch Detroit and its partners, to open a brick and mortar business in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park.

“We had such an incredible interest in this year’s Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest, from the record 444 submissions we received, all the way down to the wire with the fourth and fifth businesses being so close in votes, that we decided to return the vote to the public and present five finalists instead of four,” said Vittoria Katanski, executive director of Hatch Detroit. “Hatch Detroit prides itself on highlighting the value of unique, independent retail and turning to city residents for their input. This is the reason we continue to invest so much in Detroit’s ever-growing small business community.”

The public can continue to vote for their favorite business once every 24 hours from now until midnight on Thursday, Oct. 10.

The five finalists vying to take home $100,000 in this year’s Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest are:

  • Brix Wine and Charcuterie: a gathering place in the Liv/7 neighborhood built on the love of wine, offering a curated wine and small plates menu along with Brix Concierge, a wine curation service.

    Brix Wine and Charcuterie

  • ILERA Apothecary: an organic and vegan beauty tech company catering to customers who want the highest quality ingredients in their skin products, without compromising the environment or their budget. ILERA is expected to open a retail store in Detroit containing a curation of skincare items that are carefully sourced and made without toxic ingredients.
  • Street Beet: a 100-percent vegan food pop-up based in Detroit pairing creativity and passion to offer a dining experience that is approachable and delicious for all. Street Beet hopes to eventually open a brick and mortar space to provide Detroiters with affordable and nostalgic vegan comfort food – with a focus on allergen-friendly options.

    Street Beet


The French Cow: started as a pop-up when owner Marie Wallace moved to Detroit after realizing there wasn’t food here that she grew up eating in France. Currently a popup at Eastern Market, The French Cow aims to open a brick and mortar space serving crepes, cheese, ice creams and other French cuisines in authentic French environment.

The French Cow
  • 27thLetter Books: an independent bookstore and audio recording space. Their mission is to connect and inspire people through stories, highlighting excellent writing and underrepresented voices.
27th Letter

The public cast nearly 30,000 votes since the Top 10 semifinalists were announced on Sept. 27. The Top 5 finalists will now go head-to-head at the annual Hatch Offticketed event, which is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 at The Beacon at One Woodward, 1 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

Hatch Off is a ‘Shark Tank’ style competition where entrepreneurs will present their business pitch to a panel of judges and an audience. Public voting, along with the judges’ deliberation, will determine the winner of the 2019 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest.

The public has until today, Oct. 10 to vote for the entrepreneur they think should be Detroit’s next ‘big’ small business, and they can make their voices heard by:

  • Visiting Hatch Detroit’s Facebookpage, or when applicable;
  • Voting in-person at Peso: 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10

“As Detroit continues its incredible rebirth and renaissance, we can drive further progress for our residents to flourish by delivering crucial resources,” said Monica L. Martinez, Comerica Bank senior vice president of external affairs-Michigan market and national director of Hispanic business development. “Detroit’s strong and ever-growing small business community is thriving, and we are proud that our partnership with Hatch Detroit positively impacts aspiring entrepreneurs and budding neighborhood businesses by providing a wide-range of support to help them succeed. These five entrepreneurs all have great futures ahead, and you see this through the outstanding response they have received so far. Each will offer a unique and desired business in our neighborhoods.”

Since the start of the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest in 2011, 44 Hatch alumni businesses have opened their doors in neighborhoods throughout Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park. Hatch Detroit has also provided more than $1 million of in-kind services to both contest winners and alumni.


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