Making Bicycles in Detroit Is an Uphill Ride - Detroit Bikes

Making Bicycles in Detroit Is an Uphill Ride

Taking Over Bike-Share Programs - Detroit Bikes

Taking Over Bike-Share Programs

When Zak Pashak’s factory opened in 2013, bicycle manufacturing in the U.S. had all but disappeared.


The Detroit Bikes factory sits on the West Side of the city near scattered abandoned homes and a junkyard full of rusted car parts. Inside, workers are taking test rides through the 50,000-square-foot facility on a fleet of freshly assembled bicycles destined for New York’s Citi Bike bike-share program. On foot, founder Zak Pashak, 36, dodges the riders, navigating a path around the chaotic floor and holding forth on the virtues of American-made chromoly steel—which, in case you’re not a metallurgist, is lighter and stronger than standard steel and is what Pashak uses in his house line. He stops and points to the loading dock, where a tractor-trailer waits to haul the bikes more than 600 miles to Citi Bike headquarters in Brooklyn. “This was my dream when we got the factory—watching semis drive away at the end of the day,” Pashak says.

When his factory opened in 2013, bicycle manufacturing in the U.S. had all but disappeared. The long, downward spiral began in the 1980s, when industry-giant Schwinn shifted work to Asia, a cost-saving move that other manufacturers such as Huffy soon copied. In 2015 only 2.5 percent of the estimated 12.6 million bikes sold in the U.S. (not including those for children) were made here, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. “A lot of people thought it was really goofy when I first started this,” says the bearded Pashak, who describes Detroit as “a good spot for urban revitalization to take hold” and is prone to similarly grandiose talk about changing the world. If his technology weren’t 200 years old, he could pass for a startup founder.

Steven Sprankle powder-coats frames.
Photograph by Ricky Rhodes for Bloomberg Businessweek


It probably was really goofy, based purely on economics. But at a time when we want our kale organic and our beer microbrewed, manufacturing bicycles in the cradle of the U.S. transportation industry turns out to be just rational enough. Shinola, which also sells bikes, might have stolen Pashak’s thunder by becoming the face of Detroit’s rebound. Yet Detroit Bikes’ contract with Motivate, the company that runs bike-sharing programs in 12 metro areas, has helped put Pashak’s company on pace to churn out 10,000 bikes this year. It’s nice that in doing so he’ll employ 50 people in a city with 10 percent unemployment, about double the national rate. It’s perhaps more significant that without this Canadian transplant’s operation, options for how busy urbanites get from point A to point B might literally be fewer and farther between.

Pashak, whose former stepfather was an oilman and co-owner of the Calgary Flames, had millions to spend on risky endeavors when he relocated to Detroit from Calgary five years ago. He was used to riding without training wheels: In 2003 he opened Broken City, which became one of Calgary’s premier live-music venues, without having run a bar before. He ran for City Council in 2010, having never sought public office—and lost. It forced him to figure out what was next. He’d been fascinated with Detroit since childhood, when he watched ’80s action heroes such as Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I., Peter Weller in RoboCop, and Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, all of whom had ties to the Motor City. “I had this feeling that cool people came from Detroit,” Pashak says. “I felt a gut draw.” He wanted to be part of its economic rebound. Detroit didn’t need another Broken City, he decided, but a factory made sense. “It’s got a history of manufacturing; there are a lot of people who’ve got skills who haven’t been able to use them in a long, long time,” he says.

It was Pashak’s failed City Council bid that gave him a passion for two-wheelers. While running for office, he studied urban-transit public policy and came to see bikes as a solution for big-city ailments—everything from pollution to traffic congestion. “It’s a highly efficient machine, yet people have this complicated relationship with it,” he says. “A lot of people think bikes are for hippies or people who got a DUI, or for people who are poor and can’t afford a car. Or they’re for kids.” Even more complicated: price. High-end bikes with carbon-fiber frames, suspension packages, and multispeed gears are expensive to buy, let alone maintain. So Pashak thought a basic bike, meant for the nation’s urban jungles, might have marketplace potential. And that was it. He was off to Detroit.

Welder Will Walker at work. 
Photo Essay: How Detroit Bikes Builds Rides for the Nation's Urban Jungle
Photograph by Ricky Rhodes for Bloomberg Businessweek

When Pashak arrived, he bought an old house in the city’s historic Boston-Edison neighborhood, just blocks from where Henry Ford once lived. Like any good American entrepreneur, he began tinkering in his garage with a prototype inspired by a 2012 trip to Copenhagen, a city famed for its riding culture. It was a process: “Everything that could’ve gone wrong has done so at least once,” he says, explaining that equipment broke and the factory wasn’t laid out efficiently. In 2013 production began on the A-Type model. The $700 A-Type has a utilitarian, matte-black frame, three speeds, and a rear rack with the Detroit Bikes logo. A women’s version, the B-Type, comes in white and mint.


Shaun Lewis assembles a wheel.
Photograph by Ricky Rhodes for Bloomberg Businessweek


Production was slow in 2014 when Pashak cold-called New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colo. He had a simple question: Did it need a bikemaker? The brewery is best known for its Fat Tire amber ale, with a shiny, vintage, red bicycle on the label. Every year the company bestows bikes on employees to celebrate work anniversaries and other special events, and for years it had turned to manufacturers in Asia. It just so happened that New Belgium’s bike designer had started looking for an American manufacturer around the time Pashak called. “He was having trouble actually finding a company in the U.S. that could scale up and make 2,500 bikes,” says Bryan Simpson, a New Belgium spokesman. Detroit Bikes had capacity to spare; production began in earnest earlier this year. Pashak says: “It was huge—a big leap of faith for them. They made this company possible.” The contract with Motivate this spring made it a business. Currently, Motivate uses Detroit Bikes-assembled bicycles in New York, Boston, and Jersey City.

Back at the factory, Pashak heads to a corner and shows off a machine that makes wheels. “This is how we won the contract for Citi Bike,” he says. Although New Belgium’s bikes are constructed start-to-finish in Detroit, Citi Bikes technically aren’t entirely American-made. The aluminum frames come from Asia, and Pashak’s crew assembles them. Wheels, however, are more cumbersome and expensive to transport. By making those locally, says Jay Walder, Motivate’s chief executive officer, the company has reduced the number of shipping containers coming from Asia by two-thirds. Better yet, being able to say that Motivate bikes are assembled at home gives it a leg up in negotiations with city governments as the company expands. “If you’re a mayor or a transportation commissioner, it’s nice to be talking about the fact that this program, which is a big part of the community, is creating jobs at home,” Walder says.

When Walder’s tenure at Motivate started in October 2014, finding a domestic manufacturer became a priority. But he struggled to find anyone who could handle a 3,000-unit order built to Motivate’s specs. “The industry is not set up to do anything like this,” Walder says. Before Detroit Bikes, “there were no bike-share bicycles that were being made anywhere in the United States.” This year, Motivate plans to add 8,000 bikes, bringing the total to 28,000. Pashak—whose factory has gone from pumping out 20 bikes a day to 80 since signing on to make Citi Bikes—wants as much of that business as possible. He estimates that he, his mother, and an investor named Bernard Sucher, a native son who’s worked for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, have put as much as $4 million into Detroit Bikes. Pashak is on pace to break even this year, he says.

Citi Bikes ready to ship.
Photograph by Ricky Rhodes for Bloomberg Businessweek


With the New Belgium and Motivate contracts providing some stability, Pashak is looking to expand his retail business. Earlier this year he hired Scott Montgomery, a 30-year industry veteran whose father co-founded Cannondale, to head national sales. The move signaled to industry watchers that the quirky company is emerging from Shinola’s shadow. “If they expand their lineup, they’ll appeal to a lot more people,” says Pete Kocher, who’s sold a few Detroit Bikes at Ride Brooklyn, with shops in the borough’s cyclist-dense Park Slope and Williamsburg neighborhoods. “They’ve got a load of potential to grow.” Montgomery says he wants Detroit Bikes in 100 more stores by yearend, for a total of 400 retail outlets in 150 U.S. cities. The company plans to start selling a new design, the racing-oriented C-Type, later this summer. The A-Type and B-Type will soon get more gears and colors.

After walking through the factory, Pashak looks for a quiet moment away from the banging of metal and lingering smell of welded steel. Outside, the street is calm and empty. “Having a factory that impacts the community directly is very cool,” he says. Some of his workers even walk to work: “As an urbanist, idealist kind of guy, that’s the coolest thing.”

Is Motor City On Its Way to Becoming Cycle City? - Detroit Bikes

Is Motor City On Its Way to Becoming Cycle City?

Motor-less City? - Detroit Bikes

Motor-less City?

Oct 09, 2014

Before there was the Model T, there was the Quadricycle. Henry Ford fashioned his original automobile from four bicycle wheels and a chain at the height of Detroit’s 19th-century bike (yes, bike) manufacturing boom. If Detroit rose and fell on for four wheels, its past—and potentially its future—was built on just two. As the city wends its way through bankruptcy court this fall and its core industry lurches back to solvency, the Motor City is revving up to become a manufacturing hub again, this time for a vehicle that has no motor at all: the bicycle.

Over the past several years, at least seven bicycle makers have set up shop in the Detroit metro area, touting sleek, artisanal models. “Everybody in this town knows somebody who worked for the Big Three,” says Steven Bock, a Ford Motor Co. clay sculptor who is now applying his car skills to bicycles. “It’s kind of in the Detroit DNA to build things.” Bock founded Detroit Bicycle Co. in 2011, where he makes custom handcrafted single-speed and fixed-gear bikes ($4000 to $6000) when he’s not sculpting full-size clay models of cars for Ford.

When he's not sculpting clay models of cars for Ford Motor, Steven Bock builds bikes by hand under the moniker Detroit Bicycle Co. This copper single-speed bike sells for $4,400. Photograph by Ackerman + Gruber 


Joining Bock is Slingshot Bicycle, a 30-year-old Michigan-based company that moved into its new Detroit-area manufacturing facility in June as it repatriates production from Taiwan. Then there’s 313 Bicycle Works, started recently by Detroit firefighter Mike Sheppard and named 
after the Motor City area code. Not to be left out, Shinola, a manufacturer of trendy watches and other goods, assembles Wisconsin-made bikes at its new Detroit storefront.

The biggest Motor City bike maker, though, is Detroit Bikes. Founder Zak Pashak invested $2.5 million in a 50,000-square-foot factory (staffed by former engineers of General Motors (GM) and other carmakers) that mints about 10 bikes a day and has sold nearly 1,000 so far. Eventually he aims to produce as many as 50,000 a year.

Based in a 50,000-square-foot factory, Detroit Bikes is gearing up to become one of the only mass-producers of bicycles in the U.S. today. Staffed by auto industry veterans of GM and other carmakers, the company manufactures about 10 commuter road bikes daily (priced at $699 apiece)—and plans to increase output by at least tenfold. Here, Henry Ford II assembles the company's A-Type bicycle. Photograph by Ackerman + Gruber 


If its plan is successful, Detroit Bikes alone would double the number of two-wheelers manufactured in the U.S. today. The industry largely disappeared a generation ago when Schwinn, Trek, Huffy, and other American brands moved most of their manufacturing offshore in the 1980s and ’90s. A mere 56,000 bicycles were produced in America last year, the National Bicycle Dealers Association estimates. “Hopefully we can see the rebirth of the bicycle manufacturing business in this country,” Pashak says.

Several factors seem to be driving the renaissance of the bike industry in Detroit. Beat-up by the Great Recession, Detroit’s vacant factories and cheap rent have lured young entrepreneurs and artists to set up shop in the city. The vestiges of car manufacturing—leftover machinery, abundant powdercoat shops and of course, skilled auto industry veterans seeking work—have proven a treasure to bike makers and other craftspeople.

John Marlin works on a bike frame at the Detroit Bikes manufacturing plant in Detroit. Photograph by Ackerman + Gruber 


Detroit’s mean streets have also grown friendlier. As the population has shrunk, so too has the number of cars on the city’s wide roads, which seldom see traffic jams anymore—making them a haven for cyclists. Since 2006, Detroit has added 150 miles of new bike lanes, including some transformed from old railroads like the Dequindre Cut, says Todd Scott, head of the Detroit Greenways Coalition (and local bike historian).

Meanwhile, deepening poverty and joblessness in Detroit may encourage biking as a more affordable alternative to driving. While the number of Detroit workers commuting by car has fallen by 20% since 2007, those commuting by bike has surged 43%, according to Census data. Detroit has had the biggest increase in bike commuting of any major American city since 1990, reports the League of American Bicyclists.

Now, nascent bicycle makers are hoping to capitalize on continued growth and enthusiasm for biking in Detroit—as well as demand for products that are not only American-made, but homegrown in the Motor City itself. Pashak of Detroit Bikes, for one, is looking to raise $1 million from investors to accelerate the factory’s current output more than tenfold and become a true mass-producer of bicycles. And Bock’s Detroit Bicycle Co., which has a bike on display at the Henry Ford Museum, is also seeking at least $200,000 in investment in order scale up his one-man operation with additional builders and a showroom.

Jay Townley, co-founder of the Gluskin Townley Group who studies the American cycling industry, sees a rekindling of the Ford-era biking boom in Detroit. Between growing ridership and a rebirth of two-wheeled manufacturing, he says, “All of a sudden you’re in what turns out to be the bike city of the country.”

The original version of this article is available here

An abbreviated version of this story appeared in the October 27, 2014 issue of Fortune. 

Selling the Model T of Bicycles - Detroit Bikes

Selling the Model T of Bicycles

Tracing history back to 1896 when Henry Ford built a "quadricycle” out of a tiny sofa mounted on four bicycle wheels. Also mentioned are Detroit Bicycle Company, Shinola, TechShop, and Slow Roll. 

When I first found out about Detroit Bikes, I assumed that it was pulling down massive subsidies from the city. The idea of moving manufacturing back into cities is trendy right now in urban planning circles, and the product — bikes, made in Detroit — seemed tailor-made for a grant-making committee. But there were no subsidies or tax breaks.

It’s not that he’d turn such help down, Pashak says. “I just didn’t want to come here looking for a handout.” When he began thinking of leaving his hometown of Calgary, Alberta, he settled on Detroit because it seemed like the logical endpoint to the sprawl that he saw developing around Calgary and other cities. “Detroit feels like the apocalyptic future that some cities will face if they continue to keep growing,” Pashak told Canadian Business earlier this year. “I feel like there’s something to learn here.”- Heather Smith, Grist


Read the whole article here

Cycling in the Motor City - Detroit Bikes

Cycling in the Motor City

How a former DJ from Calgary moved to Detroit, built a bike factory and found opportunity among the ruins

Photos by Matt Barnes

Jason McBride of Canadian Business talks about various details of Detroit Bikes. From the factory to the background of the owner and president.

Broader topics are discussed that include the realities of owning a home and operating a business in Detroit, manufacturing in the US, as well as similarities found in Calgary, Canada. 

“In Pittsburgh, we’re sitting on the prime example of the transformation from industry to knowledge,” says Don Carter, the director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Carter attributes Pittsburgh’s particular transformation to a genuine, forward-thinking public-private partnership, but one that also recognized the increasing importance of quality-of-life to urban populations. Of Detroit and its burgeoning creative class, he says, “The last thing in the world you want to do is discourage the bottom-up stuff. It’s not going to create 50,000 jobs overnight, no. But it is a spark. You need to nurture that, blow on it, get some tinder under it, and build on it. You just never know what thing is going to take off.” - Jason McBride, Canadian Business

 Read the whole article here

Building Bikes in Detroit - Detroit Bikes

Building Bikes in Detroit

Zak Pashak opened a bar, started a music festival and ran for city council in Calgary. So what’s he doing building bikes in Detroit?

Nov 12, 2012

by Jasmine Budak

To convey the spirit of his plan to make bicycles in Detroit, Zak Pashak feels a tour is in order. At the wheel of his worn Toyota Prius, the 32-year-old entrepreneur narrates as the sprawl of Detroit unfolds, revealing a city broken but not dead. We pass the obvious blights symptomatic of a long-depressed city: rampant vacancy, overgrown land and lots of people sitting on stoops with nothing to do. But there are also signs of life, including a patch of downtown streets that people have taken to walking again and new businesses spun from an emergent entrepreneurial spirit. Local leaders are hoping these seeds will help to pull the city out of its 40-year funk. It was partly this spirit, partly an “irrational fascination with Michigan” and partly a need for change that drew Pashak to the Motor City from his hometown of Calgary two years ago. 

Many Calgarians will know him as a precocious bar owner and music promoter who lost a close race for city alderman in 2010. Pashak’s latest venture, however, has nothing to do with Calgary or concert spaces. It’s a company called Detroit Bikes. Pashak plans to mass-produce bicycles in a city that was once famed for auto manufacturing but is now known more for its murder rate and the sheer scale of its emptied neighbourhoods. Since the 1950s, Detroit’s population has dropped from nearly two million to roughly 700,000, shedding 25 per cent of its residents in the past decade alone. The decline runs deep, some say starting with the race riots of 1967, followed by a long history of corrupt local government, rapid suburbanization and the fall of car manufacturing, compounded more recently by the global recession.

As we cruise the wide, empty boulevards into the city’s grittier pockets, Pashak points out his favourite buildings, ornate vestiges of better times. There are at least two he half-heartedly considered buying (for practically nothing) and remaking into some kind of business, perhaps a concert hall. Unlike Detroit’s heyday as a boomtown, its utter blankness and thirst for revival is now attracting a new kind of industrialist, people like Pashak who have money, ideas and the audacity to carry them out.

Overdressed on this muggy day in long sleeves and oversized chinos, Pashak walks with small quick steps and talks about everything in the same even, unexcitable tone. It might be that he is someone who’d rather do than talk about doing, but when it comes to media attention he’s used to reciting his story. He comes from a well-known Calgary family: his father, Barry Pashak, was a local NDP MLA; his mother, Jackie Flanagan, is a philanthropist and founder of Alberta Views magazine; and his ex-stepfather, Allan Markin, is a wealthy oilman and the former chairman of Canadian Natural Resources. Pashak has also garnered his own attention: starting businesses in your twenties gets you in the papers.

At an early age, Pashak showed an interest in money and, particularly, how to grow it. When he was eight, he requested that the child-support money his mother had been saving for him be invested in his step-dad’s oil company. It was a sweet boyhood gesture that would spark a passion for investing. “Every morning I’d wake up and read stock reports and make investments,” Pashak says of his high school years. “I had brokers.” By the time he was 20 he’d made enough money to buy a house just before Calgary’s real-estate market took off. The well-publicized divorce of his mother and Markin landed her a sizeable settlement, of which she gave Pashak and his sister “a small amount,” he says, enough for him to open a music club in 2004 called Broken City. (He’s since sold it, but still owns a quarter share and the building.) “That ended up being a significantly helpful investment, just the real estate,” he says.


Made in Detroit: Detroit Bikes’ model has an understated, spare look: an old-fashioned curved frame (unadorned and painted matte black), slim tires, three speeds, one handlebar brake and a good old-fashioned pedal brake. (Pashak and the lead engineers are currently debating a kickstand.) Pashak hopes to retail the bike for $500, which is in line with similar commuter models on the market. “Now, you go into a bike store and there’s a ton of really interesting commuter bikes for around $500,” Pashak says, slightly alarmed. “But they’re all made in Asia.”

Pashak boils his fortunes down to “a string of luck and good investments,” which led to more investments and pet projects. In 2007 he created Sled Island, an annual music festival that ran on $1 million of Pashak’s own money until it found its footing. While it’s not as lucrative an investment as his early play on Canadian Natural shares, Sled Island was almost immediately popular and gave a noticeable lift to Calgary’s artists and venues. Amid all that (and during the same year, no less), while he was living briefly in Vancouver, he gutted and re-opened a 1960s-era cabaret in a hotel basement. Noting the creeping gentrification of Vancouver’s east end, Pashak sensed the need for a venue suited to the incoming demographic of young hipsters. “He was a huge catalyst for [changes to] the neighbourhood,” says the bar’s manager, Darius Minwalla, whom Pashak lured from Seattle more than three years ago. “He sees things that a lot of people may not see.”

Pashak clearly has a nose for business opportunities and is in the rare position, for someone his age, to have the means to execute them. But while he credits his success in the entertainment businesses to an interest in “creating spaces and cultural advancement,” in Detroit Pashak is dealing with raw materials – steel that will be cut, bent and welded into a three-speed commuter bike at a time when almost all mass-produced bikes come from Taiwan.

Why bikes? Pashak has a longstanding interest in alternative transportation, something that figured heavily into his city council campaign. He also tells the story of when he went looking to buy a bike in Calgary a few years ago and felt underserved by the options: cheap, garish “Costco bikes” or sleek racing models at high-end shops. “I just wanted a practical, sturdy bike to get around on,” he says. So when he moved to Detroit with no real purpose, the idea of manufacturing this sort of bike in a city set up for – and in need of – new manufacturing businesses took hold. The fact that he didn’t know anything about bikes or the machines required to build them didn’t faze him. “People assume I know a lot about bikes,” Pashak says. “But I didn’t know how to manage a bar when I was 22. And I’ve figured out that it’s ok not to know. What I can do is put together a good team and make sure they’re happy. That’s just being a manager.”

It’s taken almost two years, but Pashak has assembled a small team of decidedly non-bike people. Turned off by the snobbery of the bike-frame builders he’d initially approached, Pashak looked for people who “understood machines.” Through friends of friends he was connected with a couple of seasoned engineers who’d built displays for the now-closed Detroit Science Center. Another guy on his team is a metallurgical engineer. One just graduated from college in supply chain management, while another – the only real “bike guy” – is a bike mechanic. Pashak paid to have him trained in frame-building. “I’m glad I have this crew,” he says. “There’s a lot of attitude in the frame-building community. It’s like those guys think they’re making Samurai swords. We just want to make a good bike and we’re not romanticizing everything that goes along with it.”

The staff of eight works out of a 50,000-square-foot former sign-making factory that Pashak bought a few months ago for $190,000. Right now, the space dwarfs the actual operation, but Pashak figures at capacity there will be 25 to 30 workers building, packing and shipping roughly 100 commuter bikes a day.

Pashak is aiming to make each bike for around $100, not including labour costs. For now, Detroit Bikes will manufacture the frame, handlebars, rear rack, fenders, chain-guard, likely the wheels and, depending on how the math works out, the pedals. Anything they can’t manufacture economically, like the seat, hubs and brakes, will come from Asia. As soon as the steel tubing and steel cutter arrive (any day now, he says), they’ll make 50 bikes and hand them out to Detroit residents for some informal testing and buzz-building. Based on people’s feedback, they might make some changes before rolling out the final product, first locally, then to other urban bike-retailers across North America. If sales are promising, Pashak envisions branching out with different models and eventually supplying the bike-share programs that are popping up in cities around the world.

Though Pashak’s business hits on important cultural trends such as urban cycling and ethical consumerism, his product is also trading on the idea of place. Detroit is crucial for this business on many levels. First, it’s a continental transportation hub that offers the obvious bonuses of cheap real estate and a willing and skilled labour pool. But its story – a former manufacturing powerhouse, now depressed, appealingly resilient, a larger symbol of what’s wrong with the American economy – is what Pashak is betting will help sell this bike.

“Positive or negative, people know how they feel about Detroit – it resonates,” says Pete Lilly, owner of Sweet Pete’s, a Toronto bike shop that sells largely to the commuter crowd. “It’s a feel-good story, but more than that, it’s not an angle that other companies can copy.” That’s crucial, he says, for getting notoriously fickle retailers onboard. It’s the kind of bike Lilly thinks could sell well at his store based on past success moving other eco- or socially-minded bikes such as Kona’s 2006 AfricaBike, the proceeds from which went to supplying those very bikes to people in Africa. “Ultimately it comes down to the consumer and whether they’ll pay the extra money,” he says of Pashak’s bikes, if they do indeed wind up costing consumers more than similar, Asian-made bikes.

“I didn’t know how to manage a bar when I was 22, and I’ve figured out that it’s ok not to know. What I can do is put together a good team and make sure they’re happy. That’s just being a manager.” – Zak Pashak

That hasn’t always been the case. A decade ago, a Vancouver-based bike company called Brodie tried to keep its manufacturing local as competitors shifted theirs to Asia. “Brodie had to eventually move offshore because their bikes were $200 to $300 more,” Lilly says. “Ultimately, the customer decided.”

Still, from a retailer’s point of view, buying local rather than importing from Taiwan is appealing, not just as a marketing angle but also because lead-times for Asian orders are long and there are always a few bikes that arrive damaged, rusted, or just badly made. “Everyone says making bikes here competitively can’t be done,” Lilly says. “But I would love to see someone do it.”

Pashak wants to be that person, and he’s got a lot riding on that outcome – more than $500,000, he says. But while he’s happy to be doing it in Detroit, he’s trying not to talk too loudly about it. “There are a lot of schemers that show up in this city who think they’re going to save Detroit,” he says. “Coming here and starting a business does a great thing for the city, but don’t say you’re saving it. This is a serious place to come to. It’s not frivolous. People are coming here to try and contribute to a really interesting community.”