small business

Today on Stateside, St. Patrick's Day arrives just in time to find bars and restaurants closed to revelers because of the coronavirus outbreak. What does that mean for the state's small businesses? Plus, we discuss the philanthropic efforts to meet Michiganders' needs during a prolonged period of social distancing.

There is plenty of coverage about Detroit’s “comeback.” Stores and restaurants are opening, and downtown is more vibrant than its been in decades.

But the story of the city’s rise from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history often leaves out residents in the city's neighborhoods, who often aren't getting a chance to share in the prosperity.   

The Next Idea

So, you've got a small business. You've been selling your product at farmer's markets or art fairs, or maybe online.

But it's a great big step from that to having your own brick-and-mortar store. One way to help bridge that gap is happening in Midtown Detroit: the Cass Collective.

It's a new collaborative retail space where businesses rotate in and out so a budding entrepreneur can put a cautious toe in the water without a big commitment. The Cass Collective is a joint project of Midtown Detroit Inc. and TechTown Detroit.

Mason County competition stimulates local business

Jul 19, 2016

The Next Idea

For the last two years, Mason County has the Momentum Business Plan Competition, which awards $50,000 to entrepreneurs during the startup phase of their businesses. The project aims to boost entrepreneurship and small businesses within the county. Prize money is provided by local sponsors and organizations.

The Next Idea

Young artists can struggle to make a living if they lack the proper knowledge to start and care for a storefront – and that’s where a new Detroit project comes in.

80s nostalgia is strong in new TC arcade

Jun 1, 2016
Aaron Selbig

It’s been 35 years since the heyday of video game arcades. By the late 1980s, most arcades had died, but over the last few years, the classic games started making a comeback, popping up in hip neighborhoods in major cities.

A Traverse City couple saw the trend and decided they wanted in on the action. Last week, they opened their new arcade, the Coin Slot, in the warehouse district.

It’s the first time I’ve been in a real arcade in I don’t know how long.

Aaron Selbig

Do you live in Paradise? How’s it going?

Those are questions we want to explore this fall on IPR News Radio in our series, Which Way to Paradise: Struggle and Promise Up North.

Parts of northern Michigan are booming and we are constantly told Traverse City, in particular, is a top 10 place to live, work and play. Who is coming here and why? How has the region changed and what is missing?

Our first two stories illustrate both sides of the coin. Ken Daniels just moved his family to Texas. He says he can’t make a living at $13 an hour with no benefits.

Miranda Bono is on track to open the very first "cat cafe" in Michigan.

"A cat cafe is basically a coffee shop and a cat rescue center in one place," says Bono.

Cat cafes originated in Asia and traveled to the United States, with the first opening in California last fall.

When he was elected to the U.S. Senate, Gary Peters promised to approach his job in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation. He says that's exactly what's behind the first two bills he has introduced in the Senate.

Aaron Selbig

A new zoo opened this month in Williamsburg but visitors won’t find elephants, giraffes or gorillas there.

What the Grand Traverse Butterfly House and Bug Zoo does have is a South American cave roach named “Chaz.” 

Chaz lives in the bug zoo with dozens of his creepy, crawly friends – including a collection of tarantulas, a ghost mantis from Africa named “Casper” and a hive of Michigan bees.

Cyndie Bobier opened the bug zoo earlier this month. The project took more than two years to get off the ground. 

In the age of Amazon, bookstores are a dying breed – unable to compete with online retail and the popularity of e-readers. Or at least that’s been the accepted narrative in the book business over the last few years.

In Traverse City, there are a couple of bookstores trying to buck that trend.

Brilliant Books on Traverse City’s Front Street feels like a throwback to bookstores past. Jazz music is piped softly through overhead speakers. The wooden floor creaks underfoot as you walk past plush leather sofas and neatly arranged aisles of hardcovers.


Put away your smartphone and tablets! 

Talk face-to-face, play some board games, and connect with one another.That's the message from 3 & Up Lounge in Plymouth.

Angela Space is co-founder of the lounge. She says she and her husband got the idea from a board game cafe in Toronto, which is a popular cafe style in many countries around the world but hasn't caught on in the U.S.

"We've morphed the idea of a board game cafe where you sell sandwiches, grilled cheese and coffee, and really turn it more into a lounge where people first and foremost connect with each other, and secondarily playing together, having fun, laughing and learning," says Space.

Space says people were a little skeptical at first when they walked in the door, but the cafe has invented some funny ways of persuading people to put away their phones and tablets.

"We have an anti-wifi zone. We let people boo each other," says Space.

* Listen to the interview with Angela Space above.