Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Dearborn Future of Entrepreneurship

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

The entrepreneurial spirit was in full force at the Metromode “On the Ground” Dearborn “Future of Entrepreneurship” event, held at the City Hall Artspace Lofts. Sharing stories and advice culled from starting and operating their own businesses in Downtown Dearborn were: Katie Merritt of Green Brain Comics; Windy Weber of Stormy Records; Sam Abbas of Brome Modern Eatery; and John Rucinski of Dearborn Brewery.

Downtown Dearborn’s Cristina Sheppard-Decius hosted the roundtable discussion and was joined by others dedicated to providing services and resources to area businesses including: Jackie Lovejoy from the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce; Hassan Bazzi of ACCESS; and Jacob Albers from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and their Business Engagement Center.

Downtown Dearborn in the News

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

The September issue of Hour Media’s dbusiness shined a light on the city as a destination for arts and culture, tourism and – more significantly every day – business and new development along the Michigan Avenue corridor.  In the piece, editor R.J. King detailed the East and West Dearborn DDA’s work with the city, civic groups and others in bringing greater business (Wagner Place), retail (Fairlane Mall) and restaurant density, walkability and bikeability to its downtown. Check out the article by clicking the graphic.

Locating Your Business in Downtown Dearborn

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Downtown Dearborn is an amazing community in which to locate or start-up your business.

Being the birthplace of Henry Ford, Dearborn is steeped in history and innovation, but far from old fashioned with its vibrant tapestry of people, cultures, flavors, businesses and neighborhoods that continue to shape the world. This American melting pot of over 100,000 residents has grown from waves of immigration and industrialization from the late 1800s to current day and now is the 8th largest city in the State of Michigan, and second largest in Wayne County. Only in Dearborn can you go from urban, compact downtowns and neighborhoods to natural wildlife, outdoor recreation and stately homes all within 26 square miles.

Ideally located between Detroit and the Metro Detroit Airport along historic Michigan Avenue, Dearborn’s two downtown districts that developed out of the historic merger of Dearborn, Fordson and part of Dearborn Township in 1929 are uniquely positioned for economic growth. With major tourist attractions like the The Henry Ford and the Arab American National Museum attracting 2 million visitors annually, and over 50,000 daily employees and college students in and around its downtowns, Downtown Dearborn is a regional destination for tourism, arts and employment. Major corporations such as Ford Motor Company and its world headquarters, Beaumont and Carhartt, and two higher level education facilities (University of Michigan_Dearborn and Henry Ford College) help to make Dearborn a hub of innovation.

To capitalize on these stellar assets, Dearborn’s stakeholders have now come together to strategically champion Downtown Dearborn’s continuous economic momentum by working collaboratively to create a vibrant downtown experience for all  – one Dearborn, two distinct districts.  From arts and culture in the east to history and innovation in the west, both downtowns are transforming their environments with significant developments such as the City Hall Artspace Lofts for artist living and start-up space, and the Wagner Place mixed-use redevelopment for 600 Ford employees and retail experiences to name a few.

Dearborn offers everything you need and more than you expect!

Interested in locating your business in Downtown Dearborn? Contact Cristina Sheppard-Decius, Downtown Dearborn Executive Director for more details.

Now Available:  Wagner Place Retail Space

Ford Land broke ground on The Wagner Place in May 2017, a $60 million public/private development  in Downtown West Dearborn. Scheduled to be complete in Summer 2018, Wagner Place will transform two blocks of vacant buildings between Oakwood and Mason on Michigan Avenue into a unique mixed-use urban space with new retail and restaurant options, complemented by new green space, outdoor seating and enhanced walkability. The 150,000-square-foot, three-story mixed-use buildings will also include the restoration of the Wagner Hotel, providing a unique design that integrates well into the downtown environment. Leasing options include a range of sizes for retailers and restaurants along the 40,000 square foot main floor, with a dedicated following of consumers directly above of 600-650 Ford global data insights and analytics employees. The City of Dearborn, WDDDA and Michigan Strategic Fund are contributing to the overall development by constructing a 373-spot parking structure at West Village Drive and Monroe Street, and improving the walkability and bike-ability along Michigan Avenue and the connector streets, totaling over $6 million in public reinvestment.  Click HERE for details on the streetscape plans.

Wagner Place Leasing Options

Wagner Place Overview Video

Now Available:  City Hall Artspace Connector

  Artspace is the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation, with more than 35 projects in operation across the country and another dozen in development, representing a unique, $600 million investment in America’s arts infrastructure. Through its Consulting division, Artspace has brought its hard-earned expertise to more than 300 cultural planning efforts from coast-to-coast. With headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C., Artspace is America’s leading developer of arts facilities. To date they have completed nearly 1,500 affordable live/work units for artists and their families, as well as more than a million square feet of non-residential space for artists and arts organizations.

Looking to use the power of the arts to improve East Dearborn’s economic base, the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority (EDDDA) invited Artspace into the community. Of the 20 potential sites Artspace considered, the most promising proved to be Dearborn City Hall, a three-building campus that occupies an entire block and the City availed itself to move its government offices to a more central location in the city.

In 2016, City Hall Artspace Lofts opened its mixed-use arts campus with 53 affordable, live/work units for artists and their families in Downtown East Dearborn between Maple and Schaefer on Michigan Avenue. They invested over $16.5 million renovating the historic City Hall, and now have 19,510 square feet of commercial leasing space available in their Connector building between the residential buildings. The Connector is perfect for incubating entrepreneurs and artists, office space for creative businesses and non profits, a live/work unit for an artist-in-residency program, and galleries.

Artspace Connector Commercial Leasing Options


Adopt-a-Tree Well for Fall!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Adopt-A-Tree-Well Fall Program

Let’s make Downtown Dearborn Beautiful this Fall!

Your business or organization can sponsor a tree well in Downtown East or West Dearborn to plant or decorate for Fall!
A tree well is the small patch of ground around the city trees lining our main streets.
You can easily participate in this community program by simply identifying which tree wells you would like to adopt and maintain within either Downtown District. You provide Fall plants or decorations, and we will recognize your efforts with a customized plaque, as well as in our promotion e-newsletter and on our social media.

Here’s how your business or organization can participate:

  1. Choose a tree well to sponsor.
    See numbered map for choices.
    Some have trees, some don’t (please leave trees intact).
  2. Download and fill out event sign up form_fall and winter 2017  and email or call 313-943-3141 for details. You can also fill this out online.
  3. Decorate with fall plants and / or decorations by Oct 1.
    • Choose Fall plants like mums, or decorations like pumpkins, haystacks, or family friendly Halloween decorations (subject to approval)
    • Each sponsor plants, decorates, and maintains their sponsored well.
  4. A sign will be provided to show who decorated each tree well.
  5. Remove decorations by Nov 30.

Program Benefits

  • Improved property aesthetics
  • More attention for your business
  • Recognition of your project on the DDAs website, blog posts Promotion through our social media channels
  • Custom signs featuring the name of your organization or business

Please check out the maps below for potential tree well locations. When reserving your space, please put down your preferred location number. We cannot guarantee a specific location until your receive a final confirmation from us.






Register Now for Holiday & Fall Promotions!

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Downtown Dearborn Holiday & Fall Promotions

Downtown Dearborn, the West and East Dearborn Downtown Development Authorities, are launching some new events and bringing back some good ‘ole standards too! Join us in celebrating the season and encouraging shoppers and diners to patron both downtowns. Here are the details on our Holiday & Fall Promotions:

imagesDowntown Trick-or-Treat

Be a trick-or-treat stop along the way on Saturday, October 29, from 2-4pm. All you have to do is pass out tricks or treats to kids and families as they visit your place of business. We will provide you with a sign for your door to indicate that you are a trick-or-treat stop, list your business online and promote on social media. This is a great way to expose families to your business. Consider adding a business card, coupon or special item with your treat as you hand them out. Both downtowns are promoting this trick-or-treat activity.

white_wk_logoShop Small/Small Business Saturday

On Saturday, November 26, Small Business Saturday, the downtowns will kick-off its’ Shop Small campaign. We will be producing a passport of businesses in which you can entice shoppers and diners with a special that is good from the 26th through December 14. We will provide you with a stamp so that when customers make a purchase (doesn’t have to be the special), you stamp their passport. For each stamp they receive, they are entered into a raffle of gifts. Each participating business is asked to provide one gift for the raffle with a minimum value of $25. We will be promoting this campaign on social media, print materials for your business and on 93.9 The River.

Also as part of the promotion with 93.9 The River, businesses can also choose to receive radio mentions as part of our radio ads for a fee of $100 per four spots.

holiday-open-houseHoliday Open House

To conclude the holiday season of festivities, on Wednesday, December 14, Downtown East and West Dearborn will host a Holiday Open House from 4-9pm. In the east, the EDDDA will hold its annual event at Artspace featuring local foods. In the west, we are encouraging consumers to visit businesses that are a “wassail” stop who will be providing a snack, beverage, entertainment or special. Both are great opportunities to showcase your business and create some holiday cheer! This can also be a great time to reach out to your own customers and treat them to a special event at your place, which could then expose them to neighboring businesses, growing all of our businesses.

2017 Events to Note

First time ever! We are hosting a Dearborn Restaurant Week on February 13-19. Details coming soon on you can participate.

The martians are returning on April 22 for the Martian Marathon! We are working with Running Fit and the City of Dearborn Recreation Department to increase cross-promotions between businesses and the event. More detail forthcoming, but let us know if you would be interested.


To sign up for any of these fun events, please click here.

2016 Fall Festivities

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Get in the spirit this season and fall into Downtown Dearborn for an abundant harvest of events and festivities!

For more details on each event, please explore our calendar of events.


Downtown Dearborn uses the Main Street approach to revitalizing and growing its downtowns in both East and West Dearborn. The EDDDA, WDDDA, City, business leaders and organizations have joined together to collaborate in reimagining our downtowns and highlighting all of the amazing assets, attractions and places of interest along Michigan Avenue. 

Quick Guide to Shops, Restaurants & Pubs

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Here’s a quick guide to the local shops, restaurants and pubs in Downtown West Dearborn.

business guide pamphlet_combined web_Page_1 business guide pamphlet_combined web_Page_2

Meet our new Executive director of the West Dearborn DDA

Monday, October 12th, 2015


Dearborn’s Michigan Avenue business districts have a new advocate with plenty of expertise: Cristina Sheppard-Decius, the former executive director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority who brought national attention and investment to Downtown Ferndale in Oakland County.

Sheppard-Decius is now the executive director of the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority (WDDDA).

She is also working on transitioning the WDDDA and the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority (EDDDA) into a unified organization and will serve as the Downtown Dearborn executive director when the process is complete.

Working closely with both the WDDDA and EDDDA, Sheppard-Decius will drive the progress for a more comprehensive approach to business recruitment and retention along Michigan Avenue, and will be leading the effort for increased coordination of design and promotions in Dearborn’s two main downtown districts.

Branding the downtowns is also one of the first things on her agenda, with the goal of promoting more customer traffic and investment, emphasizing Dearborn’s intriguing and attractive features, following her successful role in revitalizing Downtown Ferndale.

Sheppard-Decius is a Certified Main Street Manager (CMSM) of the National Main Street Center. During her 15 years in Downtown Ferndale, she oversaw tremendous growth, with more than 175 building improvements and $80 million in reinvestment as part of Main Street Oakland County.

Contracted by the WDDDA, Sheppard-Decius says her first goal is to engage stakeholders in the west downtown through face-to-face conversations, and to shape the WDDDA’s vision for transformation into strategic actions. It is the first time the WDDDA has had an executive director.

These same efforts will be conducted in the EDDDA to build unity between the districts and a comprehensive plan for revitalizing both areas.

Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. praised Sheppard-Decius’ experience and looks forward to her building on the progress already made in the downtowns.

“It’s evident that our downtowns have had their challenges through tough economic times, as well as other circumstances that temporarily limited the potential in west Dearborn,” he said.

“But in the last year, we’ve seen new businesses move in, leading to very encouraging growth in the commercial districts,” Mayor O’Reilly said. “There’s renewed interest, and even excitement again, from customers and investors.

“Now with Cristina Sheppard-Decius on board, we are in a great position to market the appeal of our downtowns and move ahead with plans to promote our city as a great place to open a business, and a great place to shop, eat and enjoy a night out,” he said.

Sheppard-Decius agreed. “We are on the cusp of so much potential, and now we need to be even more strategic and garner more local stakeholder involvement to move our downtowns forward,” she said.

Listening to, and working with, businesses, is key, she said. Engaging residents in the visioning process is crucial as well, since creating even stronger downtown districts means strengthening the entire community, she said.

Dan Merritt, chairperson of the EDDDA, is encouraged by the opportunity for the two Michigan Avenue downtowns to market Dearborn businesses more efficiently, while still promoting the features that make each area unique.

“It has been a very exciting year for the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority. With the renovations underway at City Hall Artspace, our emerging identity as an arts and culture district, and the imminent opening of several new businesses, things are looking up for the east downtown,” he said.

“Now we can look forward to working with the new executive director, unifying our efforts with the west downtown, and bringing a focus to the way we do business,” Merritt said.

Bill White, chairperson of the WDDDA, echoed Merritt’s endorsement of Sheppard-Decius’ position and the new unified approach to boosting and developing the business districts.

“We’re pleased to welcome Cristina Sheppard-Decius to the Dearborn business community. She has a proven track record, and her recent success as executive director of Ferndale’s DDA bodes well for Dearborn,” said White. “Dearborn is unique having both a West and an East DDA, and leveraging Cristina’s skills and passion for revitalizing downtowns is exactly what we need.”    Sheppard-Decius is eager to produce results and to more fully apply Main Street principles in Dearborn. The Main Street Approach® of the National Main Street Center is a grassroots economic development organizational framework for revitalizing downtowns that is used by more than 1,000 downtowns across the United States.

“I’m excited to work with the City, businesses and the DDDAs to capitalize on the assets of each downtown, guiding them to become premier destinations in the metro area again,” said Sheppard-Decius. “One of Dearborn’s biggest assets is the motivation to make it the place the community wants it to be!”


New Businesses in West Downtown Dearborn!

Monday, October 12th, 2015

2015 has been a busy year in West Downtown Dearborn, as we saw over 10 new business pop up in our ever growing district. Newcomers to the district are Dearborn Brewing, Al-Ajami West, LIV Lounge, Nar Bar, Venture Title Agency, Los Galanes, Brera Pizza, Famous Hamburger, Stadium Hot Dogs, and Wright & Filippis.

This winter saw the opening up new restaurants and lounges, Al-Ajami West, 21931 Michigan Ave, and LIV Lounge, 21961 Michigan Ave., on the corner of Monroe Street and Michigan Ave.

This summer saw the opening of the highly anticipated micro brewery Dearborn Brewing, 21930 Michigan Ave., and the construction of various businesses in the building on the corner of Monroe Street and Michigan where Dearborn music used to be.

West Downtown Dearborn is constantly changing and growing and has many more businesses coming to our great area. So make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to check out the latest news and see the businesses that make up the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.