I recently sent out the following tweet: 

“@swattsbulb: Love shopping @Nordstrom & would be happy to have a store in the actual city of #Detroit #DetroitsOpenForBusiness http://t.co/DQe4XmTk1V”

Now I want to explain the #DetroitsOpenForBusiness hashtag I used and what I created it for, so you can….Ponder and Participate. The idea is to start a grassroots hashtag people can use to invite their favorite companies to open an office or retail location in the city of Detroit. I think it will be more impactful if actual customers ask their favorite store to open in the city. So far I have used this hashtag to reach out to J.Jill, Whole Foods and Starbucks to encourage them to set up in Detroit or come specifically to my zip code of 48235. It actually get’s their attention. Nordstrom’s response: 

” @Nordstrom: @swattsbulb We appreciate the suggestion and will let our teams know!”

The secondary advantage of this hashtag is that, if it gains wide use, it starts to create buzz amongst all companies so they start seeing Detroit as a city on the move and encourage them to join in also. But remember that no matter how much I love Nordstrom’s merchandise and super customer service, I have to provide information that makes a good business pitch. So also consider sharing beneficial facts about the city of Detroit’s progress.

  • Share information about other retailers establishing a location in Detroit. As I see it, if John Varvatos can sell in the city, Nordstrom can too.
  •  Share information about successful small businesses in Detroit.
  • Share information on the city’s infrastructure and service improvements. A full fleet of DDOT buses assures a retailer that their workers will have reliable transportation to work.
  • Share information regarding increased STEM training in the city. Talk about the city’s collaborative nature. Mention all the innovative programs in the city.
  • Finally, share the personal testimonies and success stories of Detroit’s numerous entrepreneurs.

Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened. So if you feel the need for your favorite store to be near your house, give them a shout out on Twitter and use this hastag, #DetroitsOpenForBusiness. Thanks Wattsbulb

Detroit’s Fanfare for the Common Man

I have always loved Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man. A very majestic piece of music which tells the story of the westward migration which built out the United States. As I listened to this music, as I traveled home from a social media meeting, I started to hear similarities to the current state of Detroit.

If you recall how striking the trumpets are in Aaron Copland’s masterpiece. They musically highlight the purity of the strong americans who branched out all over the western half of our country to lay claim to their piece of land. Once claimed, they strongly banded together to build their parcel, their town, their city, their state and ultimately our country. Tonight, at the meeting, I met fellow Detroit residents, who all also displayed a purity of purpose to build their various entrepreneurial endeavors, their community, their neighborhoods and ultimately their city.

One particular resident was the owner of Motor City Java. The best way to describe her is to say she is the human representation of Hebrews 11:1 For those who don’t know the scripture, see it below:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things now seen.“

She told us the story of how over five long years she was able to realize the evidence of her faith by establishing her own neighborhood coffee shop, Motor City Java. She established her business without the naysayers who questioned why she wanted to be in a neighborhood many had written off as blighted. She established her business without a single loan. She established her business with a supportive community who passed the hat at times to build capital for the numerous rehab projects she needed to build the beautiful space she has today. The purity of her faith sounded just like the purity of the trumpets in Aaron Copland’s fanfare.

But Copland authored a fanfare, of multiple trumpets, with a pure sound, in unison, building together to a majesty of their own. So it is in Detroit. The owner of Motor City Java is not alone. Residents in and around Detroit are ready to join the chorus. To stake their parcel. To reach their community. To build a Detroit neighborhood. To play their part in Detroit’s fanfare for the common man.

And yes, as far as Detroit is concerned, you can be a common man. Just a person with a business idea you are passionate about and an entrepreneurial purity of heart. Detroit opens their arms to you. The city has initiated a program called, “Motor City Match”. You can start as simply as Copland started to author his fanfare….with a blank page. Motor City Match will help you fill in the notes. The program focuses on two groups of trumpeting entrepreneurs, property owners of potential retail spaces and small businesses looking for a storefront. On a quarterly basis both groups can apply for competitive financial assistance and support services to help them through build-out and startup. Technical assistance for building owners includes  design/build assistance, priority permitting and financial planning assistance. Business owners receive free business planning class, match-making with top real estate, financial planning assistance, design, build assistance, and priority permitting.

Entrepreneurs are always said to play by a different tune. Detroit is gathering various entrepreneurs, with a purity of purpose and passion, ready to sound far and wide in the city’s great fanfare. Come join the faithful Motor City Java. Come and play your part in Detroit’s Fanfare for a Common Man.

#Detroit #Neighborhood Renewal brings sense of Community.

Can we talk? Recently I have noted just how few options Detroit residents in my neighborhood had to talk to one another. The usual routine was work and then back home. You might happen across your next door neighbor to wave to as you rushed to or from your car. Opportunities for real conversation were limited. They say, “Communication is power”. But our neighborhoods had suffered the effects of limited and/or dwindling power for quite sometime.

Luckily now, some neighborhoods are starting to see the rebirth of small business in our area. Word is slowly getting out and trial is starting to take place. The biggest impact is that we have places to gather and talk. The quick wave is leading to a conversation over coffee & pastries or a breakfast of chicken & waffles. The talk is positive. The positive is palatable as we all share our observations of the city. The positive spirit is growing through the acknowledgement that we can now talk.

Case in point, I stopped by Kuzzos Chicken & Waffles on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion. This is the historic retail area in my neighborhood. In its heyday, it was the place for every fashionista. In the past 40 years, it had become a place to drive by while shaking your head in disgust as you traveled to one of the shining malls in the northern suburbs. In the last few years, the Livernois area is starting to establish itself as an artistic retail area. Pottery and classes at “Art in Motion”. One of a kind merchandise fashioned by artisans can be had from “Love Travels Imports” and “Detroit Fiber Works”. Satisfy your sweet tooth with organic bake goods at “Good Cakes and Bakes”. Buy paintings and sculptures from the up and coming artists in the city when you shop “Jo’s Gallery”. Video games from “GamesVille”. Delightful children’s clothing from “DeCreated”. An eclectic retail experience is starting to take shape in this neighborhood. The third restaurant to open on the “Ave.” is Kuzzos. It joins “Nona” and “1917 American Bistro”.

Because I want my neighborhood to grow and thrive, I have taken the time to visit, get to know the owners and make purchases at these businesses. At this point I feel like a character from “Cheers” when I walk into an establishment on the Ave. These enterprising business owners call me by my first name, as I do them. An experience as unique as their merchandise, that a northern suburban mall can’t replicate. They tell me of their business successes. They tell me of new ideas they have to support their business growth. In our discussions, many of the owners noted how important restaurants are to build foot traffic which leads to increased business for all of them.

So during the first week of Kuzzos opening, I stopped by to give it a try. The place was packed. For this restaurant, it wasn’t so much “word of mouth”, but more accurately “word of anticipation” that had everyone waiting for the doors to open. I wasn’t the only resident in this Detroit neighborhood who wished for a breakfast place that wasn’t a McDonalds. I sat at the bar and immediately conversations erupted with my neighbors. An older gentleman, who sat on my right, said hello. He used to live in our neighborhood, but had moved to the suburbs some years back. As he talked and glanced at his newspaper, he gave a relaxed smile with the approval of the positive developments he is now seeing in this neighborhood. “I wish I could come back”, he said.

The neighbor to my left at the counter was a middle-aged woman. She told me how optimistic she was about the property values increasing near her home. She told me about a recent health scare she had, where she had to call Detroit EMS. She smiled broadly and said, “They were so supportive and good to me. I was so thankful for them that day.” She told me she called the mayors office to tell him of her good experience. She noted the mayor’s office was very effective at giving her the name and number of the head of the EMS department. She called the EMS office and told them “thank you”. She said they told her how grateful they were to get her call. “They always hear about complaints, but it’s nice to hear a thank you”, she beamed.

So now that we are starting to have businesses that we frequent. We can now talk to one another. We can share our positive stories. We can reinforce our individual sense that positive things are happening in the city of Detroit. Our communication can rebuild our power. And this power can rebuild our community.

#Entrepreneurial Spirit of #Detroit: Ultimate #313 #FollowFriday List #FF

In the upcoming week, Detroit turns 313 years old. Over all these years our city has been known for automobiles and Motown. Shining examples of the successful entrepreneurial spirit of Detroit.

After 313 years, many Detroiters dream as Henry Ford did with a fire in their belly to make a go at what some think is the impossible. Check out the entrepreneurs below. All shining examples of the Spirit of Detroit.

@GoodCakes313 See details: http://www.goodcakesandbakes.com

@TrishsGarage See Details: http://www.trishsgarage.com

@RevolveDetroit See Details: http://revolvedetroit.com

@DiBagels See Details: http://www.detroitinstituteofbagels.com

@THRIFTontheAve See Details: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THRIFT-on-the-AVE/148205965386399

@ArtInMotionDet (19452 Livernois Ave) See Details: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-In-Motion/435304829912384

@ShakespearintheD The plays the thing. http://signup.shakespeareindetroit.com

@PagesontheAve See details: http://www.PagesonLivernois.com

@SkyBarDetroit See details http://skybardetroit.com

@HantzWoodlands See details: http://hantzwoodlands.com

@GrandCircusCo See details: http://www.grandcircus.co

@GreenGarageDET See details: http://www.greengaragedetroit.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

@BradfordBenamer See details: http://www.bradfordbenamer.com

@CuttersBarGrill See details: http://www.cuttersdetroit.com

@Shinola Built in Detroit http://ti.me/1hHtmdv See details: http://www.shinola.com20140717-234436-85476377.jpg

Views of Detroit the National Media won’t tell you about

The national media is missing important coverage of the city of Detroit during bankruptcy. See images of the current state of the city.

Created by Wattsbulb via Flipgram Music: Will.I.Am – Scream & Shout

Created by Wattsbulb via Flipgram Music: Lorde – Team

Created by Wattsbulb via Flipgram Music: Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus

Created by Wattsbulb via Flipgram Music: Lady GaGa – Applause


Change is not gonna come. It hasn’t just arrived. It’s been here all the time.

Change is the constant state of the world. Just like the seasons, year after year, changes are always happening. But many people have problems with change. We are comfortable and feel a sense of control over the predictable. Even when the predictable becomes staid and boring, we cling to it like a security blanket.

Recently, the business buzz word is innovation. Change yields innovation. Have you been in a company-wide meeting in the last year, where some executive is talking about the importance of innovation in your industry? I am sure the executive starts the presentation by saying “we are in an age of accelerated technological changes”. The executive is right.

During the presentation you will see a lot of employees nod their heads. There are a few distinct groups you can spot in the room.

1) The Tech Group – I don’t give them this name because they are associated with tech. I define this group as the employees who work on projects which are either new initiatives to the company or are the current major profit centers. People in this group nod their heads because they believe they are already part of the cutting edge work that will support the company’s future growth.

2) The Dinosaurs Group – this group of employees nod because that’s what they always do at these meetings. These employees are oblivious to and have no plans to consider the impact of the executive’s comments, regarding change, could have on them.

3) The Heavy Lift Group – this group of employees nod because they know the executive just notified them that change is coming their way. These employees may have already come to the same conclusion before the executive brought it up. They may have noticed the operational pressures impacting their current processes.

By this point you may or may not have identified the group you belong. However, breath a little easier, because no matter what group you are in now, the advice to you will be the same. Accept change as a constant. Tech group, don’t become complacent, thinking that you have arrived. Because change is constant, you may find yourself new to the Dinosaur group quicker than you think. For a member of the Heavy Lift group, I applaud you if you have the ability to notice when changes need to occur. However, remember that change is constant, so you need to make the critical leap to accept establishing an environment where you can exist with constant change.

Make the leap. Are you ready? Do you know how? Here are some steps that I am learning to practice that will help you out.

1. Identify the predictable and boring stuff. Do you still need to do them?. Should these things be changed? Can they be done more efficiently if you leverage technology to streamline the process?

2. Overcome your fear? Just close your eyes and jump in for the water is fine. Just do it? Don’t be afraid to try something new. Have faith. This might sound cliche to you. But the point of these simple sayings is to tell you to do whatever you have to do to leave paralyzing fear behind.

3. Get your mind right. Yes, when all is said and done, constant change is all about you. You can choose to be part of the solution and not harp on the problem. Yes, one more cliche coming here, “Be the change you want to see”.

4. Think out of the box and embrace the possibilities. Constant change is a testimonial to the fact that anything is possible. This is your time to “Dream a little bigger darling”

5. Be open to collaborate. If you get your mind right, identify those other out of the box thinkers who have no fear and talk it out. You will be amazed what a group like this can accomplish.

So as you nod at the next company-wide meeting on change. Be ready to back it up with real change that leads to impressive innovations for your industry.


Small Business Saturday: Detroit


While Black Friday is for big box brick and mortar retailers. And Cyber Monday is for online retailers. Focus your shopping efforts this Saturday, November 30th on the local small businesses in your community. In Detroit, it is more important than ever to support the vast number of small businesses that have started their business in the last year. Below is a list of some Detroit gems you should definitely check out this Saturday.

Livernois Corridor

Good Cakes and Bakes
19363 Livernois Ave. (between 7 Mile Rd. and Outer Drive)
Detroit, MI 48221

Art in Motion
19452 Livernois, Detroit, MI 48221
313 980 -1265

Detroit Fiber Works
19359 Livernois, Detroit, MI 48221
313 610-5111
Detroit Fiber Works on Facebook


4240 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI
(313) 831-4844

441 W Canfield St, Detroit
(888) 304-2534

U.S. Auto Industry shows an aggressive smile


“That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying?

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile”


One of the great things about Detroit, Michigan is that when we find ourselves “on our own”, we accept it, hunker down, and set about the hard work necessary to get back right again. After going down the darkest tunnel in 2009, the U.S. Auto Industry found itself begging for life in front of the disdain of the U.S. Congress. Despite predictions of the auto industry on its deathbed by naysayers and the statement by one Presidential candidate who said…”Let them fail.” while espousing himself as a proponent of American workers, the future for the auto industry is bright indeed. In 2013, Chrysler, Ford and GM are starting to see the first glimmer of light.

At the 2013 North American International Auto Show, there were many reasons to see the light shine down on each of the Big Three. The rays of light can be identified as technology and design.


OnStar, UConnect(r) and Sync(r) are not just “bells and whistles”, but represent very thoughtful ways to bring advance Internet and cell phone use to car drivers, with an emphasis on safety.

Ford seems to have made the greatest stride in this area, and their vehicle’s technology revile the user interface found in the latest iPhone or iPad.

General Motor’s technology advancement revolves around the most important area top-of-mind for any driver…fuel economy. The Volt and the new Cadillac ELR represent a true technological advancement that can change the global economy. GM gets major kudos for moving the Volts hybrid gas-electric technology to the Cadillac. This will allow GM to get more of this technology in consumer’s hands while they work to bring down the manufacturing price. If this works, we hope to see the same technology brought to lower priced models like the Malibu and Impala.



This is the area where each of the BIg Three showed off their most noticeable gains. NAIAS made it apparent that the foreign offerings represented the “same old, same old”, while Ford, GM and Chrysler presented and aggressive smile.




Super Bowl: Best and Worst Ads


Here is my list of the best and worst Super Bowl ads


Dodge – RAM “Farmer”
Calvin Klein – “Guy in underwear”
Jeep – “Thanks to military”
Budweiser – “Clydesdale grows up”


GoDaddy – “The Kiss”
Doritos – every ad they aired