With the help of Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC), Digimax Business Center at 18461 West McNichols, is one of the ten Grandmont Rosedale businesses that received the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Match on Main grant. This grant will enable Digimax to continue as a community hub for printing, copying, emailing, design, technology help, and the often fruitful connection of customers and other business owners.
Andre and Lachandra Bartell are the owners of Digimax, which has been at its current location for 14 years, and for the 15 years before that, they were at a storefront right across the street. “We’ve been invested in Detroit for more than 30 years,” says Andre who is also a former Grandmont Rosedale resident.
FIND HELP AND COMMUNITY
At Digimax you can design and print promotional materials such as banners, t-shirts, yard signs, business cards, mugs, pens, and more. You can copy, scan, print and email documents. You can also have them laminated or design a poster, even a billboard. “Our office is your office!” Andre says. Besides the one-stop shopping for all printed materials is the consultation and hands-on help you can get when you come in with an idea for, say a postcard, but would like to run it past someone who has a lot of experience printing all kinds of materials. If you’re not so tech savvy, Andre or Lachandra or one of their three kids who work there part-time will be able to help. In fact, Andre sees the help they offer to people who aren’t as familiar with technology as one of the most important services they offer. “There is a digital divide with seniors,” Andre says. “We help them use their phone. We can show them how to send a document and print it out. We even help them pay their bills online.” On Saturday mornings they even offer a free Facebook User Class, complete with coffee and donuts. “It’s important that we stay open, especially during COVID,” Andre says. They have stayed open with social distancing and masks required and have noticed an increase in the number of people taking advantage of their many services. The Match on Main grant enabled them to take the measures necessary to stay open and safe.
Andre estimates that there is a steady flow of about 75-100 people who come in to Digimax every day to get business done. “There’s a lot of traffic. It really is a business center,” Andre explains. “People come to get their personal business and their business business done here.” Of course, since the pandemic, several safety protocols have been in place. This volume of traffic and Andre’s commitment to stay safe and help with everything from accessing email to designing stickers means that Andre works at home as well as at the store. “It can be challenging to get the bookkeeping done at the store because it’s so busy.”
HELPING OTHER SMALL BUSINESSES
For many, Digimax is the place where their business began. Several business owners that Andre and his team helped in the design of their first flyers or other material have become successful and have returned to thank Andre and his team. They realize that having an excellent marketing plan is necessary, and a big part of that is good, effective design.
Andre’s ambition to create a community space for business owners and residents began years ago when he worked at as a machine operator for a GM supplier and he thought a newsletter would be a great way to keep his co-workers stay informed and connected. He brought his idea for a newsletter to his boss who gave Andre the ok. “I created a second job for myself while I worked there,” Andre remembers. As editor of the 5-8 page newsletter, Andre solicited writers among his co-workers and included company information about cars, transportation news, and more. Employees’ birthdays, anniversaries were recognized, and the employee of the month was featured with a photo and an article. Andre’s hard work as the editor paid off: “The newsletter improved employee morale. When people were featured because they were employee of the month or because it was their birthday, they’d take a couple of copies home.” The newsletter became a keepsake for many of the workers and ran for about five years.
Andre was in the printing and design business before it all went online and so has a thorough understanding of the process, and how important clear and accessible communication is. When Andre and Lachandra started their business in the late 1980s, they were typesetting the print, then they moved to desktop publishing, and finally to today’s online formats. They are a small Grandmont Rosedale business that knows the importance of community, and the Grandmont Rosedale community knows how important it is to have a one-stop print shop in the neighborhood where the people who work there are not too busy to show you how to download or copy or fax. “A lot goes on here,” says Andre. “People are comfortable coming here.” It does have the feel of a community gathering space where business owners, residents, and customers meet one another to catch up, share ideas, and even just to encourage one another. “I know them and they know me. Often people need help sending a fax, paying a bill or coming up with a good design, and we’re here to help.”
You can contact Digimax Business Center at 313.510.3035, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.digimaxbusiness.com. Digimax is also connected with a wider online marketplace: https://www.detroitbusinesscenter.com/