No matter where you are in your plans to start a small business, whether you’ve got a good business idea that you feel the Grandmont Rosedale community needs, or you’re ready to move into a building in the Grandmont Rosedale business community, your next great idea might be to seek out Larissa Carr’s input. As the manager of the Grand River WorkPlace and a Grandmont Rosedale resident, Larissa has first-hand knowledge of what residents in Grandmont Rosedale need and want in their business community, and she has helped several new businesses in Grandmont Rosedale get a start. Larissa knows she’s not the only one with sound small business insight, however. Part of Larissa’s job as manager is to offer small businesses a variety of resources that offer support. There are five ongoing small business support programs currently at the Grand River WorkPlace: Detroit SCORE offers free, expert, face-to-face business advice; ProsperUs holds a 20-week training program that helps small businesses develop a business plan; CEED Lending offers a lending program for small, Detroit-based businesses; TechTown holds small business consultation sessions to help small business owners get a start or even to ramp up their existing business; and the most recent addition to this list is FoodLab, which has launched a “How to Series” for early-stage food entrepreneurs. Besides these ongoing sessions, Larissa also arranges several workshops that focus on marketing strategies, tax advice, and a host of other issues that are important to any business, no matter its size.


For Larissa, managing the WorkPlace isn’t just a job. Born and raised in Detroit, Larissa completed her Master’s in Community Development at University Detroit Mercy and chose to begin her career at GRDC. She began at GRDC as part of a post-graduate fellowship and has been here ever since. Larissa’s work with GRDC and the WorkPlace itself began nearly at the same time, about three years ago. Larissa has proven to be an effective force in strengthening the business community not just in Grandmont Rosedale, but in Detroit as well. The first pop-up business in the WorkPlace was Yvette Jenkins’ Love Travels Imports. Jenkins’ small business of selling fair-trade artisan wares did so well that she opened up a permanent shop at 19452 Livernois. GRDC’s WorkPlace and Larissa’s capable management made Yvette’s early business experience educational, productive, and successful. Alexander Jones, Director of United Horizons, and one of the first members of the WorkPlace, just recently made the move from WorkPlace to a store front on Grand River. His business, United Horizons, which provides support for developmentally disabled people, has grown to the point where he simply needs more space, and that’s how it should be. As Larissa attests: “That’s the point of the WorkPlace – To help small businesses start, continue, and for several, even outgrow the WorkPlace.”


The WorkPlace connects business owners to each other and to the residents of Grandmont Rosedale. “About half of the tenants of the WorkPlace live in the Grandmont Rosedale community,” Larissa says, and when the business community thrives, so does the residential community.

As some businesses outgrow the WorkPlace, new ones come, eager to get their start in Grandmont Rosedale. One of the newest tenants at the WorkPlace is Chef Maxcel Hardy, the personal chef to New York Knicks player Amar’e Stoudemire, with whom he co-wrote a cookbook focused on healthy eating. Chef Hardy has plans to open Chef Max’s River Bistro at 18465 Grand River, and maybe even a culinary school.

Larissa has also been hard at work getting the mixed-use space ready for businesses in Grandmont Rosedale. The River Annex at 19556 Grand River will serve as an event space, music venue, and even a place for people to try out new foods; in short, it will be a space where small business owners can try something new and innovative. Innovation is the key to new vibrancy in the Grandmont Rosedale business community, and to Larissa’s mind set. In fact, Larissa sees the entire city of Detroit as a place where “anyone can create.”

Larissa’s work is, in large measure, a labor of love. Larissa has chosen to stay and live and work in Detroit because of “its people. Detroiters are friendly, genuine, and loyal. Detroit’s home for me.” Larissa bought a beautifully renovated GRDC house and has been busy making it a home with her soon to be husband, Dante.

Exciting things are happening in Grandmont Rosedale, thanks in no small measure to Larissa Carr’s commitment to offer small business owners the most relevant, useful services and resources available.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Grand River WorkPlace, contact Larissa at

Here’s a link to the article about Larissa Carr and the Grand River WorkPlace from The Hub: Detroit

Written by Kathy Garrett