TechTown’s SWOT City is a “customized support program for brick and mortar small businesses in Detroit neighborhoods…[SWOT City] provides one-on-one assistance to help launch, stabilize and grow local businesses and strengthen neighborhood commercial district.” This support is one of the many services the Grand River WorkPlace offers, and Micah Loucks is a SWOT City representative offering the one-on-one consulting on a wide variety of small business needs. Micah holds monthly Open Office Hours every third Thursday from 10 am – 2 pm and is happy to talk with business owners, as he says, “at any stage or location, about any aspect of business for those with specific needs and those who are just starting out.”
Micah comes to the WorkPlace with a good deal of varied business experience. Before becoming a consultant with TechTown, Micah spent six years with the Michigan State University Extension Program at Eastern Market consulting many food business owners. In fact, Micah has worked with GRDC’s Northwest Detroit Farmers’ Market vendors Bakefiniti, Five Star Cake Co., and GreenHouse Soups & Chili. Micah has also lent his business expertise to Sweet Potato Sensations and the North Rosedale Park Civic Association committee that is working on the Community Kitchen currently being built in the North Rosedale Park Community House.
BRINGING BUSINESS EXPERIENCE TO DETROIT
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and part of Micah’s focus during the one-on-one consulting sessions is to identify these areas for small business owners. Starting and owning a small business is a demanding enterprise. It’s not enough to have a good product, small business owners must also pay attention to marketing, legalities, employment issues, and more. Micah’s Open Office Hours are designed to address “anything and everything” a small business owner may have concerns or questions about.
Micah had a pretty interesting path to living in and working in Detroit. Micah grew up in Kansas, but once grown and married, he and his wife moved to Ireland to volunteer with L’Arche, an international organization “dedicated to the creation and growth of homes, programs and support networks with people who have intellectual disabilities.” During his two years there, Micah started a culinary training community kitchen in a homeless shelter which trained the homeless population living in the shelter in culinary skills. Many of those first students can now be called formerly homeless. The training kitchen is still going, stronger than ever, with an even larger capacity to train the homeless population. Micah and his wife returned to the States, this time landing in Indiana where Micah went to school and his wife worked as a Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. When their workload left little time for the two of them to spend time together, they packed up again, and headed to Detroit. Neither had ever been here, and they came without jobs waiting for them. Soon enough though, “we figured it out.” Micah started working with Easter Market Farm Stand, helping FoodLab with food entrepreneur trainings. Seven years and three kids later, Micah and his wife have found a home that they love: “It has been a blast. We love getting to know the city.”
SWOT CITY OPEN OFFICE HOURS AT GRAND RIVER WORKPLACE
As so much about starting and owning a business is about risk taking and adventure, Micah is indeed a great fit as a source for business support. Micah sees his consulting position as more of a collaboration effort with business owners. He also enjoys working at the Grand River WorkPlace, “it’s a beautiful space. I enjoy talking with business owners and the informality of the setting.” Stop by the WorkPlace, 19120 Grand River, during the SWOT City Open Office Hours every third Thursday from 10 am – 2 pm and see how Micah can help your business thrive. You can also contact Micah at firstname.lastname@example.org or 313.586.1065.