DETROIT—Officials of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan announced plans to open a new location in September called the Industry Club. The new offering will feature summer and after-school experiences for students interested in pursuing a career in retail or fashion merchandising.
The Industry Club will be co-located with the Détroit is the New Black (DITNB) store at 1430 Woodward Ave., and employ up to 200 Detroit youth each year, ages 14 and up.
Since Détroit is the New Black opened its flagship store in 2016, the signature clothing brand has offered retail floor space to other Detroit-based small businesses. That accelerator concept will continue through the Industry Club project, with Ponyride, a Corktown-based maker space, offering both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce support to local women and entrepreneurs of color. Five rotating concepts will stock their goods alongside DITNB within the sales space in the heart of Detroit’s historic Woodward Shopping District, and offer online sales through detroitisthenewblack.com.
Bedrock, downtown Detroit’s largest real estate company, will provide the 2,400 square-foot Industry Club retail space rent free, along with a $25,000 pre-development grant. Bedrock will also work with the Industry Club partners to build a long-term skilled volunteer support program for the small businesses participating in the Ponyride accelerator.
“True equality can only be achieved through economic and social mobility and the Industry Club is designed to do just that,” said Shawn H. Wilson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs. “Metro Detroit youth will gain the economic, cultural and social capital needed to become college, career and start up ready. BGCSM is grateful that Bedrock, Ponyride and DITNB have committed to leveraging their resources to build a blueprint that can be replicated across any industry for our youth.”
Added Roslyn Karamoko, founder of Détroit is the New Black: “The Industry Club is a dream manifested for Détroit is the New Black and such a perfect example of community partners coming together to support the future of the city. I’m so pleased to welcome these partners into the space, which will allow us to expand our programming and mission to uplift entrepreneurs and minorities in business.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, Bedrock has deployed millions in capital to small businesses downtown through three months of rent abatement and offering a variable rent structure through the end of the year. As downtown businesses begin to reopen, Industry Club will be an important next step in Bedrock’s small business support strategy, targeted toward women and entrepreneurs of color.
“It has always been our belief that a sustainable, vibrant retail district is a place where strong local brands thrive beside big national names,” said Matt Cullen, Bedrock CEO. “That strategy needs to expand to elevate minority-owned businesses and help strengthen pathways for their growth and contribution to Detroit’s ongoing momentum. The Industry Club will be an important step in that direction.”
Industry Club members will gain experience in careers representing every aspect of the retail business development cycle, including stocking merchandise, ordering wholesale and fulfilling online orders, all while earning a wage. Outcomes include 21st Century skills, industry certifications, industry access/mentorship/network and paid job placement.
Ponyride, which recently announced a partnership with BCGSM, will offer its alumni to also sell their goods on detroitisthenewblack.com. The Industry Club will serve as Ponyride’s fourth location. BGCSM is the first Boys & Girls Clubs location in the nation to provide co-working and maker spaces for entrepreneurs through this partnership.
“This partnership and overall collaboration provide Ponyride with a unique opportunity to not only incubate but expand small business growth in the city through access to resources, retail space and capital,” said Phil Cooley, co-founder of Ponyride. “This is a powerful move to invest in the hard-working entrepreneurs of Detroit, and we’re excited to be at the table help ensure these opportunities are provided.”
BGCSM’s Industry Club also launched its limited edition “Industry Club” t-shirts sold only through detroitisthenewblack.com.
Founded in 1926, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan serve youth ages 6-18 by providing a safe, fun place that inspires, while offering high quality programs that provide real-world learning from caring adult mentors. The organization serves nearly 15,000 youth annually in eight clubs throughout the Detroit area. More at www.bgcsm.org.