December 16, 2014 - Model D
Detroit Experience Factory to move to Monroe Avenue, Build Institute to Bagley Street
By MJ Galbraith
Over 12,000 people took one of D:hive's Detroit tours this year. That's up from 10,000 in 2013 and 8,000 in 2012. Since D:hive launched its Build Institute in 2012, over 400 people representing every Detroit ZIP code have graduated from the popular small business incubator, and many of those have gone on to start their own small businesses in the city.
Given these successes, it might come as a surprise to some that D:hive is disbanding this year, celebrating with a farewell party Dec. 18. at the D:hive storefront on Woodward Avenue. And actually, the end of D:hive is a good thing, a result of its success. The organization has so excelled at being a booster for Detroit tourism and small business that it is splitting into two separate entities.
The Build Institute is moving to the Repair the World office at 2701 Bagley St. in Mexicantown, where it will continue to offer its small business programming and classes. D:hive tours have been re-branded as the Detroit Experience Factory, or DXF, which will soon operate out of 123 Monroe Ave. That opening is Jan. 12.
Jeanette Pierce has been championing Detroit, at least in an official capacity, since 2006, when she started her first tour group, Inside Detroit. In 2008, that group moved into the now-familiar home of 1253 Woodward Ave., where it became the city's first ever brick-and-mortar welcome center. In 2012, it became a part of D:Hive. What was supposed to be a pop-up has lasted nearly seven years.
For Pierce, this whole experience has been about experimenting to find what works and what doesn't. No one knew what to expect when they started the Build Institute program and now it's become so successful that D:hive is splitting apart so each faction can concentrate on their own goals.
"We'll still work together," says Pierce. "We're like siblings moving out and on our own."