Unpacking Detroit

While Motown may be a thing of the past, there's a new sound brewing in a church in southwest Detroit. Gosh Pith (above) an artist part of the music collective Assemble Sound helped throw us an opening party we are not soon to forget.

Over June 10th - 12th, we brought a cavalcade of 75 newcomers to the D to hang with some of our favorite local friends. They were budding restauranteurs from Ohio, artists and educators from NYC, wellness gurus from LA, tech stars from SF, activists from Baltimore, politico's from ATL; even a Tibetan Aussie from Singapore and his comedian brother from LA...

Nick Sun

Nick Sun

Why do people come on our trips? Well, other than upping their Snapchat and Instagram caches, it's to meet inspiring people from different cities and industries, to immerse themselves in culture, and to learn how modern change makers are working to improve and reimagine America's urban centers. To put that more simply, at the heart of all of our trips is a special kind of camaraderie; the kind that only a bona fide adventure can create.

Where possible, we hope to make an impact, but we aren't naive to the importance of local inclusiveness. We are not parachuters. We spend our painfully short time breaking bread with locals, forming real bonds, and offering broad access to our networks and resources.

We start, however, with exploration... 

A Cleon Peterson mural downtown

A Cleon Peterson mural downtown

We foster real conversations, pushing our members to answer tough questions from locals, and to ask the same back.

We listen to local leaders and offer solutions whenever possible.

We activate the imagination.

Lisa Spindler.  Spindler Project

Lisa Spindler.  Spindler Project

We meet mayors.

We dine with top local chefs thanks to Salonniere.

Chef Kate Williams

Chef Kate Williams

We party with locals.

We take you to church...to drink the finest hops and be musically inspired.

And that was just Friday.

On day two, we explored Southwest Detroit, and in particular Mexicantown.

Unsurprisingly, the Mexican food here is incredible. So good that one of our attendees -- a chef -- bought 1,000 tortillas for a pop up event he is hosting in New York this month.

One of the reasons we love Detroit so much is the people. Some pretty incredible social entrepreneurs are driving Detroit's current rebirth.

Did we say we were fans of unique spaces? Here's one by created by our frequent collaborator Moran Bondoroff.

You've heard the stories; your friend totally bought a whole mansion in Detroit for, like, $10 dollars! 

While that's not quite true, there are relatively astounding deals still to be had. Paddy Lynch bought his house (below) in 2011 for $125k. It was the former estate of the founder of Kmart, Stanley Kresge. Our visit to the space set the stage for a much deeper conversation on race, morality, and ethics. Guest speakers included Detroit resident Lauren Hood and former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

When we first met the team behind Katoi, they were running a simple food truck. Today they are behind one of the hottest restaurants in town. Supporting their growth is at the core of what Breakout does best.

Another happy customer ...

On our last day before our crew departs, we like to allow solitude for reflection. This leads to interesting and somewhat hilarious activities. 

Some partake in their Sunday mimosa tradition...

Ashley Tyson. Detroit Homecoming

Ashley Tyson. Detroit Homecoming

others hang out in secret forts...

Allie Hoffman. Equity Equation & Michael Farber. Breakout

Allie Hoffman. Equity Equation & Michael Farber. Breakout

others spend time with our all time cutest breakout attendee...

Chad Dickinson with daughter

Chad Dickinson with daughter

...and they do it all in 10,000 calories or less (give or take).

Chicken and Waffles from Kuzzo's

Chicken and Waffles from Kuzzo's

That's Kuzzo's (pronounced Cuz-o's) and it's delicious, but special Kudo's to our friends who helped make this trip so special: Randy Adler and Dentons, Lisa Dancsok, Tom Goulding and John Marcicky at Rock Ventures, The Skillman Foundation, Julie Egan at Salonniere, Sterling Group, Talmer Bank, Westborn Market, Paulina Petkoski & Samantha Banks at Playground Detroit, Ashley Tyson, Jake Serwer, Lisa Spindler, Paddy Lynch, Calvin Moore at Seven Point Two Tours, Christine Bell, Bridget Espinosa, Kate Williams, Detroit Experience Factory, Ponyride, Mayor Duggan, Dayne Walling, Eric Phillips at Stroh's Beer, Courtney Henriette at Katoi, Garret Koehler at Assemble, Amy Kaherl at Detroit Soup, Pashon Murray at Detroit Dirt, Dr. Tolu Sonuyi (& Raymond and Calvin), Susy at Tamaleria Neuvo Leon, Anistia Phiaria, Veronika Scott at Empowerment Plan, Library Street Collective, Carolyn Geck and founder Khali (we call him sweet) Sweeney at Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program, Al Moore, Marlowe Stoudamire, Sebastian Jackson at The Social Club, and all of our new friends who joined us to make this trip so special.

Photo Credits: Karah Shaffer & Derek Pike