DETROIT — Hatch Detroit has announced the top 10 semi-finalists for the 2012 Comerica Hatch Detroit contest.

This year’s competition brought in more than 250 business plan submissions, representing a 25 percent increase over last year’s contest. From a vegan café with a soulful twist to a business that seeks to bring kayak rentals to the riverfront, this year’s semi-finalists represent Detroit’s creative entrepreneurship at its best.

The 10 semi-finalists include:
* Detroit River Sports — Kayak rentals to city-goers, offering tours through the canal districts of Belle Isle, downtown and other parts of the city.
* Detroit Vegan Soul Café – Vegan food with a soul twist, currently operating as a catering and food delivery business, looking to open a store in Midtown.
* La Feria – A wine bar featuring authentic Spanish tapas in a relaxed yet upbeat setting, looking to open in Midtown.
* Motor City Design – A custom denim specialty retail store featuring Made in Michigan products where customers can watch garments be made right in the store, looking to open downtown.
* Pho da Nang – A Vietnamese restaurant based in Clawson looking to open another location in Midtown.
* Rock City Pies – A handmade pie company specializing in unique combinations such as Salty Apple Carmel Pie and Blueberry-Custard Pie, looking to open in Midtown.
* Tashmoo Biergarten – Based on the biergartens in Germany, operating as a pop-up in West Village, looking to open a permanent space in the neighborhood.
* The Collective Tap – High-end beer retailer offering classes and food parings, looking to open downtown.
* Vividbraille Studio Boutique – Fuses high-end fashion and design with USA manufacturing in a retail setting, offering customers some of the finest Made in the USA fashion goods, currently operating in Chicago and looking to expand to Detroit.
* Whip Hand Cosmetics – A cosmetic company, currently operating online, looking to open its manufacturing and retail facility downtown.

To read full biographies of each company visit

“We’re impressed by the volume and quality of this year’s submissions,” said Nick Gorga, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. “Our board had the tough task of narrowing down the pool of applicants to the top 10. We’re excited to introduce the semi-finalists and invite the public to cast their vote for Detroit’s next retail development beginning September 10.”

Public voting opens Monday, Sept. 10 at 12:01 a.m. and continues through Monday, Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m. at

The top four vote-getters will be announced Sept. 19 and compete in a Hatch Off event on Sept. 26.

Comerica Bank will provide the full prize amount of $50,000 for the winning business idea, which will be revealed Sept. 27.

Hatch Detroit is a Michigan-based 501(c)(3) organization that champions and supports independent retail businesses in Detroit through funding contests, education, exposure, and mentoring.  Hatch Detroit was co-founded by Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, metro Detroit natives who are passionate about the revitalization of the city and inspiring others in the community to create change.


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