Co-Working and Sustainability at the Green Garage

By Mandy Adwell on April 21st, 2013 / Comments

It can be a challenge to envision a positive future for Detroit when the big news stories involve a declining population, abandoned skyscrapers, and a devastating economic collapse. However, it is local organizations like the Green Garage that offer a more promising look at the future of the Motor City.

What was once a showroom for Model-T automobiles during the city’s most prideful era has been renovated into a co-working space and small business “incubator” by Tom and Peggy Brennan. Located in the Midtown neighborhood of Detroit, the Green Garage provides a relaxed office environment for entrepreneurs and small startups, as well as consulting services to outside businesses who are interested in a triple-bottom-line approach.

Through their consulting methods, the Brennans’ goal is not to rush entrepreneurs into taking big steps, or to hurry up and get them renting out a cubicle. The goal is to work together to develop a long-term business plan that incorporates three key factors – profitability, sustainability, and community outreach.

“We have people who have an idea being told that they need to have a business plan,” Brennan said in an interview with The New York Times regarding traditional start-up consultants.“They need to have an elevator pitch. They need to take out a loan. They need to create a legal entity. They need to pay for some marketing advice and an attorney. But the punch line of the thing is at the end of that, they’re broke. Because they have a legal entity, they have a business plan, they have a loan that has to be paid this month. But they don’t have a business.”

More than 200 volunteers came together to renovate the space in 2008, which incorporates recycled materials, a white roof, triple-glazed windows, and extra thick insulation to reduce energy demands by 90%. The next order of business is a rooftop farm, which volunteers will start developing over the next several weeks.

The Green Garage is made up of businesses that focus on sustainability or community focused work. There are more than 20 small business renting a space in the building, which costs anywhere from $50 to $1,000 a month. Some of the current renters include FoodLab Detroit, Pill Pouch, Dickinson by Design, and our very own #Michipreneur. Every Friday there is a community lunch for newcomers and visitors, which is the perfect opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs who love the city and community.

Have you heard of or visited the Green Garage? Do you have a business that would benefit from a co-working space like this?

Similar articles: Grooming a Business for Socially Good Cause, The Michigan Incubator and Co-Working Space List

About the Author

Mandy Adwell

Mandy Adwell is a freelance copywriter and blogger in Detroit with a love for environmental design, running, and photography. You can find her blogging at Gingermandy.com and sustainable-sass.com or follow her on Twitter at @GingerMandy