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Entrepreneurs Are Making Detroit a Hot Spot for Craft Retail The upside of the Motor City's epic struggle with abandonment is a vast supply of materials for high-end goods made by ambitious startups.

By Amanda Lewan Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Detroit has a vast amount of unused land and blight to tackle. For entrepreneurs this problem can be a unique resource for growing a business. While some entrepreneurs are building up the Detroit urban farming industry, others are hard at work using the materials of abandoned homes to create an industry of craft products.

Reclaimed wood is made from preserving and re-using old wood, often for home and commercial interiors. Wood from barns, warehouses and homes can be sought after for its unique character. In Detroit, the trend of reclaiming wood has taken off and there are no limits to what entrepreneurs are creating.

Check out the following companies leading the craft trend of products made from once abandoned Detroit homes.

Reclaim Detroit.

Reclaim Detroit is currently training 300 new employees to help with the city of Detroit's deconstruction plan tackling blight. Reclaim Detroit works to deconstruct these homes safely, providing wood for other companies in the area, and also creating wooden candle sets, cutting boards, and vases for the home.

Related: Why You Might (Still) Want to Consider Launching in Detroit

Woodward Throwbacks.

This company just finished a successful KickStarter helping them continue their production of sustainable goods including signs, cutting boards, and the nifty six pack holder. Who wouldn't want one of those for a party? The company gathers their materials from illegal dumping sites around the city. Woodward Throughbacks describes themselves as bringing "as much beauty as we can out of an otherwise ugly and contagious problem."

Wallace Detroit Guitars.

Motown gets a fresh new look and purpose with Wallace Detroit Guitars. This company partners with local deconstruction crews to use old wood from local homes for making electric guitars. The guitars add to the story of Detroit, which has a internationally renowned history of both music and manufacturing. Now you can play a guitar made in Detroit and follow in the footsteps of Detroit's music history.

Homes Eyewears.

It's not every day you see stylish wooden glasses, but Founder of Homes Eyewears Achille Bianchi is a maker at heart. Bianchi started playing around with the idea of glasses made from reclaimed wood in Detroit and found the product was loved by locals. What does it cost to own a pair of storied eyeglasses? You can order a pair for around $100-200. Lenses come in different shades, too.

Related: The Real Demon of Detroit (Opinion)


Last year Workshop opened up in Detroit's beautiful Fisher building providing Detroiters with custom furniture. Every piece of furniture is handmade from the structural pine of old Detroit homes. Furniture collections are named after the geographical area wood was sourced. The dining room tables are stunning.


Reclaimed wood can be used for single products as we highlighted above, but what focusing in on the tree itself? Tree-Purposed does just that offering high quality edge slabs that can be used in a variety of settings. The trees are sourced from blighted areas in the city. The tables they are made into are unforgettable.

Entrepreneurs have a special talent for solving problems, and Detroit's craft retail may provide one avenue for contributing to a more sustainable solution in the Motor City.

Related: Silver Lining in Motor City: How Detroit's Startup Scene is Shrugging Off Bankruptcy

Amanda Lewan

Founder and Editor of Michipreneur

Amanda Lewan is a Detroit based writer, Editor of Michipreneur, and co-founder of Bamboo Detroit.

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