Detroiters Think Big: A Small Business Podcast

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Detroiters Think Big: A Small Business Podcast, presented by the Detroit Regional Chamber and Rocket Mortgage, showcases the robust community of small businesses who have reopened and reinvented to keep their customers and employees safe amid COVID-19.

In this series, local business owners will share their stories on how they have survived, and even thrived, through an unprecedented global pandemic with the support of their community. Join Devon O’Reilly, director of entrepreneurship for the Detroit Regional Chamber, as he learns more about the innovative approaches businesses have taken to address the challenges and fears in operating in a post-pandemic climate.

If your small business would like to appear on the series, please fill out this contact form. 

Making a Splash | Bea’s and Bea’s Squeeze


Bea Wolnerman of Bea’s and Bea’s Squeeze, shares her business journey from vision to distribution, the growth the company has seen, and how her team got creative to open a lemonade stand on the smallest parcel of land for sale on Detroit’s urban pedestrian path, the Dequindre Cut. Wolnerman also participated in a panel discussion on the future of dining in Detroit during the 2021 Detroit Policy Conference.

Sharing Your Success | Neighborhood Essentials

Tre Hobbs of Neighborhood Essentials shares the path that led him to create a cannabis brand with a focus on social equity, and how his company is acting as an incubator for other start-ups in the industry. Listen to the podcast to hear how Hobbs is making connections and finding success in Detroit and across the country.

Making Your Vision a Reality | Norma G’s Detroit

Lester Gouvia of Norma G’s Detroit shares how he transitioned his Caribbean cuisine food truck to a brick-and-mortar location in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood, and the local resources he utilized to open his kitchen for business.

Expanding Your Kitchen in Quarantine | Cooking with Que

Quiana “Que” Broden of Cooking with Que has used a variety of digital platforms to bring healthier options to the table as many continue to work and cook from home. Learn how she has expanded her reach by teaching workshops on social media and started a meal prep delivery service with options for vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Opening Shop Amidst COVID-19 | Good Cookies

Jeffrey Gisstennar of Good Cookies shares how he turned a family tradition into a small business opportunity and how he plans to open a brick-and-mortar location amidst COVID-19.

Using Your Platform for Good | Norwest Gallery of Art

Asia Hamilton of Norwest Gallery of Art, shares how her experience as an artist led her to create a platform to showcase artists of color and exhibit their work.

Stepping Up For Your Community | Narrow Way Cafe

David Merritt of Narrow Way Cafe shares how he expanded on his family’s legacy at Straight Gate Church to open a café to serve his community, and how the pandemic has impacted the business.

Collaborating In Dark Times | Nicole Tamer Art Gallery

Nicole George of Nicole Tamer Art Gallery talks about her journey from art agent to gallery owner, how Zoom backgrounds have led to a spike in sales, and the exhibits she’s looking forward to in 2021.

Marketing Your Business Amid COVID-19 | Robert Courtney & Associates

Robert Courtney Collins of Robert Courtney LLC speaks to how his small business clients are safely opening their doors or accepting orders, the necessary shift to marketing in an online environment, and how he got started as an entrepreneur.

Creating Your Own Path | RiDetroit

Jason Hall of RiDetroit dives into a new venture, opening the first electric-only bike store in Detroit, and shares how his business dealt with the high demand of bicycles and bike repairs during the pandemic.

Empowering Your Community | The Empowerment Plan

Veronika Scott of The Empowerment Plan shares how the organization aims to end the generational cycle of homelessness through employing displaced individuals across the city of Detroit and how their innovative product, a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag, continues to evolve.

Persevering Despite the Odds | House of Pure Vin

Regina Gaines of House of Pure Vin shares how her shop has safely stayed open for foot traffic amid COVID-19, making the necessary shift to fulfilling online orders ahead of the holiday season, and adapting their business model for 2021.

Innovating in Times of Uncertainty | Detroit City Distillery

Michael Forsyth of Detroit City Distillery discusses making the shift to producing hand sanitizer throughout the pandemic, how they adapted to accommodate guests safely over the summer, and previewed new products available for curbside pickup.