Winners of the Commerce Design Refresh Grant

Design Core Detroit is pleased to announce the winners of Design Core Detroit's Commerce Design Refresh Grant.


Avalon International Breads
Owner: Jackie Victor
Designer: Marissa Gaggino, Heritage Co. II Architectural Artifacts
Avalon will use the funds to improve their outdoor seating experience and tweak their front-of-house experience for customers.

SpaceLab Detroit
Owner: Karen and Bobby Burton
Designer: Saundra Little
SpaceLab Detroit will use the funds to make their space safer and more functional for members who need access to their design library, equipment, and other resources. 

FOLK Detroit
Owner: Rohani Foulkes
Designer: END Studios
Contributing Designers: RL Concetti, Mona Lisa Development, Donut Shop, Jessica Janda
FOLK will use the funds to pivot from a sit-down cafe to a grab-and-go spot for meals, limited groceries, and a cafe with limited lunch counter seating.


The grant totals $50,000 and will be offered to commercial small business owners who applied for a Commerce Design Award in 2018 or 2019, whether or not that business ultimately won an award. Eligible owners included 70 potential applicants. Business owners can work with either their original designer or connect with one through the Detroit Design Network.

Design plays a very key role in making commercial businesses profitable. Over the past two years, the Commerce Design Awards has recognized 20 independent businesses and more than 60 designers for using design to advance the quality of commercial projects in Detroit.

While COVID-19 forced Design Core Detroit to cancel the 2020 Commerce Design Awards and its $20,000 grant, they are excited to offer the Commerce Design Refresh Grants totaling $50,000, made possible by Bank of America. This is part of Design Core Detroit’s efforts to help small businesses adapt in challenging times, including the ​Design Core COVID-19 Business Support​ initiative.

Winners of the grant have the opportunity to hire designers to help their businesses adapt and remain resilient during these challenging times. The winners will work with their chosen design teams to improve the experience, functionality, and safety of their spaces. From reconfiguring floor plans to communicating safety procedures, the design is essential to a successful future for Detroit’s local small businesses.