Dear Detroit small business owners: You’re open....

Dear Detroit small business owners: You’re open. We’re here to help.

Detour’s Keep Detroit Local program is a member-supported promotion for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Being an independent business owner in Detroit has never been easy. But the events of this spring have made that job much, much more difficult.

As the founders of Detroit’s local news startup, and as small business owners, we can empathize. We founded Detour Detroit with a dual mission — to create quality local journalism that amplifies the voices and needs of everyday Detroiters; and to also build, support and serve a more engaged community in our city. Covering COVID-19 has been the greatest personal and professional challenge of our lives.

We know that many of you are losing revenue, struggling to keep the lights on and even worrying about whether you’ll have to close your doors for good. 

Small business owners make our communities vibrant. They make our neighborhoods great places to live. If Detroit’s local businesses don’t succeed, we all suffer. 

Detour’s readers — especially our members — are passionate about supporting independent local businesses and nonprofits. So we’re hoping you’ll help us tell them how to support you.

Today, we’re launching Keep Detroit Local, Detour’s pay it forward promotion to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

We are pledging to use our signature news product, the Detour Detroit newsletter, to shine a light on small businesses and nonprofits supporting Detroiters. No matter how you’ve evolved your offerings as we navigate this crisis — whether you’re safely reopening your doors for business, serving customers or users online, offering new goods, hosting virtual events, feeding people in need, fulfilling curbside orders or partnering with a delivery service — we want to help.

For every current or new Detour member who signs up at our sustainer or builder levels, we’ll donate a FREE ad (normally valued at $200) to our community of entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders — offering you the chance to advertise your business to our thousands of local readers for absolutely nada. We currently have about 50 member-supported ad placements to offer across our different newsletters, though we hope that number will grow as more of our readers join or upgrade their memberships. 

This offer is only available to independently owned businesses or nonprofits with less than 100 employees (sorry, no franchises), with preference going to those organizations headquartered or based in the cities of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck; and to organizations owned and led by entrepreneurs and founders of color.

Here’s an example of an ad in the Detour Detroit newsetter

Interested? Fill out this quick form to submit an ad spotlighting your business or cause for consideration for publication in Detour Detroit’s email newsletters reaching thousands of readers. No payment info needed, no strings attached, and you don’t even have to be a reader — though you can subscribe to our amazing (and free!) local newsletter here. 

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with Detour Detroit if you’d like to offer a coupon code, discount or special offer to our readers. You can share our membership page with your followers and encourage them to sign up for Detour or become a paid member. Every new member means one more ad to help support a business owner like you.

And thank you — for being leaders in our community. For doing the work, even though it’s never felt harder. For not giving up. 

We’re on your team. 


Ash, Kate and the Detour Detroit team

Follow this link to access our form to get your free ad, or scroll down to fill out the embedded form!

Here’s another example of an ad from the Detour Detroit newsletter

Ashley Woods Branch is the founder and CEO of Detour Media, a local journalism startup that builds community, spotlights neighborhood issues and curates Detroit news through an equitable perspective. Ashley leads Detour’s audience growth strategies, community partnerships, revenue operations and strategic planning. She’s also a sought-after consultant for digital newsrooms and has worked with more than 100 news outlets across America. Ashley previously led consumer experience and digital strategy at the Detroit Free Press and was the editor of HuffPost’s Detroit bureau, as well as a reporter and editor focused on Detroit culture and development for MLive, Real Detroit Weekly and Model D. She was a 2019 Marshall Memorial Fellow and a 2018 Visiting Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University. Follow her on Twitter: @ash_detroit