Experience Buick, Experience Detroit
OK, I’ll admit it! When I received the e-mail from Buick about attending the North American International Auto Show, my first thought was, “Detroit in January?”
My second thought was, “do I really want to travel to Detroit?” Before I arrived, the picture on the left pretty much sums up what I expected from Detroit. Heck, I knew it was going to be cold, but being from New England it was actually warmer here than it was in New Hampshire the past few days! I also expected an old school mill town with not a lot going on. Let me tell you, I was WRONG!
The cool thing about this first Buick experience (stay tuned as there will be more posts throughout the year) is this weekend is not just about Buick and the North American International Auto Show, but it’s also about Detroit. The day started after I was all checked in at the Marriott Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. I went down to the GM building to meet members of the Buick team as well as other bloggers who were invited to this event. We all gathered at Andiamo’s Restaurant at the Renaissance Center. I’m always a little anxious about events like this wondering what everyone was going to be like and wondering who I might hangout with throughout the weekend. I knew it was going to be interesting as it was the first New England Patriots playoff game, so in a game day tradition, I was dressed in Patriots gear from head to toe! As soon as I walked in, I met our host from Buick, Lauren Indiveri. She introduced herself and immediately let me know she was from New York. Instantly the New York/Boston rivalry began, and I knew this was going to be a great weekend. Once the other bloggers arrived, we started talking, laughing, telling stories and I knew I was with a great crew that was going to have some fun.
After a great lunch, we were shuttled out for a tour of Detroit. Let me introduce Jeanette Pierce at DXF (www.weknowdetroit.com). I am very passionate when people ask me about Boston, and I found that same passion for a love of a city in Jeanette. Simply said, Jeanette loves Detroit! I was amazed at the growth and rebuilding of Detroit. With every corner we took, there was a story about a new local company or renovation going on. Our first stop was at the College of Creative Studies. This is one of the only educational facilities hosting students from 6th grade to those studying for their masters degree. Just walking through the 11 stories of this building, you can feel the creative energy and amazing innovations are everywhere you look. From someone that has zero artistic ability, it was crazy what these students were doing and creating. Corridor after corridor had drawings of new inventions as well as improvements on every day items. Graduating students are often scooped up by companies like GM, Nike, Converse and others who come to the college to develop new products.
Our next stop was Shinola Detroit (http://www.shinola.com). I actually have never heard of Shinola, however it is another incredible Detroit success story. Shinola manufactures beautiful watches as well as amazing bicycles. This company started in Detroit just a few short years ago with a handful of employees, and is now 350 plus employees strong. It was pretty cool to talk to the employees and hear their success story.
Our next stop was The Z! The Z is a parking garage. What is so exciting about a parking garage you ask? Well actually, local artist have painted some amazing creations on every wall and the adjoining ally. At every level there was a cool mural painted on a large wall. In addition to the parking garage, more and more local retailers are buying up space in this building. It’s buildings and renovations like the Z, the Guardian Building, and passionate people like Jeanette that I believe will put Detroit back on the map!
Our day concluded with drinks at Two James Spirits (http://twojames.com/), an amazing dinner at Selden Standard (http://www.seldenstandard.com/) and a night cap at The Ghost Bar (http://www.whitneyghostbar.com/)!
This was all in just my first day in Detroit! Day 2 is about to begin and I am actually really looking forward to see more of Detroit! Check back tomorrow for another update!!