Detroit small businesses hold pop-up shops on Mackinac

Lauren Abdel-Razzaq
The Detroit News

Four Detroit startups will hold pop-up shops on Mackinac Island on May 28 during the annual Mackinac Policy Conference with some of the state’s most important leaders.

The “Building Bridges to Small Business” shopping experience was organized by Rachel Lutz, owner of the woman’s apparel boutique The Peacock Room in Midtown, as a way to highlight the importance of small businesses in the state.

“Each of these businesses tells the story of Detroit’s economic revival at the micro level,” Lutz said in a statement.

Lutz will be joined by small business owners representing Sweet Potato Sensations, Rebel Nell and Cyberoptix Tie Lab.

Sweet Potato Sensations started out in 1987 when Cassandra and Jeffrey Thomas began making sweet potato cookies at local events in northwest Detroit. It has grown into a second-generation family-owned bakery that sells products in stores across the city and at its café on Lahser Road.

Rebel Nell is a jewelry company founded by Amy Peterson and Diana Russell that began as a way to employ and empower disadvantaged women. The company makes an assortment of jewelry out of broken concrete chips of graffiti.

Cyberoptix Tie Lab, founded by Bethany Shorb, crafts handmade ties, scarves and other accessories from silk, microfiber, leather and recycled materials. The company sells items online at and in 250 retail stores.

The businesses will set up pop-up shops at the Mission Point Resort on the island from 3-7 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Detroit-based Strategic Staffing Solutions, which also started out as a small business before growing over the years into a $264 million global company with more than 2,700 employees.

“The small businesses of today are the big businesses of tomorrow,” Cynthia Pasky, founder, president and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions, said in a statement. “And when there’s robust civic and institutional support of small business, we remove barriers to retaining talent.”

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