Starting a search for a new home from scratch, in a new neighborhood, can be intimidating at best. It’s a daunting process. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know what streets to drive down, who to call, where to start looking. You need a home base to start your search.
We had tried driving randomly and aimlessly around Midtown and Woodbridge just to see what we could see. We didn’t find a single For Sale sign in Midtown and a depressingly small number of them in Woodbridge. I knew that there were houses available, but didn’t know where to start.
Rewind back to June of 2011 for a moment. I am friends with Yelp’s Detroit community manager, Annette. She was helping out with a sponsorship for Expo Icrontic (a big event we throw every year to celebrate the Icrontic community), and wanted to meet up. She suggested a new place that had opened up in Midtown, Thistle Coffee Shop.
Since Annette helped me find Thistle, I have been back several times. Now that I am able to work remotely, I find myself drawn back to Thistle over and over again. Every time I’ve been in here, I’ve met someone new, and found myself energized and excited. You know that whole “Detroit energy” thing that everyone keeps talking about? It’s here. This is one of the places to find it.
I ran into an old acquaintance in Thistle, Dave Biskner, and he introduced me to the owner, Brenda. He told me she was a good source for real estate information in Midtown and Woodbridge, because the coffee shop had become a sort of hub for people in the area to talk about housing. Anyone who was looking to buy or sell a place seems to have come through here at some point.
Brenda was excited and started telling me about several available houses in the area; some for rent, others for sale by owner. Some needed major repairs, some were fully restored. Based on her starting advice, I had a new foundation from which to start a more focused search.
Since that initial visit, I’ve found many other reasons to hang out in Thistle; the coffee is fantastic. Every day brings a different varietal (as I write this, I’m drinking Brazil Yellow Bourbon), and each cup is made to order, in the tradition of the 3rd Wave. The internet is insanely fast… the fastest I’ve ever seen for free at any coffee shop (my last test peaked at 30mb and was steady at 22mb with six other patrons visibly using it in the shop), the prices are low and the service is excellent. There are plenty of tables and chairs and lots of power outlets. Kind of the perfect coffee shop for a mobile professional.
There are those who talk a lot about Detroit and how great it is, but don’t get a chance to hang out here and actually breathe in the air, talk to the residents, and be exposed to the thriving Midtown culture. This is a very, very good place to start.