We have a winner: congratulations to La Feria, the tapas wine bar that will open in Detroit.
Organizers for the Comerica Hatch Detroit retail contest announced Thursday that the concept from Elias Khalil, Pilar Baron Hidalgo and Naomi Khalil has won the grand prize of $50,000 and support services to open their bar, complete with patio and the atmosphere of southern Spain. They have a space selected, a building they will share with an art gallery at Cass Avenue and West Willis Street in the Cass Corridor neighborhood.
More than 250 business plans were submitted to the contest, and earlier this month, the public cast 30,000 votes to whittle the 10 semifinalists down to a final group of four that included Detroit Vegan Soul, Detroit River Sports and Rock City Pies.
But the intention of Comerica Hatch Detroit isn't just to launch just one business. Through connections, introductions and promotion, the contest can help move all the semifinalists forward, Hatch cofounder Nick Gorga explained.
"We wanted to be confident any business the public selected would have a good chance of being a viable business," he said about last year's contest, the first for Hatch. "Our goal was not to just hatch one business, but to hatch hopefully 10 businesses."
2011 winner Joe Posch has been gearing up to open his store Hugh this fall in the Auburn development, also on Cass, and others contestants like the Detroit Institute of Bagels have been moving forward with plans to open shop.
See all of this year's semifinalists in this slideshow.