So what does a former Vice President of Music for Warner Brothers and a Vice President of Product for Bedrocket Media Ventures have in common? A love for wine, a love for community and a passion for Detroit. Together they channeled their passion and energy to create The Royce Detroit. Ping Ho and Angela Rutherford, a Flint native, wanted off of the corporate race track and onto a pathway that allowed these friends turned business partners the opportunity to blend everything they loved into a new business adventure.
“We loved wine. It’s one of those things that should be enjoyed every day and be accessible to everyone, so the thought of opening a wine shop and bar where everything is under $25 dollars reflects who we are, ” Said Ho. At that price point this new space in the Central Business District has drawn crowds of both wine aficionados to novices and everyone in-between. Housed inside of the historic Kales Building at the corner of Adams and Park, The Royce was carefully designed to incorporate the beautiful architecture of 1920s Detroit and showcase its wine offerings in a cozy library style home to over 350 wines and hard ciders from around the world. “We are proud to bring this unique concept to Detroit,” said Ho. “When you think of great cities and communities, you think of all of the amenities a neighborhood has and wine shops, community gathering places and the such, are among the desired assets. What sets us apart is that we combine both of those concepts with our mission to be good neighbors and make a difference in the city.”
The 2015 Hatch competition finalists have succeeded in doing just that. They are one of a few bars in the city who are joining the livable wage movement, giving the patrons the option to tip – with half of those proceeds going to a local charity each month. Past recipients have included the Ruth Ellis Center and D-Town Farms. Recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, they donated 50% of all sales of a week-long effort to the Hurricane Matthew Relief recovery efforts.
Going from idea to operations has been a road filled with challenges in the past but for these two former New Yorkers, the process has changed for the better based on the forewarnings Rutherford and Ho received when considering Detroit. “We were both realistic in our expectations of what it would take to open a brick and mortar space here, but we were both floored by the resources available to small businesses in the market from Hatch, Invest Detroit to the City of Detroit. They made the process as seamless as one can possibly imagine. We still had unexpected twists and turns, but it helped us to learn how to be more adaptive and the Hatch process was critical to that.” The advice Ho has for others looking to move in the Detroit market? “Do your research and talk to everyone working in your sector in the city. This is what helped us tremendously, from selecting the right contractors to distributors we saved time, money and headaches,” said Ho.
Visit the Royce and experience this space for yourself. Each Wednesday, they host free wine tasting, featuring a tasty education on wines from around the world. Beginning on Sunday, October 23, they will host Game Nights where they will supply board games, cards and dominos for your playing pleasure. The Royce is located in the Kales Building, 76 W Adams Ave, Detroit, MI 48226. They are open Sunday from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Tuesday – Thursday 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday –Saturday, 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. Please visit www.theroycedetroit.com or call (313) 481-2160 for more information.