people holding check
Bouncing Around The Motor City won the 11th annual Hatch Detroit competition on April 26, 2023, taking home $100,000 to open a brick-and-mortar. (Courtesy photo)

Detroit’s self-proclaimed “queen of stuffed balloons” is getting $100,000 toward her dream of opening up a brick-and-mortar party rental shop. 

Cathryn Coleman was awarded the funding Wednesday night in the 11th annual Detroit Hatch Competition, taking home the grand prize out of four finalists. 

“I’m so excited, it’s hard for me to calm down,” Coleman, founder and owner of Bouncing Around The Motor City, told BridgeDetroit Thursday. Bouncing Around The Motor City makes and sells decorations and helps with event planning. 

The certified balloon artist plans to use the money to establish her business in a 4,000-square-foot building in the Bethune neighborhood in northwest Detroit. The property was previously vacant for 26 years, Coleman said, telling BridgeDetroit that she advocated to Detroit’s City Council to remove it from the list of buildings to be demolished. 

In the future brick-and-mortar, 3,000 square feet will be used as event space that people can rent, and the rest will be retail space. 

The business was born in 2017 when Coleman was working for the city’s water and sewerage department and caring for her mother in hospice. Coleman said she was unable to take time off to care for her mother and “was up against a wall.” Having made money off of past party events and enjoying throwing parties for her young children, Coleman said she was inspired to “take a leap of faith” and started the business. 

“It was either win or lose, and that’s how my mentality became,” Coleman told BridgeDetroit. 

The Hatch Detroit competition is a partnership between TechTown and Comerica Bank. Beyond the prize money, Hatch winners also are provided with technical assistance to aid in developing their business plans. 

In front of a live audience Thursday, Coleman was named as the winner after the finalists presented their pitches to a panel of judges and public voting in the days leading up to the competition. The other finalists were: Konjo Me, Next Chapter Books and Sepia Coffee Project.

“Celebrating the future brick-and-mortar addition to Detroit’s thriving small business landscape, we are thrilled to extend our support and recognition to Bouncing Around The Motor City,” Christianne Malone, assistant vice president for economic development at Wayne State University and chief program officer of TechTown Detroit, said in a press release. 

Previous winners were several food businesses including La Feria, Sister Pie, Little Liberia, and Baobab Fare, as well as 27th Letter Books and Meta Physica Massage. 

The grand opening for Bouncing Around The Motor City is tentatively scheduled for August. 

“I just would like to say to anybody that has a dream or aspiration for you to chase it,” said Coleman, “because your passion alone can fuel anything that you can dream of.” 

Jena is a BridgeDetroit's environmental reporter, covering everything from food and agricultural to pollution to climate change.

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