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Motor City Match winner aims to revive the lost art of quilting

2022

Motor City Match winner aims to revive the lost art of quilting

  • Umi’s Comfort is a black woman-owned small business offering handmade, custom quilts, pillows and quilting classes
  • Motor City Match has awarded $10.1M in cash grants, 85% of overall winners are minority-owned businesses and 74% women-owned
  • Umi’s Comfort is the 141st operating brick-and-mortar business to have opened to date

Nov. 10, 2022 (DETROIT) – A Detroit business owner hopes to revive the lost art of quilting by opening the city’s only quilting business. Umi's Comfort, located in the Nardin Park neighborhood, offers handmade custom quilts, pillows and quilting classes for community members. Today, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and city leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $50,000 Motor City Match grant awardee, marking the 141st brick-and-mortar business opened by the program.

After experiencing turmoil and hardship, Kecia Escoe, the founder of Umi's Comfort, found peace in the arts. But it wasn't until she began quilting that she felt fulfilled. She soon realized others within her community could also benefit from the craft. That's when she decided to turn her passion into a career and add vibrancy to her westside community.

"I want to bring back that creativity, the history and significance of everything we do as humans so that we may slow down and appreciate the lives we live," said Escoe. "Quilting is a lost art that holds value to any and everyone involved in the process, whether that be giving, receiving, or creating one."

Research appears to back up this claim. Numerous studies have found crafting of all sorts to have health benefits – from stress reduction to warding off cognitive decline. Mental engagement is part of what draws people to quilting.

Escoe, who later discovered she comes from a lineage of quilters, said her business can make quilts using remnants of memorabilia. They also provide quilt cleaning and restoration services and offsite quilting classes for children and adults.

"Umi's Comfort is a great example of a small business that is deeply rooted in the community it serves,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “We are so proud that Motor City Match has helped 141 entrepreneurs like Kecia turn their passion in their business in neighborhoods across the city.”

Unlike most Motor City Match businesses that are located along major commercial corridors, Umi’s Comfort is located along a residential street at 12200 Petoskey at the corner of Richton, near Livernois and Davison, making it truly a neighborhood business. The grant funding she received from the program helped Escoe renovate the small building and open her business.

"Part of what makes the Motor City Match program special is the diversity of ideas that business owners develop to cater and serve the residents of our community," said Sean Gray, vice president of Small Business Services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. "Umi's Comfort is a great example of this. They are providing a service that helps residents learn new skills and challenge themselves."

After 20 rounds, Motor City Match has distributed $10.1 million in grants for start-ups and new businesses located throughout the city of Detroit. Through the pipeline of resources provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s small business teams, more than 1,600 businesses have received assistance along their journey to open their doors. This is all part of the organization’s greater goal to enhance the city’s economic development and beautify its commercial corridors.

Motor City Match continues to grow Detroit’s small-business landscape. Combined with its other small business programming, DEGC is creating a sustainable small business environment that nurtures new concepts and ideas. Motor City Match offers business owners a wide range of assistance in four tracks: Plan, Develop, Design, and Cash. The program helps Detroit entrepreneurs plan, formalize, and launch their business by providing business planning classes, site-selection assistance, financial planning, legal aid, design services, and gap funding.

Through 20 rounds of Motor City Match:

  • Total cash grants: $10.1 million (Total leveraged investment: $54.5 million)
  • Total business open: 141
  • 85 percent are minority-owned businesses
  • 74 percent are women-owned businesses
  • 68 percent are businesses owned by Detroit residents

About Motor City Match:

Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations including, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, New Economy Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. More information is available at www.MotorCityMatch.com

 

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Umi's Comfort owner, Kecia Escoe and her grandson cut the ribbon on her new business with Mayor Mike Duggan and Councilman Fred Durhal. Escoe was able to open her business with the help of a $50,000 Motor City Match cash grant.

 

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Kecia Escoe thanks Mayor Duggan and the Motor City Match team at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation for their help making her dream of owning her own business a reality.

 

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Business owner Kecia Escoe hopes to bring back the lost art of quilting at her new business, Umi's Comfort, where she hand makes custom quilts.

 

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Mayor Mike Duggan speaks with Umi's Comfort owner Kecia Escoe about her new business and her hopes of expanding as demand for her quilts increases.