We are so excited to feature this weeks highlight! This Detroit based business can quench your thirst, provide a relaxing work environment, and even a fun and elegant environment for your wedding! Let's learn more about Bea's Detroit.
Let's get to know Bea
My name is Beatrice Wolnerman, and I am the owner and CEO of Bea’s Detroit and Bea’s Squeeze. I graduated from the University of Michigan and moved around until I finally realized my true passion, entrepreneurship. I started out by creating my own corporate gifting company, which lead to the purchase of a building in Eastern Market. This building eventually turned into Bea’s Detroit, which lead to the lemonade stand Bea’s Squeeze, and the rest is history!
What did she start her business?
When we purchased an old Eastern Market meat packing building and discovered it needed to be almost completely torn down, we were heartbroken. We were so excited to get started on the co-working space of our dreams, but unfortunately the project was going to take much longer than expected. Because our rebuild was looking like years, not months, I wanted to find a way to still get our name out there and connect with the community, now. The idea for a lemonade stand immediately popped into my head when we discovered the smallest parcel of land for sale, right on the Dequindre Cut. Positioned upon a six-foot retaining wall and covered in weeds, it’s no surprise that this little piece of land sat on the market for months. We turned a lemon piece of land into lemonade, literally, when we installed an adorable lemonade stand with a bucket and pulley system to send the drinks down to customers. My plan was to use this platform to tell people about Bea’s, our under construction co-working space + café in Eastern Market, enticing them to chat with me with the promise of an ice-cold lemonade. Better yet, by calling it Bea’s Squeeze, people would be walking around with the Bea’s logo on a bottle and building brand recognition. I love out-of-the-box marketing, and I thought this would be a fun and unique way to market Bea’s!
We were thrilled to have received such an instant and positive reaction to our lemonade stand, being embraced by everyone from families, joggers and bikers, and even just people going out of our way to find us. In our first summer, we were featured in local and national news articles, participated in the USA Wine and Food Festival, and even won the Detroit Foodie Find of 2019! By the end of the summer, we knew that this marketing installation had turned into much, much more. What was intended as a summer pop-up for Bea’s was quickly growing into it’s own company, so we took this concept and ran with it. We are now bottling our delicious natural lemonade in three flavors, classic, pink rose, and lavender, and distributing our beverages all over the Midwest and East Coast in major retailers and independent markets. Bea’s Squeeze is currently in twenty five states and counting!
Back to Bea’s: Bea’s Detroit finally launched after two long years of construction in March 2020, only to close back down again as quickly as we had opened. We initially intended to operate the space as a co-working/co-creating program with an on-site café, both challenging businesses in the pandemic world. When we reopened in June 2020, we pivoted our co-working rooftop into an event venue and created a tiny wedding program, hoping to get paying customers into our brand new building. By including everything from an officiant (me!) to florals and food, our turn key packages offered a safe and easy option for couples looking to tie the knot.
Events completely took off, leading us shift our business plan as we began hosting weddings, showers, birthdays and more. In 2021 we were named the Hour Detroit Best of Detroit #1 Special Occasion Venue, solidifying our position as the hottest new venue in the city. We still have a great boutique co-working program with private offices, conference rooms, warehouse, and lounge, as well as a state-of-the-art café open six days a week. Our unique Choose Your Own Adventure drinks set us apart from other cafes, with infinite delicious creations possible. Start with your base of lemonade, soda water, or coffee, add your unique flavor (like juniper + coriander, nutmeg + cardamom, cacao + chicory, just to name a few!), add your milk (or even ice cream if you want to indulge) and top with a specialty garnish like Spun Sugar cotton candy or a freshly made breakfast waffle.
Where Bea's Detroit is located, and what they have to offer
We are located at 1533 Winder Street in Eastern Market, in Detroit. Bea’s Squeeze offers three delicious lemonade flavors, all completely natural with no artificial anything and about a third less sugar than traditional drinks. Our lemonade comes in classic, pink rose, and our newest and most popular, lavender. You can purchase them online here or shop at a local store by checking out our store locator here. At Bea’s Detroit, we have coworking memberships available (flexible membership with key card access to all members’ only areas starting at $150) that range from general memberships to private desks to offices. The café offers traditional as well as Choose Your Own Adventure drinks in additional to fresh pastries, baked on-site daily. Private events such as weddings can be booked through the inquiry form on our website found here.
What is the most rewarding part of Bea's work?
There is something so fulfilling about heading into Bea’s, walking into a café buzzing with happy customers and heading upstairs to see a beautiful wedding ceremony taking place, peeking to the back and seeing the conference rooms full with tenants working away on their latest project. When all three aspects of Bea’s are being utilized at the same time, it feels like pure magic.
What Bea has learned since starting her business
I’ve learned so many lessons the hard way, and I am still just getting started! The best advice I can share is to start somewhere and keep moving forward, no matter what. When you start thinking about all that needs to be done, it can seem overwhelming - take it one step at a time, focusing on the task in front of you. You will get there, I promise!
How incredible is the story of Bea's Detroit? How she got started while waiting for construction to finish is amazing! If you're looking for a place to gather with friends for a coffee or have your wedding, definitely check out Bea's, you won't regret it.
Check back next week for the Ferne styling series!
Follow Bea's Detroit: @beasdetroit