Can a Thai Restaurant Convince New York Hipsters to Move to Detroit?

Posted On Mon, April 6, 2015 By

Posted On Mon, April 6, 2015 By In City Living, gentrification, real estate trends

Photo via Katoi

Can a Detroit Thai restaurant’s New York City marketing campaign convince East Coast hipsters to move to the Motor City? That’s what Philip Kafka of Prince Media Co., the boutique billboard company behind the campaign, is hoping. Business Insider reports that New York-based Kafka is a partner in a forthcoming Thai restaurant in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood called KATOI, and he’s looking to hire between 15 and 20 people. Of course, the publicity for his new venture can’t hurt, but he said it’s really a separate campaign “to encourage people–particularly artists and young creatives–to move to the financially troubled city,” where he owns property and feels a renaissance is occurring among millennials.

Kafka told Business Insider, “I think Detroit is a compelling place for people to be moving. I can do things there as a young guy that I could never imagine doing in New York or any other major market in the US.” He added, “You always have to keep moving east or west. Bushwick was east of Williamsburg, which was east of the Lower East Side, and so on.” To get his message across, he’s scattered billboards around the city, one in SoHo, one at the Ace Hotel in Midtown, and two in Bushwick. They say things like “Detroit: Just west of Bushwick” and “Detroit: Be Left Alone,” which is written under a rainbow. The campaign also has its own hashtag, #movetodetroit.

Go west young Bushwick.

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The campaign makes sense for the fact that “hipster neighborhoods” traditionally sprout up in industrial areas with lower rents. And Detroit is certainly a cheaper metropolis; while a salary of $57,000 is considered middle class in New York, in Detroit it only takes about $30,000 to live comfortably, according to a study by Quoctrung Bui of NPR’s Planet Money. “Hipster culture” also typically revolves around the arts, and that seems to be on the rise in Motown, as even Brooklyn’s famed Galapagos Art Space has moved to the Michigan city.

[Via Business Insider]


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