Conversations With Sven Gustafson

This is Detroit’s dinner party conversation, with multiple segments with local tastemakers, artists and entrepreneurs. They don’t call it the Paris of the Midwest for nothing! Host Sven Gustafson is a former journalist and bartender, and a fan of tasty food and drink — and Swedish pancakes. He hosts a smart and engaging conversation about Detroit’s fast-changing restaurant, arts and entertainment scene each week with a variety of fascinating guests and quick-hit segments. Join us as we explore the city through a fun and insightful lens.
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Conversations With Sven Gustafson




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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 28, 2017

As we wrap up 2017, how is Metro Detroit really doing? 

That's a question that we dive into today on the podcast. Sven Gustafson interviews two people from the Detroit Regional Chamber to talk about, from a data perspective, how metro Detroit is doing.

Justin Robinson, the Vice President of Business Attraction for the Chamber and Angela Ladetto, Director of Business Research share key highlights - the great, the good, and the challenges metro Detroit faces that are in the State of the Region report.

You can download the entire report here for yourself:


Dec 19, 2017

One of the people at the center of Detroit's building boomlet is Todd Sachse, the CEO and Founder of Sachse Construction.

You probably have seen their banners on various projects around town, but today on the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, Sven Gustafson dives in with Todd on some very interesting topics around Detroit's comeback.

  • Detroit's construction "boom" still lags other cities around activity - our "boom" is much less than most other cities "normal" activity
  • How we're out of buildings to even keep the pace of development we have now
  • Each hotel room built creates 2.5 permanent jobs
  • How Detroit will develop in a "T" as well as some "pods" around town
  • The importance of sticking by employees in a recession so that when you come out of it, you're ready as a company

He's someone who's running one of the companies at the center of it all, so if you're interested in Detroit's turnaround, have a listen.

Dec 6, 2017

For today's episode, Sven Gustafson sits down with Amanda Lewan, who, along with the organization she leads, Bamboo Detroit, is part of flipping the script when it comes to entrepreneurship and startups in Detroit.

Bamboo Detroit is a co-working and business development space in downtown Detroit that started in 2013. Now in a larger home on Washington Boulevard (and having added an additional floor of private offices) they recently released a report about their economic impact. It also included some interesting details about women-owned and businesses owned by people of color. 

It's a wide-ranging conversation with someone making something happen in Detroit. 

Disclosure, in the past Bamboo Detroit has been a sponsor of the show, but did not sponsor this episode. 

Thanks to our network, Podcast Detroit:


Nov 16, 2017

What's the future for Detroit & Michigan's all-important automotive sector?

This week Sven Gustafson's guest across the table is Glenn Stevens, the Executive Director of MichAuto and we do a deep dive ahead of the MichAuto Summit on December 5 & 6.

Getting into the weeds is what we do and it's a fascinating conversation if you're connected to this industry or want Detroit's economy to move forward. We touch on the auto industry, autonomous vehicles, venture capital investment, and what the future of mobility looks like.

Talent is a huge piece of that puzzle, and automotive and mobility companies are looking for Detroit's best and brightest.

The summit at the College for Creative Studies will go further than our conversation tonight, and if you're interested in working in the auto industry you might want to check it out. 

Thanks to Queens Bar for being host this week and Podcast Detroit for all of their support.

If you like the show, considering subscribing on Apple Podcasts:

Or Google Play:





Oct 27, 2017

What is the difference between Techno and House? What is some of the history behind these iconic, Detroit made sounds? Who is the first female black DJ to spin this stuff on the radio?

Answers to those questions and more are from Sven Gustafson's guest, Stacey "Hotwaxx" Hale, also known as the Godmother of House Music. She's been spinning in the scene since 1982, and now she's not only playing music, but also giving back through her work at the Detroit Institute of Music Educations and Black Women Rock.

She has a new radio show on Red Bull Radio, and she stopped by for an episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour. Gotta say, it was an honor to interview such a local legend.

Here's all the links:

You can find Stacey here:

You can find Podcast Detroit here:

You can find Red Bull Radio here:

You can find us on iTunes (or Apple Podcasts) here:

And also on Google Play:


Oct 18, 2017

Today, we step back to Detroit in the 1930s at a bar that was open (well, as an ice cream shop during the prohibition part) to talk to Karen Dybis.

She's an author of a few books, but her latest promises from what we've seen to be a great read. "The Witch of Delray: Rose Veres & Detroit's Infamous 1930s Murder Mystery" is a true crime book that centers on Detroit's Delray neighborhood.

Karen is a former newspaper reporter, and utilized that background as well as her colorful style paint a picture of a city and a boarding house where, as she says, renters walk in and pine boxes come out. 

So join Sven Gustafson for a great conversation on the back patio of Nancy Whiskey's. 

To pre-order the book that comes out October 30 from The History Press on Amazon, go here: or support your local independent book store.

Thanks to Podcast Detroit for their support of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour:

Also, if you want to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, you can do so here:

Use Android? We're on Google Play Music, too:


Sep 30, 2017

Detroit has an active and growing Hispanic population, and they have their own Spanish-language and localized media in print and on the radio.

For today's show, Sven Gustafson sat down with people from The Detroit Hispanic Media group. It has four participating news outlets: Latino Press, La Explosiva WSDS 1480 AM, Nuestro Detroit and LaZ 1310 AM. 

They're banding together to share content, resources and more to help serve their communities better and get the word out about what's happening to a wider audience.

Our guests:

  • Elias Gutierrez (Latino Press)
  • Maria Hayes (Nuestro Detroit)
  • Alex Resendez (WSDS-1480am- La Explosiva)
  • Daniella Zamora (La Z 1310 AM/Zamora Broadcasting). 

Thanks to Bamboo Detroit for their sponsorship of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour. Get a private office or coworking desk in the heart of downtown Detroit.

Also thanks to our network, Podcast Detroit.

Sep 25, 2017

More and more in Detroit, bikes and streets for pedestrians are a thing.

With Open Streets Detroit coming up on October 1 — a festival where 3.5 miles of Michigan Avenue and Vernor will be closed to all vehicle traffic and turn into a giant street festival — our host, Sven Gustafson, figured that this was the perfect time to check in with Lisa Nuszkowski.

She is a wearer of many hats. Not only is she part of making the Open Streets Detroit event happen, she is the Founder & Executive Director of the MoGo Detroit Bike Share.

Show highlights:

  • The upcoming Open Streets Detroit this weekend [1m18s] (October 1) and all of the activities running from Beacon Park in downtown Detroit all the way through Southwest Detroit.
  • We get an update on the Detroit bike share system, MoGo [8m54s] that has 430 bikes across 43 stations. We also touch on the distinct possibility of expansion across the city —even possibly into the suburbs. 
  • MoGo Bike share will be offering free rides throughout Open Streets Detroit on October 1. [10m42s]
  • How has education been going [12m01, and what about theft and other challenges? [18m49s]
  • What about funding? [19m58s]
  • Sven asks about expansion to the rest of the city? And maybe the suburbs? It's a real possibility. It's a matter of funding (Editor's note: MoGo is not a government service provided by the city of Detroit. It's has a nonprofit structure). [24m32s]

If you love the show, don't forget to subscribe for free in Apple Podcasts here or your favorite podcast player. 

Thanks to our sponsor, Bamboo Detroit, for making this episode possible. For more information on becoming a member of their coworking space or private offices, be sure to check out

And thanks to our network, Podcast Detroit.

Sep 14, 2017

This edition of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour is very timely as Sven Gustafson is talking to veteran reporter Dave Battagello of the Windsor Star about the bridge projects to Canada, the border crossing, and how it affects thousands of people and millions of dollars every day.

He's been the lead guy covering this issue that most of the Detroit media has been silent on, even though long term, it will affect the livelihoods of many citizens of both countries. Today there's important news.

There are some key points you're going to want to listen for.

  • Under Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, work on the bridge has stalled and lobbying has increased.
  • Billionaire Matty Moroun & The Detroit International Bridge Company is a lot closer to a twin Ambassador bridge than the publicly funded project.
  • The permit Moroun received says he has to complete his bridge within five years; the Gordie Howe span won't be completed for at least six years.
  • Moroun already has the plazas in place and just needs to build the span over the river and a Canadian truck inspection plaza, where there's still a lot of demolition and construction on for the Gordie Howe.

It was great talking to Battagello who has been eating, sleeping and breathing this beat. Be sure to have a full listen.

SPONSOR THANKS: Thanks to Bamboo Detroit who helps make this podcast possible. Dedicated desks and offices and coworking spots are now available on their new fourth floor on Washington Boulevard in Detroit.

And of course, thanks to Podcast Detroit, our network.

Sep 3, 2017

Narrow Way Cafe is one of the newest additions to Livernois Avenue in Detroit. But, this isn't a podcast about coffee.

In today's episode hosted by Sven Gustafson, we touch on the cafe - but the real secret to success in Detroit is service. 

And who knows serve better than a man who's both involved in business and the church?

That's Jonathan Merritt, a talented man that's part of both Narrow Way Cafe and is a pastor at Straight Gate Church

Narrow Way has quite the journey to opening, including receiving a $45,000 grant from Motor City Match. But the place is built from the ground up to be part of the neighborhood - including having a good number of employees who live within walking distance. 

He's one of the people to watch in Metro Detroit. Although he's gotten a lot done, it's clear this might be only the beginning for Merritt. 

Thanks to our sponsor, Bamboo Detroit. It's where Detroit's doers go to work.

Also, our network, Podcast Detroit. They now have studios in both Royal Oak and Detroit. 

If you want to make sure you get episodes of this podcast every week, subscribe for free in Apple iTunes here:

Aug 18, 2017

This is a fun one. Sven Gustafson headed over to the brand new Detroit Barbers location in Corktown to have a chat with Chad Buchanan, who owns the shop with his wife, as well as one of their star barbers, Ryan Ray.

We hit on the recent popularity of beards, trends among male facial hair, haircuts, and of course, their location in a historic building on Michigan Avenue in Corktown that's decked to the nines with antiques and awesome artifacts from days past.

You can find Chad and Ray at Detroit Barbers (they have locations in Ferndale and Detroit):

Of course, thanks to our sponsor, Bamboo Detroit. That's a co-working space in downtown Detroit that's expanding to a fourth floor:

And our network, Podcast Detroit:


Aug 8, 2017

Greater Downtown Detroit's only seven day a week movie theatre is Cinema Detroit, and Sven stopped by this week to chat movies with the owners, Paula and Tim Guthat. We talk about a variety of films, the just released "Detroit" movie, film incentives, and more. 

Thanks to Bamboo Detroit for their support:

As well as our network, Podcast Detroit:

You can find Cinema Detroit here:



Jul 31, 2017

Drew Schantz is the founder of Venture School, a nonprofit charter looking to get their doors open in the fall of next year. It's concept is a "micro charter" so-called because there will be 35 students or so in each grade level.

In the meantime, Schantz is running a series of pop-up educational experiences and fundraising to make this a reality. It's an interesting look at the early stages of one of the most talked about parts of education in Detroit - charter schools and serving neighborhoods.

Thanks to Bamboo Detroit for their support of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour - also to Podcast Detroit -

Show notes:

4:00 - Opening the High School that I always wanted to go to

5:00 - Why open the Venture School school in Detroit and how current schools aren’t preparing Detroiters for the future

8:40 - The curriculum of fundamentals, hyper-personalization, and entrepreneurship

11:10 - What’s a micro-charter school, really?

16:10 - How does a student get in?

18:50 - Venture School pop-up classrooms at S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center

20:00 - Fundraising as a nonprofit charter school

26:00 - Private vs. being a charter school and landing in the Denby/Whittier neighborhood

28:07 - Venture labs and testing a pop-up school like a pop-up restaurant to get it right

30:00 - What is the state of entrepreneurship in Detroit?

Learn more about Venture School at

Jul 25, 2017

Downtown Detroit continues its remarkable transformation, with more and more foot traffic, construction sites sprouting like weeds and new businesses opening up on the reg.

On this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we caught up with Eric Larson, CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, for an update on what's happening in downtown Detroit, how it's evolved over time and what the future could look like for the rapidly growing central business district.

"We really have tried to use the downtown quite frankly as that case study," Larson said. "If it works downtown, we really try and make sure it's replicable in other areas. Not only in other areas of the city, but quite frankly a lot of the public space activation and placemaking activities that we've been doing now for over 20 years are being done all over the country and have become sort of the buzz approaches for continuing to turn around urban centers."

Among the topics Larson touches on:

  • The DDP's involvement in the Super Bowl XL in 2006 (around 5:30)
  • How the DDP works with agencies outside the downtown core (just after 8 minutes)
  • The 2016 Downtown Detroit Perceptions Report (around 12 minutes)
  • How downtown is whiter and more affluent than the city overall (around 17:30)
  • Transportation options, including MoGo, the low marks given to the bus systems and last year's failed RTA transit millage (19:45)
  • The present and possible future of the QLINE (26 minutes)
  • How the new Spirit of Detroit Plaza represents a "civic space where people can congregate" (31:30)
  • How bike lanes will transform downtown (37 minutes)
  • Early results — and future plans — for the "mighty MoGo" (41:45)
  • The future of downtown, vis a vis real estate and autonomous vehicles (46:00)

Friends, this is our longest podcast episode BY FAR, but frankly there was a lot to chew over. Give it a listen and you won't be disappointed. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Thanks to Podcast Detroit:

And don't forget if you like the show to subscribe for free in Apple Podcasts: us/podcast/the-d

Jul 17, 2017

Henry the Hatter is one of the most beloved establishments in all of Metro Detroit. The clientele of the oldest hat shop in the United States, owned by Paul Wasserman, is a who's who of musicians, politicians, and even a president.

For this special episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, Sven Gustafson stopped into the iconic store to talk to Paul Wasserman. He shared the story on how his lease got unexpectedly ended, the history of the place (including how his father came to buy it), and we even touch on the future plans for this piece of living Detroit history.

If you enjoyed this episode, we have much more where that came from. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts here:

You can also find our podcasts on all major podcatchers.

Thanks to everyone who makes this podcast possible.

Podcast Detroit, our network that helps make this crazy idea possible:

And of course, our amazing members. They're hundreds of people who support our investment in projects that ensure that a locally produced, locally owned voice of original content of Detroit doesn't go silent:


Jul 9, 2017

Ned Staebler is the kind of guy who will tell it to you how it sees it, and in this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast, Sven met up with him at Techtown where he is CEO to get a beat on what's actually happening in Detroit's entrepreneurial scene.

If you want a discussion on business and Detroit that's not a bunch of jargon filled fluff and staged appearances, then this episode is the place for you.

We cover a variety of subjects over the half hour, including the success of MoGo (it has double its ridership projections), how entrepreneurship is really doing and some of the challenges it faces, and being an outspoken advocate for what you truly believe in.

Staebler has driven some pretty impressive results at Techtown, leveraging the space that's on Wayne State University's campus to get businesses and ideas off the ground not just through providing physical space, but encouraging collaboration through different kinds of events and partnerships. 

As always, thanks to Podcast Detroit for their support. Find them here:

More on Techtown here:

Love the show? Become a member:

Don't miss any episodes and subscribe on Apple Podcasts here:



Jul 6, 2017

Social media is becoming the center of modern communications, especially when it comes to brands and media outlets.

Sven & the some of the Daily Detroit team attended Social Media Day Detroit in Greektown this year, where there were educational tracks on a variety of topics as well as a lot of experts who spoke. Social Media Day was put together by the Social Media Association of Michigan (SMAMI).

For this special episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we caught up with three interesting people in the digital media space locally.

First, Nikki Little. She works over at Identity, a PR agency, as their Social Media Director and also runs a bi-weekly e-newsletter for the local industry, the MichComms report.

Second, Robert Courtney Collins, a brand strategist. His agency provides a variety of brand services as well as events and a reward program. You can find him here.

Third, someone who may be the Dean of digital marketing in Detroit, Mike McClure. His long career has landed him at the Yaffe Group as a Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, and he shares how in some ways although the tools have changed, it's still all about connecting with people. 

The next two guests we have in coming weeks are pretty interesting. We've booked Paul Wasserman, the proprietor of Henry the Hatter as well as Ned Stabler, the CEO of Techtown.

Of course, thanks to everyone who makes the show happen.

Podcast Detroit you can find here. Special thanks to Dave Phillips for the technical help today.

You can subscribe in iTunes here.

Of course, more podcasts are on Daily Detroit here.

Jun 28, 2017

Detroit's culinary scene has been getting a lot of ink as of late. But there's a lot of facets to this story. Sure, the food has to be good. But starting a restaurant or food truck is a lot more difficult than many might think.

How do you make sure that the little guy (or gal) with a great recipe has a chance it happen? That's where Yum Village comes in. 

Sven's guest this week, Godwin Ihentuge, takes his experience and lends it to others to raise the community up.

He also is a weekend regular serving up Nigerian food at the Villages Biergarten in West Village, where you can catch some pretty great flavors along with a beer or a glass of wine. We dived into the finer points of Nigerian cuisine as well.

Beyond the kitchen, Ihentuge has also gone to Washington D.C. to advocate for sustainable wages for restaurant workers and benefits - and he's also an educator for the immensely successful BUILD program.

This week's links:

Find Yum Village here:

Find the Villages Biergarten here:

Our friends at Podcast Detroit:

Subscribe on iTunes:

Really love us? Support Daily Detroit's special projects here and become a member:

Jun 21, 2017

One of the most interesting stories in Detroit is that of the lower east side of the city. The area running from Lafayette Park all the way to Jefferson Chalmers and the Grosse Pointe border has amazing history, a sense of community, as well as residents and activists determined the make this part of town all it could be.

Sven Gustafson sat down with Josh Elling of Jefferson East at Andrew's and talked about how to develop a neighborhood in a truly inclusive manner, the things happening with beautiful historic buildings like the Vanity Ballroom, and how the community has worked together to face and address the challenges of the area.

Jefferson East can be found here:

Love the show? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts:

Thanks to Podcast Detroit, our network:

Really love the show? Become a member:

Jun 14, 2017

Could Detroit be a little better than Silicon Valley? This guy thinks so.

This week Sven Gustafson sat down with Tom Lawrence of Lawrence Technology Services at the Urban Bean Coffee Shop in downtown Detroit. In a wide-ranging conversation with entrepreneur, technologist, and podcast and YouTube host Tom Lawrence, we touch on a variety of topics involving technology and Detroit.

Beyond being the owner of a technology firm, Lawrence also hosts the popular Sunday Morning Linux Review Podcast and also has a YouTube channel that has received hundreds of thousands of views.

Here are the links for today:

Love us? Be a member! Get a shirt! -

Lawrence Technology Services:

Sunday Morning Linux Review:

Podcast Detroit:

The Urban Bean (they have draft iced coffee, kept our Silent Bob silent and happy):

The Tall Boy of Coconut Juice:

Jun 7, 2017

Detroit is best by bike.

Slow Roll has taken Detroit and the nation by storm - or, well, by bike. The ride that attracts 3,000-5,000 people per week and winds through Detroit's neighborhoods and by our landmarks has become a phenomenon. Now they're taking it to the next level, not only by showing off the city but partnering with nonprofits and others looking to improve Detroit.

On the patio of Queens Bar, Sven Gustafson sits down with Jason Hall, a co-founder of Slow Roll, and Kelsey Hubbell, their human Swiss army knife, and talk about this truly revolutionary ride and what it's all about.

For more on Slow Roll, including how to join them on Monday nights:

To support our podcast, become a member and get a t-shirt!:

To subscribe to future episodes of the podcast for free on iTunes:

And of course, thanks to Podcast Detroit:


May 30, 2017

Detroit is in many ways becoming more and more of a biking city, along with other modes of transportation than just cars.

Todd Scott, Executive Director of the Detroit Greenways Coalition, joins our host Sven Gustafson at the legendary Locker Room Lounge on Livernois to talk all things biking. We touch on the popularity of the Dequindre Cut. The addition of protected bike lanes down Cass Avenue. Discuss plans for biking on the new Gordie Howe bridge. The potential impact of the new MoGo bike share. The Elmwood Cemetery connector - and a ton of other bike related topics. 

Thanks to the Locker Room Lounge for their hospitality and our network Podcast Detroit for their continued support. 

For more on the Detroit Greenways Coalition and their efforts to make Detroit a World Class City for Biking and Walking:

Special note: This week we're going to be up at the Mackinac Policy Conference. Be sure to follow for all the action. 

May 12, 2017

Airbnb in Detroit has become quite the thing, with a multi-million dollar economic impact for residents and their newest service, trips, where you can have an experienced Detroiter guide you through a variety of city experiences. 

Our host Sven Gustafson sat down with Nelson T. Sanders, Jr. and Tommie Robbins on the patio of Queens Bar to talk about their experiences. Sanders is your guide for an experience called "Sharp," that lives up to the name seeing places like Baker's Keyboard Lounge, Sugar House, and 1701 Bespoke. Robbins is a home host in the New Center area who has been able to supplement his teacher's income hosting guests from around the world. 

So sit back - enjoy - and these two guys will give you the real deal when it comes to Detroit. 

Thanks to the support of Podcast Detroit, our network and of course don't forget to leave a review on iTunes. Find more great content every day on

May 3, 2017

Detroit's a city where locally made products can do really well and become a thing. One of those is Sfumato Fragrances, created by the Corktown-based husband and wife duo of Kevin Peterson and Jane Larson.

They're already at work on their new Midtown retail store, thanks to a $20,000 Motor City Match grant. Sven caught up with the pair at Queen's bar in Detroit and talked juggling a day job with your passion, how the idea for starting a company focused on fragrances came about, and the future. 

You can find Sfumato here at

Thanks to Queens Bar for their hospitality, Podcast Detroit for their network support, and of course, for more stories visit

Apr 25, 2017

This week on the podcast our guests are Pastor Aramis Hinds of the Breakers Covenant Church International and Rabbi Ariana Silverman of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. 

They're working to raise funds to renovate the historic Temple Beth El on Woodward Avenue into the Bethel Community Transformation Center (BCTC). It's a beautiful example of the Christian and Jewish communities coming together.

It's powered by a coalition of local clergy, community leaders, visionaries and builders joining forces to weave together the past and the future at BETHEL: a modern performing arts center, worship space, and community center all under one roof.

You can find more about the Kickstarter here:

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