Starting out with a Bang! The Fowling Warehouse in Hamtramck, Michigan was the setting for the Start Up Season Three Premiere Party. Pulling into the parking lot, it’s hard not to notice the “Fowling Bus” parked outside - a great option if you want to tailgate and bus downtown to see a football game on Sundays. The bus has a custom paint job featuring the colorful and fun Fowling logo on the side. Before I even stepped foot into the massive, 24,000 square foot building, I was already thinking of a plan to get together with my friends and come back for a day dedicated to mastering this new game. Little did I know that the preconceived notion of “mastering” would change with the first football I threw.
Fowling is hybrid game that combines elements of football, bowling, and horseshoes. The object of the game is for teams to be the first to knock down all of their opponents pins by throwing a football at ten bowling pins positioned exactly as they would be in a game of bowling. If you get a strike you win! This does not happen often - it’s similar to a hole in one in golf. Think you’re an athlete? Did you play a little football in high school? It doesn’t matter; throwing a bullet at the pins will do nothing - in fact some people do better throwing the ball underhand... anything goes!
The party was sponsored by Chrysler Brand. I got a glance at the 200 and 300 models they moved inside the Warehouse for the party. The atmosphere was awesome - kind of a blend between a car show, skating rink, bowling alley, bar and football training facility - very uniquely “Detroit” to me. That is what made it great. Clips of Season Three of Start Up played on the large projector and televisions; it was easy to way to catch a glimpse of the new look of the show. Host Gary Bredow was busy meeting everyone he possibly could and the crew was cutting loose. There was plenty of tasty food and an open bar, the perfect predecessor to going into the lanes to throw a football.
Over five hundred people showed up for the event, and Detroit DJ legend Stacy Hotwax Hail provided the music for the night. In between Hail’s sets, soul singer Thornetta Davis took the stage with her band. Stephanie Christian made a guest appearance and performed with the band also, a nice surprise to keep the energy strong. Neville Wisdom, a Jamician Fashion Designer featured in season three of Start Up, flew in from Connecticut to attend the event. All five Detroit businesses featured in season three: Drought, Social Grooming Club, Detroit Made, The Home Store and The Fowling Warehouse, had people at the party. All of the entrepreneurs were invited up on stage during a special thanks from Gary Bredow and producer Jenny Feterovich. Chris Hutt, owner of The Fowling Warehouse, was kind enough to go over the Fowling rules on the mic; it was a great way to familiarize everyone and make sure we all had fun, but it was also a way to remind us the game we were about to play is not as easy as it sounds.
Many Detroit personalities were seen at the event, including writer Chuck Bennett from The Detroit News, Tom LaSorda, founder of Inkwell and former CEO of Chrysler, local radio personality Theresa Hill, Charivari’s Todd Johnson, Nancy Fishman, founder of Forgotten Harvest, Detroit Public Television's Dan Albert, and talented modern world musician Sean Blackman. The extensive Start Up crew and their family and friends made up a large amount of the crowd, all showing up to show their support for everyone’s hard work and dedication. My wife and I enjoyed the eclectic conversations taking place, but we had to try Fowling - we couldn’t go home without experiencing it.
We finally made it to the Fowling lanes and started throwing the ball back and forth, warming up. I teamed up with my wife and we played against another couple. It was worth a try to explain how to hold a football correctly to my wife but she quickly reminded me that she was going to do it her way. It was easy for me to understand - I compared it to times when I have golfed with my teammate constantly telling me how to swing and hold my club - I did not want to be that guy, so we experimented with our own ways of throwing. We ended up playing three games... and I struggled the entire time. My less-than-athletic wife developed some type of underhand softball style fast pitch throw and it was effective. She definitely was the only reason we even had a chance of winning. I could have played all night, but after our victories we worked our way back to the party to continue enjoying time with all of the amazing people who showed up.
The party was an absolute success! It was a ton of fun and a great start to the third season of Start Up. The event captured the essence of the television show by featuring a diverse group of businesses, people, entrepreneurs, professionals, and artists. Standing in The Fowling Warehouse was evidence of how one’s dream became reality, just like all of the other fantastic businesses featured on season three of Start Up. The television show is a good reminder that you can make anything happen with passion, hard work, and determination, and the Start Up Premiere Party was a good reminder that we are all connected.