Gay-Owned Espresso & Gelato Shop Finds Niche in Detroit

By Shelby Clark

Gay-owned business, Melt Espresso & Gelato, has opened in Midtown, adding to the continuing growth of Detroit as a center for LGBT prosperity and culture.

Aaron Haithcock, originally from Texas, opened the business in October after a long journey of love. "It took three and a half years to open; I had to apply for a loan three different times," he says, "I had to keep resubmitting for it. It took lots of time... time was definitely an issue." Negotiating for a spot in the area took over a year alone.

Despite the difficulty in opening the shop, he recommends people "absolutely" look into opening businesses in Detroit. The reception to his business has been phenomenal so far, and Haithcock credits it to the burgeoning culture in the area, both LGBT and straight: "I'd say the Midtown business area has an equivalent number of LGBT folk as Ferndale. The new mayor, the city getting safer... the scale is tipping to Detroit."

Haithcock had originally planned to bring a large, family candy shop to the area, after working in a candy/ice cream store in Chicago for several years and dreaming of opening his own business. After studying the Detroit area, and working at local coffee shops, he decided to go for something "fancier."

He notes, "I was able to keep the 'sweets' element with candy and other treats, but with smaller portions." Such sweets include the ever-changing flavors of gelato and baked goods such as the popular "Cream Cheese Butter Cookies."

Aside from confections, Haithcock can't recommend his coffee treats enough. "The French Toast coffee drink is my personal favorite," he raves, adding that there are also new signature drinks constantly being added.

Haithcock has already tried bringing fresh energy to the Cass Corridor with his coffee "happy hours" every weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Recently, free peppermint hot chocolates went to customers who mentioned seeing a status on Melt's Facebook page. Catering is also available at the store.

Located across from Avalon Bakery, Melt Espresso & Gelato can be found at 4160 Cass Ave., Detroit. The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Sunday.

For more information, call 313-833-4223 or e-mail melt.gelato@yahoo.com. Melt's facebook can be found at http://www.facebook.com/melttogether.

To look for more LGBT-run businesses in Southeast Michigan, check out BTL's Yellow Pages at http://www.pridesource.com/directory.html.

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