Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

New eatery brings authentic Spanish cuisine to Midtown Detroit

In Detroit's difficult economic climate, it's nice to hear about a new business. That new business is an authentic Spanish restaurant that opened in Midtown Detroit at the end of October.

Two of the owners of La Feria, named for an annual spring festival in Seville, Spain, say that they had been casually talking about opening a restaurant for about a decade. When they started getting serious about their plans, one of the owners says that he decided he should learn something about business planning. He took a class and developed a business plan .

Then along came an opportunity to use that plan. The partners entered Comerica's 2012 Hatch Detroit contest. Out of 260 entries, they won. Their prize was a $50,000 award, which they used to buy equipment for the eatery. However, they needed a lot more money than that to make their dream a reality. The owners say it ended up costing close to $300,000 - about three times what they initially anticipated - to get the 34-seat business up and running.

Among the challenges for the owners of La Feria will be not only luring customers away from the city's other restaurants but attracting suburbanites into the city and away from the increasing number of restaurants in Detroit's suburbs.

The owners have no previous experience running a restaurant. One is a teacher. The other, who moved to Detroit from Seville, Spain, some 17 years ago, wanted to bring some of her native cuisine to the area. She says that theirs is the only true Spanish restaurant in this entire region of Michigan. Many of the dishes are based on recipes that her mother cooked for her 10 sisters and brothers and herself when she was growing up in Seville.

Starting a new business, particularly in the mercurial world of restaurants, can be a daunting endeavor. It is essential for new business owners, whether experienced or newbies, to get sound business, legal and financial advice to make the most of their opportunity.

Source: Crain's Detroit Business, "La Feria's Midtown opening costly, but owners were determined" Nathan Skid, Nov. 05, 2013

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