Paper Street “Incubator” Gives Start-Ups a Unique Home

By, Crystal A. Proxmire


FERNDALE - The 20,000 square foot building on the corner of Wanda and Jarvis may not seem much different than its industrial neighbors, but behind the grayish yellow facade a big idea is brewing. A community of ideas even.   Paper Street is part office and industrial collective, and part think-tank, designed to give Ferndale entrepreneurs a way to share creative resources and expenses.  With office space for rent starting at $220 a month, and industrial work areas starting at just $300, Paper Street could soon house up to 36 new businesses.


Though the doors don’t officially open until April 1, space in the building is already half reserved.  The growing Paper Street community includes an art dealer, a blacksmith, a mason, a recording studio, a small business coach, a Motorsports studio, and a custom hot rod builder. 


These eclectic tenants will have ridiculously low rent, free wireless internet, 24/7 access, and all utilities included.  They will also benefit from Paper Street’s large community space, which will have couches, table, vending machines and an upscale, sleek industrial décor – complete with unique automotive-themed prints that might inspire power and productivity.  The industrial spaces will allow renters to share tools in a secure environment with cameras and RFID card access. There will also be a regular supply of gourmet coffee from Chazzanos, and plenty of other creative business owners around to exchange ideas and advice with.


Andy Didorosi, the mastermind behind Paper Street, said that a shared office or work space can help keep people motivated.  “So many people who work from home miss out on the office experience.  We need people to talk to, and to bounce ideas off of and to support each other,” he said.  “This isn’t just a warehouse, it’s a small business incubator.”


The idea of taking a giant industrial warehouse space and portioning it off into smaller rentals cheaply to other entrepreneurs came about when trying to find a new shop for his custom race car business.  “The larger a space you have, the less it costs per square foot,” he said.  “I thought if I could find someone else to share the space it’d be even less.  And we’d save even more if we got three or four friends on it.  At that point it would hardly cost anybody anything.  But then I thought, wait, I don’t have that many friends that need shop space.  So I got the building, put up a Craigs List ad, and figured I would make new friends – and help out other small businesses.”


Didorosi has been building and racing custom sports cars professionally since he was 19 years old.  He is also a freelance automotive writer.  The Grosse Point native rented his first shop in Ferndale’s industrial district, a space inside the Darwin Industries Building.  He’s since moved around the Detroit area, but now- at the age of 23- has settled back in Ferndale.  


“I’m kind of nostalgic I guess,” Didorosi said.  “I started out here and it feels like the right kind of place for something like this.  The rent is low enough to afford, but it’s a high-quality community.”  Didorosi now also lives in Ferndale because he wants to be closer to his shop – and all the new friends he is making there. 


Named after the headquarters of revolutionaries in the famed “Fight Club” novel by Chuck Palahniuk, Paper Street is sure to be a place where grand ideas are formed.  There will be an open house on Sat. March 13, noon – 4 p.m. at Paper Street located at 1511 Jarvis, Ferndale.  More information can also be found at

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