Millennial mompreneurs take over historic event space near downtown Detroit


(Courtesy photo of The Whittier Event and Banquet Co.)

Two millennial mompreneurs turn events into gold with The Whittier Event & Banquet Co. in Detroit. The prestigious location on the Detroit River near downtown is a historic gem. The opulent venue can accommodate weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, and more. In-house valet parking, a chef, a bar and experienced event specialists ensure a perfect experience.

At the head of this operation are Melanie Bowers and Jacqueline Lee, whose complementary know-how combines the sophistication of the old world with modern luxury. At the end of the month of women’s history, these phenomenal ladies are greeted by the introduction.

What are your respective backgrounds and roles?

Jacqueline Lee: My background is in business, marketing, and communications and I have marketed for some of the best universities in Michigan. Melanie and I worked together on events through her company Guru PR. At Whittier, Melanie is all about customer service, and I’m more of a black and white business.

Melanie Bowers: My background is in communication and public relations. I am closer. I think it’s a great contrast. We are yin and yang. Jacqi has to be there because at some point I have to be wrapped up or the customers have to be wrapped up.

What is unique about The Whittier?

MB: We’re one of the few Black Millennial Women-owned venues near downtown Detroit. It is one of those rooms that is eternal, beautiful, and regal. There aren’t many rooms downtown that have the architecture and capacity to hold the number of people that space can hold.

JL: Our best seller is the winter garden. When brides walk in, they are always in awe of the natural light and beauty. You literally don’t have to decorate. You can add flowers to it, but it’s beautiful in terms of architecture alone. Our wedding packages offer everything from a single source. You can have your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception in one room.

Conservatory (Courtesy photo of The Whittier Event and Banquet Co.)

Discuss panning during the pandemic.

JL: In our first year of business, we had to figure out how to reschedule and / or reimburse employees while we continued to run a business. We have probably five years of experience in one.

MB: It was a curse, but it was also a blessing. It gave us time to work on how we work as a company.

Continued on next page.


Dusty Kennedy