Citywide SOUP Winner – November 2013
Downtown SOUP Winner – November 2013

Waiting for the bus can be a drag, especially if they’re behind schedule, but what can be even more of a pain is standing and waiting. With most of Detroit’s bus stops being bench-less, and a majority of the cities population relying on the bus system as a means of transportation, Detroiters were left out standing in the cold, literally.

That’s where two young entrepreneurs have come into play, Kyle Bartell and Charles Molnar, who are the masterminds behind solving Detroit’s bench-less bus stop problem. Not only did the pair see a way to solve this issue, but their idea relied heavily on creativity and innovation: Using reclaimed wood from homes that were deconstructed and utilizing the bottom half of the benches as a space for books, so people waiting for the bus had something to read.

“At Sit On It Detroit, creating a better quality of life for transit riders is our mission,” Bartell explained. “We provide riders with free literature and a place to sit while they wait for the bus.”

Winning SOUP was about more than just the money, it allowed them to share their idea with the rest of the community and see how they felt about the idea. Getting input from fellow Detroiters is key to any new start-up in the city – which is just one great service that SOUP has been doing for the past five years. While getting some extra cash flow for their start-up was a huge advantage, meeting Detroit residents was what really helped their idea shine.

“Detroit SOUP’s platform provided us the opportunity to communicate with Detroit residents and to share our idea of building benches at bus stops,” Bartell said.

Sit On It Detroit has now installed over 20 benches throughout the city of Detroit, making bus stops more enjoyable for passengers on a daily basis. They have also been nominated for awards, started extra curricular programs with Wayne State and even received support from the city itself.

“We’ve been nominated for the Innovative Exemplary Award by Transit Riders United for increasing the quality of life for transit riders. We also started a Sit On It Detroit co-curricular program with Wayne State University School of Medicine and received endorsement from The City of Detroit, supporting Sit On It Detroit work via city councilmen James Tate.”

Looking forward, Sit On It Detroit has set its eyes on continuing to provide their unique benches at bus stops all across the city. They have moved into a 10,000 square foot facility to help expand their projects and are now able to give opportunity for other projects to grow as well. Along with benches, Sit on It has started to work with local organizations and businesses like Rubbed in Corktown, by building custom furniture pieces for their restaurant.

Having an idea is one thing, but what really makes that idea develop into reality is hard work, dedication and looking to your community for help, we all get by with a little help from our friends.

For more information about Sit On It visit their website: www.sitonitdet.com

– Chaz Parks