Detroiters are innovative, springing forth new business ideas from a well of experiences and creating something truly unique. Such is the case with Drive Table Tennis Social Club. If you are the Serena Williams or Andre Agassi of table tennis or just have love for the game, then this is the new hot spot in Detroit. Drive combines the fun, competiveness and nostalgia of table tennis with the aesthetics of a social club. The club, located on Woodward in downtown Detroit, features eight Olympic-quality tables available to rent, Ping-Pong tournaments, lounge seating, art exhibits, live music, ladies night and much more. Drive Table Tennis Social Club is creating its own niche in downtown Detroit.
But why table tennis?
“[It’s] the most played sport in the world, maybe second next to soccer,” said owner Diallo Smith (pictured above with his wife). The idea was to take an existing product, remove the stigma of recreational rooms and basements and create a cool atmosphere. “Bring [table tennis] to life in a sexy way.”
However Drive is more than just a new, sexy business in Detroit. It is a company with a heart to help Detroit prosper by donating a portion of its table rentals to local organizations. Diallo Smith calls it “playing it forward”.
“It’s not enough to start a business. Be a business that benefits the community,” Smith said, “Whenever you are creating an environment where community can blossom…at the end of the day, you get something really great.”
Among the organizations to benefit from Drive, the Detroit Zoo, Developing Kids, Neighborhood Services and Forgotten Harvest to name a few.
Smith hopes that Drive Table Tennis Social Club will have its name written in the history books as one of the companies at the forefront of Detroit’s Renaissance. He feels that entrepreneurs have a responsibility to change the climate and culture in the city.
“Some of the old rules are being rewritten…creating opportunities for native entrepreneurs to push the boundaries on what’s possible. [We] have to think broader and more imaginatively about what the city can be.”