The DJN chats with Bruce Schwartz, AKA Detroit Bruce, who provides epic tours as Rock Ventures’ Detroit Ambassador.
Photography by BreAnn Whlgn
1. You’re known around town as Detroit Bruce, a Detroit Ambassador for Rock Ventures. How did that come to be?
It all started a little over 25 years ago when I joined the team at Rock Financial. I was a mortgage banker for 11 years before I co-founded In-House Realty, now known as Rocket Homes. In 2010, when I was working as the CEO of In-House Realty, Dan Gilbert moved Quicken Loans and the Rock Family of Companies to downtown Detroit. As we were moving downtown, we realized there was a need for a Detroit ambassador to help show our team members, and a growing list of businesses interested in moving to Detroit, how great the city is. I was asked if I would be interested in the role, and of course I said yes!
2. What is a typical day like for you, if there is such a thing?
There are no typical days. My day usually starts with a large cup of coffee and some morning time with my beautiful wife Jessica and family. I have two teenagers, Ruby and Rocco, as well as Coco, my toddler, and my wife is due with my 4th child any day now! Then I head to the office.
Once I make it in, it’s time to get into tour mode. Before I know it, I am hitting the streets of Downtown Detroit with people from all walks of life. I’ve had the pleasure of touring Warren Buffet, Madonna, community leaders from the Jewish Federation, members of the Chaldean Chamber of Commerce, many Detroit community and political leaders and business leaders from around the world! I usually will give two to four tours a day.
3. In a sentence or two, how would you describe Detroit to someone who is new to the city?
Detroit is one of the most iconic, historic and culturally diverse cities in the world. There are so many places and great things to do, and the people are what make it the best.
4. You have a great sense of style, often wearing Detroit-based clothing and accessories. Which Detroit brands are you digging right now?
When it comes to fashion, my go to spots in the city are John Varvatos, Detroit Is The New Black and StockX. I also love repping local entrepreneurs that have some of the coolest brands in town. I’m also a big fan of Shinola and I never leave the house without rocking my Shinola watch!
5. You frequently chat with Detroit business owners and personalities – is there a particular experience or tour that stands out?
Every tour is my favorite tour. I leave the office every day with a smile on my face, feeling like I made an impact in at least one person’s life! However, with that being said, there are a few experiences that have really stuck out to me. Most recently was a day I spent with Joique Bell, a former NFL player, and the Ypsilanti Grizzlies JV and Varsity football teams. My team and I arranged to bring the players to Ford Field to hear a motivational speech from Joique. The kids left with smiles on their faces and some of them were even saying that it was the best day of their lives.
Another tour that I hold dear to my heart is my tour with Aretha Franklin. The tour sparked a life-long friendship with Aretha that I will forever be grateful for. To this day, I am still in contact with her family. I also really enjoy the tours I give to our team members. Many of our team are hungry to learn more about what’s happening in the city. Touring with them inspires me because it feels great to be able to show the fruits of their labor!
6. Why is it important for you and your family to stay connected with the Jewish community?
It’s important for my family and I to stay connected to our Jewish community especially because of the cultural aspects. Between Temple Beth El and being a current member at Temple Israel, I value the customs that we have and especially love the sense of community we share with one another. The way the community comes together really helps to remind me of how beautiful Judaism is.
I want my children to grow up knowing what it means to be Jewish and I want them to know the significance of our culture. Also, did I mention that we have AMAZING food?
7. What can people expect from a Detroit tour with you, and how can we sign up?
People who tour Detroit with me and my team should expect to have their minds blown and know they will not be able explain in words what they saw. I invite everyone to come see what I’m talking about. You can sign up for a tour at www.detroitbruce.com.
Some have called me the man with the hat… But now, I’m known as Detroit Bruce. Since 2011, I’ve served as Rock Ventures’ Detroit Ambassador showcasing Downtown Detroit and sharing the story of the city’s resurgence. As an ambassador my goal is to support the Rock Family of Companies by keeping the great talent of our youth and young visionaries here in Detroit.
Outside of being an experiential curator of this great city, I am a husband, father and family man. All that I do is for my kids and the future that awaits them. It’s my dream to show them and generations to come what Detroit really is, a city full of perseverance, opportunity and grit. There is no place like Detroit. I’m blessed to call it home.
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