Metro Detroit Nonprofit Works to Help Black-Owned Businesses on Black Friday

Click on Detroit
Kim DeGiulio
Nov. 26, 2021

DETROIT – A Metro Detroit nonprofit organization is providing Black Friday sales while giving even more business to Black-owned businesses on the Avenue of Fashion.

How does a $50 gift card to kick off your holiday shopping sound?

Members of Black Leaders Detroit were handing them out Friday outside of men’s clothing boutique Krispy Addicts on Livernois Avenue.

“If you come up, we’ve got some hot chocolate, we’ve got some apple cider,” said Dwan Dandridge, the CEO of Black Leaders Detroit. “We’ve got some cupcakes. We’ve got a $50 gift card for you.”

That $50 is good at five stores on the Avenue of Fashion — all Black-owned businesses: Charissa’s Closet, Closet Luxx, Teasers Boutique, Krispy Addicts and 313.

Originally, only 100 cards were supposed to be given out, but then DTE stepped in to buy 200 more.

“When they got wind of it, they jumped right on board, came over with more resources and allowed us to go from 100 gift cards to 300 gift cards,” Dandridge said.

It’s all to help boost sales at these businesses. That’s what Black Leaders Detroit is all about: providing support to Black entrepreneurs.

Black Leaders Detroit hopes to continue giveaways like this, even when it’s not Black Friday, but to do that, the organization needs donations. Even just donating $1 a week would make a huge difference.

View the original article.

Dec. 3 | This Week in Government: $3.3B Water Infrastructure Supplemental Clears Senate; Jobless Rates Decline In October, Still Above Pre-Pandemic Numbers

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, will provide members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more.

  1. $3.3B Water Infrastructure Supplemental Clears Senate
  2. Jobless Rates Decline In October, Still Above Pre-Pandemic Numbers
  3. Biz Groups Praise New Economic Incentive, Semiconductor Shortage Bills
  4. Whitmer Signs High-Speed Internet Collaboration Directive For State Depts.
  5. House Adds Funds For School Security To $368.5M Police Supplemental

$3.3B Water Infrastructure Supplemental Clears Senate

Billions in spending to provide what supporters called a historic effort to rebuild the state’s water infrastructure moved one step closer to assisting communities following unanimous passage by the Senate on Thursday.

SB 565– which passed 34-0 – includes $3.34 billion in supplemental funding focusing on water infrastructure including funding for lead line replacements, dam repairs and other water projects.

Total funding for lead line replacement amounts to $1 billion within the bill.

Federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act are included in the spending plan with a total of $680 million included for dams with $250 million to repair the dams in Midland County damaged during 2020 flooding.

Another $400 million would be provided to the Great Lakes Water Authority for sewer and water upgrades.

Within the bill a $15 million fund would be created to assist Detroit residents with sewer connections and to check valves. This would be in response to summer flooding in Detroit that caused significant damage.

Bill sponsor Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo) said prior to the vote the bill would “protect and enhance all our communities across the state” as well as a historic use of funding for infrastructure improvement.

Bumstead told reporters Thursday that Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, had done a great job in helping develop the proposal and get it to this point.

“What’s the most challenging? I think finding a way to make it fair across the whole state … making sure it’s divided equally,” Bumstead said, adding it was also huge to get unanimous support for such a large bill containing so much money.

Stamas told reporters the lead line replacement funding would be distributed through existing water programs.

When asked about how conversations have gone with the administration regarding the supplemental, Stamas said discussions with the administration will continue.

“This is the first chamber,” Stamas said. “We look forward to working with both the House and the governor’s office to get this across the line. We have to start somewhere, so we put, I think, an amazing step forward.”

Both senators said the funding for repairing, removing or replacing aging dams was a critical component of the bill.

“It goes a long ways,” Bumstead said. “This bill doesn’t address everything, but this is a good start.”

The Michigan Dam Safety Task Force in its final report containing a review of the state’s dam infrastructure found that about 80 percent of the state’s 2,600 dams are older than the peak 50-year design life span and many tend to exceed their spillway capacities for projected storm flows.

Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council, in a Twitter statement praised the Senate vote.

“Putting dollars to work improving our drinking, sewer and storm water infrastructure is a no-brainer. The passage of this bill shows Senators understand safe, clean water is of utmost importance to Michiganders,” Jameson said.

Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director with the Michigan League of Conservation voters, echoed those sentiments in a statement.

“Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure poses a direct threat to the health and safety of our communities, and the future of our state’s economy, so we must harness the real opportunity in these federal stimulus packages to reinvest and fund our water,” Occhipinti said.

PROMISE ZONES: Passing by a 32-2 vote was SB 99, which would amend the Promise Zone Authority Act to allow for on-campus higher education room and board expenses to be included on the list of qualified expenses under the act.

Bill sponsor Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) prior to the vote said the bill allows the option for Promise Zone boards to decide if some of the funding through the program can be directed to room and board costs.

ORGAN DONORS: Legislation that would allow for HIV positive patients to receive an HIV positive, donated organ, HB 4521, passed by a 34-0 vote.

Jobless Rates Decline In October, Still Above Pre-Pandemic Numbers

The October regional jobless rates declined in all 17 of Michigan’s major labor markets, with a median decrease of 0.7 percentage point.

However, regional employment levels remain below October 2019, with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting a median decline of 6.5 percent over the last two years, the report released Wednesday by the Department of Management, Technology and Budget showed.

Eleven regional employment levels increased, with a median advance of 0.8 percentage point, and five regions exhibited employment decreases over the month, with employment remaining unchanged in the Muskegon area.

“Jobless rates declined in all major Michigan labor markets in October, although labor force levels were generally down over the month,” Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “Payroll job levels advanced in most metro areas in October.”

Twelve regions had workforce levels decline over the month, with a median decrease of 0.7 percentage point. The largest cut was in the northwest lower Michigan region, which includes Charlevoix, Leelanau and Grand Traverse Counties, with the report attributing the change to the end of the tourism season.

October payroll jobs increased in 12 metro areas, with a median increase of 1.1 percent. Lansing metro area reported the largest job addition, up 2.2 percent, thanks to recalls from layoffs in the auto sector and a seasonal job advance in public education.

Eighty-two counties displayed jobless rate declines over the month. Livingston County reported the lowest unemployment rate at 2.8 percent. Mackinac county reported 3.2 percent and Oakland County reported 3.3 percent unemployment. Roscommon County had the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 7.9 percent. Montmorency County had a rate of 7.8 percent unemployment and Lake County had a rate of 7.3 percent unemployment. Ingham County was in the top 40 lowest rates, reporting 4.8 percent.

September numbers were revised for not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, increasing the rate by 1.7 percentage points to 5.5 percent. The median jobless rate was also revised, reflecting the upward median change of 1.2 percentage points.

In the release, the U.S. Department of Labor said it adjusted its statistical model to identify outliers on a monthly basis rather than annually because of the pandemic’s impact on employment and recent updates from the southeast region of the state required further intervention from the department.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics implemented a level shift due to an outlier identified in the Current Population Survey input to the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metro area unemployment model in January 2021,” agency officials stated. “This adjustment produced some distortions in the benchmarking factors used for Michigan, the Detroit metro area, and the Balance of Michigan. To reduce these distortions, BLS has modified this outlier intervention with the publication of September revised and October preliminary estimates.”

Revised estimates for January through August 2021 will be completed by March 2022 and comparisons between 2020 and 2021 will be analyzed once the revisions are released. September and October 2021 can be compared for all months of 2020 and prior years, the report said.

Biz Groups Praise New Economic Incentive, Semiconductor Shortage Bills

A series of bills seeking to assist the state in attracting and keeping jobs while also addressing the semiconductor shortage hitting the auto industry were introduced Thursday in both the House and Senate.

The bills come in the wake of the global semiconductor shortage that has limited the supply of microchips auto manufacturers need to finish vehicle production.

HB 5601, referred to the House Tax Policy Committee, would provide tax credits for research and development related to semiconductors, advanced automotive projects such as electric battery technology, and life sciences beginning January 1, 2022.

Tax Committee Chair Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall), sponsor of HB 5601, said in a statement that a domestic semiconductor industry in the United States is vital and this plan makes it clear that Michigan is going to lead on the issue. He called the state the birthplace of the automobile and said pointed to non-auto production successes in southwest Michigan.

“We’ve seen what the Pfizer facility has been able to do with vaccine production in Kalamazoo,” Hall said. “Michigan has shown its quality in this area, and this legislation allows us to be more competitive and use our workforce to produce products that are pivotal to our economy.”

Also introduced Thursday were HB 5602, HB 5603, HB 5604, SB 769, SB 770 and SB 771. The bills would create an economic development fund focused on strategic outreach and attraction, a strategic site readiness program and create a critical industry fund.

In a statement from Winning Michigan Jobs, a coalition consisting of Business Leaders of Michigan, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Michigan Works and several other organizations, its members said it would continue to focus on a comprehensive strategy to ensure the state’s competitiveness is consistent for the long term.

“We appreciate the Legislature and administration demonstrating momentum to create opportunities to win new jobs for our communities,” the coalition said. “It’s clear that alignment is forming around crucial areas of focus that will get Michigan back in the game: site development and additional state resources that can be utilized to attract and retain key industries.”

The coalition separately pointed to HB 5425, HB 5426 and SB 615, packaged as the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program, as an important component for the state to win and keep jobs. It included the Michigan Employment Opportunity Program in its four concentrated areas of strategy. Developing sites, serving customers and preparing the workforce completed the list.

“Top states know that strong economies, widely shared prosperity and job growth don’t happen overnight,” Jeff Donofrio, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, said in a statement. “For Michigan to compete and win, we need to make smart investments, be customer-focused, and have a long-term commitment to helping people, businesses and communities succeed.”

Whitmer Signs High-Speed Internet Collaboration Directive For State Depts.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed an executive directive for state departments and agencies to collaborate with the Legislature and ready the state to continue the proposed expansion of high-speed internet across the state.

Whitmer’s Executive Directive 2021-12 comes as the state prepares for an influx of billions in federal funding it is expected to receive over the next five years, specifically for high-speed internet, from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Right now, we have an historic opportunity to put Michiganders first and use the billions in funding we are expected to receive under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure every home and business in our state has access to an affordable, reliable high-speed connection that meets their needs and that they know how to use,” Whitmer said in a statement Monday. “With this executive directive, we are getting ready to deliver critical resources to communities across Michigan to help them enhance internet access and get their residents connected.”

A news release announcing the directive also stated that Michigan will continue to work on lowering the cost of internet service in an effort to help families, communities and small businesses get on and stay connected to affordable, reliable high-speed service.

The directive compels state departments to take certain actions relating to high-speed internet expansion, including:

  • Putting Michigan workers and businesses first, prioritizing in-state businesses and workers as the state continues building up high-speed internet infrastructure;
  • Helping local communities build more efficiently, using the “dig once” principle to complete work on water, high-speed internet, the road, and other utilities simultaneously wherever possible;
  • Prioritizing the improvement of high-speed internet infrastructure in communities with the slowest speeds first to ensure we are making equitable investments;
  • Collaborating with local service providers to develop an even more granular, comprehensive map of internet coverage in Michigan to strategically close the digital divide; and
  • Developing a digital equity plan to identify barriers to internet access, make long-term plans with counties and communities to improve access, and assess how enhanced access improves a range of other social, economic and health-related outcomes.

In addition to efforts by Whitmer’s administration to move Michigan toward a goal of 100 percent access to high-speed internet, the state has been awarded several federal grants to do so.

That includes $363 million through the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction — higher funding per capita than was secured in any other state, the release states — $32.6 million through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program, $5.3 million through the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Grant Program, and $25 million through the CARES Act to support distance learning and internet-capable device purchases for students in need.

“Investments in high-speed internet create economic prosperity and ensure families and small businesses can rely on their connections to work, learn, and access critical information and services,” Whitmer said. “The new infrastructure bill’s funding will build on work we have already done in this space and help us usher in a new era of prosperity for our state. I look forward to working with the legislature to invest these dollars and get the job done.”

Despite those efforts, at least one state representative expressed frustration following the announcement, especially considering Whitmer’s previous vetoes on high-speed internet expansion bills passed by the Legislature in March.

“The governor has talked about it a lot, but she actually hasn’t done much to expand high-speed internet to the rural and underserved Michigan communities that need it most,” said Rep. Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan). “In fact, she’s gone out of her way to slow down investments to improve service across our state. That is important context for this executive directive.”

Griffin added that Whitmer vetoed HB 4201 in April, making Monday’s announcement feel like it “rings hollow.”

“High-speed internet is a necessity that has greatly accelerated during the pandemic. Workers and businesses need it to do their jobs, kids need it to supplement classroom instruction, patients need it to consult with their doctors online – the list goes on and on,” Griffin said. “The Legislature has tried to address this connectivity crisis, but to this point, the governor has not done enough to cooperate.”

Lawmakers supporting the legislation have said the bill would lower costs for companies seeking to expand service to new areas by exempting broadband equipment, under certain conditions, from personal property taxes and only in areas with slow internet speeds.

“The Whitmer administration should be collaborating with the Legislature to expand internet service at all times – it shouldn’t take an executive directive to address it,” Griffin said. “But I am hopeful this signals the governor is truly serious about broadband expansion in all Michigan communities.”

House Adds Funds For School Security To $368.5M Police Supplemental

What started as a $250 million supplemental bill for public safety and law enforcement left the House floor totaling $368.5 million after the legislation nearly unanimously passed the chamber.

The House added new funding to the bill to pay for school resource officers in the wake of the shooting this week at Oxford High School that killed four and injured seven where a school resource officer in the building is getting credit with limiting casualties by quickly apprehending the shooter.

Passing with wide bipartisan support was HB 5522, sponsored by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Lindon), in a 97-3 vote. The three no votes were all Republicans: Rep. Steve Johnson of Wayland, Rep. John Reilly of Oakland Township and Rep. Steve Carra of Three Rivers.

Among the many items the bill funds: $57.5 million to a grant program aimed at encouraging officers to move to Michigan; $10 million for a fire gear initiative for fire departments predominantly staffed by part-time, volunteer or on-call firefighters; $40 million in public safety academy assistance programs; and $10 million would go toward new riot gear and body armor grants for local law enforcement agencies.

Prior to passage, the House adopted a series of amendments, one of which – offered by Rep. Gary Howell (R-North Branch) – raised the funding allocated for school resource officers from $10 million to $50 million.

“This week has brought the value of school resource officers into stark reality,” Howell said, whose son is a teacher at Oxford High School, where a school shooting earlier this week left four dead and seven injured. “They are the first line of defense in a school shooting. … I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to the school resource officer who protected John and his students.”

Additional amendments made technical changes, such as redefining population parameters for items such as a pilot program administered by a county sheriff’s department and board of commissioners for an electronic monitoring company to provide software and training for tethers.

Democratic lawmakers, too, attempted to offer their own amendments which would have seen additional funding go toward public safety initiatives and incentivizing police to live in the communities where they served however each was not adopted.

Only one Democratic amendment was added to the bill on Wednesday, offered by Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-Detroit).

HB 5522 is the second appropriations bill to move this week with the Senate also pushing through its $3.34 billion supplemental on Thursday, targeting water infrastructure including for lead line replacements, dam repairs and other water projects (see separate story).

Shortly after the vote, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike cheered the additional funding to law enforcement as much needed, though the former party was much more open regarding their distaste with additional funding not being allocated to further public safety efforts.

“While I’m glad to see this bill provides the funding our first responders need, we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to support all aspects of policing by reinvesting in the people who call this state home,” Rep. Regina Weiss (D-Oak Park) said in a statement. “My amendment would invest in proactive, innovative approaches to public safety by increasing funding for the jail diversion grant program and bias and de-escalation training, and creating an officer misconduct registry. It’s time to ensure our police officers have the accountability, resources and training they need to keep our communities safe.”

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS: Also passing the House Thursday in 95-5 votes each were HB 4798 and HB 4974, sponsored by Rep. Graham Filler (R-Dewitt) and Rep. Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods), respectively. The bills would require that victim and witness identifying information be redacted from certain court filings unless the court requires the information be released.

PROPERTY TAXES: A package of bills dealing with how owners of manufacturing personal property could apply for a tax exemption for their items also passed Thursday, with each piece of legislation in the five-bill package getting unanimous approval.

HB 5502, HB 5503, HB 5504, HB 5505 and HB 5506 would, collectively, remove the requirement that a manufacturing personal property exemption be filed yearly, instead allowing the exemption to be carried forward. It would also provide that a new industrial facilities exemption certificate could not be issued after December 30 for manufacturing personal property.

LAW ENFORCEMENT: HB 5132 and HB 5133– which modifies education requirements for applicants into law enforcement academies and outlines a renewal process for an inactive license – also unanimously passed the House Thursday in 99-0 votes.

Michigan’s Minimum Wage Set to Increase on January 1, 2022

Michigan’s minimum wage rate will increase to $9.87 on January 1, 2022, an increase from the current $9.65. Michigan’s Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 establishes the annual schedule and increases.

The Michigan Wage & Hour Division announced that while the law does prohibit scheduled increases when the state’s annual average unemployment rate for the preceding calendar year is above 8.5%, it is highly unlikely Michigan will exceed this threshold causing another delay as occurred in 2021.

The state’s 2021 annual unemployment rate, which is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Dept. of Labor, is calculated by using both average labor force and unemployment levels for January through December. The annual average unemployment rate for 2021 is expected to remain well below 8.5%.

Effective January 1, 2022:

  • Michigan’s minimum wage will increase to  $9.87 an hour.
  • The 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 increases to $8.39 an hour.
  • Tipped employees rates of pay increases to $3.75 an hour.
  • The training wage of $4.25 an hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

A copy of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act and related resources, including the required poster, may be obtained for free by visiting

Important Health Instructions for Attendees

The Detroit Regional Chamber has protocols in place in ensure the health and safety of Conference attendees.

Please do not attend the Conference if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days or if you are showing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting COVID-19 test results.

During and after the Conference, immediately isolate from others and contact the Detroit Regional Chamber at 313-550-7827 if you:

  • Are experiencing potential COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Suspect you have COVID-19;
  • or learn you have had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

COVID-19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with COVID-19 report mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or think you might have COVID-19 during or after the Conference, immediately stop attending Conference events and notify the Chamber via the instructions above. You should also consult your doctor for medical advice.

Emergency Warning Signs of COVID-19

If you experience any of the emergency warning signs of COVID-19 during or after the Conference, seek medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, nail beds, depending on skin tone

The Mackinac Island Medical Center is available for 24/7 emergency care. For emergencies, call 911.

COVID-19 Testing

The CDC recommends that anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Due to limited resources on the island, we recommend that if you experience COVID-19 symptoms or think you have COVID-19, you should leave the Conference and obtain a COVID-19 test near your home, in most cases.

The Mackinac Island Medical Center offers limited testing Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment only. Because the Center only offers four rapid tests per day, we ask that you only use this option if there is a serious need to avoid overwhelming the Center. To make an appointment, call 906-328-2158.

If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional. If you test negative, you may resume Conference activities as time allows. If you test positive, please follow the CDC’s guidance and isolate for 10 days and consult with your doctor for further disease management.

Contact Tracing

In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, the Chamber will collaborate with local and state health officials to notify them of any known case of COVID-19 among Conference attendees. To help protect other Conference attendees, the Chamber will also collaborate with local/state health officials to conduct contact tracing and advise those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, in alignment with privacy laws.

The CDC indicates that those who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, the CDC recommends that individuals who have had close contact (within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19 be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure, even without symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure.

Detroit’s ‘Hustling’ Spirit is Alive and Well on 6 Mile – Bridge Detroit

Bridge Detroit
Bryce Huffman
Nov. 23, 2021

William “Snook” Russell owns Snook’s Klassik Kutz on West McNichols. Snook wishes City officials did more to promote the businesses in the Hubbell-Puritan neighborhood. (Eric Thomas photo, The Neighborhoods)

When it comes to thriving business corridors in Detroit, downtown and Midtown too often get all the attention. Or, when highlighting Black-owned businesses, the Avenue of Fashion along Livernois gets the spotlight. However, there are active commercial centers throughout the city run by dedicated Detroit entrepreneurs.

BridgeDetroit and The Neighborhoods, which is a City of Detroit storytelling initiative, have teamed up to identify Detroit’s thriving neighborhood business corridors and highlight the entrepreneurs who power them. McNichols between Schaefer and Hubbell, near Sinai Grace Hospital in the Hubbell-Puritan and Harmony Village neighborhoods, is one of those bustling centers.   

McNichols Black Business District

The Boss Collection, a clothing store, boutique and hair salon at 14438 W. McNichols, is a destination for Detroiters on the hunt for a style change. Owner Tonisha Gasaway has run this store for almost two years, but has been doing hair since she was 15 years old.

“I really hadn’t thought about doing the clothing store-thing until people noticed these accessories I was wearing,” Gasaway said. “So that’s what pushed me to do more, because a one-stop shop is everything, and I wanted to meet that demand,” she said.

Shortly after opening, the COVID-19 pandemic changed Gasaway’s plans. Suddenly, she had to learn how to sell products outside of the store and began styling hair at people’s homes.

“During (the pandemic) I started to sell clothes off my porch, and I ended up making $20,000 during those months where the store was shut down,” she said.

One of the biggest difficulties Gasaway said she has faced is finding business support for her shop’s operations.

Not knowing what help exists is common for the businesses in this area, where some owners have said they have to be resourceful and rely on friends or family for help.

Charity Dean, president and CEO of the Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance (MDBBA), said one “huge barrier” for Black entrepreneurs in Detroit is not having easy access to capital.

“Getting money into the hands of small-business owners isn’t a new challenge, but one that is consistent and widespread across metro Detroit,” Dean said.

One way that MDBBA helps these businesses is to create programs that connect Black business owners to funding partners and to help those owners create business plans. Dean said these programs can help businesses in a lot of ways.

“If they need legal assistance, we have partners that are helping with (legal matters). If they need financial statements, we have partners that we’re paying for to help them get capital and documents ready,” she said.

Another barrier for these businesses, according to Dean, is that people with the resources to help business owners need to shop or visit neighborhood establishments. Showing up helps.

“You have to come around, otherwise your good intentions won’t go anywhere,” she said.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation launched Detroit Means Business (DMB) during the pandemic. DMB is also focused on developing Detroit’s neighborhood economy by connecting small businesses with resources and helping them navigate the City of Detroit’s procedures. The organization recently offered grants to drive foot traffic to small businesses for the holidays and lists funding opportunities for Detroit’s neighborhood businesses. 

However, for some small business owners, the information isn’t reaching them.

Bradford Cross, is a barber and co-owner at E&B Salon at 14139 W. McNichols. Cross said he knows there are people working for the city that are supposed to help small businesses, but they “never come around.”

“You’re the first person to ask me about what could help my businesses, and you’re not even the person who is actually supposed to help,” Cross said. “That’s why the business owners around here find ways to make it on their own.”

Cross, who opened the salon with his brother nearly three years ago, said the pandemic was challenging in some ways and beneficial in other ways.

“A salon is something that people always are going to need, especially in Detroit,” he said. “Young guys don’t want to walk around with a bummy haircut, and women definitely always want to look nice, so we were still making money.”

Cross takes pride in running a unisex salon because he can cater to every kind of Detroiter.

“The thing about a barbershop is that everyone, young and old, comes in here,” he said. “So (me and my brother) make sure it’s a family-friendly place where everybody in the neighborhood can come.”

Cross, with the help of his brother, also owns a home improvement business, party bus rental service and a home health care business. He says those businesses struggled during the pandemic.

“Some of the other businesses we run just weren’t as easy to do remote or with social (distancing), but we still made it through,” he said.

Despite the challenges, Cross said he takes pride in having “a lot of different hustles.”

“Detroit is a city of hustlers and people who grind all day,” he said. “But even then, it feels like no one notices all the work. Maybe they do and just don’t care.”

Tremon Gougisha is another Detroit business owner with multiple hustles and revenue streams. Gougisha owns the Infinite Clouds Hookah Shop  at 13715 W. McNichols and Model Life Fashion and Infinite Designs at 13703 W. McNichols.

Gougisha said he takes a lot of pride in being a business owner in Detroit.

“I’m from the city, and I want to give back,” Gougisha said. “So I try to keep everything in the city. I don’t want people to have to go out to the suburbs to shop or to find a job. There’s jobs right here.”

William “Snook” Russell owns Snook’s Klassik Kutz next door to Gougisha’s Model Life Fashion and Infinite Designs. Russell said he loves having his shop in an area with so many other Black business owners.

“I like it because it doesn’t feel like it’s just me and my shop, it feels like we’re all getting this money together,” Russell said.

Russell, who started cutting hair at people’s houses last year during the COVID-19 shutdowns, said he has had his shop on McNichols for about six years.

“This one spot has so many businesses that just need some promotion,” he said. “If people from (the city) came around more they would see it the way we see it.”

McNichols Black Business District Businesses

Beatrice Bar and Restaurant (14444 W. McNichols) A family-owned restaurant that specializes in home-cooked finger foods.

Bob Farr’s Florist (14149 W McNichols) A florist that has been around for 50 years, the business makes floral arrangements for occasions from funerals and weddings to parties and anniversaries. 

Boss Collection (14438 W. McNichols) A clothing and accessory boutique with a small salon inside. A one stop shop for fashionistas. 

E&B Salon (14139 W. McNichols) A family-owned and family-friendly barbershop and hair salon for people of all ages and walks of life. 

Families Barber Salon (14137 W. McNichols) A family-friendly salon for anyone looking for a new look.

Fred’s Barbershop (14331 W. McNichols) A barbershop fit to give Detroiters of any age a fresh haircut.

Infinite Clouds Hookah Shop (13715 W. McNichols Rd) A hookah lounge and smoke shop for anyone looking for a relaxing place to vibe out.

JQ Creative (14309 W. McNichols) A small gallery that does custom graphic designs.

Lash Lounge (14432 W. McNichols) A small nail salon that can get your nails looking good for any occasion. 

McNichols Electric (13729 W. McNichols) Store that sells microwaves, vacuums and other small home appliances. 

Model Life Fashion and Infinite Designs (13703 W. McNichols) Store that sells custom clothing designs and apparel. 

Modish Salon (14141 W. McNichols) Detroit beauty salon that does hair style, braiding and replacement. 

New Beginnings Childcare and Academy (14015 W. McNichols) Daycare and afterschool programming for children from 6 weeks old to 12 years old. 

Pro Tax (14311 W. McNichols) A resource to help people file taxes and get the most from their tax returns.

Rono’s Caribbean Family Dining (14001 W. McNichols) A family-owned restaurant and dining hall for anyone who wants traditional Caribbean food. 

Runaway Styles Salon (13814 W. McNichols) A barbershop, salon and spa for Detroiters who want to look and feel good. 

Safari African Hair Braiding (14305 W. McNichols) A hair salon that specializes in hair braiding. 

Snook’s Klassik Kutz (13705 W. McNichols) A barbershop for people who want a haircut with Detroit style.

So Unfair Wig Bar (14440 W. McNichols) A wig shop and salon for anyone looking to try a new hairstyle. 

Southern Smokehouse (14340 W. McNichols) A Southern-style restaurant that specializes in smoked soul food. 

Sweet Soul Bistro (13741 W. McNichols) A restaurant with nice soul food style dining right in the neighborhood. 

Teresa’s Place (14000 W. McNichols) A bar and grill for Detroiters who want to get food and drinks in the neighborhood.

Untouchable Empire Unisex Salon (13711 W. McNichols) A unisex salon for Detroiters of all ages and backgrounds who want to look good. 

Work and Wear Uniform Plus (14135 W. McNichols) A store that sells work uniforms for Detroiters. 

View the original article.

Legal publication names Gross among 2021 ‘Unsung Heroes’

Longtime Plunkett Cooney Controller Karin Gross was recently selected as a member of the Class of 2021 “Unsung Heroes” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly (MiLW), an industry publication serving the state’s legal community.

Gross, along with 26 other law firm employees, was selected for consistently going above and beyond the call of duty, often behind the scenes. This honor is reserved for the state’s most talented and dedicated legal support professionals from accounting to firm administrators to legal marketers to paralegals.

Profiles of the honorees will appear in a special digital section later this month. In addition, they will be featured on the publication’s website and in the Daily Alert, a subscriber-based email focusing on the latest legal news.

Gross, who is Plunkett Cooney’s unsung hero in accounting, has been with the firm for over 30 years. After graduating from Walsh College in December 1985, she began her career with the firm as an accounting clerk. She then took on the role of accounting supervisor before she left the firm in 1996 for an opportunity in the health care industry. She returned shortly after to become the firm’s controller, a position she has held since late 2000.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney is a leading provider of transactional and litigation services to clients in the private and public sectors. The firm employs approximately 150 attorneys in seven Michigan cities, Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. Plunkett Cooney has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms.

For more information about Karin Gross’ selection as a 2021 Unsung Hero, contact the firm’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008 or via email at


Detroit Breaks Ground on First Healthy Housing Center for Homeless

Click on Detroit
Ken Haddad
Nov. 30, 2021

DETROIT – The City of Detroit has broken ground on the second and final phase of the city’s first Healthy Housing Center (DHHC), that will offer shelter and other services to people experiencing homelessness.

Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were among those at the groundbreaking ceremony at the site, located at 3426 Mack Ave.

The 22,000-square-foot facility is the second and final phase of NSO’s Healthy Housing Campus, a comprehensive site with a holistic service delivery model that is part of a $22 million vision offering an innovative approach to end chronic homelessness in the city of Detroit.

The first of its kind in the state, the DHHC will deliver solutions not only for the homeless but for the entire Detroit community.

The DHHC will provide low-barrier emergency shelter to 56 adults, focusing on the medically at risk, and will offer transformative health and social services for its residents and neighbors.

It will offer services to help homeless individuals transition into permanent housing, a 17-bed medical respite for homeless individuals to receive continuing care post-hospitalization, a fully integrated health care clinic open to the public and other on-site wraparound services, including job readiness training.

The health care clinic will be accessible to the community for primary care, behavioral health, dental services, and a pharmacy.

The first phase of the DHHC – the Clay Apartments – opened in September 2020. It included 42 affordable housing units, which are fully occupied.

“The NSO has been a tremendous partner and its new facility will help more people get out of and stay out of homelessness,” Mayor Duggan said. “The Healthy Housing Center will provide health services to the most vulnerable in our city and, with the Clay Apartments next door, offer a full range of services to support these residents’ transition out of homelessness and into a better, more stable life.”

“Access to safe, stable housing plays a critical role in a person’s health over the course of a lifetime. Lack of housing and a permanent address is also often a barrier to the basic economic stability that could help individuals and families access other resources such as health care, healthy food options, transportation and more,” said Elizabeth Hertel, Director, MDHHS. “I am excited that Detroit’s first Healthy Housing Center will take a comprehensive approach consistent with MDHHS’ priorities to prevent recurrence of homelessness and ensure people have access to the wraparound services they need.”

View the original article here.


Eaze Launches On-Demand Cannabis Delivery in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, MI With Detroit Delivery Launching In Coming Weeks

Eaze Launches On-Demand Cannabis Delivery in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, MI With Detroit Delivery Launching In Coming Weeks

Eaze’s Low Prices, Fast Delivery, and Huge Product Selection Ushers In a New Era of Convenient Cannabis Delivery to Michigan’s Thriving Adult-Use Market

October 21, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Eaze, the nation’s largest cannabis delivery marketplace, today announced the launch of its adult-use delivery service in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The move brings Eaze’s delivery expertise, convenience, and selection to Michigan’s thriving recreational market for the first time. Eaze’s to-the-doorstep delivery will launch in Detroit in coming weeks.

“Shopping with Eaze means Michiganders get the best selection of cannabis products and deals, delivered quickly and safely to their doorstep,” said Eaze CEO Rogelio Choy, “Michigan is a national leader in cannabis normalization, so we’re excited to expand Eaze’s footprint and bring our extended hours, fast delivery, and great prices to customers statewide.”

Eaze’s Ann Arbor delivery launches in partnership with leading Michigan licensees D & K Ventures, owners of Detroit Edibles and Cannalicious Labs brands, and in Grand Rapids with partner Fluresh, a modern cannabis company dedicated to designing premium cannabis products for the diversity of life. With Eaze delivery, customers have access to a huge menu of beloved Michigan-made products alongside trusted multi-state brands already on Eaze’s California menu and made with care in Michigan.

All new Eaze customers will get $30 off their first two orders when using this link to register: All Eaze customers in Michigan will get 15% off orders $75+; 20% off orders $125+; and 25% off orders $200+.

Michigan customers aged 21+ can shop a large and diverse range of brands and products via and the Eaze App, the first-of-its-kind for iPhone users. Eaze customers will have access to beloved local brands including Apothecare, Cannalicious Labs, Church Cannabis Company, Clout King, Common Citizen, Detroit Edibles, Exclusive, Fluresh, Gud Nuff, Hazy Farms, High Life Farms, Kaneh Company, LivWell, Mitten Extracts, MKX Oil Co, Pleasantrees, Select Oil, RedBud Roots, Terpene Tank, and Viola. These products will be available alongside popular brands already on Eaze’s California menu, including Kiva Confections, Dixie Brands, and Mary’s Medicinals. Availability may vary depending on delivery address.

“The emergence of technology in our industry has continued to evolve and adding a platform like Eaze for the Adult Consumer in the state of Michigan will continue to accelerate an already growing industry by bringing our products to Adults in their home. We are honored to partner with a brand like Eaze to share our delicious Detroit Edibles and our amazing concentrates from Cannalicious Labs that will be distributed from People’s Choice, our Retail location in Ann Arbor,” said Tim Schuler, President and COO of D & K Ventures LLC, owners of Detroit Edibles, Cannalicious Labs, and People’s Choice Ann Arbor.

“At Fluresh, we are leading the way for cannabis innovation and elevating the industry by redesigning the cannabis experience to be more approachable and customizable for not only new consumers, but experienced consumers as well,” says Tom Benson, CEO, Fluresh. “Eaze, through its leading software platform and marketplace, strives to also enhance this consumer experience and we are excited to partner with them. Even more, we are proudly aligned with Eaze’s commitment to develop diverse leaders for the future of the cannabis industry; Eaze’s Momentum Incubator is the best-in-industry model for programs such as Fluresh’s Accelerator and we look forward to working with Eaze to promote a more diverse and equitable industry.”

“BellRock is proud to build upon its partnership with Eaze and help replicate the proven success of marrying best-in-class delivery services and brands,” said Andrew Schweibold, Executive Chairman of BellRock Brands, parent company of Mary’s Medicinals and Dixie Brands. “Since entering Michigan’s Medical market in October 2018, our portfolio has expanded to include edibles, tinctures and topicals. Today, on Eaze’s platform, Michiganders now have broader access to our diverse set of brands and products.”

Eaze anticipates creating at least 250 jobs in Michigan, and is actively hiring drivers in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Detroit to meet consumer demand. Michiganders should click here to learn more about the perks of driving with Eaze, including competitive hourly pay, mileage reimbursements, and healthcare benefits + paid time off for full time drivers.

Eaze is a recognized industry leader in social justice programs to address the War on Drugs, including the award-winning Momentum business accelerator for underrepresented founders; its Social Equity Menu, which to-date has sold over $6.5 million in brands owned by social equity licensees; and the EazeCompassion program to provide free cannabis to low-income patients. Tre Hobbs, founder of Detroit’s Neighborhood Essentials brand, is a member of Momentum’s class of 2021. In July, Primitiv co-founders and retired NFL Stars Calvin Johnson Jr. and Rob Sims joined Eaze and national edibles brands Kiva and Mary’s Medicinals to donate $25,000 to Detroit Homegrown Fund.

About Eaze

Eaze delivers good with the goods. As the nation’s largest cannabis delivery marketplace, we bring enjoyment and convenience to our customers, break down barriers to access, and cultivate community in everything we do. With nearly eight million cannabis deliveries to date, we are committed to creating a more diverse and sustainable industry through our Momentum business accelerator and Social Equity Partners Program.

Get a Global and Local View into the Trends, Developments, and Opportunities in the Cannabis Industry on Dec. 15

Gain valuable insight into the current and future landscape of the cannabis industry at the first Cannabis Live Global Summit on Wednesday, Dec. 15. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn, network, and virtually connect with over 17,000 attendees, 30 panel hosts, and 50 panelists from more than 77 countries, all with various backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, government officials, and health professionals care workers, academics, and consumers

The summit will feature one-on-one video networking, virtual booths, main stage segments, and breakout segments. It will also be conducted in several languages.

The schedule will be separated into core regions, allowing participants to choose which countries’ cannabis industry to learn about, including their trends, developments, and opportunities. 

The summit will start with a global welcome at 7 a.m. EST. North and South Asia will be the first region discussed at 8 a.m.; the Middle East, 9 a.m.; Europe, 10 a.m.; Africa, noon; Northern North America (Canada), 1 p.m.; Eastern North America, including Michigan, 2 p.m.; Latin America, 4 p.m.; the Caribbean, 5 p.m.; Central and Mountain North America, 6 p.m.; Pacific North America, 8 p.m.; Oceania; 9 p.m.; Eastern Asia, 10 p.m. 
Find out which region each state or country falls into here.

Tickets to attend Cannabis Live Global Summit are available on prices are currently on sale, starting at $97. Learn more about the ticket options here. To access the free introduction only, secure a ticket here.


Explore the Intersection of the Beauty and Struggle of Being Black at Detroit Art Exhibit Until Jan. 8

Explore the multilayered narratives of Blackness at the art exhibition, Multifaceted: A Retrospective of Work by Jason Philips. Curated by Chelsea Flowers, the exhibit showcases the work of Philips, a Black Detroiter who creates paintings, mixed media, murals, and tattoo art to show the intersection of beauty and struggle when it comes to being Black.  

“As we’ve heard time and time again, ‘Blackness isn’t a monolith.’ And when we get to tell our own stories, we get to show the multifaceted nature of Blackness,” Flowers said. “While we as Black people may have similar experiences of home, community, and the manners in which we navigate the world, we are still complex, multifaceted individuals.” 

According to the event page, the exhibit will feature Philips’ multidisciplinary fine art, illustration tattoo work, and social entrepreneurial endeavors. 

The exhibit is open until Jan. 8, 2022, and is located in The Carr Center Gallery in Detroit’s Midtown Cultural District (15 E. Kirby St.). The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. Part of the exhibit can also be enjoyed online via The Carr Virtual Center Gallery 

Proof of vaccination and masks are required to enter the gallery, and social distancing and registration for timed tickets will be monitored. Learn more and get free tickets for the exhibition here.