Detroit Regional Chamber > Racial Justice & Economic Equity > Food Co-op, Indoor Playground, Cafe Among Winners of $1.2M from Motor City Match

Food Co-op, Indoor Playground, Cafe Among Winners of $1.2M from Motor City Match

July 28, 2023

Crain’s Detroit Business
Jay Davis
July 27, 2023

The proprietors of a food co-op, a program focused on teaching skilled trades, an upholsterer and a neighborhood cafe are among the winners in the latest round of Motor City Match cash grant awards.

Round 23 award winners include 19 new and eight existing businesses. Each of the 27 businesses earned a share of $1.2 million. The awards will go toward establishing new brick-and-mortar storefronts and making improvements at existing businesses.

The new businesses will split $1.05 million and set up across 16 Detroit neighborhoods. The eight established businesses will share $155,000, with those awards coming from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The Detroit People’s Food Co-op earned the top prize of $100,000. The co-op’s Detroit Food Commons project, to be located at 8324 Woodward Ave. in the city’s North End, is a Black-operated community grocery store.

The co-op has a member-owner group of more than 1,900 people from all over the state, according to board President Lanay Gilbert.

“Those people are definitely part of something bigger than they know,” Gilbert said. “In this predominantly Black city, we often have to explain to our children why there are no Black-owned grocery stores. We’d be the second in the city. This is unapologetically Black-led. It’s 12 years in the making. Everybody who’s involved is so excited. I look forward to seeing what the young people do over the coming generations with this democratically-owned store.”

Morningside Cafe owner Jeff Lewis earned a $50,000 cash grant for his restaurant at 16369 E. Warren Ave. Lewis said getting to this point in his entrepreneurial career has been a journey.