When Grand River is torn up, there is no doubt plenty of anger, cursing, and all sorts of aggravation from drivers. However, the people really inconvenienced are those whose business are blocked by the construction.
Councilman James E. Tate Jr., who represents District 1, has a plan to help his constituents keep their businesses turning a profit as the road is torn up around them – the Discover D1 Cash Flash.
On Wednesday, June 26 from 6:00-8:00 p.m., a mini festival will take place outside five businesses between Evergreen and Outer Drive. The idea is to bring business to Detroit Vegan Soul, The Garden Bug, Norwest Gallery of Art, Universal Liquor & Wine Inc. and Pages Bookshop – the businesses that will be right behind the construction.
The Garden Bug is located at 18901 Grand River Ave. Detroit Vegan Soul is at 19614 Grand River Ave. You can find Norwest Gallery of Art at 19556 Grand River Ave.; Universal Liquor at 19526 Grand River Ave., and Pages Bookshop at 19560 Grand River Ave.
The original plan was to have the event during the construction, but it was kicked down the road to mid-July. So now the plan is to create a type of “muscle memory” as Tate puts it and get people to remember the stores when the work begins.
“It’s one thing to support the community through what we do,” says Tate, “but it is also important to help them economically.”
The idea is to pull people in with face painting, food trucks (away from the restaurants), raffle giveaways, live entertainment and games, and hook them on local businesses.
While this is the first time Discover D1 Cash Flash was held to help with a potential problem, it has been a proven method to bolster the sales for businesses in the community.
The first Cash Flash was held a couple of years ago at a Brightmoor institution, Scotty Simpson’s. Since then the program has given a shot in the arm to local businesses. In one case, a shop said they had made $8 in sales the week before and $1,000 on the day of the event.
While that is obviously an extreme an example, Tate’s office has found records that show there is usually at least a 30 percent increase in sales.
The help is appreciated partially because the area finds itself in a complicated situation. It doesn’t have the glamour of downtown nor is it one of the hip gentrified neighborhoods. It also isn’t one of the really problematic areas, where any good news grabs attention. It is an eclectic community that faces different challenges.
Compound that with the toll the internet has taken on many small businesses and a little T.L.C. is not only appreciated, but can do wonders.
Susan Murphy, owner of Pages bookshop, is not too concerned about the construction’s effect on her business. However, despite her confidence in her customers, she is still glad for the attention. She will have the author of Poisoned City, Anna Clark, who will discuss the book and its subject, the Flint Water Crisis, at the Cash Flash event.
The support will not end here. As the construction works its way along Grand River beyond those businesses, Tate plans to be there and lend a hand to any local businesses that may take a hit with other Discover D1 Cash Flash events.
Construction is a pretty annoying summer tradition in Michigan, but now the businesses impacted by the Grand River work have a fighting chance to keep sales humming.
Discover D1 Fast Cash is a partnership between Councilman Tate’s office and the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
This small business feature is sponsored by Bank of America. To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources visit: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/business-financing.go.
Top picture shows customers in Pages Bookstore.