Motor City Re-Store grants help 44 businesses in 30 neighborhoods spruce up their facades

Motor City Re-Store grants help 44 businesses in 30 neighborhoods spruce up their facades

Thirty Detroit neighborhoods are going to see spiffed-up businesses thanks to the Motor City Re-Store business façade improvement program.

Forty-four long-time Detroit business owners have been approved for grants totaling $330,000 that will help them update the exterior appearance of their storefronts. Another $519,000 in potential grant funding was also earmarked for Round One design grant winners that will eventually move to the construction phase of their projects.

The updates will help the business remain competitive with new businesses opening in Detroit’s neighborhoods with the help of Motor City Match and other programs. The 44 businesses are the first-ever Motor City Re-Store winners. The Motor City Re-Store program was announced by Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation last summer.

Besides improving the curb appeal of these long-time businesses, Motor City Re-Store will help improve the appearance of neighborhood commercial corridors. It will work in tandem with Mayor Duggan’s recently announced streetscape improvement bond program to beautify Detroit’s communities.

Of the 44 Round One recipients 70 percent are minority-owned and 43 percent are women-owned businesses, according to Duggan.

“There have been a lot of programs designed to help new businesses open in Detroit, and that’s a good thing,” he says. “We designed Motor City Re-Store specifically to help businesses that have stayed in the city, some for generations, so they can participate in our city’s revitalization.”

“We are excited to be able to remove old signage and make other improvements that will show off Royalty and the surrounding area on East Warren as a great community,” says Howard Brown.

The Round One announcements were made at Royalty Dance Studio, 16424 E. Warren in the Morningside neighborhood. Royalty, owned by Howard Brown, is one of the 13 construction grant award winners in Round One.

“Royalty is a real community resource for the neighborhood,” says Brown. “We are excited to be able to remove old signage and make other improvements that will show off Royalty and the surrounding area on East Warren as a great community.”

Thirteen of the awardees have improvement projects ready for construction, and another 31 will receive design assistance to prepare for a later construction matching grant award.

The $125 million bond program will help to improve 23 commercial corridors through street, sidewalk and landscaping enhancements. New businesses, façade improvements and infrastructure renovation will work to keep shopping dollars in Detroit, and retain the estimated $2.6 billion in retail spending that leaves the city for surrounding communities.

The Winners

Here are the winners listed by company, neighborhood and grand amount.

Motor City Re-Store Round 1 Construction Award Winners

Moran Street Bicycles in Poletown East received a $10,000 grant.

Motor City Re-Store Round 1 Design Award Winners

How Motor City Re-Store Works 

Motor City Re-Store will provide approximately $2 million annually in matching grants to existing business owners and their landlords, for façade and other exterior improvements. Round One winners represent a wide range of business categories, including retailers, restaurants, event space and others. More than 30 neighborhoods across the city – from Brightmoor to Springwells; Corktown to North Rosedale Park – are represented in the Round One pool.

There are winners in two key categories:

  • Construction Track winners – Businesses that do not need design help can proceed with their façade and/or landscaping and other exterior improvements
  • Design Track winners – These businesses will receive financial and technical assistance in getting a design for the exterior improvements planned. Once they complete their designs, the businesses are eligible to apply for a predetermined matching grant to allow them to proceed to construction. These construction grants will be awarded individually as each business becomes ready to move to the next phase of their project.

Grant winners in the Construction Track are awarded matching funds of up to $25,000. The 13 construction grants awarded in Round One total approximately $140,000. Design Track winners are eligible for grants of up to $10,000. Those 31 design grants awarded totaled approximately $190,000. Design grant recipients are immediately eligible to apply for matching construction funds totaling approximately $519,000, if they successfully complete the design phase.

Julian Hill, owner of Celebrity Carwash in the LaSalle Gardens neighborhood, says storm damage to his exterior signage adversely impacted his business. With the grant from Motor City Re-Store, Hill estimates he may be able to add up to five jobs if the new sign attracts new customers.

Julian Hill, owner of Celebrity Carwash in LaSalle Gardens, says he may be able to add five jobs if his new sign attracts more business.

“I’m excited about the revitalization of Detroit and small businesses are a big part of it,” he says. “Even being a part of it in a small way is exciting.”

Motor City Re-Store is managed by the small business team at the DEGC and is open to entrepreneurs who are currently open and operating a commercial storefront in the city of Detroit, and their landlords. It is supported by a combination of Community Development Block Grant funds and other funders.

The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) has stewardship of the public funds and has approved funding to develop the program. It approved the Round 1 winners during its meeting earlier today.

Small shops are the mainstay of our neighborhoods. Open the door and look inside and you will discover dreamers and doers who embody the spirit and energy of Detroit’s entrepreneurial class. We invite you to meet them inside our Small Shops series, sponsored by Bank of America.

Motor City Re-Store will take applications for Round 3 from Nov. 28, 2017 through Jan. 8, 2018. Business owners and landlords must apply jointly for 50 percent matching grants up to $2. 5,000. Multiple businesses applying as a group are eligible for 75 percent matching grants. Applications can be made at

— Top picture is of Rodrigo Padilla owner of Taqueria El Nacimiento restaurant, which is  a Motor City Re-Store Round 1 Design Award Winner.

This Small Shops is sponsored by Bank of America. 

To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources for small business owners visit:





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