Detroit businesses hit hard by COVID pandemic determined to get people back in stores

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation helping Detroit stores attract residents

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on Detroit businesses, as many people stay home and shop online. But the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is determined to get people out of their houses and into shops.

DETROIT – The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on Detroit businesses, as many people stay home and shop online. But the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is determined to get people out of their houses and into shops.

“People are still trying to get things together, stabilize their businesses after COVID, and we just really feel like it’s really important to support them and uplift them and keep things close to home,” said Lashawna Manigualt, the director of Small Business Attraction & Retention.

Felle Kelsaw is a local artist and art gallery owner..

“We’ve been on the Avenue of Fashion between 7 and 8 Mile roads on Livernois for about 15 years, going on 16,” Kelsaw said.

He now serves as vice president of the Motor City Business Roundtable, which just received a grant from the DEGC.

“This year, we have a kind of all-out effort,” Kelsaw said. “We’ll be able to obtain a holiday corridor activation grant from our partners of investigatory and DTE, where we were able to give out $30,000 across the city -- at least one in every district have grants that allowed businesses to collaborate with one another for beautification efforts and support efforts to help them advertise and market their business.”

For this district they’re making shopping on Livernois an experience.

“We were blessed to be able to receive this grant through DEGC to allow us to, you know -- we’re doing decorations over here,” Kelsaw said. “We have the tree ceremony that we’re there. We’re, you know, setting up to kick off the holiday season for the avenue and every dollar helps.”

Kelsaw is getting the tree ready so that when people come for the tree lighting, they’ll get into the holiday spirit and be ready to shop.

“This is just a sign to say the light is on, the sales are on, you know: Go and shop and then all of the businesses here on the avenue are involved,” Kelsaw said.

He said getting people down to the area just once will help them learn what it has to offer, and he hopes once they learn, they’ll keep coming back

“Well, one of the reasons (is) they need to come on the avenue, but (also) because they need to find out what’s on the avenue,” he said. “There’s a lot of great deals going on over here. Everything is reasonably priced.”

The tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 27) right outside Mike’s Fresh Market. Click here for information about other events and popups happening around Detroit.


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You can watch Kim on the morning newscast weekdays from 4:30 to 7 a.m., and frequently doing reports on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.