DETROIT – Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion is located on Livernois Avenue between 6 and 8 Mile Road. It’s a place people go for luxury shopping and local organizations want to highlight the businesses on the Avenue this holiday season.
As the holiday shopping season kicks off, on Black Friday, organizations like Motor City Business Roundtable, No Barriers to Success and Black Leaders Detroit came together to draw more shoppers in creative ways.
Friday, there were carriage rides, live musical performances, pictures with Santa, Christmas tree lighting and a tribute to community leader Tyrone Winfrey Sr. who recently passed away as part of the Livernois Holiday Festival.
“This is the largest concentration of Black entrepreneurs that we have in the city,” says Dwan Dandridge, CEO of Black Leaders of Detroit.
Dandridge wants more people to consider doing their holiday shopping at the Black-owned businesses that fill the Avenue of Fashion.
“They don’t have the marketing budget,” says Dandrige. “So we’re hearing about some of the bigger box stores that are having Black Friday sales. They (small businesses) can’t compete with that marketing wise so we figured this would be a way to assist with some of that.”
Black Leaders Detroit gave hundreds of shoppers $50 and $10 gift certificates to create a bigger push to come out for the big shopping weekend.
“It’s like free money a little bit,” says shopper Tamara Wilson. “It’s designated stores you have to use it at and it kind of gives different stores different exposure because I’ve never heard of these stores before.”
She’s talking about shops like Three Thirteen.
Creative director for the store, Brian Bradley says, “We have local Detroit designers so a lot of these things people are not seeing they’re not at your local malls they’re not at the stores that you’re seeing or you’re going to.”
So while the attractions and giveaways brought people out, the hope is that the businesses are what keep those same shoppers coming back.
“I think it’s just time that we support Black businesses and put money back into our communities instead of going to give the big corporations our dollars we can put our dollars into the community,” says shopper Angel McCray.
Another shopper, Jason Ike says, “The mall is just kind of a soulless corporation. Here, (on the Avenue of Fashion) there’s soul, there’s community, 313 you know what I mean.”
Black Leaders Detroit’s free gift certificates were only available on Black Friday.