The last time a Black-owned grocery store in Detroit was in business was nearly 10 years ago. That’s about to change — one is set to open this summer on the city’s east side, according to CBS News Detroit.
“This neighborhood is classed as a desert because there’s no immediate grocery store in it,” said Raphael Wright, owner of the soon-to-open Neighborhood Grocery. “I’m on this mission of rebuilding the neighborhoods that I grew up in and that starts with food.”
Wright envisions that Neighborhood Grocery as a full-service grocery store that will be located on the corner of Manistique and Essex in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.
“We don’t see the representation because the representation is not in ownership,” Wright said. “You don’t have people that live in it, getting the community that understands the community, owning and operating these stores.”
People can become investors in the new business, according to the store’s website. With just $50, Michigan residents can help fund the new venture and share in “company profits, receive product discounts, and voting power on some operational matters.”
The business got a great jump in development when Wright was awarded an $85,000 grant from Motor City Match.
“This is a crowd-funded venture,” Wright said. “Neighbors, residents, Michiganders, people outside of the state have either donated or invested money into this project. I was able to raise most of the funds pretty much on the street. The $85,000 that I received pretty much closed the financial requirements that I had.”
The good news of receiving the grant at the beginning of Black History Month is a great boost.
“The news couldn’t have came out in a much better setting or format than Black History Month so, but for me black history is everyday but because it’s our month to celebrate it for all of this news to come out at that time is again, it’s cool,” Wright said.