Detroit businesses get funds to improve curb appeal
For six years Ray Chambliss and Marlin Franklin have operated their screen-printing business, Infinite Dzigns, in a plain cinder-block building on Grand River Avenue.
The business partners will soon be able to improve their curb appeal and create a rain garden thanks to a $15,000 grant through the Motor City Re-Store program.
“We’re putting in a showroom window,” said Franklin following an announcement ceremony on Thursday. “Going into the retail business, we need a showroom. So we’re putting a window in and really decorating the outside to make Grand River look more attractive. The city is doing a lot of planning in terms of building up the landscape on Grand River in Rosedale Park. We want to fit in with everybody else.”
Infinite Dzigns is among 25 Detroit businesses across 20 neighborhoods to receive Motor City Re-Store grants Thursday from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and city officials. Grant winners gathered at Taqueria El Nacimiento, a southwest Detroit restaurant which is a previous grant recipient.
The grants total nearly $300,000 to support construction and design of exterior improvements.
This is the second round of funding through Motor City Re-Store, first announced by Mayor Mike Duggan and the DEGC last year as a way to help existing businesses in the city increase their customer foot traffic. It gives the businesses an opportunity to stay competitive with new businesses opening up with the help of programs such as Motor City Match, officials said.
“With its sibling program Motor City Match, Motor City Re-Store is rebuilding neighborhood commerce,” said Michael Rafferty, vice president of small business services for the DEGC. “Demand exists. We know that because $2.6 billion in retail spending is leaving the city annually for the suburbs.”
Rafferty said that these programs will help to meet that demand over time.
For Rodrigo Padilla, the owner of Taqueria El Nacimiento, the $10,000 design grant he received last year allowed him to work with an architect to plan improvements to the building’s facade. His son Joel Padilla said they plan to paint a mural on the side of the building and expand with an upstairs terrace.
“That’s pretty much a dream that we’ve had,” Joel Padilla said. “...It’s been a long, difficult journey, but we’ve been here 17 years. We’re doing good and going strong.”
Motor City Re-Store winners
Construction grants: Green Dot Stables, $14,700; Infinite Dzigns, $15,000; Rebound Design and Build, $25,000; Richard Bennett & Associates, $25,000; Robinson Furniture, $15,000; Team LBR, $25,000; The Final Kut, $20,000; Tranformation Barbershop, $25,000.
Design grants: Annointed Construction, $7,200; Atlas Plumbing Supply Co., $10,000; Belle Isle Pizza, $10,000; Crash Auto Parts, $7,200; Crystal Clear Images, $6,000; Dolex Dollar Express, $8,000; Grootka Inc. DBA PJ’s Lager House, $10,000; Headliners Barber Shop, $6,000; Jefferson Chevrolet DBA Trader Ray Tire Center, $6,000; JGP Investments, $7,200; MG Income Tax & Multiservices, $10,000; Morales Enterprises, $6,000; People’s Restaurant Equipment Co., $7,200; Rivers Realty./Rivers Investment, $10,000; The Neighborhood Schoolhouse, $6,000; The Studio, $4,200; Timeout Sports Bar, $8,000.