Grant program invests in Detroit neighborhoods

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — Development projects in two neighborhood districts, a bridal boutique co-owned by a reality television star, and trade school specializing in fashion and film, were among the recipients of $500,000 in grants in the second round of Detroit’s Motor City Match program.

Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday joined officials in detailing progress in building up businesses in city neighborhoods and presented its 10 latest winners during a news conference at the former St. Columba Church.

“We matched new businesses with neighborhood locations to try to bring back this city,” Duggan told a crowd in the sanctuary of the building on Manistique. “We are providing opportunity for people who thought ‘I’d never have a chance.’ And we’re starting to see them succeed.”

The effort, launched in early 2015 by Duggan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., provides seed money to help entrepreneurs start or grow businesses in Detroit neighborhoods. Awards for the neighborhood small-business projects ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 to help with equipment or build-out needs.

Two projects funded in this round are expected to provide a major boost in key neighborhood districts.

I’m Here LLC will get $100,000 toward redeveloping the historic Hunter’s Supper Club in the Livernois Avenue of Fashion and Resurget Cineribus LLC is leading a mixed-use development on Kercheval in the city’s West Village district.

Other winners include Beautiful Bridal LLC, a bridal boutique — the city’s first — opening on East Jefferson Avenue in a converted 20th-century mansion co-owned by Vallery Hyduk and reality TV star Keasha Rigsby of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” and TV One’s “Keasha’s Perfect Dress.”

Rigsby said her company was granted $50,000 that will be used, in part, toward buying more gowns.

“We want to be able to have brides come to us. They don’t have to go to the suburbs,” Rigsby said. “We are in Detroit and this is where it’s at.”

Other winners include:

■Astute Artistry, a licensed trade school for fashion, film and makeup opening in southwest Detroit

■Pharmacy 4 Less, an independent retail pharmacy that’s expanding on Gratiot.

■Ali-Wali Child Care Center, an Islamic center that models Montessori education in the Banglatown neighborhood

■Woodbridge Bikes and Coffee, a lifestyle retail boutique

■R & L Color Graphics, a printing and publishing company specializing in obituaries and photo biographies

■Detroit Sip, a Detroit-produced coffee and pastry establishment

The quarterly competitive grant program works to connect building owners with prospective small-business tenants to get them off the ground. The program’s building-owner track is for Detroit property owners with a vacant space who are looking for new tenants. The business-owner track is for small companies looking to start or expand in Detroit.