Motor City Re-store grants gives small Detroit businesses a hand

- More than 40 small businesses will be awarded grants as part of a program to support small businesses in Detroit.

44 small Detroit business owners were awarded a helping hand from the Motor City Re-store grants on Tuesday, which are given to longtime Detroiters in 30 neighborhoods.

Totaling roughly $330,000, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is matching grants to improve the exterior of each small business through construction and design.

"They have been here for the good times and bad and they deserve to be a part of where the city is going because they're part of the fabric of who we are as a city," said city spokesperson Alexis Wiley.

Many of these businesses have been in the city for generations but are unable to afford the improvements, Michael Rafferty with Detroit Economic Growth Corporation explains.

"They've been around day in and day out, sweating, toiling, working in the business itself," Rafferty said.

Motor City Re-store is handing out roughly $2 million each year. One of the winners this year is Howard Brown, owner of Royalty Dance Studio. He got a $7,500 grant and says his dance club and banquet hall - and helping young Detroiters - is his passion.

"We really wanna have a safe place for kids to come and have a good time. We're part of the Detroit green light project, which has really been a big part of our existence," Brown said.

He says his building on East Warren used to be an office supply store. It was rundown and falling apart before he bought it. A year later, he breathed new life into the building. 

"I was so scared when I started this business venture because I didn't know if it was gonna work," he said.

The city hopes bring back the roughly $2 million Detroiters spend outside of the city each year. Motor City Restore plans to give even more businesses a boost in round 2.

"If it's a passion, step out on faith and go for it and watch you prosper," Brown said.

Round 2 winners have already been pre qualified but small businesses can still apply for round 3 which is due in January.

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