Local businesses get "face lift"

Four local businesses along West Davison Avenue have had impressive “face lifts” to the exterior of their businesses with a little help from Focus: HOPE and the City of Detroit. The improvements are part of a strategy to attract economic activity to the HOPE Village Initiative target area, as part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort being implemented by Focus: HOPE.

Improvements were made by locally owned Cadillac Pro Hardware, Atlas Market, and Yummy Wong’s restaurant; improvements were also made to previously abandoned building that formerly housed a Subway franchise and will be the site of a future restaurant. A total of $150,000 in matching funds for business owners was made available as part of a City of Detroit façade improvement program funded by the federal community development block grant program administered by the Planning and Development Department.

The project is part of an ambitious vision to revitalize the 100 block area around Focus: HOPE working in collaboration with local residents, businesses and nonprofit stakeholders. The goal of the HOPE Village Initiative is that by the year 2031, 100% of those living in the target area will be educationally well-prepared, economically self-sufficient, and living in a safe and supportive environment. Facade improvements help to create momentum and develop a sense of “place,” allowing existing business owners to attract more customers and raising the profile of the commercial corridor for potential new businesses, said Debbie Fisher, HOPE Village Initiative Director.

“These first four façade improvements are the starting point for building the character and perception of the Davison Avenue corridor, and encouraging those who pass through the corridor every day on the way to one of the major freeways to stop and take advantage of some unique shopping opportunities,” she said. “As the project expands, it has the potential to change the perception of an entire neighborhood.”

 

The specific façade improvements were for businesses on Davison located between the Lodge Freeway and Dexter. They included:

• Cadillac Pro Hardware -- The façade improvements included masonry work, new architectural lighting, awnings and signage to make the Davison Avenue business frontage more visible and inviting to customers.

• Atlas Grocery Store –the façade improvements included new lighting to make the business safer.

• Former Subway location – This structure has been a significant eyesore for the past few years. With the help of the façade program, a new brick façade was added along with new paint and windows. A new market and restaurant concept is planned to open in this building in the next couple of months.

• Yummy Wong’s – the façade improvements included new awnings, architectural lighting and building updates to make this new restaurant more attractive to customers.

Sal Yono, owner of Cadillac Pro Hardware, said that the lighting and other improvements made to his business have likely increased sales while helping him to develop more loyal customers.

“You don’t see enough Detroit businesses investing the time and money into their businesses in this way so I just am happy that I can show my thanks to customers for shopping here because I know they have other choices,” Yono said. “Many have said to me they appreciate that there is more lighting and that it looks more like a store they may see in the suburbs than within the city.”

“Our customers see that we are (committed) to staying in this area and that helps us,” Raymond Wong said. “They see we want to make it work and aren’t looking to move out right away.”

Additional façade program funding is available for two future building improvements, Fisher said. Work is underway to identify other Davison corridor businesses who are interested in taking their facades and their businesses to the next level. Focus: HOPE is also seeking funding to build on these improvements with a larger placemaking initiative which will include attractive and evocative public art installations rooted in the community’s history and identity, and which will improve the streetscapes along Davison and Linwood Avenues, and Oakman Boulevard, connecting open spaces and street infrastructure in a way which encourages both pedestrian activity and civic engagement.

Private or corporate donations will also be accepted for similar placemaking improvements in the Focus: HOPE neighborhood. Contact 313.494.5500