National Arab American Heritage Month was first proclaimed by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and has since been recognized by the Department of State in April 2021.
Arab American business owners have made significant contributions to their communities, particularly in Southeast Michigan, where a large Arab community has established itself since the early 1950s.
Growing up, my family owned a produce market in Dearborn, Pesick Brothers. It was formally owned by Barnard and Julies Pesick, who had run the store from 1935 in the Western Market in Detroit before moving it to Dearborn in 1968. My father, Hamzeh Baydoun, and his parents, Ahmad and Abdeh, purchased the store in 1982. Our family owned and operated the store until 2010 when there was a significant decline in the area.
After my own experience in owning and operating a small business, I am so glad to have found space to serve other small businesses here at TechTown Detroit.
In April 2021, TechTown hosted a virtual edition of The SHOP for Arab American Heritage Month. Small Businesses in Detroit participated in this virtual session highlighting their products and sharing their stories.
TechTown has worked with a number of Arab American-owned businesses in Detroit. A few are highlighted below.
Sicily’s Pizza has been in operation since 1989 and has been using a sourdough pizza dough recipe since 2017.
Wonder Falafel was founded by Ashraf Jaber, Retail Boot Camp Fall 2019 alumni, and provides authentic vegan falafel to restaurants and customers in the metro Detroit area.
Socotra Island Soaps
Socotra Island Soaps was created by Hamia Abdullah and is named after the beautiful Socotra Island in Yemen. Her artisan soaps can be found online and at various farmers markets throughout the summer. Hamia participated in the virtual version of The SHOP.
Modestia Collection owner, Jeehan, is a Retail Boot Camp Fall 2020 alumni and has been selling hijabs since 2018. Her beautiful range of textiles can be found on her website.
Detroit 75 Kitchen
Detroit 75 Kitchen was founded by two brothers, Mike and Ahmad Nassar, who have a passion for incredible food and their community. Detroit 75 Kitchen was named top 3 best food trucks in America.