TechTown Detroit’s Impact on East Jefferson
When you drive up East Jefferson Ave. from I-375 downtown to Alter Road on the border of Grosse Pointe, the one thing you will notice is the many small businesses opened along this corridor. Each is unique and brings life to one of Detroit’s great thoroughfares.
Since 2014, the growth of African-American and women brick and mortar owned businesses along this corridor with arteries that extend to Kercheval and the riverfront, was not due to happenstance. TechTown Detroit has been actively involved with supporting the launch of new businesses and growing existing established business owners in this community. Also, during this period, we have seen a substantial increase overall in new businesses in the Jefferson Chalmers historic commercial district on East Jefferson.
Probably the most important end result of our work in this corridor has been job creation. By supporting entrepreneurship in Detroit, jobs are created for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods, which otherwise would not be available to them. Bringing new businesses or supporting existing businesses is part of the overall economic revitalization that is taking place in our city and we have been an intricate and very important part of this process.
Now as you take a drive on East Jefferson Ave., you can actually plan a beautiful destination excursion that would include dining, shopping, or exercising at places that have been supported by TechTown Detroit.
Imagine planning a day in the corridor by creating an itinerary that includes patronizing only businesses that are former or current clients of TechTown Detroit. Here is what your day potentially would look like:
You could start your morning by exercising at Live Cycle Delight in West Village then have breakfast at Rose’s Fine Food, followed by dessert at Sister Pie. Next, visit Jefferson Chalmers and shop for hardware supplies at Riverfront Building Supply. Make sure to say, “Hi” to Al Barrow owner of the anchor store in the corridor. Walk a few buildings over to a scheduled appointment at Redesign and Restoration to look at antique furniture. After you are done, walk right next door again to Red Bag Boutique and find the latest fashion for women. Now, you are probably hungry from all your shopping, so go further down East Jefferson Ave. to Belle Isle pizza to pick up lunch and drive across to Belle Isle Park to sit and enjoy your food from this pizzeria. After you have relaxed from all your eating, you can burn off those calories by exercising at The Wise Decision athletic facility on the riverfront. Once you cool down, maybe you could schedule an appointment to view some of the unique artwork sold by Schinkel Fine Art. Finally, you could have a delicious Caribbean dinner with a festive atmosphere to close out the evening by dining at Norma G’s restaurant; hopefully, it is a night where there is live entertainment. This is what your fabulous day would look like which would showcase the incredible impact TechTown Detroit has had on East Jefferson.
TechTown used several of its impactful entrepreneurial programs to support these business owners, including TechTown Strategy Sessions, Ask An Expert, Retail Boot Camp (RBC), and our business coaching program 313 Strong (formerly SWOT City.) Plus, we also worked with many partner organizations in the entrepreneurial eco-systems: Jefferson East Inc., EJDevCo, City of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Accounting Aid Academy, Detroit Development Fund, Detroit Community Loan Fund, Invest Detroit, ProsperUs Detroit, Michigan Women Forward, and other organizations.
Finally, note there is still so much more work to be done along the East Jefferson corridor that will take many more years to complete, but TechTown Detroit is entrenched for the long haul and is committed to Detroiters with all its resources and talented team of entrepreneurial professionals.
Written by: Warren Galloway, Jr., Capital Strategist, TechTown Detroit
Warren has worked for some of the largest national and regional financial institutions. He is also the principal of two consulting firms, Warren Galloway and Associates, LLC and HR Talent Group, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Business at Baker College. Warren is a certified SCUBA diver and has been in the Detroit River!