SW Detroit

NEI Anchor Business Grant Provides $25,000 to SW Detroit Businesses

The Shop Screenprinting owner Jason Rios with new embroidering machine purchased with NEI Anchor Grant funds allowing him to lower production turnaround time and to take on more projects.
Mangonadas del Barrio owners Maribel and Antonio Hernandez used the grant to update the kitchens at 4029 W. Vernor Hwy. and 1210 Lawndale locations.  
The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) shared details regarding its four NEI Anchor Business Grant Program recipients: El Artesano Juice & Café Bar, Estetica Unisex Latina, Mangonadas del Barrio, and The Shop Screenprinting. The program, funded by the New Economy Initiative (NEI), was created to provide financial support and practical assistance to strengthen key anchor businesses in Detroit while also helping to economically and socially lift surrounding neighborhoods. In 2021, NEI developed the grant program to assist 25 anchor businesses across six Detroit communities.

“For most participating businesses, the New Economy Initiative Anchor Business Grants were initially a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SDBA Interim President and CEO Alicia Ramon. “The businesses used the grant dollars to keep their doors open and pay bills such as water and electric. Once they stabilized their individual operations, the owners identified other areas of need that included adding new services to increase revenue. We are very grateful to the New Economy Initiative for helping to keep these businesses on the path toward success.”

As part of the SDBA program, each business received $25,000 in business support and $6,250 in additional funds for technical assistance services. Initially, for many of the businesses, the grants were used for COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts and to help meet real-time business needs. In addition, the funds were used by business owners to purchase equipment, implement infrastructure improvements, and make marketing and technology upgrades to business operations.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, NEI has been at the helm of working with business support organizations and philanthropic funders to provide immediate relief to small businesses,” said Wafa Dinaro, Executive Director of New Economy Initiative. “Given the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, the support of the Anchor Business grants was vital to the survival of many of the anchor businesses as they continued to pivot and adjust operations. The success of this program demonstrates that the smallest businesses, those with 25 employees and less, are the backbone of the economy, and are key to equitable economic growth and neighborhood stabilization.”

ProsperUs Detroit oversaw timelines for the NEI grant funded program and coordinated with the SDBA when documentation needed to be completed by the participating business owners. It also hosted regular update meetings with the SDBA to facilitate communication and discuss current progress, experience, and areas of need. When requested, ProsperUs Detroit also provided participating businesses with access to a business coach, which allowed the businesses to utilize the grants in the most beneficial way.

The 2021 NEI Anchor Business Grant recipients in Southwest Detroit included:

El Artesano Juice & Café Bar, located at 4748 W. Vernor Hwy., offers a variety of juice and smoothie products to promote health and wellness within the community. The grant permitted owner Mayra Torres to purchase an espresso machine, high-quality outdoor furniture, and new in-store merchandise, helping to create an atmosphere more conducive for customers and community events.

Estetica Unisex Latina, located at 7151 W. Vernor Hwy., is a unisex salon offering professional hair styling, treatments and quality luxury beauty products and merchandise. Owner Alberto Romero initially used the grant to pay utility bills, rent, employee wages, and taxes. Subsequently, Romero was able to purchase equipment and in-store merchandise for the salon and a refrigerator that will allow him to store and keep hair styling products and solutions to ensure maximum shelf life and product reliability while working with various clients.

The Shop Screenprinting, located at 3444 Bagley St., is a screen-printing service that also produces promotional items, airbrushing, laser engraving, graphic design photography and more. The grant was used to purchase an embroidering machine that allowed owner Jason Rios to lower production turnaround time and to take on more projects. He is utilizing the technical assistance to build a new company website.

“The NEI Anchor business project has been great,” said Rios. “This SDBA program was such a blessing during a time of need, especially with the pandemic going on. I’m grateful for being a part of this and appreciate this program and all the assistance I have received from all involved.”

With two locations in southwest Detroit, Mangonadas del Barrio offers a variety of Mexican and Latin-inspired food, drinks and desserts. Owners Maribel and Antonio Hernandez used the grant to update the kitchens at 4029 W. Vernor Hwy. and 1210 Lawndale locations. This included purchasing a commercial stovetop that allowed them to expand their breakfast and lunchtime offerings. Technical assistance funds were used to redesign the menu with professional photos and new marketing materials. Further business projects aim to develop the business patio for future use.

“We are very grateful for the help and support we have received from everyone involved in the NEI Anchor Business Grant,” said Maribel and Antonio Hernandez. “The support offered and received has helped us pass this crisis due to the pandemic. Many thanks to the SDBA.”

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