Eastside sizzle defines Harper Ave's economic landscape
Local entrepreneurial spirit filled with incredible new energies
Calip “Cal” Williams is a Detroit native who decided to take his skill for making money to the Harper business strip on the east side.
The stretch of Harper Avenue sits on the edge of the majority-Black Morningside and East English Village neighborhoods next to the Edsel Ford Freeway. Besides barber shops, it has international food chains, a medical marijuana dispensary, a car repair business, and a grocery store.
The area is regarded by those based there as a destination for new entrepreneurs and small businesses alongside well-known staples like Wendy’s and White Castle.
Many shops in the business district have come and gone, but even when COVID-19 threatened to stifle many, the entrepreneurial spirit never left. Business owners in the area, like Williams, say the corridor is on the “up and up.”
East side native Portia Powell (@itsmeportiap) grew up knowing of the busy Harper corridor. But it wasn’t until the owner of the permanently-closed Firewater Bar and Grill, one of Powell’s longtime clients from her days in the banking industry, approached her with the opportunity that she began visualizing her business in this corridor. That opportunity became @GoodVibesLounge.
Other business owners on Harper are also actively looking for ways to expand. Matthew Mock runs the @313SmokeShop that sits in one of Williams’ properties. Mock said now that Detroiters can apply for recreational marijuana licenses, he hopes to add a dispensary onto his business.
Mock, a 27-year-old Black man and Detroit native, said he is “definitely proud” to own a business in the city.
@bridgedetroit and @storiesfromdet (The Neighborhoods), have teamed up to identify thriving neighborhood business corridors across the city and highlight the entrepreneurs who power them. Read the full story at BridgeDetroit.com
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