Supporting Detroit small businesses and nonprofits this holiday season

As we head into the holiday season, we are taking a breather to reflect and share gratitude for the people and places that inspire us through their creativity, resilience, and strength.

 We take a look back at our series in partnership with LISC Detroit that chronicled the small business journey of Detroit entrepreneurs and how they innovated their businesses during these extremely challenging times. We hope it’s also a reminder to keep Detroit small businesses in mind when doing your holiday shopping. We’ve also rounded up a selection of shopping events and markets going on this weekend for Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season. And alongside Detroit's small business owners, local nonprofits met the moment to serve their communities. We revisit their stories as part of our Nonprofit Journal Project, and don't forget them on Giving Tuesday, a day when we show our support for nonprofits.


Amid the pandemic, the economic crisis as a result, and an extremely divisive election season, 2020 has been a year like no other. But I am thankful for you, our readers. We appreciate your story ideas and feedback that make us better. As always, thank you for your support and readership.


See you next week with fresh stories. Until then, stay safe and healthy.


Yours in gratitude,

Dorothy Hernandez


A guide to local shopping events

9 ways to think big and shop small by supporting Detroit businesses this holiday season
From handmade jewelry to works of art, find some gift inspiration with these locally focused shopping events and guides.

Chronicling the small business journey

Community leans in to help Detroit ice cream entrepreneur through COVID-19
Detroit entrepreneur KaToya Scott has witnessed the joy her truck's ice cream can bring people, but she never expected her community to respond with an outpouring of support to help her business survive COVID-19 setbacks. "You don’t think people care and here are people saying ‘hey we see you.’ "
Detroit entrepreneur wants women to 'wife their life'
Toni Jones always believed her work was important, but a global pandemic has shown the Detroit entrepreneur just how vital her affirmation brand is to her clients. “Last year women were wearing it as another self-care accessory, but now it’s how women are surviving.”
Partner Content
Detroit nonprofits take a ‘family’ approach to help entrepreneurs get financially savvy

With a focus on the city’s often-overlooked neighborhoods, a nonprofit collaboration is taking a personal approach to providing training, resources, and support for Detroit’s entrepreneurs, witnessing the ripple effect that investment creates. 

Strong roots sees Ruby's Natural Hair Care through COVID-19 challenges
In the past five years, Detroit has seen an 88% increase in women-owned businesses — the largest growth rate of metropolitan areas across the U.S. LaShonda Sims is part of that cohort, striking out with her daughter and cousins to launch a beauty company in 2017, and now, it's that family support that's helping them face down COVID setbacks. 
Neighborhood mechanic wants to keep his Detroit community running
Phil Knight might just be Detroit's last neighborhood mechanic. Since he opened his own auto shop in 1998, he has seen his share of changes in the community, but still wants to keep his business small and prices fair. 
Immigrant entrepreneur draws on business support systems to brighten Detroit's wardrobe
An innovative industrial engineer from Ghana is bringing West African-inspired prints to Detroit's fashion scene, despite COVID-19 creating roadblocks for her budding business.
Detroit designer combines fashion and science to start a conversation about skin color
Detroit entrepreneur Deirdre Roberson doesn't fit a mold. And the scientist-turned-fashion-designer doesn't want you to, either. “People will say to me ‘you look like a model,’ but why did nobody ever tell me ‘you look like a scientist’? We are complex. We are multidimensional people.”
Black-owned beauty boutique Bronzed N Glow rides out COVID-19, roadwork to open in Detroit
Education. Inclusivity. Hair care. Two entrepreneurs in Detroit want to change the way you think about your locks.   
Meet the people paving the way for minorities in Detroit construction
Are minority contractors being left out of Detroit's construction landscape? We talk to the changemakers helping minority business owners become "bankable" and get a seat at the table: “The future in Detroit shouldn't just be Dan Gilbert. It should be Cliff Terry and people who built up a neighborhood, and with the neighborhood included.”
Partner Content
Detroit nonprofits collaborate to launch equitable economic development program
Twelve years ago, a health scare prompted Harriet "Chef Bee" Brown to start "waging war with a fork" and launch a healthy catering company. She is just one of the entrepreneurs Detroit's nonprofit groups are working with to generate equitable opportunities through economic and workforce development in the city.

ICYMI: Nonprofit Journal Project

Black Leaders Detroit pivots to support entrepreneurs with small grants
For some business owners, seeing that there was a grant they wouldn't be denied for based on systemic racism gave a sense of hope.
Brilliant Detroit focuses on staying connected to the families it serves through the pandemic

And importantly, not-for-profits, and Brilliant Detroit in particular, is set up to serve people and build relationships. And for us, relationships have been able to stay at the forefront of what we do, and it is the reason we were able to carry on right now and actually serve people.

Mariners Inn finds ways to put clients’ concerns at ease amid the pandemic
At Mariners Inn, we welcome men who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. We can’t perform most of our services remotely, so we have needed to adapt to ensure our men’s safety.
Alternatives for Girls relies on community connections to stay open during COVID-19
We urge people to pay attention to others in their circle who may need help and not be in a position to ask for it.
Marygrove Conservancy’s Community Impact Incubator creates a leadership program for Black leaders
Because the need in their communities was so high, Black leaders were often being asked to serve more with fewer resources.
Who do you want to be?

Say who you are.

Do who you want to be.


Those two lines have become my central mantra in 2020.

Taking the helm during a pandemic: A tale of two (new) nonprofit leaders
There’s almost always a sharp learning curve when you assume the top leadership role at a nonprofit organization. But not like this. Christian Greer, president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center, and Robert Jamerson, Detroit PAL’s COO, share their experiences.
Connecting with the community during COVID-19 means finding new ways to serve our neighbors
"We're trying to figure out how we can offer the same quality of connection and programming so that we’re able to continue to build relationships but not put anyone in danger or at risk."
Manistique Community Treehouse serves the Jefferson Chalmers community during the pandemic
We knew when the pandemic began that people were going to need food, need masks, so the very first week of the pandemic we started a project called the resource table at the community treehouse where people could give and take food and personal protective equipment.
Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit leaders navigate grief, racism through collaboration
“I think we just have to call the thing a thing, and figure out how to deal with it and be bold.”