The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance is launching an online directory of 800 local black-owned businesses called the Hastings Street Index on Monday.
Named after a thoroughfare in Black Detroit’s historically important but now destroyed neighborhood, Black Bottom, the interactive listing will allow anyone to search by location, category, and various tags for black-owned businesses.
The MDBBA is planning a virtual launch event at 2 p.m. Monday with local historian Jamon Jordan, President and CEO Charity Dean said.
The city razed the north-south road to Hastings and the Black Bottom area in a forced relocation of black residents and their thriving businesses to build I-375 and Lafayette Park in the 1950s and 1960s.
Members of the newly formed Chamber of Commerce can be listed in the Hastings Street Index, as well as those who are not – although without a membership a business cannot build its profile as much.
âThis will be something that grows iteratively as more and more people sign up to join the directory,â Dean said.
The directory search feature will work almost like the restaurant search engine and review site Yelp.com, she added.
âYou could put in tacos and that will pull up any business that has tacos,â she said.
Romulus-based Bradley Creative Group LLC created the Hastings Street Index, which Dean expects to cost around $ 100,000. The chamber has raised around $ 30,000 so far for the launch. Sponsors include Detroit-based Walker-Miller Energy Services, Go Daddy, Comcast, New Economy Initiative and Goldman Sachs, according to Dean. The site itself is also expected to generate income later on through advertising.
The MDBBA was launched in March to converge and amplify the voices of black business owners. It sought to meet the needs of business communities that had faced structural racism, and had been under-served and discriminated against for decades.
The organization also signed a lease for a 2,200 square foot downtown business resource center at 1234 Washington Blvd. with meeting and work space, printers and more for members. It is to open this summer.
Dean, former director of the Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunities Department, leads the regional organization alongside another former Detroit executive, MDBBA COO Kai Bowman. TCF Bank has committed $ 1 million over five years to this effort.
The chamber has about a hundred members. His target budget for the year is $ 1.4 million and he has raised over $ 400,000 so far.