Many people consider Livernois, the “Avenue of Fashion,” when they think of prominent Black-owned businesses in southeast Michigan. Many other restaurants and shops are owned by Black and Brown people throughout the City of Detroit and beyond.
But today more African Americans now live outside of Detroit than inside its borders. That means many Black folks are trying to work and start new businesses in suburbs that aren’t always welcoming to them.
A new nonprofit and a business, led by former Detroiters who now live in Farmington Hills, are trying to make that city a more welcoming space for Black and nonwhite workers, owners and clientele.
“There is a slight bit of humility that is required to go into a space that is intentionally created for a different culture and to be open minded and accepting of that.” — Rachael Allen, business and nonprofit owner
Listen: How two Black suburbanites are working to make the suburbs a more welcoming space for all.
Allen says Black people have to navigate spaces that were infrequently intentionally created for them.
“There is a slight bit of humility that is required to go into a space that is intentionally created for a different culture and to be open minded and accepting of that,” says Rachael Allen. “Black people have to do that all the time.”
Gerrard Allen is a co-founder at Centric Place. He says both him and Racheal take a lot of pride in their work and have learned a lot about running a business through the efforts of their parents.
“You’ll see us both their doing the hard work because we take a certain amount of pride into making sure that when we’re creating a space, we’re not just saying it but we’re definitely living it through experiences that we saw both of our parents go through,” says Gerrard Allen.