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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

This Detroit Print Shop’s Story Shows How Black Businesses Rely on Each Other

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Image credit: Kate Abbey-Lambertz / Detour Detroit

An African American-owned legacy print shop saw difficulties and triumphs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Elizabeth Mays is a third generation legacy business owner and CEO of MAYS Multimedia, a printer for obituaries and memorial programs.

She says her business has seen a significant hit since people started canceling events starting in mid-March. Her business began pivoting toward memorial programs as the virus took hold of the community.

We aren’t a people who can just put somebody in the ground and not put eyes on them. We still need to have that connection.” — Imani Mixon, journalist

While the demand for memorial assistance has been jarring, Mays says it’s been important for her to help the community in this trying time.

Part of me is very, very hopeful, because of how effective we’ve been at helping people grieve and the service we’ve been able to provide,” says Mays.

Mays and other African American business owners are the focus of a new piece in Detour Detroit by Detroit-based journalist Imani Mixon, focusing on how that community is coping amid tragedy. Mixon and Mays joined host Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today for a discussion about grief, perseverance and hope during the pandemic.

Read: How a legacy Black-owned business adapted to serve Detroit mourners during an epidemic

Mixon says for a long time, especially in Detroit, black people and businesses have relied on each other to get through.

There are many ways to test the resilience of Detroit and I think there were so many pockets of the city that weren’t prepared for this,” says Mixon. She says Black-owned businesses, like Mays, have stepped in to help a city and community in mourning. “We aren’t a people who can just put somebody in the ground and not put eyes on them. We still need to have that connection,” says Mixon.

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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