Businesses Are Banking On… Not Bashing Detroit

DETROIT (WWJ) – Some city residents are banking on … and not bashing Detroit. WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas talks to some hip, cool Detroiters who are investing in the city and share some insight for Detroit bashers.

Karen Gage is co-owner of Wheelhouse Detroit which opened in 2008. The shop is located along the River Walk and offers bike sales and service as well as tours. She says the business has been phenomenal!

“The first year we recognized a 25 percent increase in sales, the year after 15 (percent) …we’re projecting 10 (percent) but I think we’re going to exceed that this year,” said Gage.

Gage says those tours have a purpose: “To get people around and seeing the city, see the reasons why I love living here and why living is great here and showcase some of the gems the city has to offer.”

Jennifer Willemsen is co-owner of ‘Curl Up And Dye’ in Detroit and she is well aware of all of the nye-sayers: “My dad was probably my number one opponent on this saying it’s in the city, asking like, what are you doing? He came down here and when he saw it he said, “Jen, this is cool … I get it … I’m going to shut-up,” said Willemsen.

Willemsen, a former roller-derby skater, says that she can win over the public too.  “It’s all about education,” she said.

Her salon business has been brisk, since opening the business has over 3,500 clients and expects that number to reach 4,000 within the next year.

Andy Linn and his sister Emily opened ‘City Bird’ in 2009 after their on-line store took off.  City Bird offers a lot of Detroit themed items.

“I love Detroit, there are so many undiscovered secrets that you can find,” said Andy Linn.

Now Linn lives in Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood and loves the tree-lined streets and historic homes.

Linn gives this advice to city bashers: “You’ve got to give it a chance, it’s big enough to make a difference in the world but it’s small enough where you can make a difference,” said Andy.

More from Vickie Thomas
  • curtis jacobson

    I have been in the city for 55 years and have seen the city waste away. from nearly 2 million down to 713,000. we can not afford to live like this. the carpet baggers are coming in to take over. I helped to set up the poverty programs in the 15 years as chair of the programs. we have to share in providing the programs that work.

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