What Happened To Emily Gail — The ‘Say Nice Things About Detroit’ Lady?

DETROIT (WWJ) She made a name for herself in the 70’s and 80’s asking people to “say nice things about Detroit.”

So whatever happened to Emily Gail?

WWJ’s Sandra McNeill caught up with the former shop keeper on the corner where her store used to be.

Gail had opened the iconic Emily’s at the corner of Shelby and Congress in the 1980s, when Detroit was the murder capital of the year, and people walked from their car to the office without stopping.

Nicknamed the “perpetual Pollyanna,” Gail did more than her part to revitalize the city’s atmosphere and image, scooping ice cream, making T-shirts touting Detroit, and organizing fun runs.

She was a celebrity who boosted the city while boosting her business. “We were just hard-working stiffs trying to get (to) survival,” she said.

Eventually, her store went bankrupt — and she disappeared.

“(I) struggled for many, many years to recover from the disappointment of losing what we had spent so much time working on,” Gail said. “That was really hard to recover from.”

She explained she left after fighting immigration over the status of her then-husband, Canadian Herb Squires. “We were broke, we were sad, we lost our house,” she said

Now she lives in Hawaii, has her own radio show, vacations in Detroit, and says she still has nothing but nice things to say about Motown.

But the corner where her store once stood is empty again.

“If I were still here, we would still have it teeming with people,” Gail said.

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