DETROIT (WWJ) – Some experts say the development taking place in Detroit’s West Village will soon rival the comeback enjoyed by Midtown.
Unique shops, restaurants and renovated apartments are drawing a young and fashionable crowd to the area — including 26-year-old Brooklyn transplant David Kirby, who is opening a neighborhood grocery store on Parker Street this weekend.
“I could never have opened this store in Brooklyn, never,” Kirby told WWJ’s Marie Osborne. “My aspiration is to just get neighborhood people in here. I just really want to serve the community.”
Kirby said he was drawn to West Village — an area northeast of downtown that’s bound by Kercheval, Jefferson, Parker and Seyburn — while visiting his girlfriend.
“Detroit has a factor that nobody else can buy, it’s a coolness that’s nowhere else in the country,” he said. “Whenever I was coming here visiting, I was quickly realizing that if I don’t get on the ground floor of this, then it’s going to be too late and all these places are going to be taken.”
Like most business owners thinking about setting up shop in the city, Kirby’s number one concern was safety.
“Any of the new businesses that are opening in Detroit, there’s an understanding that yes, it’s risky but it’s worth the risk if we want to send a positive message to the people who are coming in here,” he said.
Kirby said his store is welcoming sight for sore eyes, free of signs that might turn some customers away.
“There are no bars on the windows, even though most other stores near here have them. But we decided we would not have them because they send the wrong message,” he said.
Kirby hopes his enthusiasm for building the city up will catch on. He said just because he is young, like many other entrepreneurs, doesn’t mean he can’t make a difference.
“To be able to be 26-years-old and to have a lease and to start a business and really have no money to do it, but here we are and we’ve built this space and we’ve done everything from scratch. I don’t think that you can do that hardly anywhere else,” he said. “We built this space out, and I’m truly not exaggerating, we build this space out on Lowes gift cards.”
Learn more about Detroit’s West Village at www.thevillagesofdetroit.com.