CBS Detroit – Motor City Match has awarded its 105th award to Polished Lounge, a nail salon in Detroit’s Midtown. In a report by the Detroit Free Press, Ia Vang who is the owner of the salon received $65,000 from Motor City Match. Cutting the ribbon Monday at her grand opening while thanking people who have helped her get her business open.

Motor City Match helps businesses in the City of Detroit and is a partnership with the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Economic Growth Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  So far a little over 1,400 businesses have benefitted from Motor City Match with $7.5 million in grants given out. The program aims to help building owners prepare space for quality businesses and business owners to set up shop in the City of Detroit. Something that helps the city and community with jobs and services.

Vang told the Detroit Free Press, “Motor City Match has opened the biggest door for us,”. she added, “I’m feeling emotional, but also very happy. It’s been a long journey. I’m very happy that my doors are open during this time, one of the hardest times. And I’m just ready to serve Detroit.”

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Drew Lucco is Motor City Match’s program manager and he’s excited to see the opening of Polished Lounge in Detroit. “I think this, in particular, is really great, given all the challenges that the pandemic has presented. This is one of several businesses that has opened during the pandemic. We have several more that we anticipate opening before the end of the year.”

Mayor Mike Duggan was at the grand opening ceremony along with Vang and her husband Joshua Lee. The salon located 4417 2nd Ave., Suite 3 is Midtown’s only nail salon, and it is reported that the property was vacant for more than 3 decades. Duggan is very pleased in how the neighborhood is coming back. “We went from empty buildings to some renovations. There’s some people moving in. There’s some businesses moving in. Now, we’re in this stage where the lower levels of buildings are having the plywood come off and business start gathering. That’s a sign of a really vibrant neighborhood.” Duggan told the Free Press.

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For Vang this is the American dream. She’s now a minority business owner in Detroit, but her journey in life started in Thailand, immigrating to the U.S. as a young girl. She attended Denby High School and is a Wayne State University alum and while she faced challenges in life… her story is uplifting. “I have been here in the United States since I was 8,” Vang said. “I’ve gone through a lot of situations where it was a conflict because I’m a minority, I’m a different color and different race. But I didn’t let that stop me. I feel like I can conquer the world, just be who I am. People should accept who I am. So it’s really been an honor just to say that I am a minority.”

It’s not clear yet when Motor City Match will open its next round of applications for grants due to the pandemic, but they are working with businesses who are open and trying to help others trying to open. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation also has relief grants to small businesses as well right now.

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Charlie Forbes

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