First Round of Motor City Re-Store Grants

First round of Motor City Re-Store grants to help 44 businesses in 30 neighborhoods improve their facades

DETROIT, Nov. 28, 2017 - Forty-four longtime Detroit business owners learned today they have been approved for grants totaling $330,000 that will help them update the exterior appearance of their storefronts through Detroit’s new Motor City Re-Store business façade improvement program. Another $519,000 in potential grant funding was also earmarked for Round One design grant winners that will eventually move to the construction phase of their projects.

Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation announced the Motor City Re-Store program this summer as a way to help established businesses in the city improve their curb appeal. This helps them remain competitive with new businesses that are opening in Detroit’s neighborhoods with the help of Motor City Match and other programs.

Thirteen of the awardees have improvement projects ready for construction, and another 31 will receive design assistance to prepare for a later construction matching grant award. These first-ever Motor City Re-Store winners are distributed across more than 30 of the city’s neighborhoods and include businesses that have long-standing commitment to Detroit, said Mayor Mike Duggan.

"There have been a lot of programs designed to help new businesses open in Detroit, and that’s a good thing," said the Mayor. "We designed Motor City Re-Store specifically to help businesses that have stayed in the city, some for generations, so they can participate in our city’s revitalization."

Of the 44 Round One recipients, 70 percent are minority-owned and 43 percent are women-owned businesses, Mayor Duggan added.

Motor City Re-Store will help improve the appearance of the city’s neighborhood commercial corridors, as will Mayor Duggan’s recently announced streetscape improvement bond program. The $125 million bond program will help to improve 23 commercial corridors through street, sidewalk and landscaping enhancements. New businesses, façade improvements and infrastructure renovation will work to keep shopping dollars in Detroit, and retain the estimated $2.6 billion in retail spending that leaves the city for surrounding communities.

How Motor City Re-Store Works

Motor City Re-Store will provide approximately $2 million annually in matching grants to existing business owners and their landlords, for façade and other exterior improvements. Round One winners represent a wide range of business categories, including retailers, restaurants, event space and others. More than 30 neighborhoods across the city - from Brightmoor to Springwells; Corktown to North Rosedale Park - are represented in the Round One pool.

Winners are named in two key categories:

Grant winners in the Construction Track are awarded matching funds of up to $25,000. The 13 construction grants awarded in Round One total approximately $140,000. Design Track winners are eligible for grants of up to $10,000. Those 31 design grants awarded totaled approximately $190,000. Design grant recipients are immediately eligible to apply for matching construction funds totaling approximately $519,000, if they successfully complete the design phase.

The Round One announcements were made at Royalty Dance Studio, 16424 E. Warren in the Morningside neighborhood. Royalty, owned by Howard Brown, is one of the 13 construction grant award winners in Round One.

"Royalty is a real community resource for the neighborhood," said Brown. "We are excited to be able to remove old signage and make other improvements that will show off Royalty and the surrounding area on East Warren as a great community."

Michael S. R. Rafferty, DEGC vice president of Small Business Services said, "So much time and energy go into owning and running a business that it can be difficult to make improvements or even know what options are available. With Motor City Re-Store, we are supporting entrepreneurs by providing the tools and knowledge for them to improve their physical appearance and making investments that will, over time, stabilize commercial districts throughout the city."

Julian Hill, owner of Celebrity Carwash in the LaSalle Gardens neighborhood, said that storm damage to his exterior signage adversely impacted his business. With the grant from Motor City Re-Store, Hill estimates he may be able to add up to five jobs if the new sign is as effective as he is confident it will be in attracting customers.

"I'm excited about the revitalization of Detroit and small businesses are a big part of it," Hill said. "Even being a part of it in a small way is exciting."

Joseph Weertz from Moran Street Bicycles in the Poletown East neighborhood and Rodrigo Padilla, owner of Taqueria El Nacimiento in the Springwells Village neighborhood, also spoke at the event about the value of their grants.

About Motor City Re-Store

Motor City Re-Store is managed by the Small Business team at the DEGC and is open to entrepreneurs who are currently open and operating a commercial storefront in the city of Detroit, and their landlords. It is supported by a combination of Community Development Block Grant funds and other funders. The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) has stewardship of the public funds and has approved funding to develop the program. It approved the Round 1 winners during its meeting earlier today.

Motor City Re-Store will take applications for Round 3 from Nov. 28, 2017 through Jan. 8, 2018. Business owners and landlords must apply jointly for 50 percent matching grants up to $25,000. Multiple businesses applying as a group are eligible for 75 percent matching grants. Applications can be made at


The complete media package can be downloaded as a PDF file from:

A selection of photos of Celebrity Carwash, Royalty Dance Club, Moran Street Bicycles and Taqueria El Nacimiento can be found in this DropBox folder. Media have permission to use them for news coverage of the program.