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Black-owned grocery store set to open on Detroit's east side

Black-owned grocery store set to open on Detroit's east side
Black-owned grocery store set to open on Detroit's east side 02:10

(CBS DETROIT) - CBS News Detroit is continuing its coverage on food insecurity.

In an east side neighborhood, one business owner is taking the initiative to close the food gap.

The last Black-owned grocery store in Detroit closed its doors in 2014, and now there's a new owner in town working to bring culturally appropriate food back to the neighborhood. He's taking matters in his own hands to make Black history in his own backyard. 

"This neighborhood is classed as a desert because there's no immediate grocery store in it," said Raphael Wright, owner of Neighborhood Grocery. "I'm on this mission of rebuilding the neighborhoods that I grew up in and that starts with food."

The building is currently under construction, but there's a bigger vision in the works. That vision is to bring a full-service grocery store to the corner of Manistique and Essex in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood. 

"We don't see the representation because the representation is not in ownership," Wright said. "You don't have people that live in it, getting the community that understands the community, owning and operating these stores."

Wright was awarded an $85,000 grant from Motor City Match to take his business plan to the next level. 

"This is a crowd-funded venture," Wright said. "Neighbors, residents, Michiganders, people outside of the state have either donated or invested money into this project... I was able to raise most of the funds pretty much on the street. The $85,000 that I received pretty much closed the financial requirements that I had."

Wright says Black-owned grocery stores lack representation in the city and the grant comes at an opportune time, right at the start of Black History Month.

"The news couldn't have came out in a much better setting or format than Black History Month so, but for me black history is everyday but because it's our month to celebrate it for all of this news to come out at that time is again, it's cool," Wright said.

Neighborhood Grocery is set to open this summer.

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