This City Is Helping Black Businesses Move Downtown With Grant Funding

Photo: Reddit User u/laser979

Mosby Popcorn is a Black owned gourmet popcorn shop owned by husband-and-wife team Brian and Shayvea Mosby. Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the store offers more than 125 flavors of popcorn, with more than 50 rotating flavors on display at any given time. The Mosbys also sell ice cream and various candies. The Mosbys were doing well but wanted to expand so that they could increase their foot traffic. Thanks to a $45,000 grant, Mosby Popcorn and two other Black owned businesses will be able to do just that.

Mosby Popcorn received a $45,000 grant from Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. (DGRI), through its retail incubation program. In all, four minority-owned businesses received grants and three were Black owned. The other Black owned businesses are Mel Styles, a local menswear store that provides affordable custom fitted men’s suits and other styling services, and Ambiance GR, a new restaurant and lounge opening soon. The fourth business chosen for a grant was Tamales Mary. These four businesses have been given an awesome opportunity to compete, with prime downtown real estate and in business that is everything.

Location, location, location. Black owned businesses, very often, simply don’t have the capital to secure real estate in the most desirable or favorable locations, thus impacting their longterm prospects. This is especially true in the downtown areas of major cities, where real estate is at a premium — lease prices for the smallest of spaces can easily exceed $15,000 monthly, in many markets. Thanks to the DGRI grant, however, these three businesses have an opportunity to at least compete and take part in the development of the city’s downtown area.

DGRI is “responsible for city building and place-management in the urban core of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan.” They, like many other city planning and development entities across the country, have tremendous influence with respect to business development. Black people — who are taxpayers and citizens — should be very aware of their activities and involved. Black people should be diligent in helping other Black entrepreneurs secure such opportunities.

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