Illustration for article titled The iTimes/i Chronicles The Plight Of Young, White Detroit Entrepreneurs

Guys, there are risks and rewards in opening a business in an American city, and the Times is ON IT. Specifically, the New York Times, whose reporters are still allergic to black people in one of the country's largest black cities.


Whenever someone asks where are all the black-owned businesses in Detroit (a bit of a ridiculous question considering the population), I usually whip out this picture on my phone I took inside a boutique on Livernois. See all those fliers there? It's the tip of the iceberg.

We always talk about Michigan Avenue in Corktown, but never, say, the district along 6 Mile (some of you may refer to it as McNichols) headed west from the Lodge, or the northwestern ends of Grand River. (I mean, the Avenue of Fashion is just now having its day in the local media sun.) But then again, barbershops and computer-repair shops aren't artisan enough to be recognized.


So instead, the Times talked to a few people in and around the 7.2, only slightly venturing a little south to talk about Latino businesses on West Vernor (but not talk to Latino businesses on West Vernor) and a little north to Hamtramck to give Andy Didorosi of the Detroit Bus Company his 2,714th media hit this year.

The daily realities of the city's financial struggles have taken a toll, though, and a growing number of towns face the same core issues confronting Detroit: unaffordable pension obligations and a stretched budget that forces wrenching choices about which municipal services to maintain. That changes the calculus for entrepreneurs, in ways both good and bad.

Or maybe, just maybe, entrepreneurs face the unacknowledged challenge of marketing a unique service to a niche population in expensive neighborhoods in addition to the reality of opening a business in a big city in a shitty economic climate.

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