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Detroit’s first Black-owned grocery store makes a difference in the community

By Kiara Hay

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    DETROIT (WXYZ) — The only Black-owned grocery store in the City of Detroit has officially opened its doors with the mission to help people get healthy.

It’s called Neighborhood Grocery, and it’s a liquor store that was turned into a health food shop on the corner of Essex and Manistique in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.

The store is a six-year labor of love for Raphael Wright, the owner. We first spoke to the farmer and serial entrepreneur when his store was just a shell. But, his drive and vision were unyeilding.

“To build a community you have to have healthy food and healthy access to the food and the start is in grocery stores,” he said.

“What is it like now seeing customers come in?” I asked him.

“It feels good. We knew it was going to happen, now it’s just time to build and maintain,” he said.

Lucky for Wright, the community is buying in.

One woman who goes by Ms. Rita grew up in the neighborhood and her family hsa lived there for four decades. She has witnessed many changes.

“Really happy it’s a grocery store and not a beer and wine store,” she said. “Sunday we always need an onion, tomato and seasonings so its good to come back in the neighborhood and support.”

The Neighborhood Store embodies its name. People in the community have a say in what’s on the shelves, and their names are part of the decor.

Inclusion, health and education are part of Wright’s mission.

“I’m from the neighborhoods I work in and I want to make them better. They were good at one point and I want to bring back that glory,” he said.

“What I love about your interaction is that you sound so proud,” Ms. Rita told him.

The Neighborhood Grocery is an equity crowdfunded store. If you would like to be part of the movement, you can visit their website.

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