Looking to order tacos for carryout, buy Detroit-centric clothes, or deck your home with festive holiday decorations? Skip the behemoth online retailer and find these local goods and more on a new e-commerce platform that highlights Southwest Detroit businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has stirred fears and uncertainty for small businesses across the country; according to the U.S. Chamber’s latest quarterly Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll, more than half (58%) of business owners surveyed were worried about having to permanently close. And entrepreneurs in Southwest Detroit have also felt the pain.
In our story published Nov. 17, SBDA’s President and CEO Robert Dewaelsche told us that overall commerce in Southwest Detroit is at the moment due to the pandemic. “We have not seen that many businesses close, but the vast majority have had to shift gears.”
As many businesses adapt to stay afloat amid great challenges such as finding and keeping frontline workers, the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) has launched “Shop Southwest Detroit,” a one-stop e-commerce shop featuring local businesses, to help owners and entrepreneurs adapt and bridge the digital divide.
Supported by Bank of America, the platform, which went live on Black Friday, is organized by category: carryout; fashion and clothing; electronics; e-bikes; and home goods. Participating businesses include: All About Technology; Alvarez Designs; Antojitos El Catracho Restaurant; El ArteSano Juice & Café Bar; Detroit Forever 313; ESI Hardware Store; Hacienda Mexican Foods; Joyeria Panchos; La Jaliciense Supermercado & Taqueria; La Palapa del Parian; La Posada; La Terraza; London Consulting; Los Altos Restaurant; Lotus Essences; Neveria Guadalajara; Quince Primaveras; SDBA Gift Shop; Sicily’s Pizzeria & Subs; TS Designs; and Xochi’s Gift Shop.
“This new, exciting initiative will accelerate the evolution of small business models in our community to offer a more effective online marketing and customer experience,” says Dewaelsche. “When successful, participating businesses will be able to rebuild lost connections with their customers while attracting new patrons to purchase their products and services online.”
Businesses each have their own dedicated online page that features their products and/or services. Customers can peruse and add to their carts and then choose shipping or delivery.
The SDBA annually serves more than 300 businesses and entrepreneurs representing restaurants and other foodservice providers, retailers, health care, manufacturing, and human services industries. Most of the businesses in Southwest Detroit are typically owned by immigrants, minorities, and women, who often face barriers as entrepreneurs, from lack of training to resources to respond to economic issues quickly, says Dewaelsche.
Despite these challenges, “our business owners recognize opportunities for growth and are willing to try new strategies when presented with an opportunity that is within their economic capacity. We are proud to help them overcome the hurdles they are often confronted with in their daily business practices,” he says.