Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance to Launch Hastings Street Index Business Directory

The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance is launching an online directory of 800 local black-owned businesses called the Hastings Street Index on Monday.

Named after a thoroughfare in Detroit’s historically significant but now destroyed black neighborhood, the interactive listing will allow anyone to search by location, category and various tags for black-owned businesses.

The MDBBA is planning a virtual launch event at 2 p.m. Monday with local historian Jamon Jordan, president and CEO Charity Dean said.

The city razed the north-south Hastings Road and the Black Bottom area during a forced resettlement of black residents and their thriving businesses to build I-375 and Lafayette Park in the 1950s and 1960s.

Members of the newly created Chamber of Commerce can be listed in the Hastings Street Index, as well as those who are not – although without a membership a business cannot develop its profile as much.

“It will be something that will grow iteratively as we get more people to sign up to join the directory,” Dean said.

The directory’s search function will work much like the restaurant search engine and review site, she added.

“You can put on tacos and it will make any business that has tacos take off,” she said.

Romulus-based Bradley Creative Group LLC has created the Hastings Street Index, which Dean says will cost around $100,000. The chamber has raised around $30,000 so far for the launch. Sponsors include Detroit-based Walker-Miller Energy Services, Go Daddy, Comcast, New Economy Initiative and Goldman Sachs, according to Dean. The site itself should also generate revenue later through advertising.

The MDBBA was launched in March to converge and amplify the voices of black business owners. It aimed to address the needs of business communities that have faced structural racism, and have been underserved and discriminated against for decades.

The organization also signed a lease for a 2,200 square foot downtown business resource center at 1234 Washington Blvd. with meeting and work space, printers and more for members. It’s to open this summer.

Dean, a former director of Detroit’s Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity, leads the regional organization alongside another former Detroit executive, MDBBA COO Kai Bowman. TCF Bank has committed $1 million over five years to this effort.

The chamber has about 100 members. Its targeted budget for the year is $1.4 million and it has already raised over $400,000.

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