The Walters Family Foundation welcomes and encourages you to visit our website. We’re sorry for any inconvenience but please access the site through Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox or another modern browser of your choice. Thank you!

Stories of Impact

Economic Vitality

Bolstering Business for Small Apparel Retailers with Midtown Detroit, Inc.

“Detroit is a destination for creative, out-of-the-box, trendsetting fashion. This grant ensures that our apparel boutiques are getting the word out – that they are seen, heard and supported.”

–Clair Michael, Small Business Coordinator, Midtown Detroit, Inc.

Detroit, MI (March 2023) - Think back to the pandemic. Imagine the streets of Midtown Detroit, with all its bustling businesses and restaurants, suddenly as empty as a ghost town. While many of Detroit’s small businesses have recovered, Midtown’s independent apparel shops continue to lag behind, struggling to adapt to decreased foot traffic and increased online competition.

The Walters Family Foundation and Midtown Detroit, Inc., set out to aid 15 small apparel shops with grants supporting in-store pop-up events. Pop-up events have been shown to attract new and existing customers, and provide excellent opportunities to help small businesses regain momentum. However, these events are expensive to run, especially for businesses that are already struggling. This grant provides each business $875 and requires the business to contribute $125 per event. As of March 2024,10 businesses have organized and executed in-store events. Here are just a few success stories:

● The Peacock Room hosted a 12th anniversary party with a music hour and themed drinks
● Bleu Boutique organized an in-store bourbon tasting and holiday celebration
● Pure Detroit honored 313 day, inviting nearby hospital employees for giveaways with 313 swag and merchandise
● Flo Boutique gave shoppers something to dance about with a DJ, entertainment and snacks
● Tonico hosted a Galentine’s Day event with a hot-chocolate bar, baked goods and balloon art.

Flo Boutique is one of many apparel shops hosting events to build back their customer base after the pandemic.Download a high-resolution version of this photo.

“We’re really trying to expand awareness of these different, beautiful shops that are on neighborhood blocks,” says Clair Michael, Midtown Detroit, Inc. “They're very well curated, and run by amazing individuals that represent Detroit through and through. We’re excited to help them be sustainable through this grant.”

By supporting Midtown’s small and independent businesses, the grant aims to empower the district as it continues to grow as a diverse, economically vibrant place. Midtown has always attracted small and independent apparel shops. Shining a spotlight on existing businesses ensures it continues this long history.

Midtown Detroit, Inc. will provide matching grants to small apparel businesses in Midtown and New CenterDownload a high-resolution version of this photo.