Second annual “Thank You” Awards ceremony recognizes Detroit neighborhood business owners


They are the places where you grab a cup of coffee, a bite to eat, your dry cleaning. Maybe it’s your favorite spot to listen to music, pick up a fine chapeau or even a donut. Whatever the goods or service it provides, you are likely to have a favorite Detroit business.

How often do you say “Thank you?”

LogoThat is one of the reasons why sponsors including the Detroit Development Fund, Detroit Smart Pages Newspaper and Quicken Loans are hosting the second annual “Thank You” Awards Ceremony tonight, recognizing Detroit neighborhood small business owners.

When you look at the list of businesses that deserve a special “Thank You” from the Detroit community, some of the names are iconic – businesses such as Henry the Hatter, London Luggage, Dutch Girl Donuts, DeVries and Company, R.J. Hirt and Company as well as Better Made Snack Foods.

But the second annual “Thank You” Awards ceremony at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History also adds the future icons to its recipients list: Detroit is the New Black, House of Pure Vin, Ellis Island Tea, Good Cakes and Bakes, Pages Bookshop and so many more.

Like many others, I have my favorites (full disclosure: I’ve written a book about Better Made, so you can easily say I’m a fan). I have my regular stops. And I love finding “new” places to visit, whether they are new to me but longstanding companies or whether they just opened their doors.

presentersThe “Thank You” awards ceremony and dinner will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History, located at 315 E. Warren Avenue in Detroit. Tickets are on available to the public.

More than 40 businesses from throughout the city will be honored for their investment, commitment and dedication to the communities and customers they serve. Chuck Stokes, WXYZ Detroit Editorial Director, will be the Master of Ceremony and will be joined by several prominent award presenters including Detroit Council President Brenda Jones and Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon.

“Our goal is to bring together corporations, community leaders and city officials to meet, greet and thank the businesses owners who have been instrumental in the development and resurgence that’s now taking place in the city,” said Beverly Smith, publisher of Detroit Smart Pages Newspaper and one of the event organizers.

In addition to the established small businesses that will be recognized, 20 brand new entrepreneurs will be invited to attend and network with the business community. This year, three awards will be added: The Fabric of Detroit Award, The Corporate Citizen Award and the Community Engagement Award.

One of those entrepreneurs who will receive recognition is Regina Gaines, one of the partners at Detroit’s newest hot spot, the House of Pure Vin. Gaines, a graduate of Tech Town’s retail program, has learned so much about running a business from Detroiters; she is immensely proud to operate her business now for Detroiters.

vin“Everything you need to know about us in in our mission: The House of Pure Vin is a signature retail destination and a consumer attraction for wine lovers and future connoisseurs to experience and acquire a taste for Michigan Wine,” Gaines said. “We want people of all experience levels to come in, learn together and experience wine in a relaxed setting.”

Quicken Loans is a presenting sponsor for the event. Dinner sponsors include DTE Energy Foundation and other sponsors include; Detroit Development Fund, Comerica Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Invest Detroit, Mike Morse Law Firm and Radio One.

The evening will consist of a networking reception, buffet dinner, awards ceremony and entertainment. Tickets are available to the public for $35 and can be purchased online at or one of the following Detroit locations: Hot Sam’s Clothier, 127 Monroe, 313-961-6779; Times Square Clothier, 19330 Livernois, 313-342-9005 and All About Technology, 6450 Michigan Avenue, 313-218-4888 and Prince Valley Market at 5931 Michigan Avenue, 313-898-9717.

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