The Harper Woods Neighborhood Economic Development Coalition is highlighting local businesses such as Rex’s Deli, pictured, to help them during an economically difficult time.

The Harper Woods Neighborhood Economic Development Coalition is highlighting local businesses such as Rex’s Deli, pictured, to help them during an economically difficult time.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Harper Woods hoping to give local businesses a boost

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published December 19, 2020

HARPER WOODS — The Harper Woods Neighborhood Economic Development Coalition is trying to foster local businesses by highlighting them in a new social media campaign.

The goal is to improve patronage at local businesses in Harper Woods by showing residents what is available right in their community.

“We kicked off this push on Small Business Saturday by showing off these businesses on Facebook,” explained Harper Woods City Councilwoman Ernestine Lyons. “This will let people have some virtual interaction with these businesses.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on hard times for many businesses, particularly small local businesses. NEDC members including Lyons said this has made it all the more important to help support the local economy and ensure that businesses get traffic and the local residents who work at them can remain employed.

“When I ran for office, I wanted to incentivize homegrown talent and encourage small business growth in Harper Woods,” she said.

With the holiday season in full swing, the hope is that greater awareness will increase support for local stores, restaurants and other services.

“There is an NEDC site set up to showcase all of this. The various committees of the organization are putting businesses front and center, and the Facebook page is telling stories of some of these businesses,” said Lyons. “We want people to get to know the small businesses in this area so we can all do our part to shop small and buy local.”

Several local businesses have voiced their appreciation for the extra attention.

“I think it’s great for any business to get highlighted like this,” said Washington Youson, the owner of 7 to 7 Cleaners in Harper Woods. “Especially now that we’re in COVID, it’s very important. I’m not sure we’re seeing a big improvement. It’s a tough time for cleaners, since a lot of people aren’t going into the office, so they have less clothes they need to go out and get washed every week.”

Lisa Ruggirello, the vice president of Harper Woods’ Exway Electric, said they were happy to get support like this.

“We were very appreciative of being included,” she said. “It’s hard to say whether we’ve seen a difference in our business. It was very nice to be highlighted. We’ve been around such a long time, most people who live in the area already know who we are, but it’s nice to know that people new to the neighborhood are getting to know us.”

Beverly Bright, the owner of Beverly’s Bright Creations, one of the highlighted businesses, said she has seen improved foot traffic since being highlighted.

“We have seen an improvement in our business since we just moved to Eastland Mall in November,” she said. “We had a customer base before that, but this has brought new people in.”

She added that having city officials take an interest in the health of local businesses such as hers makes a difference.

“They highlighted us online. We did a ribbon-cutting and the mayor took part,” said Bright. “They do a lot of little things. They have helped and brought people into the store. Customers tell us where they hear about us, and many have said it was because of the economic coalition.”

More information can be found at www.harperwoodsnedc.com.