Crowdfunding helps to restore Red’s Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor as community hub in North End

What it is: Work to restore the historic Red’s Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor and re-establish the building as a community hub for the city’s North End neighborhood has been underway for at least a few years now. The organization responsible for the project, Northend Christian CDC (NECCDC), could receive a major fundraising boost by way of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which has promised a $50,000 matching grant to NECCDC should the organization successfully complete a $50,000 crowdfunding campaign.

A cultural touchstone: Red’s Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor first opened on Oakland Avenue in 1949 and became a cultural touchstone of the predominantly Black neighborhood. Doubling as a speakeasy, Red’s stage has hosted an impressive group of legendary Detroit artists over the years, including Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and more.

[Read more about the history of Red’s Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor on Model D.]

What’s next: NECCDC is restoring the historic landmark as a community asset, renovating the space to become the brick-and-mortar home of Black Bottom Garden Center, a worker-owned cooperative founded by four local Black women. Also planned is the construction of a food and arts incubator, outdoor venue, outdoor stage, and more.

How you can help: Red’s Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor is currently taking part in the Public Spaces Community Places program, the placemaking initiative from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). If the NECCDC successfully raises $50,000 by Tuesday, Sept. 28, the MEDC will contribute an additional $50,000 to the project.

The crowdfunding campaign is being hosted by the Michigan-based Patronicity platform, which can be viewed online. As of presstime, the campaign has raised $44,750 of its $50,000 goal.

What they’re saying: “The matching grant funds will support our goal in securing our future brick and mortar location for the Black Bottom Garden Center and will expand our public space. We look forward to being part of the rejuvenation of the Oakland Avenue business corridor,” says Djenaba Ali, co-op owner of the Black Bottom Garden Center.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.