Reader responses on black businesses, Arbor Brewing Co, and more 

Alysa Offman's story on black business owners in downtown Detroit, and how some feel left out of the ongoing revival of the Central Business District, generated a bevy of comments. User "eric" posted:

I wished that many of these black business owners would have purchased buildings in downtown and Midtown when they could have brought these buildings for a song. However, it is unfair to people who have sustained downtown and Midtown to be forced out now. I believe that it is wrong to do that after people have invested their life savings into a business and have to max out their credit lines. Now because landlords can raise rent, these renters should be given a credit for their investment in these businesses. A schedule in these business owners' leases should be included that will make the landlord pay the renter back all or part of their investment, if they are booted out after a year or two.

In addition, the landlords should have to be transparent and show what the new renters are paying, to show that they are not forcing out black business owners by charging an excessive amount of rent.

Also, since downtown and Midtown are now considered white, many white business owners do not want a lot of black people around, because they will keep white people away, and this is why many black businesses are being forced out.

User "itiswhatitis" posted:

They should put their money together and buy their own building(s) instead of dealing with people who don't want to deal with them. Control their own destiny and not be at the mercy of people who don't like their skin color. The writing has been on the wall for years and years that this would unfold as it is now.

Jack Lessenberry's column on Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's tenure drew a serious amount of responses, as well. User "jim48043" wrote:

I'll know Duggan is serious when he sacks Gary Brown. The man wouldn't serve as a police lieutenant, took advantage of horrible lawyering and Kwame's futile and desperate attempts to delay humiliation to collect sacks of money the city couldn't afford, was Kevyn Orr's sop to the city (at a salary twice the mayor's), and he's still on the payroll? Why? What good is he?

Tom Perkins' piece on Arbor Brewing Co. also drew much commentary. A commenter named "Former MetroTimes Reader" posted:

This is just an amateur hit piece. Perkins, go back to school and learn something about journalism, you worthless child. You use old awful tropes like "Some labeled ..." and "Others swore ..." without bothering to source any of it. Maybe it was just you, you bitter little turd. You also present only one side of the story, ergo, it's not a story at all. Metro Times editors, I know you don't really exist, but you all must have a boss or an adult or something hidden in an office somewhere counting what's left of your money. Please rein in the animals you have left there. Your imminent failure is showing.

A reader named "Little_Monster" posted:

The more I look into this story, the more I keep thinking of the old saying, "There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." It's just unfortunate that so many different comments here (and especially on Facebook) are leaning a bit too much on Internet rhetoric for there to be any real discussion.

And "Ypsibusinessowner" posted:

I own property and a business in Ypsilanti, so I have been able to observe the Greffs for a long time. The Greffs are neither all good nor all bad. The one thing I will say about them is they know how to play people, politics, and the system to their benefit and sometimes for the common good. I do not necessarily fault them for this. When you have a number of businesses, sometimes you need a profit or a loss for a variety of accounting reasons. What is important is that the investors get paid and that the Greffs' employees are treated fairly. Hopefully the Greffs are not sacrificing their companies' profits with business expenses that are for their personal indulgences over the fair treatment of their employees and paying back the investors.

Thank you, Tom Perkins, for writing this article. The Greffs know, and are friends with, many powerful people in politics and in the media. I appreciate your bringing this story out. I know you and the Metro Times are taking some heat over this. Only tincture of time and the Greffs' actions in the future will resolve this scenario. Hopefully, it will be done honorably. If not, a lot of people here will have their faith broken and be hurt. Your article may prevent that.

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April 14, 2021

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