Detroit Entrepreneur Raphael Wright Seeks to Open Black-Owned Grocery Store

Although the city of Detroit is experiencing an electrifying period of urban revitalization, many residents believe that the city’s economic renaissance has yet to reach the neighborhoods outside of the downtown and midtown areas. Raphael Wright is looking to help change that.

Wright, 28, is a local entrepreneur and investor from Detroit. He is the founder of Urban Plug L3C, an organization designed to build wealth within Detroit’s inner city through creating group investing platforms.

Wright is looking to take on his biggest venture yet: opening a black-owned grocery store on Detroit’s east side.

“I’m still in Detroit. So I walk outside, I still see so many people struggling, particularly in the African-American community, so much poverty and no real accumulation of wealth in the inner cities,” Wright told HuffPost of the city, which is over 80 percent black. “It’s a graveyard. We want to introduce group investing to the black community in the inner city.”

Wright and his partner, Theo Easter, decided to take matters into their own hands. “Our goal is to build up the inner city, particularly among our minority population,” Wright said. “But at this same time, we want to tackle social issues inside the community as well.”

One of the social issues they want to tackle is community wellness. Wright was diagnosed as diabetic at the age of 19.

“We both had a passion toward food and health. We both decided to help tackle the problem of food deserts in the inner city, so we wanted to create a grocery store,” Wright said. “For one, we wanted to provide high quality food in the inner city but wanted to also introduce our group investment platform through this venture.”

Although Detroit’s status as a “food desert” is highly debated, it is difficult for the average resident without a car to get to a grocery store, due to issues of crime or lack of public transportation. Studies have found that food accessibility and the difficulty to obtain food is a serious problem in Detroit.

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Source: Black Voices | Philip Lewis