In these videos below, Bankrupting America profiles three different Detroit businesses and their hardworking owners. Listen to the stories of their businesses, the challenges they face every day from a dysfunctional city government, and their thoughts on the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings.
Part One – The Past
We first interviewed Hector Sossi, the long-time owner of Roma Cafe, and his daughter Janet Sossi Belcoure, who currently manages the business.
Roma Cafe is Michigan’s oldest, continuously run restaurant and is located in Detroit’s Eastern Market, a historic farmers’ market in the city that’s been feeding Detroiters since 1891.
Part Two – The Present
In our second video, we talked to Percell Jordan, who runs his own barbershop, Percell’s Extraordinary Cuts, on Morang St. on the east side of Detroit.
Percell told us about how he first started cutting friends’ hair on his front porch as a boy and eventually saved up enough money to open his own barbershop.
He shared his struggles with the city’s bureaucracy, when he wasted a day going floor to floor in city hall trying to find the right department to get details to purchase the building where his barbershop is located.
Part Three – The Future
In our final video, we spoke with Austin Black, a young realtor who runs the real estate firm City Living Detroit based in midtown.
Austin told us about how he first became interested in architecture growing up amidst the beautiful Art Deco skyscrapers of Detroit.
He told us how the city’s bankruptcy has impacted the real estate market in the city, and the need to lower Detroit’s sky-high property taxes to make the cost of living in the city comparable to the suburbs.
But there’s a repopulation happening in parts of the city, Austin explained. People are moving back into some Detroit neighborhoods, and businesses are coming with them. Austin noted that other cities across America are facing similarly tall mountains of debt. So what happens with Detroit’s bankruptcy could be a model for other municipalities.