Shirley Ross-Banks grew up in here little corner of Detroit's West Side near Renaissance High School, made it her home and based her janitorial business there. Now she is reinventing one of the community's hubs, The Friss Center, into a space for entertainment, education and entrepreneurship.
"This building used to be a neighborhood service building and I want it to continue as that," says Ross-Brooks, owner of The Friss Center
The Friss Center
is a 12,000 square foot, multi-use building at the corner of West McNichols and Hubbell Street. The one-story structure was built in the mid-20th Century but Ross-Brooks bought it in October 2010. Back then her business had recently lost a janitorial contract because her employees weren't properly trained. She bought The Friss Center partly as a place for workforce training for her employees and to help create a destination in her neighborhood.
"My dream is to have a nice place where people can have their events, like birthdays and bridal showers, here," Ross-Brooks says. "A place that is just as nice as anywhere in the suburbs."
Today The Friss Center hosts dance classes, conference rooms for small businesses, two churches and is working to complete a commercial kitchen. Ross-Brooks would like to continue building out the space so more small businesses and entrepreneurs take up residence there, along with a law firm and a notary public.
"I love everybody," Ross-Brooks says. "I want to be part of bringing my neighborhood back up."
Source: Shirley Ross-Brooks, owner of The Friss Center
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com