All that jazz on the Avenue of Fashion

Photo credit: Brianna Williams

The much-anticipated Jazz on the Ave music, fashion, fun and food festival, a summer season highlight, again surpassed the expectations of organizers and patrons of the historic shopping district, with throngs of residents strolling the Avenue, shopping for deals on mostly one-of-a-kind works of art, ethnic fashion boutiques with men, women’s and children’s apparel and designer home goods.

The annual event on Livernois Avenue between Seven and Eight mile roads originated as a day for entrepreneurs and business owners to show customers appreciation by offering deals and special giveaways for their support and patronage. Lined with fantastic eateries including the Kuzzo’s Restaurant, American Bistro, the International Avenue Café and most recently Bucharest Grill, the Avenue of Fashion is once again becoming a shopping destination for locals and residents around the city.

Having fallen on hard times during Detroit’s economic downturn that caused many businesses — many of which were black-owned in the popular retail mecca — to close while a handful struggled to keep their doors open, the Avenue of Fashion’s comeback is an encouraging tale, but is fraught with some misgivings and tension between business owners and city officials.

“One of the main issues is the lack of cooperation we get from the city for events like this. [The Avenue of Fashion Business Association] always has good deal of difficulty getting the street closed down to accommodate the celebration and the celebrants for the safety and attendees,” said Brianna Williams, owner of dcreated boutique, a children’s apparel ad gift store. “But next month there is going to be a classic car show on the Avenue held by the police and they had no problems getting the streets blocked off,” says Williams. “Why is the business association constantly denied?”

But Williams adds that the tension between business owners and politicians downtown runs…

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