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Michigan, USA – Back in September 2008 Chaldean businessman Sal Yono received devastating news that his Pro-Hardware business on Davison near Dexter was burnt to the ground. The fire completely destroyed the 60 year old hardware store and left a dilapidated neighborhood in even worse condition.
Many of the Detroit residents relied on the business to purchase needed hardware supplies. “We don’t have much in the city and the hardware store was the only place we could get to fix up something in the house,” says customer Gary Harris. “He was an angel. If we didn’t have the money to buy some needed tools he would loan the tools to us for free. We were all upset when we heard the store burned to the ground.”
People in the neighborhood were shocked to learn Yono would rebuild as more and more residents and businesses were fleeing the city. Residents cheered when the hardware store re-opened with a million dollar investment by the owner. Many of the people who work at the hardware store can walk to work. The $1 million investment raised more than a few eyebrows in an area where abandoned and boarded up homes dot the landscape.
The bureaucratic nightmare also made it difficult for Yono, but the businessman was committed to keeping his business in the neighborhood. Yono says he and his family is an integral part of the community and refused to turn his back on his friends and loyal customers. “We will have plenty of business, including many people who grew up in the neighborhood and moved away come back to the store to shop.”
The city’s anti-small business atmosphere has driven more and more business out of the city. “I feel sorry for the business owners. They work long hours, get harassed by almost everyone, and barely make enough to survive. Then they burn the poor mans store down. He is an angel to stay,” says Harris.
Detroit’s ongoing government corruption accounts, deplorable school situation, and increasing crime have left many business owners looking for a way out of the city. “I understand why businesses don’t stay or open up in the city. I don’t blame them when they leave. If we want to keep them here we have to treat them right,” Harris added. “That is why it is such a big surprise to all of us that the hardware store has reopened.”