JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Anthony Gittens says he’s got an entrepreneurial spirit.
“Being of low-income, I’ve had to learn to be a jack of all trades,” said Gittens.
It’s a livelihood that goes back decades to his time living in New York.
“I had to learn how to navigate what hustling was,” said Gittens.
Now Gittens is using that same mindset to open this downtown retail market on Michigan Avenue.
He’s planning to give low-income families the opportunity to use the more than 17,000-square-feet of space to start their own business.
“The idea is to make it as affordable as possible so that they will be able to maintain and grow. If we make it where they can’t afford it then it defeats the whole purpose of what we are trying to do,” said Gittens.
But for Gittens and his family it’s a mission that’s deeply personal. Two years ago, his son Antavier, who was following in his footsteps as an entrepreneur, passed away in a car accident.
“It’s hard to explain the pain that a parent has when they lose their loved one,” he said.
Gittens is hoping this place keeps his son’s memory alive.
“I loved his community entrepreneurship spirit. I just want to keep sharing it and I just want to keep promoting it and I want people to be able to dream bigger than their four-block radius,” he said.
It’s something Gittens daughter, Shiana Gittens, says will bring one thing.
“Opportunity and just to remember him, to believe in yourself and to keep going regardless of what you are going through,” said Shiana Gittens.
The plan is to have room for more than 30 vendors. Gittens says it’s about doing this together.
“Your family and your community that supports you and holds you up it makes his life here a lot easier and the memory of his life a lot easier,” he said.
The space still has some work left, but right now the plan is to open in June. For information on how you can get a spot contact firstname.lastname@example.org