Detroit’s Empowerment Zone will be the site of
the opening of the first Blimpie Subs & Salads shop in any Empowerment Zone
in the country. It will be dedicated during a grand opening celebration Friday, April
6, 1 p.m. at 13000 East Warren. Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Blimpie
International officials from headquarters in Atlanta, and new franchise owner
Harrien Clark, a former McDonald’s supervisor, will participate in the special event.
The new Blimpie restaurant is the result of a special partnership between
Blimpie management and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development. This partnership—called the Blimpie Urban Initiative for
Leadership Development (BUILD) program—is the first of its kind in franchising
history and is specifically aimed at Empowerment Zones in urban areas where the
chain had no significant presence. Under the terms of this program, normal
franchise fees for new owners are waived and training is provided by One Stop
Capital Shop to help ensure success. One Stop Capital Shops are funded by
Empowerment Zones and the U.S. Small Business Administration to develop
prospective entrepreneurs and foster business development.
The goal of BUILD is to award 200 Blimpie Subs & Salads franchises in
empowerment zones throughout the country. “This is the kind of collaboration that
results in a win-win situation for everyone involved: residents, businesses and
neighborhoods,” said Larry Givens, interim executive director of the Empowerment
Zone. “We welcome Blimpie and appreciate their efforts in fostering economic
development and opportunity for local entrepreneurs and community residents.”
Harrien Clark is among the first of four initial candidates who were awarded
Blimpie franchise licenses in Detroit. Out of nearly 400 candidates, he was
awarded the license, passing stringent reviews and training. “We (he and his wife)
were very ecstatic about (being selected),” said Mr. Clark. According to Lance
Moore, regional director for Blimpie International, this franchise, which opened
last month, has experienced high sales. “It’s a very healthy store and will serve as
the model for all other Empowerment Zone Blimpie locations,” he noted.
Empowerment Zones were designated by the federal government for revitalization
in urban and rural areas throughout the United States. Detroit’s Empowerment
Zone covers an 18.35 square mile area, which traverses the city, and is home to
about 100,000 Detroiters. The Zone is unique in that the $100 million in federal
funds that have been committed to it, have attracted a $7 billion commitment from
the private sector. Detroit’s Empowerment Zone empowers residents by providing them with services that equip
and prepare them for success, such as employability skills training and independent living skills.
For more information about the BUILD project, call Harold Hill, executive director of One Stop Capital Shop at
313-965-1100 and Lance Moore of Blimpie at 678-438-4048 or 770-984-2707. For more information about the
Empowerment Zone, call 313-872-8050, ext. 15.