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Startup Will Offer Shuttles to Happy Hours at Detroit’s Black-Owned Restaurants and Bars

The Soulcial Scene wants to be your designated driver

The Block
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

With more than 47,000 minority owned businesses according to the most recent census, Detroit is one of the leading cities in the country for minority ownership. Of those companies, many are restaurants, bars, and food-related businesses. Now a local startup is trying to show off and support some of those black-owned dining spots.

Per a release, The Soulcial Scene, is developing a new shuttle service to provide area residents and workers with social events connected minority-operated business in Detroit including happy hours. “Our goal is to use black-owned business growth as a tool to provide resources and job opportunities for black families, which we believe is the key to community transformation,” says founder Damion Ellis, a former finance executive with General Motors.

Soulcial Scene plans to offer the shuttle service to events hosted from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the first week of every month. A representative tells Eater that Soulcial has, so far, partnered with The Block Restaurant, They Say, Savannah Blue and BB Butcher, and is working on finalizing agreements with other restaurants around the city. The company hopes to pilot the service in Detroit but eventually grow into markets across the country, such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

According to recent estimates, Michigan’s unemployment rate for black residents hovers around 11.6 percent, more than twice the rate of white residents. Additionally, based on data gathered by Equant, an economic consulting and urban planning company, black business owners are also far more likely to employ black staff than non-black operators.

While The Soulcial Scene is preparing for a launch in 2017, the group is still raising funding for its project and has launched a $15,000 GoFundMe. In the meantime, the company is hosting an upcoming event at Dime Store in downtown Detroit from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 15. Tickets are $60 with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Prime Youth Program, a non-profit that supports Detroit youth athletics.

Update, 11/15, 1:04 p.m.: This article has been updated with more information about Soulcial Scene’s operations and partnerships.

The Soulcial Scene Website [Official]