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Meet District 6 Business Liaison Perla Hernandez

Updated: Sep 7



Perla Hernandez is a native Detroiter and represents the residents and business owners of District 6. District 6 is believed to be one of Detroit’s most diverse and culturally rich areas, as it is home to the Southwest, Corktown and Midtown neighborhoods. You can contact Perla for expert advice on how to grow your business at phernandez@degc.org.


Detroit Means Business

Perla, can you start by telling me what brought you to be a District Business Liaison and how long you've been with the DEGC?


Perla Hernandez

I was told about this job by a friend actually. They thought I had a good personality to do the work we're doing, like helping out the community and reaching out to different people. So they told me to give it a try and here I am, a year later.


DMB

Perfect, well, happy anniversary. So you started during the touch-and-go part of the COVID-19 pandemic. We're still dealing with COVID, but it's not as bad as in 2020. Tell me a little about that learning curve you experienced jumping into this new position where you need to be out and meet the people, but we still have to do things like social distancing and safety precautions.


Perla Hernandez

I think it was a little bit harder, but at the same time, it made it easier for me. Harder because I had to wear the mask and some of the restaurants had different safety protocols still in place. Some of the stores weren't open completely. Some people were doing remote stuff or online shopping only. So it was hard to know who do I go to that was open. How do I check for it? Where is it online? So it was hard to get in contact with people that way because of the pandemic.


DMB

What is your favorite part about being a DBL?


Perla Hernandez

The team is my favorite part. We all support each other so much, and there's always something that we're working on and fighting toward for the businesses. You know, we're always trying to advocate for them and to make sure that we're the voice for the businesses that can't be heard. And then the second favorite thing is just getting to know the new restaurants. I've lived in Detroit my whole life, and there are still places I've never visited, so I like having to put myself out there even more and look for new places to meet and talk to the owners and managers. That makes me want to explore a little bit more, and I'm a big travel person, so I think that's a lot of fun. That's awesome. Yeah, I love when new restaurants open. Yeah. Or just like restaurants that have been there forever, and I didn't even realize it was a restaurant.


DMB

So what is your typical day look like as DBL, if you even have typical days as a DBL?


Perla Hernandez

I don't think there is a typical day because it varies daily. I try to make my week a little bit more structured to where two days out of the week, I'm out in the community trying to either help people that I have been helping or I have cases on. Or I'll try to do some canvassing where I go give my cards out and introduce myself like, "Hey, I'm the DBL. I do this, this and this. If you need help, here's my number," and then I take down their contact info. So some days will just be me driving around and like looking at places that have just opened or places that are closed. I check on places I haven't been to in a minute just to check on everybody. And then other days, I'm on the phone and email and stuck to my desk. So I don't think there's a typical day with it.


DMB

Awesome. What makes you the perfect person to be the District Business Liaison for District 6?


Perla Hernandez

I don't think I'm the perfect person for it, but I'm working towards breaking down language barriers for the districts. It's a huge Hispanic population in southwest Detroit and District Six, and I speak Spanish. So I'm hoping that because I speak Spanish, I can better understand the struggles people go through when they're trying to apply for different things. And I want to make sure that they know that going forward, they have someone they can reach out to. Or in the future, if I'm not here anymore, then we have already established a process for people to translate things or have things translated because now it's not a second thought. Now, it's automatically something that gets done from the beginning. I think that's important because when people are trying to start up a new business, it's important for them to understand what they're signing up for and have someone there to talk to them about it.


DMB

I'm glad you have the foresight on that and you're working on getting that language barrier taken down because it's very hard. We have so many hardworking people who want to start businesses, but they can't because we're not meeting them where they are. So thank you for pushing that goal line a little closer to our people in District Six.


DMB

Tell me about the makeup of your district. Whether that's what type of businesses are there or what kind of people populate that particular district?


Perla Hernandez

Well, it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, districts. It's very diverse, like a melting pot, because we have a little bit of everything. There's like Asian food; there’s Mediterranean food, there's Mexican food. There's black-owned businesses; there’s soul food. There are so many restaurants that you can try in just District Six. And then besides that, we have so many stores you can go to. There's T-shirt stores; there’s clothing stores; there’s boutiques; there’s spas. You can find anything you are trying to look for in District Six.


DMB

What businesses can you find in District 6?


Perla Hernandez

The restaurants that I like are like La Jalisciense. It's located on Vernor. That's a restaurant and store. You can find a lot of Mexican food there, and it's very popular in the community. There's pink flamingo, it's a vintage/secondhand store, so there's a lot of really good gems that you can find there. And it's very popular as well. The historic Corktown is filled with bars that people recognize, so there's McShane's and Nemo's; those bars are very popular, especially if you've been here for a while. Many seasoned Detroiters go there because they've been in business for so long.


DMB

You mentioned that Southwest Detroit is a huge part of your district, as well as the historic Corktown and parts of Midtown and Downtown. How does serving these very prominent and historic parts of Detroit feel?


Perla Hernandez

Sometimes it feels intimidating because it's such a huge district and no matter how much outreach I do, I feel like I'll never get to every single business. But it feels cool to know that it's one of the most culturally rich areas and I get to sit there every day and meet new people, potentially helping them in some business aspect or even just becoming friends with them. It's cool because sometimes I'll help them with a super simple thing, and they're like, "Oh, my God, I owe you my life." And I'm like, "No, please don't.”



DMB

You now have one year under your belt as a DBL. What are you most looking forward to seeing as you work through your second year?


Perla Hernandez

I want to see more people not be afraid to reach out because there is help for everybody. And I'm looking forward to the many businesses coming, and I want them to open in District Six. I'm not biased, but kind of.


DMB

I mean, you have to be a little biased and rep your district!


Perla Hernandez

I live here, and I work here. So a little bit of both.

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