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A business meeting

This trio of women gave artists a safe haven during the pandemic

Join Detroit Means Business every Friday as we highlight women-owned businesses throughout March in honor of Women's History Month.

Right on the corner of Kercheval and Alter Road, you’ll find a quaint shop filled with affordable art for Detroit residents.

Victoria Li recently purchased a home for renovation in the area. As the renovations were underway, her mother, Lillian would walk the neighborhood. On each walk, the same abandoned building would catch her eye. One day, Lillian noticed that the window board was off and spoke with the owner about buying the space. That was the start of Leaf & Blossom. Not many people were looking to open brick-and-mortar shops in the middle of a pandemic.

“Most people thought we were crazy,” Lillian Li said. “We decided we needed to do something. This was a time of need; especially in the art community.”

The mother-daughter duo recruited the help of Maggie Mazzara, a teacher at East Detroit High School and an artist in her own right. The Li's and Mazzara knew firsthand how the pandemic affected the art community in Detroit. With the inability to sell their work at fairs and exhibitions, the women-led team knew they needed to create a space for artists to thrive.

Leaf & Blossom opened its doors to the artisan community in December 2020 with 12 resident artists. Since then, they’ve started a children’s garden in the lot next door, a food pantry, and a book pantry.

“We’ve really tried to become a community-based [storefront] for this area,” Li said.

The trio started the store with their own dollars but plan to obtain grant money for further expansion plans.

Leaf & Blossom is looking for more artists to feature in the store. Artists can visit their website at for more information.

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