Detroit small business risks closing before ever opening

There are only a handful of tea sommeliers in the United States and one of them lives right here in Detroit. Her name is Kimberly Elise and she's the owner of Lily’s & Elise, a teahouse on 7 Mile and Livernois in Detroit. When she bought the space in Feburary of 2020, Elise dreamed of bringing the ultimate tea experience to the Avenue of Fashion, but three weeks later— COVID hit. And now with inflation, she worries that the business will shut down before it ever opens. “I never thought it would take this long or cost this much for me to get open,” Elise says. Elise has poured $270,000 of her own money into the teahouse just so it can stay afloat. She was also hosting fall afternoon tea fundraisers, applying for grants, and doing pop-up shops.