With a cloud of tragedy still hanging over east downtown Dearborn, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority Administrative Assistant Melissa Kania says it’s mostly business-as-usual for the tight-knit community–including for Sunrise.
The front door stays open and Mrs. Shin–with the help of her daughter and a slew of helpers–continues to sell makeup, jewelry, wigs and hair extensions much like the ones that were stolen the morning of Shin's murder. Every so often, a Dearborn police patrol car rolls by on Schaefer, or stops to make sure everything is OK.
Kania, who has been in a few times since, says that besides the absence of Jay Shin, nothing has changed.
“(EDDDA Clerical Assistant Dee Hamka) and I went to the store two days after, and his wife and daughter were there and it was business as usual,” Kania describes. “It was amazing. But what else can you do? You keep going.”
“Everyone was in very good spirits,” she added. “It was uplifting. She had a lot of extra help in the store.”
Still, the gravity of the situation is not lost on business owners in the busy area. Sunrise is located almost on the corner of Schaefer Road and Michigan Avenue in a strip of small retail shops. Within a one-block radius is Dearborn City Hall, the Arab American National Museum and a bevy of shops, restaurants and nightlife spots.
But Dan Merritt, EDDDA board vice chair and co-owner of Green Brain Comics with his wife Katie, says the murder and robbery hasn’t lessened their pride in the Dearborn community.
“The tragic events of last Tuesday morning have rattled all of us in the east Dearborn business district, though it has eased much of our concern to hear that two of the three suspects have been apprehended,” Merritt says. “Our sincerest appreciation goes out to the fine women and men serving on the Dearborn Police force, and to everyone that has contributed to the apprehension of the suspects thus far.”
Green Brain is one of a few businesses in the strip that keeps its front door open at all times. Others, says Kania, are more cautious.
“Along Michigan Avenue and Schaefer, you’ll find a lot of the front doors are locked. We’re one of them,” she says of the EDDDA’s office, which is located at Michigan Avenue and Maple. “We’re along a bus route and sure, you get some characters walking up and down Michigan.
“Dee and I are two women who are at the office all day by ourselves,” she adds. “We keep that door locked.”
But although safety comes first, Kania adds that they want to promote the area as being a friendly, open community to visitors and shoppers.
“It’s a pro and a con, because we want to promote businesses having their front doors open, but then it’s tough.”
Merritt says he still feels safe, but that the recent murder serves as a reminder to business owners to always be aware of who’s coming into their stores.
“I truly believe that our neighborhood is safe–as safe as any neighborhood can be without giving up some basic freedoms,” he says. “However, we will always be on our guard simply because we are an open business on a major thoroughfare, and that carries with it a responsibility to keep our eyes and ears open–not just for our own sake, but for the best interest of everyone that lives, works and plays in Dearborn.”