The Suit Depot
(Courtesy of the Suit Depot)

The Suit Depot in Oak Park is behind the #MichiganStrong masks you might be seeing on people around town.

It might be easy to shop with just a single click on Amazon, but why not help Michigan’s economy as much as possible by shopping locally instead? When that’s the united call of many customers, then the impact can be huge.

That’s what’s behind the #MichiganStrong masks you might be seeing on people around town.

Dr. Hazem Smir Moez Hamtramck Medical Group
A Suit Depot employee with a customer who runs an urgent care in Hamtramck. Courtesy of The Suite Depot

The Suit Depot in Oak Park is behind the masks. But according to owner Marty Babayov, it’s not about his company — it’s about the initiative. 

“Everyone’s struggling right now,” Babayov said. “Many small businesses had merchandise that went stale in the three months they were closed. Our goal is to create a whole culture of supporting each other.”

The Suit Depot made 2,500 simple black masks with the #MichiganStrong hashtag. They donated 500 to Macomb County, 500 to Oakland County and another 500 to the city of Oak Park. Anyone can come into The Suit Depot in Oak Park and ask for and receive a free mask. 

Courtesy of The Suite Depot

Small businesses are invited to walk in and pick up masks for their employees, whatever the number. They pose for pictures, masked, and tell The Suit Depot about their business and how they’ve tweaked their services to suit the times. Then the Suit Depot profiles these businesses on all their social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn — and encourages their followers to help spread the word. 

Their goal is for followers to share the posts, with Michiganders turning their resources inwards and supporting local businesses in any way they can. 

Babayov said he used to purchase supplies for his store online but has now started buying them from a local company instead. It might be more expensive, but the knowledge that he’s helping his own community more than makes up for the few dollars he would have saved. 

Babayov recently brought a stack of masks to his sister’s wedding, in case people didn’t come with their own. He noticed that the masks sparked a conversation; he was thrilled to see how enthusiastic people were about the initiative. 

It’s the hope that if everyone’s talking about it and supporting #MichiganStrong, it will benefit everyone in the long run, he said.  

Previous articleRemembering My Brother With Garrett’s Space
Next articleNever Again Action: Inside the Movement, One Year Later