I have never seen a more patriotic business on a summer day. In the clean morning light, the business vibrantly calls for recognition in Detroit. Flags flying, green grass, flowers, and layers of security. “You never know who may just walk right in and try to rob me”. He has permits for multiple guns and rifles easily accessible in the shop.
Advance Steering Column Repair was established to service auto owners and the aftermath of an attempted theft by tearing into the steering column to start the car.
Business has been declining for several years for Michael Yousif. Better automotive theft prevention technology, and a business location on John R Street south of 8 Mile Road, that sends out a strong alarm to many people.
Still Michael struggles to stay in business, repairing steering columns, installs alarms, making new ignition keys.
“You should see the sidewalk and street on Monday morning – needles, condoms, broken liquor bottles”, and general trash await him. And every morning he cleans up again.
To off-set the location perception the shop is immaculate. Everything is organized. Steering wheels with columns are hanging from the interior roof frame. Replacement parts line work area. He takes great pride in his spotless shop.
His tiddy office is quite amazing, complete with a lit shrine.
These values came with Michael when he immigrated from Iraq over 22 years ago. He had brothers established in Detroit. “I never look back, my family’s home for a thousand years is gone, my people are dead or here.”
The oasis on John R is neatly laid out with whole different world behind the street side fence. Michael watches over a graveyard of machines. Property of the landlord. He makes a considerable effort in gardening and neatly trims fruit trees. Fig trees had grown on the property behind his shop, but they did not survive a previous cold winter. A fellow Iraq immigrant had nurtured them. He too is now dead and the property is a mess.
“I love America. I can run my own business. I just need a better location”, he commented. At least he is free, and somewhat safe.