GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — Greenwood District Studios opened up last year with the hope of bringing laughter to the community, but as they explained in a recent viral Tik Tok, it's been a struggle.
In March, when the owner, who goes by the single name Amaru, got the keys to an abandoned theater next to the Lansing Mall, he had a vision to bring it back to life.
"Greenwood District Studios is our homage to what happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921. Black Wall Street had a district called Greenwood, which was burned down, was a bustling community of black businesses," Amaru said.
But that vision has proved to be difficult. Greenwood posted on Tik Tok that they were having hard times. The video attracted more than 13,000 likes and over 500 comments.
"The plan was to open up a drive-in during the summer. And we got approved by the Planning Commission and then the [Delta Township] board denied it. So that really hurt us in regards to bringing in revenue," Amaru explained.
He said between COVID and having the drive-in plan denied, they've been playing catch up.
They've had to figure out other sources of revenue, like creating spaces for photographers and filmmakers to rent, starting an acting class, and continuing to put on their Funny Is Funny Comedy Club.
Kathy Wolfe is a volunteer at theater and says it pains her to see it struggling.
"I think the number one reason people are not supporting it is they don't know about it. Amaru started that on a shoestring and does not have the funds to do the advertising that needs to be done for them to become known," Wolfe said.
If you're interested in supporting the business, spread the word, attend a show, or donate to their GoFundMe.
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