A Detroit donut shop launched in honor of J Dilla and ran by his uncle will remain open, thanks to the kindness of strangers. On Dec. 22, Dilla’s uncle, Herman Hayes, launched a GoFundMe campaign in support of his restaurant, Dilla’s Delights. The prolific producer passed away in 2006 and Hayes opened the shop in 2016 to remember his nephew and continue his legacy for Dilla’s two daughters.
“It was in [Dilla’s] honor that I opened Dilla’s Delights, a donut shop in downtown Detroit honoring the legacy of my nephew, an homage to the last record he made during his lifetime,” Hayes wrote on GoFundMe.
With the campaign, Hayes asked for $15,000, which would go to “update, repair and replace equipment used heavily for four years.”
“The cost of transporting product, insurance, rent and permits for both retail and production locations has taken a toll on our ability to [make] a profit,” Hayes said. “We are in negotiations with properties for a larger space to produce and sell our donuts and merchandise with room for seating and a museum.”
Besides hefty costs, Hayes’ heath had also become a challenge, as he is currently recovering from cancer.
“Due to my recent surgery, we reduced our hours and closed the shop for more than a month,” he wrote. “Some of the immediate contributions I hope to receive here will help with accounts receivable that are behind or past due.
The local and virtual GoFundMe community came through and donated $16,394. The contributions will not only help maintain Dilla’s Donuts, but help Hayes to expand it into “a historical landmark and Detroit tourist attraction.”
Dilla’s Delights is named for Dilla’s two daughter, which Hayes says were the producer’s “delights of his life.”
“Our goal is to set these heirs for business prosperity, bring a positive outlook to their dad’s legacy, and host an enjoyable sphere in the city J Dilla loved and called home,” he wrote.