A closed sign hung outside Michael’s Meat and Deli on the Danforth yesterday.

But inside bright lights were on, music played and almost a dozen people, dressed in overalls, worked through the day to give the store a complete makeover.

Some painted the walls — changing a dowdy grey to an inviting peach — others moved wood cabinets to make the store look spacious and yet others mopped the tiled floor.

The project is the first time Danforth East residents have taken gentrification into their own hands. They’ve teamed up with a store owner to renovate and rebrand the business — in the process also overhauling the neighbourhood.

Usually, local business improvement groups do storefront improvement projects using city money. In this case, the year-old business group did not qualify for help, so residents initiated the project.

The idea was floated a few months ago after members heard about Parkdale stores undergoing similar renovations.

“They got money from the city, but we couldn’t so we decided to pull together resources and help a store (that) wanted a new look,” said an excited Ellen Long, who lives in the neighbourhood.

The result will be unveiled today: As well as a new look, the deli has been renamed The Plank Road Market in honour of the company that built the area.