10 Worst Kept Secrets about Detroit Grocers

degc-detroit- growth-update_july_2016-Detroit Green Grocers

Detroit’s grocery options are rapidly increasing and expanding. It’s no secret that the foodie market here in the city is prominent as well.

Ensuring that grocers and Detroiters have the resources they need is the DEGC initiative “Green Grocer Project.” The initiative advocates for grocers in the city of Detroit, ensuring that citizens have access to fresh, nutritious food options. The program has helped create competitive, sustainable grocery offerings in Detroit while improving fresh food offerings for residents.

We’d like to share some of the “worst kept secrets about Detroit grocers” to celebrate all the incredible offerings here in the city.

  1. Bakery items – Prince Valley: This store has been in operation for more than 40 years. The store bakes more than 80 different items daily, including tortillas. Their bakery also has a wide variety of party cakes and makes wedding cakes to order.
    • 5931 Michigan Avenue Detroit, MI 48210
  2. Marinated Meats – E&L Supermercado: This store has been in existence for 70 years, originally beginning as a meat market before expanding into a full grocery store. However, meats are still the specialty and there are more than 25 marinated meat choices in E&L’s meat department. Five butchers on staff to ensure the best cuts at the 80-foot-long meat counter.
    • 6000 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
  3. Guacamole – Honey Bee Market: The variety of produce ranges from avocados to cactus at Honey Bee but they are perhaps best known for their guacamole. When you first walk into the store there are free tortilla chip, salsa and guacamole to sample.
    • 2443 Bagley Ave, Detroit, MI 48216
  4. Downtown Access – City Market: This is the only full-service downtown store in Detroit. There are a variety of products in the 6,000-square-foot space, including many Michigan products. Chicken pot pies with all Michigan ingredients are made fresh daily. The store was voted best specialty food store by Metro Times.
    • 575 Brush St, Detroit, MI 48226
  5. Middle Eastern Sandwiches – Imperial Fresh Market, formerly Banner Supermarket has undergone a $6 Million renovation and expansion and will soon be branding their three other Detroit locations as Imperial stores. Imperial Fresh market has large meat, produce and dairy departments and a 2,500 sq. ft. deli where they make incredible chicken and beef shawarma sandwiches every day.
    • 14424 Schaefer Hwy, Detroit, MI 48227
  6. Fresh Vegetables – Del Pointe Foods: If you’re a vegetarian (or just a vegetable lover) Del Pointe is where you need to go. Fresh vegetables from greens to squash and more are available and prepared every day.
    • 16700 Harper Ave, Detroit, MI 48224
  7. Exceptional Produce – Parkway Foods: Parkway offers over 400 varieties of fresh produce including organic produce and herbs. When produce is in season, the majority is sourced locally from Detroit and Michigan. There is plenty to choose from in this newly renovated store which has $5 million worth of renovations. Parkway Foods also has an in-store florist.
    • 11250 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48214
  8. Seafood – Grand Price: This store increased its size by 40 percent to accommodate larger produce, seafood, meat and frozen food sections. The seafood section has unique products including more than 30 varieties of fresh fish, lobster and shrimp. You can even find frog legs here.
    • 12955 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48227
  9. Chicken and Ribs for dinner – Royal Fresh Market: Royal Fresh Market has undergone extensive interior renovations and recently celebrated their grand re-opening. Their specialty tasty chicken and ribs are available daily in their prepared foods section.
    • 18551 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223
  10. Accessible Shuttle Service – University Foods: This store is dedicated to ensuring that Detroiters can get fresh food. Customers within a three-mile radius of the store location can call 313-833-0815 and get free transportation to and from University Foods to do their shopping.
    • 1131 W Warren Ave, Detroit, MI, 48201

For more information about Detroit grocers and DEGC’s Green Grocer Project please visit http://www.degc.org/businesses/green-grocer-project.

Mimi Pledl

Senior Business Development Manager

Green Grocer Project Profile: Royal Fresh Market

degc-detroit- growth-update_june_2016 royalfreshmarket

Yet another Detroit-based grocery store has completed extensive renovations, putting the falsely described “Detroit as a food desert” myth to shame.

Royal Fresh Market’s $2.5 million total investment, including about $1 million in renovations, is one of the largest in the northwest Detroit grocer community to date. Renovations include new refrigeration cases, flooring and shelving – all purchased through Michigan businesses.

Co-owners Mark Zaitona and Ken Koester began the re-naming and renovation process of the 25,000 sq. ft. store in September 2014. Plans of a remodel and official name change occurred in the following months, and a decision was made to begin renovations in July 2015. They were completed in April 2016. Employees from the former store have remained with Royal Fresh Market and plans for hiring in the future are to be determined.

“We knew after purchasing the former Metro Foodland, some serious changes needed to be made to revitalize this ‘tired’ business,” Zaitona said. “We believe our goal of offering our customers a better shopping experience in a clean, modern environment while providing healthy, nutritious products has truly come to life with Royal Fresh Market.”

“All of this was made possible because of the great neighborhood in which we’re located and with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s support,” said Zaitona. “Everyone at DEGC was helpful and guided us to the right organizations to push this renovation forward. Both Ken and I hope our story shows that success like ours can be done in Detroit.”

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Green Grocer Project supports Detroit’s grocery economy through technical assistance, facade improvements and financing. The Green Grocer Project coordinated energy-efficient equipment rebates with DTE Energy and Local Incentives Support Corporation (LISC) financing.

“Royal Fresh Market has made a substantial investment in the northwest Detroit neighborhood,” Green Grocer Project Program Manager Mimi Pledl said. “The store is a beacon for this community, as all grocery stores should be.”

Royal Fresh is also exploring additional investments options in improving the store’s parking lot.


Mariangela (Mimi) Pledl

Green Grocer Project Program Manager

Green Grocer Project Profile: Garden Fresh Supermarket

degc-growth-update-_0002_02-Green Grocer Garden Fresh

When the Matty family first walked into Garden Fresh’s predecessor, a small liquor store, there was some serious improvements needed before it could be a full-service supermarket. “My father walked around what was the liquor store at the time, inspecting the place,” Azher said. “Then, he looked up to the ceiling and the rest was history.” Covered by industrial tiles was a fully-functional, clean ceiling. Azher said that his father was completely sold on its beauty and purchased the building.

“The building directly next to ours was formerly a drug rehabilitation center, then abandoned,” Garden Fresh Co-owner Azher Matty said. “We purchased the building, knocked it down and was able to expand our store.”

The Matty family, with support from the Green Grocer Project, was able to make interior and exterior renovations, estimated at $180,000 total. Interior improvements included a substantial addition to the west portion of the building and a new bakery was installed.

The bakery has been a popular addition to Garden Fresh. The employees enjoy the fresh treats as much as the customers. “We are constantly baking new things each day, and the smells are pretty persuasive,” said Azher. “I have to try it once it’s out of the oven.” The owners completed the bakery section with other new equipment, cedar wood shelving and cases for baked goods.

Looking outside, Garden Fresh sports a, well, “fresh” new look. The exterior’s walls were re-painted, the parking lot was resurfaced, and new awnings were added above the windows. “What’s great is that now with our improvements completed, we’re seeing more development in the surrounding area,” Matty said. “A restaurant and salon in our neighborhood will be opening soon.”

Azher said he is very pleased with all the work the Green Grocer Project has not only done for his store, but for other grocers in Detroit. “Without the support of the Green Grocer Project, our renovations would not have been possible,” Azher said. “All the talk has always been about how Detroit is a food desert, and, in reality, anyone who knows Detroit knows it not true.”

A grocery store is, as some Detroiters call it, “a beacon of the community.” Garden Fresh Supermarket is a great example of that.

Mariangela Pledl
Green Grocer Program Manager

Imperial Fresh Market Celebrates Expansion, New Name

degc-growth-update-_0001_Imperial 1

Imperial Fresh Market, formerly known as Banner Super Store, celebrated its grand reopening and rebranding last month with food samples and store tours for members of the community and civic leaders, including Mayor Mike Duggan.

The $6.2 million investment to expand Imperial is the largest to date by an independent Detroit grocer. It is also the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) Green Grocer Project’s biggest project to date for an independent store. The expansion doubled the size of the store to 40,000 square feet, as well as added a deli and a café. Fifty new jobs were created as a result of the expansion, doubling Imperial’s staff.

“When you look around this store you see the kind of quality and choices Detroiters deserve,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This project demonstrates what we can do in neighborhoods across our city when we make a strong commitment to small businesses. The community is getting more healthy food choices and 50 new jobs. That’s a big win for our neighborhoods and for Detroit.”

Imperial has served Detroit’s west side for more than 20 years – and is an excellent example of a grocer that provides nutritious options in Detroit, which is crucial to the city’s revitalization.

DEGC’s Green Grocer Project supports Detroit’s grocery economy through technical assistance, facade improvements and financing. The Green Grocer Project coordinated technical assistance and financing for Imperial Fresh Market as the Shina family invested $6.2 million in the expansion of their store at Lyndon and Schaefer. With Capital Impact Partners as the lead, JPMorgan Chase, Invest Detroit and the WK Kellogg Foundation comprise the financing partners. This project also received multi-million dollar New Markets Tax Credit financing from Capital Impact, a very significant incentive for an independent grocer in Detroit.

“Our family is proud to be part of the revitalization of the city,” said Sam Shina, co-owner of Imperial Market Fresh. “We expanded and renovated this store to bring the best market to the neighborhood. It is about our customers; we want them to be proud of their neighborhood store. We are grateful for the partners who were instrumental in making this happen including DEGC, JPMorgan Chase and Capital Impact.”

Imperial is located at 14424 Schaefer Highway in Detroit. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Mariangela Pledl
Senior Business Development Manager

Grocery Crawl Draws Community Crowd, Highlights Southwest Detroit Grocers

Grocery Crawl draws community crowd, highlights southwest Detroit grocers

One thing’s for sure – Detroit is no food desert.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Green Grocer Project sponsored a grocery crawl on November 14, highlighting four of the many grocery stores in southwest Detroit. Over 40 people toured the local stores, experienced fresh food samples and culture, and listened to presentations by managers.

Garden Fresh Marketplace, E&L Supermercado, Honey Bee Market and Prince Valley Supermarket, all stops on the crawl, received financial support and technical assistance to make store improvements as part of the Green Grocer Project. Other grocers in the community have received grants to make investments, including extensive façade improvements, to their stores. The program is primarily funded by the Kresge Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and through additional support for special projects by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other sources.

Another program funded through the Green Grocer Project includes the “We’ve Got the Goods” healthy eating initiative which deploys youth food ambassadors, aged 18-24, to engage the community by visiting local grocery stores. Information for customers is made available about nutrition through recipes, cooking demonstrations and tastings. “We’ve Got the Goods” ambassadors were on site at all of the crawl stops where attendees heard more about the initiative.

For more information about the Green Grocer Project, visit www.degc.org/businesses/green-grocer-project.

Mariangela “Mimi” Pledl
Green Grocer Program Manager