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.
Green Grocer Program Manager