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