Detroit has grocery stores!

James Griffioen's "Yes There Are Grocery Stores in Detroit" is a look at the oft-repeated "truth" that "Detroit has no grocery stores." Griffioen points out that while there aren't any national chains in the USA's 11th-largest city, there is a large regional chain, several good independent stores, and at least one fantastic local, community-oriented store:
What surprises most people who've heard that there are no grocery stores in Detroit is that there are actually independent stores far more appealing than any chain. One of the nicest grocery stores in Detroit is Honeybee La Colmena (I wrote an extensive profile about the store here). Honeybee is owned and operated by individuals who grew up and still live in the neighborhood where the store is located and they have created dozens of jobs for their neighbors. Honeybee has some of the best produce and prepared foods in the metro area, and it is actually a Detroit supermarket where people from the suburbs come into the city to shop.

In addition to Honeybee, Southwest Detroit is also served by several other excellent Supermercados, including E & L, La Fiesta Market, Gigante Prince, Ryan's, and dozens of smaller mom-and-pop grocery stores. The far east side has Joe Randazzo's Produce Market for extremely affordable produce, and the far westside has Metro Foodland, a fine independent supermarket serving Rosedale and Grandmont for more than 25 years. An individual recently purchased a vacant storefront in the middle class neighborhood of Lafayette Park (where I live) and plans to open a full-service supermarket there this Spring. He's bullish on its prospects despite another supermarket operating three blocks down the road and the neighborhood's close proximity to Eastern Market. A family that's been in the Detroit grocery business since the 1950s is reopening their Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe on Woodward Avenue in a new Midtown location this year, complimenting the offerings at Kim's Produce just down the road, as well as Goodwells Natural Foods a few blocks over.

Griffioen admits that many of the areas of the city are un- or underserved and living in "food poverty", but wants the press to focus on the innovative solutions the community has come up with to remedy this, like a church-owned ice-cream truck full of fresh produce.

Yes There Are Grocery Stores in Detroit (via Making Light)



  1. Randazzo’s is fantastic—I haven’t been to the one in the city but in the burbs you can get limes 10 for a dollar and such, much better than the prices where I live now.

    1. Absolutely. Boingboing has had it’s share of posts of our abandoned buildings. It’s nice to remind everyone that we have just shy of a million people living here too.

  2. Considering how cheap Detroit real estate and labor are now I’d be surprised if Kroger didn’t come back and open stores soon. The suburbs are just flat covered up with Krogers and they do a good business.

    1. I’d sooner expect to see Aldi or Save A Lot. Ideally a Metro chain like Hiller’s would pioneer a move in. They go out of their way to carry made in Michigan products.

      1. As it happens, Meijer wins the race, or at least should given an announcement back in September of 09 to build at 8 Mile and Woodward. Haven’t really heard anything about it since then, but that can be typical with these kinds of projects.

        1. Color me unimpressed until they build a store near Wayne State. 8 & Woodward is called Ferndale if you happen to be on the north side of the intersection.

          Hey, what gives? The target opening date isn’t until 2012. Meijer can’t do better than 3 years from plan to store opening? Aldi pulled it off in A2 in just over a year.

          1. I would be less impressed if any other big chain was even close to 8 Mile, much less on the south side of it. But, they’re not. Certainly not Wal-Mart. They can barely get closer than 12 Mile and Gratiot. I remember in the 80s and 90s, that even as close as 10 Mile had started to seem risky, and my family was part of a flight away, out of East Detroit, Warren, and Harper Woods toward Northern Macomb and beyond.

            I’ll take my encouraging signs where I can get them. And if it’s Meijer dipping a dainty toe in the water (when no one else will even walk on the beach), then kudos to them.

          2. I’m shuddering at the thought of inflicting a Walmart on Detroit, or anywhere else on earth for that matter. It sounds like your family won’t settle until they get to Port Austin. I like Lake Huron, it’s my favorite Great Lake. It reminds me of the Caribean (at least when it’s hot out).

            A tiny bit of digging reveals that Spartan affiliates have multiple locations in the city proper, but not on the NW side.

  3. It’s a terrific article, and well worth reading or at least skimming if you’re interested in the Detroit phenomenon.

    It’s also worth noting some of the concerns raised in the comments on the article, including the actual accessibility of the featured stores to low income people, given the state of Detroit’s public transit system and car ownership rates.

    As commenter Marc C. puts it:

    “Food quality remains in an shockingly inverse relationship to its accessibility for the most vulnerable percentages of Detroit’s 800,000 people.”

  4. “Detroit has no grocery stores.”? I have never heard such a thing, and I grew up on the border of Detroit.

  5. i’m continually dismayed when people are surprised at the quality of food and service offered at regional chains or smaller operations.

    i cringe when i am forced to go to fred meyer or price chopper back east. thankfully we have the phenomenal “new seasons” here in portland.

  6. A few of the locations mentioned in the article are not inside the Detroit City Limits.

    Try getting “lost” driving around in Detroit. Count the grocery (or party) stores you see that are not abandoned and or burned out.

  7. Oh, my family has already spread to the winds. Chicago, Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Novi. But my brother did start a custom software development company downtown. But we do love Lake Huron and spent some time on the north side of it this summer.

    And yeah, I don’t think Meijer really invests in a new store without making sure they’re not in the midst of heavy competition with another chain or affiliate operation.

  8. Good to know there are grocery stores in Detroit… didn’t know it was thought otherwise, and I honestly kind of assumed they did… so I guess… it’s good they do?

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