Green Grocer: A fresh food oasis in Northwest Detroit
The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
's Green Grocer program exists to strengthen the over 80 independently-owned full-service grocery stores in the city of Detroit. Each week for the next several weeks, Model D will profile a selection of these stores in neighborhoods throughout the city.
This week we're focusing on the neighborhoods of Northwest Detroit: Grandmont-Rosedale, Rosedale Park, Old Redford, and 7 Mile and Evergreen.
Despite Detroit being a predominantly African American city, James Hooks is its only African American grocer. Hooks owns Metro Foodland
on Grand River Avenue in Grandmont-Rosedale, which has been serving the neighborhood for 28 years now. His store is exceptionally clean and well-organized with a wide variety of products and services.
Metro Foodland customers have access to the store's ATM machine, bill payment services, and copy and faxing services. The store sells lottery tickets, stamps, greeting cards, money orders and money grams, pre-paid debit cards, and reloadable gift cards. They also have a floral department, bakery, and full-service deli with an extensive selection of hot and prepared foods. They sell beer and wine, and also sell halal meats for Muslim customers.
The Metro Bistro and Deli offers a full menu of hot meals with lunch and dinner specials. Items include meatloaf, fried chicken, jerk chicken, catfish fillets, pork ribs, and mac and cheese. They also serve their homemade peach cobbler, banana pudding, and a variety of potato, chicken, and pasta salads. Full-service catering and party trays are also available.
One of the features that really sets Metro Foodland apart is its mindfulness towards healthy eating. The store stocks organic, gluten-free, and low-sodium products. They employ a vegan chef in their bistro. The bistro and deli also has a variety of healthy food options, and there is a section of the store that features healthy recipes presented by the Detroit Communities Against Diabetes. The store has a Healthy Rewards Program that awards points for every healthy purchase made. Customers enrolled in the program accumulate points to receive $10 vouchers, and also get specials on their favorite items and members-only promotions.
Metro Foodland accepts food stamps, EBT, and WIC.
Old Redford Food Center
A year and a half ago Old Redford Food Center was completely renovated on the outside to give it more of a traditional all-brick look. They also updated the interior and raised the roof 11 feet so the store has more of an open, spacious feel with a 22-foot-high ceiling. Owner Steve Atisha, whose family has owned the store for 28 years come this January, says the store has been renovated three times since 1986. They work hard to make sure it is always up-to-date.
This full-service grocery store has a Phar-Mor Pharmacy, Michigan's number one independent pharmacy, and a large variety of products and services. Old Redford Food Center stocks a little of everything to suit all shoppers' needs, including beauty supplies, greeting cards, wrapping paper, socks and pantyhose, and kitchen towels. They check-cashing and bill paying services and sell lottery tickets. Atisha says that their primary focus is on customer service, and they will walk with their elderly customers and assist them throughout the store and even give them a ride home if they need it.
They sell fresh produce, organic products, beer and wine, and have a section of hot and prepared foods as well as an in-house bakery that bakes breads and pies. But their meat department is where they really shine, with one large walls of coolers after another boasting a huge selection of fresh meats including all the standard items but also more unique items like smoked ham chunks and turkey tails; pork neck bones; corned beef, lamb, veal, and beef shortribs; beef tripe; sliced beef liver; Chinese-style pork ribs and beef spareribs; catfish nuggets and Great Lakes white bass.
Apollo Supermarket, located in a large shopping plaza at 7 Mile Rd. and Evergreen, has been in the neighborhood since 1995. Sam Shina and his family have owned it since 2003. The massive 31,000-square-foot store is about to undergo some major renovations in the next six to 12 months that will remake a 3,000-square-foot portion in the front of the store into a hot foods, bakery, deli, and food court. Shina says they are always adding new and unique equipment to the store to better serve their customers.
Apollo offers customer services like check cashing, money orders and money transfers. They also have Coinstar and bottle return machines and a Phar-Mor pharmacy. Shina says they are here to serve their community and will do everything they can to help their customers, such as assisting the senior citizens who live in the senior apartment complex next to the store.
The large store is stuffed to the brim with a variety of products. They have a large section of fresh butcher meats, including beef oxtails and diced beef heart, and frozen seafood. There is a large selection of baked goods, bulk candies, nuts, and dried vegetables, as well as everything you could possibly need for picnics and outdoor barbecues. They carry beer and wine. They also feature international selections highlighting Mexican and Chinese food items. But where Apollo really stands out is in their robust produce selection featuring the freshest fruits as well as a floral section with beautiful fresh flowers and indoor potted plants. Signage is very clear and attractive throughout the store.
There are five Glory Supermarket
locations throughout Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. The local chain was established in 2004 by the Sheena brothers after Farmer Jack pulled out of Michigan. They purchased four former Farmers Jack stores and re-made them into Glory Supermarkets. This location on Outer Drive has a Huntington Bank branch, a post office, a Phar-Mor pharmacy, a Metro PCS dealer, and Coinstar and bottle return machines. Check cashing, money orders, and other bill services are also available. The store is extremely large and spacious, the most similar to a big box national grocer like Kroger of all. It is also exceptionally well-organized with fantastic aesthetically-pleasing signage throughout.
Everything in this store is exceptional. They have four huge sections of fresh meats prepared by their in-house butchers featuring everything you could possibly hope to find in a meat market including pork hocks, turkey wings, smoked pig tails, pig skins, turkey necks, sliced pork fatback, pork neck bones, split pigs' feet, turkey tails, bacon ends, smoked ham chunk, smoked turkey necks, smoked pork loin chops, and Black Canyon Angus beef. The produce section is huge and full of fresh sparkling produce beyond the standard selection of apples, oranges, and bananas; Glory is similar to a produce market with its variety of greens, fruits and vegetables. Pantry items also go far beyond the norm with an extensive selection of spices, jarred olives, olive oils, and fermented products like hot sauces, pickles, and peppers.
Nicole Rupersburg is development news writer for Model D.
Photos by Marvin Shaouni