In an attempt to bring consideration to the food, culture, and vibrancy of shopping in southwest Detroit, five local, independent grocery stores are planning a “grocery crawl” on Saturday with the support of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
“With independent grocers, they’re making the decisions about what’s being stocked in their stores, and they don’t have to go up the corporate chain,” says Mimi Pledl, a business development manager for the DEGC. “They can really be much more responsive to their communities in terms of what they offer and have available at their stores.”
Pledl says with $178 million is being spent outside of Detroit that could be going to grocery stores in the city, the DEGC started a $500,000 seed grant project called the Green Grocer program. Started three years ago, the project offers technical assistance and funds for façade improvement to help attract more customers to grocery stores in the city.
“Until Whole Foods and Meijer came on board a couple of years ago, there were no national chains in the city of Detroit,” Pledl says. “The program was really (designed) to improve the grocery economy in the city of Detroit.”
The grocery crawl will highlight grocery stores in Southwest Detroit, including E&L Supermercado, Garden Fresh Marketplace, Honey Bee Market, Prince Valley Market, and Ryan’s Foods Super Mercado. The stores will offer activities and giveaways, and highlights their achievements through the program. For example, Prince Valley Market offers free Uber rides home for shoppers who spend more than $50.