Grocery options: Detroit no longer a ‘food desert’

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit is growing out of its reputation as a “food desert,” and it’s not just because of chain retailers like Meijer and Whole Foods.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Green Grocer Project  sponsored a “grocery crawl” on Saturday, with members of community groups and business associations visiting four southwest Detroit markets by bus. The event was meant to highlight the growing number of food options in Detroit and grocery investments being promoted by the project.

Among them are renovations at two stores, Banner Supermarket and City Market, and face improvements at three others.

There are around 77 full-service grocery stores in Detroit, at least 65 of which are independently owned, according Auday Arabo, president and CEO of Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, which represents more than 4,000 stores in Michigan, Ohio and surrounding states.

A Kroger is coming to Eight Mile Road and Woodward after the first of the year, he said.

A full-service store, he added, maintains at least 10,000 square feet of selling space with fresh meat, produce and dairy, as well as a deli counter, frozen and dry goods.

“When Farmer Jack closed (in 2007), it left such a bad taste in people’s mouths leaving the city that they forgot about all the independents,” Arabo said. “They have always been there to serve the community. You have more independents steeping up their game.”