Plum Market offers preview of new downtown Detroit store

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — One day before it opens to the public, Plum Market offered a preview Tuesday of its first Detroit location. The goal inside the Ally Detroit Center downtown: to pack the best the upscale market has to offer into an 8,000-square-foot space.

“It’s kind of like our greatest hits,” said Norman Valenti, director of prepared foods for Plum Market. “It’s a small showcase .... Everything is a little tighter, but it gives us a chance to run our greatest hits.”

Housed in the renovated space of a former deli at 500 Woodward Avenue, the market features casual dining, coffee, wine, beer as well as brightly lit displays showcasing a condensed offering of grocery and apothecary items, such as body care products and multivitamins.

Customers walk past the raw, cold-pressed juices and fresh fruits display.

“What we’re trying to do here is where the health-conscious meet the foodies in a fast casual concept,” said Marc Jonna, co-founder of Farmington Hills-based Plum Market. “You come in with your friends or your family. If you’re in the mood for a salad, someone else is here for soup, someone wants sushi, someone just wants a cold pressed juice, you’ve got an option. You can get it fast and its affordable because you’re picking your portion sizes.”

The store’s opening in downtown Detroit is just the first move for the grocer in the city: within the next few years, Jonna said, the company with five full-service grocery stores and 10 food service operations in southeast Michigan and Chicago is angling to bring its headquarters to Detroit from the suburbs.

“We’re looking,” he said. “We want to expand. We think it will be great to possibly recruit team members with it.”

In October, Plum Market will open its second Detroit location inside the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center near Third Avenue and West Baltimore.

“We want to be a part of the Detroit renaissance,” Jonna said. “We want when anyone comes into the city whether they’re living here or a tourist. Wow. They have a Plum Market. This is cool.”

The Plum Market in downtown Detroit offers a range of grocery items including fruit, snacks, dairy products and cold pressed juices made in house. In addition to groceries, beverages and hot and cold prepared foods, shoppers can pick up a birthday card, flowers and a card.

The space is also available for private events.

Plum Market is continuing its ongoing partnership serving Ann Arbor- based Zingerman's coffee and baked goods. Patrons can also select goods from Avalon Bakery and New York Bagels, said Grace Gray, head barista.

Gray said she's looking forward to seeing the public enjoy the new store and the coffee she serves: "Hopefully it will brighten their day. I'm excited about being in the heart of downtown and providing an experience for the guests as they come in."

Plum Market is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday  through Friday; 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN