by Dan Rafter
Retail is slowly bouncing back after the days of the recession. And there’s one segment that’s particularly strong today: grocery stores.
It makes sense, then, that the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. is investing dollars in refurbishing grocery stores throughout Detroit. This Midwest city is still recovering from its bankruptcy filing. What better way to spur along this recovery then by providing a boost to the city’s grocery stores?
In the latest effort, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Green Grocer Project has approved the applications from 16 grocers seeking matching grants to improve the appearance of thier stores. The Green Grocer Project is contributing $500,000 toward a total of $5.3 million that grocers are expected to spend at these 16 stores.
“We had remarkable participation from Detroit’s independent grocers, who are investing far more in these facelifts than we anticipated,” said Mimi Pledl, program manager for the Green Grocer Project, in a written statement. “Store owners are excited about the renewed interest in shopping centers close to home at neighborhood stores, and we are happy to help them.”
The grocer program requires a one-to-one match for every grant dollar provided by the Green Grocer Program. But the average for all the participating grocers has been much higher, a match of more than nine-to-one.
Suhel Kizi is a good example of the kind of grocer helped by the program. She is the owner of Family Foods at 700 Chene St. in Lafayette Park, a neighborhood just east of downtown Detroit. Kizi is receiving $200,000 from the Green Grocer Program to renovate the entrance to her store.
The goal, Kizi said in a written statement, is to “create an open, welcoming appearance that our customers expect and deserve.”
What kind of improvements are being made at the 16 grocery stores? Some owners are replacing old facades, while others are adding seasonal landscaping and new signs and awnings. Still others are repaving parking lots and adding new lighting.