Business

Detroit’s Metro Foodland is no mirage

Metro Foodland has been a stalwart business for over a quarter century in the Rosedale and Grandmont neighborhoods of Detroit, and owner James Hooks plans on keeping his supermarket that way for many more years to come.

The recent announcement that his store has been awarded a Green Grocer Project grant from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation signals help is on the way.  For the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC), this is great news as they work to keep their neighborhood a destination within the city of Detroit because convenient services are key to attracting new residents.

“The store is really a fixture of our neighborhood,” says Tom Goddeeris, Executive Director of the GRDC.  “We feel like we’ve got a good commercial district.  The centerpiece of that district is Metro Foodland.”

The Green Grocer Project grants allows for existing Detroit grocery store owners to apply for funds to help in the areas of facade improvement, technical assistance and marketing.  Hooks chose to go after a marketing plan grant to encourage sales of healthy foods in his store.

“We are creating a rewards program around healthy eating to attract the customers who normally would go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s because they think they can’t get the healthy items here,” he explained.

In addition to the rewards program, he also plans on having regular cooking demonstrations and samples of healthy options in the store to help educate his community on how to eat healthy.  It’s all a part of a philosophy on customer service that Goddeeris calls the “know the owner” treatment.  It is the type of service he says you don’t get at chain stores and it is the type of service Hooks takes very seriously.

That level of service happens because Hooks made a resolution years ago to know his customers by name.  Now, he knows many of them and even recognizes couples who don’t often shop together.  It is all a part of delivering a level of customer experience not always present in today’s modern supermarket.

“We take pride in being cleaner than everybody else and fresher than everybody else,” he proclaimed.  “Our next step is helping them eat healthier than everyone else.”

Armed with a grant and a new program to help his Northwest Detroit neighborhood eat better, Metro Foodland aims to remain a stalwart business in the community for years to come.

You can find James Hooks and his Metro Foodland store at 18551 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, MI 48223.

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