Apparently, Detroit has grocery stores, and an African-American owns one called Metro Foodland in northwest Detroit. And he's the last black guy to do so! He's been in business for 27 years! And the other 82 local stores are owned by non-black people! And the recession killed off all the other black-owned grocery stores so this man is a survivor! A hero! But his era may be over. The evil corporate villains at Meijer are going to open a grocery store (plus garden center and gas station!) only a mile and a half away! [Note: The Detroit News buries the fact that there may be a couple of years to worry about going out of business left. Detroit Public Schools still owns the proposed site and has yet to seal the purchase agreement with the grocer.] Who signed off on crushing local business?
In November, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved state brownfield tax credits worth $3.3 million for the developer of the 26-acre site. "I wish someone would give me a lot of money to open a new store," the owner of Metro Foodlan said, "instead of the company that's already making lots of money." The article goes on to say that pretty much everyone is jazzed for Meijer to come, except for one guy.
Well this article is all doom and gloom for little guy v. big box, but isn't that a universal tale many times told? What's unique about this one is that major grocery stores are, finally, interested in Detroit. Which is to say, The Detroit News is still trying to figure out the ins and outs of redevelopment, and can't seem to embrace any good news without hunting for the "uh oh," to make us maybe think the good old days were better. The problem is that good numbers also get buried in the "times are changing" drumbeat.
Overall, black-owned businesses in Metro Detroit and nationally continue to grow, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Metro Detroit, the number of black-owned firms rose 71 percent from 2002 to 2007 to 53,380 firms, according to the latest census data available. · Plans may threaten last black-owned grocery in Detroit[The Detroit News]