RETAIL NEWS

Motor City’s retail scene firing on all cylinders

BY Carol Radice

More than 4.3 million people call the Detroit metro area home. Slightly less than 4,000 square miles in area, the Motor City boasts a mix of suburbs and city space.

Steady employment gains and an increase in the number of new households are spurring retail growth in the region. More than 100,000 people have been added to the workforce in the past few years.

Widely known as having one of the largest economies in the nation, Detroit remains heavily dependent on the automotive sector with General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler all headquartered here. Just more than a dozen Fortune 500 corporations are based in the metro area, including CMS Energy, DTE Energy, Pulte Homes, Kelly Services, Lear, Amazon and Penske Logistics.

While the area has been experiencing growth the past decade, area leaders and officials are working to make sure the growth trend continues by courting other industries to the area, particularly those in the healthcare and technology sectors.

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have a presence in the area, but it is the Kroger banner that is most often seen here. The chain has been expanding its stores, relocating others or building new ones altogether. Throughout its growth, Kroger has stayed committed to offering shoppers local products, quality service and focusing on the local community. Its Kroger Marketplace format is garnering much of the attention these days. The 115,000-sq.-ft. Royal Oak location, for instance, offers everything from organic food options, fresh food, clothing, furniture and more. A full-service pharmacy offers free delivery of medication and there is a bank branch inside.

Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market has been expanding in the Midwest and, particularly, in Michigan, as well. Shoppers love it for its atypical assortments, large private-label offering, emphasis on natural and organic, restaurant-quality sushi, gluten-free offerings and prepared foods.

Meijer also has a strong presence in the region. The privately-held company is best known for its customer service, well-thought-out layouts, low prices, quality foods, fresh produce and broad selections of national and Meijer-brand items. As the self-proclaimed inventor of the “one-stop shopping” supercenter concept, Meijer may have substantial general merchandise offerings, but it considers itself a grocery store first.

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