Detroit gets a grocery ... but good luck getting there on public transportation
Updated Aug 19th 2009 5:46PMJennie L. PhippsAug 19th 2009 4:30PM Updated Aug 19th 2009 5:46PM
Detroit could use a little economic good news. The announcement recently that the Shoppes at Gateway Park still has a pulse and Meijer, the Grand Rapids-based super store chain, will anchor this long-delayed project qualifies as worth cheering about. It should put revenue in the city's empty coffers.
The location is right on the Detroit city line at Eight Mile and Woodward Avenue. It's less than a mile from Palmer Woods -- probably the city's nicest neighborhood -- and just south of Royal Oak, the region's urban-chic restaurant, shopping, and entertainment district. The east-west expressway, Interstate 696, has an exit there, and there are no other large shopping centers in the immediate area.
Meijer and the city have been making a lot of hay over the location, saying it will be the first chain grocery within the city limits. That's true, and its presence there is a boost. Meijer, which looks a lot like a Super WalMart, except its grocery store is bigger, charges modest prices and will certainly be a boon to area shoppers both in the city and in its inner-ring suburbs.
But it's also true that the location is a long way from where shoppers most in need of budget-priced retail live. Simultaneous with the announcement of the new grocery store, Mayor Dave Bing also said he was proposing ending bus service in the city on Sundays and ending it at 6 p.m. on Saturdays. The idea is to save money and pay down the city's budget deficit. Surely there's a better way. If city residents can't get to work on weekends, what will that do for the city economy?
Intense security was among Meijer's requirements for signing the Shoppes at Gateway Park lease. The retailer insisted on a uniformed security patrol, emergency phones for the parking lot and closed-circuit televisions on light poles. It sounds like Meijer is expecting a crowd. Eliminating bus service will certainly help solve that problem.
Sociologists call the scarcity of urban grocery stores vs. the abundance in suburbia "the grocery store gap." It's particularly wide in Detroit, the nation's beleaguered 11th largest city, where there are no chain grocery store outlets within the city limits.
For the second time, we asked you, our AOL users, to tell us which grocery stores bring you pleasure ... and which bring you pain. And your responses surprised us! We expected the message boards to be teeming with stores that drive you crazy. And there was some of that, but as it turns out, there also seems to be many great supermarkets out there.
Click through our gallery as we highlight 12 new posts about stores you detest and 15 you adore. Then click on to see last editions' 30 best and worst picks.
Reader Tewrealtor says: Wegmans is an experience! I live in Allentown, Pa. and I am a realtor. In every area tour for relocatees, I include a stop at Wegmans. (Usually for lunch). It usually seals the decision for these people to agree to move here. Thank you Wegmans! ... P.S. Their barbequed chickens are the best anywhere and the most reasonably priced. They make a great quick, last-minute low-cost dinner.
One of the Best: Hannaford
Reader Petuniua says: Hannaford in Waltham, Mass., is the best supermarket. The produce is beautiful and they have a good variety of ethnic foods. Also, their staff is really friendly and helpful.
One of the Worst: Hannaford
Reader ElmireRod1919 says: [Their] meat tastes like dog food, the fish like Clorox bleach and Nine Lives. It's always filthy in there, and I [have even] seen a mouse in the cat food aisle once.
One of the Worst: Safeway
Reader CHERACON2 says: Safeway is so overpriced. I don't understand why anyone shops there. Raley's, right across the street, is way cheaper. Example: The same liter of olive oil is $24.97 at Raley's, but $32.95 at Safeway. This is just a sampling. It is the same all over the store.
One of the Best: Nugget Market
Reader RTodd18907 says: According to Fortune magazine, this company is the 13th best company in America to work for! Their prices are low and customer service is impeccable!
One of the Best: Dierbergs
Reader RufusWoods says: I can't believe no one mentioned Dierbergs in St. Louis. It is a destination in itself.
One of the Worst: Seller Brothers
Reader Trisha6341 says: I used to live in Houston and had to shop at Seller Brothers and the meat has so much fat in it that it is hardly even pink. You could not buy [their meat] one day and cook it the next, unless you put it in the freezer (not the fridge). If only I had known then.
One of the Best: Lunds
Reader Donaldkolson says: When we are traveling through Minnesota, we always make sure that we stop a Lunds. They are always extremely clean and the selection is incredible, especially the "gourmet" areas. The displays are always very attractive. I wish we had something as nice in Southern California.
One of the Best: Harris Teeter
Reader GailGthompson says: A former North Carolina native, I still miss the cleanliness, variety and yes, the curb side service at Harris Teeter. There are not many stores that I am aware of that allow you to drive up to a loading station where attendants load your groceries into your vehicle. Right on, Harris Teeter!