Meijer’s latest foray into smaller-footprint food retailing continues, with the long-awaited opening this month of its new 42,000-square foot location in downtown Detroit. The Rivertown Market is the fourth smaller format grocery store for the Michigan-based retailer, which operates large superstores across six Midwest states that are typically around 200,000 square feet.
Meijer has opened three downsized formats since 2018, when the first one was built in Grand Rapids, Mich. Plans for the location in downtown Detroit date back to 2017, when it was first envisioned as a mixed-use development with residential apartments on top.
The completed space in metro Detroit — sans apartments — is an urban market with the look and feel of a neighborhood grocery store. Rivertown Market is stocked with an array of grocery items and fresh and prepared foods and includes a 4,700-square foot produce department, a coffee bar, and beer, wine and liquor counter. Reflecting the goal of creating a community vibe, the store features about 2,000 local, artisan items, including health and beauty products from nearby black women-owned businesses, and is designed with murals painted by area artists.
“Rivertown Market is focused on bringing customers a mix of fresh, local and convenient food at low prices,” said Store Manager Marcus Reliford, a Detroit native. “This market is a passion project for me as I grew up near the market and look forward to providing our customers a first-class shopping experience that will keep them coming back for more.”
The state’s lieutenant governor, Garlin Gilchrist, recently toured the store and said it is a welcome addition with a mix of familiar favorites and fresh and locally-sourced goods. “This is a real high-quality dining and grocery experience,” Gilchrist told the Detroit Free Press. “This is the reason it isn’t common in Detroit, especially not common in a way that there are truly affordable options for such a wide array of brands. Detroiters have demanded for a long time and deserved forever a unique experience like this.”
That said, the new Rivertown Market is not without competition in the heart of Michigan’s biggest city. Established independent grocers in Detroit include Wally’s, City Market, Lafayette Foods Eatori Market, Midtown Market and a Whole Foods Market that opened in 2013.
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 257 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 18 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.