organsnyder

New produce store in Alger Heights

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There's been some buzz around Alger Heights recently about a new store coming in the old Alger Heights Foods space. They've been working on renovating it for the past couple of weeks. The building permit is for Ken's Fruit Market; the Articles of Organization on the MI-DELEG site were filed on May 25 and list the purpose of the business as "retail produce grocery market." This sounds to me like something Kingma's-esque (I have fond memories of visiting their Boston Square location growing up).

I have missed Alger Heights Foods since it closed - even though it was quite bad near the end (inconsistent stocking, poor atmosphere) it was more convenient than Meijer for quick purchases. I'm hoping that Ken's Fruit Market does well - they'll have some tough competition with the new Meijer, though they do have a small window of opportunity to gain a following while the old Meijer is poorly stocked in preparation for the transition.

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Actually, I have heard that the owners have a background in the Horrock's chain. They are going to start with fresh produce and then slowly add meat and a variety of specialty groceries. I think they may also add beer and wine over time as well. I think if done right, it could be like a Martha's Vineyard. One can only hope.

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That is awesome news for the Alger Heights neighborhood. I used to work at Brookside school (Madison &Alger) more years ago than I care to admit and would often stop and shop in Alger Heights on my way home. It was a full service, neighborhood shopping district with a grocery store, hardware, bank, clothing stores, card shop, drug store, restaurants, etc - in short, pretty much everything you might need. This news gives me hope that the area is poised for a comeback and if the people have experience with Horrock's, I'm hoping they turn this into a destination stop, filling the void left when Kingma's closed their Boston Square store for the greener pastures of the North End. Good luck to them - I'll be watching for the grand opening.

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Other than the lack of a grocery store the last couple of years the business district has done quite well. Alger Hardware, Sundaes in the Heights, Candy Shop Cafe, Real Food Cafe, Alger Barber Shop, Alger Shoe Repair, Blondie's Hair Salon, Creative Window Treatments, and some others I'm forgetting are open and most of them appear to be thriving. While it would be nice to have a store selling general merchandise such as clothing a grocery store is the big need right now; living about five blocks away, I'm very hopeful for this development.

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Just finished shopping at Ken's. I really really hope people support this great establishment. The selection of produce was incredible! I spoke with the owner and they are working on opening a full service meat counter as well. I now have a new weekly shopping routine: Meijer on K-zoo and 28th for my groceries, then Ken's for all my produce and soon my meat.

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Just finished shopping at Ken's. I really really hope people support this great establishment. The selection of produce was incredible! I spoke with the owner and they are working on opening a full service meat counter as well. I now have a new weekly shopping routine: Meijer on K-zoo and 28th for my groceries, then Ken's for all my produce and soon my meat.

I've been there a couple of times since it opened. I very much want it to succeed - it's just a few blocks from my house and I try to support local merchants whenever possible - but I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to fit it in our shopping pattern. Their selection of fresh produce is quite good, but that's not very useful for us during CSA season (we're Trillium Haven members). They have some non-produce offerings, but we had a difficult time making any kind of dent in our shopping list on our last visit there. Also, their selections aren't as local as I'd like; I appreciate that they have tried to work with Michigan-based distributors, but the origin of the actual products is usually fairly far away. I also question the wisdom of devoting space to bird seed - IIRC, Alger Hardware (next door) already carries it.

Hopefully they'll improve as they become more established; I'm sure that they're still working to expand their inventory.

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I keep thinking I should stop there after work, but it's prime Fulton Street Farmers Market time so I'm not really in need of any extra produce. Maybe next week I'll at least stop in to check it out.

I've been there a couple of times since it opened. I very much want it to succeed - it's just a few blocks from my house and I try to support local merchants whenever possible - but I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to fit it in our shopping pattern. Their selection of fresh produce is quite good, but that's not very useful for us during CSA season (we're Trillium Haven members). They have some non-produce offerings, but we had a difficult time making any kind of dent in our shopping list on our last visit there. Also, their selections aren't as local as I'd like; I appreciate that they have tried to work with Michigan-based distributors, but the origin of the actual products is usually fairly far away. I also question the wisdom of devoting space to bird seed - IIRC, Alger Hardware (next door) already carries it.

Hopefully they'll improve as they become more established; I'm sure that they're still working to expand their inventory.

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Since it's in close proximity to Eastern and Alger I might as well mention it here... The owner of La Mexicana Bakery & Grocery on S Division will be opening a second location where Blockbuster recently vacated at the Burton/Eastern intersection, next to Rite Aid.

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I stopped in at Ken's last night to pick up a couple of things. They are working on improving their stock - I shouldn't be surprised that it takes time to stock a store from scratch.

I took the time to check out their bulk candy section - it's going to be very dangerous for me... :blush:

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I was in there a few weeks ago and bought a container of Lucky Charms marshmallows for our camping trip. I didn't know anyone sold them without the cereal!

Marshmallows = $1.10. Seeing the response from 8 and 9 year-old daughters = priceless.

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I already said this in the ICCF thread, but with all of the talk about the need for a downtown grocery store, I think that Ken's Fruit Market would be a perfect fit as an urban grocer. Their Alger Heights store (which I shop at often) manages to cram a lot of healthy food (plus plenty of non-healthy food - their very good bulk candy selection is bad for my health) into a small amount of space. As their name suggests, their focus is on fresh produce, but their other offerings (including an excellent meat counter) make them a very good full-service grocery store.

 

Since they opened two years ago, they've continued to expand the variety of products they carry, including food from local companies. A Ken's Fruit Market, perhaps with a pharmacy nearby for non-food essentials (such as diapers), would be ideal for downtown, IMHO. Their development of the Alger Heights location - which is actually three buildings of varying age - demonstrates that they can be flexible with their layout, rather than needing to stick to a big-box approach.

 

I don't know what Ken's immediate expansion plans are, but an article earlier this year mentioned that they would like to expand further in the area at some point in the future.

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