DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Great Grocer Project, a community-based program to strengthen relationships between independently owned grocery stores and their customers in Detroit, launched on Wednesday.
The program is a joint initiative by Wayne State University, the Detroit Food Policy Council and members of the Detroit Grocery Coalition, according to a press release.
It also aims to provide support to increase awareness and sales of healthy foods within Detroit neighborhood.
Detroit has nearly 70 full-service grocery stores, almost all of which are family or independently owned.
The Great Grocer Project will train and host fellows in seven community-based organizations, which will then adopt a grocery store in each of Detroit's districts. Fellows will work with store owners to help them better compete with big-box grocery stores by improving their relationships with customers and conducting food and nutrition assessments.
“Too often, Detroiters choose to shop outside the city to obtain their groceries and healthy foods,” said Rachael Dombrowski, who jointly directs the Great Grocer Project, in a press release. “We want to reverse that tide and showcase grocers who are providing high-quality, affordable healthy foods to their customers within the city. By working directly with store owners and community organizations, we aim to improve their relationships, the grocery landscape within Detroit and the overall economic vitality of communities.”
The Great Grocer Project will also work with 10 top-rated stores to improve their marketing and presentation of healthy foods by improving the look and feel of certain areas in the store, creating recipes and shelf tags to display with nutritious foods, and facilitating many more environmental improvements.