Co-founder Matt Jonna sees niche for prepared foods, groceries in Detroit
Organics-focused grocer to open in Ally Detroit Center, Pistons practice facility
Ally location downtown to have full-service bar, grab-and-go foods and event space
On its current trajectory, Plum Market would open two Detroit stores by mid-2019.
The Farmington Hills-based specialty grocer and food service company announced plans a year ago to open a cafe and market this spring in the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in the New Center area. And earlier this month it said it signed on to open in the Ally Detroit Center skyscraper downtown in the summer.
The two Plum Market Kitchens won’t be full grocery stores. The location at the Ally center, owned by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock LLC, will sell “basics” such as condiments, bags of tortilla chips, cut fruits and vegetables, and possibly select seasonal produce, Plum Market co-founder and CEO Matt Jonna said.
“An emphasis on prepared foods is a big thing for all of them … (What) kind of spurred these small formats, for us, is we see a niche in the market. Our prepared foods departments are popular in our large format stores,” Jonna said. “We see a need for what we do on the prepared foods side in locations like the Ally center in Detroit.”
It’s bigger than the usual Plum Market Kitchen model, with expanded grocery items and more seating, Jonna said. It’ll seat 100. A rentable event space called the Spirit Room will include patio seating in the easily recognizable building between Campus Martius Park and the riverfront.
Saroki Architecture is the architect and Jonna Construction is the contractor on the incoming downtown store.
Plum Market declined to disclose investment and lease details.
Some of the 25-year-old, 979,489-square-foot building’s main tenants are Ally Financial Inc., Townhouse restaurant and law firm Clark Hill PLC. Plum Market will replace the Bistro, which was expected to fully move out in early November. Additional details on the change were not immediately available.
Plum Market will enter a restaurant-laden section of downtown without much in the way of grocery options. City Market two blocks east sells some fresh produce. Further east of downtown is Detroit’s first Gordon Food Service on Jefferson Avenue and an incoming small-format Meijer nearby.
“We could have several more Plum Market Kitchens and even a full Plum Market store in the city with the way it’s moving right now,” he said.
The 11-year-old grocery chain co-owned by Matt and Marc Jonna has large-format locations in Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield and Chicago.
Matt Jonna declined to disclose revenue. He said the company has seen an average yearly sales growth rate of 15-20 percent.
Plum Market also operates 11 corporate and school cafeterias, including for Lear Corp., Grosse Pointe Academy and Detroit Country Day School. It expects to open three more next year.
It also expects to announce another Plum Market grocery store in metro Detroit before the end of the year and is “working on several more” between Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis, Jonna said.