Metro Foodland, Detroit

or 27 years, James Hooks has weathered storms.

Detroit’s lone African-American grocer at Metro Foodland has seen big chain grocery stores come and go. He stood by as people left Detroit in droves. Yet, through it all he managed to keep the white floors shiny, the produce and meat fresh and prices reasonable.

Besides that, he stocks lots of organic, gluten free and low sodium selections for health conscious customers, and provides incentive points to buy such items with “Healthy Rewards.”

Still, people passed him by in the Grandmont/Rosedale neighborhood for suburban supermarkets. All the while, he remained steadfast serving the community he loves.

Now, he’s asking the community to help him out as he prepares to jump over what may be his biggest hurdle yet: a Meijer store soon will break ground 1.5 miles away, and he’s concerned it may put him out of business.


He’s asking the community to rally around his 27-27-27 customer appreciation pledge. To celebrate the store’s 27th anniversary, he’s hoping customers will visit the store 27 times to spend $27.

“We should support our own,” says Hooks, “and I would like more support from my community. We should do a better job of supporting Black business and a better job of supporting Detroit.”

Loyal customer Lila Cabbil of Detroit agrees. That’s why she came up with the idea for Hooks.

“For at least 40 years, I’ve practiced buying Black first and I always feel my support means I have to pay a little more,” she says. “If everybody supports him, he’ll have volume and he can drop prices because he has volume. I wanted to launch a campaign for Mr. Hooks and what his business stands for.”

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