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Upscale Grocers Heat Up Michigan

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- The Michigan market's upscale grocery scene is hitting a fever pitch with the opening of a new a new Plum Market this week in Ann Arbor, and two new stores in the works by metro Detroit's six-store Hiller's Markets based here.

Jim Hiller, who has run his family’s Hiller's Markets for 17 years, is adding two stores to the six-store independent company, via a new store in South Lyon and a retrofitted Farmer Jack store in Commerce Township, according to press reports.

The Commerce Township store, which will open in mid-March, is located about five miles away from Hiller’s current store. The former Farmer Jack’s was completely gutted to accommodate for a nearly $3 million renovation, which will feature Hiller’s signature categories such as Organic, kosher, British, Japanese, Indian, Israeli, Oriental, Middle Eastern, Russian and eastern European foods.

In addition to international foods, Hiller's also offers a wide selection of specialty foods and pantry staples specializes in naturally-raised fresh meats, fish, produce and deli. Each store carries more than 5,000 items, including many that are gluten-free, free of peanut oil or organic.

Hiller’s is also is building a new store in South Lyon that is set to debut in November. The two new stores should add about $60 million in annual revenue to the roughly $180 million the chain rings up in sales.

Meanwhile, a second Plum Market will debut this Thursday in Ann Arbor at 375 N. Maple Road, at the intersection of Maple & Jackson. Co-founded by brothers Matthew and Marc Jonna, the 35,000-square-foot Plum Market is a full-service grocery store featuring natural, organic and specialty foods.

The store follows on the heels of last March’s opening of the first Plum Market in Bloomfield Township.

“We’re looking forward to creating an environment where friends and neighbors can shop, share, and just generally have a great experience,” said Matthew Jonna, co-founder of Plum Market. Added brother Marc Jonna, “For us, it’s a sort of homecoming,” in reference to his parents, Edward and Juliette Jonna’s Merchant of Vino stores, which included a location at Plymouth Rd. and Huron Parkway in Ann Arbor.

“Plum Market is truly a revolutionary supermarket, which offers a quality and variety of products unmatched by any traditional grocery operator in the market,” said Michael A. Carroll, e.v.p./c.o.o, for project developers Centro Properties Group, commented. “The opening of Plum Market at Maple Village exhibits Centro’s continuing commitment to renovate and remerchandise the shopping center.”

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