SW Detroit Grocer caters to local needs and heritage

Eida Gardula looks around Prince Valley Market and Bakery in southwest Detroit and marvels.
The 50-year-old southwest Detroit resident and business owner just cannot get over how fast the store on Michigan Avenue near Livernois has expanded its offerings.
“They are moving and fast too,” she said recently. “It is good for the neighborhood.”
The market is one of several in southwest Detroit offering shoppers choices for everything from produce to meat to seafood.
Prince Valley, owned by the Joe Gappy family, offers a bakery, post office, bill payment services, a metroPCS store, freshly made tortillas and corn ships and kitchen offering fresh-made carryout food on site. They also offer foods that cater to many of the residents’ Latino backgrounds.
The brightly-lit store and others in the area defy the stereotype that there are no grocery stores in Detroit. The stores are not national chains, but still work hard to offer service and products, customers said.
Dorothy Miller and her adult son, Kevin, live near Dexter but shop at Prince Valley because they like the owners. On a recent visit to get jellybeans ahead of Easter, the Millers joked around with Joe Gappy.
“He is a good guy,” Dorothy Miller said as she watched him give a free piece of candy to a child shopping with her mom. “We like that so much is in one spot too.”
The store has donated goods for neighborhood events, worked with a neighborhood school and regularly hosts fun community events.
“We love our customers,” Gappy said. “We want to keep doing more for them.”
Ron Melton, a 36-year-old southwest native who now lives in Toledo, stops at the store a few times a week. He works downtown and the store is on his way home, he said.
“I can pay my cell phone bill, get the cheapest bagels around and anything else I need in one spot,” Melton said. “That is a plus.”
Allen Kozlauskos, 41 and of Garden City, fondly recalls shopping at the store and has watched it grow. He could shop in the suburbs, but prefers coming to his old neighborhood to shop and meet up with old buddies.
“I love spending money in my old neighborhood,” he said. “I feel like I am helping the area.”
Along with supporting a neighborhood business, Kozlauskos said he especially likes the tres leche (three milks) cake sold at Prince Valley and other Latino delicacies.
“I love the food and the prices are better than big retail markets,” he said.

E&L Supermercado, 6000 Vernor Highway
Honey Bee Market, 2443 Bagley
Azteca Market, 2411 Central
Garden Fresh Marketplace, 6680 Michigan Ave.
Ryan’s Foods Super Mercado, 5858 W. Vernor

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