January 25, 2017 – Food retail stores are often the anchors of commerce in urban and rural communities across the state.
The Midwest Independent Retailers Association (MIRA) commissioned a study by Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) to better understand the industry’s contribution to the state’s economy. Michigan’s food retail industry includes grocery stores, supermarkets, specialty stores, gas stations, conveniences stores, general merchandise stores and pharmacies.
“We commissioned this study because we believe that people often take grocery stores for granted,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of MIRA. “Everyone talks about the auto industry and healthcare, but the grocery industry is the anchor to every community in the State of Michigan and around the country.”
The study highlights the contribution of Michigan’s food retail industry to its economy, estimating the jobs created and supported by the industry – both direct and indirect – as well as employee income and the contribution of taxes.
“Using State Treasury data as the foundation of our analysis, we estimate the food retail industry contributed $15.4 billion to Michigan’s gross domestic product and supported 273,000 jobs in 2014,” said Laura Goddeeris, MSU CRFS Specialist. “This accounts for not just the industry’s direct sales, but its purchases from other Michigan industries for things like real estate and utilities, as well as the spending patterns of its employees.”
“The premise of the analysis is to remind people that the grocery industry is a major contributor to the state’s economy, “said Arabo. “Grocery stores are part of a community’s infrastructure. They are just non-government infrastructures but still very important to the viability of a community.”
Michigan grocers are in agreement. “Just about every community in the state has some sort of retail outlet that provides good-paying jobs and often careers for the family bread-winner,” said Phil Kassa, co-owner of Heartland Marketplace and MIRA board Chairman. “Grocers also have several entry level positions for people living in the neighborhoods in which we serve. We become part of the community in so many ways. Also, every community benefits from the tax dollars generated from payroll taxes, and property taxes collected, not to mention the charitable contributions that are made by a lot of businesses.”
“As a grocer in Detroit, we are part of the community’s fabric,” said Joe Gappy, owner of Prince Valley in Detroit’s Mexican Town. “We know our customers personally and contribute to the local economy on many levels. We are often asked to donate , and we do, for our communities well being… Whether it is to our local churches, schools, community groups, cultural centers we have to support our community.”
Gappy holds two positions in the local area. He sits on a Charter School Board that just spent $11,000,000 last year on a new Middle School-High School and he also holds a position with the Michigan Ave Business Association where they are trying to make Michigan Ave a better shopping district. “The more support the area gets, by its local businesses, the better the growth becomes in the area,” said Gappy.
Click link to read the report.