Grandmont Rosedale Investing Guide
Take four stable residential neighborhoods — each with active neighborhood associations — add in a dynamic community development corporation, and apply to a state trunkline that serves as the area’s primary commercial corridor. What you end up with might look just like Grandmont Rosedale’s main street, Grand River Avenue.
Grand River offers a quantity and mix of service-oriented businesses found in very few Detroit neighborhoods. Residents of North Rosedale Park
, Rosedale Park
and Grandmont #1
do not have to go far to find a pharmacy, barbershop, dry cleaner, fast food restaurant, bank, realtor, hardware store, grocery store, auto care facility and the like. Where Tom Goddeeris, area resident and executive director of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp.
— the area’s CDC — says the neighborhood needs more destination places, i.e. “restaurants and retail that can draw [in customers] from more that one mile away.”
GRDC has focused much of its efforts on paving the path for new businesses to open up in its district, working to create “a better business mix,” as Goddeeris puts it. “We did a survey a few years ago, and people would like to see more restaurant options right in the neighborhood.” He believes that ethnic restaurants — such as Middle-Eastern and Thai — would do well in the corridor because they “can be successful in smaller buildings, they fit in better to a commercial strip setting.”
As for the existing area businesses, GRDC has assisted in 62 façade improvement projects along Grand River, meaning that nearly half of its 145 businesses have seen their property improved in the last five years. Goddeeris says his organization is aiming for “a critical mass of improvement.”
Among the more visible business improvements in recent years has been at Foodland
, which serves as Grandmont Rosedale’s local grocery store. Goddeeris notes that the store — which is notable as the only African-American-owned full service grocer in the entire city — works to compete with larger stores by offering convenience to locals. Pamela Todd, a resident of the Grandmont neighborhood, agrees, calling Foodland, “a very nice grocery store.” She specifically praises the deli and, as far as neighborhood convenience goes, states, “When you want to talk about services, [just] walk over to Foodland.”
Another major boon to the corridor are the Michigan Department of Transportation’s planned enhancements for Grand River Avenue. While the plans are not yet finalized, preliminary concepts call for street trees, decorative crosswalks, and bus stop improvements. GRDC, while generally excited about the improvements, is shooting for boulevard islands. Goddeeris says the organization, is “still hopeful, and will continue to advocate” for the boulevards.
Just recently, the City of Detroit Public Lighting Department installed new streetlights along Grand River. Goddeeris calls the new lights “a big investment and a major improvement.” He sees the overall physical transformation of the corridor as integral to the district’s future growth. “This really makes a huge impact, this [is about] changing perceptions of the district.”
GRDC has more directly worked to begin to change the business mix along Grand River by purchasing and renovating a vacant commercial building. Huntington Bank opened up its first Detroit branch in the building, and United Youth Sports Organization occupies one of the other storefronts.
Another storefront now has a perfect example of the type of “destination business” of which Godderris speaks. Exotic Furniture
is the first Michigan outlet for the Fijian Pacific Green line, which is high-end furniture hand-crafted in Fiji from sterile palmwood.
Owner Mark Jones was determined to bring furniture of this level of quality to Detroit. “People told me you can’t do successful business in Detroit, to go out to the suburbs. But Detroit deserves better,” he says.
Armed with that sentiment, Jones could have looked to open his shop downtown or Midtown where new lofts and townhouses are popping up like so many mushrooms in a field. But he felt most comfortable in Grandmont Rosedale for several reasons. First, he only recently moved from North Rosedale Park and still owns a home there, so he was already familiar with the community. He also found that it made economic sense. He got his white-boxed 1,100-square-foot space for what he deemed a “reasonable” rental rate. He also finds the area’s proximity to major expressways to be an asset.
Perhaps most importantly, Jones credits GRDC as “very instrumental” in helping his business opening up. He views his landlord assupportive and says both share the same vision and dream of a revitalized Detroit. He believes firmly that investment will increase on Grand River and says he looks forward to seeing, five years from now, “a tremendous turnaround.”
Another Grand River believer is Sarah Warren-Jones, the proprietor of Dinner Thyme Catering
. Like most caterers, she started her full-service business in her home. When she began looking for her own space, location was not the highest priority on her list because, as she explains, “catering is a nomadic type of business.” She was, however, looking for “a good value and somewhere we could buy.”
Like Jones, Warren-Jones (no relation) was drawn to the community in which she felt most comfortable. “We live in the area, we know this area well, and this was the best location for our money.” Dinner Thyme was given a hand by GRDC in the form of façade improvement assistance that allowed Warren-Jones get an attractive new awning and decorative lighting for her storefront. GRDC also offered her less tangible assistance by helping her navigate the city inspection process. “They really think about ways to promote great working relationships,” she says.
Because so much of her business involves her driving to clients and events, she finds the location convenient to much of metro Detroit. Plus, when clients come to meet with her at her storefront, she believes the positive reputation of North Rosedale Park and Rosedale Park helps them “feel safe coming here.”
Dinner Thyme Catering found all the right ingredients for success in Grandmont Rosedale: a residential community that is cohesive, a convenient location and a nonprofit partner to help her business get a leg up. With all these things in the mix, Grand River’s simmering success can begin to boil.
For more information about Grandmont Rosedale visit the Model D
- Moving Guide
- Visiting Guide
Directions to Grandmont Rosedale
From the East:
Take I-94 West and merge onto I-696 West via Exit 229 toward Lansing. Take Exit 13 toward Greenfield Rd. Turn left onto Greenfield Rd and then turn right onto West 10 Mile Rd. Turn left onto Southfield Rd which becomes MI-39 South/Southfield Fwy. Take Exit 12 toward M-5/Grand River Ave/Fenkell Ave. Stay straight to go onto Southfield Fwy and turn right onto Fenkell Ave. Arrive at Grand River Ave in Grandmont Rosedale.
From the North:
Take I-75 South toward Detroit and merge onto I-696 via Exit 61 toward Lansing. Take Exit 13 toward Greenfield Rd. Turn left onto Greenfield Rd and then turn right onto West 10 Mile Rd. Turn left onto Southfield Rd which becomes MI-39 South/Southfield Fwy. Take Exit 12 toward M-5/Grand River Ave/Fenkell Ave. Stay straight to go onto Southfield Fwy and turn right onto Fenkell Ave. Arrive at Grand River Ave in Grandmont Rosedale.
From the West:
Take I-96 East and merge onto I-696 East via Exit 163 on the left toward Port Huron/Grand River Ave. Merge onto John C Lodge Fwy/M-10 via Exit 8 toward US-24/Telegraph Rd. Take the M-39/Southfield Fwy exit and merge onto the Southfield Fwy South. Take Exit 12 toward M-5/Grand River Ave/Fenkell Ave. Stay straight to go onto Southfield Fwy and turn right onto Fenkell Ave. Arrive at Grand River Ave in Grandmont Rosedale.
From the South:
Take I-94 East toward Detroit and take the M-39/Southfield Fwy/Pelham Rd. exit, Exit 204. Take the M-39/Southfield Fwy exit on the left. Merge onto M-39 North/Southfield Fwy via the exit on the left. Take Exit 12 toward M-5/Grand River Ave/Fenkell Ave. Stay straight to go onto Southfield Fwy to Grand River Ave. Arrive in Grandmont Rosedale.
Take I-75 North toward Detroit and merge onto M-39 North. Take Exit 12 toward M-5/Grand River Ave/Fenkell Ave. Stay straight to go onto Southfield Fwy to Grand River Ave. Arrive in Grandmont Rosedale.
Photos:A Home in North Rosedale ParkMetro Foodland Grocery StoreNew Street Lighting and Signage on Grand RiverExotic FurnitureDinner Thyme Catering
All Photographs Copyright Dave Krieger