White Market has been a grocery staple for countless students over the past 62 years. However, the Williams Street building the store occupies was recently sold, and the White Market owners are unsure about the future of their lease. If White Market were to close, there would be no other place on campus for students to get fresh produce and affordable groceries. Students should voice concerns about the potential closing of the store and support local shops and restaurants to ensure they continue to thrive in Ann Arbor.
Last week, the building that houses White Market was sold after being on the market for over a year. The current owners of the market, Dave and Darlene Jones, are unsure whether they will renew their lease, which expires at the end of the year. They told The Michigan Daily their business’s survival depends on negotiations with the new landlord and expressed interest in their customers and a desire to continue supplying students with fresh food.
Currently, there are few grocery stores available to students on campus within a walking distance — and even fewer that offer fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year, Village Corner, on the corner of South University and South Forest avenues, closed its doors. While CVS and 7-Eleven convenience stores have recently opened on State Street, they only provide limited produce options. There is a grocery store beneath Zaragon Place on East University Avenue, but much of the food is gourmet and not affordable for most students. If White Market closes, students on campus will have no fresh, affordable grocery shopping options.
While Meijer, Whole Foods and Kroger are all located near campus, they require either car or bus transportation, which poses a struggle for many students who don’t have access to a vehicle. Relying on the AATA bus, and carrying several bags of groceries also is not convenient. A grocery store within walkable distance is a necessity for students who live on or near campus.
Many local shops have left Ann Arbor over the years, and State Street has become an increasingly commercial shopping area. While it’s important for students to have options for where they shop and eat, they should realize the important contributions that locally owned businesses make to the city of Ann Arbor. Small businesses stimulate the local economy and help give Ann Arbor its character, which improves the environment where students live and go to school.
Shopping at and supporting local businesses is what helps the Ann Arbor community grow and continue to thrive. Locally owned shops like White Market contribute to the success of the Ann Arbor economy. If White Market doesn’t renew its lease, students and others who live and work in downtown Ann Arbor will be left with fewer options for grocery shopping. Students should support White Market, so they can continue to have affordable, fresh food options on campus.