Residents of Midtown now have new grocery options with the arrival this month of a new food market, farmer’s stand, and cafe. Seasons Market at 4125 Second Avenue is the latest project of the Green Garage, whose family of businesses include the El Moore Lodge, a rehabbed hotel and apartment building that utilizes sustainable building practices, and the adjacent El Moore Gardens.
Seasons Market, which opened its doors to the public on Feb. 10, sits next to the community garden space and at first glance, the two-story, cross-shaped brick building appears to be another historic rehab job (the El Moore building was originally built in 1898 as luxury apartments before it was renovated by the Green Garage and opened for business in 2016). In fact, the 2,516-square-foot space was newly constructed using 30,000 bricks, limestone, and other materials reclaimed from the Marie Apartments on Selden Street, which was 92 years old when it was demolished in 2016 (that site is now the mixed-use development that houses SheWolf).
The property is divided into four spaces: an “everyday market” section emphasizing Michigan-made products and baked goods; the Garden Cafe featuring coffee, beer on tap, wine by the glass, and grab-and-go meal bowls; the Farmers Stand that showcases seasonally-available produce; and a second-story loft with seating, a small community library, and views of the surrounding area.
“We are very serious about trying to make sure that what we develop fits into the fabric of the community, and helps bring it together and doesn’t look like something that is trying to pull it apart,” said Tom Brennan, who co-founded the Green Garage.
Among the team behind Seasons Market is Tawnya Clark, who runs the everyday market section. She says the grocery section features local brands such as Pop Daddy Snacks, McClure’s pickles, and products made by the Detroit Food Academy. The cafe’s offerings include prepared meals from local food vendors like Greenhouse Soups, Yum Village, Norma G’s, Good Cakes and Bakes, Avalon Bakery, and Crust Bakery based in Fenton.
Clark’s involvement with the Green Garage comes from her work with FoodLab Detroit, a nonprofit that supports food businesses that are working to create a more equitable and sustainable industry for employees, producers, and the greater community — what the group calls the triple bottom line. FoodLab also operates out of the Green Garage space. Clark had participated in a small food business bootcamp offered by the nonprofit several years ago and went on to work as a resource coordinator for FoodLab.
In keeping with that triple bottom line ethos, Clark says the marketplace is mindful of affordability for customers, while still honoring the labor that goes behind the making of the products.
“We put a lot of things in place purposefully in our planning to try to make it affordable, but affordable in a good food way,” says Clark. “We’re trying to make sure that people are getting paid fair wages and so what that means is that you will find products that may be more of an artisan type price, but we also tried to match them with some other choices that are lower so that you can have that range.”
Moving forward, Clark and other team members want members of the community to play a role in what the store and cafe will offer.
“We like to say that we leave room to hear the voice of the community,” she says.
Seasons Market is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Monday.