A West-side GFS
Wholesale sizes, no membership needed
by Sally Mitani
"Thank you for coming out today. We need all the help we can get," said one cashier fervently, shortly after GFS Marketplace opened. She had clearly been instructed to thank customers for their support and left to devise her own wording.
But she was right. GFS is going to need all the help it can get. The west side of Ann Arbor has every kind of grocery store imaginable, from high-end specialty grocers like Plum Market and Arbor Farms, to discount houses ALDI and, a few miles south, Costco, to large, plain vanilla Kroger.
The Grand Rapids-based Gordon Food Service is a restaurant supply company that began opening these warehouse-like markets thirty-five years ago, says spokesperson Mark Dempsey, because "our wholesale customers would run out of items between deliveries and were literally knocking on our door." It turned out to be a popular move: GFS now has 165 Marketplace stores.
This GFS, in the former CVS drugstore on Liberty near Stadium, is smaller than most, but, like all GFS stores, has a lot of restaurant and catering dry goods, giant cans of soup and ketchup, crowd-sized packages of portioned-out frozen entrees and desserts, and small sections of fresh meat and produce. As its sign says--in a direct challenge to Costco and Sam's Club--"no membership required."
GFS Marketplace, 2151 W. Liberty, 761-2348. Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. gfs.com
[Originally published in December, 2013.]