By Charles Sercombe
A Hamtramck shopping landmark is now history.
The Polish Market on Jos. Campau and Belmont abruptly announced it was closing this past weekend on Monday.
A notice, printed in English and Polish, said that “due to circumstances beyond our control we are forced to close …”
The notice told customers to visit their other store at 15 Mile and Dequindre in Troy and listed a phone number to call.
The Review made repeated calls to that number but no one ever answered or returned messages.
Although there had been ongoing rumors that the store would be closing, it still came as a shock to many.
Mayor Karen Majewski said she does not know why the store closed. She said its closing was a loss for the city.
“It’s been a landmark business for a long time, and an anchor business on Jos. Campau,” Majewski said. “It was also a pleasure to shop there — the store was always spotless, well lit, and well organized, matching anything to be found in the suburbs. It set a high standard that I hope other Hamtramck businesses will take as a model.”
Kathy Angerer, the city’s Director of Community & Economic Development, said the store’s closing represents “a huge void in our central business district.”
Angerer said she talked with the owner of the building, who leased the space to the store, and said it appeared there was financial hardship. She said the building owner told her “that the store was losing money every month with the demographic change to the city.”
Hamtramck has indeed experienced a major shift from its decades-long identity as a Polish city. The majority of the city’s population is now made up of immigrants from Bangladesh and Yemen.
Another sizable population is from Bosnia.
Most of those immigrants are of the Muslim faith. There are now over a dozen markets catering to those residents.
On the mayor’s Facebook page, a number of residents complained that the quality of food and service at the market declined in recent years.
Its closing now leaves only three Polish food markets: Srodek’s, Bozek’s and Stan’s.
That list will likely be whittled down further. Stan’s Market on Jos. Campau is for sale.
While the closing is a milestone, it is, as the mayor said, part of Hamtramck’s changing business “landscape.”
There have been a number of new business opening in Hamtramck that transcend ethnicity. There is a high-end chocolate shop, a handmade purse and clothing store and soon-to-be opening bike shop.
Hamtramck is increasingly becoming home to those being out-priced in midtown Detroit and is on the verge of exploding retail-wise.
In Hamtramck there has always been one constant you could count on: change.