A (fresh) cut above Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Finalist
Retail & Consumer Services

Matthew Jonna grew up in the market. Oh, yes, we all grew up in the market, so to speak. We all walked with our parents through the aisles of our local grocery store, our hand in theirs, our eyes wandering away from the fruit and vegetables and straight toward the candy. But Jonna grew up in the market literally, not figuratively. His parents founded and owned the Merchant of Vino chain, which stocked wines and specialty foods and stretched to six locations throughout the Detroit area. Where so many of us just salivated over cookies and sugared cereals, Jonna learned how to own and operate a market.

He learned life lessons.

He learned exactly what he — and, in turn, the customer — likes.

And when Whole Food Market IP LP, came calling during the late 1990s, Jonna and his brother realized that the life lessons they had learned during their childhoods were telling them to sell. So they did. After a little more than five years of research, plenty of time to develop new ideas and refine old ones, Jonna jumped back into the industry with Plum Market. He wanted to return to the roots of a market by focusing on smaller stores and natural and organic foods. Granted, he did lay out the store 27 times before finding the floor plan he wanted, but the philosophy and the ideas were there all along.

Now Plum Market is in three locations in the Detroit area. Each location features employees with thorough culinary training — including butchers, a dying breed, according to Jonna — in addition to fresh produce selected each morning and local and organic food from across the state. Trained employees? Fresh produce? Local food? They might seem like novel concepts in the industry, but those are the life lessons Jonna learned so many years ago.

How to reach: Plum Market, (248) 706-1600 or www.plummarket.com