Community and the Corner Store

Community and the Corner Store
Jaime Magiera
originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of the Old Fourth Ward Newsletter

Growing up in a Downriver Detroit neighborhood, I was blessed with a lot of options for entertainment and interaction with others. There were pizzerias, movies theaters, skating rinks, parks, and the like. Thinking back though, one particular place stands out in my mind: the corner store. It was just a few blocks away from my house. The store was always bustling with activity, people buying groceries, grabbing a quick sandwich, maybe picking up some ice cream or a cold drink on a hot day.

One thing you could always find at the corner store was conversation. The cashier would chat with the customers, and customers would chat with each other, catching up on the latest news in the community. “How’s your family? Oh, great! Congratulations!”, “Did you hear what happened down on Rosedale street? I guess they have to put in some new water pipes”, “Mackinac was really pretty this time of year. The weather was perfect!”
Often, you could make new friends just by sharing a smile and a warm hello.

Moving to Ann Arbor, I was happy to find that there is a corner store here. People’s Food Co-op. Like the corner store of my youth, there’s a strong sense of community that permeates PFC. Whether sitting down to eat at the cafe, or running in to grab an armful of groceries, there’s always an opportunity to catch up on the latest news from around town. I’m guaranteed to run into old friends and often make new ones. In a time where it seems people have become more distracted and distant, it’s comforting knowing that such a place exists in our community.

With this in mind, I’m extending an invitation to Old Fourth Ward residents to visit the co-op, to experience our corner store. Whether you stop in to load up for the week or to grab a quick snack, you’ll find a welcoming space, a sense of community. If you see me, we can share a smile and a warm hello.