Despite an ice storm, local restaurant owners and managers were waiting at the door at 7 a.m. on Feb. 6 when Restaurant Depot's new Ypsilanti Township location opened for business at 1347 James L. Hart Parkway.
Restaurant Depot stores are similar to Costco or Sam's Club, but focused on restaurant clients. Purchasing supplies at a Restaurant Depot requires a free membership that entitles qualifying businesses with a valid reseller's permit or a tax-exempt certificate for nonprofits to make tax-free bulk purchases.
Township officials, representatives from Ann Arbor SPARK and the A2Y Chamber, and a few local business people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the business at 9 a.m. During the ceremony, township supervisor Brenda Stumbo noted that the store was bringing jobs to the township.
"This is good news. We welcome you," Stumbo said.
The 55,000-square-foot warehouse opened with just under 40 employees, but branch manager Andy Branham says he expects that after the store is in business for a few months and adds a fresh seafood department, the staff will be closer to 60.
Michigan has two other Restaurant Depot locations in Dearborn and Troy. Sandra Roberts, director of sales and marketing for Restaurant Depot's Midwest region, says many restaurant managers and owners in Washtenaw County were already shopping at the two other stores and were waiting and watching for one to open closer to home.
Branham says he expects restaurants on the east side of I-275 to continue to shop in Dearborn and Troy while businesses west of 275 will start coming to the Ypsi Township location.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She has served as innovation and jobs/development news writer for Concentrate since early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to Driven. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Sarah Rigg.