Walking distance from the El Moore is a neighborhood organic food store that was founded before organic food stores were a “thing.” That describes the Goodwells Natural Food Store, which has been a staple (pun intended) in the Midtown neighborhood since the year 2000 when “Midtown” was still known as the “Cass Corridor.” Founded by James Wood, who now co-owns the store with his son Jason, Goodwells is one of those “already-here” Black-owned Detroit stores that has survived the good times/bad times/good times again (?) roller coaster without much fanfare and even less acknowledged during Detroit’s Renaissance Part Deux.
Goodwell’s is located right next door to the nationally-known Avalon Bread and is part of the bustling corner of Willis and Cass Avenue. Although just a few years ago, storefronts in that area only about one-half rented, today Midtown is full of new retail options. According to James (as he prefers to be called), the growth in the area has caused the usual parking challenges, but on the other hand, Goodwells is in an excellent location for those patrons who walk or bike to the area.
As Detroit became the place to be over the past few years, much larger organic food stores (read: Whole Foods) came to town and to the greater Midtown neighborhood. Goodwells took an initial big hit when Whole Foods opened, and growth at “the little store that could” slowed considerably. But the Woods family and its employees are sustaining and competing, continuing to be a model for other family-owned grocers in Detroit. Many of the employees at Goodwells have been with the store for years because Mr. Wood values them and there is very little turnover. Like many small stores, Goodwells has a very loyal following, and the lines are long at the lunch and dinner hour. Goodwells is here to stay, and James would love to be a model for business success for other similar stores throughout Detroit.
Goodwells is open from 9 am – 6 pm Monday through Saturday, and from noon – 4 pm on Sundays.