Chaldean Grocer Set To Open New Store Stocked With Kosher Items

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Grocer Jerry Denha stands in his new Noah’s Marketplace, which will feature a wide selection of kosher food. He expects to open in early December.
Grocer Jerry Denha stands in his new Noah’s Marketplace, which will feature a wide selection of kosher food. He expects to open in early December.

Lori Hoffman Eisenberg of Southfield is among the legions who “can’t wait” for former Farm Fresh Market owner Jerry Denha to open his new supermarket.

When Farm Fresh closed three years ago, some Jewish customers were disappointed to lose their favorite place for buying kosher food. The store was also popular for its fair prices and a shoppers’ rewards program.

After months of anticipation, passers-by can see the colorful letters of Denha’s new venture, Noah’s Marketplace, affixed to the freshly painted tan, burgundy and cream facade of a former Farmer Jack supermarket in Southfield. The logo is also on the polished concrete floor inside. Denha’s crew is stocking shelves and putting the finishing touches on what should be a unique independent supermarket for Metro Detroit.

“I plan to open in early December,” said Denha. Noah’s Marketplace is on 11 Mile Road, east of Lahser.

The location in Southfield, near the I-696 freeway, is ideal, he says. The supermarket should not be too far for his Oak Park and Huntington Woods customers, and will attract new shoppers from the western suburbs.

brettmountain0006With Noah’s Marketplace — named for the youngest of his four children — Denha is making a renewed commitment to his Jewish customer base.

“Twenty-five percent of our space is devoted to kosher,” he said. The Council of Orthodox Rabbis provides kashrut supervision.

A native of Iraq, Denha feels an affinity with Jews and knows the Jewish holidays and customs.

“It was really a lot of fun working with the Jewish community,” Denha said, “and that’s why I want to get back and have a kosher market.”

The 37,000-square-foot space in the Harvard Row shopping center was remade to Denha’s specifications. He deemed only one produce case usable from the former business.

Pro-Touch Painting, owned by Israeli immigrant Motty Potter, painted white walls in colors Denha selected for eight different areas of the store. 

For example, “the kosher meat department is painted blue to match with the Israeli flag,” Denha said.

Meal Mart will be among several kosher food suppliers. Bloom’s Kosher Carryout will prepare meals for take-out dining. Bake Station will provide kosher baked goods.

As a high-end, full-service supermarket, Noah’s Marketplace will offer various party trays, flowers and plants, extensive beer and wine selections, and more. A pharmacy and future vendors (perhaps coffee or scooped ice cream) will lease front-of-the-store space.

The self-serve checkout stations introduced at other supermarkets won’t be found at Noah’s Marketplace.

“I don’t believe in that,” Denha said. “I believe in customer service.” He’ll have seven staffed checkout lanes.

Farm Fresh’s stamp loyalty program led to quarterly checks for customer-designated organizations, including Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, Congregation Beth Shalom and Temple Emanu-El. Noah’s Marketplace will offer a rewards program, too. Denha hasn’t decided on the format yet, but it’s likely to be points collected on a card.

In addition to kosher Jewish specialties to-go, the supermarket will have Chaldean carryout food. Items made on premises will include beef and chicken shwarma, meat pies, kibbee and stuffed grape leaves. Denha’s sister, Ann Salmo — “a very good cook” — will lead the operation, assisted by his wife, Rita Denha, and other family members.

Noah’s Marketplace is at 21800 W. 11 Mile Road, Southfield; (248) 996-9898.

By Esther Allweiss Ingber | Contributing Writer
Photos by Brett Mountain

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