Detroit will miss one of its enduring icons in one of the country’s biggest and oldest year-round markets. Busy Bee Hardware, on the corner of Gratiot Avenue and Russell Street, is shutting down shop in July.
Eastern Market is one of the city’s premier attractions, not just thronged by locals, but also drawing people from surrounding cities and a number of cities across the world. It comprises of three primary markets, each with their distinctive food products and experiences. The Sunday Street Market, Tuesday Market, Saturday Market, Wholesale Market, and District Businesses are alive and buzzing throughout the calendar year. And Detroit natives will tell you that Busy Bee Hardware – housed in a former bank – and instantly eye-catching thanks to its whimsical bee murals – is a firm favorite.
The hardware store is owned by siblings Richard Crabb and Sandra Novak, who have had the place since 1917 when their grandfather bought it out and gave it the interesting moniker that has stuck till date. Needless to say, the store is as busy as a bee with three sections offering a vast variety of products.
The section at the front stocks the most common hardware needs, such as nails and paints. The other section is a yard and garden, and the section behind it stocks large or bulk items as well as a number of cutting items. The entire property consists of five buildings and a parking lot.
The owners said that they had sold their property at a ballpark figure of $2.6 million. The party that purchased the property plans a mixed-use development of retail, residential and office spaces. They also admitted that, while it was emotional to let go, they believed it could be put to excellent use and benefit the local community.
Eastern Market, as such, is among the areas in the greater downtown being redeveloped with modern art galleries, trendy restaurants and residential developments. While locals may look back at Busy Bee fondly, it is also expected that they will be enthused by what is to come.