Detroit’s American Dream

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Riad Shatila opened his first bakery in 1979 on a very different Warren Avenue in a very different Dearborn. That shop occupied just a thousand square feet, with a glass case up front and a modest bakery operation in the back. At the time, there were virtually no other stores around — the town’s Italian and Polish population had largely flocked to homes near shopping malls in the fancier suburbs farther west — and certainly there were none selling Lebanese sweets. Haider Koussan, who in 1993 started Dearborn’s Greenland Market grocery chain with his brothers in a small storefront on Warren Avenue, described the area even in the eighties as “a ghost town, all rundown buildings.” The city-block-sized space that’s now Super Greenland, the largest of Koussan’s five stores, was an abandoned, asbestos-filled movie theater called Camelot. “It was scary,” Koussan remembered. “There was nothing there.”

Written by Michael Snyder and Ali Saloum

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