Photo essay: Detroit loses quarter of its liquor stores in 5 years

Part 1 of a series this week about Detroit’s liquor stores. 

Liquor stores are drying up in Detroit – sort of. 

Over the past five years, the number of liquor stores have declined by more than a quarter, according to new data from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The ubiquitous corner stores serve as grocers and are a staple for booze, junk food, cell phones, cigarettes and the lotto.

Still, the city has more than 585 liquor stores, gas stations, pharmacies and other small retailers with active liquor licenses – more than four times the commission’s recommendations. The city had 810 liquor stores in 2009.
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Behind the decline are exorbitant insurance rates, violence, arson, a diminishing population and severe restrictions on new liquor licenses.
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Here’s a sampling of Detroit’s shuttered liquor stores.

All photos by Steve Neavling. 

Special K on Mack_9510 6407 Gratiot_5835 Spotlite_0477 Goodie Store_7604 Party Store_6888 Millennium_7132 A&Ds Party Store_5908 Warren Liquor_0242 Grover Market_5457 Central Liquor_4982 Store front_4524 Yours Liquor_2588 C&F Market_2211 Sam ds_2205 Seawind_2317 Store front_1970
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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.