In 1966, the Gratiot Central Market burnt down following an electrical fire and many vendors chose to retire, leaving an opportunity for new businesses to fill the vacancies. The 12th Street Riots of July 1967 left a scar on the city of Detroit and a sense of uncertainty about the future. Ronnie and Rosemary Bedway believed their experience in the grocery industry as well as the remaining need for quality meat in the city were the key ingredients to their success.
Ronnie grew up working in the Gratiot Central Market with his father as a child and provided for his mother and brother as a young adult following the death of his father. More recently, Ronnie had been working as a butcher at a local supermarket chain. Rosemary previously worked in her family’s grocery business in Detroit’s historic Black Bottom. The young couple wanted to work towards a better life for their young family. With a knife, butcher block, and borrowed inventory and change, the young couple began their venture on October 31, 1967.
Through a commitment to quality, affordability, service, and community, the business grew over time and gained loyal customers. Today, three generations of the Bedway family work at the store, serving multiple generations of Detroiters. Those continued relationships are only possible through constant attention to detail and client satisfaction.
As we approach our 50th year anniversary in October, we remain committed to our founding principles as we embark into the future.
1967 – Following an electrical fire in 1966, many vendors previously occupying the Gratiot Central Market retired. Ronnie and Rosemary Bedway, both having grown up working in the grocery industry, jumped at the opportunity to open shop in the newly rebuilt market. With only a butcher block and knife in..Read More
1975 – In the heat of friendly competition, the Corned Beef War brought national recognition to the Gratiot Central Market as Ronnie’s Meats and Wigley’s engaged in a price war in which both businesses sold corned beef at a loss. The press coverage helped attract new customers to the Gratiot..Read More
1980 – Following his graduation from high school, Tom Bedway trained at the legendary Kronk Gym and boxed as amateur under the ring name “Motor City Meat Man”. The business expanded its presence in the city through its participation in festivals, most notably at Hart Plaza, to further grow the..Read More
1998 – Ronnie’s Meats reopened in 1998 under the leadership of Tom Bedway following an electrical fire in 1995 and temporary occupancy at a nearby location for two years.
Following 15 years of growing sales Tom and Ronnie Bedway doubled down on Detroit and purchased the entire Gratiot Central Market in partnership with outside investors.
Today, Ronnie’s is a bustling market where you will find many of Ronnie’s family members working daily. We are quickly approaching our 50 year anniversary in October of 2017 and look forward to serving Detroit for many more years to come!