Hiller's Markets Quits Smoking

Michigan grocer ends cigarette sales

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- This month, grocery chain Hiller's Markets has made a New Year's resolution to quit smoking-to cease selling cigarettes at all of its seven supermarkets. "I've agonized over this decision," said Jim Hiller, CEO of the family-owned company, said in a press statement. "My personal beliefs are intertwined in my business ethos, and to continue to sell cigarettes runs contrary to my personal commitment to this community and its future."

Hiller's Markets, located in Union Lake, Ann Arbor, West Bloomfield, Northville, Plymouth, Berkley and Commerce Township, [image-nocss] Mich., register more than $180 million in annual sales, said a report in The Detroit Free Press. The stores specialize in international foods, naturally raised fresh meats, fish, produce and deli. They also carry many gluten-free and organic items.
Hiller's is likely the first Michigan-based retailer to pull tobacco products from its stores, Tom Scott, spokesperson for the Michigan Retailers Association, told the newspaper.

Nineteen states, but not Michigan, have banned smoking in public places and worksites.

In his statement, Hiller also said, "I recognize that if you don't start somewhere, you can't impact the greater good at all! Yes, there are all kinds of vices and unhealthy products for sale-but cigarettes aren't only dangerous to those who smoke them. The effects spread far beyond those who choose to smoke-the effects of cigarette smoke can kill people who live and work with smokers. Despite the right of those who choose to smoke, I will not make Hiller's a fellow traveler. I may be just one man in Michigan. But I believe that one person can make a difference if he's bold enough to speak out. We are all put on this earth to make a difference, and I'll continue to do so as long as I have the chance."

East Coast grocery chain Wegmans Food Markets Inc. also stopped selling tobacco in January 2008. (Click here for CSP Daily News coverage.)

Another East Coast grocery chain, DeCicco Markets, followed suit in February 2008. (Click here for coverage.)

And in July 2008, San Francisco banned tobacco sales in pharmacies. (Click here for coverage.)

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