Most Read
  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email


Candy land

An old-fashioned shop tries to evoke a simpler time

Photo: , License: N/A

Pastor Betty Jordan at the appropriately named Miracle Soda Shoppe.

There aren't many bright colors left in this part of town. There's the green in the grassy fields along the main road. The gray of the streets. And the shades of brown on the wood houses whose paint has weathered away.

But in the midst of it all is this little place that beams with a rainbow's worth of sugary hues.

The Miracle Soda Shoppe, on Van Dyke near Nevada on the east side, stands out because it's so different from everything around it. It's quaint and old-fashioned and wholesome, surrounded by a rough, declining neighborhood.

Betty Jordan's store strives to be a classic soda shop — except for not having an actual soda fountain. But the essence of soda shops was always more than pop and ice cream. They conjure a comparatively innocent, simpler time. And Jordan believed this east side neighborhood, where she lived for decades, could use a dose of innocence.

This place is as much a functioning candy store as it is a tribute to a lost way of life. Step inside the door and walk to the old-fashioned candy counter, and hop onto one of the round stools. Take in the thousands of wrapped little treats in yellows and reds and greens, and the penny candies coated with crystals of sugar, and the sour pickles in a jar. Order a hot dog or a soft pretzel, or a slice of sweet potato pie made using an old Arkansas recipe. Admire the antique wall ads for Cracker Jack and Coca-Cola and Hershey's, and the kitsch that evokes another world.

Some things here aren't so nostalgic, though, like the magazine article explaining the history of Amos 'n' Andy taped to the wall, like the large photo of sharecroppers picking cotton in the Deep South way back when. And at the front of the store stand two life-size cardboard cutouts of Barack and Michelle Obama, presiding over this display of history, a touchstone to the present showing how far things have come since portrayals like Amos 'n' Andy. 

The iron bars on the door to the backroom and the bulletproof glass dividing the front counter serve as a reminder of other ways things have changed too.

The artifacts aren't just for the adults who remember them. They're also for the children who have no sense of their meaning and nowhere else to hang out in this neighborhood of liquor stores and overgrown parks. When Jordan has children in the shop, waiting for candy, she figures it's a chance to share with them something other than what life out here exposes them to. 

"I try to educate them on things they never heard of or ever dreamed of," she says.

Jordan doesn't even like candy. "I just wanted to sell it," the 63-year-old says. "I liked picking it out and looking at it and seeing what it could do. That's just me. That's what I liked."

She grew up in Arkansas, moved to Michigan, got married, and opened a successful tire business with her husband. But years there took a toll. She saw men get hurt, become crippled, even watched a man die on the job once. 

"The guy had a Cadillac. His name was Eddie Lee," she says. "Eddie Lee jacked the car up but he didn't lock the jack. And the guy was just carrying on a casual conversation with another man, and he put his foot on the jack and the car fell down on Eddie Lee and killed him right there. My husband picked that whole car up and dragged that boy from up under there, but he was dead."

Add to that the sight of workers getting their fingers sliced off by wayward tire rims, and she'd had enough.

"After seeing all that and all that noise I went back, I said, 'I'm going to go into candy.' I started preparing for this a long time ago."

She left the tire shop, became pastor of a little church, and found that the space she'd bought for her ministry was better suited for her lifelong dream of an old-fashioned store like the ones she saw as a little girl. She opened in 1999, closed after a fire, and reopened seven years ago.

No matter how genteel her shop's theme is, in a neighborhood like this there's little doubt about what kind of customers she's going to draw.

"I'm going to be honest. I made my money off of drug dealers," she admits. "And they love sweets. Drug dealers love sweets. I'm not too familiar why. It's just like a child. They love sweets, they love candy and stuff like that."

She doesn't open the shop until afternoon because few people in the area are out of bed before that, she says. "These people in this neighborhood, they get up maybe 12 or 1 o'clock. They're not early people. A lot of them don't work." 

That doesn't bother her. What does is that children out here grow up immersed in this life. 

One kid, whose father was a drug dealer, saw Jordan's daughter balancing a checkbook one day. He asked what she was doing. She explained she was depositing paychecks and balancing her checkbook. "Just like your daddy," she told him. The boy replied that his dad didn't work. That prompted Jordan to have a talk with the father. "I told him, 'You should tell your son you work. Even though you're selling drugs, you should tell him you work.'"

That kid already knew what was up, though. The boy's name was Henry, named after his dad, who went by the street name Hank, the same name the dad had been trying to bestow on the son. So when Jordan called the child Hank, he recoiled. "Pastor, I don't want to be called that." He didn't want to be identified with his father. 

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus