Ed Deeb loves the Eastern Market like only a true Detroiter can—he grew up with it.
In his role as Chairman and Champion of the Michigan Food & Beverage Association, and especially as CEO of the Michigan Business & Professional Association and the Eastern Market Merchants Association, the Syrian American entrepreneur is at the forefront of the current renovation of the 106 year old landmark, the largest historic public market district in the United States.
The renovation, which began with Shed 2 in August of 2007, is the first phase of a $10 million effort that will ultimately include Sheds 3 and 5 and the installation of new streetscapes. Touring the market with Ed, greeting his many friends and associates, you can sense how excited he is about the construction, which will establish Shed 2 as a center for seasonal fresh food producers, attract new growers, and increase accessibility to fresh farm produce. Improvements to the shed—really, a huge pavilion—will include new lighting, new concrete, space designed to accommodate cooking and nutrition demonstrations and more, all while keeping the historic layout and character of the shed intact.
Deeb is a Detroit booster through and through, due largely to his nearly seventy years here. He has a degree in communication arts in 1960 from Michigan State University and served in the U.S. Air Force. A talented journalist, he worked for a food-industry journal where he soon worked his way up to editor. In 1964, he was tapped to serve as president of the Michigan Food & Beverage Association and in 1987 helped found the Michigan Business & Professional Association.
He remains a familiar sight in the Eastern Market—he’s the bear-like fellow with a ready smile and knot of associates among the nearly fifty thousand customers who find their way to the market on any given weekend.
Speaking fondly about his childhood working in his parents’ retail stores (his mother is doing well at ninety; his father passed away a decade ago), Deeb is genuine friend to Detroit youths: Twenty years ago, he helped organize Metro Detroit Youth Day as a way of settling weeks of strife between area merchants and young. The Belle Isle event now attracts more than 18,000 participants