Detroit Area Hiller's Markets to STOP Selling Tobacco Products..

January 15, 2009 - Hiller's Markets Inc. will stop selling cigarettes at its seven Metro Detroit stores to protect the health of its customers, the Southfield-based company announced this morning, Wednesday, January 14, 2009.

Hiller's Markets joins the growing list of retail outlets (convenience stores, groceries and pharmacies) choosing NOT sell tobacco products. The owners of these stores are putting the health of the community they serve ahead of selling a dangerous product that may be the only product on the market which, when used correctly, can kill you. Note: Hiller's slogan "The way it should be.." Some examples: San Francisco, Boston, Wegmans Food Markets and DeCicco Markets..

CEO Jim Hiller said the decision was a difficult one. He said that although he wants to provide customers with a variety of items, smoking is an unhealthy habit and it's in the best interest of customers for the company to stop selling cigarettes. "I've agonized over this decision," he said. "My personal beliefs are intertwined with my business ethos and to continue to sell cigarettes runs contrary to my personal commitment to this community and its future."

Hiller estimated about 10 percent of his customers are smokers, and said his stores generate between $200,000 to $250,000 in cigarette sales annually.

Hiller's is a family-owned grocer and was founded in 1941. Hiller’s operates seven groceries, including a new 52,000 square-foot store in Union Lake; others are located in Ann Arbor, West Bloomfield, Northville, Plymouth, Berkley and Commerce Township. Many company employees have been at Hiller’s for decades – symbolizing the quality behind the brand. Hiller has always been guided by the societal impact of store activities and corporate decisions.

Tobacco-related illness is responsible for an estimated 14,522 deaths in Michigan each year, said Laura Bertalan of the American Lung Association.

References: Hiller's Markets to stop selling cigarettes by Jennifer Youssef, The Detroit News, 1/14/2009; Hiller's Markets end cigarette sales by Greta Guest, Free Press Business Writer, (2008 photo of CEO Bill Hiller by ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press) 1/14/2009.

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