130 YEARS OF SPECIALTY FOODS

The R. Hirt Jr., Co. has been present in Detroit’s Eastern Market since the beginning. What started as a small food stall in the old market has evolved into a major statewide force in Michigan’s specialty foods scene. The warehouse has grown steadily since its establishment in the 1980s: today, it is equipped with state-of-the-art loading docks and improved storage facilities.

The facilities and capabilities of R. Hirt have been modernized to keep up with a changing industry. Even so, it remains a small, family-owned business at heart; the fourth and fifth generations of the Hirt family are still active in the company, and much of our staff has been with us for twenty years or more. R. Hirt places a great deal of value on the close relationships we have established with Michigan storeowners and restaurateurs over the years, and we look forward to many more years of cultivating new and old connections in the specialty foods industry.

The R. Hirt History

R. HIRT JR
1887

THE BEGINNING

Rudolph Hirt, Jr., Swiss immigrant and stove maker, opens food stall in Detroit’s Central Market with his life savings.

1890

THE MOVE

Hirt moves his business to the Eastern Market.

1900-1910

EXPANSION

Hirt expands the operation to sell produce as well as dairy products; he begins distribution of imported specialty foods on a small scale.

1920-1940

SECOND GENERATION

Rudolph Hirt, Jr.’s sons Rudolph Hirt III, Arthur Hirt, and Warren Hirt—along with sons-in-law Walter Lotz and Clarence DeVries—take the business to another level. They run Eastern Market Cold Storage in addition to R. Hirt Jr., Co., which now includes a branch at the Detroit Produce Terminal.

1950s - 1960s

THIRD GENERATION

The third generation of family gets involved in the business; Tom DeVries, Sr., Warren Hirt, Jr., Don Hirt, and David DeVries—grandsons of Rudolf Hirt, Jr.—increase further the company's offerings of imported cheeses, also adding items such as crackers, cookies, and teas.

1980s

FOURTH GENERATION

A fourth generation represented by Tom DeVries, Jr. (current owner) becomes active in the business. R. Hirt, Jr. Company opens a new warehouse/headquarters building at 3000 N. Chrysler Drive.

2011

FOCUS

R. Hirt Jr., Co. ends partnership with the retail store to put full focus on wholesale distribution.

2011-2016

GROWTH

Warehouse additions—including state of the art loading docks—create more cold and warehouse storage, accommodating steady growth of the wholesale business.

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