Northville Economy

Historic Economy

Historically, one of the most important industries in Northvile is the gristmill.  It was opened in 1862 by John Miller, who was one of the first settlers to the area.  The humble mill grew quickly and by 1889 the company was capable of grinding 1,000 bushels of grain per day.  The mill was powered by the water from the River Rouge.  After the success of Miller other types of mills began to appear in Northville that utilized the power of the river as well.  One such mill was the Parmenter Cider Mill, established in 1837.  The mill is still in existence today, open during the fall season for cider and doughnuts.

Other long-lasting businesses in the area include the Guernsey Farms Dairy.  It has been operating since 1945 and remains one of the few family-operated dairies in the state.  It received national recognition in 1984 when its butter pecan ice won fifth place in a People Magazine best flavors contest.  Another business legacy in Northville is the Northville Valve Plant.  Henry Ford purchased this building in 1919 and between 1920 and 1936 over 180 million valves were produced here.  The structure of the building has since been updated and now a gym.

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An image of the Northville Valve Plant

Downtown Northville

Throughout the history of Northville the perservation of the downtown has been a priority for the local government.  A variety of different types of businesses are located here including up-scale restaurants, coffee shops, bars, ice cream parlors, art galleries, antique shops, and more.  There are more than 75 shops in Downtown Northville and numerous services offered.

Notable business establishments include Genitti’s Hole-in-the-Wall.  The restaurant opened in 1971 and serves Italian food.  It is most famous for the adjacent theater which features a different show every four months.  Another notable business is Northville Downs, a horse racing track located downtown.  Not only can one watch horse’s race here but also enjoy dinner, drink at the bar as well as wager on hundreds of horse races and sports in the gambling area.

Filming in Dowtown Northville

The idyllic small downtown atmosphere has attracted many filmmakers to the area.  Downtown Northville has been featured in motion picture The Double and Scream 4 as well as commercials for Ford and the Michigan Lottery.


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