Northern Michigan A&P's

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Duane Boda

Northern Michigan A&P's

Post by Duane Boda » 10 Jul 2007 15:17

I'd like to know IF anyone here is familiar with the history of A&P as they were before most of them pulled out of the area in the great collapse of the mid 1970's? I'll mention the locations that I can recall and perhaps we can all take it from there with personal recollections and better yet old photos - Ok?

A. Petoskey - Colonial Style store that opened about 1967 and closed June
of 1975. This was there last store in town.
B. Harbor Springs - Old fashioned downtown market. Closed around 1975
C. Alanson - Yet another very small (liquor store size) market
D. Boyne City - This was another small market
E. East Jordan - Yet one more conventional store
F. Onaway - Like above....just a average store
G. Mancelona - Despite being a small village the store here was of
Colonial design (as I recall) the building and shape still retains it
H. Traverse City - Can't recall anything noteworthy except that town had
I. Grayling: This store actually stayed open until the early 80's due to its
proximity to the freeway - I-75.
J. Mackinac City - They had a store on Main St. as I recall
K. St. Ignace: This town had one that stayed open as long as the one in
Grayling. The store layout was common but it staying open wasn't but
that was due again to its location across the Mackinac Bridge and the
Island - Freeway access.
L. Bellaire: This town too MIGHT have had one. Their are several that I
know I forgot but that's due to the passage of time and etc.
M. West Branch: This town too.....
N. Rogers City: Yet another.....
O. Honor: This town also.....I think?
I plan on looking at the State map and recalling more IF someone asks. the Colonial store in Petoskey I can the layout of the store
aisle by aisle of product placement. I wish I could draw as I would do
that. It was one of the FEW Colonial stores (it seems) that had doors
that opened up on the side and not the front as I have often seen.

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Re: Northern Michigan A&P's

Post by TenPoundHammer » 18 Dec 2007 09:59

I know this thread is quite old by now, but what the hey.
Duane Boda wrote:West Branch: This town too.....
West Branch indeed had an A&P; it was a Colonial style building. I seem to remember it having an aisle that actually dead-ended! This store later became an IGA; currently, it's been subdivided into Family Video, Hungry Howie's Pizza, and Heartland Health Care offices
Duane Boda wrote:N. Rogers City: Yet another.....
Rogers City indeed had an A&P according to a 1976 phone book I have. This building doesn't look like any A&P prototype that I've seen; it seems to be a 1930s era brick building that got expanded. Last I checked, it was long vacant, with signage for "B's Sav-Mor" (a local store with a Spartan Foods affiliation).

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Re: Northern Michigan A&P's

Post by TenPoundHammer » 08 Jan 2012 16:08

Bumping to add a few:

* East Tawas — 115 Newman St. Closed in the mid 70s. Still listed as A&P in 1971, but was called "Brugger's East" in 1976 (Brugger's was a supermarket in nearby Tawas City that closed in the early 80s). Later a department store called Mill End, then an ACE Hardware, now divided into smaller stores.

1971 phone book says 135 Newman, which I'm pretty sure is a typo. The old ACE building is DEFINITELY an old-school A&P.

* Oscoda. From what I can tell, we had four!

** 119 (?) S. State. The first was a 1920s (?) era store on State St. According to old photos, it was about where a recently-closed gift shop called Lovey's is now. I don't know if it's the same building, but I do know that the current building has been a True Value hardware and an art gallery before Lovey's opened around 1997.
** 111 E. Dwight Ave. Probably a postwar store. As I mentioned in another thread, my grandmother remembers it still being here, so it probably moved in the 50s. It was Huron Furniture for a very long time (probably 60s-90s at least) and is now a restaurant.
** 5120 N. US-23. Seems to have opened in the mid 50s, just before the centennials. This was a small store (maybe 10,000 SF at best) with a Cunningham drugstore next door.
** 5112 N. US-23. By the mid 1970s, A&P moved one slot south into a new building, and Cunningham moved into A&P's old building. This store closed around 1992. It was rumored to become a Farmer Jack, but instead became a local store called "Big Valu" for a few months and then Carter's Foods in 1994. Carter's closed in 2006

* Alpena — 344 Ripley Blvd. An old centennial store. Either shortly before or after it closed, it was expanded into a former Ben Franklin next door. The followup grocery store, Ripley Street Station, barely lasted 10 years here and has been vacant ever since.

* Cheboygan — The first location was at 229 S. Main, which was later a Gamble store (not sure if related to Gamble/Skogmo). I think the second store was at 445, which later became a full-line JCPenney (!) and is now a Goodwill.

* Rogers City — 309 N. Third. Opened in a very non-conventional brick building that looks more like a house. This was called "B's Sav-Mor" as early as 1976. I remember it being long abandoned in the early 2000s, but it seems a diving team has repurposed it.

* Grayling — 209 S. James. As mentioned above, this one did make it a long way. It probably closed in 1992 with the mass A&P exodus from Michigan, and is now an ACE Hardware.

* Gaylord — They most likely had one downtown at first, but by the end of A&P's tenure, they had moved to 1425 W. Main. I don't know where I got this being an A&P, but it was extremely short lived. It lasted into the early 2000s as Buy Low Foods and, after a long vacancy, became a Hobby Lobby in October 2010.

* West Branch — already mentioned. I think IGA didn't even get 10 years here.

* Charlevoix — 6500 M-66. Another short-lived store that later became Buy Low Foods. It's now Family Farm & Home, a local Tractor Supply-type store.

* Cadillac — There was also a Buy Low in Cadillac, but I don't know where. Probably 2100 N. Mitchell, which is now a Big Lots. They most likely had a downtown location before this.

(As an aside, the now former Dunham's Sports at 1905 N. Mitchell looks very much like the Glen's Market in Oscoda — same rounded vestibule in the front. However, more conteporary sources list Glen's at 2100 N. Mitchell, so I wonder if they moved within a short period of time. I do know that on the south side of town, Glen's took over a former Oleson's before moving ca. 2006 to a former Kroger/Hamady/Carter's across the railroad tracks.)

* Standish — 301 S. Main. This was still open in 1975, but became IGA not long afterward. It was torn down in the mid 1990s for a Rite Aid.

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Re: Northern Michigan A&P's

Post by TenPoundHammer » 30 Aug 2017 17:50

Sharing some more thoughts on A&P.

For some reason, A&P never used the Farmer Jack name north of Bay City. Hampton Square Mall had an A&P attached to it that probably closed around 1992. It was "replaced" with a Farmer Jack several miles away, across from Bay City Mall. That store closed in the early 2000s (well before the chain went under in 2006), and had a very interesting repurpose. It was at one end of a small shopping strip anchored at the other end by Walmart. When Walmart wanted to expand to a supercenter, all of the tenants of the strip mall shifted northward into the old Farmer Jack building, so that the strip could be torn down to expand the Walmart.

I remember mom reading me a newspaper article about the Farmer Jack conversion when I was about 5. I took this to mean that our store in Oscoda would become Farmer Jack, but it didn't. As I stated, it was later Big Valu, and then part of the local Carter's Foods chain from 1994-2006. It's now a combination Our Family/ACE Hardware.

I believe at the time that A&P left Michigan in 1992, the only other northern Michigan stores were Oscoda, West Branch, and Alpena, plus the mysterious "Buy Low Foods" locations in Gaylord, Cadillac, and Charlevoix if those were ever even built as A&Ps. A couple years ago, the former West Branch store became Save-a-Lot, which has a couple posters of ads from when it was an A&P. These ads also list the Oscoda, East Tawas, and Standish stores.

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