As a footnote, Al Kessel was a former executive at Flint-based Hamady stores, which went under in 1991.Since Reagan, the anti union forces have been telling the nit wits all the evils of workers unions. I seen it in union cities, here in Saginaw Michigan, there were union Kroger stores before Reagan took office. After Reagan was elected Kroger made a deal with Al Kessel to buy out the area's Kroger stores thus tying the unions hands because Kessel stores weren't unionized and because Krogers sold out nothing could be done for union workers, who either stayed at their jobs with reduced wages and no benefits or they lost their jobs.
It was a vast scam as the "new" Kessel stores sold Kroger brand foods, the non union Kroger stores in Ohio remained open. All efforts to unionize Kessels failed, the former union workers tried but Kessl said if they unionized he was closing the stores, the unions couldn't muster up enough support with the non union workers to pass a union also. This went on until 2000.
Then after the 2000 elections all of a sudden Kessel sold all of the Kessel stores back to Krogers and today they are all back under the Kroger name without unions[…]
I have found that all the Kessel stores were in the Flint, Saginaw and Bay City areas. I distinctly recall most of them reverting to Kroger over time.
Here's a breakdown of all the locations I found:
*Bay City — This one opened in 1992 in a former Giantway. It is currently a Kroger, seen here, with ALLCAPS signage. Big Lots took over the former Ray's Family Center, which was basically a small discount store often attached to Giantway stores.
*Bridgeport — Also a former Giantway/Ray's Family Center. According to this Loopnet listing, the building is vacant, having received a new parking lot in 1997. The tail end is now a Family Dollar.
*Burton had two:
**1135 N. Belsay Rd. can be seen here as a Kessel. It was obviously a former 1970s Kroger superstore in this pic. It's Kroger again, with the KROGER sign in all-caps. This is a corner-entry store with the corner entry on the right, next to a Kmart.
**1200 E. Bristol Rd. was demolished, along with an adjacent former Perry Drug/Rite Aid, for a new-build Kroger early in the decade. I'm quite familiar with this store, as my aunt lives behind it.
*Corunna had one. This store apparently closed in 1996 and is seen here as a Save-a-Lot. Note the weird "peak" jutting out of the greenhouse windows.
*Davison's store was a former Hamady, and I think a Yankee discount store before that. This was a Kroger until a new store opened downtown maybe 6 years ago. It's seen here, looking like absolutely no kind of Kroger whatsoever, although I remember it having the glass "peak" like Corunna. The south half of the store became a Dollar General and is now a Goodwill store, and the north half is still vacant.
*Fenton had a Kessel at 1236 N. Leroy St. I don't know what it looked like as a Kessel, but my first guess is "former Kroger." The building was torn down in the early 2000s for a strip mall including a Subway and a Dollar General.
*Flint proper had several:
**2918 Flushing Rd., seen here, is obviously a former corner-entry Kroger. Kessel closed this store in 2000, and it's now a Save-a-Lot.
**1916 Davison Rd., seen here, is now a very small Kroger. I have no idea what this opened as; it doesn't resemble any Kroger prototype I've seen.
**4841 Clio Rd. was probably a former Hamady given that it shared a plaza with a Yankee. The store burned down in the early 1990s and was never rebuilt, as Kessel reopened in the former Yankee at the other end…
**2629 W. Pierson Rd. being the former Yankee, later Tradeway and Hills. Hills closed in 1991, not long before the aforementioned Kessel burned down. This store became Kessel and remains open as a Kroger, looking much like a former Hills on the front.
*G-3288 Corunna Rd. is still a Kroger. As seen here, it also has the "peak" and greenhouse windows.
**G-5249 Corunna Rd. was a former Hamady, also now a Kroger. It's a strange, small building with no windows.
**G-5186 Fenton Rd. opened ca. 1996 in what was formerly known as the 23 Market, a three-store chain which also had locations in Burton (vacant, not sold to Kessel) and Flushing (see below). This lives on as a very small Kroger. (Oh, and the 23? Right behind this store is the 23 Drive-In, itself named for the fact that Fenton Rd. used to be US-23.)
*Flushing had one that relocated:
**1563 E. PIerson Rd. was also a Hamady. It was vacated in 1996 when Kessel moved to the location below, and 13 years later it's still vacant. Rite Aid has opened a new store in the parking lot, replacing the vacant former Perry at the back of the old grocery store.
**1542 E. Pierson Rd. is a former 23 Market. It also lives on as a Kroger.
*Grand Blanc also carries on as a Kroger, with the "peak" as well; the greenhouse has been removed. I have mentioned before that this store was a demo/rebuild or extreme remodel of a 1970s corner-entry store attached to a small mall.
*Mt. Morris is a Kroger as well. What looks strange is that it is evidently an expansion of a former corner-entry store. The corner entry is obvious but bricked over.
*Saginaw had several:
**3355 Holland is a former Giantway. It has been cut up into several stores, including a Save-a-Lot. This store is located behind the now-closed Fort Saginaw Mall.
**3805 N. Michigan is also a former Giantway. It, too, is a Save-a-Lot (and a Family Dollar).
**3860 Dixie, also a Kroger. This one preserves the weird pseudo-spire that Kessel added.
**5025 Gratiot, same as above.
**5700 State was formerly Ray's Food Fair and later Giantway, later a Kroger with all-caps signage, closed 2007 when Kroger moved to a new store (former A&P/Farmer Jack). I find it strange that although this was Giantway into the 1990s, it has a greenhouse.
**3430 State has vestiges of corner entry and greenhouse. It, too, was closed when the new store opened at the former A&P site in between this and 5700.
**3437 Bay Rd. is a former corner-entry Kroger superstore (right corner). At some point, perhaps around the same time it became Kessel, an Old Country Buffet was built right next door. OCB took over the corner entry, and a new entry was cut in the middle of the store. This store closed in the early 1990s and relocated to the below location. Michaels Arts & Crafts took this store over until last year, when it also moved.
**2490 Tittabawassee is a relocation of the above store, opened in the early 1990s. It looks a lot like a Kroger, having been converted to that name (with all-caps signage) for a couple years. After it closed, Hobby Lobby took over the east half.
**321 N. Michigan is also a former corner-entry Kroger, also currently a Save-a-Lot.
*And finally, Swartz Creek was Kessel until the early 2000s, when a brand-new Kroger opened on the other side of town. It was split between Pet Supplies Plus and Save-a-Lot, the latter of which closed in 2007.