Kessel Food Market

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TenPoundHammer
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Posts: 225
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Kessel Food Market

Post by TenPoundHammer » 29 Oct 2009 00:34

In 1981, it seems there was a union issue regarding Kroger in Michigan. According to one forum post:
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[…]
As a footnote, Al Kessel was a former executive at Flint-based Hamady stores, which went under in 1991.

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.

krogerclerk
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Location: Northwest Georgia

Re: Kessel Food Market

Post by krogerclerk » 29 Oct 2009 22:36

Kroger created a distribution partnership called Foodland Distributors by spinning off the Detroit area warehouse to a limited partnership with several Detroit area supermarkets, including Kessel's. Super Kmarts in the the area were supplied by the warehouse from the 90's until the partnership was dissolved with the Kessel's acquisition. I'm pretty certain that Great Scott!(Allied) was also supplied by Foodland Distributors and was also acquired by Kroger after A&P acquired Farmer Jack. I don't know if Chatham ever used Foodland Distributors, or if it was Spartan supplied. I believe Carter's and some other Michigan chains used Foodland Distributors as well. This is one of the reasons that Kroger brands were sold in non-Kroger stores in Michigan. Kmart even sold Rocky Top Cola, a Bluefield Beverage Product identical to Big K colas as its house brand soda prior to switching to Fleming as its wholesaler(Fleming was a national contract however replacing the various wholesalers supplying Kmarts around the country).

As for non-union stores in Ohio, I'm pretty sure every store in Ohio is unionized, as the lack of concessions and low market share led to Kroger completely leaving northeast Ohio, as well as the Pittsburgh market. The only other well documented union showdown in that time frame happened in Defiance, OH which is a Kroger Sav-on that closed temporarily only to reopen. The Kroger stores in Baton Rouge, LA were closed as a result of a strike, during this same timeframe, and were sold to A&P who re-opened them as non-union stores. Without moving further off topic, Kroger did open some non-union stores within its existing marketplace to send the point to the unions that stores could be operated with or without them(mainly in right to work states in the South).

In the case of both acquisitions of Great Scott! and Kessel's many stores returned to Kroger ownership. In the case of Great Scott!, the stores were unionized, but Kessel's as you stated weren't. The deal enabled to Kroger to remain in the Detroit market and eventually survive the decline of what competition wasn't acquired-Chatham's and A&P/Farmer Jack, and the expansion of Meijer into Southeastern Michigan, leaving Kroger and Meijer as the two major chains in the Detroit region.

kbraker510
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Re: Kessel Food Market

Post by kbraker510 » 30 Oct 2009 07:36

the nkroger in defiance , oh was part of the indiana marketing area and union barging uniy. now they ae are apart of local 75{ toledo 911 before that) out of cinci and still in the indiana marketing area

krogerclerk wrote:Kroger created a distribution partnership called Foodland Distributors by spinning off the Detroit area warehouse to a limited partnership with several Detroit area supermarkets, including Kessel's. Super Kmarts in the the area were supplied by the warehouse from the 90's until the partnership was dissolved with the Kessel's acquisition. I'm pretty certain that Great Scott!(Allied) was also supplied by Foodland Distributors and was also acquired by Kroger after A&P acquired Farmer Jack. I don't know if Chatham ever used Foodland Distributors, or if it was Spartan supplied. I believe Carter's and some other Michigan chains used Foodland Distributors as well. This is one of the reasons that Kroger brands were sold in non-Kroger stores in Michigan. Kmart even sold Rocky Top Cola, a Bluefield Beverage Product identical to Big K colas as its house brand soda prior to switching to Fleming as its wholesaler(Fleming was a national contract however replacing the various wholesalers supplying Kmarts around the country).

As for non-union stores in Ohio, I'm pretty sure every store in Ohio is unionized, as the lack of concessions and low market share led to Kroger completely leaving northeast Ohio, as well as the Pittsburgh market. The only other well documented union showdown in that time frame happened in Defiance, OH which is a Kroger Sav-on that closed temporarily only to reopen. The Kroger stores in Baton Rouge, LA were closed as a result of a strike, during this same timeframe, and were sold to A&P who re-opened them as non-union stores. Without moving further off topic, Kroger did open some non-union stores within its existing marketplace to send the point to the unions that stores could be operated with or without them(mainly in right to work states in the South).

In the case of both acquisitions of Great Scott! and Kessel's many stores returned to Kroger ownership. In the case of Great Scott!, the stores were unionized, but Kessel's as you stated weren't. The deal enabled to Kroger to remain in the Detroit market and eventually survive the decline of what competition wasn't acquired-Chatham's and A&P/Farmer Jack, and the expansion of Meijer into Southeastern Michigan, leaving Kroger and Meijer as the two major chains in the Detroit region.

TenPoundHammer
Senior Member
Posts: 225
Joined: 17 Jan 2007 21:05

Re: Kessel Food Market

Post by TenPoundHammer » 30 Oct 2009 22:47

Thanks for filling in some of the history regarding unions! Despite the fact that a large portion of my family works for GM, I could never make heads or tails of the whole union thing. I barely even know what one is.

As for the architecture of these stores, did Kroger ever use a "spire" like pictured in the Corunna store? It seems to mesh with the greenhouse windows pretty well. And what could the Davison Road store have been in a previous life? It sure doesn't look Krogerish.

brian79
Novice Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 16 Dec 2010 04:02

Re: Kessel Food Market

Post by brian79 » 19 Dec 2010 11:12

The information about some Saginaw stores is wrong. It should be like this.

**3355 Holland was a Ray's Food Fair, then a Giant, then a Kessel and is currently a Save-a-Lot.

**3805 N. Michigan was also a Ray's Food Fair, followed by a Giant, followed by a Kessel, followed by a Save-a-Lot which is what it is now. It was never a Family Dollar.

**5700 State was actually closed in 2008, not 2007. It was a Ray's Food Fair, then a Giant and was remodeled as a Giant before Kessel bought the Giant chain out, followed by Kroger buying the Kessel chain out. The greenhouse was used for offices, the entrance to the store and the customer service desk, it was never used as an actual greenhouse.

**4675 Bay Rd. not 3437 Bay Rd. is now a Goodwill. Also when OCB opened it did not effect the grocery store at all.

**2490 Tittabawassee This store was always a Kessel and never a Kroger, also the part where Hobby Lobby is located was never part of the store, that was a Phar-Mor before Kessel even re-located there. It closed not long after Kroger's buyout of Kessel as a Kessel.

**321 N. Michigan This was never a Kroger or a Kessel, this was an Arbor Drugs and then a CVS Pharmacy after CVS's buyout of Arbor, the store next door to it use to be a Hollywood Video. Save-a-Lot opened after CVS shuttered their Saginaw area stores.

werememberretail
Full Member
Posts: 74
Joined: 09 Jan 2010 23:02

Re: Kessel Food Market

Post by werememberretail » 26 Oct 2011 18:55

krogerclerk wrote:Kroger created a distribution partnership called Foodland Distributors by spinning off the Detroit area warehouse to a limited partnership with several Detroit area supermarkets, including Kessel's. Super Kmarts in the the area were supplied by the warehouse from the 90's until the partnership was dissolved with the Kessel's acquisition. I'm pretty certain that Great Scott!(Allied) was also supplied by Foodland Distributors and was also acquired by Kroger after A&P acquired Farmer Jack. I don't know if Chatham ever used Foodland Distributors, or if it was Spartan supplied. I believe Carter's and some other Michigan chains used Foodland Distributors as well. This is one of the reasons that Kroger brands were sold in non-Kroger stores in Michigan. Kmart even sold Rocky Top Cola, a Bluefield Beverage Product identical to Big K colas as its house brand soda prior to switching to Fleming as its wholesaler(Fleming was a national contract however replacing the various wholesalers supplying Kmarts around the country).

As for non-union stores in Ohio, I'm pretty sure every store in Ohio is unionized, as the lack of concessions and low market share led to Kroger completely leaving northeast Ohio, as well as the Pittsburgh market. The only other well documented union showdown in that time frame happened in Defiance, OH which is a Kroger Sav-on that closed temporarily only to reopen. The Kroger stores in Baton Rouge, LA were closed as a result of a strike, during this same timeframe, and were sold to A&P who re-opened them as non-union stores. Without moving further off topic, Kroger did open some non-union stores within its existing marketplace to send the point to the unions that stores could be operated with or without them(mainly in right to work states in the South).

In the case of both acquisitions of Great Scott! and Kessel's many stores returned to Kroger ownership. In the case of Great Scott!, the stores were unionized, but Kessel's as you stated weren't. The deal enabled to Kroger to remain in the Detroit market and eventually survive the decline of what competition wasn't acquired-Chatham's and A&P/Farmer Jack, and the expansion of Meijer into Southeastern Michigan, leaving Kroger and Meijer as the two major chains in the Detroit region.

For the record the Joint venture was between Kroger and the former Wetterau Company of St Lous Missouri, which was taken over by Supervalu in 1992, this venture arose out of prior business dealings between the 2 firms that included the sale of Kroger's old Pittsburgh Division of 45 Wetterau's indipendent store clients (namely "Foodland" retailers) the venture was how Al Kessel sold Kroger items in his stores

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