I recently became aware that the owner of Groceteria has a planned trip to the Detroit metropolitan area in August, so I decided to aid in this research in some part. Here's a couple of chain supermarket history lists I compiled today on Google Sheets, using as much free resources as I could.
Wyandotte, Southgate, River Rouge, Ecorse, Grosse Ile, Riverview, and Trenton chain grocery/supermarket history (1921-2023) (updated 8/5/2023)
Lincoln Park, Allen Park, and Melvindale chain grocery/supermarket history (1929-2023) (updated 8/5/2023)
Though the Bacon Memorial District Library's website has a few Wyandotte city directories (which also listed River Rouge, Ecorse, Grosse Ile Township, Riverview, and Trenton) available for free on their website, the newest one that's online is 1936.
This left a large chronology hole, which I have attempted to fill from a few sources, including the excellent Downriver Locations website by forum member rimes, along with some articles from the local News-Herald newspaper - their website has articles dating back to December 2002 available, plus News-Herald editions as new as 1943 are also available on the Bacon Library website.
The Downriver region shares parts of it's border with Detroit, so chain histories are obvious to match that of it's larger neighbor to the northeast. Through my research, it does reveal some interesting notes, which I started in 1921 for the Wyandotte list and 1958 for the Lincoln Park list:
- Locally-based C.F. Smith was a major competitor for Kroger and A&P in the late 1920's and the 1930's, with them having a slightly higher store count than either of the two national competitors in the Wyandotte area. C.F. Smith was down to a store each in Wyandotte and Trenton by 1950, two years before they were sold to National.
- It can be assumed that Kroger and A&P each did some store consolidation during World War II, moving out of older and smaller stores, including those in the middle of residential areas, notably an older Kroger at 2648 10th Street and an older A&P at 427 Highland Street, the latter sadly torn down for additional houses.
- The starting of the Lincoln Park list in 1958 reflects the post-war suburban boom in which people moved out of the older neighborhoods along the Detroit River westward (1958 also marks the year the last portion of unincorporated Ecorse Township incorporated to become the city of Southgate). Kroger and A&P, as well as Wrigley, National and Food Fair (the future Farmer Jack) followed the suburban boom westward as well.