Detroit Area Timeline

As of 10 November 2019, this is a work in progress.

1903: Detroit’s first A&P location opens at 376-380 Michigan Avenue (current address approximately 1300 Michigan).

1909 (approximately): Charles F. Smith opens the first store in the chain bearing his name, most likely at 716 Dix Avenue (current address approximately 5900 Dix).

1917: Kroger enters the Detroit market through the purchase of Schneider Stores and, later that same year, Community Stores.

1921: Piggly Wiggly opens its first Detroit store at 12th (now Rosa Parks Blvd) and Seward.

1922: The Lurie Brothers open a store at 8450 Grand River Avenue that will be the genesis of Wrigley’s.

1930: Detroit’s National Grocer Co (not to be confused with National Tea), is operating over 250 R Stores and 47 National Groceterias following its acquisition of the Clarence Saunders stores in the city. By the end of the year, the company will be liquidated in receivership.

1931: National Tea of Chicago acquires the National Groceterias after bankruptcy, marking its first entrance into the Detroit market. The stores will close within a year.

1936: C.F. Smith is accused of evading the state’s chain store tax by fraudulently transferring ownership of many locations to individual principals in the company.

1937: The Lurie Brothers open the first Wrigley’s Self-service Market at 10845 West Chicago.

1951: Wrigley’s acquires the Packers chain and rebrands it as Wrigley’s.

1952: National Tea acquires the C.F. Smith stores, which are rebranded by 1954.

1953: The first Great Scott supermarkets open in former Wrigley’s and Packers locations.

1955: Lucky Stores and Food Fair, each owned by a brother of the Borman family, merge as Borman Foods, and will ultimately operate all stores under the Food Fair banner. (Neither is affiliated with similarly named chains elsewhere in the country.)

1955-1956: Wrigley’s merges with ACF-Brill Motors to become ACF-Wrigley. The merger also involves the Big Bear stores in Detroit and Humpty-Dumpty stores in Oklahoma. (ACF was originally an acronym for “American Car and Foundry” but the company was out of manufacturing by the time of the merger.)

1961: ACF-Wrigley adopts the Allied Supermarkets name.

1962: Wrigley begins rebranding some units as Big Valu discount locations. Wrigley also tests a different discount format using the relaunched Packers name, while Borman opens discount stores under the Savon banner.

1965: Borman Foods introduces the Farmer Jack brand, which will ultimately replace its Food Fair nameplate.

1966: After rebranding its Detroit stores as “Big D” starting around 1964, National Tea sells its Detroit area stores to Great Scott, A&P, and Chatham, among others, and abandons the market.

1974: Meijer opens its first Detroit area store.

1976: Allied Supermarkets acquires Great Scott. Many stores are closed; those that remain assume the Great Scott brand.

1984: 70 Detroit area Kroger stores close during a labor dispute. 25 of these, including all the stores in the city of Detroit, never re-open.

1985-1987: Chatham sells or closes all its locations. Farmer Jack, A&P, and Great Scott all purchase some stores.

1989: A&P purchases the Farmer Jack stores in Detroit and rebrands its own stores under the Farmer Jack name over the next few years.

1990: Kroger purchases most of the remaining Great Scott stores. The remainder close or are purchased by other parties.

2004: A&P converts ten area Farmer Jack stores to Food Basics.

2007: A&P closes all Farmer Jack stores.

2013: Whole Foods opens its first (and only) location in the city of Detroit at 115 mack Avenue, near Wayne State University.

2015: Meijer begins opening stores in the city of Detroit, with its first location at 1301 Eight Mile Road.

Updated on 26 November 2022