Today, much of our shopping happens at national chains like Target or Wal-Mart. But there’s something special about searching for food, clothing, or other items at a local or regional store — and many Michiganders will have fond memories of visiting these nine locales, whether they’re still standing or not.
This Detroit department store was once the tallest building in the world. Founded in 1881, Hudson’s was a magical place to visit in the Motor City, and business boomed through the mid-20th century. After expanding to multiple locations, Hudson’s was eventually rebranded as Marshall Fields, then Macy’s. The Detroit location was ultimately demolished in 1998.
2. Jacobson’s Department Store
This small chain was actually based smack dab in Michigan — and offered up a wide array of items, from furniture to fine clothing. The very first Jacobson’s sat in Reed City and opened its doors in 1838 before expanding to Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, and Jackson. Unfortunately, Jacobson’s declared bankruptcy in 2002.
3. Farmer Jack Supermarket
"It’s always savings time at Farmer Jack!" Do you remember venturing out to this beloved spot to pick up a few groceries? Based in Detroit, Farmer Jack was a regional chain that eventually operated in more than 100 locations. No matter what you were looking for, Farmer Jack had it: from a deli counter to fresh produce. The company was officially defunct as of 2007.
Michiganders from the east side of the state are certainly familiar with Kroger, which still operates today as one of the area’s most popular grocery stores. The company was founded in Ohio in 1883 and now operates over two thousand stores throughout Michigan and its surrounding states. Of course, here in the Great Lakes State, we often refer to the store as "Kroger’s."
5. Harmony House
If you’re a music lover who grew up in Michigan, we’re sure you visited Harmony House at least once or twice. Founded in 1947, this Detroit-area chain began in the suburb of Hazel Park and eventually operated nearly 40 stores. As music trends changed, Harmony House continued to carry albums from a wide variety of genres. Sadly, the last location closed its doors for good in 2004.
If you live in Michigan, chances are good that you’ve spend a solid portion of time at Meijer. With 24/7 hours and a whole wonderland of items to peruse, Meijer has been a consistent friend to Michiganders throughout the years — even though, as with Kroger, we add an "s" to the end of its name. The Meijer family founded the company in 1934, and it currently holds a position as the the 26th-largest retailer in the country.
7. Yankee Stores
If you grew up in the Flint area, you likely have memories of visiting Yankee to explore its selection of discount items. The company ultimately expanded to include locations throughout southeast Michigan, as well as a string of "Yankee Stadium" stores that carried a larger selection of items. After a series of turnovers, Yankee Stores became defunct in 1974.
8. Perry Drug Stores
The very first Perry Drug Store opened in downtown Pontiac in 1957, ultimately expanding to include over 200 stores throughout the Great Lakes State. Whether you were searching for makeup, medicine, or something in between, you were sure to find it at Perry. The company was bought out by Rite Aid in 1995.
When you need to stop for gas, the sight of a Wesco station can be comforting. This Michigan-based chain of gas stations is headquartered in Muskegon and has been operating locations throughout West Michigan since 1952. Many customers buy annual popcorn buckets, which can be filled up for free at any Wesco location — what’s not to love?
Okay, Michiganders — we’d love to hear from you! Are we forgetting any of your favorite stores throughout the Great Lakes State? Share your Michigan memories in the comment section below.
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