Grocery shopping returns to Armada with Vinckier Foods

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News

Armada — Mark Albrecht has had to travel outside Armada to do his grocery shopping since the closure of Korte's Market more than two years ago.

"It was either go to Richmond or Romeo. From my home, both are up to 12 miles away," Albrecht said. "If you wanted to get one item, you were making a trip."

So its comes as no surprise that those in Armada are happy with the impending opening of Vinckier Foods and Ace Hardware at the Village Plaza at Main and Fulton. The more than 20,000-square-foot space was where Korte's called home.

Mike Williams, Vinckier Foods general manager, said the store is expected to open Wednesday.

The Ace Hardware, formerly on East Main, was bought by Mike Vinckier, co-owner of Vinckier Foods with Lori Vinckier.

Vinckier Foods also has locations in Yale and Wadhams in St. Clair County and Almont in Lapeer County. The Almont location also features an Ace Hardware. There is a separate Ace Hardware location in St. Clair.

Albrecht, a 26-year Armada resident, traveled to the Vinckier Foods in Almont and was impressed.

"They compare to a Kroger or a Meijer as far as how they are set up and how clean they are," Albrecht said. "They have a good variety. They are set up really nice. I think they are going to succeed here in Armada."

A new business in town is exciting and welcomed, said John Paterek, Armada supervisor.

"It speaks volumes about Mr. Vinckier's belief that small towns and legitimate investments means a good return," he said.

The roof of the building was replaced, new coolers added and the parking lot resurfaced. "It looks beautiful," said Paterek.

The food store is expected to create about 42 full- and part-time jobs, Williams said.

"It is really nice to see jobs come back to our area," Paterek said. "They are limited up in this end."

Madi Puls was hired last month to work as a part-time produce worker/cashier.

Puls, who graduated from Armada High School this year, said she loves the convenience of working in the same community where she lives. "I live five minutes down the road," said Puls, 17. "I am excited to meet people who live in my area."

Like Albrecht, Puls said her family had to travel to buy groceries.

"We'd usually go to Kroger or Meijer in Shelby Township and it was always a long drive," she said. "If we forgot something for dinner, it wasn't like we could quickly run out and get it."

Vinckier Foods is supplied by Spartan Stores, a Michigan-based food company started in Grand Rapids.

Guy Prantera of Guy's Barber Shop on West Main is also happy to see Vinckier Foods open.

An Armada native who now lives in Oxford, Prantera said he used to stop in Korte's several times a day to buy a snack or beverage.

"It just brings a lot of activity into town," Prantera said. "It is nice to have a clean, remodeled grocery store."

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