Kocher's Market has been a family operation since the early 1900's. The first store was located east of the traffic light on the main street situated by the railroad tracks. Of course there was no traffic light at the time, the roads were dirt and travel was done by horse drawn sleds or buggy. Jacob (Jake) Kocher settled in this area around 1905 after moving here from Ohio, opened the first store. He became ill in 1929 and his son Charlie and his wife Vera moved to Hale from Saginaw to run the grocery store. They moved the store the initial site to a new one located at the “four corners” where Scofield Real Estate is today. In the 1930’s it was a “General Store” and included gas pumps, hunting supplies and a John Deer dealership in addition to groceries, dry goods and hardware supplies. Charlie Kocher drowned in Canada while on a fishing trip in 1938. His wife Vera continued to run the store throughout the 40’s and 50’s. She managed to keep the store open during the great depression and records include a log kept of credit given to local town folks for food and supplies during these very hard times. Much of the credit was repaid with eggs, chickens or whatever could be bartered. The log entries included a detailed list of the prices of products such as eggs, flour, bread, chicken, overalls, and gloves. A week’s supply of groceries could be bought for less than a dollar. Many prominent Hale citizens were employed in the store during those financially difficult years. The general store spread to include the building which was most recently Hale Bar and its adjoining building. Vera and her three children lived above the center building. In 1956, Vera sold the store to her oldest son Leo, who by that time was married to Audrey, and they were raising 5 children of their own. In 1961 the old building was sold to Ira Scofield and a new 1200 square foot building was built north of town. People at the time thought Kocher’s would never make it because they moved from the “four corners”, which was the center of town. Between Audrey, Leo and all 5 kids working together, the store grew in spite of speculation. The building was added on to twice and finally ran out of room to expand. In 1971 a new 7000 square foot store was built in its current location. What a thrill! Everything was ready at 2:00am for the grand opening on December 12, 1971. An unusual heavy December rain early that morning flooded the new building and opening day was spent mopping up. Everyone pitched in and with the ribbon cutting ceremony began a new era of growth. Three more additions over the years has resulted in a 28,000 square foot supermarket. From the original general store of less than 1,000 square feet in 1905 to 28.000 square foot supermarket we have today, we give thanks not only to family but also to the community that has been life blood. It is the community we are here to serve. We are very proud of our history and never want to lose sight of the customers who have brought us where we are today. Many of today’s customers are the 4th and 5th generation of those who traded at Kocher’s in the early 1900’s. It is amazing how many people, now in all walks of life, have worked here. It is all of those employees over the years who helped to make this business grow into what is today. Times have changed from that first general store and so have we. One thing has remained the same in all these years our customer is number one.
3195 North M-65 Hale, MI 989-728-2711 Hours: Monday ~ Saturday 8am ~ 7pm Sunday 9am ~ 5pm