Male’s Grocery is located in the old North Branch House which is celebrating its 150 year anniversary. Established in 1870 by William Faught, the North Branch House is one of the oldest buildings in Alpena, and got its name because it was located on the North Branch of the Thunder Bay River. Travelers also referred to it as the Ten Mile House because it was just about 10 miles from “downtown” Alpena. This rooming house and saloon were utilized as a stopover for loggers in the area.
In 1906, the rooming house was purchased by Albert Male, and he and his wife added the cement living quarters to the building in 1910. The hotel was a favorite of area residents, and served full-course meals for twenty-five cents. In 1914, Albert’s son Tom Male took it on and eventually transitioned the hotel into a general store. In 1937, Male’s Grocery, and other businesses in Alpena, received electricity before Detroit did, as many saw in Alpena a potential future hub.
Male’s Grocery continued to serve its community as a stop for gas, general merchandise, and good conversation, and also served as the location for Male Farm Implements and Male’s Trucking, for generations. Tom Male passed on the store to his son, Howard Male, who passed on the store to his son, Glenn Male. And now, Beverly Male and her daughter, veteran Jane Male, have purchased the business. With Beverly and Jane’s nieces/cousins working there, six generations of Males have kept this community landmark thriving for well over a century. This monument to the area will still have the original counter (a bar purchased during Prohibition), along with the old candy and bread cases, and the original Male Farm Implements sign with the old party line phone number. The building is remodeled to show the original wood walls, wood and tin ceilings, but there will be some great changes, too! This general store will carry the basics they’re known for, but will also focus on sourcing local food and products. You’ll find the market stocked with Falls Creek Produce and Flowers, Presque Isle Farm vegetables, Bixel Family Farm beauty products, and meats from B&B Farms, just to name a few.
Grand Re-Opening Information
The grand re-opening of Male’s Grocery and Maple Ridge Marketplace under the new (fe)Male ownership is Sunday, September 6th. The outdoor marketplace and farmers market will go from 12-4pm, with live music from 2-6pm; the brick and mortar grocery store will be open from noon-9pm that day. You’ll also see local artisans with their creative wares at the marketplace. After the grand re-opening on 9/6, the store has daily fall hours of 6am-9pm M-Sa, 8am-9pm Sundays. The next outdoor marketplace takes place 12-4pm, October 11th.
More information can be found on their Facebook Page.
Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for northeast Michigan. She enjoys reading with her seven year old, planting and hiking in the dirt, cooking up her own recipes, drinking farmhouse cider, and eating lots of fresh, seasonal produce (and anything deep-fried, in accordance with her southern heritage). She owns and operates Presque Isle Farm. Contact her at [email protected].