"Why? Because we're with you!" That was the famous Flint-area tagline to a spectrum of savings. Almost like watching the U.S.S. Enterprise go into warp speed, in the old days we would see great deals on great products fly by us, hurled by the one and only Al Kessel. We received word tonight that the local legend of supermarket mark-downs passed away at the age of 74.

His chain of supermarkets started as only three stores in the early 1980s, which then grew into a network of 24 mega-money savers. The supermarket superstar passed away today (12/28/2012) at the age of 74 after a 15 month battle with esophageal cancer. Kessel bought the Hamady Bros. chain, as well as a few Kroger stores in Genesee and Saginaw counties, and turned it into an empire. That empire was bought back by Kroger in 1999 (all of Kessel's 2,000 employees kept their jobs), and Al held on to his "Save-a-Lot" brand. Kessel Enterprises is still headquartered in Grand Blanc, and Al Kessel will live on with all of us. Before national chains like Walmart and regional chains like Kroger were able to saturate the grocery market, Al Kessel innovated the idea of large and local.

Al Kessel used to record his radio commercials at Cars 108, and many of the staff that were here in the old days have nothing but fond memories of Mr. Kessel. To all the family and friends of Al who are grieving, "We're with you."