Sav-Mor IGA dates back to 1940s

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Craig Carter, left, and his brother Chris, co-owners of Escanaba grocery store Sav-Mor IGA, are pictured in the store’s meat department. The Carter brothers took ownership of the store in December 2018.

Editor’s note: The Daily Press features a profile of an area business each week. This week’s featured business is Sav-Mor IGA in Escanaba.

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By Jordan Beck

ESCANABA — Sav-Mor IGA — a grocery store that has been active in the community for decades — is now under new ownership.

“We took over Dec. (4) of last year,” Chris Carter said. He co-owns Sav-Mor with his brother Craig.

According to Carter, Sav-Mor has been open since the 1940s. Initially, it was smaller than it is today.

“They added on to the store this back section … I believe it was 1966,” he said.

Carter said he has long had a connection to Sav-Mor. He had worked for the store’s previous owners, Rick and Patty Kobasic, as a grocery wholesaler, and had delivered liquor and beer to the store.

Additionally, Carter noted he had known the Kobasics’ son Nathan while he was a student.

“We went to school since kindergarten,” he said.

Carter said Craig had owned a business before getting involved with Sav-Mor.

“My brother had prior ownership experience at Sears, so that helped,” he said. Craig sold the Sears Hometown Store in Escanaba last August.

Things have been going well at Sav-Mor since its change in ownership.

“Business has been good,” Carter said, adding both he and Craig have been enjoying their new roles.

Some of the store’s strongest-selling items are meat, energy drinks, and beer.

“Sav-Mor’s always been known to have a really good beer selection,” Carter said. “Numerous” beers have been added to the selection since the store’s change in ownership.

Carter said Sav-Mor’s deli is also popular.

“It gets pretty crazy in here during lunch hour on most days,” he said. The deli offers dishes such as broasted chicken, pasties and homemade soup, as well as daily specials.

The Carter brothers have been making improvements to Sav-Mor in the past few months.

“We’ve been trying to clean the store up a bit,” Carter said.

So far, these improvements have included repainting the store and adding a new greeting card section. This month, Carter said he is planning to have new doors installed.

Customer reactions to these changes have been positive.

“They’re like ‘I can tell you guys are cleaning it up’ and stuff like that,” Carter said.

The brothers are also planning to install a new fresh meat counter in the back of the store.

“We’re hoping to have it all set and ready to go for Memorial Day,” Carter said.

In addition, Sav-Mor will be introducing its own coffee (brewed by UP North Roast) soon.

Carter said he and Craig plan to continue making changes at Sav-Mor in the future.

“We’re going to be here for a long time,” he said.