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Lorain landmark Fligner's celebrates 95 years

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LORAIN — Fligner’s Market, the city’s last remaining independent and family-owned grocery store, is celebrating 95 years in business this week with special deals, prizes and events for customers.

Kel Fligner, who owned and worked at the store for 63 years before retiring two years ago, said the business — now run by his son and grandson — is offering special giveaways and events from today through June 25.

There will be prizes and in-store sampling of food and more throughout the coming week, he said.

“We’re doing a lot,” Kel Fligner said.

It’s hard for a family-owned grocery store — where employees still bring customers’ groceries out to their car for them — to last as long as Fligner’s has at the same location since 1924, he said.

“Especially in grocery stores,” Kel Fligner said. “We’re the only independently, family-owned grocery store left in the city. The rest are all chains.”

According to a history of the store at flignersmarket.com, father and son Harry and Morris Fligner opened the Lorain Cut-Rate Fruit Co. in 1924 at 1854 Broadway. Their slogan was “Our mission is to provide superior products with the best possible service at the absolute lowest prices.”

Kel Fligner purchased the market from his father, Morris, and grandfather, Harry, in 1963, incorporated the store and expanded it to 35,000 square feet. Catering was added in 1999.

Kel’s son, Ben — representing the fourth generation of Fligners to run the store — is now co-owner and president of Fligner’s and owner of Great Lakes Smoked Meats.

Though retired, “I still go in and help,” said Kel Fligner.

The family also is involved in the community. Ben Fligner is chairman of the Lorain County Community College Board of Trustees, on which Kel Fligner previously served from 1987 to 1992.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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