By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.— What started in Flushing as a small grocery business nearly a century ago, ignited a strong family legacy that will now begin its fourth generation.
The Bueche Family recently announced that Matthew Crumm and Jennifer Wilkins, the nephew and niece of owners Denny and Chris Bueche will purchase the Flushing and Ortonville stores. Denny will transition into retirement after 35 plus years in the grocery business.
“We wish Chris was around to work through this transition,” said Denny Bueche. “We had worked on this transition long before he passed away this past January. Chris was a big part of this change.”
In 2022, Chris Bueche was diagnosed with myelodysplasia. He fought the disease with all that he had, but sadly passed away on Jan. 1, 2023.
The new owners, Matthew and Jennifer, have nearly 50 years in the family business and are the fourth generation to continue the tradition of excellence the communities have come to know. Matthew has been at the Flushing Bueche’s Food Store for more than 20 years while Jennifer has been between both Flushing and Ortonville stores for nearly 30 years.
“There’s a legacy aspect that we both really want to see our stores continue,” said Matthew.
“Carrying on the family name is very important to us, we both have grown up in this business,” said Jennifer. “Continuing the roots that we have is huge to us. In addition, our commitment to both Flushing and Ortonville, staying in our communities and caring for all customers we have is very important to our family.”
Both Jennifer and Matthew emphasized that Bueche’s will continue to provide employment opportunities along with the same quality products and services the valued customers have come to know over the years.
The Bueche family has been in the grocery business since 1914, when Bernard Bueche opened a small grocery store on the corner of Main and Maple in Flushing, Mich. In 1916, he was joined by his brother, Paul, who, in 1919, became a partner in the business upon his return from the Service. Eventually, Paul became the sole owner, and operated the store until 1955, when his two sons, Maynard and Phillip, bought and took over the business.
Due to continued growth, the store was moved and rebuilt in 1959, at a new location just to the west, across the Flint River Bridge. The store went through several expansions and remodels to maintain its emphasis on customer satisfaction and providing high quality products.
In 1987, Maynard retired and Phillip became the sole owner of the store. Five years later, in 1992, a second store, Bueche’s Food World #2, was opened in Ortonville. The store was the first modern supermarket to be located in the community, and it quickly built a strong customer base.
Phillip Bueche passed away suddenly in July of 1998, leaving the operation of the businesses to his sons Denny and Chris Bueche. After accepting the responsibility to move into the third Bueche generation, the first update was a 2001 addition and remodel of the Ortonville store. The grocery store was increased by 10,000 square feet, and the store went through a major remodel to keep pace with competition and with the business demand. In 2004, the Ortonville plaza was added onto, and several tenants were added to the center to continue the momentum.
In 2005, the Flushing store again moved a short distance to the west after the purchase of adjacent property and the construction of a state-of-the-art Supermarket, nearly double in size of the over 40 year old building. The vacated building was remodeled to accommodate several new tenants chosen to attract shoppers to the plaza and keep the newly formed center a vibrant retail shopping concern.
Today, Bueche’s owns two shopping centers (in Flushing and in Ortonville), each with anchor tenant Bueche’s Food World Supermarkets and several tenants selected to complement each other’s customer base.
By David Fleet