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North LeRoy Street was the place to go in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s - Tri-County Times: Tri-County Times Newspaper: Fenton, Linden And Holly MI News Source

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North LeRoy Street was the place to go in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s

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Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2016 4:34 pm

Prior to 1996, when development on the west side of town near the highway started taking shape, North LeRoy Street was the corridor to visit for just about every need.

 Though it was rough going for a while, and some businesses were tempted to relocate to the other side of town, many businesses remained and continue to thrive today.

 Because of the number of options available, during the years 1976 to 1996, North LeRoy Street, north of the North Road intersection, was bustling with shoppers and diners.

 At the southwest corner of North LeRoy and North Road remains Moi Kong Restaurant, which was once the only option for Asian fare. Next to it (now The Green Olive Tree) was the old A&W Root Beer place. This was a great place to get hotdogs and hamburgers, and of course, a frosty glass of root beer. You didn’t even have to leave your car because there were car hops back then.

 Across the way, where Rite-Aid is now located, was Bazley’s, a popular food market for many years. Heading farther north on North LeRoy Street were two restaurants that saw a lot of action throughout the week.

 The Flame (now the Cancun Mexican Restaurant) was one of two great places to visit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other, further down the road called The Heritage Restaurant (most recently Luigi’s), offered the same. One difference is that The Heritage had a back room where many of Fenton’s clubs and organizations would hold their weekly meetings.

 Across from The Heritage was the shopping plaza that still features a Lovegrove family tradition. Once called “Lovey’s,” it was an arts and crafts supply store much like Michael’s is today. In later years, it became Lovegrove’s, a furniture store.

 Taylor Hardware and Locke’s Party store continue to do business in the same plaza they’ve always been located next to Lovegrove’s.

 It was in that location, too, that Kessels Food Store (formerly Hamady’s) was located. The food stores are long gone, but have been replaced with stores like Dollar General, a Subway and a variety of other businesses new since 1996.

 Fenton Home Furnishings was and continues to do a great business on North LeRoy Street.

 The North LeRoy Street VG’s Grocery was once the location of the original Fenton Kmart, before the new Kmart was built in Silver Lake Village.

 If there was ever only a few reasons to head north on North LeRoy Street, one was to enjoy a wonderful meal at John’s Pizzeria Restaurant — still referred to by long-time Fenton residents as “Johnny’s.”

 Another big reason to go that way has always been for the ice cream. Uncle Ray’s Dairyland has been serving yummy treats to residents in Fenton and the surrounding communities since 1978.

 The Fenton Mini-Mall was completely different in the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Tri-County Times was once located in the mall, across from a pet supply store. Every day, Times employees would walk in the building past a gigantic (probably 16-foot) boa constrictor that lived in the glassed-in jungle in the window. They survived the ordeal.

 The Secretary of State’s office also was located in the Fenton Mini-Mall until recent years. The loss of a local SOS facility was tough on area residents.

 Many more long-time Fenton businesses, including Auto Value, Guns Galore, Kan Rock Tire, Lil’ House of Carpet, Walden’s Lounge, Douglas Water Conditioning and many others have remained in their North LeRoy Street locations.

Did you know...

• Sagebrush Cantina was once another fine-dining restaurant called Richard’s. After Richard’s, it was remodeled and re-opened to another popular restaurant called Jimmy G’s, owned by Jim and the late Joan Garfield (former Fenton Township treasurer).

• CFI Medical Solutions on Fenton Road was once the Ames Department Store, a place where local shoppers took advantage of a number of great deals.

• The Sears Hometown Store was once occupied by the Tractor Supply Company (TSC), which is now located by Target off Owen Road.

• Halo Burger was once located behind Uncle Ray’s Dairyland, but closed. Good news, there is a new Halo Burger in the former North LeRoy Street Burger King building.

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