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Looking Back: Bennett’s Market

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 22, 2019

Photo provided by the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission

ST. CLAIR SHORES — There has been somewhat of a “beer tradition” at 25113 Jefferson Ave. in St. Clair Shores since the mid-1930s.

John and Helen Bennett opened Bennett’s Market at that location (north of 10 Mile Road) in about 1934. Their original store had been opened in about 1923, but less than a decade later, they moved to the 25113 Jefferson location. Their general store sold cigars, soft drinks, candy, meats, groceries and, yes, beer.

John F. Bennett was born in Thompsonville, Connecticut, on March 29, 1895, to Morris and Margaret Bennett, both Irish immigrants. On John’s 1917 World War I draft card, his occupation was listed as “butcher.” He served in the U.S. Navy from 1917 to 1919. John married another Connecticut native, Helen McMonen, whose father also was an Irish immigrant, when they were both about 24. The young couple moved to Michigan soon thereafter.

The Bennett family (son John Jr. was born in 1919 in Detroit) lived next to their store on Jefferson Avenue for several years, but by 1940 they had moved to a house on Bon Brae Street. The 1940 U.S. Census lists John Bennett Sr. as “proprietor — retail grocery” who worked 70 hours per week. Mrs. Bennett did not work, according to census records.

Mr. Bennett died in 1979; Helen Bennett lived another six years, but Bennett’s Market was open until the mid-1990s. In 2015, the location was transformed into Baffin Brewing Co., but the outline of the original brick building is still readily recognizable to anyone who remembers Bennett’s Market, as seen in this photograph from the 1940s.

— Heidi Christein, archivist, St. Clair Shores Public Library

Do you own a piece of St. Clair Shores history? Send us your historically significant photos from around town, and we may be able to feature them in an upcoming edition of Looking Back. Email your photos and information to Kristyne E. Demske at or call (586) 498-1041.