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History of Kesler's Market

Kesler's Photo

Four generations of ambitious, hard-working Kesler's have built and maintained the successful grocery business of Kesler's Market for the past 86 years in Blackfoot. It all began when Fredrick Clark Kesler and his wife Nettie Kesler moved to Blackfoot in the fall of 1933 after spending two years on a ranch in Mackay.

F.C. Kesler was born in Panguitch, Utah, March 25, 1887, and worked with his father in the sheep business. He attended the Agriculture College at Logan and Beaver, Utah. After his marriage in 1910, he operated a theater in Beaver for 12 years.

While living in Mackay, Jack recalled coming to Blackfoot with his dad to sell some hogs. (Jack said, “Do you know the road from Mackay to Blackfoot used to be gravel all the way?”) Approaching Blackfoot, his dad saw a “For Sale” sign on a house and found the real estate agent, gave him $5 to hold the house, sold some hogs and returned to pay him another $45, and they soon moved to 593 West Bridge Street.

Because of the Depression, F.C. Kesler found himself in reduced circumstances. Business ventures in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles had left him with capitol resources almost gone. When informed that he was starting a grocery business in connection with his home, his neighbors told him he was bound to fail in that location.

With determination, he and his sons tore down a bunk house on the Mackay ranch, and with salvaged logs, a 16-by-20 foot grocery store was built and opened for business in 1934. Jack, at the time a sixth-grader, remembers the sales for the first day amounted to $11.

The business prospered for Mr. And Mrs. Kesler and their four sons. Every few years the store would enlarge to keep pace with the increased business.

During 1946, F.C. Kesler turned the grocery business to his sons Jack and Ray. FC, his wife, and son, Ross, operated the new 35-unit motel on South Broadway. The fourth son, Clark, operated the Chrysler dealership here. Jack bought out Ray in 1948 and Ray went into the building material business.

In 1952, Jack was faced with the need to expand. Because of the limited space for future expansion, he began to make plans and look for a spot to build a new Supermarket. He remembered how his dad insisted on building at the edge of town on the old highway, so Jack chose a similar place, just a little further west at 925 West Bridge for his new Kesler's Market.

Jack said, “I wanted a supermarket that was eye-catching with modern equipment and to be of good service to the public bringing them produce and product under one roof.”

The present store was enlarged in 1963 from 8,000 square feet to 13,000 square feet, besides a complete selection of garden products and plants in the garden shop which opened in 1970.

The Garden Center was completely rebuilt in 2006, and is now a state-of-the-art facility with plenty of room for trees, shrubs, and flowers.

At the end of 2010, Kesler's was able to improve the front facade of the store, giving it a new, modern look. By popular demand, the retro neon signs that everyone knows and recognizes were preserved.

Jack's sons, Bob and Kelly devoted their lives to running the grocery store under Jack's supervision. Together they made a great team. Bob managed the grocery and dairy departments, Kelly managed the produce, frozen and garden center. Jack took care of the office and personnel. Jack retired in 2012, turning full reigns to his sons Bob and Kelly.

In June of 2017 McKay Kesler, Bob's son, became the 4th generation owner of Kesler's Market. McKay worked his way up the ranks through the years just as Bob and Kelly had done. For 2019 there were additions of a new online shopping platform and a new Sushi Bar. The grocery industry is constantly changing with the introduction of new technologies and innovations that are becoming available. Kesler's will continue to implement new ideas and structures as needed.

The store employs 25-30 dedicated individuals, who make our customers feel welcome and important.

Although you see most grocery stores as chains of bigger corporations, the Kesler family has always felt that you cannot call yourself a hometown grocer unless you truly are a hometown grocer. That is why we have one store, in one community, in Blackfoot Idaho.

- Kesler's Market

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