A&A Market was built by Albert NaBozny and his wife, Ann, around 1930. The name was chosen because of their first initials. Ann died 10 years after the store opened, and Albert married Stella in 1943, one month before he entered the U.S. Air Force.
"Back in those days, every corner in Jackson had a mom and pop grocery like that and you built a real loyalty to it because you were on their books," Lacinski said. "They'd carry you until you got your paycheck and could pay your bill. Then, they'd give you a free bag of candy for paying your bill."
Lacinski also remembers how the NaBoznys, who lived above the store, showed Friday night movies on a sheet they hung on the side of their building.
"At intermission, you could go in the store and buy pop and candy," he said.
The store was closed for three years while Albert fought in World War II. He died in 1974, and Stella sold the market to Alfred Bollheimer and his wife, Amelia, in 1976. The A&A initials were a perfect fit.
Their son, Gordon Bollheimer, now 43 and living at Clark Lake, remembers his parents being called the "Kielbasa King & Queen." Kielbasa recipes are kept pretty secret, but Gordon Bollheimer will admit his father's recipe used a lot of garlic.
"I peeled garlic for hours and hours as a kid," he said. "My fingers hurt from peeling garlic."
Al Bollheimer originally worked as a "route man," delivering Eckrich meat products to local markets. He left after 12 years when Eckrich relocated its Jackson sales office to Marshall. Then, he said in a 1980 Citizen Patriot article, he "mortgaged everything" to buy A&A Market. He sold it to Walt McGaskey in 1982.
A fire in the upstairs apartment in September, 1992, destroyed the original market. When McGaskey rebuilt and reopened the following May, he had expanded from 2,200 square feet to 5,200 square feet.
McGaskey renamed the business A&A Market II and brought back all of the store's seven employees and three new ones. He sold it to Kluk and Scotty Mascho's father, Scott D. Scotty Mascho became co-owner when his father died summer, 2009.
Kielbasa is a Polish Easter meal tradition, and that makes this the busiest time of the year for A&A II Market. Former owner Al Bollheimer, pictured here at the store's smokehouse in 1980, made and sold about 5,000 pounds of the sausage every Easter. That trend continues today with current owners Scotty Mascho and Dan Kluk.
"One thing that hasn't changed is that we still give people the best product we can for the cheapest price we can," he said. "We won't sell anything we wouldn't eat ourselves."
Being a leading supplier of Easter kielbasa is a point of pride for Kluk. He remembers his grandmother, who was stringent on Polish traditions, taking a basket of Easter meal items to St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church the day before to have them blessed.
"You'd share that food on Easter morning to break the fast of Lent," Kluk said.
Using fresh meat and real hickory wood for smoking in making his kielbasa is a store tradition Kluk is also proud to continue.
"We draw people from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Milan and even Indiana and Ohio," he said. "We're ecstatic that people like what we're doing and that everybody knows us and remembers us."
An Easter Tradition
Eggs, baskets, bunnies and special church services all spring to mind when it comes to Easter.
But how about kielbasa?
If you're Polish — or married to someone who is — you betcha.
This spicy sausage earned its place in Polish Easter meals because it was cheaper than ham and lamb, and it symbolizes generosity, health, good luck and prosperity.
Jackson's East Side was once predominantly Polish, and for more than 70 years, a lot of people connected to that neighborhood have gone to one place for their homemade Easter kielbasa.