Food chain loses link

Detroit has lost a beloved neighborhood grocer. Eastern Market’s Ellis Albert Jr., owner of Al’s Salvage Groceries, was hit by a car while walking to work last week. The 78-year-old, known as Al, was in good health. He was hit on Gratiot; the driver apparently couldn’t see him because of morning fog and a thick steam rising from the sewer grate, says Raymond Albert, Al’s son. Albert, 32, will now manage the business that his father operated for more than 30 years. The store was called “salvage” groceries because it would sell dented and damaged dry goods — canned foods, paper items — for a discount. Raymond says his father was removing “salvage” from the title because the shop is more of a grocery store now. The son is having a hard time with his loss. “It’s tough. You park in the same place, you walk to work, the same way, and you know that’s where your dad was killed.” He says a lot of old-time customers broke down and cried when they learned the news. “He was a very, very nice man,” says Maude Batie, 73. The United Sisters of Charity worker runs a soup kitchen, and says Al always ensured the charity received its groceries. “I am really hurt over this. I am really missing him.”

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