Celebrating 50 Years of Business and Making Friends
, 2022-12-02 14:23:59,
The quiet people we cross paths with in our daily routine can have some of the most significant impacts on our lives. Perhaps it’s that person across the counter at your daily stop for a six-pack, bag of chips, or disc. Maybe you’re the same for them.
CJ’s Party Store on the corner of N. Territorial and Webster Church has been having such interactions for the past 50 years. But that wasn’t the original intention.
In 1972, Chet Troczynski, his wife, Jan, and two children lived in Inkster. His Snap On Tools salesman job gave him a pretty good look at Southeast Michigan. He loved the open air of the farmland, especially Webster Township, and held it in his heart to someday move out of the city into the country.
“But there was no place for sale out here,” recalls Chet. “There were no subdivisions back then. It was all farms, and I didn’t have the money to buy a farm.”
He would stop at a little country store on the corner of N. Territorial and Webster Church. “It was the last grocery, beer, and gas stop for a while,” says Chet. “They had this decrepit little sign in there that I would see every visit, ‘Store for Sale.’”
“Well, I had it in my mind, that I wanted to get out of the city and have my kids go to a rural school,” he continues. “I finally made an offer on that little store because living quarters were attached to it. They accepted, and here we are 50 years later.”
Chet, Jan, and son Mike (2 yrs) and daughter Christine (5 yrs) moved in and renamed the little store CJ’s (for Chet and Jan). After a few years, Chet and Jan were able to build a house just down the road from the store.
“My sister and I grew up at our house down the road, but we played around here at the store,” recalls Mike Troczynski. “It was a very rural area. We had a donkey and all sorts of other animals here at the store. It was always quiet at the store, which did just enough business to pay for itself.”
The kids grew up, both working at the store when old enough, genuinely making it a family business. Mike has never known life without customers, which may explain his fond affinity for his patrons and people in general. Mike attended Eastern Michigan University, still managing the store, and stayed on after graduation in 1993.
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