A West Side Tradition Since 1933
Franz Stanitzek, the founder of Frank’s Market is a butcher who hails from Germany. Franz immigrated to the United States nearly a 100 years ago back in 1923. Not long after his arrival at Ellis Island, Franz made his way to Grand Rapids, MI and established Frank’s Market in 1933, right in the middle of the Great Depression. He chose to adopt his anglicized name, Frank, and develop his family shop with it.
Frank and his wife, Anna, opened their butcher market at 750 Fulton Street West St., which still exists in the same spot even today. Frank I and Anna settled on the west side of Grand Rapids and had three children, Frank II, Marian, and Karl, with all three of them helping out Frank and Anna at the market.
Frank’s German heritage was a cause of concern at first due to what transpired during World War II. Because of this, Frank I and Anna faced some adversity while operating Frank’s Market. Germany invaded Poland not long after and people in the US quickly became suspicious of German immigrants, conceiving them to be a threat.
Many faced violence and Frank’s Market too had its windows tarred in September of 1939. Frank I and Anna fought the hostility and kept operating their family shop until a fire in the basement of 750 West Fulton St. quite nearly destroyed the store, forcing its closure for two years. However, the two stood resilient and persevered, getting the business back on its feet as soon as possible.
After 24 years of facing numerous hardships and growing with them, Frank Staintzek II took over from his father, who had been experiencing some health issues. Frank II was raised on the west side of Grand Rapids and had attended Catholic Central High School. He had a decorated student life, receiving many accolades and honors for his prowess in football. Frank II’s footballing talent drew a great deal of interest from universities and he chose the University of Notre Dame from among his many offers, graduating with a business degree in 1957. Frank II then devoted himself to the family shop and his family as well, having 8 children with his wife, Margaret. All eight of the children have helped at Frank’s Market and worked there at one point or another. Frank II is vividly remembered for his customer service, especially for handing out apples or cans of beer to customers.
Frank II remained at Frank’s Market until 1993, being replaced by Fritz Stanitzek who was one of his three sons. Fritz had been working under Frank II for 14 years at the shop before taking over. That year also marked the 60th anniversary of Frank’s Market being in business in Grand Rapids, MI, with the third generation of the Stanitzek family taking over and keeping the tradition intact. Three years later, Fritz remodeled Frank’s Market and continued developing new products and homemade sausages that quickly became customer favorites.
Mitchell Stanitzek, Fritz’s son, and Joe Stanitzek, his nephew, both currently work at Frank’s Market. They strive to continue the family tradition of bringing Grand Rapids, MI, quality meats, authentic taste, and the excellent service that Frank’s Market has been known for since 1933. Joe and Mitch aim to carry on what Fritz, Frank II, and Frank I worked to establish for more than 80 years.