Opened in 1928 by her grandfather, Gus Kean, Teresa Wren operates Kean’s today with her husband, Steve. This summer the third-generation owner will be honoring her family and store’s legacy for it’s 90th Anniversary. The company started out as Kean’s Five & Dime, a dry goods store in downtown Mason, Mich. But as the times changed, Kean’s changed as well and ended up expanding through buying the buildings around it. Kean’s now owns the entire block.
“My grandfather loved the idea of retail in a dime store,” explained Wren. “He would travel around by himself and purchase all of the merchandise for the store. But, he would also pick up things that people requested from him. Back in 1928, most of the people around the Mason area were just farmers.”
Kean’s is a family-oriented store with the tagline, “We specialize in helping you find the right gift.” Wren prides herself on the homey atmosphere of Kean’s, and her knowledgeable staff helps customers find anything they need.
“A lot of products don’t get to be seen unless we put them out in the store and let people be able to see and touch things before they purchase them. And anything we have that doesn’t sell, we make sure to move it to clearance or sidewalk sales. You’ll always find new and exciting things to buy at Kean’s,” said Wren.
Kean’s has many different sections: fabrics, a boutique, hallmark cards, housewares, crafts, jewelry and toys.
“We’ve gained space in our toy department when we moved it from the basement to the main level. The difference has been amazing,” Wren said. “We put in a nice carpet and put out toys that kids can play with, along with chairs that adults can sit in. So, parents can let their kids play while they do some shopping.”
For the husbands out there, Kean’s created a man cave area. So, when their wives bring them to the store, they can relax in a recliner and watch some TV. On Father’s Day 2015, a fire began in the restaurant next door which shares a building with Kean’s; the family’s store lost many displays and had to replace most of the ceiling and flooring due to smoke damage. Wren is most grateful for the firefighters who are fathers that answered the call on their special day, as well as additional community support.
“For six months, my employees and I waited for the renovations to be finished. We reopened on Dec. 5, 2015, and it was the biggest sales day for Kean’s in the store’s history. It was huge; the lines were around the block, and we had so many people volunteer to come help put up displays like the football team and the Knights of Columbus — just random people came in to help,” Wren said. “I was so touched by the community.”
If you’re ever in Mason, be sure to stop by Kean’s for a special present, some candy and a place to brighten your day. “We want you to feel at home here in Kean’s, and we love to talk to people that come in,” said Wren. “It always warms my heart when people come into our store having a bad day and leave feeling a little bit better.”