Also known by the general public as Korvette's, the New York City-based chain's iconic Southgate store opened with great fanfare in August, 1963; the same time its sister store in Roseville opened. It was located at the corner of Pennsylvania Road and Fort Street.
With a vast 150,000 square foot space, it was Downriver's fifth major department store in existence (Sears, Hudson's, Kmart and Montgomery Ward predated Korvette), but it would become the first to apply modern-day discounting into their operations. Having pioneered efforts to do away with the long-standing Robinson-Patman Act (which helped avoid price discrimination), Korvette was among the first to offer membership cards, and in fact provided this practice in the early days to any person who walked into a store.
The Southgate Plaza, named Korvette City, also included a Chatham supermarket and Sentry Drugstore. Next door in a separate building was a McCrory five and dime store (today the Crystal Gardens Banquet Center).
Korvette would liquidate its assets in the fall of 1980 due to past business practices failing, while also not concentrating on the areas of sale which they were strongest (appliances), while also trying to compete with other retailers in areas it did not have the expertise in.
From this point on, the Southgate site would become more infamous for being shuttered than for any future business activity. With the exception of a flea market which would take part of the Korvette sales floor in 1984-85, the entire complex would be vacated by 1987 until its eventual demolition in the summer of 1993.
The site eventually housed a Super Kmart from 1998 until that too closed in 2014. Today, that building is the site of a Kroger superstore, the largest Kroger in Michigan, which opened in September of 2017.