Sebastian Spering Kresge bought a partnership in the J.G. McCrory 5 & 10 chain in 1897. Two McCrory stores were opened as a result; one in Memphis, Tennessee, the other in Detroit, Michigan.

The partnership was dissolved in early 1899, when Mr. Kresge made another cash payment to McCrory and surrendered his interest in the Memphis store. He established full ownership of the Detroit location and, in May, re-opened it as the first S.S. Kresge store.

Stores popped up all over America and a division in Canada was established in 1929. By the 50th anniversary of the chain in 1949, there were stores in twenty-six states. The emphasis on center city Kresge's began to shift in March 1949, when the first suburban shopping center operation was dedicated at Whitehall, Ohio's TOWN & COUNTRY DRIVE-IN SHOPPING CENTER.

The S.S. Kresge Corporation opened its first Kmart store March 1, 1962 and began to concentrate on the expansion of that "deep discount" chain. The official name of the concern was changed to Kmart Corporation in 1977.

10 years later, the remaining Kresge 5 & 10 stores were sold to McCrory Stores. These operated under the Kresge banner until they were shuttered in September 1987.