A Grenada native was handed a Key to the City after years of service in both the corporate level and through years of work in an internationally — known black fraternity.
Michael Cristal is the past president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., and is currently the vice president of operations for Kroger in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. Cristal is a 1981 graduate of Grenada High School and it was in those hallways and even those before that where he met City Manager Stan Amos as a child.
“Michael (Cristal) is my brother, and what he’s done coming from Grenada has been nothing less than remarkable,” Amos said. “I don’t think anyone is more deserving of the key to the city, my first by the way.”
Cristal said he was honored to be handed the Key to the City and remembers growing up in Grenada.
“Thank you so much Grenada,” Cristal said. “I’ve always loved Grenada. What many people may not know is that Grenada played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement. I remember that. The values that I learned in Grenada, those small town values, I took them with me. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that education means something.”
In 2017, Cristal was elected International President of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He served until 2019 in the position providing leadership on business strategies, headquarters operations, investments in the membership, branding opportunities and organization decisions.
There he helped mentor more than 4,200 young boys of color and what he calls his proudest moment of reinvesting $20 million for a new nation corporate office in Washington, D.C. that will also provide affordable housing.
It was with the Kroger franchise where Cristal thrived since leaving Grenada. After finishing high school, he attended Mississippi State University. After his college tenure, Cristal joined the Kroger Company in 1985 as a management trainee in Memphis, Tenn. Cristal’s career with the company yielded experience with store management, category manager, merchandiser, corporate drug/GM coordinator, district manager in the Delta Division and, most recently, director of retail operations for the Atlanta Division. While at the Atlanta division, he was responsible for 185 stores in Georgia, East Alabama and South Carolina.
Before being named V.P. of operations in the Phoenix area, Cristal was over divisions in the Puget Sound Region of Washington State and Metro Portland, Ore. area.
“It all began for me here in Grenada, son of a single mother at Washington Gardens, and a young kid throwing the Grenada Star newspaper to make money,” Cristal concluded.