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October 11, 2006 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Did you bring bottles? They gave away dishes, encyclopedias, and Batman toys to get you in the store. Most have been replaced by mega-groceries, but David Gwynn remembers the grocery chain ^ down the block.
posted by ?! (19 comments total)

 
From the site: "Groceteria.com is a site about supermarket history and architecture, roughly covering the period from the 1920s to the 1970s. It is NOT a site about current supermarket issues and locations, except in historical perspective, and it is not connected with nor owned by any supermarket chain, past or present."
posted by ?! at 7:41 PM on October 11, 2006


Carrots? Never heard of them.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:52 PM on October 11, 2006


Wow, that's missing a whole lot of chains. Maybe I'll add some later.

I remember Alpha Beta, Lucky's, and Fry's. Yes, there was a Fry's grocery store chain way before the electronic store. I'm not sure how closely or even if if the two are related.
posted by drstein at 7:59 PM on October 11, 2006


I was referring to the Wikipedia article, not the other one. Whoops!
posted by drstein at 8:03 PM on October 11, 2006


I think I remember Lucky's - there was one right next to a house my family rented for awhile. The first time we had cable! Michael Jackson on MTV!

Those were the days.
posted by muddgirl at 8:04 PM on October 11, 2006


And I'll answer my own Fry's question, from the article. This is what I get for reading the Wikipedia page first.

"Fry's Electronics stores were started by the same family and use a similar logo, but are now unrelated otherwise."
posted by drstein at 8:09 PM on October 11, 2006


Alpha Beta had one location in my home town, and I only remember it because my first girlfriend's hot older sister was a checker there. She was so hot she made brown polyester pants look good.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:27 PM on October 11, 2006


drstein: "I remember Alpha Beta, Lucky's, and Fry's. Yes, there was a Fry's grocery store chain way before the electronic store. I'm not sure how closely or even if if the two are related."

muddgirl: "I think I remember Lucky's - there was one right next to a house my family rented for awhile. The first time we had cable! Michael Jackson on MTV!"


Well, they still had a Lucky's (well, it's called Lucky's SavOn now) in Santa Fe last time I was there. That is, about two months ago. So I'd say it's not really defunct anymore, although it's closer to a drug store-type thing now.
posted by koeselitz at 8:48 PM on October 11, 2006


...arg, not defunct anymore? Does that even make sense? I mean I think it still exists...
posted by koeselitz at 8:49 PM on October 11, 2006


When I was a kid in Tulsa, we had two national chains -- Skaggs Albertsons and Safeway. In the early 80s Skaggs Albertsons became Skaggs Alpha Beta, then later in the 80s Safeway pulled out of the market. And then the Albertsons name came back. Food Lion tried to come in but pulled out after the Primetime Live report.

All that to say that Tulsa only has three national chains now -- Albertsons, Wal-Mart, and Wild Oats -- and maybe three locally owned groceries. This in a town of 800,000 people. The national chains probably control 96% of the local grocery market. By comparison, even after Kroger bought QFC and Larry's fell apart, there are still a number of locally own stores here in north Seattle.
posted by dw at 8:51 PM on October 11, 2006


We had an Eagle Food Store in my town at two different times. The first time was in the late 70s-early 80s, and it was kind of around the center of town. It didn't last very long, though. Years later Eagle built a much bigger store on the west side of town, which was just starting to develop. (When I graduated high school that area was mostly cornfields. You'd never know that now.) It lasted for a while, but then a Jewel opened up across the street, pulling a lot of customers from Eagle. When Meijer opened on another side of the intersection, that was the nail in the coffin for Eagle in my town. It closed, but then Cub Foods got the space and opened shortly thereafter. Cub closed a couple years later and now there's a Best Buy in that space.

Cub Foods is now leaving the Chicago area.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:55 PM on October 11, 2006


I remember Lucky's with fondness, but that's mostly just because my family used to have a blind opossum we named Lucky. We'd put cockroaches in a can for them and he'd make them look tasty when he ate them.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:23 PM on October 11, 2006


I remember shopping with my parents in the northern US and going to a chain called "Piggly Wiggly". Are these still around?
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 12:20 AM on October 12, 2006


Nostalgia is getting so derivative these days. We used to be nostalgic about mom 'n' pop shops which had been killed off by smaller chains. Now we're nostalgic about these local chains which have been killed off or bought by the nationals. Where does it all end?

...although it takes a colossal leap of imagination to envisage a a future where we get all misty-eyed over WalMart.
posted by rhymer at 3:32 AM on October 12, 2006


Piggly Wiggly is still around in many areas of Wisconsin. It was next door to me when I lived in Racine a few years ago. The places that disappeared when I was a kid were A&P and Red Owl. A&P Tea Co had been in Milwaukee for at least 60 years as a big chain.
posted by JJ86 at 7:37 AM on October 12, 2006


My hometown (pop 5,000ish) didn't have any mom-and-pop grocery stores. We had an ALDI (you bag it yourself at $.03 a bag), a Jack 'n' Jill (the rich store), and a Fareway (complete with salt licks stacked high just outside the front doors). In the late 80s, a Wal*Mart opened on the outskirts of town, but it didn't seem to impact the grocery stores as much as the single department store in the town (it closed a few months later).
posted by parilous at 10:14 AM on October 12, 2006


I remember Luckys, Alpha Beta, Stater Bros. and Market Basket (all in SoCal). I am quite disappointed to find out that H-E-B (Texas) stands for Howard E. Butt and not Harry E. Butt as I had been led to believe.
posted by deborah at 10:38 PM on October 12, 2006


Stater Brothers and Market Basket are still in Southern California, deborah. A go-to place when vons is on strike.
posted by muddgirl at 5:25 AM on October 13, 2006


Thanks for the info, muddgirl. :^)
posted by deborah at 1:13 PM on October 13, 2006


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