Frequently Asked Questions

I love email and try to answer as quickly and as completely as I can, but this site is a hobby and I have a life outside of it.

Please see if your question or comment is addressed below before emailing me. If your question is already answered on this page, I will probably not answer your email. Thanks.

Customer Service Complaints and Employment:

This site is not connected with any supermarket chain”. I do not have stores. This is a personal, hobby site on the subject of supermarket history. It is not affiliated with any supermarket chain nor with any other corporate entity.

Pension Funds/Former Coworkers:

Sorry, but I cannot help you with pension fund issues, locating former coworkers, nor any aspect of your current or former employment. Please do not ask. I will not answer

About the Site:

Please remember that this is a hobby site, and that research, site updates, and email responses are all at my convenience. This is not an all-purpose grocery site. It is not s site about current supermarket operations. It is a site about chain supermarket history.

A few frequently-asked questions and their answers. Please read these before emailing me. I will not respond to any question that is already answered here:

How much is my collectible worth?

I don’t know. Maybe you should have it appraised or look for comparable items on eBay.

What is your methodology for doing location research?

I’m glad you asked! Please read all about it here!

Why don’t you mention (insert store name here)?

First off, I don’t claim (nor even want) to cover every supermarket chain that has ever existed. I am most interested in fairly large chains that have (or had) a geographic reach of more than one city, and that have several decades of history. I am also interested primarily in urban chains, not rural ones. Also, I don’t study stores that are not general-interest supermarkets, as a general rule, so no natural foods co-ops or the like are generally covered.

If it’s not a general-interest chain, or if it has no history to speak of, and it primarily a rural or small-town operation, it will probably never be represented here. Also, if it’s in a geographic area where I haven’t done any research, it may not be here yet. Maybe some day it will.

What chains are you most interested in?

As of this writing, Safeway, Kroger, A&P, Alpha Beta, Lucky, Colonial/Big Star, National Tea, Kmart Foods, and Food Fair in the US; and Loblaws, Dominion, Steinberg, and Safeway in Canada.

Again, if it’s not older, urban, or a chain, my interest will probably be somewhat low. I’m not at all interested in general stores, country stores, small independents, chains of only a few stores, chains that operate only in rural areas, nor in newer chains. I’m not really all that interested in newer (post-1990) individual stores either, unless they’re extraordinarily interesting or have some historical connection. I also don’t generally pay much attention to stores outside the US and Canada, and occasionally the UK.

Can you tell me about a specific store location?

I can only discuss specific stores in areas I’ve studied. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have intimate knowledge of every current and former chain grocery location in the US.

If you need information about a specific location that is outside the areas I cover on the site, I’d suggest posting on my message board. You might also check the historical city directories found at most public libraries (usually at the main branch, often in a history room). That’s how I get most of my information.

I’m looking for a photo of a specific store. Can you help?

Yes. I can suggest that you contact your local historical museum or library. Particularly in larger cities, there were very often either (a) one or more very prolific commercial photographers who went around shooting businesses either on spec or as an ongoing project, or (b) photographers from the tax assessor’s office who shot every business in town. This is the best advice I can offer.

Can you help me with a research project?

I’ll do what I can to help get you started. I will not do your research for you, unless you’re offering cold, hard cash. And if you can’t even bother to say “please” or “thank you”, I may give you erroneous information on purpose, because I’m evil and vindictive that way.

May I use your photos on my website, or in my book or magazine article?

I don’t hold copyright on the vintage photos and I assume they are public domain. Thus, I can neither give nor deny permission. I do hold copyright on the contemporary photos I’ve taken, but make most of them available via Creative Commons, which means you must not use them for commercial purposes without my written permission and you must credit me. Ask me if you need more information. We’ll work something out.

I’m having a problem signing up or using your message board.

Please look at the Message Board FAQ and check out the Rules and Announcements and FAQs sections.

If you’re having trouble registering (specifically an email ban), please contact me. I sometimes have to block registrations from people with Gmail or Yahoo accounts due to the fact that spammers often do waves of bogus registrations using fake email addresses in these domains. If you’re legitimate, I can still get you set up using your Yahoo or Gmail account.

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