Ephrata1966 wrote:Hey... it just occurred to me that both Kroger and TG&Y experimented with stores called "family center" during the same period and in the same regions. Which chain did it first? I'm surprised the two companies didn't fight with one another over exclusive rights to this phrase.
Well, yes and no. The definition of Family Center for both companies was very different. For TG&Y, and most other dollar chains, it meant a larger store with more of the same stuff offered in the smaller locations. Essentially, a way to compete with Kmart. Even Walton's 5&10 had several Walton's Family Centers that eventually converted to Walmart stores (including one on the Bentonville square just down from the original). For Kroger, it meant adding a full GM line in addition to the grocery selection they already had.
Ephrata1966 wrote:There used to be a Kroger in Spring, Texas that opened in 1974 and closed in 2013 that presents me with a mystery. An Academy Sports & Outdoors store is now at this spot, but Bing Maps view still shows the Kroger as being open. There was a Burke's Outlet next to the Kroger that I think is still open, but I could be wrong. The Kroger had a greenhouse facade when it closed, but I would have to assume that it was added in a remodel sometime in the 80's because the Kroger superstore design was being used in 1974. I think it was 1977 when the first greenhouse made its debut. It seems so strange to me that Kroger replaced lots of the earlier, smaller greenhouse stores with larger greenhouse stores in the 80's.
The Spring Kroger was just an expanded Superstore. Bing Maps were once good, but notoriously out of date now. The greenhouse updates were because Kroger was trying to expand selection; the initial greenhouse stores were simply known as Superstore II in company nomenclature, and weren't much different inside.
Ephrata1966 wrote:On a similar note, it's strange that Kmart started using the "Big K" name in the 90's right after Walmart had seemingly reached its peak and had thoroughly invaded Kmart territory, but yet the first big milestone in the history of Walmart (then known as Wal-Mart) was its acquisition of a chain called Kuhn's Big K in the early 80's. The Kuhn's acquisition marks the point when Walmart decided to get serious about competing with Kmart and other once-mighty chains (including TG&Y, which having started in Oklahoma, was a chain that Walmart definitely started to overtake during the 80's).
Kuhn's Big K was very similar to the idea of the 5&10 Family Center name. It represented an expansion of their original dime store mentality. For them, it was initially successful, but as they ran up against Walmart, they started to stumble.
With Kmart, the actual name wasn't Big K, but Big Kmart. They never marketed it as Big K, as that could have caused problems. There were three names at the time that appeared on stores: Kmart, Big Kmart and Super Kmart (originally Super Kmart Center). Each represented a differently marketed store (or was supposed to). Big Kmart stores had the Pantry area, with a more expanded area for food and household offerings, while Super Kmart had a full grocery store inside.