Krogering in Greensboro

Kroger enjoyed a 47-year run in Greensboro, from 1952 to 1999, the year the company swapped its Triad North Carolina stores with Harris Teeter in exchange for several stores in Virginia.

North Carolina seems never to have turned out to be quite the market Kroger had hoped it might be, at least for stores branded under its own name. The chain entered the state with the purchase of the Jamison stores in Winston-Salem in the early 1930s. It was two decades before Kroger expanded to nearly Greensboro and eastward to Durham (stopping short of Raleigh). The first Charlotte locations, operating as Kroger Sav-on combination stores, opened in 1976, along with a location in Wilmington. The Charlotte expansion lasted only thirteen years, as the stores were sold to Bi-Lo in a confusing series of transactions in 1989. The chain expanded from Durham eastward to Raleigh in the early 1990s. In 1999, Kroger exited the Greensboro/Winston-Salem market, where Harris Teeter took over most of the locations. Ironically, Kroger got several of these locations back in 2013 when it purchased the Harris Teeter chain with its statewide footprint. The last Kroger-branded stores in North Carolina, those in Raleigh/Durham, closed in 2018, with conversions to the Harris Teeter brand planned for about half.

1615 Spring Garden Street

The first Kroger in Greensboro opened on 20 May 1952 at  near the UNC Greensboro campus. Open for more than two decades, this location closed on 17 March 1973, to be replaced by a bicycle store. For many years, it housed a carpet retail store, and since the 1990s has been home to drug stores, first Revco and now CVS.

432 Bellemeade Street

Bucking the trend, the second Kroger location in Greensboro was downtown. Open on 28 June 1955, it lasted less than a decade, closing on 26 December 1964. It served as county offices for years and was bulldozed in the mid-2000s for a new downtown baseball stadium, making it the only former Kroger location in the city that is no longer standing.

2031 Asheboro Street

Kroger’s third branch opened in a small shopping center on what is now Martin Luther King Jr Drive on 2 February 1960. This location lasted till 1980.

2208 Golden Gate Shopping Center

On 16 March 1961, the Golden Gate Shopping Center opened on Cornwallis Drive. Two supermarkets served the center, an A&P in the northwest corner and a Kroger in the southeast. Kroger relocated outside the center around 1974, and its space was taken by Greensboro’s first Food Town (now Food Lion) which operates there to this day, much expanded.

3950 West Market Street

After 1961, there were no new Kroger locations in Greensboro for over a decade. The city’s first Kroger “superstore” (Kroger’s very colorful 1970s format with ex[anded service departments) opened in 1973; this store relocated ten years later and the building was occupied for years by Aaron Furniture. It is currently vacant and the site has been rumored as a possible Lidl location. The market Street location was more or less a relocation of the original 1952 store on Spring Garden.

3109 Yanceyville Street

The second superstore opened in 1974 at the new Palmer Plaza Shopping Center. This store proved to be Greensboro’s longest-lived branch, lasting until a relocation in 1997. It also maintained its original 1970s decor into the early 1990s, when it received a makeover. The Palmer Plaza store was a relocation of the Golden Gate branch from 1961. The space is currently occupied by a Dollar General and a Save-a-Lot

4215 High Point Road

The last of Kroger’s three Greensboro superstores opened in December of 1976 on what is now West Gate City Boulevard. This store closed after only seven years, in November of 1983. It was sold to local chain Food World and operated under than banner until it was rebranded as Harris Teeter following a merger in 1984. The store closed for good in 1996; after years as a doll store it is now a trampoline center. This was Kroger’s first location in Southwest Greensboro.

2965 Battleground Avenue

Next came Greensboro’s two “greenhouse” stores. The first was open barely five years before moving to larger quarters down the street. In 1984, the space was taken over by Bestway, a local chain which was more or less bankrupted by the new location, and then for thirteen years by Harris Teeter starting in 1986. It is currently home to an Earth Fare store.

4655 West Market Street

The second greenhouse was actually a conversion of a former King’s Discount Department Store. This relocation of the first superstore from 1973 opened in November of 1983 and relocated across the street in February of 1997. The space has housed a Food Lion since the mid-1980s.

3357 Battleground Avenue

The relocated Battleground Avenue location opened in 1985. This store had staying power as well, surviving as a Kroger util the “swap” with Harris Teeter in 1999 and then remaining in operation as Harris Teeter until 2017. It is currently being converted into a Sprouts Market.

3508 High Point Road

Another conversion of an existing building brought Kroger back to Southwest Greensboro in January of 1987, after a three-year absence. Kroger took over the former A&P Family Mart on what is now West Gate City Boulevard and remained there until 1996. After Kroger, the site was home to Bed Bath and Beyond and World Market for many years. It is now a Conn’s Home Plus.

Three new, large Kroger stores opened in Greensboro around 1997 as part of the chain’s last gasp in the area. All were converted to Harris Teeter in the 1999 “swap” but only one survived for more than a few years.

2710 North Church Street

The long-lived superstore on Yanceyville Street was replaced by a large new store on North Church Street in 1997. This store, too, made the conversion to Harris Teeter in 1999 and also closed fairly soon after. It has been vacant since the early 2000s.

4640 West Market Street

The West Market Street location (in a former King’s Department Store) relocated across the street to a former Kmart in February of 1997. This store was reputed to be the largest supermarket in the state when it opened. When Harris Teeter took over in 1999, it reduced the store’s footprint considerably. Harris Teeter is still open as of 2018, making this the only one of the Kroger locations in Greensboro that it acquired in 1999 that is still in operation. The store has not been updated in almost twenty years, so its days may or may not be numbered.

1206 Bridford Parkway

This location served the growing Wendover Avenue commercial area sharing a shopping center with one of the city’s first Target stores in 1997. After converting to Harris Teeter briefly in 1999, it was subdivided into other retail space by the early 2000s. It currently houses a Michaels and a Ross Dress for Less. I believe this was the last new Kroger store to open in Greensboro.

 

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