The A&P Comes to Greensboro

Part 4: 1958-1987

A&P was showing signs of weakness in Greensboro as the 1950s became the 1960s. Of its five locations, only one was located outside a two-mile radius of downtown. While other chains were starting to build new suburban stores, A&P retained older stores in less desirable locations, a pattern the company repeated in cities all over the country.

2268 Golden Gate Shopping Center

A&P and Kroger originally anchored the Golden Gate Shopping Center, which opened on 16 March 1961 adjacent to the affluent Irving Park neighborhood. A&P survived at this location until 1976, when the site was taken over by local chain Bestway. Bestway was replaced by Harris Teeter in 1986, while the Kroger store in the center had become Greensboro’s first Food Town (later Food Lion) store.

Harris Teeter vacated the premises in 2011. Food Lion took over the lease at that point, apparently to keep another grocer from moving in.

2437 Battleground Avenue

Greensboro News & Record

A&P’s Early American-styled “Centennial” prototype is one of the most recognizable store formats in American history, replicated hundreds of times across the Unites States and Canada. Interestingly, Greensboro was home to only one of these stores. Located in the Oakcrest Center on Battleground Avenue, this location opened 19 August 1963 and remained in operation until 1978, when it was replaced by local chain Bi-Rite, which rebranded as FoodRite in 1980. Since the mid-1980s, the site has been occupied by Fleet-Plummer Hardware.

721 East Market Street

Opened in 1967 as part of an urban renewal project that destroyed Greensboro’s traditional African-American business district on East Market Street, this location was never a big success and closed within ten years. It was replaced by the Cosmos Club and was torn down in the late 1990s.

429 West Meadowview Road

Located in the Spring Valley Shopping Center, across from Greensboro’s first Kmart on Randleman Road, this location opened in 1967 and had the distinction of being the last A&P store In Greensboro to close, on 25 August 1979. At that point, it briefly became part of local chain Food World, and has in recent years been occupied by a Save-A-Lot franchise.

1912 Coliseum Boulevard

While the Meadowview Road location was the last A&P to close in Greensboro, this location (on what was then known as South Chapman Street) was the last A&P store to open in 1968. It had closed by 1976 and had become a Food Town (later Food Lion) which has since relocated across the street. After Food Lion, the building housed a Big Lots, and now a Citi Trends.

3604 West Gate City Boulevard

Greensboro News & Record

By August 1979, the A&P brand had vanished from Greensboro after just under 70 years. Six months after the final A&P location closed, however, A&P opened its first (and only) Family Mart location on what was then known as High Point Road. The Family Mart was a “combination store” that featured general merchandise and groceries under one roof and was a format A&P tested in several southern cities. The Greensboro location lasted until 1987, when it was taken over by Kroger, finally ending A&P’s 78-year run in Greensboro.

Kroger exited in the late 1990s and the store was remodeled (not very gently) into a World Market and a Bed Bath and Beyond.

By 2016, the building had been restored to something approaching its original appearance to house a Conn’s furniture and appliance store.

A&P retained stores in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas of North Carolina until 1997. By 2015, the chain had become a regional operation based mostly in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. On 30 November 2015, the last A&P store closed, and the 156-year-old company was no more.

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