Colonial Stores Treasure Trove


This is big.

A very observant member of an Atlanta architctural firm (who’s now my hero, by the way) contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me about some materials he found while working on a client project, wondering if I might be interested. I picked the stuff up today. Turns out it came from the former headquarters of Colonial Stores and was apparently material that was simply abandoned upon the demise of the company in 1988 and had been sitting in the office ever since.

The take: twelve boxes and more than a dozen rolls of blueprints, sign plans, mechanical drawings, lease information, and other material. It seems this may be most of the records of the real estate and/or construction department of the chain. There are layouts and fixture plans dating to at least 1952, proposals for the conversion of the Albers stores in the Midwest after that chain was acquired by Colonial Stores in 1955, and lost of materials on the conversion of stores to the Big Star format in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is incredible stuff and I am really grateful that it was saved from the dumpster and that I was able to get my hands on it. I’m just starting to go through all the boxes and I’ll keep you posted.

It’s amazing what you can fit inside a 2002 Buick LeSabre when you try really hard:


One thought on “Colonial Stores Treasure Trove

  1. Rich

    December 5, 2010 at 9:21pm

    The Colonial HQ and DC in Atlanta apparently was empty for many years. The last time I was in that area (round 2005/6), the building was partially occupied by someone else. It was a large complex in East Point, next to a DC for S&H Green Stamps, which was the last of their distribution facilities to close.

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  2. Dean

    December 6, 2010 at 10:11am


    Amazing that the stuff has been sitting there for so long.

    Have fun!

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  3. Andrew T.

    December 6, 2010 at 2:21pm

    Wow. I’m at a loss for words.

    I can only imagine what the experience would be of delving through box after box of this treasure…determining what materials exist, what to scan, what to store where, what details tie into what, and so on. I’d be particularly interested in learning more about the Albers and Big Star conversions!

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  4. Maria

    December 12, 2010 at 1:46pm

    Wow! Have fun going through all that stuff! Let us know what you find.

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  5. Robert

    December 12, 2010 at 9:51pm

    OMG! Dynamite. You know I’m a Waldbaums freak, I would love to find a trove like this! Enjoy!!

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  6. Wayne Henderson

    December 19, 2010 at 10:00pm

    Can’t wait to see what comes out of a find like this.

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  7. Danny K.

    January 1, 2011 at 10:24pm

    If you find any stuff related to the Columbus Albers/Big Star stores, I will be more than happy to cross-reference with current photos and whatnot. Photos of most sites are available at the Franklin County Auditor.

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  8. William S. McDowell

    January 14, 2011 at 9:40pm

    My dad, Thomas Walker McDowell, worked for Albers/Colonial Stores/Grand Union for 45 years, retiring in 1980 as Vice President, General Services in Atlanta. Dad started working for Mr. Albers in 1936 in Cincinnati, Ohio in the warehouse and the two of them became very close, so close that dad was at Mr. Alber’s funeral. They corresponded while dad was in the Pacific during WW II. After the war, dad still had his job with Mr. Albers in Cincinnati and in approximately 1958 was promoted to the position of Manager of Transportation & Warehouse at the newly built warehouse in Columbus, Ohio. When the Columbus division was closed in 1974, dad was transferred to Atlanta where he retired in Oct. 1980 after 45 years of service. I have many photos of the Albers/Colonial Stores/Grand Union Company throughout the years and also have dads “C & S” anniversary pins given for years of service.

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  9. Brenda Fuller Johnson

    February 1, 2011 at 12:22am

    My Mom — Gladys Sheppard Fuller worked for many years as the only female cashier/employee at the Colonial Stores in Conyers, GA. I have a Colonial Store pin that was given to her for so many years of service in perfect condition. It is very small has a rooster on it with the initial CS. I also have one of her very OLD white uniform dresses that she wore and several old pictures of her and other employees — Dan Hyde, Buddy Ray, George Mallard, etc. If anyone knows the value of this pin I would be interested — or if you had familly or friends working in this store. This was when the store was located in old down town Conyers. Thanks for any interest. Brenda Fuller Johnson.

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  10. Brenda Fuller Johnson

    February 1, 2011 at 12:23am

    Sorry — I did a typo one of the men’s name that is listed ast George Mallard was really George Malloy and he was also a Baptist Preacher. Thanks Brenda Fuller Johnson.

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  11. Brenda Fuller Johnson

    February 1, 2011 at 12:25am

    I also have two glasses that is measuring glasses that Colonial Stores logos on them and also some sewing kits. thanks. brenda fuller johnson.

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  12. Barbara Galvin

    February 2, 2011 at 12:05am

    Hello I am trying to find out all I can and get photos of all the colonial stores that were in Atlanta. I am putting together something for a special friend and he was a major player with these stores in Atlanta His name is Gene Wright. TtHIS IS A SURPRISE.

    CAN YOU HELP ME ON Where I can find information on this.

    Thanks again
    also cell 404-374-3414

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  13. Michael S

    March 20, 2011 at 6:54pm


    Does anyone know anything about the location on Bankhead Highway in Atlanta? Specifically the street address? I’ve located an old picture and I need the address so I can tie it into the existing neighborhood.


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  14. Dalton Smith

    July 27, 2011 at 4:32pm

    I worked with Big Star in North Carolina for 18 years GREAT PLACE TO WORK
    That material you have would be priceless to former employees
    would love to see what is in those boxes.

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  15. Trish Page

    September 11, 2011 at 11:18am

    My dad worked for Colonial Stores in Brunswick, Georgia in the early 50’s, if you find any pics or information about that particular store please let me know.

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  16. Alan Horne

    August 6, 2012 at 12:49pm

    Great to see comments regarding Colonial/Big Star. I served 17 years in NC. Would love to hear from former employees.

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  17. Debra Darvick

    December 28, 2012 at 4:10pm

    Oh what a memory! That CS logo of the rooster. I remember going to Colonial with my mother at Lenox Square in Atlanta back in the early 60’s. Anyone remember the name of the drugstore on Peachtree near Roxboro? The “soda jerk” was a lovely man named Herb who ran the luncheonette counter and make killer malteds. What a terrific treasure find!

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  18. William T. Poole

    January 2, 2013 at 1:45am

    My dad worked for Colonial Stores in the early 50’s in Atlanta and was transferred to the Thomasville GA warehouse in 1962, where he worked until it closed in ~1983. Then he went to work in the Atlanta warehouse, until just before it too closed. I have a old photo of a company celebration in the 1950’s, I’m sure some of your families are in the photo. I too have his CS years of service pins and silver tea set given to him and my mom for his service. I remember names such as Herb Thornton in Atlanta (Warehouse & Transportation) and Ernest Boyce was the President.

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