The oldest Loblaws store in operation?

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Andrew T.
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The oldest Loblaws store in operation?

Post by Andrew T. » 01 Jul 2019 10:14

From a retail history perspective, the question of the oldest operational store in a chain is always fascinating. There are contenders for the oldest Safeway and the oldest Kroger. Moving north of the border, what might be the oldest operational Loblaws?

Given the company's bewildering branding history, "the oldest operational Loblaws" could mean one of two different things. It could mean the oldest store literally branded under the "Loblaws" name. Or it could mean the oldest store in the entire Loblaw Companies family, including No Frills and Valu-Mart franchises.

Among stores literally branded as "Loblaws," the list of possibilities isn't very long. These days the Loblaws brand appears only on Ontario, and only appears on 46 locations...which the company is extremely vigilant about keeping up-to-date. Indeed, I have a hard time thinking of any local Loblaws (or Zehrs, for that matter) that predates the 1990s.

Yet even so, a few older stores persist in places where the urban density precludes the possibility of plopping their latest stadium-sized prototype in a vacant lot. One of these is 2280 Dundas St W in Toronto...a store of only around 25,000 square feet that even has a 1950s-style incinerator smokestack. The Toronto table notes Loblaws opening at this address by 1960, with the number floating to 2290 and back again. Two other old-looking stores are 270 Kingsway in Etobicoke and 1910 St Laurent Blvd in Ottawa, which I'm guessing date to the 1970s. I don't have any verified dates to go by, though.

If you expand the question to encompass other Loblaw Companies brands and franchised locations...well, where to begin? I can think of no fewer than three 1950s-era Loblaws stores still doing business under the No Frills or Valu-Mart names in London alone; one of which is old enough to have buttresses and windows down the side! I wouldn't be surprised if there was a Valu-Mart in a 1940s or even 1930s building somewhere. But where?
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
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Re: The oldest Loblaws store in operation?

Post by Groceteria » 01 Jul 2019 21:37

Moore Ave in Toronto would be another contender for oldest store still operating as Loblaws. There is a pre-1960 store underneath all that. It actually hasn't even been enlarged all that much. I've been in this one in the past year and it still has the "feel" of its original layout.

Ditto Isabella St in Ottawa. It's been extensively remodeled since the last time I visited but the original is still there somewhere.

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Andrew T.
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Re: The oldest Loblaws store in operation?

Post by Andrew T. » 01 Jul 2019 22:12

Groceteria wrote:
01 Jul 2019 21:37
Moore Ave in Toronto would be another contender for oldest store still operating as Loblaws. There is a pre-1960 store underneath all that. It actually hasn't even been enlarged all that much. I've been in this one in the past year and it still has the "feel" of its original layout.
Wow! 301 Moore Ave even has an arched barrel roof...which tells me the building is bound to be from the first half of the 1950s, and just as old as the Valu-Mart linked upthread. Isabella Street has a flat roof, and I'm willing to bet that it's a little newer.
barrelroof.jpg
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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