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Winn-Dixie, 3830 East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte. Photo courtesy Pat Richardson.

The Winn-Dixie at Charlotte‘s Amity Gardens Shopping Center opened in November of 1958, right in the middle of the most thriving retail strip in the city. The center also included Woolworth’s and a Barclay Cafeteria. By 1961, it also included Charlotte’s first (and only) branch of Clark’s, an early “supercenter” with both general merchandise and groceries.

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Amity Gardens Shopping Center, 2007.

By the 1980s, the center was already in significant decline, and the conversion of Independence Boulevard into a freeway sealed the fate not only of Amity Gardens, but of the entire retail strip from downtown to Albemarle Road. The old center is still standing today, more or less completely abandoned. Plans to demolish it and construct a Wal-Mart Supercenter are on hold. The years have not been kind to this once booming area.

More:

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228 East Seventh Street SE, Washington DC (1987, Washington Post).

Opened in 1940, this Safeway store at 228 Seventh Street SE in Washington DC managed to hang on until 1986. It was still profitable until the end; the need for expensive renovations was cited as the reason for its closing. The surrounding neighborhood was not happy about the closing and the city council tried unsuccessfully to delay it through legislation.

It’s a classic 1940s store, modernized probably in the mid 1960s. The Noe Valley store in San Francisco, closed in the mid 1970s and pictured below, was probably a fairly similar renovation. I’d love to have seen the interiors of these stores. It’s amazing they lasted as long as they did.

The SF location, by the way, managed to hang on for another fifteen years as a Bell Market after Safeway moved out. It’s now an unrecognizable Walgreens. I don’t know the fate of the DC store.

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1333 Castro Street, San Francisco (1973, The Streets of San Francisco).

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Sorry I’ve been neglecting the journal recently. Between classes starting back up and the untimely demise of my hard drive, not to mention lots of actual paying work, I’ve been a little busy. And I’ve also been trying to concentrate on both the content and design of the site, as you may have noticed.

Soon, I hope to have lots of updates to the Safeway section, and to complete the Winston-Salem section of the site. I’m also working on photo galleries for Atlanta, Chicago, and LA. If anyone wants to contribute content (or heck, even money), please let me know.

For now, I offer this quintessentially 1970s Publix store in West Palm Beach. I’m reading a company history of Publix right now, a Christmas gift from my betrothed. It makes for a nice diversion in between texts on library database design..

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From an anniversary brochure produced by Bruno’s stores sometime around 1989, the photo above shows one of the original American Fare stores, probably the Stone Mountain Parkway store in Atlanta. American Fare was an experimental joint venture between Bruno’s Supermarkets and Kmart, and was based on the European concept of a hypermarch√©, the fusion of a discount department store with a supermarket.

The first of these stores opened in Atlanta in early 1989, while the second (now abandoned, pictured below) made its debut in Charlotte later the same year. A third location opened in Jackson MS a few years later. These stores marked a return for Kmart to the business of grocery retailing after more than a decade (the company had included leased grocery departments in many of its 1960s and 1970s locations) and served as something of a trial run for the later Super Kmart stores. American Fare, however, was originally a somewhat more upscale format than Super Kmart, with a more distinctive interior design scheme, not to mention brand name apparel its successor would eliminate in favor of Kmart’s standard offerings.

Bruno’s eventually sold its interest in the three American Fare locations, which were then rolled into the Super Kmart operation. The American Fare name lived on for several years afterward as Kmart’s house brand for grocery and household items.

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Lots of updates today. I’ve reworked the following pages and added entirely new galleries with lots of new photos. This is part of my effort to standardize the format of all the store and city features (and to add new photos):

To match the format of the newer city features, I’ve added full location spreadsheets in the following sections. This should make it easier to track locations over time. Updated location lists are:

More to come.

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Above: Safeway, Little Rock AR. Courtesy Robby Delius.

I’m in the process (finally) of updating the Safeway section of the site. It’s one of the oldest sections of the site, much of it dating back to 1999 and 2000, so it’s desperately in need of an update to include lots of new information. If you’d like to add anything or have suggestions, please let me know.

Update: lots of good information on Big Chain in Shreveport (mentioned last week) has been added in this message board thread.

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Big Chain, Jewella Avenue at Lakeshore, Shreveport LA.

This store has intrigued me for years, ever since I first saw this photo in Shopping Centers: Design and Operation (1950, Baker and Funaro). Not only is it a beautiful building, but it’s part of a chain I know next to nothing about.

A quick scan of Google Maps suggests that the store is still standing, although I imagine it’s somewhat altered. I believe it may currently house a Goodwill store. There was also at least one more branch, apparently also still standing, at Youree and Albert.

And that’s the sum total of my knowledge of Big Chain stores in Shreveport.

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Sad but not unexpected: A&P is trying to unload is one last connection with the southeast. They abandoned most of the region in the 1990s, but somehow held on to that whole Gulf Coast operation. When Katrina hit, I knew it was doomed.

Included in the transaction would be the French Quarter branch in New Orleans, which is not only the oldest continuously-operating A&P store, but most likely the oldest continuously-operating branch of any major US chain.

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The store above, located on Magazine Street, dates from the mid-1960s, and is also still open under the A&P banner, rather than the Sav-a-Center name used in most of the region.