Raleigh History

As in most similar cities at the time, chain grocers originally clustered in the downtown area. In Raleigh, a major area of concentration was the area surrounding the City Market at Martin and Blount Streets. The first real supermarket locations were downtown as well: an A&P located at 201 East Hargett and a Big Star at 111 West Morgan. Sadly, both have now been destroyed, although the downtown A&P operated as a unit of the chain until the late 1980s.

Streetcar strips housing chain grocers included the North Person Street, Hillsborough Street, New Bern Avenue, and Glenwood Avenue corridors. The first major shopping center in the area was Cameron Village, on the westside. This center was the subject of a profile in a 1950 text on shopping center development which featured its Colonial supermarket very prominently.

Auto-oriented development originally centered on North (now Capital) Boulevard, New Bern Avenue, and Glenwood Avenue. Development favored the nort and west, and the city’s first major mall, North Hills on Six Forks Road, featured a Winn-Dixie. Big Star was represented at the first regional mall, Crabtree Valley on Glenwood Avenue.


  • Winn-Dixie entered the city through the purchase of Ketner-Milner stores, the local Piggly Wiggly franchisee. Ketner’s, of Salisbury NC, was established by the family that would later develop Food Lion stores, and the Ketner stores merged with the Milner stores shortly before selling out to Winn-Dixie.
  • Raleigh and Charlotte were the last two North Carolina outposts of A&P, retaining various units of the chain including Sav-a-Center and Farmer Jack stores until approximately 1997. A chic A&P futurestore was also opened in Raleigh in the 1980s.
  • Kroger was a late entrant into the Raleigh market, arriving in the 1990s and expanding rapidly with the acquisition of several Hannaford stores divested when that chain was absorbed by Food Lion’s corporate parent. Interestingly, Kroger had apparently operated stores in nearby Durham in the 1970s.

More to come.

Updated on 26 November 2022

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