Chain grocery milestones in Toledo over the past century:
1919: A&P enters the Toledo market.
1924: Kroger enters Toledo with the purchase of Tiedtke Stores.
1929: A&P builds a large new warehouse on Brown Avenue.
1933: A&P opens a large new store downtown on Summit,
1935: Kroger opens a large new store downtown at Superior and Adams.
1936: The Save-Way chain is founded.
1946: Wally Iott opens the first Food Town on Tremainsville Rd.
1948: The Food Town co-op is established, and is incorporated as Seaway Food Town in 1957.
1950: Columbus-based Big Bear arrives in Toledo.
1951: Kroger opens a modern, new store in the Colony District on Central Avenue.
1952: A&P opens a new distribution center, which will be expanded in 1964.
1956: The former Swayne Field site is redeveloped with a shopping center that includes a large new Kroger store.
1959: A&P opens its first “Centennial” store in Toledo on Sylvania Avenue.
1961: A&P takes over the Big Bear store on Central Avenue.
1963: Seaway Food Town acquires four National Food stores in Toledo.
1965: Kroger takes over the Big Bear store on Monroe Street, marking the latter chain’s exit from the market.
1970: The A&P at 5838 Monroe Street becomes Toledo’s first A-Mart discount store.
1972: The first Kroger “Superstore” in the area opens on Central Avenue, although it does not conform to the later superstore prototype.
1975: The first wave of A&P closings eliminates nine stores in the area, including stores in Wauseon and Swanton that date from the 1920s.
1975: Seaway Food Town becomes its own full-line supplier.
1978: The first Kroger “Superstore II” (a/k/a “Greenhouse”) in the area opens on Manhattan Boulevard.
1983: A&P exits the Toledo market.
1989: A&P acquires the parent company of Farmer Jack, returning to the Toledo market briefly before closing the store a year later.
1993: Meijer arrives in Toledo.
2000: Spartan takes over Seaway Food Town. The chain is dismantled in 2003.
2000: A&P acquires Churchill’s and converts the stores to is Farmer Jack brand. Some new stores are also opened. All will close by late 2005 or early 2006.
This information is largely sourced from the clipping scrapbooks and vertical files of the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Toledo Public Library. Thanks to their extremely helpful librarians.archivists, who let me work with them even though the library was closed for renovations at the time!