This is a list of all known chain grocery addresses in Chattanooga between 1920 and 2022, compiled from city directories, telephone books, and other sources. It is generated through a live Google Spreadsheet so it reflects the latest information I have.
- Chattanooga was once a relatively larger and more important city than it is today and its store counts before World War II reflect this fact. Small neighborhood service stores also seem to have lasted longer here than in most cities.
- The Red Stores started out in 1908, selling dry goods and groceries, but had moved exclusively into the grocery trade by about 1913. In 1923, the chain was merged into H.G. Hill Stores, but the chain returned to local ownership (and its original name) in 1941. Red Food Stores was the biggest chain in Chattanooga until it was purchased by Royal Ahold in 1994. The chain was subsequently rebranded as Bi-Lo in 1995. After several ownership changes, the remaining Bi-Lo stores were sold to Food City in 2015.
- Home Stores maintained a strong position in Chattanooga for about forty years as well. The chain, at one point owned by the publisher of a local newspaper, appeared about 1925 but vanished sometime between 1965 and 1970.
- Local chains like Red Stores, Home Stores, M&J (Mulkey & Jackson), and Pruett’s largely kept the major chains at bay:
- A&P exited Chattanooga in the early 1970s and never seems to have had the presence it had in many southern cities.
- Kroger lasted close to 40 years but really never was a major player in the city.
- Colonial Stores was in and out in the blink of an eye in the early 1960s. Albertsons did even worse around the turn of the century.
- Winn-Dixie tried and failed twice, in the 1960s and the late 1990s/early 2000s.
- I may add the Georgia suburbs soon, but my data for those is a little iffy.
- I have incomplete listings for Red Food Stores in 1965 and Pruett’s in 1980. I have extrapolated where possible and hope to get the missing data soon.
- Food City
- H.G. Hill
- Home Stores
- M&J (Mulkey & Jackson)
- Red Food Stores