This is a list of all known chain grocery addresses in Memphis between 1917 and 1990, 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.
- 1917 was chosen as the starting point since it marks the first directory appearance of Piggly Wiggly stores, which were, of course, established in Memphis in 1916.
- Memphis has always been a big location for franchises and co-op “chains” connected with wholesalers such as Malone & Hyde.
- Safeway operated very briefly in Memphis, opening its first store in 1976, rebranding all stores as Food Barn in 1980, and exiting the market it 1983.
- National Tea lasted a bit longer but seems never to have been a major player.
- Kroger is the only national chain that has had real staying power in Memphis.
- The Memphis Big Star chain is NOT IN ANY WAY connected with the larger chain that was operated by Colonial Stores (though it WAS the one that gave its name to the influential power-pop band of the early 1970s).
- I will be adding more recent locations to the list fairly soon.
- Big Star (not the chain connected with Colonial Stores)
- Food Rite
- Mr. Bowers
- National/Big D/Del Farm
- Piggly Wiggly
- Safeway/Food Barn