Colonial Stores History by Wayne Henderson

Colonial Stores, Inc. was for much of the twentieth century one of the nations largest supermarket operators. At the peak of expansion, the company has had in operation over 500 stores. At the greatest geographical expansion, the company was operating in 11 states, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Maryland under the Colonial Stores name and in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana under the Albers and Stop and Shop names. Despite the fact that the company was made up of several organizations that predated the incorporation of David Pender Grocery Company in Norfolk, VA on January 24, 1901, Colonial Stores claims that date as its official founding, and has celebrated 50th and 75th anniversaries accordingly. That founding, 100 years ago, may seem insignificant now, one of hundreds of grocery chains that operated during the twentieth century and have since disappeared, but as we look at Colonial, we shall see that the company is unique in many aspects.

David Pender, a native of Tarboro, NC, came to Norfolk, Virginia in the 1890s, seeking his fortune, just as had many young men who had left farms and small towns and traveled to cities in search of their future. Working in the retail grocery industry, Pender soon set out to establish his own store. That store was opened as the David Pender Grocery Company at the corner of Market Street and Monticello Avenue in Norfolk, Virginia in 1900. The store was a success, and Pender incorporated his company in January 1901. Over the next 19 years the store prospered, offering the people of Norfolk the finest in groceries, meats, and fresh produce. A fleet of horse drawn wagons were employed in the earliest years, delivering goods to outlying areas. So great was the trade that in 1919 Pender decided to open a branch store and a location at 619 Colley Avenue, also in Norfolk. Other stores followed, and soon Pender “DP” stores were found across Eastern and Central Virginia and North Carolina.

On January 1, 1926, David Pender Grocery Company became a publicly owned corporation , and having built the chain to a total of 244 stores, founder David Pender retired. He would later pursue a career in grocery manufacturing and wholesaling. Under public ownership, David Pender Grocery Company became a subsidiary of National Food Products Corporation of Boston, MA, a company operating under the direction of industry pioneer, Mr. Russell B. Stearns.

Pender’s, County and Chestnut Streets, Portsmouth VA.

It was under the leadership of Stearns that two food chains owned in part by National Food Products were guided. The second chain, Atlanta, GA based L. W. Rogers Grocery Company, also had a lengthy history in food retailing.

L. W. Rogers was a native of rural Maine, who traveled with his wife south to bustling Atlanta in the early 1890s seeking his fortune. In 1892 L. W. Rogers opened his first grocery outlet on that city’s Whitehall Street. >From that single outlet Rogers expanded throughout Georgia and South Carolina in the first twenty years of the twentieth century. In 1926 L. W. Rogers was reorganized as Southern Grocery Company, also under investment ownership of National Food Products.

In the early 1930s Russell Stearns was carefully guiding the two chains, Rogers and Penders, with combined buying power and a steady expansion program. By 1936 it is known that Pender was operating over 400 stores, Rogers well over 100.

First Big Star supermarket, later Colonial, West Washington Street, Greensboro NC.

It was in 1937 that the Pender-Rogers combination opened their first self-service supermarkets. In December of that year the first two stores, branded “Big Star”, opened in Greensboro, NC and Griffin, GA. These two stores were only the first of many to come.

The National Food Products controlled Pender and Rogers chains were combined on December 19, 1940 as Colonial Stores, Incorporated, headquartered in Atlanta, GA. At that time, conventional stores were in operation under the names Pender and Rogers, with some 50 self service stores operating as “Little Star” (smaller neighborhood stores) and “Big Star” (full-line supermarkets). Some listings for stores during World War II show the name Colonial Stores (specifically Washington, NC), but it is likely that listing refers to the corporate owner of the store. It cannot be confirmed that the Colonial name was applied to any store prior to the end of World War II. Shortly after the war, however, the effort was being made to convert more stores from counter-service to self service, and to consolidate under a single name.

Colonial, Clairemont and Buford Highway, Atlanta GA, 1955. Georgia State University.

On August 3, 1947 Colonial Stores, Inc. introduced their “CS” rooster logo and began converting all of the self service stores over to the “Colonial Stores” name. Company reports indicate that all of the counter-service stores had been closed or converted by 1955, although the latest listings I can find for any Pender store date from 1951, in Williamsburg and South Boston, Virginia and Plymouth, North Carolina. It may be that those final few counter-service stores were also carrying the Colonial Stores name after that time.

In June 1955 Albers Super Markets, based in Cincinnati, OH, was purchased by and merged into Colonial Stores. Albers, founded in 1933, owned the oldest trademark that included the words “super market”, having operated self service supermarkets from its inception. At the time of the merger there were 66 Albers stores in operation in Ohio and Kentucky. Later that year, in November, Colonial Stores purchased the Indianapolis based Stop and Shop Companies, operating 14 stores in Indiana and Kentucky. While the Albers purchase formed the basis for successful operations for many years, the Stop and Shop operation was less than successful for Colonial and those 14 stores were sold in 1959.

Colonial Stores, in a effort to further secure their future in food retailing, entered into the business of licensed discount food stores in conjunction with discount department stores, opening three such leased departments in 1961. In 1962 this effort was solidified with the opening of a K-Mart Foods leased grocery department in Greenville, SC and a Treasure City Foods leased grocery department in Fayetteville, NC. The following year four additional low-margin, no-frills stores were opened, including the first to be independently operated under the company’s own brand, a resurrected “Big Star” brand.

Big Star, former Colonial, later Harris Teeter, Charlottetown Mall, Charlotte, 4 January 1984 (Charlotte Observer).

Over the next ten years leased food departments and an ever expanding count of discount Big Star stores would dominate the company’s growth, while conventional Colonial and Albers supermarkets were constantly upgraded and improved. Downtown stores gave way to free-standing suburban and shopping center stores all across the southeast and Ohio. In 1970 Colonial operated 430 stores in nine states.

The discount movement had taken a firm hold in grocery retailing during the 1960s, and the 1970s found Colonial competing with A&P “W.E.O.” (where economy originates) stores, Food Town stores, and other discount operations found in combination with discount department stores. In 1974 the Albers operation in Ohio and Kentucky was sold, and many of the existing Colonial stores were converted to the low-margin Big Star operation, so much so that Big Star became the company’s predominant trademark.

As best as I can discern, it was 1977 when Grand Union, based in New Jersey, purchased the Colonial Stores operation. Grand Union, primarily a northern grocery retailer, was at that time already over a century old. It seems, however, that the Colonial purchase was the beginning of the end for Grand Union, as the company has been in financial trouble off and on since that time, finally filing for bankruptcy and selling of assets in March 2001. In the first years after the Colonial purchase, however, Grand Union began revitalizing the operation, as the remaining Colonial outlets were closed and the Big Star outlets were upgraded.

The Norfolk division, long considered by locals to be the “home” division, was closed in the 1980s, with many of the stores being purchased by the then-expanding Food Town (Food Lion) chain. In 1988 Grand Union abandoned the southeast, with the North Carolina and remaining Virginia stores being sold to Harris-Teeter, and the Atlanta division stores being sold to A&P. Harris Teeter sold many of the smaller and small-town stores to Piggly Wiggly Carolina, Inc., converting the remaining sites to their Harris Teeter name. Big Star survived in Georgia until 1992, when A&P began retrenching, withdrawing from major markets, and closing the remaining stores.

Thus, some 95 years after David Pender incorporated his operation, some 104 years after L. W. Rogers opened his first store, one of the great southern grocery retailers was gone. The company had essentially pioneered self-service supermarkets in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and had influenced supermarket development in the other states in which they operated. Abandoned Colonial store sites haunt the strip developments of Norfolk, Charlotte, Atlanta and numerous southern towns as well, monuments to a effort that brought modern grocery retailing to the south.

Updated on 26 November 2022

One thought on “Colonial Stores History by Wayne Henderson

  1. Skip Hoffman

    December 4, 2018 at 2:13am

    Interesting to read that the company was one of the pioneers of the self-service concept of grocery shopping. My Colonial store of the mid to late 50’s was in Hampton, Virginia at one of the traffic circles on East Mercury Blvd. It was in a strip center and, I can only remember 2 other businesses there; a hobby shop and a locally owned restaurant that treated kids like myself at the time, great. We moved from that area about 1961 and my Mom did her shopping from then on at the Air Force Base. One thing I do remember about her dragging me along was her bill at checkout was always right around $20.00. This was a weeks worth of groceries for a family of four! And, they also gave S&H green stamps which, in our family definitely got used to stretch the family budget.

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    • Shane Morgan

      July 12, 2022 at 12:36pm

      I have been researching a store in Rom, GA called Community Clothing and Grocery from the early 1900’s. Have you ever heard of it? I am researching a store that my great grandfather and his family managed.

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      • Ron Harper

        July 14, 2024 at 8:55am

        There were two stores in Rome. I knew both managers but names escape me now. One was named Benny but cannot remember last name. They were in my sales district when I managed a store in Austell. Don Lomax was district manager. He used to hold managers meetings at Pine Top Inn in Canton once per month

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  2. Dennis Anderson

    January 11, 2019 at 9:36pm

    In 1969, as a 24-year-old rookie truck driver, I have fond memories of many of my travels, based in Columbus, Ohio.
    My employer/carrier for 15 years was involved mainly in LTL (less than truckload) freight, which took me to hundreds of stores and warehouses throughout Ohio, many of which are now closed. Some of the warehouses that I delivered to were Albers Colonial Stores, A&P (dry & refrigerated), Big Bear, Midland Grocery, S.M. Flickinger, Kroger, all in Columbus, Ohio. Other grocery warehouses in Ohio were Defiance Grocery, Defiance, Ohio; Associated Grocers, Dennison, Ohio; Tamarkin Foods, Youngstown, Ohio; Midland Grocery, Portsmouth and Washington Court House, Ohio; Fischer Foods, Cleveland, Ohio;
    and a forgotten warehouse in Trotwood, Ohio. Some of the stores of the day that I made deliveries to included F.& R. Lazarus, SuperX drugs, S.S. Kreske, F.W. Woolworth, Rexall Drug, G.C. Murphy, Woolco, K-Mart, Sears, Jupitor Stores, Spiegel catalog centers, small, rural International Harvester dealers, numerous hospitals, several military base
    commissaries, state prison facilities and mental institutions, It was all a great learning experience.

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  3. Scott Perkins

    March 19, 2019 at 12:41am

    I worked for Big Star #1107 in Roosevelt Shopping Center, Norfolk VA from December of 1975 until May of 1981. I started as a bagger and rose to clerk and cashier. We were a union store and I am sure labor costs were a major problem with us competing with other stores like Farm Fresh and Food Lion as minimum wage was 3.31 in 1981 and I was making 8.12, plus time and a half on Sundays. My sister worked at Farm Fresh and was making 3.50 an hour doing the same work… and those stores were crazy busy. We were not very busy due to the prices.

    One of the things we heard after the purchase by Grand Union was that what they paid for the company was not even the value of our combined bakeries, dairies and peanut butter plants. Our Milk all came from Spartanburg SC, Bread was made in a huge bakery in Norfolk and somewhere in NC was a plant that made private label peanut butter.There might have been a egg hatchery somewhere because we would often get “forced” shipments of eggs in large numbers, only to have to “feed the dumpsters” with them later. The eggs were brought to us in refrigerated trucks but often there was no room in the coolers and we had to leave them in the back room at room temperature. We were told that eggs lasted longer that way ((WRONG)). Eventually those assets were sold off by Grand Union.

    We were also forced to take massive amounts of bread from the company bakery which was about ten minutes away, so we hit bad with it sometime. My store closed at 6PM on Sunday and often bread was ten cents a loaf on Sundays because we had so much of it. the regular price was 3/1.00 which was still a deal at the time.

    I was in college and did not mind being “shared” by different stores that needed extra help, especially in the summer when I could work 60 hour weeks and everything over 40 hours was time and a half. So I worked at several of the much older Colonial Stores like Chesapeake Blvd in Norfolk and First View Ave in Norfolk’s Ocean View section. I remembered that one as a child as it was close to my grandparents home. It replaced the DP Store (David Pender) at W. Ocean View Ave and Chesapeake Street in the 1940s… and had a parking lot on the roof. But there was always a chain across the entrance to the roof parking when I was a child in the early 1960s as the roof parking was considered dangerous at that time. That store was replaced by a new Big Star in July of 1977 across the street in the new Ocean View Shopping Center. I helped set up that store and worked there off and on as they needed me for several years, but #1107 was always my home store.

    I left Big Star in May of 1981 and went to Farm Fresh as an assistant manager. In 1983 I moved to GIANT Open Air Markets and low and behold… I ended up back in Ocean View at the GIANT that had taken the place of the 1977 Big Star that I had opened six years earlier. Years later, Farm Fresh bought out GIANT and I was out the door… as they purged all former Farm Fresh managers that had left them over the years. I left the grocery industry in 1988, but once a grocer, always a grocer.

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    • Larry

      November 18, 2021 at 2:17am

      Hi Scott. Your memories are so awesome. I worked for Colonial from 1974 until 1980 in Georgia. Everything you said is exactly as I remember.

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      • Tom Queen

        December 8, 2021 at 9:19pm

        I worked for Big Star from 1975 to 1979 in Columbus Georgia.

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    • Lyle Newkirk

      November 11, 2023 at 5:06am

      I worked in the corporate offices of Colonial Stores from 1976 through May of 1981 (left when you did). Yes, your bread came from the Norfolk Bakery and dairy products came from Spartanburg, both of which were company owned. There was also a cookie plant in Norfolk. Peanut butter, mayonnaise, jellies, jams, etc. came from Lexington Specialty Foods in Lexington, NC, which was also owned by Colonial. Colonial had a coffee roasting plant in Atlanta (which smelled incredible). Yes, union costs made it difficult to compete. Grand Union did not care to own all those manufacturing operations and sold them off one by one. Pet Foods bought the dairy in Spartanburg and Bama Foods bought the operation in Lexington.

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    • Carol Williams

      May 24, 2024 at 3:15pm

      Just read your post and it brought back many memories as I was a rep for many years in Colonial/Big Star Stores in Tidewater.As a General Mills rep, I remember the late night store re-sets! You may remember my uncle, Tony Etheridge, he was a district manager.

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  4. TJ Stone

    June 11, 2019 at 9:51pm

    i’m a record collector, and I bought a record album today, on DECCA Records, called “Music From Latin America”. On the record label and on the back cover of the album it says, “especially prepared for Colonial Stores.” This grocery store chain is the only company I can find under that name. I think it a bit odd for a grocery Store to what, sponsor an album? Maybe it was a specially priced record designed to lure people in the store in some ad. It has a price of 98 cents stamped in blue in on the front cover. Like how a grocery store used to price their canned goods etc.

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    • Lee

      October 28, 2022 at 11:32am

      It wasn’t uncommon for grocery and drug store to sell a few inexpensive LP records up through about the mid-1970s. My local Giant Food store in Maryland had about four bins of albums, mostly cheap collections of popular songs recorded by anonymous musicians who weren’t the “original artists” that made it a hit. There were budget labels that specialized in these records. I wasn’t aware of any of them made for a particular store chain, but it’s certainly possible that some were.

      If you’re a record collector, you’re probably also aware that there was a popular 1970s band called Big Star named for the grocery store, which if I recall correctly was across the street from the recording studio in Memphis. I myself shopped at a Big Star circa 1980 that was near Guilford College in NC when I spent the summer there. Didn’t know it was owned by Colonial Stores until recently.

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      • Toby

        December 7, 2023 at 8:07pm

        The Ballad Of El Goodo, September Gurls, Watch The Sunrise. Big Star was a great band; ahead of their time! It was also a nice grocery store; went in one in Myrtle Beach several times.

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    • Stephen Roscher

      January 12, 2024 at 1:57pm

      A lot of stores had Christmas albums for sale as a draw for customers. In my hometown of Hopewell, Virginia, the Firestone Store (sold tires, auto repair, appliances, bicycles, etc.) had annual albums of Christmas music by well known artists.

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  5. Jim Wiseman

    October 20, 2019 at 10:07pm

    Awesome story of history ! I went to work for Mama Kayer bakery in 1965 and served many Colonial Stores for 3 years and then went to work for Wonder bread & Hostess cake in 1968 and continued to serve Colonial Stores untill their demise. I finally retired from them in 2011. I have seen many stores and bakeries go by the wayside over those 46 years.

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  6. Bill

    March 5, 2020 at 8:16pm

    I started working for Colonial Stores #1207 Princess Ann Plaza Virginia Beach. I started as a bag boy worked my way up to store manager. I worked for them until they closed. They were a really good company to work for. I was trained by a good store manager and several good assistant managers. All the assistant managers I worked for all became store managers.

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    • Brenda High

      June 5, 2022 at 8:02pm

      Hi Bill just wanted to say my Father who is now deceased also worked for Colonial Store Princess Snne Plaza as the meat dept manager around the early 1960’s his name was Paul Hollins did not know if you ever came in contact with him

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  7. Brad JENKINS

    April 18, 2020 at 9:03pm

    I worked for Big Star from 1975-1982. I ran a store in Greensboro and the flagship store in Cameron Village in Raleigh, NC. This was an extremely high volume store with average weekly sales of $180,000 in 1982!! We also made specialty bread for the Raleigh Division.

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    • Larry

      November 6, 2022 at 5:49pm

      That was definitely a high volume store. I worked in a couple of stores in that era that had weekly sales volume around 125,000. Do you remember the wall merchandise we sold for 18 cents?

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    • Ron

      October 30, 2023 at 10:49pm

      I worked for Big Star from 1970 to the 1987 closing, starting at Wellons Village, Durham and finishing up at Eastchester, HIgh Point. I also worked in every Greensboro store during those years. I worked with a lot of good people and – to this day – straighten the occasional shelf. 🙂

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  8. Ron Jan

    June 29, 2020 at 9:57am

    Does anyone know the years Big Star operated in Georgia?

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    • tom queen

      December 8, 2021 at 9:22pm

      I think by 1982 they were out of Columbus, Georgia I remember the store I worked for closed 2 months after I started my career with Georgia DOT, taking twenty percent cut in pay in doing so.

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  9. John Owens

    July 17, 2020 at 10:44pm

    Colonial Stores gave Gold Bond Trading Stamps… not S&H Green Stamps.

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  10. Raena Mitchell

    November 28, 2020 at 9:38pm

    I am interested in finding out information and address for a Big Star Super Market in Tallassee, Alabama that existed in the 1960’s. Who owned and operated it? When did it close down?

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    • Author


      January 30, 2021 at 12:14pm

      The Big Star stores that operated in other parts of the South (Tennessee, Alabama, etc.) were part of a different and unrelated chain that used the same name.

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  11. Cynthia Bradley

    January 30, 2021 at 12:10pm

    Does anyone have any information on whether Colonial Stores,Inc. had a pension plan?
    Also, perhaps there were different savings stamp programs for different stores because the Colonial Store in Danville, Va definitely gave out S&H Green Stamps.

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    • tom queen

      December 8, 2021 at 9:13pm

      Yes they did have a pension plan Not sure how much time was required to be vested.

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    • Larry

      November 6, 2022 at 5:51pm

      They did have a pension plan.

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    • Ron Hsrper

      August 7, 2023 at 9:43pm

      The pension plan was called “Blue Ribbon Pension.” It was set up to pay do much per year of service, based upon salary after a vesting period. Grand Union divested themselves of the program with cash disbursements. Young people got screwed because most of the funding was contributed eater retirement

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    • Ron

      October 30, 2023 at 10:59pm

      Pension plan disbursements could be taken in either a lump sum or over a lifetime. The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation administers the pension plan.

      Perhaps, vesting was in five-year increments?

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  12. Ed Smith

    March 4, 2021 at 8:39pm

    Oh my the memories. I lived with my grandparents in Wilmington, NC and my grandmother shopped at the “Big 3” grocery stores. Colonial, A & P and The Piggly Wiggly. There were two other small hometown stores but these were an every week stop. All the stores where in a 5 to 10 minute drive. I remember the wonderful smell at the Colonial Store of the BBQ chickens. She would purchase 1 to 2 each week and we would have supper for 2 nights and then chicken for a snack or sandwiches. To my knowledge the gave Gold Bond stamps but when my aunt lived I do believe they gave S & H green stamps. I was born 1950 and I remember about age 4 going with her till I left home to enter the military. She moved from Wilmington to a small place called Teachey, NC where my aunt lived. Life was good and the times were great. I am older now and often wish I could roll the clock back to truly “THE GOOD OLD DAYS”.

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    • Kim Nicholson

      February 16, 2022 at 11:54am

      My grandfather Ed Mohr was the manager of the A & P on 11th and Princess Street in Wilmington, N.C. I have wonderful memories of him and that store.

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  13. o'malley

    March 7, 2021 at 10:36am

    yes they had a pension vested after 10 years service i believe that a government agency took over the plan payouts after
    the bankrupt company went under i worked at the east point office 1973 1984
    Good luck

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    • Melissa Smith

      September 11, 2021 at 10:32am

      The pension plan is owned by PBGC. Look them up online and you can register with them and find out what your pension is. As long as you were there for 7 years or longer, you will get a pension.

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  14. Hamps 1959

    March 10, 2021 at 8:59pm

    I used to walk to the Colonial Store in Hampton, VA on Kecoughtan Rd near Merrimack Shores in the early1950s to pick up things for my mother and father. The only price I remember is that a loaf of bread was 14 cents.

    In 1959 on the morning after the senior prom I received a call from the Colonial Store at what was then called the Langley Traffic Circle in Hampton telling me that they had accepted my application and needed me to report that morning. Reported to work very tired but made it through the day and had a great time working there with wonderful people all summer before leaving for college.

    Later on, in while living in NJ I used to shop a Grand Union. Then living in FL I shopped at Harris Teeter and where I live now I sometimes shop at Stop and Shop. Didn’t realize these 3 stores had connections to Colonial Stores.

    Thanks for this write up and the trip down memory lane.

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  15. Donna Jones

    March 11, 2021 at 8:21am

    Did Colonial stores have a promotion where they gave away diamond chips? This would have been years ago!

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  16. Pete Ratowski

    March 16, 2021 at 1:30pm

    We had Colonial Stores in Tallahassee, Florida, from the 1940’s. They competed with Lovett’s which later became Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie gave out S&H Green stamps and Colonial Stores gave out Gold Bond Stamps. Jitney-Jungle Supermarkets gave out I think Gold Bond Stamps too.

    When me and my best friend became 16 years old, we went to our neighborhood Winn-Dixie to get us a job for some spending money. It was a new store in the expanded Capitol Plaza Shopping Center on Thomasville Road. The manager, a Mr. Kelley, told us to report promptly at 3:30pm after school weekdays and we would work till 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons. The stores in Tallahassee closed at 1pm on Wednesday but were allowed to stay open til 9pm on Fridays during the 50’s. Saturday’s were 8am till 6pm and closed on Sunday’s. We worked til 9pm on Friday and some on Saturdays. When we weren’t busy, Mr Kelley would tell us to go stand out on the sidewalk out front and to look busy leaning on a broom until he needed us. Every week me and my buddy got paid in cash by Mrs. Kelly who was the Head Cashier and the bookkeeper. The next January when we got our W-2’s in the mail from the Winn-Dixie Headquarters in Jacksonville, we got a big surprise. The W-2 showed we had actually been paid much more by Winn-Dixie than Mr. Kelley had paid us in cash. That was our last day working for Winn-Dixie! Since me and my buddy were both a lot bigger than Mr. Kelley, he agreed and was glad to again pay us in cash the pay he had stolen from us the previous year.

    Me and my buddy then went to work for Jitney Jungle Stores and Jitney Jr. Minit Markets and stayed there until we graduated from Florida State in 1966. Times had changed and minit markets were just starting and the laws changed and they could stay open seven days from 7am till 11pm.

    When my sisters were attending Florida State, them and some of their friends went to the the Colonial Store out by FSU on Tennessee Street to get some boxes to use while changing apartments. They were told to drive around behind the store and to take any boxes they wanted from back there. While sorting boxes they found a big case over at least 100 bars of Dial Hand Soap. They went around to the front managers office again and were told they could keep anything they found in that bin.

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  17. Jimmy Lee Crawford

    March 18, 2021 at 7:44pm

    My Grand father, Stephen Lee Pender was David Penders nephew and worked for Colonial Stores as the head produce buyer for many years. My mother, Stephens daughter always had kitchen tools and Bowles with the rooster logo. I remember my grandfather telling me stories about the stores and how much he loved the company.

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    • Liz Bagwell

      May 13, 2024 at 8:10pm

      Did you ever work at the Colonial Store in Tucker, Ga. On Main Street from 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961. My brother use to work there. But we are trying to find pictures back on these years 1958 to 1961. Do you know anyone might have picture of the Colonial Store on Main Street in Tucker, Ga.

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  18. Melissa Smith

    September 11, 2021 at 10:38am

    I worked for Big Star Foods for 9 years in the state of Georgia, starting out as a cashier, working my way into the Specialty Foods department, then they sent me to wine school to be a wine steward for them. I also got into the pricing side of the business as the file maintenance clerk, and even worked at the back door, writing up invoices. I also processed the payroll for the union and nonunion employees for those same 9 years. We had a great team of managers and district managers who went the extra mile for any of their employees. I do remember getting into some trouble with the corporate division for being involved in a cocaine scandal, and had to ‘hire’ a union lawyer to support me through that tough time. The attorney did a great job representing me and the store dropped all charges they had filed against me. I eventually quit in 1992 as I saw the writing on the wall what with the buyouts that were going on. But I still remember my time with this company fondly.

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  19. William Phelan

    March 14, 2022 at 2:33pm

    My Grandfather Hunter C Phelan was I believe the first President of the Colonial Stores in Norfolk Virginia.
    There was talk of having home base in Atlanta , but Norfolk was selected.
    Still have a photo of us before boarding the Colonial Stores plane with the rooster on the side.

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  20. Lyle Newkirk

    March 28, 2022 at 9:53am

    The buyout by Grand Union was in 1978, not 1977. Grand Union launched a hostile takeover bid just before the 4th of July holiday in 1978. The merger officially closed on November 18,1978. I know. I was in Finance at Colonial at the time and worked over the 4th of July holiday on what was ultimately a futile defense.

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    • Ron Harper

      August 7, 2023 at 9:47pm

      Once Colonial willingly sold Grand Union the stores they competed with in FL, it made your defense indefensible from a competition standpoint.

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  21. Valvicus

    April 10, 2022 at 9:52pm

    As a small child in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I became acquainted with “Sandy Saver, the Thrifty Scotsman”, Gold Bond Stamps’ mascot, when my dad brought home the bacon from the Colonial Store at Wellons Village Shopping Center off Miami Blvd. in East Durham, NC. gives a sweeping historical account of trading/savings stamps in America, with a fine photo of the tam-topped penny-pincher Sandy Saver himself. Unfortunately, the focus on S&H leaves readers with a deficit in Gold Bond information…

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  22. Myra Jennings

    November 11, 2022 at 9:31pm

    My dad was a regional superintendent for Colonial Stores, until his sudden death in 1955, and loved his job. During WWII, women were “allowed” to become store managers, because of the manpower shortage. There was a wonderful woman named Jo who was an excellent manager, but was demoted back to assistant when the soldiers came home, as was typical of that era. She always told me my father wanted to keep her in her management position, but was overruled. I loved knowing that!
    My best memories are of the people – maybe it was the time and place, Richmond, VA – and working there as a college student was a wonderful experience. The stores – especially the one on Cary Street – really were little families. I remember S&H Green Stamps, always someone help you in the store, and a clerk to carry your groceries to the car (with a smile :-).

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  23. Ray

    April 15, 2023 at 6:14pm

    I remember that there were two supermarkets in East Durham, North Carolina that were across the street from either other in the Wellons Village Shopping Center on Miami Boulevard. One was Colonial Stores that was next door to Grant’s Department Store and Kerr Discount Drugs. The other was the Big Star that was next door to King’s Department Store. Both of these stores were extremely busy in there operations bringing in huge sales during the weekend rush of crowds mostly getting the after church crowds too when they were opened with limited hours on Sundays. Every weekend the parking lots were packed when it came to the BIG sales…

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  24. Mary Ann Mason (Mary Ann Lambdin) when I worked there

    April 28, 2023 at 8:26pm

    Was secretary to produce merchandiser at the Colonial Stores Warehouse for 20 years until they closed. Great people to work for. Sad when Grand Union bought it. Not the same after that. Worked until it closed. The women used to have lunch reunions for a while. Sure missed the job and my friends there .

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    • Steve E Stewart

      June 18, 2023 at 10:32am

      Spent my last 3 years working in the meat dist. warehouse as a meat inspector, until we closed. 23 yrs with Big Star and then 25 with Publix. Dad was a close friend with Jimmy Pearson throughout their careers with Colonial.

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  25. Al Roesler

    August 1, 2023 at 3:09am

    Does anyone know what colors were used in painting the rooster and the background that the rooster was placed on? I assume that “CS” and “COLONIAL STORES” were painted in white letters. Or does anyone have a color photo showing the rooster atop the CS? Thanks.

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    • Lee Ball

      February 24, 2024 at 9:05pm

      Al, I worked for Colonial Stores from the mid-1960s to the early 70s and have my name tag, which has the company logo. The head and leg (or foot?) of the rooster are red. The rooster’s body consists of the stylized “CS” letters in white. The background is dark blue with the words “Colonial” above the head of the rooster and “Stores” below the leg, all in white letters.

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    November 29, 2023 at 1:09pm

    I worked at store 2712 in Charlotte, NC from1975-1979. I really enjoyed this job . Sad that it had to end

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