Penn Fruit


Pennsylvania chain with distinctive store designs. Over-expansion and aggressive competition drove the chain out of business in the mid-1970s. Not affiliated with Penn Traffic, owner of Big Bear.

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The following article is from Philadelphia Magazine, circa 1978, and contains an extensive history of Penn Fruit, particularly its final years. Alas, I cannot remember who sent me the article, nor do I have the specific date/issue of the magazine.


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One thought on “Penn Fruit

  1. jr23

    March 23, 2019 at 7:33pm

    article quite good i have the mag from back then. my dad and i delivered fresh french bread to them. one big downfall was the joint bread ,roll and cake bakery they joint owned with horn and hardart.they were starting to decline penn bought pantry pride and overextended. they were the largest supermarkets store size in the 1960s in philadelphia

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  2. Bob S.

    October 10, 2020 at 9:09am

    Thanks for reproducing the whole article, it’s great to have a detailed history from someone who was so closely involved with the business.. The article is from the July, 1977 Philadelphia Magazine.

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  3. Anthony J Moffa

    December 21, 2021 at 1:40pm

    As a young boy, I loved going to the Penn Fruit with my father every Saturday. The expansive facade, soaring roofline, and cavernous inside fascinated me.

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  4. Ron Schwartz

    March 18, 2023 at 1:21pm

    The store was founded by my great uncles, Morris and Isaac Kaplan, along with their friend, Sam Cook. My father, their nephew, was groomed to be in the business, and was a VP in his 30s; we lived near their new headquarters in NE Philadelphia. My father was computerizing their inventory system in the 60s, and took me as a child to the giant computer room with the tape machines and card punch readers. He saw that they couldn’t compete with the larger chains like A&P and Shop-Rite as a medium sized chain, and lobbied for changes that his uncles, old school men that didn’t know how to translate their earlier success to a modern competitive environment didn’t want to accept. He left in the mid-sixties, predicting their demise, which came 10 years later.

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