Sorry for the long lapse in content around these parts. My personal life has been less than optimal the past few months (long story) and I’ve also been very preoccupied with work.

Anyway, I’m happy to present the following for your amusement today:

  • Atlanta: A location spreadsheet covering 1930-1991 and a new photo gallery. I envision some narrative here soon.
  • Boston: A location spreadsheet covering 1955-1974.
  • Los Angeles: A location spreadsheet covering 1932-1942.
  • Portland (OR): A location spreadsheet covering 1956-1962.

Tomorrow (if my enthusiasm holds out), I’ll be posting location spreadsheets and photo galleries for Pittsburgh and Columbia SC.

And soon, I really will be completing the updated history of Safeway that I started a few months back.

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This is big.

A very observant member of an Atlanta architctural firm (who’s now my hero, by the way) contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me about some materials he found while working on a client project, wondering if I might be interested. I picked the stuff up today. Turns out it came from the former headquarters of Colonial Stores and was apparently material that was simply abandoned upon the demise of the company in 1988 and had been sitting in the office ever since.

The take: twelve boxes and more than a dozen rolls of blueprints, sign plans, mechanical drawings, lease information, and other material. It seems this may be most of the records of the real estate and/or construction department of the chain. There are layouts and fixture plans dating to at least 1952, proposals for the conversion of the Albers stores in the Midwest after that chain was acquired by Colonial Stores in 1955, and lost of materials on the conversion of stores to the Big Star format in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is incredible stuff and I am really grateful that it was saved from the dumpster and that I was able to get my hands on it. I’m just starting to go through all the boxes and I’ll keep you posted.

It’s amazing what you can fit inside a 2002 Buick LeSabre when you try really hard:

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This is the Big Star I remember from my childhood. This photo was taken in Augusta GA in 1978, and was sent to me by Groceteria reader Terry in Oklahoma. He’s in the process of sending me an absolutely amazing archive of photos he’s taken over the years, including this Colonial store in Atlanta from 1978:

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More to come…

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From an anniversary brochure produced by Bruno’s stores sometime around 1989, the photo above shows one of the original American Fare stores, probably the Stone Mountain Parkway store in Atlanta. American Fare was an experimental joint venture between Bruno’s Supermarkets and Kmart, and was based on the European concept of a hypermarch√©, the fusion of a discount department store with a supermarket.

The first of these stores opened in Atlanta in early 1989, while the second (now abandoned, pictured below) made its debut in Charlotte later the same year. A third location opened in Jackson MS a few years later. These stores marked a return for Kmart to the business of grocery retailing after more than a decade (the company had included leased grocery departments in many of its 1960s and 1970s locations) and served as something of a trial run for the later Super Kmart stores. American Fare, however, was originally a somewhat more upscale format than Super Kmart, with a more distinctive interior design scheme, not to mention brand name apparel its successor would eliminate in favor of Kmart’s standard offerings.

Bruno’s eventually sold its interest in the three American Fare locations, which were then rolled into the Super Kmart operation. The American Fare name lived on for several years afterward as Kmart’s house brand for grocery and household items.

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This interesting snippet from a 1968 Colonial Stores grand opening ad from Atlanta comes to me from Robby Delius. It’s particularly noteworthy because it makes such use of the “Big Star” motif that would ultimately be applied to all Colonial Stores by the mid-1970s.

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Also from 1968 (and from the same source) is this grand opening ad for a Safeway store in Richmond. There’s nothing really remarkable about this one, I guess. It’s just, as the ad says, really ultra-modern. And the cartoon shoppers look so darned happy

More reader submissions to come.

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Spotlight on Atlanta, Georgia. The following logos are from the 17 August 1978 issue of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. The newspapers combined publication that day due to a blackout downtown. The actual newspaper was only four pages, but the food sections had apparently already been printed and were included in their entirety.

The Big Apple and Food Giant chains have been discussed on the Message Board.

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A&P would remain a fairly major player in Atlanta until 1999, when it sold many of its stores to Publix.

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Big Star, built on the foundation of Colonial Stores, was purchased by Grand Union in 1978. The Atlanta division lasted longer than the rest of Big Star, until 1992, when most of the stores were sold to A&P. Big Star also operated the food departments of Richway discount department stores, in much the same way that Colonial had operated Kmart Food stores in some areas.

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Kroger is the only one of the 1978 chains to still have operations in Atlanta.

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I really don’t know anything about Thriftown and Big Buy.

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And we all know about Winn-Dixie. Enough said.