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I made a road trip up to Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro on Sunday. These foothill towns have always been a little over-retailed relative to their size, because they serve a rather large, rural hinterland. The Wilkesboro area is also the birthplace both of Lowes Foods, the regional grocery retailer, and of the nationally-known Lowes Home Improvement.

I’m guessing the store in the photo above, just east of downtown North Wilkesboro, is a former A&P, but I could be wrong. The store below, located east of downtown, definitely was, though:

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This one may have done some time as an A&P as well, even though it was obviously built as a Kroger. Note the revamped pole sign sporting A&P’s Sav-a-Center logo , probably from the late 1980s:

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The Sav-a-Center inset photo is by Groceteria reader Thom Wright, by the way.

The following, from downtown Wilkesboro, strikes me as a likely Piggly Wiggly location, but I have no evidence to back that up:

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Last on the tour is a remodeled, but seemingly rather old (and definitely very small) Lowes Foods on old US 421:

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This isn’t really history-related, but my closest local Lowes Foods is closing and will be replaced by a Compare Foods branch soon. I’m a big fan of Lowes in general, but this was a rather creepy and uninviting location, and I think the new tenant may be a big improvement. It’s a pretty good deal for MDI as well; since they own Lowes and supply Compare, they get to keep making money off the location without actually having to operate it.

Anyhow, I just thought I’d throw in that bit of local color and flavor to give you a glimpse into the place yer humble host lives nowadays.

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Poor old, forgotten Winn-Dixie…

For those of you who care about such things, this particular one was originally a Zayre store. The Winn-Dixie relocated from elsewhere in the same center (on Cone Boulevard in Greensboro NC) in the late 1980s, after Zayre gave up on the location…

I believe this was Greensboro’s first Winn-Dixie “Marketplace” location. There was one in Charlotte at Tryon and Sugar Creek with exactly the same fa├žade; it had originally been a Woolco store, and it closed several years ago…

It’s interesting to see how the ever-increasing size of supermarkets caused them to take over so many old discount stores in Greensboro. A King’s store on West Market Street became a Kroger and later a Food Lion. The Kmart across the street became a relocated version of that same Kroger and then a Harris-Teeter. And Greensboro’s other Zayre store was briefly reborn as a Lowes Foods…

I have my doubts that there will be a new tenant in this old Winn-Dixie anytime soon, though…