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I’ve added a new section on the history of stores in Raleigh NC. It’s not as comprehensive as some of my past city features have been, but I may expand it. It currently features a brief history and a photo gallery, plus the obligatory location spreadsheet. Enjoy.

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Winn-Dixie, 3830 East Independence Boulevard, Charlotte. Photo courtesy Pat Richardson.

The Winn-Dixie at Charlotte‘s Amity Gardens Shopping Center opened in November of 1958, right in the middle of the most thriving retail strip in the city. The center also included Woolworth’s and a Barclay Cafeteria. By 1961, it also included Charlotte’s first (and only) branch of Clark’s, an early “supercenter” with both general merchandise and groceries.

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Amity Gardens Shopping Center, 2007.

By the 1980s, the center was already in significant decline, and the conversion of Independence Boulevard into a freeway sealed the fate not only of Amity Gardens, but of the entire retail strip from downtown to Albemarle Road. The old center is still standing today, more or less completely abandoned. Plans to demolish it and construct a Wal-Mart Supercenter are on hold. The years have not been kind to this once booming area.

More:

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Evidently, the owners of this recently-converted Piggly Wiggly in Sanford NC are banking on the idea that, within a few years, no one will remember that Winn-Dixie were “The Beef People”, not Piggly Wiggly.

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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.

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Thanks to Carlton Swift for this shot of a former Kwik-Chek/Winn-Dixie (and before that, King’s Market, with which I’m not familiar) in Columbus GA. It’s of perhaps my favorite vintage, the early 1950s, and it looks like it retained its original round pole sign dating back to the Kwik-Chek days.

This building was scheduled for demolition on Friday of this past week. Too bad. I’d like to have seen it in happier times.

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A limited edition collection of vintage supermarket drawings from the 1970s was recently discovered in North Carolina.

OK, they were all done by Yer Humble Host as a precocious child. But they do demonstrate that I’ve been really obsessed with this stuff for a very long time. I think I captured the essence of the Centennial A&P pretty well for a six-year-old, thanks. I was also proud of my Big Food Star; I think my technique had really matured by age eleven.

I guess that’s enough self-indulgence for one day. Now you all know what a big geek I was, even as a child.

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I’ve uploaded a few old commercials to YouTube. Enjoy:

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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…

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I’ve been trying to shoot lots of Winn-Dixie stores before there aren’t any in the area anymore. The one pictured above is in King’s Mountain.

I’ve also done the first bit of my Charlotte research and have compiled the list of addresses. If you’re really interested, I’ve put up a quickie HTML version of the spreadsheet here. It’s going to be interesting to see what is and isn’t still here in Charlotte, a city notorious for destroying almost everything old.

I’ll keep you posted…