Webb Avenue, Burlington NC

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Groceteria
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Webb Avenue, Burlington NC

Post by Groceteria » 13 May 2007 22:47

Image

This one's really got me stumped. I'm pretty sure it was a supermarket, and it really for all the world looks like some sort of chain prototype, but I've never seen another one like it around here. Any thoughts? I'll probably research Burlington at some later point and find out for sure, but I'm really curious...

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Post by drpep » 15 May 2007 19:39

For some reason a bowling alley comes to mind.

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Post by Groceteria » 15 May 2007 21:14

drpep wrote:For some reason a bowling alley comes to mind.
Interesting guess, but it's really not big enough, plus it's oriented the wrong way. I'm 90% sure it was always retail, and I'm fairly sure it was a supermarket. My only other guess might be a furniture store.

I guess I was mainly posting this one to see if anyone recognized the specific prototype. It very much doesn't look like any of the big chains that operated in the area in the 1950s (A&P, Colonial, or Kroger, to be specific). The really strange thing is that most stores in the southeast had an elevated facade hiding the round roof on the front side.

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Post by rich » 15 May 2007 21:49

How about an IGA or a regional co-op? Independents in the Southeast seem to be more barebones than their counterparts in the NE & Midwest. This looks like a very minimalist solution.

Other building uses that came to mind, that I rejected--hardware store (doesn't look like they had an outdoor pen for garden stuff, though), skating rink (probably would have had the entrance on the side, car dealer (would have an obviously converted garage space).

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Post by Groceteria » 15 May 2007 22:48

rich wrote:How about an IGA or a regional co-op? Independents in the Southeast seem to be more barebones than their counterparts in the NE & Midwest. This looks like a very minimalist solution.
Actually, I almost thought it was too nice a building for an independent, which is why I wondered if it were some chain prototype I'd just never seen. It's actually a pretty substantial and relatively high-quality structure.

FWIW, the glass front feels original (again suggesting retail) as does the different-colored brick on the front, which is similar to the gold-ish color I've seen on assorted A&P, Winn-Dixie, and Kroger stores.

Curiosity's really getting to me now. Maybe I'll head over to the Burlington library this weekend and find out for sure.

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Post by Swifty » 16 May 2007 09:41

It looks similar to this Piggly Wiggly location in Vidalia, GA mentioned in an earlier thread:

http://www.groceteria.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=1168

Not exact, but similar. The arched roof is what makes me think it's a former PW.

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Post by rich » 16 May 2007 11:07

Various shades of yellow brick were common in the early post-war period. Early on, it may have been a question of availability in some places (DC has many late 40s/early 50s apartment buildings in yellow brick).

A&P usually trimmed yellow brick with red accents, but I've never seen an A&P with an exposed barrel roof. Ditto Kroger, which sometimes had some blue accents on their facades. Colonial always seemed to have had a squared facade in front of any barrel roof. I have seen a few IGAs like this, although they tended toward a ranch facade (much like Acme adopted in the 60s). Open glass fronts were typical of stores in the 50s, regardless of status. There was much more posting of "specials" and the natural daylight compensated for the darkness of many early stores florescent lighting. I recall Kroger stores of this period, in particular, as rather dark in the absence of daylight.

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Post by Groceteria » 23 May 2007 14:20

I'm told by an email correspondent that city directories show this location to have been a Winn-Dixie from roughly 1957 to the early 1970s. Prior to 1957, there was a nursery there. I guess Winn-Dixie could have renovated the nursery building, but I doubt it. Maybe it was just an unusual test prototype or something.

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Post by Groceteria » 30 May 2007 16:37

And now there's a picture, thanks to Robby D.:

Image

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Post by Steve Landry » 31 May 2007 09:44

Wow, I have never seen a WD that looks like this.
The Food Fair Empire

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Post by Groceteria » 31 May 2007 12:37

Steve Landry wrote:Wow, I have never seen a WD that looks like this.
Me either. I wondered if maybe (given the time frame) it had been under construction by someone else and WD had gotten it through an acquisition, but there was nothing to that effect in the newspaper article the picture accompanied.

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Post by rich » 31 May 2007 18:58

Until I got a good look at the cars (c. mid-50s), I thought maybe a Food Fair. W-D never seemed to spend money on much of anything, so I it still seems more plausible as an acquisition (they made many in the 50s) rather than as a "prototype". In the late 60s, they submitted to a consent decree not to acquire other chains because of the anti-competitive nature of some of their acquisition in the 50s/early 60s. National Tea also had to submit to something like this for the same reason.

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Post by Steve Landry » 01 Jun 2007 10:28

I had that thought too, Rich. Only because it had that "Food Fair(e)" look. < Food Fair's "marina" format. David has a foto of it on this site.

But...........it really looks too small.
The Food Fair Empire

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Post by Groceteria » 03 Jun 2007 16:06

To my knowledge, Food Fair was never in this area. There was, as I've mentioned in other threads, an unrelated Food Fair chain in Winston-Salem, about fifty miles west of Burlington.

It may have been planned as a Dixie Home store; they were just starting to expand in the area when they were absorbed around 1956.

EDIT: I was just sent an ad for a 1956 Dixie Home grand opening in Kannapolis NC with the exact same design, so that must be it...

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Re: Webb Avenue, Burlington NC

Post by carolinatraveler » 06 Nov 2008 22:08

This building is an example of the final design used by Dixie Home stores. Other stores of this design were built in Asheville and Spruce Pine, NC

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