Visiting Charleston and Savannah

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Groceteria
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Visiting Charleston and Savannah

Post by Groceteria » 27 Dec 2005 01:31

I'll be headed down there this week. Anyone know of anything I should see? By that, I mean relatively intact or recognizable old stores. As always, I don't particularly care about new ones...

Thanks,
David

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 27 Dec 2005 09:59

There are some 1950s-60s vintage retail areas in North Charleston along US 52 you may find interesting. There's also some vintage retail along US 17 (Savannah Highway) across the Ashley River in St. Andrew's. Check out the colonial-style former Esso/Exxon station across East Bay Street and down from Rainbow Row. It's not grocery, but sort of interesting (if it's still there). It was being used as a bicycle rental place and parking lot.

I used to work for a company that bought "distressed" commercial loans and real estate. As part of the due diligence process, I did a ton of property inspections from Connecticut to Georgia. Most of them were in areas that time had passed by. I got to see a lot of older retail. :)

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Savannah area old stores

Post by krogerclerk » 28 Dec 2005 02:10

Most Piggly Wiggly locations in the Savannah area are of older vintage.
Piggly Wiggly Carolina is the operator and I suspect many are former Colonial/Big Star and Winn-Dixie locations, both chains closed in Savannah/Chatham Co. in the early 80's.

Kroger has two vintage late 70's/early 80's Kroger Sav-on locations, one at Oglethorpe Mall and the other on Victory Dr, headed toward the coast.
Several other Krogers are former M&M supermarkets, though the only vintage location is Skidaway Road, with a pylon reminiscent of Food Fair/Pantry Pride. Later architecture, though notable, the downtown Kroger is designed to mimic the exterior of the old cotton warehouse that was once located on the site. The old M&M was located in what is now the parking lot. This store is a rare non-24-hour Kroger, due to being in the historic district.

Though also of 90's construction, the Publix at the Savannah Mall on Abercorn is notable as the first Publix outside of Florida. It is still relatively large for Publix, which tends to focus on locations in the 35k-50k square footage, exceeding 65k.

I know A&P was in the city, but have never found any of Colonial/Centennial architecture. Either they are heavily remodled, razed, or A&P never had Centennial stores in Savannah, Some of the older Piggly Wiggly and M&M locations may have been A&P.

The older Oglethorpe Mall is more successful than Savannah Mall, which is located on the southern edge of the city and away from the greatest concentration of population, though this is the fastest growning area of Savannah. Savannah was considered underretailed prior to the construction of Savannah Mall, which has struggled for most of its existence. Montgomery Wards is now Bass Pro Shops and J.B. White has become Dillard's. Target was rumored to be coming, but wasn't there on my last visit.

It's been much longer since I visited Charleston, but the retail scene is reletively the same. The primary difference being Bi-Lo is the dominant chain in Charleston with Kroger withdrawing around 1989 and Kroger is dominant in Savannah and BiLo scrapped plans to expand to Savannah in the late 90's. Doscher's, a small Charleston chain operated several former colonial A&P's. Food Lion is ubiquetous to both cities as well as is Wal-Mart.

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Post by todd » 28 Dec 2005 10:37

In Charleston, there used to be a Harris Teeter on E. Bay Street (?) in a converted old warehouse ....architecturally it fit in the old neighborhood really well and was unusual. It may be there but not sure if it's still H-T or a Bi-Lo now.

parkave231

Post by parkave231 » 31 Dec 2005 23:20

I can confirm that on my last trip to Charleston a few months ago, that store on East Bay is still an HT. You're right, it is rather unusual in my opinion too, but it does seem to fit in. I can't think of anything else special about Charleston offhand...other than the time I was involved in a drive-by shooting. But that had nothing to do with a grocery store........

Hey, krogerclerk, how new is that Kroger in downtown Savannah? It's been so long since I've been there. My only experience with Kroger in Savannah was in 1994-ish when Mom and I were down there for a weekend and needed a few things. Nobody we asked could seem to tell us how to find a grocery store...so we just started driving. We ended up in a Kroger in Garden City, which, for those who may not know, is the adjoining town up I-516 north of Savannah. If I recall correctly, the store was on the left, but I do definitely remember the architecture. I hope I'm not misusing the terms, but I think it was a superstore -- it had those arches, and the all-caps KROGER on the front. But the thing that really blew me away was the size of this store, or lack thereof. It was the smallest grocery store I've ever been in. I'm a terrible judge of square feet, but if I had to guess, I'd say it couldn't have been much more than 20,000. Might be worth a side trip -- unless they've (probably) remodeled it.

Matt

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Post by danielh_512 » 01 Jan 2006 04:20

Most Superstores were in the upper 20's in square footage. The Superstore concept was started in 1972, but the arches and signage were placed on some older stores (I know of a couple 1950's Kroger stores in WV that had the arches and the block letter signage placed on later).

That's an interesting question as to the smallest supermarket we've been in. Mine would have to be here in my hometown, the A&P/SuperFresh on Greene St. in Cumberland, MD, a 10,000 sq. ft. store that opened in the early 1950's, and shockingly remained open until about 1998. That store was so small, it's now a Dollar General, and nothing else.

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Post by krogerclerk » 03 Jan 2006 15:22

parkave231 wrote: Hey, krogerclerk, how new is that Kroger in downtown Savannah? It's been so long since I've been there. My only experience with Kroger in Savannah was in 1994-ish when Mom and I were down there for a weekend and needed a few things. Nobody we asked could seem to tell us how to find a grocery store...so we just started driving. We ended up in a Kroger in Garden City, which, for those who may not know, is the adjoining town up I-516 north of Savannah. If I recall correctly, the store was on the left, but I do definitely remember the architecture. I hope I'm not misusing the terms, but I think it was a superstore -- it had those arches, and the all-caps KROGER on the front. But the thing that really blew me away was the size of this store, or lack thereof. It was the smallest grocery store I've ever been in. I'm a terrible judge of square feet, but if I had to guess, I'd say it couldn't have been much more than 20,000. Might be worth a side trip -- unless they've (probably) remodeled it.

Matt
If you were last there about 94, you just missed it being built. It's located near the intersection of Gwinnett and Habersham. As for the Garden City store, it's one of the former M&M stores which Kroger acquired in 1985 and rebannered in 1991. It lacks the superstore exterior and had the mauve grid decor of the 90's Krogers on my last visit. It would be smallish for a superstore which generally ranged from 25000 sf to 35000 sf. Many older Kroger locations have been remodeled over the years without expansion. Some one who is a long term Savannah area resident or long term M&M employee may know the age of the store.

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Post by Swifty » 04 Jan 2006 00:44

Okay. Where to begin. I live in Charleston, and have noticed all sorts of grocery architectural goodness here.

Bi-Lo and Food Lion are the dominant chains here, with a dash of Publix and a few Harris Teeters here and there.

On Savannah Highway (US 17), there's a Doschers which is an old Colonial style A&P. (Inside, it even has the red 'The Butcher Shop' letters from A&P interiors from the 80s.) However, they've added onto it recently, so it's not quite the original building.

Also, there's a store on Hwy. 17 closer to downtown which is a thrift store. I'm thinking it's an old Safeway, but I'm not too sure.

Around the corner on Folly Rd. is the South Windermere shopping center. It's got a Staples, which, up until last year, was a Belk department store. It also has an EarthFare which is a NC-based health food chain. 4 or 5 years ago, it was a Piggly Wiggly. When it was first built, I believe it was an A&P.

Hmmmmm. What else.

On James Island, headed toward Folly Beach, is a Bi-Lo that very obviously used to be a Kroger. There used to be another one in Mt. Pleasant, but it has been converted to a Whole Foods. Also in Mt. P. is the first Publix in SC. Both stores are on Hwy. 17.

Back in West Ashley on Sam Rittenberg Blvd., there's a Marhsall's clothing store. I'm guessing this was once an A&P for no other reason than the style of the electric doors. I can't explain why, but they look very familair to me.

Across the street is a store called Total Wine and More. This was a Harris Teeter until about 2002.

Down the street on Hwy. 61, there's an old Winn Dixie which is being converted into a gym.

Also, downtown Charleston is a great place to explore. On Meeting Street is a brand-spankin' new Piggly Wiggly (which was built to replace a 1960s-era Piggly Wiggly store that was wonderfully nasty). And, as mentioned earlier, the Harris Teeter on East Bay Street is a fascinating store since it's in an old train depot.

Finally, on Rutledge Avenue above the Crosstown, there's a Jabers market. I have no idea what this store used to be, but it appears to have been built in the 50s or 60s.

Maybe someday I'll take pictures.

Enjoy your trip.

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Post by Groceteria » 04 Jan 2006 11:14

Thanks for all teh replies. I've actually been back for several days, but I'll keep some of these on file for the next visit.
Swifty wrote:On Savannah Highway (US 17), there's a Doschers which is an old Colonial style A&P. (Inside, it even has the red 'The Butcher Shop' letters from A&P interiors from the 80s.) However, they've added onto it recently, so it's not quite the original building.
Saw this one. It seems to have been remodeled inside as well. Or, more specifically, to have had all its interior detail removed...
Swifty wrote:Also, there's a store on Hwy. 17 closer to downtown which is a thrift store. I'm thinking it's an old Safeway, but I'm not too sure.
I also happened by this one. I'm pretty sure it's not a Safeway, since they were never in this area, nor really even very close. But I'm very curious as to what it was. I'll be posting pictures in the "name that store" forum when I get a chance.
Swifty wrote:On Meeting Street is a brand-spankin' new Piggly Wiggly (which was built to replace a 1960s-era Piggly Wiggly store that was wonderfully nasty). And, as mentioned earlier, the Harris Teeter on East Bay Street is a fascinating store since it's in an old train depot.
Saw both of these as well. The enw Piggly Wiggly was very nice and still had lots of freebies (bumper stickers, etc.) available...

I also visited the previously mentioned Kroger on Skidaway Road in Savannah, plus one on Ogeechee Road, and saw a few vintage A&Ps there as well...

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