Grand Union

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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Dave
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Grand Union

Post by Dave » 06 Apr 2006 18:57

I'm trying to find out a little more about Grand Union other than "began in the late 1800's". Anyone know of a timeline?

I'm trying to find out what their geographic reach was before the 1960's; especially in the period from 1900 to 1930. Were they national like A&P? Thanks.

rich
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Post by rich » 06 Apr 2006 23:30

They were never national. They probably reached their maximum geographic coverage around the early 1960s, unless you count their forced merger with the the remnants of Colonial Stores in the 80s.

The bought a number of chains in the DC area during the 50s. I don't know if they ever had stores beyond the Virginia suburbs of DC (further South), although they did have stores on the DelMarVa peninsula., East of DC.

They went as far North as Vermont, going up the Hudson Valley from NYC and through the Berkshires. They had stores in that region until the end. Until the late 70s, they had stores in Hartford and New Haven, although most of these were sold to Food Mart (pre-A&P). They kept a number of stores going in smaller towns in Central Connecticut, like Middletown until the mid-80s. The opened new stores in that region as late as 1979. I don't believe they ever had stores in the Philly area or in NE Pennsylvania. They did have stores in the Albany area, but I don't think they ever had stores further West.

They owned the Triple S Bluse stamp trading stamp operation, but gave S&H Green Stamps in DC and in New England.

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Post by Groceteria » 06 Apr 2006 23:53

rich wrote:They were never national. They probably reached their maximum geographic coverage around the early 1960s, unless you count their forced merger with the the remnants of Colonial Stores in the 80s.
Any details on this merger? What I've read is that it was first announced in 1978, immediately following the expiration of a consent degree where GU was barred from expanding by acquisition. The FTC apparently tried to block the merger, which went through anyway, and ordered GU to divest Big Star/Colonial in 1981. Obviously that didn't happen, and I'm not sure why. Maybe that's where the "forced" aspect you mention comes into play. I do know that they sold the NC and VA Big Star/Colonial stores in 1988 and the GA stores in 1992.

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Post by Edric Floyd » 07 Apr 2006 00:52

Grand Union did have stores in South Florida. Especially during the 1960's and 1970's and all were closed by the mid 1980's

I don't know any "business" details, but I grew up in South Florida and I personally knew these Grand Union stores.

Pompano Beach (Sample Road)- now a Sav-A-Lot

Boca Raton (3 stores, Palmetto Park Road-K-Mart now Publix, North Federal Hwy (I think this is also now a Publix., and Sandlefoot Cove/US 441 been a Publix for 20 years)

Margate (US 441 and Coconut Creek Pkwy)

Wilton Manors (Wilton Drive later Piggly Wiggly, now divided into gay night club and gym)

Deerfield Beach (Federal Hwy and Hillsboro Blvd, was PHARMOR then Antique mall)

Ft. Lauderdale (Broward Blvd-Zayre Dept Store- DEMOLISHED, now commuter parking lot)

Oakland Park (N Andrews Ave-Zayre Dept. Store, was postal facility NOT post office, Zayre space was Winn-Dixie Marketplace in 1990's)

Boynton Beach (Federal Hwy and Woolbright Road-KMart, later Walgreens, K-Mart was later Winn-Dixie)

And there were many others, in Miami, Miami Beach and West Palm Beach

Steve Landry
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Post by Steve Landry » 08 Apr 2006 09:20

and they had a notable presence in Miami............including Grand Union / Grand Way combos.

P.S. Edric..........see my post about Fredricks :)
The Food Fair Empire

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Post by BillyGr » 08 Apr 2006 14:56

rich wrote:They went as far North as Vermont, going up the Hudson Valley from NYC and through the Berkshires. They had stores in that region until the end. Until the late 70s, they had stores in Hartford and New Haven, although most of these were sold to Food Mart (pre-A&P). They kept a number of stores going in smaller towns in Central Connecticut, like Middletown until the mid-80s. The opened new stores in that region as late as 1979. I don't believe they ever had stores in the Philly area or in NE Pennsylvania. They did have stores in the Albany area, but I don't think they ever had stores further West.
Yes, there were quite a few stores in New York - mostly in the Hudson Valley and up into the Adirondacks (many areas up there they were the ONLY store - go another 20 miles and you might find another Grand Union, but not much else).
They did go a bit further west (Middleburgh, Fort Plain, Tannersville, Delhi, Hancock,Vestal, Stamford - these last 4 are in the 607 area code - for example). Also I have a listing for one store in Lincoln NH.

They didn't have stores in MA for some reason (or at least not in recent history) - but plenty in VT and CT and at least a couple in PA and NJ.

Of course, Grand Union as a company no longer exists, but there ARE still stores with the Grand Union name (actually GU Family markets, but most of the older stores still have the onld name on them) - currently 36, 22 in NY (including several just re-opened under the GU name which Tops had been running since the bankruptcy), 8 in VT, 1 in CT, 1 in PA, and even 4 in MA! (which they bought from A&P when A&P left all of New England except CT). http://www.gufamilymarkets.com if you want more current info.

rich
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Post by rich » 08 Apr 2006 20:21

The merger was forced by Sir Jmes Goldsmith who had bought the chains, along with a slew of other businesses that he ran into the ground (Macmillian-McGraw-Hill comes to mind; he made a lot of money unsuccessfully trying to take over Goodyear or Goodrich). And yes, I forgot about Florida. That's where they hatched Grandway.

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Grand Union in DC

Post by yoss99 » 16 Apr 2006 23:07

FYI, Grand Union opened 10 Basics Food Warehouse stores in DC
in the early 1980's and sold most of them to the Food-A-Rama chain (Baltimore, MD) in 1984. This was GU's first attempt at a high-volume warehouse market.

http://www.fdrama.com

When GU went bankrupt years ago, C&S Wholesalers bought the GU name and kept a few of the markets open. That started C&S's retail division.

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Re: Grand Union in DC

Post by Edric Floyd » 17 Apr 2006 00:35

yoss99 wrote:FYI, Grand Union opened 10 Basics Food Warehouse stores in DC
in the early 1980's and sold most of them to the Food-A-Rama chain (Baltimore, MD) in 1984. This was GU's first attempt at a high-volume warehouse market.

http://www.fdrama.com

When GU went bankrupt years ago, C&S Wholesalers bought the GU name and kept a few of the markets open. That started C&S's retail division.
There was very briefly a Basics store in Ft.Lauderdale Florida at the Zayre Shopping center that was at the NW corner of Broward Blvd and I-95. BOTH stores were closed by 1986 (All Grand Union was gone from FL by then) and this shopping center was demolished by 1990 when I-95 was widened and the area is now a park-and-ride lot.

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 17 Apr 2006 23:14

Man, I was hoping someone had a 1906 list of Grand Union locations in their hip pocket!

Let me put it another way - does anyone know if Grand Union began "in the late 1800's" (per thier website) as a tea company like A&P, or what?

There was a Grand Union Tea Co. store in Richmond, VA from around 1906 to 1926; it was gone by 1931. The single location was listed in the city directory as a "branch", which indicates to me that it was part of an out of town concern. I'd like to know if it's the same Grand Union that became the supermarket chain.

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Post by krogerclerk » 18 Apr 2006 22:16

Groceteria wrote:
rich wrote:They were never national. They probably reached their maximum geographic coverage around the early 1960s, unless you count their forced merger with the the remnants of Colonial Stores in the 80s.
Any details on this merger? What I've read is that it was first announced in 1978, immediately following the expiration of a consent degree where GU was barred from expanding by acquisition. The FTC apparently tried to block the merger, which went through anyway, and ordered GU to divest Big Star/Colonial in 1981. Obviously that didn't happen, and I'm not sure why. Maybe that's where the "forced" aspect you mention comes into play. I do know that they sold the NC and VA Big Star/Colonial stores in 1988 and the GA stores in 1992.
I recall the Weingartens chain in the Houston, TX area was also absorbed by Grand Union. At the time it was the dominant grocer in the Houston area and by the mid-80's was out of business. I believe Grand Union even operated in Puerto Rico. The Colonial Stores geographically fit between the South Florida operations of Grand Union and the Northern Virginia Grand Unions. Colonial/Big Star was a major player in Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta at the time as well as numerous small towns in the South Atlantic. However, both Colonial and Grand Union were in decline before the merger. Additionally, Grand Union merchandised the small southern stores too much like their more urban Eastern counterparts, resulting in customers defecting to more small town oriented and southern oriented chains such as Ingle's, Lowe's, Food Town(later Food Lion), Winn-Dixie and Harris-Teeter. Newer prototypes in Atlanta in the late 80's were generally well received but the moves were too late to boost market share which had fallen to a distant 3 place after Kroger and Winn-Dixie.

The division based out of Raleigh was sold to Harris-Teeter around 1986 or so. The Atlanta operation was sold to A&P in 1992. Harris-Teeter and Publix would end up with many former Big Star locations in 1999 when A&P closed shop in Atlanta and in 2001 Harris-Teeter sold its Atlanta locations to Kroger.

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Post by u-save » 13 May 2006 16:03

Though Grand Union was not in Philadelphia, it did operate for several years in the 1960's and 1970's in the nearby Trenton (NJ) area I re-
member an ad found in an old news paper in my grandma's attic for the grand opening for a "state of the art" Grand Union in Ewing New Jersey.
Today it is now a Thriftway market.

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Post by John Michael » 28 Aug 2006 23:29

Groceteria wrote:
rich wrote:They were never national. They probably reached their maximum geographic coverage around the early 1960s, unless you count their forced merger with the the remnants of Colonial Stores in the 80s.
Any details on this merger? What I've read is that it was first announced in 1978, immediately following the expiration of a consent degree where GU was barred from expanding by acquisition. The FTC apparently tried to block the merger, which went through anyway, and ordered GU to divest Big Star/Colonial in 1981. Obviously that didn't happen, and I'm not sure why. Maybe that's where the "forced" aspect you mention comes into play. I do know that they sold the NC and VA Big Star/Colonial stores in 1988 and the GA stores in 1992.
Grand Union still has a web site by its own name. I believe that they even cover its history. Look it up and enjoy.
Michael

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Post by Groceteria » 29 Aug 2006 15:43

John Michael wrote:Grand Union still has a web site by its own name. I believe that they even cover its history. Look it up and enjoy.
Michael
If you mean the Grand Union Family Markets site, it's run by the wholesaler who bought a few remainders when the chain went under. Unfortunately, it has almost no useful information at all, about history or anything else, except maybe store locations. Even if it did have a history section, it's likely they'd skip the chapter about divesting an unprofitable Southern chain in the 1980s. Companies like to conveniently "forget" stuff like this.

If you know of another site, though, please feel free to post the URL.

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Post by drubinoff » 11 Sep 2006 20:39

The attached link suggests that there were Grand Union stores in Ontario up until 1959:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Steinberg

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