Grand Union

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paysh
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Grand Union

Post by paysh » 17 Sep 2006 14:38

I worked for Grand Union in the early 70s. The store was very small, understaffed, dirty and very busy as the only other choice in town was a Gristedes store. The A&P was about 12 miles away. It was a pretty miserable place to work, with virtually no training and managers and assistant managers who did not want at all to be there.

We did get a discount card to shop at GrandWay in Stamford, CT. That store was organized about the same as the one I worked in, only not at all busy.

There was also a GrandWay in Horseheads, NY that, after being closed for a long time, became a KMart store, which is still there.

captinlou

Post by captinlou » 18 Sep 2006 20:36

my father worked for food fair and then grand union took over in winchester va starting in the early 60s. when GU left town on Xmas eve in 82 he travelled to manassas va for a while to manage for them

TW-Upstate NY
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Post by TW-Upstate NY » 19 Sep 2006 20:48

There's a small vintage Grand Union not far from me in Northville, NY and parked at their loading dock behind the building is an old GU trailer with the "Clean, Fresh and Good" slogan on it. I hadn't seen one of those in years. That was last year and as of a month and a half-ago, it was still there-must be used for storage or something. I did take some pictures but it was one of those disposable cameras with VERY old film and they didn't come out that well.

Badgerinmaine

Post by Badgerinmaine » 29 Sep 2006 23:26

I did a Google search that found a 1956 Time Magazine article that may be more of what you're looking for:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... -1,00.html

The article--which is a very interesting period piece in itself, talking about Grand Union's expansion and experimentation with expanding the types of products they sell, into clothing, etc.-- says that Grand Union was formed out of a merger of Jones Brothers Tea Company stores and other smaller chains. It also says that in 1956 it was the 10th largest supermarket chain in the US, with operations in eight states on the Eastern Seaboard. The article would not seem to suggest that it was ever as national as A&P.
Last edited by Badgerinmaine on 29 Sep 2006 23:36, edited 1 time in total.

Badgerinmaine

Post by Badgerinmaine » 29 Sep 2006 23:30

Dave wrote: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.
The Time article I cited here would seem to suggest that it's not the same place--they list the year the company formed from ther mergers first was called Grand Union was 1928-- but that it did start as a tea company; a Google search turned up a fragment of an article from a business journal from the 1920s that said it indeed started before 1900; unfortunately, the link was to JSTOR, a database my college can't afford to have full access to--so I couldn't read anything important more beyond the snippet inthe Google listing.

ms.lefty
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Post by ms.lefty » 03 Oct 2006 12:17

Dave, I don't know how accurate the info is, but this website about trading stamps implies that the Grand Union stores descended from the Tea Company:

http://www.studioz-7.com/stamps1.shtml


"When Cyrus D. Jones founded the Grand Union Tea Company in 1872, he issued cardboard tickets to customers of his Grand Union stores, which were redeemed for merchandise in a company catalog."

"Grand Union, the New England chain that had given out redeemable tickets in its earliest days, began Triple-S (Stop & Save Stamps) in 1955 after giving S&H stamps in some of its stores..."

Those Triple-S stamps are discussed elsewhere in Groceteria.

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 03 Oct 2006 16:41

Badgerinmaine wrote:I did a Google search that found a 1956 Time Magazine article that may be more of what you're looking for:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... -1,00.html

The article--which is a very interesting period piece in itself, talking about Grand Union's expansion and experimentation with expanding the types of products they sell, into clothing, etc.-- says that Grand Union was formed out of a merger of Jones Brothers Tea Company stores and other smaller chains. It also says that in 1956 it was the 10th largest supermarket chain in the US, with operations in eight states on the Eastern Seaboard. The article would not seem to suggest that it was ever as national as A&P.
It really isn't clear from the article whether or not Grand Union was formed out of the merger or was the surviving entity in the merger.

It seems to me that Grand Union was in a lot more places than the Eastern Seaboard and a lot earlier than 1928. One example I found is that the Michigan State University library has a 1902 comic (comic book?) that sounds like a Grand Union Tea Co. premium.

That Time site is pretty interesting in and of itself. Thanks for pointing me to it.
Dave, I don't know how accurate the info is, but this website about trading stamps implies that the Grand Union stores descended from the Tea Company:

http://www.studioz-7.com/stamps1.shtml


"When Cyrus D. Jones founded the Grand Union Tea Company in 1872, he issued cardboard tickets to customers of his Grand Union stores, which were redeemed for merchandise in a company catalog."

"Grand Union, the New England chain that had given out redeemable tickets in its earliest days, began Triple-S (Stop & Save Stamps) in 1955 after giving S&H stamps in some of its stores..."
Thanks for the info. Now I can ponder if there's a connection between Cyrus Jones and Jones Brothers Tea Co.

TW-Upstate NY
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Post by TW-Upstate NY » 03 Oct 2006 21:05

OK it makes sense now that somebody mentions 1872 and I would say the chain dates from then because I remember 1972 as being their centennial year. The logo they had for the occassion was prominently displayed in their stores that year.

Rob_L
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Grand Union..

Post by Rob_L » 29 Dec 2006 15:18

You guys missed another division... there was also Grand Distributing, which was similar to Service Merchandise. Additionally, in the mid 70's, IIRC, they also had started a small chain of Convenience stores in Northern NJ, which was called EZ. (NO connection to the EZ mart chain) They were later all purchased by Quick Chek, about 2-3 years after they were opened..

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buckhead
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Grand Union

Post by buckhead » 12 Feb 2007 13:28

IIRC, Grand Union also had a presence in Florida in the Tampa area (as well as South Florida) and possibly a bit further north. It sold most of these locations to Colonial Stores in the 70s, which rebranded them as Big Star. Colonial already had a presence under the Big Star name in Jacksonville that extended down at least as far as Orlando. Many were adjacent to KMart stores. When Big Star pulled out of Jacksonville, Orlando (and possibly the rest of Florida), sometime before June 1979 when I moved there, AND in conjunction with the acquistion of the remnants of Colonial/Big Star by Grand Union, some of those stores in the Tampa area came back into the Grand Union fold.

NewsLynne
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Post by NewsLynne » 14 Feb 2007 01:14

I know that many of the Northern Virginia Grand Unions shared shopping center space with Kmart stores. The Stores at Tysons Corner and Fairfax has GU stores until I guess the early 80's. I don't ever remember going to a Grand Union, but Dcgrocery has lots of pictures of the locations.

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Groceteria
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Post by Groceteria » 14 Feb 2007 12:05

FYI, there's some discussion of the relationship between Grand Union and Kmart in the DC area in this post from the Kmart Foods thread:

http://www.groceteria.com/board/viewtop ... c&start=23

NewsLynne
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Post by NewsLynne » 14 Feb 2007 22:48

Thanks! I'll check it out.

Gordogirl

Post by Gordogirl » 24 Jun 2007 20:50

I just found this forum while searching for history on Grand Union, and it's been an interesting read!

My mother worked with the company for 32 years before it went out of business, and has recently began to search for more information just for sentimentality. She's been able to find some old photos of horse-drawn delivery trucks back while it was the Grand Union Tea Company but, aside from a few articles here and there, she's turned up with nothing on founder Cyrus Jones. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, or if I should create a separate topic on the subject, but does anyone know where to find a picture of Mr. Jones or the Jones Brothers?

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Post by webcookie » 07 Jul 2007 15:54

I live in Middletown, NY and while we didn't have a Grand Union in town, there was one in Goshen, and one in Matamoras, PA. The one in Goshen is now a CVS, and the one in Matamoras is still intact, interior decorating (wall labels, etc) and all. I've been meaning to go take pictures through the windows. There is a GU Family Market in Milford, PA, which is a bit down the road from Matamoras.

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Grand Union in Goshen, NY, now CVS.

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