Hill's? Hill's-Korvette?

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Jeffrey55
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Hill's? Hill's-Korvette?

Post by Jeffrey55 » 10 Dec 2005 23:48

When we moved to Junction Blvd. in Queens in 1963, on the dividing line between Elmhurst, Corona and Rego Park, there was a Penn Fruit supermarket on the ground floor of the Lefrak City housing development. (The store must have been only a couple of years old, because I think that first section of Lefrak City opened around 1961.) I had never before heard of Penn Fruit (but I now have learned all about it from the article posted elsewhere on this site). However, within a year or two, Penn Fruit vanished and was replaced by Hill's Supermarkets. I recall that their main office was listed as Farmingdale, Long Island. They did quite a bit of advertising, and I remember the store being quite nice.

At some point in the early 70s, what I thought was a very strange merger occurred, and the chain became known as Hill's-Korvette. E.J. Korvette, the regional discount department store chain, had its own chain of supermarkets. Despite having read an entire book about the rise and fall of Korvettes (as it was later known), I don't think I ever learned how this merger came about -- did Korvette spin off the food chain, or did it buy Hill's, or was there some kind of joint ownership? I always thought it was bizarre that the chain took on, and retained, the ungainly Hill's-Korvette name for years. It was still known as such by the time I left the area around 1976.

Of course, Korvettes went bankrupt and disappeared, but does anybody know what became of Hill's-Korvette Supermarkets, which disappeared as well? Does anybody know how wide a geographic area the original Hill's chain covered?

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Hills

Post by Steve Landry » 11 Dec 2005 11:38

Interesting..............I have been trying to research this for a long time.

Hills was purchased by Food Fair around the same time it purchased Penn Fruit (before or after). I believe Hills was in parts of N.J., Long Island N.Y., Ct., Ma. and some nearby areas.

At the time, Food Fair (Pantry Pride) had their combo units, Food Fair/J.M. Fields. J.M. Fields was similar to Korvettes.

There is a connection between Food Fair - J.M. Fields AND Hills - Korvettes. I have not been able to put my finger on it yet.

When living in N.Y., our family shopped at E.J. Korvettes. I remember lots of food BUT not a full service operation. Also, not all E.J. Korvettes had food.

I'm hoping that someone has more info?

:)
The Food Fair Empire

Jeffrey55
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Post by Jeffrey55 » 12 Dec 2005 00:10

When you say Hill's bought Penn Fruit, I assume you mean they acquired selected locations or the stores in the NY area, since I don't think there was any mention of Hill's buying the chain in the article on the history of Penn Fruit.

This is the first time I've ever heard of a connection between Hill's and Food Fair. One little detail that (for unknown reasons) seems to be stuck in my brain, is that while Hill's was originally headquartered in Farmingdale, the address changed -- possibly when the Hill's-Korvette combination occurred -- to Brentwood, Long Island. This is what you get when you're an obsessive package reader as a child.

I know that in the 60s, E.J. Korvette had a number of locations that it called "Korvette City" in which, in the same strip mall, they grouped (to the best of my recollection) the main department store, a tire/auto service center, a furniture store, and a Korvette's supermarket. They were all in separate (though sometimes attached) buildings. I don't know whether Korvettes actually owned all the businesses, or if they were leasing the locations to operate under the Korvette name (which seems more likely). I can recall such combo setups on Central Ave. in Scarsdale, NY, Boston Post Road in Portchester, NY, and in at least a couple of locations on Long Island.

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Daniel
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Post by Daniel » 12 Dec 2005 05:31

Somewhere I have a recording of WMCA radio in the 60's that has an ad jingle for Hills-Korvette... Have to see what I did with it!

Steve Landry
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Post by Steve Landry » 12 Dec 2005 10:42

Sorry I was not more clear, but..........I intended to state that Food Fair bought Penn Fruit AND Food Fair bought Hills.

:)
The Food Fair Empire

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Hill's? Hill's-Korvette

Post by neil mcauliffe » 20 Jan 2006 18:49

Korvette's had a couple of supermarkets in the Philadelphia area that they sold to Food Fair in the 1960's. I think they only used the Korvette name. They were large stores and the one at Cederbrook Mall that Food Fair made into a Pantry Pride was the busiest and most successful store in the division.

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Post by danielh_512 » 20 Jan 2006 22:09

The Hills chain you're referring to, does it have any connection to the Hills department store chain? That chain was based in Canton, MA, but its stores were primarily in western and central New York, western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, northern and eastern Ohio, and some fringe locations all around until their 1999 sale and conversion into Ames. I don't know of them having any food operations, but could this have been connected in some way?

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Post by Jeffrey55 » 20 Jan 2006 23:49

I don't know for certain, but I'm fairly sure there is no connection between the Hill's Supermarkets chain and Hill's Department Stores. The supermarkets were based on Long Island. I'm not aware of any Hill's Department Stores that were in the NYC area; I had never even heard of them until years after the supermarket chain disappeared.

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Post by u-save » 21 Jan 2006 16:36

Hill's Supermarket's and Hill's department stores are not in any way related.

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Re: Hill's? Hill's-Korvette?

Post by John Michael » 28 Aug 2006 23:40

Jeffrey55 wrote:When we moved to Junction Blvd. in Queens in 1963, on the dividing line between Elmhurst, Corona and Rego Park, there was a Penn Fruit supermarket on the ground floor of the Lefrak City housing development. (The store must have been only a couple of years old, because I think that first section of Lefrak City opened around 1961.) I had never before heard of Penn Fruit (but I now have learned all about it from the article posted elsewhere on this site). However, within a year or two, Penn Fruit vanished and was replaced by Hill's Supermarkets. I recall that their main office was listed as Farmingdale, Long Island. They did quite a bit of advertising, and I remember the store being quite nice.

At some point in the early 70s, what I thought was a very strange merger occurred, and the chain became known as Hill's-Korvette. E.J. Korvette, the regional discount department store chain, had its own chain of supermarkets. Despite having read an entire book about the rise and fall of Korvettes (as it was later known), I don't think I ever learned how this merger came about -- did Korvette spin off the food chain, or did it buy Hill's, or was there some kind of joint ownership? I always thought it was bizarre that the chain took on, and retained, the ungainly Hill's-Korvette name for years. It was still known as such by the time I left the area around 1976.

Of course, Korvettes went bankrupt and disappeared, but does anybody know what became of Hill's-Korvette Supermarkets, which disappeared as well? Does anybody know how wide a geographic area the original Hill's chain covered?
Jeffrey:
I also remember Hills Supermarkets as Riverhead also contained one in its shopping center (now KING KULLEN). I believe that both Korvetts, which I also remember, and Hills were New York stores only. I remember Hills' logo being orange in color as a lower case "h" circled the name. Boy, I wish I had kept so many of those supermarket matchbooks. Anyone have any for sale?
Michael

Jared
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Post by Jared » 09 Oct 2006 22:21

The store I work at was once a Hills. The Uboats still have "The Hills" ingraved on the wood decks of them.

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Post by Jeffrey55 » 09 Oct 2006 22:53

Jared, can you explain what a U-Boat is? (Pardon my ignorance.) And can you tell us what store it is you're referring to now? I'm a bit confused by your description of "The Hills" marking, because I don't recall Hill's Supermarkets ever being referred to as "The Hills".

Jeffrey55
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Post by Jeffrey55 » 09 Oct 2006 22:55

That's interesting, this site must have automatic correction enabled. Unfortunately, it changed what I wrote to "You-Boat"!

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Dave
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Post by Dave » 10 Oct 2006 15:14

Jeffrey55 wrote:Jared, can you explain what a you-Boat is? (Pardon my ignorance.) And can you tell us what store it is you're referring to now? I'm a bit confused by your description of "The Hills" marking, because I don't recall Hill's Supermarkets ever being referred to as "The Hills".
I suppose you could describe a uboat as a platform hand truck.

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Re: Hill's? Hill's-Korvette?

Post by TheQuestioner » 11 Oct 2006 20:04

John Michael wrote:I also remember Hills Supermarkets as Riverhead also contained one in its shopping center (now KING KULLEN). I believe that both Korvetts, which I also remember, and Hills were New York stores only. I remember Hills' logo being orange in color as a lower case "h" circled the name. Boy, I wish I had kept so many of those supermarket matchbooks. Anyone have any for sale?
Michael
When you say "New York stores only", are you referring to the entire Korvette's chain, or just the "Korvette's Supermarkets" operation? I can say for certain that Korvette's discount stores were in several Eastern states. They had some locations in Maryland until the late 70's/early 80's. I don't recall ever seeing a "Korvette's City" or any sign of a former one (renamed tire/auto centers/supermarkets adjacent to a Korvette's) but then I only recall a couple of locations. Don't suppose anyone has any old Korvette's store location lists handy out there?

Was Korvette's trying to compete in the "deep discount" area of Zayre/Ames, or were the trying to be a little more upscale like Jamesway or Bradlees? I was very young when the chain went under, so all discount stores seemed about the same to be aside from decor and architecture.

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