Roanoke VA

Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

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Groceteria
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Roanoke VA

Post by Groceteria » 05 Mar 2007 12:12

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Hi all.

Any thoughts on the history of this rather fascinating southern Virginia city? I've made several trips there since moving to Winston-Salem, and I think it's going to be my next "feature" city on the site. I maay also incorporate Martinsville, Blacksburg/Christiansburg, or Lynchburg.

I'm certain A&P and probably Colonial were big players early on, and that Kroger entered the picture at some point, and is now probably the dominant chain in the region. I'm interested in anything anyone might know about local or regional chains like Mick-or-Mack, etc., or about any interesting transformations over the years.

I'll probably have more specific questions once I start my research, but for now, any little bits could help.

Thanks,
David

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Post by Dave » 05 Mar 2007 14:34

I tried to find out some stuff about Mick-or-Mack back in May, 2006 without a great deal of success, but I did get some info from posting on Remembering Retail. That thread can be accessed here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rememberi ... sage/15203

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Post by Edric Floyd » 05 Mar 2007 22:04

Harris-Teeter may have had stores in Roanoke. A friend of mine was hired to become a manager for Harris Teeter and was to relocate to Roanoke when the company decided to send him to the Greensboro area instead. I was told that Harris Teeter pulled out of Roanoke and Kroger took over the Roanoke HT store. This was around 1999.

My friend briefly managed a Harris Teeter in Greensboro that was in a former Kroger "Greenhouse" store. Then he transferred to the Raleigh-Durham area and after a year he returned to Ohio and left the supermarket business.

I visited Roanoke only once for a weekend but often drive through the area on my way to the northeast. I-81 is a much nicer drive than I-95 :)

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Post by Groceteria » 05 Mar 2007 22:36

Edric Floyd wrote:Harris-Teeter may have had stores in Roanoke. A friend of mine was hired to become a manager for Harris Teeter and was to relocate to Roanoke when the company decided to send him to the Greensboro area instead. I was told that Harris Teeter pulled out of Roanoke and Kroger took over the Roanoke HT store. This was around 1999.

My friend briefly managed a Harris Teeter in Greensboro that was in a former Kroger "Greenhouse" store.
HT and Kroger did a big "swap" around 1999, where HT got all the Greensboro/Triad-area Kroger locations, and Kroger got a number of HT locations in southern and southwestern Virginia. This marked Kroger's exit from most of NC and HT's retreat from most of Virginia. Now Kroger is only seen in the Raleigh-Durham area of NC (after pruchasing several former Hannford stores) and HT's only Virginia operations are right on the NC border and around DC.

Roanoke's a really beautiful city with a nice layer of "grit". I think it will be an interesting study because it's a different type of city physically from most of those farther south: more industrial and classically "old urban" in appearance. I think its 1930s and 1940s streetcar strip stores will be particularly interesting to unearth.

EDIT: Yes, I meant Roanoke rather than Norfolk...
Last edited by Groceteria on 06 Mar 2007 11:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Dave » 06 Mar 2007 07:12

Groceteria wrote:...Norfolk's a really beautiful city with a nice layer of "grit". I think it will be an interesting study because it's a different type of city physically from most of those farther south: more industrial and classically "old urban" in appearance. I think its 1930s and 1940s streetcar strip stores will be particularly interesting to unearth.
I assume you mean Roanoke, not Norfolk?

Ukrop's is opening a supermarket in Roanoke "any time now" near Tanglewood Mall, which is an area I'm sure you will visit if you haven't already.

If you want to know where the true "streetcar strips" are in Roanoke, a book on Roanoke's streetcar syatem was published last year and is available at the O. Winston Link Museum that includes route maps.

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Post by Groceteria » 06 Mar 2007 23:57

Some great info carried over from another thread:
krogerclerk wrote:Kroger would be a long shot, mainly if Kroger arrived in Roanoke by acquisition rather than expansion as happened in many Kroger-bannered markets. I don't think Safeway ever reached as far as Roanoke unless it was from the early days of Sanitary banner being in use, it's safe to say Safeway wasn't there from the 60's ownward. Piggly Wiggly's presence in Virginia is limited and historically hazy, and I suspect Kroger's Roanoke presence is likely from Piggly Wiggly. A few Piggly Wiggly's near the Kentucky border were acquired by Food City in the mid-90's and the only other contemporary Piggly Wiggly presence in Virginia is around South Boston and region, and I'm not sure any PW remain in operation presently. Piggly Wiggly's website lists two in Danville, but the website has not been updated in about 3 years, still llisting former Piggly Wiggly locations that have closed in Georgia.

By the 1960's Roanoke's dominant grocers were Kroger, A&P and Colonial. By the 80's, Colonial and A&P had token presence with Food World having expanded and later in the decade becoming part of Harris-Teeter. Colonial/Big Star was gone from southwest Virginia by the time Harris-Teeter ended up with the Raleigh division of Big Star, with only a few stores left in Richmond and Hampton Roads and Southside Virginia. A&P slowly faded by attrition as happened in many A&P markets throughout the 70's and 80's. The timeline for Winn-Dixie entering Roanoke is less certain as well, but I think it was by was of expansion from the early 60's, building on Dixie Home and Ketner-Milner's North Carolina presence rather than an acquisition and is likely not a candidate.

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Post by NewsLynne » 10 Mar 2007 00:36

I love, love, love the Mick-or-Mack. That is a true relic.

Lynchburg would be an interesting city to include. It's a Kroger town. The store in Madison Heights only recently had its 60's era signage removed. The city is really just starting its urban renewal efforts so there would be lots of older locations that would be relatively untouched.

I believe there are some Food Lions there, too. The chain has just taken over everywhere it seems.

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Post by drpep » 10 May 2007 10:40

About 5 years go when I was in Roanoke I visited Tinnells Finer Foods. I forget the exact address , it was in the southwest section of the city off the Rt 220 Wonjou St exit and then I drove a few blocks. They have been around for years and last I knew they had done some remodeling since my visit.

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Re: Roanoke VA

Post by drpep » 10 May 2007 10:44

Groceteria wrote: incorporate Martinsville, Blacksburg/Christiansburg, or Lynchburg.
David
In Blacksburg and Christiansburg are Wades Foods. It's been almost 8 years since my last visit but I do remember they were in old buildings that has been other supernmarkets before becoming Wades.

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Re: Roanoke VA

Post by carolinatraveler » 08 Nov 2008 23:35

Roanoke is a great town for hidden and preserved commerical history. I can add the following information:
Mick or Mack opened their first store at 26 Church Ave SE in Roanoke in March 1927. Other stores opened in Salem and Vinton, as well as elsewhere in Roanoke during 1928 and 1929. Shortly after the chain began to expand throughout the western half of Virginia and into West Virginia. In contrast to local stores operating at the time, Mick or Mack was a cash and carry operation and used the slogan "Cash Talks" extensively. I've found evidence of stores as far east as Blackstone, VA with a concentration of stores along the US 29 corridor at Chatam, Gretna and Altavista and points north. A 1936 newspaper article indicates the company was operating 47 stores (as of 4/3/36) and noted the opening of a new store in Pearisburg. Stores have been confirmed in Bluefield, Beckley, Welch and Pineville, WV and at Mt Airy, NC. A mural recently painted on the side of a Food City in Vansant, VA features a cityscape of downtown Grundy and includes a Mick or Mack store in the scene. The company sold to Fleming in the 1960s-70s, and Fleming sold off the sites piecemeal in the mid-1980s. I have a list of over 70 confirmed addresses.
Kroger - Kroger entered Roanoke with the 1928 purchase of locally based Jameson Stores, which was operating 92 locations at the time of the purchase, including locations in Winston-Salem, NC which was probably the southernmost point where you could find Kroger stores in the 1920s. I may have some more on Jameson, will see what I can find.
Colonial - Colonial was a latecomer to Roanoke, entering the market in the 1950s and only operating a small number of stores.
Harris Teeter - The Harris Teeter stores in Roanoke were originally Food World (Big Bear) stores. High Point based Big Bear entered Roanoke in the early 70s, and the earliest HT stores there were former Food World sites.

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Re: Roanoke VA

Post by Groceteria » 09 Nov 2008 01:35

carolinatraveler wrote:Harris Teeter - The Harris Teeter stores in Roanoke were originally Food World (Big Bear) stores. High Point based Big Bear entered Roanoke in the early 70s, and the earliest HT stores there were former Food World sites.
This is true of pretty much all early HT stores from the NC Triad north, since, as you may well know, HT's parent company acquired Food World in 1984 and merged the two chains.

Great info on Roanoke. Thanks!

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