Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

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phind

Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by phind » 21 Aug 2007 16:03

I am doing community research in the Cheltenham area. I recall that a Food Fair operated at this address. In the mid sixties, I was attempting to get to a bowling alley located beneath the store. Can anyone give me information. Were there other Food Fair stores with this design. Was the alley operated by the Food Fair Corporation? Are there any records about the strike, ie labor union involved, date etc. ?

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Post by neil mcauliffe » 02 Nov 2007 18:04

I remember that store. The design with the Food Fair tower was common in the late 40's and early 50's. What was unique about that store was the bowling alley in the basement. Food Fair was noted for its nepotism and it would eventually lead to its demise. The story I was told when I worked for the company was that a certain relative was a playboy who was a problem in the company. They built this store with the bowling alley to give him a business to run. I understand he did well running the bowling alley.

There was also a large Best Market at Broad and Cheltenham distinguished by a 30 foot high B on the roof that Food Fair acquired when they purchased the Best Markets chain. They never converted the store to a Food Fair or Pantry Pride and closed it in the mid 60's. The Big B remained a landmark for many years after the supermarket closed.

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Post by Steve Landry » 03 Nov 2007 05:59

Too bad there are no fotos of this Best Market, huh?

Remember, Pantry Pride was the private label for Best Markets. That is where I am told the name came from.
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Post by neil mcauliffe » 09 Nov 2007 19:09

I wish I could show a photo of this store, it was pretty impressive. In the mid-80s when the Big B had to be dismantled there might have been a picture in the Inquirer. Unfortunatley, there are no pictures in their computerized archives.

Steve, it seem to me that companies like Food Fair would have photographed all of their stores. Do you have any idea where the Food Fair files ended up? They really should be donated to a school library. St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia has a very good marketing school. I think it would be a great place for the Food Fair story.

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Post by Steve Landry » 10 Nov 2007 09:42

Hey Neil,

St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia has lots of supermarket stuff. So does another university somewhere in the south (I have their name somewhere).

As far as Food Fair goes ( I have discussed this before), my guess is that it's history (including fotos) is lost somewhere inside Revlon (or destroyed). This is somewhat of an enigma to me. Food Fair was so diversified (beyond the majority of its peers) that you would think at least some "private parties", independent entities or business associations would possess and make public the company's history.

If I did not work 60-70 hours a week I would invest my time and learn how to investigate, locate and uncover all this lost history. There is not much interest out there and it is befuddling.

Example: How could 50 Fox Markets in Los Angeles and 25 in Las Vegas almost vanish without a trace, yet other more obscure companies are more traceable?

Anyway, one of these days I'll find the time to "get on it".

:)
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Post by Groceteria » 24 Nov 2007 21:44

Steve Landry wrote:As far as Food Fair goes ( I have discussed this before), my guess is that it's history (including fotos) is lost somewhere inside Revlon (or destroyed). This is somewhat of an enigma to me. Food Fair was so diversified (beyond the majority of its peers) that you would think at least some "private parties", independent entities or business associations would possess and make public the company's history.
You'd be amazed how little attention most of these companies (even really big ones like Safeway) pay to their archives and history. I've been told by PR and other contacts from a couple of chains that I actually have more info about their chain's history than they have access to. In fact, corporate archives are one of the things I'm focusing on in my new career as a graduate student in Library and Information Science.

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Post by rich » 25 Nov 2007 11:17

Some thoughts from someone who has done research relying on archival sources, although not specifically in retail:


Does Food Fair have some sort of employee alumni group? Some firms do and those folks are usually very history/collectable oriented, and these groups often have made a stab at doing oral histories.

How about the labor union locals? Three may be archives or at least amateur historians and collectors. A labor-focused history would get you into the history of how chains operated their stores and backend operations.

Annual Report archives? Some university libraries used to keep those, usually on microfiche, going back many years. Unfortunately, they often disposed of them, as companies merged, were acquired or went bankrupt. I would guess that a business school with a strong orientation toward retail business or a library with depth in business areas would have decent collections. Annual reports sometimes followed the same template every year (sometimes helpful if they include maps and store counts) and could be shameless pr instruments, but the photos, anecdotes, and data about operations (how ever meager) would be useful.

Newspaper morgues? As these get computerized or become archived by university libraries (which often inherit morgues of defunct newspapers), it should be easier to find key histories.

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Post by Steve Landry » 26 Nov 2007 08:43

"Does Food Fair have some sort of employee alumni group?"

I have not found one so far, but this may be due to my time limits.

As far as the unions are concerned, I have found them to be less forth coming.

I also have been unsuccessful in my search for Annual Reports.

There are some archival court "decisions" I have uncovered but they are voluminous and yield little. This is how I found about Food Fair's purchase of Florida's REAL first supermarket chain.....Carl's Market.

As an example: Fredrick's Supermarkets was a high profile chain of 10 HUGE (for the time) stores in the greater Miami area. These stores had pharmacies as early as the 1940's? Fredrick's later bought Shell City Stores (can't find anything about them either, they were precursors of giant type Walmarts). Food Fair bought these stores maybe in the late 50's or early 60's?

I have so far found no trace of Fredrick's (I worked at several of them), Shell City or Food Fair's purchase of the above. Most of these stores were known as Food Fair's Fredricks (like Food Fair's Fox Markets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas) for years, before they were converted to Pantry Pride. BUT, through this effort I discovered that Food Fair was the founder and developer of Palm Beach (mostly West Palm Beach) in Florida.

:)
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Post by Groceteria » 26 Nov 2007 18:24

Steve Landry wrote:I also have been unsuccessful in my search for Annual Reports.
For what it's worth, several libraries (none of them close to you, nor even all that close to me) do have some FF annual reports:

http://worldcat.org/oclc/33467090&referer=brief_results

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Re: Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by Lynnsteckswift » 25 Jul 2016 19:12

Food Fair, 19th and Cheltenham Ave in the 60's. There was a bowling alley attached actually underground named Lynne Lanes. Not owned by Food Fair to my knowledge. Next to Lynne Lanes was Ben Franklin 5&10, a bank, Dori's Italian Restaurant, a small Pharmacy, Mort's luncheonette and Cue and Cushion. Opposite side Lee"s Hoagie's, Taflin &Schwartz Pharmacy, Erlen Theater, Steer Inn, Peter Pan Bakery and many other's. The Big B aka Best or Baltimore Markets a few blocks down. For the person asking I have many photos.

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Re: Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by Steve Landry » 26 Jul 2016 10:23

Oh wow..........you have photos of Best Markets?

And they were also known as Big B or Baltimore Markets???

Please please post here!!! Or ask David, the owner of this blog, to help you post.

Great news!!
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Re: Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by Steve Landry » 27 Jul 2016 10:23

Lynnsteckswift wrote:Food Fair, 19th and Cheltenham Ave in the 60's. There was a bowling alley attached actually underground named Lynne Lanes. Not owned by Food Fair to my knowledge. Next to Lynne Lanes was Ben Franklin 5&10, a bank, Dori's Italian Restaurant, a small Pharmacy, Mort's luncheonette and Cue and Cushion. Opposite side Lee"s Hoagie's, Taflin &Schwartz Pharmacy, Erlen Theater, Steer Inn, Peter Pan Bakery and many other's. The Big B aka Best or Baltimore Markets a few blocks down. For the person asking I have many photos.

Hi, Did you reach out to David about posting those Best Market photos?

I know he would be extremely interested.

:-)
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Re: Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by Lynnsteckswift » 27 Jul 2016 11:51

I sent him an email but no response yet. I also have pics of opening day at Gimbel's, ground breaking in 1956, and photos of Gimbel's. Also photos of Acme from 50's to 60's. Diner's of my old neighborhood West Oak Lane Philly. I'm the Admin of fb group We Grew Up In West or East Oak Lane in the 40's. 50's and 60's. Would love to share. You can contact me on fb. If you know how to get through to Admin please do. Thank-you Lynn.

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Re: Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by Steve Landry » 28 Jul 2016 10:09

Lynnsteckswift wrote:I sent him an email but no response yet. I also have pics of opening day at Gimbel's, ground breaking in 1956, and photos of Gimbel's. Also photos of Acme from 50's to 60's. Diner's of my old neighborhood West Oak Lane Philly. I'm the Admin of fb group We Grew Up In West or East Oak Lane in the 40's. 50's and 60's. Would love to share. You can contact me on fb. If you know how to get through to Admin please do. Thank-you Lynn.
Sounds like you have a cache of treasures!!!

David is a great guy, just give him some time to respond (but do not give up). He is probably on a field trip.

Just look at this website and know what an awesome guy David is!

:-)
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Re: Food Fair 19th & Cheltenham Ave. Phila. Pa

Post by Groceteria » 28 Jul 2016 10:31

David has already responded, and thanks for the kind words :)

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