Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

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

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rich
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Kroger, 450 11th St Elkins, WV

Post by rich » 07 Nov 2009 23:59

I stopped at this store while stopping over in Elkins. It looks like it started out as a small superstore (judging from the brick) with a conversion to a later exterior design that's neither greenhouse nor post-greenhouse. It's small enough to make me wonder if it was converted from a pre-superstore, prototype; however, the brick dates from the superstore era and Kroger usually didn't invest in that sort of thing for a remodel. It's probably no more than 20K sf. It has a small bakery, a small deli and a small prescription area in front of the cash registers. Self-service seems to have replaced most of the registers. The prescription counter has recently been altered or relocated as there was fresh drywall nearby.

The competition here is all low end (Sav-A-Lot, Food Lion & Wal-Mart) and in a shopping area S of town that looks like it popped-up in the late 70s and has developed into the present. The store features a lot of items that have markdowns which require a Kroger store card. They seemed to do a decent volume, with a funny mix of low-end and semi-high end items. The store is near a small college and seems to pull student/faculty types, as well as a more local blue collar crowd. The town is a center for tourism in a region that has a lot of outdoor activity and some weekend homes, although much of that trade comes from places where Kroger is long gone (DC, Pgh, Cleve). I also went to the Wal-Mart, which was hardly new, but relatively nice. The town also has a Peebles and a K-Mart, more retail than its size would normally suggest.

This seems to be a "frontier" store for Kroger, further East than anything I've seen in this region, yet it's in a small market with aggressive price competition. Food Lion seems to blanket the small towns W of DC into WV, with Wal-Mart clearly on its tail.

The interior was described previously & probably hasn't changed--it's bizarre and ugly, with some of the signage probably removed, as in the meat department:
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Dave
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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Dave » 24 Nov 2009 08:26

Rich, Elkins is a pretty large town for the area, which explains the fair amount of retail there - also there's not much of anything besides small independent stores for miles and miles once you head east or south from Elkins. On the route I travel, there are no "real" supermarkets for over 100 miles until you get to Elkins.

As far as the PGH, CLE, and DC crowds not being used to Kroger is concerned, they all have to buy groceries somewhere. I don't know that not being familiar with a store makes you less likely to shop there if you're traveling or at a vacation home.

There's also a Shop 'n Save and an IGA in Elkins.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by rich » 24 Nov 2009 11:48

Chains often extend their reach by going where their core clientele vacations or has weekend/summer homes. A&P had an extensive network on Cape Cod which outlived most of their New England stores--the store would have remained familiar to people who knew them from before or still knew them in the New York area. Ditto, the Carolina Coast. Publix entered resort areas along the Carolina coasts before entering more inland ones; Publix was very familiar to the many people who vacation in Florida from all over the Eastern third of the country. Acme still has some presence in Maryland's Eastern Shore that's left over from the days when they had extensive reach in Baltimore & DC. For many years, Cleveland's Pick-n-Pay had one significant outpost outside the Cleveland area--a chain they'd bought in Sandusky, an area with many weekend and summer visitors from Cleveland. The list goes on...people like going someplace familiar especially if they don't have deep roots in an area. It's simpler and more efficient than exploring the local stores. I have done a lot of car travel in the past and I'd often stop at a Kroger or Safeway, because they were predictable, not because I was a big fan of either. That kind of behavior is pretty common.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by danielh_512 » 09 Dec 2009 02:46

That Elkins Kroger is one I've been to and it's definitely an old superstore. I don't think it was expanded. It, however isn't all that isolated from other Kroger stores. There's a Kroger in Buckhannon and a Kroger in Weston as well. The Buckhannon store is from the superstore era as well to the south of town. It's got an odd layout and was expanded over into what I suspect may have been an old SuperX drug. Food Lion is a bit more odd there than anything as they've closed stores in that region (leaving Morgantown and Buckhannon). That Food Lion is one of the few I've been to that is entirely untouched from opening in the early 90's, and wasn't doing much business at all (Of course, the Wal-Mart is right next door practically to Food Lion).

As you walk in, the aisles are horizontal except right in front of you. Those 3 aisles or so to the far left of the store contain the Pharmacy and HBA. There's a few short shelves between the two store sections where seasonal merchandise lives, likely the original location of the checkouts.

The Weston store is pretty large, and was opened in the 90's in what I suspect was a former Heck's discount store. It replaced a superstore closer to Downtown that is now a Save-a-Lot and Dollar General. That Weston store (as well as the Buckhannon store) have that "millennium" interior that seems to be in most Krogers in the state. The only exceptions of the stores I've been to in West Virginia are the Wheeling stores that are part of the Columbus division, and the new Morgantown store that opened in 2008 in Suncrest Towne Center, the largest in the Mid-Atlantic KMA.

I've always found it odd that Kroger isn't in Fairmont, but surrounds it on both sides in Morgantown and Clarksburg, in both places Kroger being the dominant supermarket. Has Kroger ever had a presence in Fairmont? That town is now down to 3 Shop n Saves (1 of these was a Giant Eagle until a couple of years ago in what started as a centennial A&P), 2 Food Lions and the Wal-Mart Supercenter that was built on the site of the old Sam's Club.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by krogerclerk » 09 Dec 2009 12:29

I could find no evidence of Kroger having a presence in Morganton or Clarksburg prior to the 1950's, but Fairmont being skipped would be an odd gap. It seems that the Morganton store is a survivor of the Pittsburgh division, while Clarksburg was the frontier of the old Charleston division that was merged with Roanoke to create the Mid-Atlantic KMA in the early 70's. Perhaps Fairmont was in a no man's land for Kroger, with neither Charleston/Mid-Atlantic or Pittsburgh/Erie ever expanding to fill the gap. The demographics of the town and its size would be favorable to Kroger.

Judging from the aerial pictures, I guess the 1208 Fairmont Avenue Shop 'n Save is the former A&P centennial/Giant Eagle. The Shop 'n Saves are operated by Jamieson Family Markets, which also operates Sav-a-Lot's in the region. I could not get a good view of the Country Club Rd Shop 'n Save, but the website for Jamieson's lists the location as their first, buying the store in 1989. I don't know if Acme or Thorofare ever had a presence in this area.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by rich » 09 Dec 2009 13:00

The Country Club location was a Thorofare. I used to travel through this area long ago and, oddly, don't recall Kroger, although Giant Eagle and Throfare were around. Either fairmont or Clarksburg had 2 Thorofares, I forget which. It may be that Shop-n-Save fills the Kroger niche here and the historic ends of their old divisional territories explain the gap.The Philly Acme never was there. Kroger has held on in some very small towns in Ohio & WV occasionally with large format stores (e.g., Waverly, Ohio), but often w/o much competition. They did not do well with superstores and greenhouses in small towns in northwestern Pennsylvania which would have had some similar market conditions to WV. The performance of those stores was probably one reason why they closed what was left of their Cleveland and Pittsy operations. They never had more than a couple stores in Erie (circa early 60s) and those were closed before everything else.

As for Elkins, it is quite a way E from the I-79 corridor that seems to mark the Eastern boundary of their territory. The town clearly is important beyond its base population which is 7-8,000, as a trading center, but it still seems like an odd choice for an outpost.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Andrew T. » 09 Dec 2009 18:53

It's nice coming back to this topic again.

I also thought it was odd for Kroger not to have a presence in Fairmont: I hadn't thought of the city falling on a market area boundary before, but that explanation makes as much sense as any. Incidentally, I have a friend who used to work at the ex-A&P/Giant Eagle Shop 'n Save in Fairmont and got in a few odd pictures while she was there. But I digress...

Heck's was a West Virginia discount store chain that went out of business in the early 1990s. Many of their buildings were in the vicinity of 40,000-50,000 square feet, so it wouldn't surprise me if a few have since been repurposed as supermarkets.
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by krogerclerk » 17 Dec 2009 16:00

I checked further and found Kroger did operate in Fairmont from 1978 until 1987 at 1409 Country Club Rd, Marion Square. It would be safe to say this was a superstore format building. I could not find any listing for Marion Square, but areal images show a shopping center. No birdseye view is available for Fairmont for a closer zoom on Bing, Yahoo or Mapquest. I'm going to guess this was an market expansion store, but I don't know if it was a Pittsburgh or Charleston store. 1987 is a later date than Pittsburgh closing, but could have been transferred to Charleston, only to close later. Kroger's presence in the three cities of Morgantown, Clarksburg and Fairmont appears to be later than in other areas of West Virginia, suggesting Kroger moved in to fill market gaps and take advantage of the decline of Thorofare.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by danielh_512 » 31 Jan 2010 04:19

The Marion Square address I believe is where there is now the Food Lion. I remember that Food Lion being a little different, but there was nothing to indicate that it was a former Kroger. I'm surprised Kroger would have failed in Fairmont considering the competition at that time. A&P would have probably left there in 1978, Thorofare would have been declining, Giant Eagle would have just arrived. Contrary to some reports, I do know Acme was in that region, and probably would have been gone by then. I know Acme was in Morgantown, and that store was part of the small and early deserted Pittsburgh region they had. To the east in Western Maryland, stores in Cumberland lasted until the about 1989, outlasting the Baltimore/DC division.

Even to this day, the Shop N Save on Country Club Rd. is a small relic. Even the newest Shop n Save in the state (Glenmark Center on the far east side of Morgantown) is far inferior to anything Kroger or Giant Eagle has going.

The Fairmont Ave. store (US 250) is indeed the old Giant Eagle/centennial A&P. It and the Country Club Rd. store are not very far apart from each other at all. No more than 1.5 miles, if that.

The third Shop n Save in Fairmont is on the far South side in the Middletown Mall. It's the nicest of the 3, opening in the 90's. As for Giant Eagle, is there any reason that Shop N Save debranded? I suspect Giant Eagle may have wanted the store expanded or remodeled and stripped the franchise agreement because of that.

Kroger's been in Morgantown a while. The Rite Aid across from the superstore on Patteson Dr. near the WVU campus screams to be the old Kroger, and that looks like a 50's store. Morgantown's a lot bigger now than it used to be, which is an oddity for much of WV.

Shop N Save is the only chain with really good penetration into that region. Together with Foodland, they have stores in Kingwood, Terra Alta, Reedsville, Belington, Grafton, Shinnston, Mannington, Davis and Parsons. Shop N Save extends all the way out to Moorefield. Some of these Shop N Saves in WV are ridiculously small. Some are 10-15K to this day, not that these towns all smaller than 1,000 really need much bigger.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by rich » 31 Jan 2010 15:12

Acme was never in Fairmont, although they had a handful of WV stores until the early 70s. It makes sense that they would have been in Morgantown (part of the Pittsburgh division) and Martinsburg (probably supplied from DC/Baltimore). They also had a lot of small town stores from the 50s in places like Meyersdale, PA, so I could imagine that they had stores like Keyser, which would have fit their territories better than pre I-79 Fairmont.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by krogerclerk » 01 Feb 2010 10:25

Morgantown has 3 currently operating stores, one appears to be a 1970's superstore remodel and subsequent expansion and remodels that add a hodgepodge of design elements such as green house era signage for Pharmacy and Deli-Bakery and post-greenhouse elements of more recent stores. The Earl Core Road store is a 1980's greenhouse, little altered save a basic interior remodel, and Suncrest Town Centre which has been open barely one year. As home for WVU, the area has seen considerable more growth than is typical of West Virginia.

Clarksburg has 2 Kroger locations, a 1950's era store with a 1970's superstore remodel and a millenium interior decor package on Pike Street, and Emily Drive in the Eastpointe strip center off I-79, a more recent store. Clarksburg has declined from a peak of 32k in 1950 to its present size of less than 16k today as a result of the decline of coal mining and loss of the glass industry, but is still a fairly prosperous trade center for north central WV.

Farimont is between the 2 cities and currently has a population of 19k, down from its 1950 peak of 29k, but home to Fairmont State University and several NASA subcontractors are located on Nasa Blvd off I-79 and US 250. Kroger's absence is an obvious void given its prevalence in the two cities to the north and south.

Weston and Buckhannon are located near Clarksburg and make up the remainder of north central WV's Kroger locations. Weston was also a glass manufacturing center like Clarksburg. Buckhannon is best known for the Sago Mine disaster but is also home to WV Wesleyan University.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by rich » 02 Feb 2010 00:19

Pics of the Clarksburg store have been posted previously--it has a partial late 50s/early 60s front with corrugated metal facing above the sidewalk--not the Colonial Stores type, but the simple metal front that was common for many chains until the onslaught of mansard roofs. It also has the white letters with blue piping that were common in stores from that period. I stayed nearby on a "blue highways" road trip to Ohio last year. Buckhannon has a lot of recent retail development and despite the long decline in population, Clarksburg and the nearby towns look quite healthy. Downtown Clarksburg looks like a place with potential, and has a lot of functional, well-kept early 20th century buildings. To a large extent, the people who settled there were from Italy and southern Europe. A lot of people left this region in the 40s and 50s for Cleveland and later to other destinations. Many of the family names on mailboxes here and points East were familiar to me.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by krogerclerk » 02 Feb 2010 18:25

My observations regarding Clarksburg and Fairmont were that they appear to be reasonably healthy. It seems much of the population decline since the 80's may be more a result of low birth rates and and aging population that leaves for retirement, as it is in many post-industrial rust belt cities. Only Martinsburg along the I-81 corridor has grown more rapidly since the 80's than Morgantown, and Putnam Co. near Charleston seems to be the other pocket of growth in West Virginia.
The economies of North Central WV has long been more diversified than that of the remainder of WV, and the decline of the coal industry didn't have the impact that did in Southern WV. That Kroger failed in Fairmont and Giant Eagle didn't gain traction in either of the three cities is something of a conundrum, since the three cities seem to have enough population in the demographic segments the two target.

Most West Virginians that left the coafield south and southwest of Bluefield were more typical Southern Appalachian of Irish, Welsh and Scottish ancestry while this area has more people with Southern and Eastern European ancestry, like Pittsburgh and Northeast Ohio do.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by DarkAudit » 15 Jul 2010 07:14

danielh_512 wrote:Kroger's been in Morgantown a while. The Rite Aid across from the superstore on Patteson Dr. near the WVU campus screams to be the old Kroger, and that looks like a 50's store. Morgantown's a lot bigger now than it used to be, which is an oddity for much of WV.
The Boston Beanery on Patteson Drive (next to that Rite Aid) is the site of the old A&P, which closed in the late 70s. After that it was a Super Cheep before being re-purposed as the restaurant. The Yellow Pages listing for the A&P stayed in the phone book for over 20 years after the store closed.

There was a 50s style Kroger in the Sabraton Plaza until the early 1980s, when the greenhouse store replaced it. The old Kroger was then converted to a SuperX/CVS, and is now an Edward Jones location. Heck's was at the opposite end of the plaza.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Bearhawke » 20 Jul 2010 23:00

rich wrote:Chains often extend their reach by going where their core clientele vacations or has weekend/summer homes. A&P had an extensive network on Cape Cod which outlived most of their New England stores--the store would have remained familiar to people who knew them from before or still knew them in the New York area. Ditto, the Carolina Coast. Publix entered resort areas along the Carolina coasts before entering more inland ones; Publix was very familiar to the many people who vacation in Florida from all over the Eastern third of the country. Acme still has some presence in Maryland's Eastern Shore that's left over from the days when they had extensive reach in Baltimore & DC. For many years, Cleveland's Pick-n-Pay had one significant outpost outside the Cleveland area--a chain they'd bought in Sandusky, an area with many weekend and summer visitors from Cleveland. The list goes on...people like going someplace familiar especially if they don't have deep roots in an area. It's simpler and more efficient than exploring the local stores. I have done a lot of car travel in the past and I'd often stop at a Kroger or Safeway, because they were predictable, not because I was a big fan of either. That kind of behavior is pretty common.
Acme? There used to one on Sycamore St in Arlington, Va. near Falls Church but they went adios ca. 1973. Last time I saw it (1978); it was a Peoples Drug (which I believe is also gone).

As for Krogers; I remember one in Charleston, W Va. ca. 1965 which is apparently a US Post Office. It was/is located N of Kanawha Blvd just W of the Elk River, the West Charleston area. I used to visit my aunt and grandmother who lived right smack on Kanawha across from the namesake river. :)
Bearhawke in Arizona

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