Rapp's Chain-1959 Moscow World's Fair-St. Louis Area?

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Jason B.
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Rapp's Chain-1959 Moscow World's Fair-St. Louis Area?

Post by Jason B. » 23 Jul 2008 01:22

Thousands of citizens of the Soviet Union saw images of American supermarkets at the 1959 World's Fair in Moscow. (This exposition is perhaps most famous for the "Kitchen Debate" between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon.) One image was of the exterior of "Rapp's," which apparently was a supermarket chain somewhere in the Midwestern United States.

The American Pavilion at the Moscow World's Fair was a large Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome. Hung prominently above the exhibit floor was a unique seven screen set-up upon which a thirteen minute slide show titled "Glimpses of the U.S.A." was projected. The show was created by Charles and Ray Eames, the husband and wife designing team that is perhaps most famous for their "Eames chairs." Part of the slide show followed food from farms to harvest to grocery stores to dinner tables. One of the grocery images shown is of a store called "RAPP'S." Shopping centers were shown with huge parking lots. Interiors of American supermarkets were also shown (possibly including Rapp's).

The only trace of Rapp's that I can find on the internet is a long defunct grocery store chain in the St. Louis area.

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Re: Rapp's Chain-1959 Moscow World's Fair-St. Louis Area?

Post by rich » 29 Jul 2008 11:22

Rapp's was bought by Allied and combined with Bettendorf's, another local chain. I don't know when they were bought, but most likely in the late 60s when Allied was still ACF-Wrigley. Allied sold those stores in the early 70s, I think.

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Re: Rapp's Chain-1959 Moscow World's Fair-St. Louis Area?

Post by terryinokc » 29 Jul 2008 15:14

Rich is right....Bettendorf's bought the Rapp's chain in the 1960's. After that, Schnucks bought Bettendorf's, and for a while, the stores were called Schnuck Bettendorf. I believe the name was just dropped to Schnucks sometime in the 1970's.

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Re: Rapp's Chain-1959 Moscow World's Fair-St. Louis Area?

Post by Daniel » 29 Jul 2008 16:58

Somewhere I have a 1964 aircheck of KXOK radio that has a commercial for Bettendorf-Rapp Food Stores, so this was probably around the time the chains were combined.

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Re: Rapp's Chain-1959 Moscow World's Fair-St. Louis Area?

Post by Groceteria » 29 Jul 2008 21:28

FWIW, my 1964 shopping center guide lists some Rapp's locations, some Bettendorf's locations, and (best of all) a center called Rapp's Shopping Center, whose anchor is ... Allied Super Market.

I imagine they operated under their own names for a time even when ads were "hyphenated"; that's faitly common. My guess about the center is that the store was just listed in the guide under its corporate parent rather than its actual name.

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