Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

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Andrew T.
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Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by Andrew T. » 17 Oct 2016 10:41

Hello all,

I plan to take a trip out to Springfield, Missouri in a few weeks. Are there any good supermarket relics there that would be worth checking out and photographing?

I'd be particularly interested in any remnants of Safeway, National, or Kroger that might exist...if those chains ever operated in Springfield at all. Honestly, the grocery history of that city is a mystery to me.
"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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rich
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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by rich » 17 Oct 2016 11:13

I don't believe National went further West than Columbia. Gerbes (later owned by Dillon and now Kroger) started in Springfield, but I don't know if they had distinctive prototypes and they no longer have stores there. Safeway went as far East as Columbia and probably had stores in Springfield, as they ranged South into Arkansas. Kroger consolidated with Gerbes, but has no stores now. A&P would be another possibility.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by pseudo3d » 17 Oct 2016 17:13

Albertsons operated in Springfield, MO briefly. It pulled out in early 2002 as part of the closure of the Mid-South Division. It looks like it only had one store, at 218 South Glenstone Avenue, which has now been converted to a bank.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by Andrew T. » 17 Oct 2016 21:34

I checked the Missouri newspaper archives that I have access to, and confirmed that Safeway operated in Springfield through at least the late 1970s. I couldn't find any addresses, though.

I've driven through Springfield before, and don't remember seeing much in the way of good retail artifacts other than the old Katz drugstore at the corner of Glenstone and Sunshine (which I already have a picture of)...but I only had a cursory view of the city. Who knows; there could be a perfectly-preserved Safeway pylon or marina there...but if it exists, it's probably off the main arterials or it lurks in some neighborhood I've never been.
"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: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by jamiel » 27 Oct 2016 22:23

No first-hand knowledge, but Springfield was definitely in the middle of several Safeway divisions (Tulsa, Little Rock and Kansas City) so likely had some stores there. Apparently the "thing" in Springfield was Smitty's (which was a food/drug hypermarket similar to Smitty's in Phoenix) during the late 70s, but I read somewhere that they have all gone. Springfield wasn't really in the "path" for any of the St. Louis local chains (Schnucks/National/Dierbergs/Kroger), so I'd seriously doubt they had any presence. National was more prevalent south of St. Louis (Crystal City, Cape Girardeau) rather than west.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by Andrew T. » 28 Oct 2016 12:13

Thanks for the info. Nowadays the leading grocery chain in Springfield appears to be Price Cutter, which inherited some stores from Dillons when Kroger exited the market. And that's not the only thing they inherited:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Price ... +MO+65803/

There is a Price Cutter store in Springfield housed in a perfect Safeway Marina building from the 1960s. I can't wait to check this out the next time I'm in the area!
"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."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by pseudo3d » 28 Oct 2016 17:10

Smitty's was there (from what I've heard it was a licensed clone of the Arizona chain but I could be wrong--it did, however, keep the same 1962 Smitty's logo which Smitty's-AZ changed in 1994), but from what I could tell, by the late 1990s they had gotten rid of their general merchandise by the time they were purchased by Albertsons in 1998 (ten stores). They sold their stores in Missouri to Price Cutter in 2002 when Albertsons started pulling out of several markets. Ironically, the end of Smitty's in Missouri came shortly before the demise of Smitty's in Arizona, which officially disappeared in early 1999 when Fred Meyer decided to rebrand the (newly rebranded) Smitty's Marketplace stores to Fred Meyer Marketplace, which were rebranded again shortly thereafter to Fry's Marketplace.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by jamiel » 28 Oct 2016 18:03

I've seen a Smitty's Springfield ad somewhere out on Youtube.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by rich » 29 Oct 2016 09:59

At least when I lived there, mid-Missouri seemed to have had an odd patterning of chains, perhaps because KC and St L overlapped influence in the region, with St L being the stronger pull. I think a lot of it was that Columbia was so different from everywhere else.

Schnucks had no other nearby stores and there also was no evidence of National outside of Columbia. Both chains were located to take advantage of college students (more often from St L than elsewhere) and Columbia's general gravitational pull toward St Louis for day and weekend trips, sports affiliations and big shopping would have given them recognition for other people. Columbia was and probably still is a regional suburb--people who worked at state institutions or the colleges in Fulton often commuted from Columbia, ditto state govt types who worked in Jeff City (the capital). Columbia was not without is problem areas, but the schools were judged to be better and despite being rather dull for a college town, it was seen as having more to do---Fulton and Jeff City were boring drives, so one needed a good reason to commute. Consequently, it was a market that could support super stores with strong perimeter departments more than elsewhere. Schnucks had a somewhat outmoded 60s store near downtown where the perimeter was a huge draw.

HyVee was in Jeff City but not Columbia (they're in Columbia now). A&P clearly had been in Columbia--am empty relatively large centennial sat near Kroger greenhouse that had been converted to Gerbe's on the NE side of town. The Safeways (a pylon near near downtown and a shopping center location to the West) were long vacant, although the KC Food Barn chain briefly operated in an old WalMart. There was a local grocery chain whose name escapes me--they had 3 good sized stores in Columbia and were much loved by by locals, but didn't draw university types.

My guess is this was a lone outpost to the West for National and Schnucks and Schnucks fits this pattern, too. National once had divisions all along the Mississippi Valley, including Memphis, so it would have made sense for them to be oriented S of St Louis more than West. They had experience with small town stores elsewhere, but had gaps elsewhere were getting out of small markets throughout their range even before they were selling off entire divisions. Schnucks added Jeff City but otherwise has no other locations in the mid-Missouri other than Columbia. I never saw any classic Safeway architecture to the East or NE of Columbia and don't recall seeing evidence of classic stores in Jeff City, so Columbia may have been a frontier for them from the West.
Last edited by rich on 02 Nov 2016 23:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by jamiel » 29 Oct 2016 15:19

Thank you for the data. I went to a Safeway/Food Barn in Jefferson City in 1978 or 1979 on a class trip. I wondered if Safeway came as far east as Fulton, but from what you're saying, Columbia/Jefferson City was it. I believe that Columbia also had a deposit law on soft drinks, which also made life tough for the supermarket operators. Was the store you couldn't remember Consumer's? They were out of Springfield, I think, and had a cursive sign which was intriguing. Nice reminiscences!

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by rich » 30 Oct 2016 23:06

It wasn't Consumers, it was someone's surname.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by terryinokc » 02 Nov 2016 11:24

Consumers was a dominant local chain until the early to mid 90's I think. Their logo was in cursive writing.
They had several stores around Springfield...one of them is now the blood bank on Glenstone. Another one maybe is now Mardel or Hobby Lobby by the mall. I know they also had stores in smaller towns like Ozark and Branson...but not sure how far out they were located. In Joplin also. They were Topco supplied stores.

There is a centennial A&P on Glenstone that is now a bank. Still a little recognizable.

There also is a 1950's Safeway just a street or two north of St. Louis where the Dillons/Price Cutter is. Last time I looked the building was still intact but no signs or anything on it to indicate what kind of business is there now.

I've been all over Springfield many times to antique and flea market. Everyone there was bummed when Dillons left. Not sure exactly when Dillons went in there....the oldest store there was probably a 1960's one I believe on Sunshine east of Glenstone.

Don't remember seeing any other A&P or Safeway buildings there...if there are, they have been heavily remodeled. No
Safeway Marina's or anything. There were several older IGA's around...they may have been in former chain store locations.

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by norsider » 13 Nov 2016 23:01

Former Safeway at 1922 N Broadway. Is now an engineering firm. Another at 1106 E St Louis St that is now a locksmith company. These were both in operation in the 50s and 60s. Two newer Safeways were at 1733 S Glenstone (it is now a cowboy bar and a Mexican restaurant.) and 712 W Commercial (which is now a Price Cutter Grocery).

An A&P was built in the 60s but did not last long at 1615 S Glenstone. It is now a bank.

Springfield has been home to Piggly Wiggly (way back when), Giant Foods and the Dillon's branch of Kroger. Seems like we had a Kroger many years ago. But not sure. Smitty's was a presence for a number of years and was bought out by Albertsons. None of the grocery chains in this paragraph still operate in Springfield. Consumers Market was a regional chain that dominated the Springfield market (operating stores in several area towns as well) from 1948 until the late 1990s.

You might post an inquiry on the Facebook Page Springfield, MO History, Landmarks & Vintage Photography page. There are some very knowledgeable folks that read this page including some that have links to the Springfield History Museum. I think they would be pleased to help you in your quest.

Hopes this helps you!

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by Andrew T. » 15 Nov 2016 23:28

norsider wrote:Hopes this helps you!
Yes, it does! I just returned from Springfield yesterday, and I was able to check out several stores in the nick of time.
1106_E_St_Louis.jpg
Here's one of the older Safeway locations, at 1106 E. St. Louis Street. This building is fairly nondescript. I'm surprised it doesn't have a corner entrance facing the parking lot; though it may have been built in the 1940s when sidewalk access was prioritized in design (and may have been remuddled in the years since). I'm also surprised not to see a pylon or a line of buttresses down the side.
1615_S_Glenstone.jpg
Slightly-disguised A&P centennial at 1615 S. Glenstone Avenue.
712_N_Glenstone.jpg
712 N. Glenstone. I honestly don't know if this ever housed a supermarket or not.
"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."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: Stores in Springfield, Missouri?

Post by Andrew T. » 15 Nov 2016 23:37

1773 S. Glenstone Avenue, another purported Safeway location:
1773_S_Glenstone.jpg
This building was nondescript at first glance. Closer examination revealed a series of covered-over arches forming the walkway canopy, and period fieldstone accents by the front doors. The structure may have been subdivided and remodeled, but the original accents are still intact!
1773_S_Glenstone_2.jpg
That said, I've never seen this design of store before. Assuming this was a Safeway design, I wonder if others like it exist?
"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."
Andrew Turnbull

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