New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

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New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Groceteria » 22 May 2018 12:12

This actually straddles two regions but it feels midwestern enough to me, so...

http://www.groceteria.com/2018/05/22/the-river-cities/

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Re: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Andrew T. » 22 May 2018 15:18

The interactive map on the front page is fantastic!
"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: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Groceteria » 23 May 2018 19:33

Andrew T. wrote:The interactive map on the front page is fantastic!
Thanks! I’m working on adding those to all the cities.

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Re: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Andrew T. » 24 May 2018 12:02

Lots to take in here. West Virginia itself is a goldmine for old retail artifacts due to the area's long-term economic decline (macabre as it sounds to celebrate that), and it's great to have both of the state's largest cities documented.

2957 5th Ave. in Huntington is a 1950s Kroger with a street-flush alignment. You can see the outlines of the original windows on the original front of the store (which is now the side), while a new front facade has been carved out of the original side.

1444 Madison Ave. is an early '50s A&P retrofitted with a '60s rooftop peak.

2627 5th Ave. threw me for a loop when I put together a table of WV Kroger stores years ago because it didn't look like any other Kroger I had seen. The location table reveals the secret of the store's provenance: It was built as a Cub Foods store, of all things! The Ohio River Valley is so far away from Cub Foods' present-day Minnesota home base that I'm astounded to learn that the chain made it there during its '80s heyday, but it did.

Over in Ashland KY, 1131 Blackburn Ave is a nice (albeit small) A&P centennial on a very small lot. And it's right next to a Tim Hortons! I'd feel right at home there.

Ironton is home to not one, but two interesting Kroger artifacts. 520 S. 3rd St. is an early '50s blonde-brick structure with barrel roof, still standing in intact condition. It had an unusually long operational life, and bears clear signs of being expanded early in its history...on the back of the store, the brickwork has a clear seam as well as a stairstep around the original roofline.

2125 S. 3rd St. is its down-the-road superstore-era replacement (though oddly enough, the 1975 column lists both stores simultaneously)...and it looks very odd with narrow frontage, a drive-through canopy with uneven gaps between columns, and a two-story structure with upper-level windows at the back of the store. It would be interesting to decipher the mystery of this building...it almost surely wasn't designed and built as a Kroger store, and it may not have even been built as a supermarket.
"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: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by bagboy19 » 17 Apr 2019 02:16

This is in response to Andrew T.'s post. As economics may have played a part in the closing of stores in other parts of West Virginia, this is not the case in the Huntington area. Kroger does very well In Huntington and these old Krogers you mention didn't close down, they were just replaced with new stores. First in the 1920's and 30's Kroger combined smaller stores into one bigger store(thanks to the automobile). In the late 40's and early 50's Kroger replaced those stores with new locations and has continued to do this to date.

The Kroger that was once located at 2957 5th Ave. in Huntington was actually a post-World War II era late 1940s Kroger, it was remodeled to give it a side entrance in the late 1950's and existed until 1968 when a replacement store was built in a small shopping center approx. 2 miles west on U.S. Route 60 (3441 29th Street). It pre-dated the "Superstore" era and was approx. 25,000 sq. ft. In 1980 Kroger built it's replacement further out U.S. 60 in a shopping center near East Pea Ridge. The former Kroger was quickly re-opened as a Tradewell Supermarket and later rebranded as Foodland in 1990. It finally closed in 2007 and is currently occupied by Med Express. The 1980 replacement store was a 35,000 sq. ft. Greenhouse concept with the typical bauhaus font decor package which was updated in 1989 to the "grid" decor of that era. It was in operation until 1998 when Kroger built a new 48,000 sq. foot store 1.5 miles east of that 1980 location at 6360 U.S. Route 60 in Barboursville. With an addition in 2010 to approx. 65,000 sq. feet it is the largest Kroger Store in the Huntington-Ashland Metropolitan Area.

The Kroger at 2627 5th Avenue was built and opened in October 1990 as the first (and only) Cub Foods in West Virginia. Its approx. 55,000 sq. ft. and originally had a warehouse concept which was typical the Cub stores of that era. Unfortunately, it didn't meet sales expectations and was closed in 1993. It was a replacement for B and B Supermarket. B and B was the highest volume independent supermarket in the U.S. for many years. Supervalu was the developer and landlord of this property(even after Kroger re-opened it) and was the agent that purchased and razed the old B and B from it's owner John Beckwith in 1988. After Cub closed in 1993, it was reopened in 1994 by Kroger. Kroger kept the basic Cub Foods layout and decor package until it was extensively remodeled in 2017. Although it seems far-fetched now to think of Cub building a store in West Virginia, at the time they had a much larger foot print extending much larger than the Twin Cities even as far as Ohio. Shortly before this, Cub had opened stores in the Dayton, Ohio(they were later rebranded as Supervalu) area in the late 1980's which really isn't that far away from Huntington. The Cub Foods in Huntington was supplied by the Supervalu's Xenia, OH D.C. which is near Dayton. It wasn't successful as a Cub but has been very successful as a Kroger and does a high volume of sales.

The 7th Avenue/1st Street Kroger in Huntington was built in the early 1980's. It's a typical Greenhouse Kroger which originally had the Bauhaus Font decor package with all the bells and whistles of the day. The decor was replaced with the Grid package in 1991 and the Millennium decor package in 2000. It's small by today's standards, at only 38,000 sq. ft., but is an extremely high volume store. I don't think it would be appropriate to release the actual weekly sales volume for this store but I know "what it's doing weekly" and it would probably shock most people. It is said to rank high up on the list in the company as far as sales per square foot goes. It was a replacement store for the one at Westland (now Central City) Plaza on 14th Street W which existed from 1972 until the current store was built. 14th St. W Kroger was a "Kroger Superstore" concept. It was later occupied by Big Lots from 1985-2018. It was a replacement for a late 1950's era Kroger which existed at 1925 Adams Avenue (U.S. 60) and is now occupied by the Bloss and Dillard Insurance Agency. That store replaced two 1930's era Kroger stores when it was built.

Now about the store building in Ashland at 1311 Blackburn Avenue-it is a very well preserved but small (12,500 Sq. ft.) Colonial A & P which was built and opened in 1961. As far as old A&P's go, in my opinion it's a perfect example, virtually the same even with the weather vain and all the other colonial features. It was operated by A&P from 1961-1975 when the company began having financial troubles and started closing stores. Despite the parent company's issues, it was a high volume store and was quickly reopened the same year as a Foodland and operated by Community Supermarkets, Inc. until 2001 when it was sold to Family Dollar which now operates a store there. The marquis sign for Family Dollar on Blackburn Avenue even uses the old A&P's sign pole and the incinerator is still located at the rear of the building.

The Ironton Kroger Store which existed at 2125 S. 3rd Street was built/opened by Kroger in 1966 but had an exterior remodel in the early '70's to look like the Kroger Superstores of the 1970's with the arches. It was never a "Kroger Superstore" and was never intended to be a replacement for the older "blonde brick" store which is located only a mile north on S. 3rd Street that you mentioned. I was told by someone who was employed there in management at the time that Kroger built this store to drive A&P out (it was in the middle of the two stores also on S. 3rd St.). They figured that if both stores weren't enough of A&P's business to cause it to close down, they could always close the older store and that is what they did in the late '70's. Both stores existed simultaneously for well over ten years and the Kroger at 2125 S. 3rd Street closed in 1988. A local supermarket operator, Tipton's, opened it in 1990 but it did not do well and closed the following year.

I can go on and on about the grocery stores in the Huntington-Ashland Metro Area but I'll stop here for now.

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Re: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Andrew T. » 27 Apr 2019 21:32

It's always good to hear from a local expert who's able to fill in the cracks and nuances of an area's history, so thanks for stopping by!
bagboy19 wrote:
17 Apr 2019 02:16
The Ironton Kroger Store which existed at 2125 S. 3rd Street was built/opened by Kroger in 1966 but had an exterior remodel in the early '70's to look like the Kroger Superstores of the 1970's with the arches. It was never a "Kroger Superstore" and was never intended to be a replacement for the older "blonde brick" store which is located only a mile north on S. 3rd Street that you mentioned. I was told by someone who was employed there in management at the time that Kroger built this store to drive A&P out (it was in the middle of the two stores also on S. 3rd St.). They figured that if both stores weren't enough of A&P's business to cause it to close down, they could always close the older store and that is what they did in the late '70's. Both stores existed simultaneously for well over ten years and the Kroger at 2125 S. 3rd Street closed in 1988. A local supermarket operator, Tipton's, opened it in 1990 but it did not do well and closed the following year.

I can go on and on about the grocery stores in the Huntington-Ashland Metro Area but I'll stop here for now.
It's astounding that a city the size of Ironton had two Kroger stores in the 1970s a mile's length apart...but strange things like this sometimes happen in retail, and in any case the 1975 directory corroborates the coexistence. A 1966 opening date also makes the strange architecture of 2125 S. 3rd Street a little more explicable. The store's missing from the 1970 column, though, so it might be worth David digging out his directory notes to double-check on that...
"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: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Groceteria » 27 Apr 2019 22:02

bagboy19 wrote:
17 Apr 2019 02:16
I can go on and on about the grocery stores in the Huntington-Ashland Metro Area but I'll stop here for now.
This was great! Thanks!

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Re: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by Groceteria » 27 Apr 2019 22:25

Andrew T. wrote:
27 Apr 2019 21:32
The store's missing from the 1970 column, though, so it might be worth David digging out his directory notes to double-check on that...
Nada. Happens sometimes. It may be in the reverse-lookup, but I don't have the directory so I can't check.
7518.jpg

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Re: New location lists: River Cities WV/KY/OH

Post by rich » 31 May 2019 10:53

It's interesting that Alber's never entered any of these markets. They did have at least one store in Portsmouth, Ohio.

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