Safeway in Missouri and Environs

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TheStranger
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Post by TheStranger » 13 Nov 2006 21:46

Re: St. Louis - so far, I have seen zero mention of it in the 1960 Chain Store Age issues I looked through today.

As for the main topic, I found a nice little complementary piece from the July 1960 issue, page E37, in the "Chain store building continues on schedule" article that discusses then-current design trends. Apparently the marina design was also created to placate the residents in the area, who originally fought the presence of the supermarket.

Also interesting to note that Chain Store Age already gave the store plaudits for its design merely a year after opening, specifically highlighting the glulam beams as a key to the unit's beauty...

Image
more: http://dtcwrt.earlracing.com/stores/csa ... ly1960.jpg
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Post by krogerclerk » 14 Nov 2006 17:26

Is it possible that St. Louis never became a full fledged division, but rather an expansion of the Kansas City division and the stores eventually closing before becoming numerous enough to sustain a division? Safeway's Little Rock division operated stores in the Memphis region during the 70's, quickly retreating. Some stores survived in the Mississippi Delta region util around the same time frame and well as Monroe and Northern Louisiana. By the time the Little Rock division was divested, the division was mainly Little Rock and nearby towns like Hot Springs, Conway, Searcy, Batesville and Newport, AR.

rich
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Post by rich » 14 Nov 2006 18:42

St. Louis is about 250 miles from KC. Safeway had stores in Columbia (about halfway) in the mid-80s. There isn't much between Columbia & St. Louis and until fairly recently most chains stuck to a radius of 100-150 miles from their distribution centers. Memphis & Little Rock are even further away. Perhaps they worked with a wholesaler.

Memphis is place where many chains have failed--National had a run during the 50s & 60s. Kroger was gone from there for awhile in the 70s, I beleive.

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Post by TheStranger » 14 Nov 2006 19:10

krogerclerk wrote: Safeway's Little Rock division operated stores in the Memphis region during the 70's, quickly retreating.
Do you know where the locations were that Safeway had in the Memphis area?
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Post by terryinokc » 16 Nov 2006 17:16

The last time I visited a Safeway in Memphis was 1978......don't know how much longer they were there after that. Don't remember the exact location.

I never knew Kroger left Memphis in the 70's...........as far as I knew, there were stores there continuously thru the last 40 years or so anyway....

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Post by krogerclerk » 16 Nov 2006 20:37

Sorry, by the time I visitied Memphis the nearest Safeway was Batesville, AR and on other visits have not seen any marina or gable style architecture to give away its past presence. I couldn't find any mention of Safeway via a web search of Memphis archives. A visit to the library at the University of Memphis or Memphis-Shelby Co public library is in order for my next visit, so I can check microfiched newspapers for ads, etc.

A&P had stores in the region until the early 70's, though there was never an A&P division in Memphis or Nashville, the nearest divisions were St. Louis, New Orleans, Birmingham and Louisville. I know the East Tennessee stores at least to Knoxville were part of the Atlanta operation, Nashville and most of middle Tennessee was from Louisville and stores near the Alabama border were serviced from Birmingham, I can't verify which operation serviced Memphis. Fortunately Centennial store designs have survived to give credence to A&P's presence.

National also operated there until the early 70's, but did have a division and distribution facilities. I'm given to thinking Safeway may have arrived by taking over castoffs from A&P or National as they declined in number from the mid-60's to the mid-70's rather than closing at once. Memphis is close enough to the Little Rock Safeway operation for the warehouse there to have served as distribution facilities.

There are numerous examples of Kroger pre-superstores, superstores and greenhouses to pretty mcuh conclude that Kroger was more or less continuously in business in Memphis since the 60's, and most current Kroger's are superstores or greenhouses in the region with only a few post-greenhouse Kroger stores in operation.

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Post by rich » 17 Nov 2006 00:58

I used to track these things and I believe that Kroger did have some sort of hiatus in Memphis. It may be that they were supplied from elsewhere and one division gave up while another moved in later--in recent years, they had no stores in areas of Mississippi that you'd expect to be covered if they had a Memphis distribution facility. A Safeway departure, in particular would have been a signal to re-establish stores in the market.

National bought chains in Memphis and Nashville to establish their Memphis division. I never tracked down the Memphis locations, but the ones in Nashville were a real hodgepodege of sizes and locations (all under one ownership, previously), with no major shopping center locations and real gaps in coverage. Before they left, National built one one store, a very large one in East Nashville (the area that's N of downtown on a map) and that one was still being used by either HG Hill or Kroger 25 years after National left. The others all had reverted to other uses or had been torn down. If the Memphis stores were anything like that, they might not have been attractive to Safeway. National also tended to build relatively small stores (15K sf range), with exceptions like the one in Nashville, until about the time they left Memphis. Safeways were ran larger by that time.

There aren't many shells of centennials in Middle Tennessee and that was true 15 years ago. A&P seems to have had less coverage in places that someone else had really saturated. In much of Tennessee and parts of adjacent states, that would have been HG Hill, although they receded from places other than Nashville after WWII. Kroger seems to be the chain that really benefited from HG Hill's decline. In New England, A&P had a relatively thin presence, because of First National's dominance; both chains began to falter in the late 50s, so A&P never had much chance to take advantage of First national's decline. Even in the 70s, First National had an incredible number of stores, covering just about any town big enough to have some kind of business district.

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Post by krogerclerk » 17 Nov 2006 21:16

A&P and Winn-Dixie always seemed to struggle in Tennessee. Centennial stores were a rarity in much of Tennessee. Athens is the closest centennial design to Chattanooga, which had about 3 A&P's until about 1971-72, none were centennials. Pulaski near the Alabama border has a small centennial which operated as a dollar store, Dollar General maybe until recently.

I was surprised to see a centennial store in Southhaven, MS along US 51 within sight of the Tennessee border as Southaven didn't really develop until the late 60's, as suburban overflow from Whitehaven, TN, and A&P was a minor operator in the Memphis market.

Winn-Dixie seemed to inherit A&P's position in Tennessee, odd given much of WD's Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana expansion in the early 60' was by acquiring Hills in those states while H.G. Hill continued to thrive in Nashville. On Birmingham Rewind, a Hills with similar architecture to H.G. Hills southern colonial design is shown with the same flowpot signage used by H.G. Hill and Red Food in the same era. There is even a portrayal of the progression of Hills logo into the Winn-Dixie logo after the takeover.

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