The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

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Ephrata1966
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The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

Post by Ephrata1966 » 01 Jul 2011 20:28

I have noticed several times that older, smaller grocery stores in the South and Northeast strongly smell of laundry detergent (not limited to that department). Has anyone else noticed this?

EDIT: I have only noticed this trend in more rural areas. Kroger has a few stores in Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia where it is noticeable.

Here are a few specific stores in question you might be able to relate to:

1. Acme, Parkesburg, PA (open from 1969-2003, empty now)

2. Save-A-Lot, Salisbury, MD (was Acme from 1962-1979)

3. Big Lots, Aston, PA (not a grocery store, but it was an A&P for many years and later Thriftway, then "I Got it at Gary's" and Drug Emporium)

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shane
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Re: The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

Post by shane » 04 Jul 2011 14:13

All the older supermarkets in Southern California seem to have a Flourly scent to them, unless of there Albertsons then they have a strange fishy smell to them. Now old drug stores on the other hand smell like photographic fluids, and paper, at least to me anyway.

Ephrata1966
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Re: The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

Post by Ephrata1966 » 04 Jul 2011 22:41

Very interesting... I think I smell what you smell every time I go to a chain drugstore. For years I thought that might have been cigarette smoke, but smoking at those places would seem so unlikely.

terryinokc
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Re: The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

Post by terryinokc » 14 Jul 2011 16:53

Funny that someone should mention store "smells".....this is a subject that I have mentioned to several people thru the years...and suprisingly, many of them knew what I was talking about. Having grown up in Oklahoma.....I visited many Safeway stores ....since Safeway was the main grocery store in the state.
Virtually every Safeway.....from the marina stores and earlier.....had the same store "smell"....the minute you would step on the door mat and the door would fly open....you would be "hit" with that Safeway "smell".....I can't really describe what it was....those stores were all "pre-deli" and "pre fish market" stores....so it wasn't a fresh food smell....and it really wasn't a bad or unpleasant odor....it was just a smell that every Safeway I happened to be in during the 60's and 70's...had this same smell. Maybe it was a combination of cleaning products used...(although it wasn't a "clean or fresh" smell) or something else. I just always knew it and recognized it as the Safeway Smell.....no other stores I visited had any kind of similar odor. Thought I was a little strange (well, OK) for noticing it, but was glad to know that other people had experienced it too......anyone else notice a particular smell in one kind of store?

maynesG
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Re: The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

Post by maynesG » 23 Jul 2011 16:45

Hi, Yes chain stores used to have a certain smell about them different from their competition. This had to do with the fact that cookie cutter stores were built ( IE Acme A Frames like the one in Paksburg , kept a clean mop bucket in a closet or bakery room up front) Finasts smelled at least the former Safeways smelled the same , Fresh Produce as the stores all opened up on the produce department. Kings, Waldbaums smelled similar, you smelled the deli. Food Fair you used to smell the Deli and occasionaly fresh Fish, as the chain hit the rocks to often then not you smelled a dirty mop, a seafood case that hadn!t been cleaned and sour milk. Grand Union, was simply a clean smell, occasionaly the smell of Ribs or Chickens cooking in the deli. A&P, you would walk in to a large store or a small store and smell coffee, a wondefull smell from the front end grinders. One smell that you could smell from old supermarket units in the Grocery departments was Box Soap Flakes. fourty years of this stuff leaking and dropping in to the gondollas and into the basement bellow

Omnisuperstore
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Re: The Vintage Supermarket (And Drugstore) "Smell"

Post by Omnisuperstore » 10 Apr 2013 13:55

I completely remember this "soapy, mothball" smell at drugstores as a kid. It smelled especially like laundry detergent. Walgreens in the Chicago area in the 1990's really didn't have this smell though, mostly because they were newer. When my family would take road trips to Michigan, I particulary remember Ma and Pa drug stores and Rite Aid's with the long exposed flourescent tubes had this odor.

The smell actually brought a lump in my chest if I ever had to buy personal products, lol. Now that I am older, that nervousness had disappeared.

Another smell that is quite common is the popcorn smell at the entry of discount stores. I remember these most at the Hills store in Lafayette, IN on Earl and Teal Road. As a kid the store was converted from an old Woolco store and the entryway was converted to a snack bar. That snack bar always smelled like popcorn and at the time.

A better more modern smell was that of the Omni Superstore chain in Chicagoland (hence my name). When a new store opened in Schererville, IN in 1991, you'd smell fresh paint and the smell of the air handling system when you walked in. It was a clean smell, but definitely was from VOC's. lol.

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