Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

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Andrew T.
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Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Andrew T. » 03 Feb 2009 17:30

Last week, I was poking around the Kroger corporate website and came upon their "grocery retail locations" page, which stated that Kroger operated 46 stores in my old home state of West Virginia. That figure worked out to a rate of less than one store per county. I became curious: Where exactly were the stores were concentrated in the state, and what prototypes did they adhere to? If anything, 46 seemed like a convenient number of things to easily look up.

The next thing I knew, I was combing through the store locator in a crazed attempt to identify all 46 stores. After that, I promptly combed through the web looking for any available imagery and descriptions. Before long, I had pieced together the following table: Operational Kroger stores in West Virginia.

Some interesting observations:
* It seems that the last substantial rebuilding of the store base in the state occurred in the Greenhouse era. There are over a dozen substantially-original Greenhouse stores still in operation today, and over half the store base dates to the Greenhouse era and earlier.
* Subsequent developments have been scattered here and there. The late '80s/early '90s prototype (which I call "slant/wedge") doesn't seem to have encroached much beyond Charleston.
* While in the midst of research, I did uncover some gems of stores: The Clarksburg, WV superstore, which still features a 1960s (!) exterior sign in spite of other alterations, and the Gassaway superstore, which still bears its original 1970s exterior to this day! I definitely want to check out the latter store in person the next time I visit the area.
* There are a few stores whose specifics I'm unclear about. I also discovered a few architectural oddities, such as Elkview, Huntington (5th Ave), and Danville, which don't really seem to fit into my mental "Kroger design timeline." The Danville store has a low roofline and is scarcely any larger than the superstore in nearby Madison (immortalized on this site) it replaced.

It was a lot of fun throwing the chart together, and any additional information is welcome.
"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: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Groceteria » 03 Feb 2009 22:49

Great stuff here. On all my trips to WV, I've also been struck by the dated nature of Kroger's stores there; I'm not sure if it's because or in spite of their market dominance in the state. But it's an amazing place to see old prototypes as well, some of which, as you mention, are still in operation. I have a sneaking suspicion that upon scartcging the surface of some of the stores marked "modern" you may find a few more renovations.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by krogerclerk » 03 Feb 2009 23:10

The Huntington and Elkview stores have the white busted block facades common to early to mid-80's greenhouse stores, Elkview looking as if the greenhouse may have been covered in its remodel, while the Huntington store if a greenhouse has seen a more extensive remodel. However, the front view of the Huntington 5 th Ave store is vaguely reminiscent of a Cub Foods facaded,which operated briefly in Huntington. but the address escapes me. The Danville store does not appear to be a Kroger prototype, but could be heavily remodeled to the point it's unrecognizable. The Clarksburg superstore likely pre-dates being a superstore, it's positioning is odd for a superstore and would explain the old K-R-O-G-E-R lettering.

Now that you're in Wisconsin, it's time to sleuth for old Kroger locations, not exactly sure of the date Kroger exited Wisconsin, but I would guess close to the 1971-72 time frame for Chicago's divesture, so no superstore or greenhouse prototypes would exist.
Kroger's earliest expansion was based out of Madison and in the late 1950's acquired Krambo, the family still operates a financial placement business for retail debt and equity, primarily food and general merchandise retailers. The Krambo purchase placed Kroger in Milwaukee, Appleton-Oshkosh, Green Bay and other areas of the densely populated Lake Michigan shore.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Andrew T. » 04 Feb 2009 01:28

Thanks guys! It's always helpful and interesting to read your comments and deductions. (I also posted a reply to the Kroger-in-Wisconsin issue here...)
"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: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Groceteria » 05 Feb 2009 19:17

Wisconsin posts merged into this thread:

http://www.groceteria.com/board/viewtop ... 044#p13044

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Dave » 20 Mar 2009 20:16

That Clarksburg "Superstore" is where my mother-in-law shops. It's extremely small. How big were "Superstores" supposed to be?

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Kroger472 » 21 Mar 2009 08:06

Superstores were anywhere from 18,578 Sq. Ft. to 42,000 Sq. Ft.
Standard however was in the 25-42,000 Sq. Ft. Range.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Andrew T. » 27 Oct 2009 01:53

Just a little update: I had largely overlooked the Logan, WV location earlier since I had a hard time placing it on the map, but I just got to the bottom of it (with thanks from Google). And, behold! Another historical gem:

Image

I'm guessing that this store dates to the 1960s (pre-Superstore era), and may have annexed some adjacent retail space. Also note the mismatch of 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s signage on the front of the building.

If only I had a reason to be in the area again, I'd check it out...
"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: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by rich » 27 Oct 2009 10:17

This easily could have been a 1950s store. During the 60s, Kroger often used corrugated metal behand its signs and tended toward lighter colored brick. Also, their store building seemed to slow greatly after the very beginning of the 60s.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by submariner » 27 Oct 2009 20:53

rich wrote:This easily could have been a 1950s store. During the 60s, Kroger often used corrugated metal behand its signs and tended toward lighter colored brick. Also, their store building seemed to slow greatly after the very beginning of the 60s.
On queue, here's an example fitting your description of a 60's store that was in operation as a Kroger until about 1996 or 97 and then as an F&M until the chain's demise.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ssbn737rm/2801731700/
Image
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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Andrew T. » 28 Oct 2009 00:36

Points taken: Perhaps late 1950s is a good estimate of "vintage" for the Logan store. Sans annex, the supermarket looks to be somewhere in the vicinity of 16,000 square feet.
"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: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by TenPoundHammer » 28 Oct 2009 01:31

I think I'll be doing a list of this sort for Michigan.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by jimbobga » 28 Oct 2009 02:16

I'm thinking this store was built in about 1958. It looks very similar to the Welch, WV, store which opened in the Coney Island area of Welch at that time. Because the rounded chrome overhang in front of the store doesn't extend all the way to the left of the building, I'm thinking that the windowless section to the left was added later. Due to its likeness to the Welch store, it's possible that the original KROGER sign would have been in blue letters, sans the curves on the 'K.' The KROGER sign there now is like the one on the old Weston, WV, store, so I'm pretty sure this wasn't original to the building. It also doesn't look that much different from the Princeton store which was opened around the same time, except that the Princeton store was of a lighter colored brick.

I will be in southern WV next week, and I'll do what I can to get pictures of what's left of the McDowell County stores...not that any of them are still open.

As for their expansions and store designs in that area, I would imagine that Kroger built this Logan store and kept another store downtown for a few years, as was done in Welch. They were about the only game in town at that time, and they needed to build something to keep A&P, Acme, or Deskins from moving into their territory. The next conjecture is a chicken-and-egg type of thing: did Kroger not do much with the style of the stores at the time because they had the business there anyway, or did they know that if they made the stores "look too expensive" that the people in the area would trade elsewhere because it "looked expensive." That was definitely a mindset in the coalfields.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by rich » 28 Oct 2009 12:33

The sign is from the superstore era and that may be when the store was given its first major enlargement. Pre-superstore, they would have had individual letters, either boxed with a blue background--letters in white; common in the mid- to late-60s) or simply the letters either red or blue neon (the typical 1950's fashion), or possibly had them in white interrior lit plastc, with blue piping (common in the early to mid-60s).

Kroger rarely remodeled or enlarged stores before the superstore era; they were more likely to replace them, even if it meant relocating just a short distance away. They did upgrade some stores to superstore status, often in successful long-running shopping centers or with stores built just before superstores were implemented. The typical pre-superstore Kroger was 19,000 sf. The typical 1950s store would have been about 15,000 sf. After the end of Korean ar material shortages, they did a big push that lasted from the mid-50s to the very early 60s. My guess is that this store would date from that period, most likely from the 50s. In areas outside of Cleveland, like Painesville, they kept small downtown stores going into the early 60s, even when there was competition. They might have kept them going longer in places like these, but Kroger seemed to go through a period of retrenchment through much of the 60s with far less new store construction and small stores might have been part of that.

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Re: Table of operational Kroger stores in West Virginia

Post by Andrew T. » 28 Oct 2009 18:29

Looking forward to your McDowell County pictures, Jim!
"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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