Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

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Ephrata1966
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Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by Ephrata1966 » 16 Jul 2010 16:37

Has anyone noticed that some Centennial A&Ps were expanded as Super Fresh in the early days of Super Fresh, but kept the Centennial design? I saw what looked like a former Centennial A&P in Willingboro, NJ in Google Maps a while back. I could tell from the roof it was once an A&P, but looked large for a Centennial. Later on, I found out the store was expanded as a Super Fresh in 1984. It looked like a high-volume store, but closed in 1995 and became a Family Dollar. The nearby Mercerville store received the same treatment. So did the nearby Springfield and Secane (close together) stores in Pennsylvania.

Why would they bother to "maintain" such an old design, even in the 80's? I wonder how much of these roofs are original. These stores all had Super Fresh "grand openings" in 1984. All A&Ps in the Philadelphia division closed first, then were later reopened as Super Fresh. But would this store have been empty 1982-1984?

Also, does anyone know why the restrooms were upstairs in most A&Ps? Most ex-A&Ps that survive as Super Fresh today are in places I would be afraid to go up those dark stairs...

dooneyt63
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Re: Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by dooneyt63 » 16 Jul 2010 18:44

A large number of the earliest Super Fresh stores were converted centennials or other older formats. Most of the Futurestore and other highly contemporary designs were introduced to the various A&P divisions after the Super Fresh debut. As to why they would keep such an old store design, the very history of A&P real estate makes no real sense a lot of the time. They have often closed new stores quite close to older stores rather than retaining the newer one. They also went through a significant period where very few stores were built...this would have been from around 1975 to the mid-1980's, about the time Super Fresh was introduced. The Futurestore concept was a late 1980's introduction.

The rest rooms were upstairs because when the stores were built, public rest rooms in grocery stores for customers were very rare. These were meant to be used by store employees and vendors with back of house access only. Only in the last 20 years or so have supermarket rest rooms become standard. A lot of the older ones simply allowed access to existing employee facilities, often located far from the sales floor.

rich
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Re: Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by rich » 16 Jul 2010 20:57

Great history. DC's lone Super Fresh is a centennial. If A&P has been like other chains, older stores often were kept because they had more favorable lease terms and often could be staffed with a skeleton crew, esp. if they lacked a lot of service departments. The DC store has no really close competition. the nearby Safeway closed in the early 90s.

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Groceteria
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Re: Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by Groceteria » 16 Jul 2010 22:00

dooneyt63 wrote:As to why they would keep such an old store design, the very history of A&P real estate makes no real sense a lot of the time. They have often closed new stores quite close to older stores rather than retaining the newer one.
True. When A&P left Charlotte in the 1990s, they had long since closed all their 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s new builds, including a couple of futurestores, and were operating only three stores: one dating from 1938, one from the 1950s, and one from 1967 (a centennial).

Ephrata1966
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Re: Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by Ephrata1966 » 16 Jul 2010 22:12

Thanks for replying but I meant Super Fresh not only kept Centennials, they "elaborated" on the design. Here are some examples that were expanded.

Willingboro, NJ (old): http://www.flickr.com/photos/42444189@N ... 354737793/

Willingboro, NJ (now): http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/4564963650/

Mercerville, NJ: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/4526845911/

Springfield, PA: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/2898147774/

Secane, PA looks huge!: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/2897304441/

In the first photo, it says "grand opening". This was December 1984. All A&Ps in the Philadelphia division closed in 1981 and 1982. A&P wanted to exit the market. The unions actually forced them (sued?) to re-open some stores, so Super Fresh was created in 1982. So could this Super Fresh have opened before the expansion? Three years seems like an awful long time to be empty and re-opened.

Here is a 1982 new-build Super Fresh (closed 2001): http://www.flickr.com/photos/62355920@N00/3391623230/

Perhaps it was a relocation of a smaller A&P (now demolished) at Paoli Pike and Turner Lane in West Chester. In Google Street View the building is still there, empty after Gaudio's/Frank's Nursery closed.

maynesG
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Re: Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by maynesG » 17 Jul 2010 12:53

Hi, When I first came to the Philadelphia market . Super Fresh was in the process of converting and reopening closed A&Ps (Thus breaking the Union ,but in name only) They did not have the budjet to renovate or purchase. So, all they did was change sinage repaint the refrigerated cases and check stands Kelly Green ( some by store managers and crew) a few stores at at a time. 18 dollar and hour clerks became 10.00 and hour clerks, former Store managers became co!s and Assistant Managers and all moved up as more stores reopened.
Since they only reopened good stores, with good leases, the cream of the management crop and cheap help . They soon were more profitable then A&P was in Ny at that time. A&Ps answer to this was to demote the President of Super Fresh ( I forget his last name every simply called him John) and senthim to North Jersey as a DM.
Hope It Helps

dooneyt63
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Re: Centennial A&Ps "reconstituted" as Super Fresh

Post by dooneyt63 » 17 Jul 2010 13:32

Most of the pictured stores may have been expanded during the Super Fresh start-up era. However, it was not unusual for centennials to have one or more small stores attached to either side, sort of a mini shopping center if you will. In the day when they were built, supermarket pharmacies were almost unknown, so independent drugstores might have been there. Barber or beauty shops, dry cleaners, liquor stores were also paired.

Also, as times changed, and store footprints in the grocery industry expanded, A&P did add on to several free-standing centennials, even before the Super Fresh era. In the case of stores in shopping centers, later remodels often added adjoining store space to the A&P.

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