White Front Stores

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artysf
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White Front Stores

Post by artysf » 04 May 2006 13:49

I remember vividly the old White Front Stores in the 1960s and 1970s. The "Target" of its day with the varied merchandise and the supermarkets built next door. The store's exterior had a large arch over its entrance with the "White Front" signs on top. I remember in particular their South San Francisco CA location on El Camino Real which is now a Safeway and a Longs Drugs...That White Front store used to sell donuts at the entrance and I always asked my parents to buy me some as a child whenever we visited.

The San Francisco 16th St. and Bryant White Front location used to be the old Seals Stadium. It's now the Potrero Center with Safeway, Old Navy, and more.

White Front shut down in the 1970s and the JC Penney-owned Treasury stores took over some Bay Area White Front locations for a period until that shut down in the 1980s.

Jeff
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Post by Jeff » 04 May 2006 20:07

I know there were some here in So Cal, but where were they located. This is a little before my time.

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shane
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Post by shane » 04 May 2006 21:53

There was a white Front in Burbank across from the airport on vanowen st. this location has been a Fry's Electronics since 1997. lockheed bought the building when white front closed in 1974.

storeliker
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White Front

Post by storeliker » 04 May 2006 23:34

Was surprised to find out thru this board that South San Francisco was once a White Front. It was all a White Front? I remember going into what seemed to me was a real big Longs and then the Safeway was unlike any Ive ever seen, the signs were painted on thew wall and had a weird managers box in corner.Also there was a gym between the two stores. Was the whole thing a White Front?
I didn't quite get the Safeway at the old White Front as it was unlike any I had seen and wonder how long it has operated as a Safeway or if it will get a Lifestyle redo. There is another Safeway very nearby which I'm assuming is older and has picture graphics on the wall and much nicer.
me

justin karimzad
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Post by justin karimzad » 05 May 2006 01:19

There was a White Front at 2222 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim. Here's a link to a vintage photo;
http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/whitefront.jpg

...while we're at it, here's a link to other googie architecture in southern california;
http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/index.htm

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Groceteria
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Re: White Front

Post by Groceteria » 05 May 2006 09:12

storeliker wrote:Was surprised to find out thru this board that South San Francisco was once a White Front. It was all a White Front? I remember going into what seemed to me was a real big Longs and then the Safeway was unlike any Ive ever seen, the signs were painted on thew wall and had a weird managers box in corner.Also there was a gym between the two stores. Was the whole thing a White Front?
I didn't quite get the Safeway at the old White Front as it was unlike any I had seen and wonder how long it has operated as a Safeway or if it will get a Lifestyle redo. There is another Safeway very nearby which I'm assuming is older and has picture graphics on the wall and much nicer.
This was discussed a good bit on the old message board, but yes, most of it was White Front. The Safeway was a former Brentwood Market, part of a peninsula chain Safeway purchased in 1983. Brentwood was also the original owner of Pak-n-Save, which has been discussed elesewhere on this board:

http://www.groceteria.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=176

artysf
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Re: White Front

Post by artysf » 05 May 2006 11:58

storeliker wrote:Was surprised to find out thru this board that South San Francisco was once a White Front. It was all a White Front? I remember going into what seemed to me was a real big Longs and then the Safeway was unlike any Ive ever seen, the signs were painted on thew wall and had a weird managers box in corner.Also there was a gym between the two stores. Was the whole thing a White Front?
I didn't quite get the Safeway at the old White Front as it was unlike any I had seen and wonder how long it has operated as a Safeway or if it will get a Lifestyle redo. There is another Safeway very nearby which I'm assuming is older and has picture graphics on the wall and much nicer.
The Longs Drugs side and the center shops were all the main White Front store and the Safeway side was always the White Front Supermarket (that side had the generic neon sign "Supermarket" in script letters then) in South San Francisco. After White Front shut down in the mid-1970s, the building was remodeled and the arch was taken down. The Treasury store opened around 1977 with the supermarket in tow (carrying the "Springfield" label as its house brand. The generic script "Supermarket" sign was retained). The Treasury Supermarket shut down in the early 1980s and the entrance inside between the market and the main Treasury store was sealed off. Brentwood moved in the Supermarket space while The Treasury was still in operation. The Treasury chain shut down in the 1980s. A toy store moved in and closed after about a year in business. The building became home to a Sav-On Drugs, a Service Merchandise catalog store, and a Waterbed mattress store in the early 1980s. Safeway bought Brentwood and switched names in the mid-1980s. Longs Drugs took over for Sav-On and remained open since. Service Merchandise shut down in the 1990s and I think a fitness place took over.

My father worked in the meat department at that Brentwood/Safeway location for 20 years before retiring in the early 2000s.

Safeway wanted to switch places with Long Drugs for larger floor space but Longs Drugs wouldn't go along.
Last edited by artysf on 05 May 2006 13:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Groceteria
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Re: White Front

Post by Groceteria » 05 May 2006 13:12

artysf wrote:The Longs Drugs side and the center shops were all the main White Front store and the Safeway side was always the White Front Supermarket (that side had the generic neon sign "Supermarket" in script letters then) in South San Francisco.
Interesting. May I assume that the old Safeway location at Potrero Center in SF (now Ross Dress for Less) was also the White Front Supermarket for that location originally?

The White Front arch remained at that location until the 1995 remodeling. I think I have a picture somewhere, showing it as the San Francisco Autocenter.

artysf
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Re: White Front

Post by artysf » 05 May 2006 13:22

Groceteria wrote:
artysf wrote:The Longs Drugs side and the center shops were all the main White Front store and the Safeway side was always the White Front Supermarket (that side had the generic neon sign "Supermarket" in script letters then) in South San Francisco.
Interesting. May I assume that the old Safeway location at Potrero Center in SF (now Ross Dress for Less) was also the White Front Supermarket for that location originally?

The White Front arch remained at that location until the 1995 remodeling. I think I have a picture somewhere, showing it as the San Francisco Autocenter.
I believe so.

I think the White Front supermarket in San Francisco shut down in the late 1960s and Safeway moved in while White Front's main store was still in operation in the 1970s. I remember a cousin of mine worked at the 16th/Potrero Safeway as a checker around that time.

After White Front shut down, I remember the White Front aquarium store which sold pet tropical fish remained open at the front of the arch...the sign had a White Front logo with a fish on it. The J. Borg hardware store moved to the White Front building and stayed in business for about a few years before shutting down (along with the White Front aquarium shop) and then the Autocenter moved in. The arch was painted in rainbow colors when the J. Borg store opened. The rainbow was painted over when the Autocenter opened.

The Autocenter stayed iat the location for most of the 1980s until it closed. Safeway remained open all throughout that time until the big makeover into the Potrero Center in the early 1990s (down came the arch exterior)...Safeway occupies the main White Front space.

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White Front Arches - any remaining?

Post by TheQuestioner » 05 May 2006 18:51

I have been fascinated by White Front ever since I learned of thier existence (which was about 5 years ago) I know they were predominantly a western chain, but did they have any locations on the east coast? There were so many discount chains in the east back then, so I wouldn't blame them if they chose to not even try to enter those markets. I know that Toys R Us expansion beyond the DC area was possible thanks to a buyout by White Front's parent company. The parent survives in a way (somewhat like the "new" AT&T) because TRU was the only part of their chain to survive the 70's so they were renamed Toys R Us Corp.

Are there any White Front arches still intact out there? I love stores with grand entryways and arches, such as Penn Fruit, and I have never seen any buildings around the bay area with the White Front style arch. Pity if they were all destroyed. Too many stores these days are bland and uneventful to the eye. (Of course, that's probably a big reason this site exists in the first place!)

I recall there being tales of the Bryant St. Safeway being haunted by ghosts of ballplayers becuase it's on the site of Seals Stadium. I wonder if these stories circulated back when the store was White Front... Perhaps at that time the ballplayers had not yet died and therefore could not yet haunt the site. ;)

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Post by Jeff » 06 May 2006 15:45

justin karimzad wrote:There was a White Front at 2222 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim. Here's a link to a vintage photo;
http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/whitefront.jpg

...while we're at it, here's a link to other googie architecture in southern california;
http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/index.htm
Looking at 2222 S Harbor Bl, that's where the Toys R Us was located. I doubt this buildnig was White Front, but there is a large empty lot it looks behind it.

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Post by runchadrun » 06 May 2006 16:29

Did any of the Socal White Fronts become Two Guys stores? White Front was before my time but as a kid I remember going to the Two Guys in Culver City on Jefferson near Sepulveda, which became Fedmart and then Target.

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Post by TheQuestioner » 06 May 2006 19:28

Jeff wrote:Looking at 2222 S Harbor Bl, that's where the Toys R Us was located. I doubt this buildnig was White Front, but there is a large empty lot it looks behind it.
I remember that Toys R Us, I got some toys there when I was a kid on a trip to Disneyland. I came back to Anaheim for the first time in 20 years in 2004, and saw that the Toys R Us was still standing, if closed. Is that building still intact? It looked like it had been vacant and unused for a while. I wish it had been open, I don't see too many "mansard" TRU's anymore. From the picture of the White Front, my guess is that when WF folded, Interstate (the parent company that owned TRU) decided to tear down the store and build a new Toys R Us on the same spot (or elsewhere on the plot of land) Either way, they probably owned the land. Might explain why the vacant TRU was just sitting there in 2004 instead of some other buisness filling the space or demolishing the building.

That particular area seems stuck in a time warp in some ways. There is a pretty old looking Carl's Jr a little south on Harbor Blvd., it looked the same in 2004 as it looked in 1984, complete with black sign and older star logo. Even in 1984 there were old and vacant properties. Somewhere near there, either on Harbor Blvd. or a parallel street, there was an abandoned supermarket, complete with a giant sign in the shape of a letter "T" I could not see any name or other identifying features. The sign was battered, and it looked like it had been closed for many years. It was one of the first "ghost" stores I had ever seen, and it fascinated me. I'm sure it had some influence on my continued interest in vintage and bygone stores.

Obviously, it was not still there rotting in 2004 (Anaheim isn't Harvey, Illinois after all) Does anyone have any idea what store that was? My best guess from all the chains profiled on Groceteria is Thriftimart, but I have seen very few images of Thriftimart or it's signs, so I am not sure.

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Post by runchadrun » 06 May 2006 19:40

TheQuestioner wrote:... there was an abandoned supermarket, complete with a giant sign in the shape of a letter "T" I could not see any name or other identifying features. ... My best guess from all the chains profiled on Groceteria is Thriftimart, but I have seen very few images of Thriftimart or it's signs, so I am not sure.
Thriftimart used giant "T"s as their signs so what you saw was almost certainly a Thriftimart. They shut down in 1984 so the timeline would also be about right.

shopnbag

Post by shopnbag » 04 Jul 2006 18:50

There use to be a White Front at the corner of Blackstone and Ashlan in Fresno, CA. It was torn down sometime in the late 70s or early 80s to make way for a Mervyn's.

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